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

Monday 29th February 2016
08:21 GMT

  It is a real shame that yesterday was so cold. Being so unexpectedly sunny could have inspired me to do more. I might even have gone out to catch the last few hours of bright daylight after Aleemah had left and gone home. However, even taking some rubbish out to the wheelie bin was enough to make me glad that I stayed in. Today is going to be very similar except that the day has started bright and sunny, and I am at work and couldn't get out even if I wanted to. Another significant change is that there was a stiff frost this morning. During the day the sunshine will raise the temperature to a glorious 7° C - and very similar to yesterday (although I think I saw 8.5° C at one point). Tomorrow is going to be warm and wet - if you can describe 12° C as warm in the pouring rain ! The temperature drops after that - or it might do - forecasts more than 23 minutes ahead are not terribly reliable. Wednesday could see some "wintry showers" (sleet or even snow).
the sky at
                              5.30pm Sunday 28th Feb 2016
 I thought the sky looked interesting at 5.30pm last night, but I don't seem to have captured it all that well in this photo. On the other hand it does show how bright the sky was at 5.30pm, and although it was some time past sunset, it wasn't quite dark at 6pm. Things are looking up ! This morning it was still a bit dim, but there was definitely enough light to see colours when I walked to the station, and sunrise was only 13 minutes away when my train left Catford Bridge station at 06:33. After what seems like a long wait, both my journeys to and from work are now done essentially in daylight (although the clear sky this morning helped a little). Now comes the long wait for the weather to warm up, and apparently it could be a long wait. The long range forecast, although as accurate as pulling random slips of paper out of a hat, predicts that march will be a cold month - and it might even snow ! (Although any snow is more likely in the north of the country).

 This morning I feel fairly good. I don't seem to ache much, and walking seems very easy. This is all rather surprising considering I had one of my most lousy nights ever ! Several factors were involved, and they probably all reinforced each other. I probably was not as initially tired as I thought I was. That didn't help, and neither did the temperature of my bedroom being at that awkward temperature where it is too hot under the duvet, and too cold without it. I was using different pillows on my bed last night, and they seemed a little too high, or a little too low, and a little too lumpy, and a little too soft all at the same time ! The mattress seemed to have extra lumps in it last night that appeared from nowhere, and disappeared by morning. Even when I did find a comfortable spot in a comfortable position, some stupid would happen like my eyebrow would start itching ! (That did happen once !!).

 There was one other problem besides all those physical problems - my brain would not switch off ! I had thought up a possible idea for a new web page, and then had to work out how I could possibly make it work. The web page I had in mind for when I finally transfer my web server to an old laptop would be a very simple web page, but it would contain some information that I would like to add automatically. Perhaps updating every 10 minutes. Running a simple script that is triggered by the Linux Crontab command (basically a sort of timer), and that would write some information to a simple text file is easy enough (although I would have to refresh my memory to do, but I have done it in the past).

 The tricky part is writing that into a web page html file. There are various command line commands that will manipulate text files (and an html file is just a rather more complex text file). There is a command called Awk (of gawk) that I think could be persuaded to do the job, but the command Sed seems a better idea. The trouble with these two commands is that the syntax is not easy to grasp. I'm sure if I had to use it more than once in a blue moon it would suddenly became obvious and easy, but it's all a bit mind boggling - doubly so when you are trying to imagine how you might use it while you are supposed to have been asleep in bed for the past 3 hours !

 Eventually, after much thought, and even dreams about it in the short periods of sleep I did get, I suddenly realised there was an easy way to do what I want to do. It is easy to join several files together to make one big one. So all I would have to do would be to design my web page and substitute a space where my added, updates text would go, and then split the file into, for instance a beginning and and an ending. Then every 10 minutes I would reconstruct the whole file by adding the beginning, to the updated text, and then add the ending. The only inelegance that I cans see compared to other ways of doing it is that it is wasteful of hard disk space because there will always be, in effect, two versions of the same file at the same time, but I expect it to be a very small file, and disk space is plentiful these days.

 With the problem solved I was finally able to relax, well sort of relax, and I started to sleep properly at 1am (or was it 2am ?). That was an awful lot of sleep to lose, and I rather doubt I will be wanting to stay up a minute later than I have to tonight. So I won't be starting work on my new, old laptop based, server tonight ! It would be nice if I was fast asleep by no later than 8pm, and that I could sleep non stop until my alarm wakes me at 5am tomorrow morning. It seems unlikely it will happen like that, but I live in hope.
                              concourse Mon 29th Feb 2016
ITV on Waterloo concourse
Waterloo concourse
This was what was happening on the concourse of Waterloo station when I passed through at approx 7am this morning. Family Guy is one of a couple of American cartoons that I don't care for, but I guess some do. A consequence of not liking the series is that I have no idea what the significance of the dead looking turkey is, assuming it is supposed to be a turkey. Evidently it is not actually supposed to be dead because occasionally it opens it's eyes and looks around.
Sunday 28th February 2016
16:20 GMT

  Yesterday was generally grey and uninspiring...and also rather chilly ! Yesterday I said this "It's looking like tomorrow will be very similar, but not identical. The temperature range will be roughly the same, but at midday the cloud will be particularly thick and dark, and then at 4pm there could be a sunny interval !". That's what the forecast said, and it was wrong ! It was indeed a rather cool grey morning, but then things changed - initially for the worst, and then for the better. At 11am there was some unscheduled rain. There wasn't a lot of it, but it felt like snow or sleet when it hit my face. Once it had done enough to make sure the surface of the road was mostly wet it stopped, and then before midday the sun came out. It hasn't been sunny all the time since then, but it has been sunny most of the time !

 It is of course still rather cold outside, but with the temperature reaching nearly 9° C, it was a lot less cold than forecast. I was almost tempted to go out for a while, but I was saved from doing that by entertaining Aleemah. After today it is hard to give any credit to tomorrow's forecast, but it would be nice if it were correct. The forecast predicts that the temperature will start near freezing. There could easily be a frost, but the temperature will climb to about 7° C by late afternoon, and there should be a lot of sunshine tomorrow.

 As I suggested yesterday, I decided not to bother going to the gig in Bromley last night. Neither did I do what I suggested might be my back up plan - reconfigure an old laptop as a new server for these web pages. I hope I will get around to doing this little job sooner or later, but I have been meaning to replace the temporary lash-up that is serving these web pages for the last few years. So I guess there is no real rush.....
dusty server
 It's swimming in a sea of dust. The case is sitting on the floor nearby, and the hard disk with the website files on it is sitting upside down, unprotected, on the top of the chassis. This is the server that is serving this web page at the moment. I'm sure it has been sitting there like this for the last three years when the previous box died on me. For those interested, the server is running Linux Mint, and it's run on a little ITX motherboard with a 1.8GHz (I think) Intel Atom processor with 1GB of RAM.

 So what did I do last night ? Well it could be described as nothing, and ignoring assorted biological functions that give the impression of life as we know it (sort of), that would be an almost entirely correct description. There was nothing on TV that grabbed my attention, and so I read for a while, and then I went to bed. I wasn't clockwatching last night, but I think I was probably fast asleep by 9pm, but it could have been slightly earlier, or maybe as much as an hour later.

 I seemed to sleep quite well last night, but even better than sleeping quite well was being able to go back to bed for a couple of hours after waking up at 5am. Maybe if I wasn't seeing Aleemah this morning I might have tried to spend even more time in bed, but it seems I had enough sleep to not feel tired today...well not up until now, but even now I don't feel the fatigue I sometimes feel at work (mainly when I am bored it has to be admitted).

 I almost missed meeting Aleemah at the station because I was distracted a little while before I needed to leave to go to the station. I was looking out the kitchen window and spotted a pair of birds in the tree that I could not identify. I grabbed my camera and tried to snap a picture of one of them, but they were both obscured by the tree (still bare of leaves at this time of year). The bird was pigeon sized, and it was dark coloured - probably a dark brown. I couldn't see it's beak clearly, but I formed a strong impression that it was bigger and thicker than a pigeons beak. It was probably black. I couldn't really see what sort of feet it had. The only other feature that I noticed was a flash of blue from the tail feathers when it flew off. If such things existed I would say it was a dark coloured magpie, but I've never seen a magpie without a lot of it being white. It is possible they were jackdaws.

 After I met Aleemah we went for breakfast in the pub. After not boozing on Friday or Saturday night I rather enjoyed a pint and a half of ale for breakfast. After breakfast we went to Poundstretcher so Aleemah could buy a fan heater. It seems her heating has failed and she was freezing at home. After Poundstretcher I dragged her around Tesco where I bought a few odds and ends - including a couple of sandwiches for a more solid breakfast than the beer. In theory I am still not eating bread, but I made an exception for today. I have a feeling that now I have been resting my pancreas for a few weeks it will deal with the extra sugar (from the digested carbohydrate) fairly quickly, and my blood glucose level will not go up too high.

 Since Aleemah went home I have done nothing of not apart from eaten a small, snack like, lunch. Later on I will have something similar to a small dinner (I'm not sure what it will be yet). Apart from that I don't think I intend to do anything except watch a bit of TV (if there is anything on worth watching), and and do some reading. I am quite keen to finish the Arthur C. Clarke book (Fountains Of Paradise) that I am currently reading so I can make a start on the three Larry Niven books I received from Amazon recently.

 And with that, my only regret is that I have to go to work again tomorrow, and the day after, and the day after that, and..........
Saturday 27th February 2016
17:10 GMT

  It wasn't anywhere near as good as the day before, but there was quite a lot of sunshine yesterday morning - rather considerably more than was forecast ! The forecast was right about the temperature. It was a chilly, but probably seasonal 6° C in the afternoon. It was less than that this morning, but I don't think it sank so low as to give a frost. At one point this afternoon I thought I noticed that the temperature was 7° C, but as I write this it has sunk to just below 6° C again. Apart from it being rather cool, the main feature today has been the greyness. There has not even been a hint of sunshine today. It's looking like tomorrow will be very similar, but not identical. The temperature range will be roughly the same, but at midday the cloud will be particularly thick and dark, and then at 4pm there could be a sunny interval !

 My hope that I might find some extra energy yesterday never came to fruition. I couldn't even bother to get any shopping on the way home from work as I intended to do. That rather dashed my idea that I might go out to a gig in the evening. The only energy I did find was expended on quietly reading - and even then I didn't read for long. I was fast asleep by 8.30pm.

 Last night I slept in two parts - a luxury I can't do when I have to get up to go to work. I slept fairly well until about 4am, and then I woke up, and half got up. After reading some stuff from the internet (news and stuff) I went back to bed, and while I didn't seem to sleep that well, quite a lot of time passed without me being aware of it. The next thing I knew was that it was gone 8am (in fact I think it was almost 9am).

 I'm not seeing Aleemah today (although I will tomorrow) and so I was free to do anything I chose. One choice was to go out and do some photography. I did contemplate going to Brighton, and I even went as far as to look up the times of the trains, and the fares. It is relatively easy to get to, at least it is once I've got to East Croydon station, and using my 60+ Oyster Card for free local travel, and my Senior Railcard for discounted rail travel, it would only be £7 return on a Thameslink Train. It sounded like a good idea with just one fatal flaw - it would be damn cold, and miserably grey !

 Instead of going out doing some photography I stayed local and did some useful stuff. I did a double shopping trip. I went to Iceland and bought some more "Slimming World" meals, and some low calorie/sugar snacking type stuff like cold sliced beef and some baby plum tomatoes. I carried that in my rucksack. That left my hands free to go into Poundstretcher where I bought a duvet and pillow set, and a yard broom (to replace the cheap and cheerful one that next doors builders seemed to have run off with).

 By the oddest of coincidences, when I got back home I found a big clump of moss has apparently rolled off the roof and landed on my front garden path. So my yard broom had it's first use even before I had got through my front door ! Once I was indoors, and had put the food away, I gave the broom another test outside the back door. It's hard bristles seemed to do a good job of scraping away a few patches of green moss or lichen that manage to grow on the path there. I've never seen that path look so clean !

 I was almost tempted to stay out for a bit and start to do a bit of garden tidying, but I'll save that for another day. Besides, I had other plans - plans to do a bit more shopping. So out I went again to plunder the 99p shop, Poundland and Savers. It was only last week (or the week before ?) that I discovered the latter shop. It is a good source of stuff like shower gel, shampoo and conditioner at similar prices to the 99p of £1 shops.  One peculiar thing I was looking for was a hammer. I found one in the 99p shop, and one in Poundland.

 When I got them both home and examined them, I found that it was definitely worth paying the extra 1p. The hammer from the 99p had a very rough finish, and looked very cheap and nasty, but the hammer from Poundland was well finished, and (in dim light) could be mistaken for a professional tool. Maybe the only other notable thing that I bought on my second shopping trip was some Lychee and Coconut shampoo and conditioner !

 My last great job of the day was to do some laundry. I washed one long sleeved shirt (and forgot one) plus a t-shirt, and two pairs of lounge pants. The latter need quite a lot of effort - they are heavy when wet, and seem to need extra rinsing. Once that lot was hung up to dry I could relax - and I did by cooking some sausages for lunch. After eating those sausages I lay on my bed to read. After a while I fancied closing my eyes, and I did. I was very surprised to find it was almost 5pm when I opened them again. It didn't seem like I had slept much, if at all, but somehow a lot of time seems to have passed, and I suspect more went by because I was busy than because I was asleep.

 There is a gig on tonight that I know several people are going to, and I did think I might like to make the effort of going myself, but I don't really like the venue (it's always very crowded), and I don't like the band that much. I think I should just admit that I don't really want to go, and to put plan B into action.

 Plan B is actually the very vaguest of ideas that I might finally stop using the temporary lash up of a server to serve these web pages, and build something a little more dedicated for the job. I have been giving some thought to using one of the old beaten up laptops I have hanging around doing nothing. It would have two positive aspects. First it would put some redundant equipment to good use, and secondly it would be more economical on electric power than running a full sized PC 24 hours a day. Maybe the next thing I'll do is to pull out one of the old laptops and give it a good long hard stare !
Friday 26th February 2016
07:57 GMT

  A pattern begins to emerge...maybe ! For the past few days the weather forecasts have been one day out. Yesterday's forecast was for a cloudy day with no sunshine. In fact there was a lot of sunshine, and that was how the weather was forecast for the day before that. Today the forecast is for lots of clouds, and no sunshine...or at least it was. In the last hour the forecast has changed to admit that there might be a brief flash of sunshine at 10am this morning. Other than that, it is going to be dry, and the temperature will probably be one degree cooler than yesterday at just 6° C. Having said that, I am not so sure that the temperature was any more than that yesterday. Maybe the temperature dropped very rapidly after sunset, but I seem to recall my thermometer said it was just 4.8° C when I got home at approx 7pm last night. Tomorrow is set to be about the same temperature, the clouds will be thicker, and the day will be even gloomier, but it should stay dry.
sunrise over
                              Earlsfield cemetary
 This was the view from over the back of platform 3 at Earlsfield station. In the foreground is Earlsfield cemetery, and in the background the position of the rising sun can just be made out. It's a little right of centre where the pinkish glow on the horizon becomes slightly brighter and less pink. With less cloud it might have been much more spectacular. As we leave winter behind, the sun would have been fully risen when I took the picture at approx 07:18. Sun rise today was at 06:53, and with it getting earlier by almost 2 minutes a day, it won't be that long before the sun will have risen before I get my morning train at 06:33 - which will be very nice !

 I can remember times when I have felt much, much better, but apart from yawning a lot, and almost dozing off a couple of times while reading from my computer screen, I felt fairly good yesterday. Maybe the magic was wearing off a bit when I left work because I spotted a bus coming up the hill, and decided to be lazy and get the bus the two stops to the station. I should have forced myself to walk, but I had other opportunities to walk later - such as from Waterloo to Waterloo East station, and then from Catford Bridge station to Tescos.

 One of the useful things about last night was that the Thursday night drink was in The Black Cat pub (formerly The Catford Ram). That meant I had plenty of time to grab a bit of shopping. It was a toss up between Tesco and Iceland, and Tesco won - mainly because Tesco does better ready made salads. I bought 3 £1 bowls of salad plus some reduced price salmon, and also a reduced price pot of anchovies. At least they call them anchovies, but they are not the type that are dark in colour, and very salty. The ones I bought last night were closer to sardines. The other healthy sort of thing I bought was a rather extravagant pack of pre-sliced peppers. It's best not to think about the cheese I bought...

 I had a nice drink in the pub. One thing was rather peculiar, and it occurs to me it could have been caused by me abstaining from any obvious sugar recently. I don't normally like Young's ordinary bitter, I find it to be too hoppy and too bitter, but last night it was at least acceptable, and possibly even getting close to nice. Where my theory falls down is that a couple of other people remarked how good it tasted. Maybe the new theory is that they have changed the recipe.

 It wasn't good enough to tempt me to stay at the pub for more than three pints, and once I had drunk three pints I headed for home to make some dinner. Dinner part one was a bowl of ready made salad with a generous scoop of anchovies, and a sprinkling of rice wine vinegar. Part two was grilled salmon with raw sliced peppers and a liberal dose of rather thin, and hopefully fairly low sugar, seafood dressing. Both parts were rather nice. Part three was less nice. It was reduced price, ready prepared, baked mushrooms with cream cheese and herbs (or something like that). This was the second time I've had this Tesco ready meal (ready side dish ?). The first time I thought it was very nice. Last night I was not so impressed. maybe it didn't work after eating fish.

 I forced myself to go to bed early last night, and after reading for a while I turned out the light, and was fast asleep by (approx) 8.30pm. I may have woken once, but it seemed I slept very well until I had the most vivid dream. In this dream I dreamed I was in bed, and had just woken up. I looked at the clock, and it was just before 5am. Realising it was time to get up I opened my eyes, but this time for real. They opened on exactly the same view as I had in my dream, but this time the clock said 02:18 and not 04:59 ! From then on my sleep became crap. I even got up for half an hour and looked at the internet.

 I'll never know if it was really the case, but as happens far too frequently, it seemed like I had just got the hang of sleeping again just before I had to get up. It really felt like that if I had turned over I could have slept solidly for many more hours. I got up feeling peeved that I hadn't slept as well as I thought I should do, but in other ways I didn't feel too bad. I even felt as if I had lost a bit of weight. A little later I would observe that I couldn't do my belt up any tighter, but it did seem there was less gut in the way of looking down at my belt fastening.

 I think I know why my waistline is not shrinking as fast as I want it too, and that reason is amnesia, or insanity, or travels on the astral plane, or whatever. During these out of mind experiences my body must be secretly be having 5 course meals. There may be anecdotal evidence of this beside my gut not shrinking as fast as I would desire, and that evidence would be poo ! My output this morning was very controlled, no nasty explosive issues, but seemed to be rather more than my input as far as I can remember it. I guess I can blame some of it on extra fibre in my diet, but I am sure that doesn't account for it all. I blame the aliens !

 While I didn't feel too bad this morning, I did feel like it was worth taking yet more Ibuprofen to calm down my chest muscles which were producing a very weak diffuse ache. Other than that, I felt fine until I exited Earlsfield station. At that point, and it was almost like turning a switch on, I suddenly felt physically tired. I have walked from the station feeling far worse in the past, but this morning it was like I just couldn't find the energy to get up to speed. So I walked at a more sedate pace, and in consequence I arrived at work 10 minutes later instead of 9 minutes later. I am not sure why I should bother about a mere one minute, but I do....or maybe I don't. I think it's just that I like to walk at a certain speed (usually close to 3mph on average), and this morning I couldn't.

 I hope I regain some sort of energy tonight. I am hoping to go out to see The Bromley Bastards gig tonight. It's in The Alma Tavern in Lower Addiscombe - the same pub that Chain played in last Friday. Walking is only a small part of the energy I'll need. Some of it will need to be mental energy - the will to get up and go. From this end of the day it doesn't seem like I have any, but that could change in any direction during the course of the day. Then there is the matter of staying awake - I would really like to go to bed - right now !!
Thursday 25th February 2016
08:05 GMT

  This is what it was like going home from work yesterday.....
blue sky, fluffy
                              clouds, and The Shard
 I took this picture of blue sky, fluffy clouds, The Shard, and a few other building, from platform C of Waterloo East station. That makes a change from platform A where I, and a host of other people, usually take pictures of The Shard from. It looks as if it could have been taken on a summers day, but it was definitely yesterday, and the temperature was only 7 or 8° C ! Apart from being colder at either end of the day, most of yesterday looked like this with lots of cheerful sunshine. Today was forecast to be mostly overcast, and occasionally heavily overcast, but probably still dry, and indeed the day did start overcast, but looking out my office window I can see blue sky and sunshine !

 Perhaps it will suddenly cloud over again before the forecast notices. The only time that sunshine is supposed to be allowed is at 3pm for a few minutes ! The forecast also said that it would be zero degrees at 5am, and I reckon it was plus 2° C. Later on the temperature will rise to about the same as yesterday - somewhere around 6 to 8° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be dry, but fully overcast by light cloud. It might, or might not, be about a degree less cold than today.

 I felt very sleepy at work yesterday, and on more than one occasion I found myself "resting my eyes" while reading stuff on my PC. Other than that I didn't feel too bad. As is so often the case, I felt better, and then even quite good when going home from work. Initially I thought I would feel bad. As soon as I went outside, and the cold air hit my chest, it started to ache, but that ache all but disappeared after a minute of walking. By the time I reached Catford I realised that I felt perfectly good to walk the long way round, via the high street, to the pharmacy where I picked up my repeat prescription.

 Unlike the surly lot in the doctors reception area, the staff in the attached pharmacy are a cheery and helpful lot. The young black woman who serves in there scored a gold star for recognising me by name. That is probably because of previous occasions where I have had to tell them that despite my official name, the one I have been using since the day I was born, and appears on my birth certificate, is Bill, the surgery insists on calling me William. This amuses me, and it amuses the staff in the pharmacy - or at least it is a convenient hook to remember my name by.

 One other thing that was amusing is that the young lady who actually prepared my prescription, looked at her PC to check she had provided all the drugs, and noticed my age. She didn't believe I was 60 until I showed her my 60+ Oyster Card with my picture on it. She could only comment that she must be on the wrong diet ! The only disappointment was that it seems that the blood glucose test strips I use aren't on my authorised repeat prescription list. So I didn't get any, and that means I have just three single use test strips to use until I see my doctor. That is a little ironic because it was she who was hoping I could do a nice diary of daily readings. I'll have to pick my time very carefully to try and get some nice low readings with those three remaining test strips !

 I wanted to wash my hair again last night, but I couldn't raise the enthusiasm for it. I couldn't raise the enthusiasm for several other things, and I think it was because my mind was fixed on the idea of going to bed early to get some reading done. I wasn't very successful at doing that either, but it wasn't a complete failure. I was in bed in time to read a few pages before turning out the light, turning over, and falling asleep by, or soon after 8.30pm. I seemed to sleep very soundly until just gone midnight.

 From midnight I slept rather intermittently - which was annoying. While I slept I had two dreams that I seem to remember fragments of. The first was about horses. I am not a horse person, and I can't recall horses appearing in my dreams before, but this dream featured three ! The first two I mistook for police horses, and I was worried that I would be arrested for loitering near a railway line. I think this dream was set in the near future where anyone who is still warm and kicking, and is not a member of The Party, is presumed to be a terrorist. It turned out that they were police horses, but were being ridden by civilian staff. As they passed me I noticed that on the other side of the fence there was a mounted railway policeman riding alongside the railway lines looking for terrorists.

 The other bit of dream I remember was much nicer and very positive...well, sort of positive. It seemed I owned a couple of mobile phones that had a very nice feature - they doubled up as hip flasks ! I took out a bung where the earphone socket would be, and poured out a nice warming drink straight into my mouth. The drink was something I am not sure actually exists, but it may do. it was a liqueur with the flavour of gingerbread. I think that would be worth a short lift of my self imposed ban on sugary stuff !

 One of the reasons I didn't sleep so well after midnight was because my chest was aching again. It is still like it now, although it is highly variable. Sometimes I don't notice it, and sometimes it almost approaches the threshold of pain. Generally it is just the mildest, but annoying, diffuse ache. That is probably about the only thing worth moaning about today. My legs still seem to be working well again this morning. Maybe not quite as well as yesterday, particularly as I was striding through Catford on my way to the pharmacy, but many times better than some mornings.

 Well, a fair bit of time has passed since I started writing, and instead of it clouding over, as the forecast dictated, I can see nothing but blue sky out of my of my office window. I am unsure what to believe about the weather for the rest of the day, but the seagulls seem to believe that it is worth coming inland because of bad weather (at least I believe this is what they do).

seagull on a
                              lamp post
seagull on a roof
I took these pictures on Garret Lane on my way into work at approx 7.20am. It looks like the sky may be slightly blue in the photos - to my naked eye it was definitely rather grey and miserable looking - unlike right now !
Wednesday 24th February 2016
08:14 GMT

  It is a shame that it was so cold yesterday. Had it been warm, or maybe even mild, it could have been recorded as a rather nice day. It was dry, and there was plenty of sunshine, but with a top temperature of only 8° C, it could only be described as "satisfactory" as old school teachers used to say in diplomatic school reports about their underperforming pupils. The clear skies that gave the sunshine yesterday continued through the night, and the result was a frost this morning. Both my thermometers agreed that it was 0.0° C  (although one of them did occasionally flick to -0.1° C). The lack of clouds meant that when I stepped out of my front door to walk to the station, I was greeted by a nice bright glow on the eastern horizon. By the time I arrived at the station it was almost daylight despite sunrise still being half an hour away. The sun is forecast to continue to shine right through the day. The temperature will slowly rise in the sunshine, and by 4pm the temperature is forecast to rise to a glorious 7° C. So it will look good, but I think it will be more comfortable with gloves on !

 I was fairly comfortable at work yesterday, but I felt far from energetic, and it was hard to find any enthusiasm for what I was doing. I felt better and worse when I left to go home. It was nice to get out into the sunshine, and at one point I could actually feel the heat of the sun on the back of my head, but I had one strange sensation. It is one I have felt before a few times over the last year. It is as if the front of my left man boob, including the nipple, has been replaced with lead. It is not a pulling sensation, nor is it painful in any way, but it feels sort of heavy. I'm not whether to describe it as an annoyance or a distraction.

 Once again I wonder if this is a nerve problem, or if it is something else, although I can't quite imagine what. However I do know of a cure, and it is rather dramatic and painful. At Waterloo station I decided I ought to use the gents rather than risk killing people by farting on the train. As I reached the top of the stairs leading out of the underground toilets I swung around to the left, and maybe I did it a bit too sharply, because a huge pain ripped through the left side of my breast. For a second or two it took my breath away...or at least breathing was painful. A few seconds later most of the pain had gone away, and the strange heavy sensation in my left man boob had gone away.

 The thing with these painful episodes is that they either leave my chest feeling better than before, or worse than before. In this case it felt better than before, and that seemed good enough reason to attempt the hand laundry I had speculated about yesterday. I ended up washing three short sleeved shirts, several pairs of underpants, and two mini table clothes. A few bits ached after doing that, but my chest seemed to bear up to it rather well. Before I did the laundry I did other stuff.

 The first thing I did when I got home was to check my blood glucose level. The day before it had started rather high in the morning, but was very satisfactory after work. Last night it was even lower. I would still like to get it lower still, and maybe it will be tonight. It is not helping that I seem to have gone back to eating excess amounts of food recently, but at least I have been choosing stuff that I know to be low in sugar. Eating even less should be easier once the days start to warm up a bit more - or at least that is what I try and convince myself. On a more immediate positive note, I did manage to pull my belt up one notch tighter than usual this morning. Sadly, it was maybe a little too tight for comfort.

 One of the things I kept attempting to do last night was to go to bed extra early. It would have been nice to get some extra sleep, but there was another reason - reading. Taking time out to do some reading is most enjoyable, and I don't know why I allowed myself to be distracted by my computer last night. From today it will be more important to find a bit more time for reading. I am expecting the first of several books I've ordered to be delivered - three in total. They are follow on books from Larry Niven's Ringworld, and Ringworld Engineers books. Both these Sci Fi books were an enjoyable read, although they both seemed to have rather rushed endings.

 I slept OK again last night except for the curse of waking up too early again. I didn't feel too bad when I woke up, and I continue to feel not too bad. Although I can feel the effects of doing the hand laundry last night, it doesn't seem to have left any more than the merest of ache from the odd muscle here and there. Yesterday I complained that walking seemed a bit like hard work. This morning I am still not walking as fluidly as I would like, but it is better than yesterday.

 Hopefully I will have a comfortable day, and will have some spare energy after work so I can do one little important job. I have to go to the pharmacy tonight to pick up my repeat prescription for all the drugs my doctor keep shovelling down my throat. I am not sure if this is for her benefit or mine ! If I am feeling extra energetic I will walk straight from the station to the pharmacy. If not then I will go via home. If it is worse than that I will get a bus from near the station, but I hope it won't come to that. Getting those drugs is about all I plan to do this evening....apart from going to bed early to read, and maybe anything I haven't thought of yet.
the new Tesco on
                              Garrat lane
 This is another look at the new Tesco store due to open on Saturday in Garret Lane, Earlsfield. It could be quite handy because I have to walk right past it every time I walk from Earlsfield station to work, but there could be a catch. It is still being fitted out, but I have a horrible suspicion that it is going to be almost exclusively self service checkouts. I refuse to use them. The same is almost true of the Sainsbury's "Local" I use, but they do have three tills for selling cigarettes and booze, and a member of staff will usually be there to serve you, or will come over from supervising the self service checkouts quite quickly.
South Africans
                              at Waterloo station concourse
Waterloo concourse
I'm not sure what's going on at Waterloo station today. This has appeared on the concourse. maybe they are selling South Africans or something. Perhaps more will be revealed on my through there after work.
Tuesday 23rd February 2016
07:53 GMT

  I displayed two screenshots of the weather forecast yesterday. One screenshot was taken at 5am, and the other at 8am. Neither showed that there would be a light shower at around 11am, and neither showed that much of the afternoon would be sunny. The sunshine started as sunny intervals, and the intervals got longer until the sunshine just stayed shining until sun set. Correction: The earlier forecast did forecast a shower at 11am, but it also predicted showers from 8am to 10pm, and it was dry then ! The one thing both forecasts got right was that it was 8° C when I got home from work. I'm sure the forecast was that the temperature would fall to almost zero overnight, but it was still 5° C when I got up just before 5am. Maybe it is tomorrow that will start at zero. The latest forecast for today predicts that the weather will be almost exactly what it was in reality yesterday - except it doesn't mention rain at 11am !
sunshine and
 The picture above shows several things. I took it as I walked from work to the station last night. My shadow shows that it was bright and sunny. The puddles, left over from rain 24 hours earlier, show just how terrible the pavements can be in Earlsfield !  I took another couple of pictures on the way to the station. The second one is out of focus, and looks pretty terrible, but I'll include it for completeness. I think I took some better pictures this morning, but I haven't copied them off the camera to check and edit them yet. I'll probably do that at home tonight, and show them tomorrow.

new Tesco store
                              in Earlsfield almost ready to open on 26th
                              Feb 2016
Earlsfield Tesco prior to shop
 This is the new Tesco store about to open this weekend on Garret Lane in Earlsfield. Until recently I thought it was going to be a Tesco Express (or Local, or whatever) but the Hello sign seems to suggest it is going to be a full Tesco store - albeit it a rather small one. To make it they have knocked two shops together. The right hand shop was the Londis convenience store I used to use a lot to buy breakfast on my walk from the station to work. The shop on the left was originally an Indian restaurant.

 I felt quite good yesterday. Of course I still had a few small aches and pains, and occasionally I would get the gentlest reminder that my twisted rib/pulled muscle was still tender. The feeling of well being lasted until I got home from work, and beyond. It is hard to know if it was that feeling of well being, or a brain aneurysm, or maybe the inner brain explosion caused the feeling of well being. All I know is that when I got home I found I had an irresistible urge to sweep the area outside the back door that leads to the garden.

 It was actually a continuation of some work I did on Sunday. I wasn't too worried about a few clumps of moss, and some grit and debris left behind by the builders who were working on next door until last November, but I was a bit peeved by a sort of farm yard smell. I think either a cat or a fox, and maybe both, had urinated somewhere near the back door. It didn't help that the builders, who had actually been quite diligent about clearing up, decided to thank me for my co-operation by using some leftover cement and bricks to make a little surround for the drain near the back door. it looked quite nice, but it stopped surface water draining away down the drain. I had to use a bit of brute force to open a gap in the cement to let water drain away - and there was a fair bit of it after sluicing the path with two buckets of water with disinfectant in it. Last night it was dry out there, and I could finish the sweeping up of the last bits of grit and stuff. I also noted that it smelled fresh ouit there again.

 After doing that sweeping I put some dinner in the microwave, and then I tested my blood glucose level. In the morning, after eating rather generously on Sunday, it had been rather high, and only just in single figures. The reading I took last night was back down to where I hoped it would be. It would have been nicer if it were lower, but it was back in the accepted normal range. A few hours after dinner it was obviously higher, but nothing that I would worry about.

 I did a couple of other things last night. I washed my hair, and I uploaded Friday nights gig picture to Flickr, and you can see them here - Many of the pictures are annoyingly grainy, and with hindsight it was obvious why. I was using far too fast a shutter speed because I was worried about motion blur. If I had reduced the shutter speed I could have reduced the ISO setting, and that would reduce the grain. I would have to be a bit more careful about catching the right moment to avoid motion blur, but that is how I used to do it before I had a wonderful camera with a big lens on it. Oh well, I guess it's all part of the learning process. The first 5 pictures in the Flickr album were taken with my new Fuji camera. It did remarkably well in coping with the low light, but ultimately it couldn't manage it. So I turned on the flash for those bright looking pictures.

 I don't know why, but I didn't seem to want to go to bed as early as I should have last night. It was about 9.30pm when I got into bed, and I didn't think I felt tired at all, but evidently I was because I must have been asleep in minutes. As far as I can recall, I slept well last night, although I did seem to have a disturbing amount of dreams that seemed to include food ! This morning I don't feel as good as I did yesterday morning, and I feel far worse than I did last night. I suppose the more significant aspect of it is that my legs felt tired when walking on my way into work. I suppose the rest of me seems mostly typical - although I do note that some bits of my chest ache less, or not at all, but I seem to a few new little aches. One ache seems to be, or seemed to be (I don't think it's there now) about a couple of cm across, and a couple of cm to the left of my left nipple. I wonder if some of these random little aches like this are actually the result, and perhaps the ongoing healing, of nerves that were cut/damaged when my chest was opened up for my bypass surgery in Sept 2013 ?

 The more I think about it, the more I realise I haven't got a clue what I may be doing tonight. I guess I could gingerly try and hand wash a couple of shirts to see if it aggravates my twisted rib. It would probably be a good thing to wash a few shirts because I have got quite a pile of laundry to do after not doing any over the weekend. I think I will definitely leave doing any towels until I am much more confident that my tender rib/muscle/ligament is fully healed (until I break it again). Other than laundry, I guess the best thing for me to do would be to go to bed as early as possible - it's a good way of getting my blood glucose level lower - by avoiding the temptation of food !
Monday 22nd February 2016
08:16 GMT

  Yesterday remained dry, and there were more sunny spells in the early afternoon, but the cloud got too thick for any sun beam to worm it's way through as the afternoon wore on. It stayed mild right through the evening, and this morning it was still almost 11° C, but the temperature is dropping now. I am unsure when the rain started, but it was raining when I woke up, and for a while it was torrential, but fortunately it was very light when I left home to walk to the station - and was even lighter when I walked from Earlsfield station to work. The weather forecast for today has changed in the last couple of hours - as it so often does. Here's what I was expecting at 5am this morning.
The first
                              weather forecast for Monday 22nd feb 2016
                              until they looked out the window and
                              realised it was all wrong !
Then the forecasters looked out the window, and realised they had got it wrong.
the revised forecast for Monday
                              22nd February 2016
 I suppose it is not wildly different, but it looks as if the rain will finish sooner, and maybe there is a better chance of it being a bit brighter when I go home from work. It is even possible we might see the sunshine forecast for 9am. There's half an hour to go, and I can see some thinner looking patches of cloud, but I can't see any blue anywhere. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be mostly dry with some sunshine, but the afternoon temperature will probably be about the same as today. Meanwhile, this very poor quality picture shows what it was like on Catford Bridge station at 06:33 this morning.
a wet and
                                  gloomy platform 1 at Catford Bridge
 It was my aim to be in bed, and fast asleep nice and early last night. It never happened ! I was in bed a little later than my usual time (which is 9pm), but I did fall asleep fairly fast. On the whole I slept reasonably well, but I did wake up annoyingly early this morning. I was out of bed and doing stuff not much later than 4.30am - which is ridiculous. It seems I will have to try and get to sleep nice and early tonight. Maybe that will be possible, and maybe it will be difficult.

 The bit that makes it possible is that I finished editing last Friday nights pictures, and all I have to do tonight is to upload them to Flickr. That shouldn't take too long - although all the tagging and captioning slows the procedure down (and I feel it has to be done). The bit that might make it difficult if I get my timing wrong, is waiting for my hair to dry after I wash it tonight. If I am sensible I will wash it before I start to upload those pictures, and let it dry while I do all the bits and pieces.

 I feel strangely good this morning. My twisted rib/pulled muscle is still a bit tender, but I have taken the precaution of taking a couple of Ibuprofen tablets this morning, and if I continue to try and avoid any ill-advised movements it shouldn't be any bother at all. What was quite surprising, and was probably a good deal to do with my sense of well being this morning, is that my legs seemed to be working really well again this morning. It felt almost effortless to walk to the station this morning, and almost effortless to walk from the station to work - although it has to be said that the latter walk was considerably slower as I dodged the gigantic puddles, and cracked and collapsing paving stones here in Earlsfield.

 To be able to walk so easily, and that includes not having to breathe too hard while striding along, is a little surprising this morning. I ate far too much over the weekend, and while I avoided the more obviously sugar laden foods, my blood glucose level was high this morning. Not only that, but it felt like any weight I had lost in the last fortnight came back overnight. I felt a little bloated this morning, but maybe it just felt that way because my trousers and belt seemed to do up quite normally. Oh well, it's back to being extra careful with what I eat. This morning it was salad for breakfast. Perhaps when I get home my blood glucose will be back closer to where it should be. Tonight I will have to do my best to eat as little as possible !
Sunday 21st February 2016
12:33 GMT

  I'm not sure why, but for some reason I had expected yesterday to be fairly dry, and today to be very wet. There is still plenty of time for today to change, but while it was quite frequently wet yesterday, this morning has been dry, and as I write these words a little beam of sunshine just lit up the room. The sky seems too grey and cloudy to let any sunshine through, but maybe we will be treated to a brief sunny interval or two this afternoon. The temperature is a rather unexpected 16° C right now, and it is all thanks to the humid warm wind from the west. This rare treat is not set to last long. By this evening the temperature will start to fall. Tomorrow morning is (or was) forecast to be diabolically wet, and once that dries up, maybe around midday, the temperature will fall even further. By tomorrow night it is going to be quite chilly !

 It would have been nice to go out last night, but it was also nice to stay in the warm, and have a few whiskies. I can't say I actually achieved anything last night. In fact I can't recall doing anything of note at all. I read a bit - both paper and internet - and I listened to the radio. Basically I was thoroughly lazy. That should have meant that I was in bed and asleep quite early, and this morning I should have been well rested, and raring to go !

 It wasn't quite like that, but maybe I could have gone out this morning and taken some photos while re-aquainting myself with a few bits of the west end that I haven't seen for ages. I was put off doing that by the belief that it would rain, and that even if it didn't it was too horribly dull and grey for photography. Not only that, but it felt like I wouldn't enjoy walking. To some degree I was wrong about that.

 I did decide to go out, but only to Tesco, and indeed when I first set out I did feel rather creaky. That didn't last long, and on the way back, carrying a moderate load, I found myself striding along like it was almost easy. There was nothing I actually needed from Tesco, but on Friday I got a letter type thing from Tesco containing my latest Club Card vouchers, and a reminder that I had £6.50 worth of vouchers that were dues to expire at the end of this month.

 I decided I had better use those vouchers before they expired, and also some more with expiry dates this year. I spent the money on booze ! Well no, I did buy another bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky (my favourite whisky), and I bought a sort of own label version of Jack Daniel's "Tennessee Fire" (which may or may not be a copy of "Fireball" a sold in Wetherspoon's pubs and a few other places now), but I also bought some food as well. Some of the food was reduced price stuff like Veal burgers. I had never even heard they existed, let alone tried them before. So I have an interesting experience coming up later today or tomorrow.

 I also bought some frozen food that is now in the freezer so there is no rush to eat it, but also some fresh stuff like salad that needs to be eaten soon. While I was in Tesco I made an interesting sighting. It was the husband of the lady who runs the corner shop buying quite a heap of stuff. Until this morning I would occasionally have feelings of guilt about not supporting the corner shop more. The shop is ever so convenient being just a couple of minutes walk away - so close in fact that I could probably just about run there without dying of cardiac arrest, or lack of oxygen. Unlike some smaller shops, it doesn't stay open very late, but it does open early, and opens 365 days a year (and that includes Xmas day). So it is useful, but now I have seen where they shop, I won't feel guilty walking past there on the way back from Aldi.
electric car
                              charging points
 Here's another observation I made while I was walking to the station to meet Aleemah. These are the new electric car charging points just round the corner from Catford Bridge station. I usually see them with their tops glowing green like the second one is doing in this picture. Green appears to show "ready for use". I have also seen one glowing red before, but yesterday was the first time I have seen one glowing blue. Presumably one colour means "charging in progress", and the other means "charging complete", but I have no idea which is which.

 I am going to dedicate some of this afternoon, and maybe some of this evening to finally getting around to choosing and editing the better pictures I took on my Canon camera at Friday night's gig. I know there are quite a lot of pictures between mediocre and complete crap, but I think with a few tweaks here and there, I can show off a few good pictures - maybe more. My only other aim is one that usually goes wrong, but I will be attempting to get to sleep nice and early tonight, and to sleep really well to I am all fresh and keen for work tomorrow...No, forget about the keen bit. I'll just aim to be comfortable at work, and be keen for the working day to be over !
Saturday 20th February 2016
18:41 GMT

  It was not as wet as I feared last night, but the initial rise in temperature that started near sunset didn't last, and the temperature fell again. It only fell to something like 5 or 6° C, but with some light drizzle, and a fair amount of wind, it didn't feel too nice. Today has been very mild. It is currently 12° C, but once again it is raining. It has been raining on and off all day, but there were gaps of up to an hour long where you could do stuff. Also, just like yesterday, the wind, although not that strong, is making it feel worse. This is probably the pattern for tomorrow too, although earlier forecasts were talking about the possibility of the temperature hitting 13° C, and even 14° C in central London. That would be exceptionally nice if it were dry and sunny, and the wind was no more than a slight breeze. Oh well, Spring is not too far away now.

 After a day off work, lots of rest, and eating surprisingly lightly, I felt quite keen to go out last night. It was an "interesting" journey to The Alma Tavern in Lower Addiscombe, but it actually worked quite well. There was a very strong moment of doubt on the way home when the arrivals screen at Addiscombe tram stop seemed to suggest that the next tram was forever 5 minutes away. It was still saying it would arrive in five minutes as we were leaving the tram stop. Basically, my journey was a good example of integrated public transport.

 Maybe it was pure chance that my train from Catford Bridge connected with a tram at Elmers End, and that there was only a minute or two wait for a bus at Addiscombe tram stop. The journey home also worked quite well apart from the aforementioned faulty (or just plain mad) arrivals display at Addiscombe.  I think I had to wait as much as 10 minutes at Addiscombe, but it might have been more or less - it sort of felt more because it was dark, wet and late at night.
tram at Elmers
 This was the tram that took me from Addiscombe to Elmers End. It terminates there, and waits for 10 minutes or so before going back to West Croydon. I had about a five minute wait for the 23:08 train, the second to last train of the day, to take me back to Catford Bridge.

 Although I could only stay for the first set, it was a very enjoyable Chain gig last night. There were quite a few people I knew there - including a "mad" South African lady called Fran. She is not actually mad, but just slightly eccentric in a most delightful way. It was the first time I had seen her at a gig for quite some time, and she gave me the full smacker on the lips greeting as she tends to do (which was rather enjoyable).

 Another enjoyable thing was testing me latest camera out (The Fuji HS35EXR). Unsurprisingly it struggled with the light, but I think it did better than some cameras. The real killer is the need for a fast shutter speed to stop motion blur. With a more static scene you can use a long exposure to pull detail out of almost low light, but musicians do have this habit of moving ! One partial remedy is to convert the picture to black and white to hide all the multi coloured speckles.
Chain in black
                              and white
 The other alternative is to use the flash, but I try to avoid that where I can. I did use it a few times, and the results were rather good - not that you can see it so well on this small picture.
Chain in Colour
 I also took over a hundred pictures on my Canon camera, but I haven't had time to go through those properly yet. A quick scan reveals a few that have come out nicely, and a whole heap that are rubbish - but you can get away with that with digital photography. If I was using film I would go broke buying new film, and getting it developed only for most of it to be a complete waste !

 My excuse was that I had eaten surprisingly little all day. I was feeling cold and hungry, I had drunk three pints of beer, and something I'll think of later. These excuses seemed good enough to treat myself to some fried chicken on the way home. On this occasion it was fried chicken and nothing else at all. So while it was still terribly unhealthy, it was not as bad for my aims as it could have been if I had bought French fries as well. While eating the chicken I wondered why I ever bought French fries with fried chicken. I didn't miss them last night, and that may well be because French fries, as opposed to genuine chip shop chips, are pretty damn revolting when you think about it.

 I was definitely on a high last night because once I had eaten my chicken I set out to check and edit the pictures I had taken on the new camera. I was mostly driven my curiosity I guess, but I didn't seem to feel tired at all, and even when I felt a hint of tiredness, at nearly 1am this morning, I wondered if I would ever manage to go to sleep. It turns I did go to sleep quite easily, but I was awake 3 hours later, and it took a little while to go back to sleep. From then on it would have been nice to sleep for hours and hours if I could, but I had to be up reasonably early to prepare for a visit from my friend Aleemah.

 It wasn't exactly a rush, but I would have preferred more time to get to the station to meet Allemah who arrived on the 10:06am train from Charing Cross (to Hayes, Kent). From then on it was the usual breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub. Then shopping in Aldi, and then back here for 4 more episodes of The Tripods from Aleemah's DVD boxset of the old BBC TV series.  After Aleemah went home I cooked up an experimental dinner using ingredients I had bought in Aldi earlier.

 The meal turned out to be quite big, and very tasty. It started with some salmon grilled in the oven. Then I wondered what would happen if I added a bit of butter to the dish I had cooked the salmon in, and attempt to fry some eggs in it. The worst thing is that despite being careful, two of the yolks broke when I cracked the shells, but the frying process seemed to work quite well. If I had just used half the amount of salmon, and half the eggs, and then bulked it all up with some green vegetable, it would almost be a sort of healthy meal - even more so if I had used less oil and butter, or found a way to mop up the excess.

 While that meal was nice, it did leave me feeling a bit bloated...or maybe not bloat as such, but it was definitely too oily. Any more and it could have made me feel sick, but as it was, it just made me want to lay down - and that is what I did. I think I even fell asleep for a while. That goes some way to explain why as I write this I am not getting off a bus in Bromley to see another Chain gig. I did say I would try and get there tonight. It is a simple journey, but maybe I was just not keen enough. The venue is a pub called The Partridge, but it is not a pub I like much.

 What I should be doing if I am not going out is to start selecting and editing the pictures I took on my Canon camera last night. Instead I seem to be getting drunk on whisky. I think I feel a early night coming on. Tomorrow I would like to go out for another walk around a bit of London, and take some snaps. I thought that maybe I would snap a few of the theatres along the walk from Charing Cross up Charing Cross Road, and then cut through Soho to Piccadilly Circus before heading back to Charing Cross station via Trafalgar Square.

 There are few problems with that plan. The first is that I don't know if the trains are running to Charing Cross tomorrow, and another problem is that it is likely to be very dull and very wet ! Maybe tomorrow is when I'll tackle those pictures from my Cannon camera. In the meanwhile here is a picture I took on my way home from work last Thursday. It is the top of The Shard set against a cloudy blue sky. It was never intended to look the way it is, but the way it came out reminds me of a a typical futuristic picture on the cover of a Sci Fi paperback (maybe from the 1970s).
The Shard
                              looking "futuristic" in fron of
                              a cloudy blue sky
Friday 19th February 2016
15:26 GMT

  I don't  think I saw any more than a couple of spits of rain hit my office window yesterday. I certainly didn't see any wet snowflakes ! My impression was that yesterday was rather cool and rather grey, but was otherwise unremarkable...although perhaps the speed with which the temperature dropped after dark was remarkable. It was probably about 6° C until sunset, but within half an hour of the sun setting (invisibly behind clouds), the temperature dropped to 3° C. It did seem that if it kept dropping like that it would be a long way below zero by morning, but it was still slightly above zero this morning. Today seemed even cooler than yesterday. At least that was how it seemed this morning, but it has also been a lot sunnier, and if I didn't know better, I would say that has warmed things up a lot. In fact it is the leading edge of a mass of warm, wet air heading our way from the Atlantic ocean that has both warmed the temperature up to 10° C, and filled the sky with soggy grey clouds. From now, for a couple of days, it is going to be warm, maybe as high as 14° C on Sunday, and rather wet. Unfortunately that includes tonight when I want to go out.

 Most of yesterday was rather good in as much as I was mostly free of pain. The penalty for that was that I seemed to lack energy - specifically the energy to make walking seem easy. I have no idea how the two could possibly be related, and the chances are that they were not related in any way, and it was just coincidence. Not having any energy, or maybe just my legs not seeming to work as fluidly as they can be, wasn't enough to stop me doing a small diversion on my way to the pub after work.

 It was only a few minutes out of my way, although I did miss walking through the park, to walk a hundred feet or two up Lewisham High Street to have a look in Cash Converters (not to be confused with the very similar looking Cash Generators in Catford). I was curious what they had in their - particularly photographic stuff. They had a few cameras, and one was a tiny bit interesting, but I didn't like the ambience in there, and left fairly quickly.

 I was going to allow myself to have three pints when I got to the pub, and one of those was going to be because I normally arrive before anyone else at The Ravensbourne Arms. The reason for that is that notionally we meet at 5pm, that being the time the original drinkers used to finish work and go over the road to The Catford Ram. My train arrives at Ladywell almost half an hour before then, but by the time I had visited Cash Converters I found that Jodie and Andy were already in the pub, and the others soon followed. That gave me time to be sociable while I drank two pints, and I decided that was enough for the night.

 On a warm evening it is a pleasant walk back home from the pub, and in summer months it is even nicer to walk home through the park. Last night was bloody freezing, and I only had a light coat on, and I didn't feel like walking. So I waited nearly 90 seconds at a bus stop and got a bus for the three stops to the nearest bus stop to home, and walked from there. I felt stiff and cold when I got home.

 Feeling stiff and cold was not ideal for what came next - I opened the fridge to pull out a 3l bottle of Diet Coke. As I took the full weight, and the bottle swung from horizontal, where it had been laying on a shelf because it was too big to go in the bit where bottles can stand upright, my so called floating rib went "sproing", and it bloody hurt ! This was bad for a couple of reasons.

 One reason was that it spoiled my recent eating habits. I thought I would be patient enough to cook some battered cod in the oven, and while I did do that, I started getting the munchies. What was supposed to be a small nibblesworth of peanuts was a large nibblesworth of peanuts, and I had even more some time after eating the cod. I doubt I ended up losing any weight yesterday, and it raised my blood glucose level a bit this morning.

 The pain in the side of my chest didn't exactly keep me awake last night, but it didn't make sleeping any easier. It wasn't a continuous pain, and in fact if I was careful how I moved I wasn't in any pain at all....but make the wrong move and OW ! I wasn't convinced that Ibuprofen would calm the pain enough this morning, and so I called work to say I would not be in. I wasn't quite sure if that was truly justified, but it turns out it was, although perhaps only for the morning.

 In theory I should have stayed in this morning, but I decided to go out to do a bit of light shopping, and indeed was quite light. It wasn't always light enough to stop my chest hurting though, but maybe it was the cure. There was one time when I had quite a jolt of pain, but since then my chest has been considerably better. It is probably complete fiction, but it is almost like my imaginary floating rib (imaginary because such things are apparently not possible) was first dislocated last night, and then relocated this morning. My chest still feel a bit tender, but not in the same way it was before.

 While I was shopping I bought all sort of things from various shops. I discovered several new and exciting flavours of Original Source shower gels, and a vanilla flavour Palmolive shower gel. I know it is stupid, but I feel impatient to test them all out. Maybe tomorrow I will try out the blackcurrant and plum Original Source shower gel, and see if makes me feel so hungry that I gnaw my arm off. I also bought some new toothpaste -
Arm And Hammer
 This Arm And Hammer (very red Soviet !!) toothpaste "Contains Potassium Nitrate, an ingredient clinically proven to reduce tooth sensitivity", and also an ingredient of gun powder !! I don't think this is the toothpaste you want to carry through the airport on your way to your holiday - trebly so if it is to panicky North America. It would probably earn you a one way ticket to a waterboarding.

 As well as shopping for household stuff I also did some shopping in Cash Generator. For the past week I had my eye on a Fuji HS35EXR camera. The first time I saw it, it was priced at £130, and that seemed quite reasonable for it when I did a brief check of the specs of it. This morning the price tag was shown as £119. So I went in and gave the bored looking young lady in there a cheery "good morning", and I asked to have a look at the camera. To confirm which one I meant she asked if it was the £120 one, and I said no, the £119 one. She said that she thought it was actually £119.99, and I jokingly replied that I didn't want it then ! Evidently this amused her, as it was intended, and when she came back with it she said that as it was Friday I could have it for £110.

 I gave it a quick test in the shop, and it seemed to work OK, and while it lacked a lens cap, the main lens was protected by a UV filter. So I bought it. I have yet to try it on any real subjects, but it seems to be rather good. From what I have just read when looking for the link I gave above, it might even be rather good for gig photography. Apparently it has a special low noise low light setting that adds some pixels together in some sort of noise reducing way. That lowers the overall pixel count, but it is still 8Mp, and that is fine except for printing out A1 sized pictures - something I am unlikely to want to do....although when I come to think of it......

 This afternoon I have mostly been lazy, and resting my floating rib/ligament/muscle, or whatever was the real source of pain, and as I sit here in the warm typing this I feel perfectly comfortable. Hopefully I will feel perfectly comfortable when I go out tonight, and hopefully it will not be pouring with rain when I go out. I will have the usual 6 - 8 minute walk to the station when I could get soaked, and I think there is something like a 10 minute walk at the other end when I walk from the tram stop to the pub. Of course there will also be the chance to get thoroughly soaked when I do the journey in reverse coming home !
Thursday 18th February 2016
07:55 GMT

  Yesterday wasn't devoid of sunshine. It just that if you blinked you would have missed it. For most of the hours of daylight the sky was covered in fairly bright white cloud. There wasn't much wind so 6° C didn't feel too bad. The forecast for today has changed in the last two hours, and it is looking like today is supposed to be an improvement on the old forecast. Originally there was to be very dark thick clouds with a chance of some sleety rain until about midday. The afternoon was, and still is forecast to be bright with sunny spells. The temperature forecast remains the same - about 6° C - the same as yesterday. The reality is that there has been some rain, and the colour of the sky looks very much like the earlier forecast. Perhaps the sky will brighten soon, or perhaps I'll see a soggy looking snowflake plummet past my office window sometime this morning. The weather should be changing sometime tomorrow. A great mass of warm and moist air is heading our way. The weekend could see temperatures around 13° C, but it will be depressingly grey, and most probably rather wet !

Good news ! (possibly) I finally finished editing and uploading a selection of the better pictures I took last Sunday to Flickr. You can find the album right here - (The first picture is of the Canadian embassy Mike).

 I felt good and bad at work, and fairly good in the evening yesterday.  While I was at work I had a few assorted pains around my chest. Most were quite mild, but sometimes they can be the most annoying. Perhaps the annoyance is that they keep reminding you that all is not well, and if I make the wrong move (usually some sort of twisting movement) the gentle nudge can turn into a short lived sharp pain. Of course none of these things matter while my blood pressure and blood glucose level stay where my doctor likes them.

 I had a reasonable amount of energy on my way home, and that was good because I needed it. There was a minor problem with the trains, and a major fuck up in Lewisham. The minor problem was some sort of lineside fire near New Beckenham station. While that was dealt with my train was terminated at Lewisham. In the past that would be annoying, but of no great consequence. I would walk out the station, down the short entrance road, turn left at the main road, and the bus stop for buses to Catford were no more than 30 seconds walk away. That is not the case now !

 The end of Lewisham around the railway station is currently one huge mess. It is all building site. Paths and roads have disappeared. the traffic hardly moves, and the bus stops are now a five minute walk away from the station. to make matters worse I assumed that there would be a bus stop outside the new bus station (which is not a station but a bus park). There are two nearby, and one is after the bus station, but is not for bus routes going anywhere useful. There is one bus stop that is beyond the exit of the bus station, and so no useful buses from the bus station stop there. Fortunately one solitary bus from Deptford that goes to Catford does stop there. If it didn't I would have been flaming mad !!

 It didn't help my sanity that it appeared that the train we were all turfed out of, that terminated at Lewisham did actually go to Catford Bridge, and then on to Hayes, because the lineside fire had been dealt with by then. The next train was slightly delayed, but ran normally as far as I can tell. What's more is that it arrived at Catford long before my bus managed to weave through the terrible congestion in Lewisham !

 I arrived home feeling miffed, but otherwise feeling OK. I expected to find my blood glucose level even lower than the day before after all the extra effort I had put in going home, but it was higher. So there was no reason to celebrate about that. The curious thing is that I didn't feel all that hungry when I got home, and I didn't rush to get some dinner cooking. After I had got changed, tested my blood, and done a few more chores I cooked part one of my dinner. It was the new flavour I had found in Iceland - Beef in red onion gravy with veg crush. "Veg crush" is a fancy way of saying mash - and with the main ingredient being turnip it was pretty nasty. I wouldn't recommend this new meal, and I feel lucky I only bought one to test.

 To take the taste away I nibbled on some cherry tomatoes, and some cold sliced beef while I cooked a couple of Aldi's poshest beef burgers. They are quite tasty, and contain very little fat (and no added sugar). I also had a few other nibbles last night. Individually, nothing was particularly bad, but I guess I am getting sloppy about the amount I am eating because my blood glucose level was a bit higher than I hoped this morning. Of course that could also be because I seemed to get fairly good night's sleep last night.

 This morning I woke up feeling far less closer to death than usual, and half an hour later I felt almost good (in a comparative sort of way). I am wondering where that feeling went to. On the plus side, I only had a few twinges of mild pain on the way to work, and I seem quite comfortable now I am here, but on the negative side I seemed to lose all energy. The walk from the station to work was almost hard work. My legs felt very stiff, and I just could not raise the enthusiasm to try and push myself a bit harder.

 Tonight I am going to the pub. Our Thursday night boozing session is in The Ravensbourne Arms, near Ladywell station, tonight. It is easy to get to, and I fancy a pint tonight. It seems the pint and a half I had last Saturday morning didn't have any bad effect on my blood glucose level, and I think I feel safe to have as much as three pints tonight - but no more !
Wednesday 17th February 2016
08:05 GMT

  There was quite a lot of sunshine yesterday. I was even dazzled as I walked around the middle part of the Z bend in the road between work and the station on my way home after work. The sunshine may have helped thaw the frost, but it only warmed the day up to about 6° C, and once the sun set the temperature soon fell. This morning it wasn't as cold as yesterday morning. My thermometers agreed it was a full plus 2° C when I left home to come to work, and that small increase over yesterday morning was enough that I could still just about feel my fingers when I walked from the station to work without my gloves on. Today is, or was forecast to be similar to yesterday, but with far less sunshine - if indeed there is any at all. It is quite bright now, but I can't see any blue sky from my office window. Tomorrow may add another feature - rain - I'll wait for a more up to date forecast before being sure about that.

 Yesterday was a mixture of disappointments and triumphs. It was definitely disappointing that I still suffered twinges of pain. They may have been in other places too, but the more annoying ones were from my chest. One curious novelty was that a lot of the time these pains would pop up at random times in random places in my chest. I don't recall that there was one single pain that was notably stronger, and lasted for a long time. That could be a good sign, or it could be a sign of something completely sinister. What it feels like is that a good strong dose of blazing hot sunshine would go a long way to calm these pains down, or even eliminate most of them.

 Another disappointment was that after my extended sleep yesterday night, I ended up yawning all yesterday afternoon, and at one point I fell asleep for a few seconds reading stuff on my PC. I think some of it may have been boredom because I didn't feel sleepy once I left work, and I didn't seem to be in a hurry to go to bed when I got home. Maybe my final disappointment was when I used Google maps to plot my Sunday morning walk, and measure how far I walked.
route of my Sunday walk
 Just 1.77 miles is rather disappointing - particularly when it felt like a fair bit more. All I can say in my defence is that this is a crude approximation of where I walked, and the plot cuts corners, and misses essential diversions such as dodging in and out of, and around knots of camera waving tourists who didn't know if they were coming and going. (I hear similar problems exist up in Cumbria in popular towns in the lake district). Oh, if you click on the map it should open up a bigger version that is easier to read.

 Once I got back to Catford, on my way home from work, my disappointments turned to triumphs. Maybe it is silly to call shopping in Iceland a triumph, but I did find a new flavour in their Slimming World range that looks promising. It is beef with potato and vegetable mash. They don't actually call it mash. I can't think how they describe it this morning, but it sounds like mash to me. I think I'll be testing it tonight. I also bought some fish yesterday. I had a hankering for some battered fish, and I did buy some to hide in my freezer, but I also bought some that was "dusted" with seasoning, and ready to be popped in the oven. They were not cheap, but low in calories, very low in sugar, and very tasty !

 My second triumph was when I came to measure my blood glucose level. It had been good in the morning, and by the time I had got home it was right in the middle of the ideal range. If I could keep it like that for the next three weeks until I see my doctor (on 8th March if I recall correctly) I would hope that she would be very pleased, but I am to get it lower still. I will have to start getting a bit careful that it doesn't get too low, and possibly take the precaution of carrying a small pack of biscuits with me in case it gets so low that I start feeling "funny" (or collapse !).

 I achieved two other things last night. I have finally finished selecting/editing the pictures I took on Sunday morning. It was too late to upload them to Flickr last night, but I hope to do that tonight. I also managed to wash and condition my hair. That is a relief because it was looking and feeling horrible - maybe not actually unpleasant horrible, but bad enough for me to feel bad about it.

 Finally I went to bed. My bed felt fairly comfortable last night, and I reckon it was not long after 9pm before I was asleep. I'm not sure I slept that well last night. I did have some long block of solid seeming sleep, but there were periods when it felt like I was half awake, and I did rather annoyingly wake up almost half an hour before I needed to. I think I managed to recover from sleep faster than usual this morning, and within 10 minutes of getting out of bed I had stopped feeling like death was imminent and welcome. From then on I felt tolerably OK. I could wish to have felt far better, but it wasn't bad by recent standards.

 My journey into work was smooth - insofar as the trains were running to time, and there were plenty of seats - and for the most part I was comfortable right up to the time I was going down the stairs at Earlsfield station. I was going fairly fast, but not the two steps at a time that I might have done many years ago, but I was jarring and jerking my chest enough to trigger a stabbing pain from my "floating rib". I still feel a bit uncomfortable now, 90 minutes later. Hopefully that will fade soon, and if I can avoid triggering any more pains, I might have a comfortable day.

 Tonight I will test the new Slimming World ready meal from Iceland, and I might treat myself to a piece of oven cooked cod in batter. Then I shall upload Sunday's pictures to Flickr. There are quite a few of them, and most are high resolution (and some of them deserve to be - others less so). Uploading will take a bit of time, but so will doing all the tags and descriptions etc - probably even long. Doing the later is probably the bit about photography that I really don't like, but it is essential for pictures like these if others are going to get some enjoyment, pleasure, of education from them. (Maybe I should take up nude or porno photography - that needs no tags or descriptions - such pictures speak for them selves !).
Tuesday 16th February 2016
08:24 GMT

  Yesterday's weather didn't run exactly as forecast, and that was a good thing because it didn't rain when I was going home from work. It was another cold day, and it was often quite dull, but there was some sunshine. One sunny period was when I was going home. Trading rain for sunshine was excellent news. This morning the forecast for mist was wrong, and instead it is a gloriously bright sunny morning. The only caveat is that the temperature was, and probably still will be for another hour or two,  -1° C (that minus 1° C). The forecast I saw at about 5.30am said that the sun would not break through until midday, and from then on the temperature would rise fairly rapidly to a maximum of 6° C. The updated forecast has dumped the idea of mist or fog until midday, and substituted sunny intervals, but the peak temperature this afternoon remains the same. As I can see nothing but blue through my office window, I am guessing this must be a sunny interval.

 I felt pretty dreadful at work yesterday. By midday I had to take another couple of Ibuprofen tablets to dull some of the aches and pains, and all the while I felt terribly tired after my sleepless night. After finishing work, and starting to walk to the station I began to feel better in some ways. Just like in the morning, I found my legs working really well, and while other bits ached, creaked, and protested, my legs got on with the job of walking to the station with little or no protest.

 It was quite a relief to finally get home. I had left one heater on low while I was out so that it would take the chill off, but it was still rather cool indoors. So the first thing I did was to turn the heating on full blast. Then I checked my blood glucose level, and it was still nice and low (which was only to be expected after only eating just a salad for breakfast). Once I had changed my clothes, and the place started to warm up, I felt mostly good except for feeling very tired.

 I continued my special low sugar, and lower calorie diet last night. Dinner was a Saag Chicken curry (with no rice) from the Iceland "Slimming World" range. In addition to that I had a couple of snacks, or was one a starter, and the other "afters". There was very little time difference to these snacks and dinner so I guess they were starter and afters. The starter was a chunk of cheese with some cherry tomatoes, and the afters was a handful of almonds. Neither of these were exactly low in calories, but I feel satisfied that they don't contain or produce any significant amount of sugars.

 After eating I turned everything off downstairs and went up to me bedroom. It wasn't quite comfortably warm up there, and after a while I decided it might be nicer to get under my duvet to do some reading. Within a few minutes I had an idea, and I went to the bathroom to brush my teeth. Then I went back to my bedroom, got into bed, turned out the lights, and I was asleep not that long after 6.30pm ! I slept solidly for two hours before waking up again for no apparent reason - initially.

 The heater was still running full blast, and by then the room was very comfortable with no clothes on. So I went to me computer, which was still running, and checked an email that had come in. It was then that the first hints of what had woken me up became apparent. I needed the toilet, and in the time it takes to walk 20 - 25ft (or however far it is to my bathroom) that need became far more urgent, and once I was sitting comfortably I exploded. Five minutes later I repeated it for luck, although this second time it was not as explosive.

 It took a little while to get back to sleep after that, but I was probably asleep again not that long after 9pm, and certainly before 10pm. I then slept almost continuously, with some nice dreams about cats and kittens, until 10 minutes before my alarm was due to wake me at 5am. I felt far, far better than I did yesterday morning, but given the chance I might have tried to get even more sleep. I still had a fair selection of my usual aches and pains, but they were mild compared to many mornings. On the whole I felt neither good nor bad.

 I have no idea if my explanation is fiction or not, but once again it seemed that having a good sleep allowed my lower intestine more time and energy to extract the last morsel of energy from the food I had consumed. After not consuming food for about 11 hours my blood glucose level had risen again. This morning it was lower than any other morning apart from yesterday morning. Yesterday was obviously a fluke, and it now seems I am back on the gradual decline, and maybe it is at the sort of rate I would have expected. I think I am still on target to get my blood glucose level well within the healthy range when I see my doctor again on the 8th March.

 There was a possibility to make my blood glucose higher or lower today. It looked as if the trains had stopped running to London, and I would have to phone up work to ask for a day off. I am unsure what the problem was, and Network Rail were using the very vaguest of terms to describe what was wrong on their website (or phone app).
screenshot from
                              mobile phone of National Rail app
"This train has been cancelled because of urgent repairs to the railway". Where in England ? For how long ? What line ? So many unanswered questions ! The screenshot above was from the National Rail app on my mobile phone, and is actually from an earlier train (that I am sure used to go to Charing Cross, and not Cannon Street). I usually get the 06:33 train, but that was cancelled for the same vague explanation. Luckily the 07:04 train was running, and it was not so crowded that I couldn't get a seat on it. I guess I was half an hour late for work this morning, but I can't seem to remember checking the clock, and it may have been less. I think I'll assume it was less - a lot less !

 Tonight I shouldn't need to go to bed so extremely early, and that should allow me enough time to get some shopping in Iceland on my way home from work, and later on I can have another go at washing my hair (which feels even worse than it did yesterday !). Hopefully I'll have the time, energy and enthusiasm to edit and post more of the pictures I took in London on Sunday morning.
Monday 15th February 2016
08:15 GMT

  I think it was at 5.45pm last night that I noticed that over in the west there were still patches of bright(ish) looking sky among the clouds. It felt rather good to think that it won't be too long now before it is daylight until 6pm - just one marker along the way to longer days. Even more remarkable, and exceedingly welcome, was that at 6.15 this morning I looked to the east as I stepped out of my house to walk to the station. I could see the silhouettes of clouds against the first dim signs of the coming daylight. Going to work in daylight is a well deserved luxury that I can't wait for. It was almost daylight as my train left Waterloo station this morning.

 If you are able to view the video above you'll see that it was bright enough for my Canon SX210 camera to take fairly good pictures through the train window. You'll also see that Pimlico Plumbers still have some of their Xmas decorations up in the middle of February !

 The temperature was in minus figures this morning. One of my thermometers said it was minus 1° C, and the other said it was only -0.4° C ! The latest theory about the weather says it is going to slowly warm up to as much as 6° C, and that along the way there could be a few sunny periods. Unfortunately, just as the temperature peaks, there could be a light shower - and that is due as I go home from work !  The forecasters now reckon that tomorrow will start with freezing fog (as cold as -2° C), but it will slowly clear to sunshine in the last couple of hours before sunset. it will be about 6° C by then.

 Either a good thing or a bad thing happened last night. Actually it was only good if you fixate on the idea that every cloud has a silver lining. Otherwise it was really crap ! I had hoped to get an early(ish) night, and plenty of quality sleep. I got the exact opposite. There are probably countless thousand muscles in the human body, and, depending on the posture I assumed, a wide selection of them ached last night. In some ways it was a shame that none of these aches was bad enough for me to even think about doing the sensible thing and take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets.

 I tried sleeping on my left, but a few bits of my chest ached, and a few assorted muscles in my limbs ached. So I tried to sleep on my back. That lessened the aches from my chest, but excited another bunch of assorted muscles in various bit of my body to ache. So I tried sleeping on my right side, and that caused some different muscles in my chest to ache, and some different muscles in other bits of my body to also ache. It's probably worth mentioning that when I say muscles I might also mean joints, ligaments, organs, eyes, ears, hair, teeth and nails. It seemed like I spent the whole night trying to invent new positions to sleep in, and none of them worked. I guess I must have got a few hours sleep, and maybe more at some time in the night, but it doesn't feel like it.

 One positive thing has come out of all this. All that exercise as I thrashed around in the night, combined with the exercise of my morning walk, and eating surprisingly little for a Sunday, meant that my blood glucose level was nice and low this morning. At 6.8 it had crossed the upper threshold for normal at 7. It might be a fluke because it has happened earlier than I expected, but if I can duplicate it without having to ruin my sleep, then my doctor ought to be pleased (not that they usually will admit to being pleased unless it is something they have done to you).

 So I am all fit and healthy now, and I feel crap ! I haven't checked my blood pressure recently, but I assume that the diet and the extra drugs are still keeping it low (by my standards). My blood glucose level, for a moment in time, and maybe only in one finger was back in the normal range. Perhaps all this is reflected in my legs working really well this morning. The walk to the station had a curious effortless about it, and the same was true of the walk from the station to work. It is just a shame that the rest of my body feels so awful. My chest is generating all sorts of aches as it clicks and pops, and grinds, creaks and groans. My wrists and hands often feel a bit sore now and then too. Oh, and I have a very mild, but annoying headache.

 Obviously I am not fit and healthy - it's just that the message hasn't made it down to my legs yet. Maybe the message has got to my gut though. I tried on one of my old pairs of jeans yesterday. It was a pair that I managed to get into for the first time in a couple of years after a bit of dieting last year. They were still a bit tight then, but yesterday they seemed to be an almost perfect fit. At this rate it won't be long before several other old pairs of jeans are comfortably wearable.

 I think I should only have one goal for tonight, and that is to go to bed and sleep as quickly as possible, but in reality I have more goals than that. I feel I want to wash my hair tonight.  I don't know if it was after it was blown around while I was walking in London, or whether it was while I was thrashing around in bed all last night, but it feels rather yucky this morning. Of course I also have to try and control my eating tonight. Now I've had a week of practice that is getting easier, but I want to walk the fine line between over doing it and doing it right. It almost feels like I could just have one single "Slimming World" meal tonight, and nothing else, but I maybe that would be a bit extreme. If I aimed for just consuming 1000 (low sugar) calories a day it would mean I have to find something extra with about 300 calories in it. I wonder what that could be ?
Sunday 14th February 2016
16:00 GMT

  It wasn't very nice yesterday. It was cold. It was grey, and it was wet. That all changed overnight - except for the cold ! This morning started off very chilly, but it was quite bright - more than quite bright. Sometimes, in contradiction to the weather forecast, it was sunny, and although the intervals between sunny periods are getting longer and longer, it is still occasionally sunny this afternoon. This morning it wasn't much better than a finger tingling 5° C, but it did rise by a degree or two this afternoon. Sadly, with most of the afternoon gone, the temperature seems to be going down again. Tomorrow is going to start very close to freezing. If the rather stale forecast still has any credibility, and with this forecast it might, it is going to be a mostly bland day. Mostly grey with the chance of a short bit of drizzle here and there, and also with the chance of a short sunny interval now and then.

 I had every intention of going out last night, but when it came to it I felt very tired. So I went to bed far earlier than I thought I would, and I was probably fast asleep before Chain had finished the first set of their gig in Greenwich. I am unsure why I felt so tired, but I blame some of it on the cold grey skies and drizzle ! Maybe it was a reaction to the pint and a half of beer I had in the morning.

 I sometimes feel that a short shock to the system can speed up the process of lowering my blood glucose level. I expected those beers to have the opposite effect, but when I checked my blood glucose level last night it was almost low enough to tickle the upper boundary of acceptable. If I can do what I did during last week this coming week, I could be approaching the sweet spot (which is an unfortunate use of the word sweet). I think that will give me one more week to stabilise it right where it should be to appear completely normal.
Nelson on his column
One of the things I did yesterday, that I forgot to mention, was buying another zoom lens for my camera. Maybe "another" is not wholly correct because while I bought one for my newest Canon camera (the EOS 1200D), this new (secondhand) lens is for my Canon EOS 400D. In truth it will fit either, but why not split hairs when you can !

 The new lens is a Sigma lens, and Sigma seems to carry quite a good reputation. The semi-pro photographer I occasionally chat to at gig reckons his collection of Sigma lenses to be very good, and he certainly produces some excellent pictures with them.

 I didn't go out last night, but I did go out this morning. It was partly because I thought I ought to try and go out and get a bit of exercise, with the idea reinforced by the sunshine. The other reason was that it would also provide an excellent opportunity to test my new lens.

 It may have been sunny, but it was still very cold. That put me off going out in the countryside, and while I would like to be brave enough to go to the coast in stormy weather, it wasn't stormy weather. So on this occasion I decided to stay in London. For the last couple of weekends I have considered the possibility of taking some snaps in the area around Trafalgar Square. There are lots of interesting buildings and statues around there, and it is just a short walk from Charing Cross station.

 With the building work going on for the very overdue Thameslink 2000 project around London Bridge, the weekend trains sometimes go to Charing Cross, or sometimes Cannon Street, and on some weekends they go to both termini. Today they were going to Charing Cross, and so I was out relatively bright and early to catch the 09:17 train. At Trafalgar Square I was able to do a nice test of my new lens. I took the picture above of Nelson standing on his column in Trafalgar Square, and I think I am quite pleased with the result. You'll be able to check out a high resolution copy of the picture, plus many others when I have uploaded them to Flickr. In the meantime, here's anoth couple of snaps.
Admiralty Arch
                            from The Mall
 The sun wasn't ideal for this picture of Admiralty Arch as seen from The Mall, but with a few tweaks it seems to look OK. It would look even better if I had stood in the middle of the raod so it was centred properly, but I didn't fancy playing with the traffic.
Asian bride posing
                            on Westminster Bridge
 I read about this phenomena in the newspapers recently. It seems that Asian couples have a thing about posing in full wedding dress in front of London landmarks just before or just after being married in their native land. This couple were dodging traffic to get a picture with the Elizabeth Tower ("Big Ben") in the background.

 I have no idea how far I walked this morning, but it must have been a couple of miles.  I don't know why I didn't use the tracker app on my phone to record my route. Maybe I just didn't expect to walk that far - and that is partly true. I originally thought I would just take a couple of snaps around Trafalgar Square, but then I walked through the Admiralty Arch, down a bit of The Mall before turning down Horse Guards Parade. I came out by the houses of parliament. I then crossed Westminster Bridge, and eventually ended up at Waterloo East station where I caught the 11:03 train back to Catford Bridge.

 I guess that means I was only walking for about an hour and a quarter. So taking into account stopping to take photos, and dodgy tourists sprawled everywhere (particularly so on Westminster Bridge), that sounds like I probably walked 2 miles. For some reason it felt more than that, but maybe I am just basing that on how my feet felt. I could have chosen better shoes if I realised I was going to walk a few miles. Sadly I didn't ! Maybe it didn't affect how I felt afterwards, but my hands were often painful in the cold air (can't wear gloves when using a camera), and that was a really good reason to not go any further.

 This after I have been mostly lazy. I've done a bit of photo editing, and I have had some dinner. I had quite a keen hunger when I got back from my walk, and I ended up eating quite a big dinner in some ways. For some reason it didn't really satisfy me, and maybe that was because I deliberately chose stuff with minimal, or no amounts of sugar in it. It could have been a lot lower in calories, but not much lower in sugar.

 I think I will continue to be mostly lazy for the rest of the day. Hopefully I will feel nice and tired, or at least ready for sleep nice and early tonight, and I can get a nice lot of sleep before another terrible day at work...well it might be terrible - who can tell ?
Saturday 13th February 2016
15:36 GMT

  Yesterday stayed dry, and there was even a bit of sunshine, but it was a cold day. I didn't really notice it anywhere else, but there was also quite a chilling wind blowing along the platform at Waterloo East while I waited for my train home to Catford after work yesterday. Today is worse in two respects - it is even greyer, and it keeps drizzling. It's currently just under 6° C right now, and that is probably representative of the whole day. That is cold enough, but the grey leaden sky, and the drizzle makes it seem much colder. The current theory is that tomorrow will be just as cold, just as grey, but it won't rain.

  I didn't really manage to explain yesterday that while I had the usual selection of aches and pains, some were milder, and some were new, but for some reason I felt strangely good. It was more a psychological thing than a physical thing, and it was probably just the anticipation of the weekend. On the other hand there was a new effect that was more obvious when I was back in Catford.

 Sometimes I think I have a charmed existence. Maybe the Gods think they owe me something for all the good things that I feel I have missed out on (the looks of a film star, and a harem of hot women !!). One example of this otherwise charmed existence happened yesterday. I frequently felt sleepy yesterday, and at one point I actually fell asleep while reading stuff on my computer. Several times I felt my eyes closing, but managed to stop them, and then I couldn't. I guess it only lasted half a minute or so, but I fell asleep completely. Oh, if only it was that easy in bed some nights !

 When I woke up I decided I had better try and do some work to keep me from falling asleep again. Thirty seconds after I started the work one of the company directors came in my office looking for the production manager. To his eyes it looked like I was very busy doing something - a sort of something that I am paid to do ! I managed to keep myself semi busy after that, and that kept me awake.

 I expected to feel sleepy as I made my way home, but it didn't happen. If anything it was the opposite that happened. I guess shaving a few points off my blood glucose level is having more of a positive effect than I thought it would - particularly considering how little it has dropped, and how far I still have to go to make sure the doctor gives me a gold star for effort (or something like that). The most dramatic aspect of it was that I didn't arrive ravenously hungry, and for once I didn't have to fight hard to limit my food intake.

 My blood glucose level had fallen enough that I thought that I would deserve a reward later in the evening - a reward that didn't contain expected large amounts of sugar in it (and possibly no sugar at all). That was to be some sausages cooked in the oven so I could drain the fat off them as much as possible. Before that I had some hours to wait before I went out to a gig.

 Maybe it is the days getting longer, or maybe it was the effects of my diet, or maybe it was something else entirely, but it didn't seem outrageous to go out so late by my usual standards for any night, but more so on a Friday night after a week at work. I was probably psychologically helped by two things. The first was that I only wanted to see The Spiders play the support slot for Bouncer's headline gig. The second thing was that I had an idea it might be a disaster - and it was !

 Like another photographer who was there, I knew that Bouncer's light rig is usually stuck on red. It is capable of all colours, and can even be triggered to change colours by a built in microphone, but it is always stuck on bloody red (if you'll excuse the pun). Not only is it very monotonous when like last night, there is almost no other lighting in the hall apart from that which leaks from the bar, but it ruins photos, and I find the constant red to be most unpleasant.

 After a very tedious 25 - 30 minute bus ride (bus rides to most places are tedious - Bromley even more so) I paid my £3 entry fee, and went in. I said hello to a few people, and then sat down and waited. Everything was red. After a short while The Spiders started their sound check. It sounded pretty good to me, and I grabbed a few snaps. After a short while a semi-pro photographer who I often chat to about photography, came in and sat down next to me.

 We had a little chat about monochromatic red lights, and like me he had predicted that the lights would be stuck on red. As a consequence he didn't even bother to bring a camera. I did manage to take a couple of acceptable pictures, but I had to convert them to black and white - which I guess looks arty and trendy or something ! Apart from being all red, it was not exactly bright in the hall, and so I had to use my big lens to capture as much light as possible. It's good for that, but the downside is that it is like a zoom lens, and at the distance I was from the "stage" I could only take close ups of faces !

Chris Mayer in
                            monochromatic red
Chris Mayer in black and white
The top picture shows Chris Mayer (lead guitar) bathed in red light. All my pictures could have looked like this, but they do look a lot better when converted to black and white snaps.

 I was so annoyed about that read light that I decided to go home again before the gig had actually started. That was a bit of a shame because the sound sounded good. On the other hand it did have it's positive aspects. One of which was that I managed to achieve my goal of not having a beer at he gig. It was another tedious bus journey home, but on the plus side the bus was not very busy that early in the evening, and so it seemed quicker.

 Back at home I had a nice surprise. I checked my blood glucose level and it was very low (compared to how it had been). It wasn't far off the sort of level it should be. I can't help but feeling it was some sort of fluke  because this morning's reading was much higher again.  That morning reading is consistently the highest reading I get, but everyday this week it has slowly dropped. So I must be doing something right.

 I am unsure if I ought to take any more readings today. It is not so easy to avoid food here. It is easy at work because there is nothing to eat there ! Today I have done my best to eat as little as possible, but it hasn't been a great success. I didn't eat too many of them, but the worst thing I have eaten today is enough little plum tomatoes to fill a small wine glass (or spirits glass - whichever is smaller). With luck, those tomatoes will have been my biggest source of sugar...except for.....
three beers
                                for breakfast
 I met my fried Aleemah this morning, and we went to the Wetherspoons for breakfast. Among others, they had these beers available and I had a half pint of each - my first beer since last Saturday.

 Tonight I am going to Greenwich to see Chain playing in The Mitre Hotel pub. If I can just persuade them not to point the one lighting effect light up Jo's nose I should be able to get a few good snaps. I know it's not the bands or the pubs wish, but hopefully it won't be too crowded tonight. Once again I will try to keep off the beer, but there is a chance that I may stay to the end tonight, and there's no chance of doing the whole lot dry. Still, I can try and consume the least possible.
Friday 12th February 2016
07:36 GMT

  Just as the forecast promised, yesterday was bright and sunny, and also rather cold ! I guess the temperature ended up somewhere between 5 and 7° C.  It seemed to get a bit cloudy as the sun set, but that didn't stop the temperature falling to 2° C outside my bedroom, and cold enough for frost closer to the ground. There is a fair bit of cloud around right now, but it is patchy, and there is the potential for a bit of sunshine. The forecast basically agrees with this observation, but only until 9am. By 10am the cloud will cover the whole sky, or at least that is my interpretation of the forecast. It is only supposed to be light cloud, and so it shouldn't be too gloomy. It seems the highest temperature we can expect today is just 6° C, but at least no rain is forecast - for today ! Rain is forecast for tomorrow, and the temperature will range from 3 to 5° C. That is damn close to cold enough to snow !

  I think the nature of my chest ache has changed since my efforts to reduce my blood glucose level. It seems to be more of a well diffused lower level of pain, possibly lower level than an "ache", but more persistent. It also sometimes seems that I get more frequent little twinges which are, once again, generally milder. The cumulative result of this milder pain is still not pleasant, and when combined with effects of mild starvation it can make the day feel bad.

 It was nice and sunny yesterday, and that sort of lifted my spirits - particularly so as I walked to the station after work - and that made going home a bit more pleasant, but it still didn't inspire me to do any extra walking, or to go to the pub on my way home. Although not going to the pub was more to do with avoiding the extra sugar in beer, and the effects of beer drinking on my appetite. If it hadn't been for that I think I would have loved to go for a beer or several !

 When I got home from work, one of the first things I did was to change the batteries in my blood glucose meter. I think I then got a very sensible reading when I tested my blood. I delayed it as long as I could, but next on the agenda was dinner. As much as I am impatient to reduce my blood glucose level as quickly as possible, I decided that maybe I had been trying too hard over the previous few days, and I was beginning to feel it. So I decided I would be less severe with myself. The only trouble is that I slightly overdid it because as well as one Iceland "Slimming World" meal, I also ate rather a lot of corned beef with the last of my pickled onions.

 In theory, all that I ate last night was close to sugar free, and that was reflected in the reading I took a couple of hours after eating. My blood glucose level had gone up, but not by much. So everything was fine and on track...except this morning it appeared to have gone up ever further. I don't really understand the mechanism for this...or maybe I do, but can't quite believe it. I guess some of what I ate needed far more digesting than the stomach alone can provide. So as that food passed slowly along my intestines more sugar was extracted, or maybe stuff was converted to sugar. Then because I was asleep, and hence basically inactive, that sugar accumulated in my blood stream. Maybe that's right, or maybe that's wrong, but if it keeps on happening then I shall just stop recording it in the morning, and rely on the after work reading, which seems reliable and following a nice downward trend, and the reading just before I go to bed. (These are the readings I will present to my doctor).

 Maybe it was the extra corned beef, but I seemed to sleep quite well last night. I even had a very enjoyable mildly erotic dream ! It would have been nicer if I had woken up feeling rather less crappy. Bits of me ached, and I most definitely didn't feel like going to work. Some of these things lessened by the time I had showered and dressed, and wouldn't have been enough to keep my off work anyway. Of course these feelings of (insert everything of a negative nature - both mental and physical - here) are nothing new, and seem to be the new way of living these days.

 In point of fact, I was possible more comfortable while on the train from Catford Bridge to Waterloo East than usual. I did experience some extreme fatigue like feelings with a few spots of chest pains, and a sprinkle of back pain, but mostly it was just boredom. Some of that boredom is the result of travelling in the dark, but this morning I noticed a few signs that I won't have to endure that for too much longer. As I waited for my train at Catford Bridge there were hints of some pre-dawn light between gaps in the clouds to the east. It's still a long wait until it feels like daylight. I am not sure when it happens, but maybe it is when I am passing through Clapham Junction. At least I think it is lighter there than it was when I was arriving at work just a month ago.

 One of my new annoyances is a new pain that I have not previously experienced (or not recently). It is very localised, and is on/in my shoulder a few inches above my armpit (but on the front of my body). I assume it is a product of sleeping awkwardly, but is also related to all the little (and large) pains from my "floating rib(s)", or damaged muscles and/or ligaments. Having a thin diagonal pain across my left breast, going exactly across the nipple, is a fairly frequent occurrence, and this new pain is roughly where the pain across my breast would stop. It's all a bit of a mystery, and it is rather annoying. It's probably a symptom of something terrible, but first things first - I need to get my doctor off my back about my blood glucose levels before worrying about something that is probably instant death.

 It will be nice when the working day is over, and I can head for home. Of course there is nothing new about that apart from the degree of urgency. I think today is only of average urgency. So I shall just try and be patient for the next 8 hours ! On the way home I am going to buy a few more "Slimming World" ready meals from Iceland, although I think I'll ignore the sweet potato curry. That one is still low in calories and fat, but it has the highest sugar content of all. It's not terribly high, but right now I am looking for any gains no matter how small.

 I shall probably eat a bit earlier tonight because I want to try and go out for a few hours. The Spiders (featuring Chris Mayer from Chain) are playing a support slot at a gig tonight. It's in The H.G. Wells Centre in Bromley, and that is very easy to get to. There is usually some moderately good lighting there, and I am hoping to get some good photos. Now the only weird thing about the evening is that I am going to try and do it dry. I have doubts that I'll be able to do that, but I'll have a go.
Thursday 11th February 2016
07:54 GMT

  We were "promised" some sunny intervals yesterday, and I don't recall that we got any ! It's taking it's time filtering through the fog of life, but I am slowly getting a vision of being dazzled on one small stretch of road as I walked to the station after work. I don't recall it being sunny after I arrived at the station, although it was still fairly bright. It was also noticeable that unlike in the morning, it was not painfully cold. I think the forecast of it being 7 or 8° C was about right. During the night the cloud thinned out even more, and almost cleared. The result was a frost this morning, and later on, once the sun has climbed above the trees and buildings, we can look forward to a cold but nice sunny day. The forecast for tomorrow says there will be a few showers, and the temperature is likely to be only just high enough to stop those showers falling as snow. Maybe some will be a little sleety. Apparently the weather for Saturday is too difficult to forecast yet, but if it swings one way there will be snow, and if it swings the other way it will just be rain.

 I did give consideration to walking the two miles (approx) to Wandsworth Common station last night. I used to do that fairly frequently when I was fitter, or trying to get fit, but I didn't consider the shoes I was wearing to be comfortable enough to attempt that. I also considered getting off the train early at Ladywell station, and walking home through the park. That would have been tolerable in the shoes I was wearing, but after the brief dazzle of sunshine as I walked from work, it had become rather grey even by the time I had reached Waterloo. Maybe the deciding factor is that I didn't have my camera with me - although I had no idea if there would be anything that would annoy me if I was unable to take a photograph of it (a flower ?).

 It was while I was on the train that I came up with a third idea for wasting a bit of time, and getting a modicum of extra exercise. I decided I would walk from Catford Bridge station down to the high street, and then along to Cash Generator (the shop that is like the bigger chain called Cash Converters, but somehow seems less "pikey"). I was curious as to what second hand cameras they had, and also what they had in the way of tablet computers.

 They had three interesting cameras in the window. One was a Sony, and the other two were made by Fuji Of the latter, one was an HS30 and the other was an HS35 - and I have yet to find quite what the difference is between them. They were both offered for £130 each, and that is a fair bit cheaper than they can be found on Amazon. I didn't buy either of them, but I am sort of tempted to sometime. I forgot to note anything about the Sony camera except that it was a lot more expensive. It did look a bit more impressive, and maybe I need to do some research about it.

 What I did buy was a cheap and nasty £50 tablet. Well, when I say cheap and nasty, I don't mean it in terms of it not working properly, or having a low spec. One reason for it being cheap is that it is only a 6" display (most are 7" or bigger"). Another reason why I would not want to pay more for it was that it is packed with annoying software. I would guess that it's original price was subsidised by it being supplied by EE, the mobile phone company, and indeed it is possible that if I wanted to put a SIM card in it, it may only work on EE. The other software splurged all over it is for Amazon with different apps to buy different stuff - mp3s, ebooks, etc etc.

 I was not able to uninstall most of it, but I was able to disable it. It seems to work quite well now I have set it up to my personal settings, but it is annoying that I can't seem to find an app so I can use it like the old, really crappy, tablet that it is replacing. That old tablet, that recently failed, was fully of Chinese apps, and one of them was a rather good digital clock app. It turned out that the tablet was so crappy that all it was good for was to display a digital clock - and that is exactly what it did for 3 or 4 years !

 These distractions, the extra walk, and playing with the new tablet, helped distract me away from food for a bit, but after so few calories the day before, and just a single salad for breakfast, I was feeling mighty hungry. Somehow I managed to almost stick with my eating plan, but as well as one "Slimming World" chicken tikka ready meal, I did have a starter of too much cheese and some pickled onions. The cheese was not low in calories, but I feel sure it should have had no sugar in it, and as little sugar as possible was the real goal.

 My blood glucose level had gone down a little when I first got home - as it should have done - but went up alarmingly what I thought was nearly 2 hours after eating. That was just before I would have gone to bed, but I decided to stay awake reading so I could measure it again another hour later. The measurement then was much, much lower. That seemed very strange. It was such a large jump that I thought it couldn't happen.

 That was about 9pm last night, and soon after that I was asleep. It wasn't perfect, but I seemed to sleep quite well last night. As soon as I got up I checked my blood sugar level again, and it had gone up quite a lot. Quite how that could happen overnight, when I hadn't eaten anything for 10 hours was another mystery. Maybe I found an answer when I decided to do another check after I had showered. That measurement had gone up a whole two points. I am very sure that is impossible, and I am now thinking that my meter is faulty. Hopefully it is just the batteries failing. I am sure that it should indicate if the batteries need changing, but maybe not, and they have been in there since I first got the meter - and that was 2 to 4 years ago.

 Tonight I shall change the batteries and hope for the best. There is a slight problem for tonight. It's Thursday, and that should mean boozing night, but maybe I'll give it a miss this week while I am trying to get my blood glucose level down closer to normal levels. I assume beer will raise it, but it is the fierce post boozing hunger that I fear most !
Wednesday 10th February 2016
08:06 GMT

  While yesterday was a cold day, the sun unexpectedly came out just after midday, and really warmed my office up in the hour or so that it shone. Outside in the fresh air it was barely 6° C ! Unfortunately the sun had gone in by the time I left work to go home, but while there was no sunshine, it did stay fairly bright. Sometime after dark there was some rain, and there was even a light shower just before I left to come to work this morning. It is a chilly, and rather cold feeling morning. It is also rather grey. It will get greyer still later this morning, but it might not rain. The clouds will thin out a bit this afternoon, and there could be some sunny intervals in the last two hours of daylight. I doubt it will be very noticeable, but today should end up a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday - about 8° C ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be quite sunny. It will start very cold, probably with a frost, but should end up similar to today.

  I didn't feel all that good at work yesterday, but neither did I feel that bad either. In the morning there was the now standard problem of the heating taking ages to get the temperature up to a nice shirt sleeve environment. It was lovely when the sun came out, and doubly so when the sun was shining through the window onto my back. That felt rather delicious. It probably set me up to feel partly good for the rest of the work day.

 I certainly felt good enough to deliberately ignore the bus stop, and to walk to the station. All the trains were running normally yesterday, and my journey home was straightforwardly boring as ever. Once I got home I tried to keep myself busy so that I could try and avoid the temptation of too much dinner. The first thing I did was to trim my beard, and wash my hair. I then decided to wash the black towel I mentioned a few days ago - the new one that was shedding black lint everywhere. Washing a medium sized bath towel, even if it was a cheap one that could be said to be fairly thin, takes quite a bit of energy and manhandling when doing it by hand. It seems that had two consequences - one good and one bad.

 As I mentioned yesterday, I am currently on a mission to lower my blood glucose level. My doctor said it must be in double figures, and if you include one decimal place in those two figures, then it was. I measured it when I first got home from work, and it was 9.8mmol/l (milli mol of glucose per litre of blood - I think). So I suppose I would have to concede that it could easily have been 10 or more in the morning. I measured it again a couple of hours after eating a very light dinner, and after expending some energy washing that towel, and it had dropped to 9.5mmol/l. This morning, before leaving for work, it had dropped to 9.1mmol/l.

  I think it is possible that I might be able to get it down to 7mmol/l in the next three weeks before I see the doctor again. It will be hard work, and will need an unlikely amount of will power, but it might be possible. That would take to the upper edge of "normal", and keep the doctor off my back (and I would probably have lost a good few pounds as well - which would be handy). It is theoretically possible that if I do manage to control my eating to extreme measures for the next three weeks, I will become accustomed to it to such an extent that I could conceivably carry on like it into the spring, and if I make it that far it should be easy to carry on through the summer. From this end of the telescope it seems unlikely to happen, but stranger things have happened in the past.

 Last night's dinner was exceptionally small by my normal standards. It was one single Iceland "Slimming World" cottage pie ready meal. It's sugar and fat content was suitably low, and fairly low in calories -
nutritional values
                            of last night's dinner
  By my calculation, that ready meal had just 315 calories in it (it was a 500gm  meal). That is pretty low, and maybe lower than I thought. It is probably just as well that I didn't bother calculating it last night or I might have eaten a bit more. I did have a couple of rather strange snacks that would have added a few calories (and sugar) here and there. I had 3 or 4 small pickled onions (whose ingredients list showed no added sugar), and I had maybe 6 little cherry tomatoes. I can't put a figure on it, but I doubt they added up to 200 calories, but if they did, and I added that to the 315 calories of the main meal, plus the 132 calories of my salad breakfast, it comes to 647 calories for a whole day. No wonder I was quite keen to have another 132 calories worth of salad breakfast this morning !

 The bad news is that washing the towel last night seemed to cause quite a bit of grief to my wonky chest and ribs and ligaments and muscles ! I didn't notice anything at first, but my chest started aching when I went to bed. It was a little difficult finding a comfortable position when I first lay down, but I managed to get to sleep fairly quickly - probably helped by the three glasses of whisky I had to take my mind of food and cigarettes while wasting my life watching TV last night.

 It is probable that I am going to feel rather sleep today, and maybe I will be sleeping earlier tonight, because at about 3am this morning I woke up, and I felt too uncomfortable to get back to sleep again. I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and as usual they calmed my chest aches down, but they took over an hour to start to work. I think it might have been as late as 4.30am before I started to sleep normally again, but that was just half an hour before my alarm went off to get me up for work.

 This morning my chest is still aching. It really depends on my posture, or what I am doing, as to how much it aches. As I sit here typing this I am aware of it aching, but it is very mild. At other times it has been less so ! I guess the rest of me feels OK apart from a mild headache which I think is a result of my poor sleep. Now I've had my breakfast I don't exactly feel hungry, but if it were available I could easily lust after more food !
free pizza
 One thing that I could probably do without is visions of free food ! This was the concourse of Waterloo station on my way home from work yesterday. When I photographed it in the morning I assumed they would be handing out little slices of pizza, but it turns out they were giving away whole boxes of 12" frozen pizza. Although it is nice, I am not a great fan of pizza, and rarely have it. So I don't think I would have been tempted even if I was in an eat all I can mood.

bee and wasp
 I was looking for something else when I came across these pictures. I thought they had a nice warm summer feel to them. If I recall correctly they were taken in the park behind work, and were among the first pictures I took with my first Canon camera - the Powershot SX210.  I must try some more macro-photography with my newer Canon cameras in the spring or summer when the days are nice and bright.

 I can't think of much to do tonight. Getting bored will be the worst thing possible for when I am trying to avoid eating. I think I could waste a few tens of minutes by walking through the park from Ladywell station on my way home from work, and it would be useful exercise too. It's a shame that I seem to have left all my cameras at home today - although I do have my phone with me, and it's camera takes a reasonable picture of big things in bright light - and it may well be still sunny when I walk through the park. Other than that, I will have to rely on reading and an early night to keep me from temptation !
Tuesday 9th February 2016
08:50 GMT

  "Storm Imogen" was quite violent yesterday. We only experienced the weaker version here in London, but it was still pretty windy, and at times rather wet too. Fortunately the rain had stopped by the time I left work to go home, and the wind was calming down too, but still strong enough to make it feel rather chilly outside. I think the temperature was around 8° C by late afternoon. It was a calm night, but there was some rain that left the road looking very damp when I walked to the station. The temperature at 6am was a rather cool feeling 5° C. I feel sure the forecast said this morning would be dry, but there was some rain as I walked fro the station to work. The latest forecast now says that there was rain this morning (hindsight is a wonderful thing), but it should stay dry now until just before I leave work to go home ! Fortunately it should just be light rain. It's going to be a cool day though, and the temperature is forecast to drop a degree this afternoon - it will raise to a sweltering 6° C by midday before dropping to a shivery 5° C later this afternoon. Tomorrow should see a little bit of shy sunshine, but it is going to be another cold day.

 It never seemed to warm up enough at work yesterday, and that contributed to a generally uncomfortable feeling. My chest felt on edge, although it rarely gave more than the dullest of background aches. Other bits of me just felt cold and old. It was a sort of relief to leave work, and then again it wasn't. It was nice to be heading home, and it was nice to be moving with a warm coat on...although my ribs felt exceptionally loose and popped and cracked as I walked up the road. I had a couple of twinges because of that, but nothing that lasted, and gradually it all settled down.

 It is probably lucky that my chest did settle down because I had an interesting journey home. Something, and I am pretty sure it was something from the construction work at London Bridge station, blew onto the line, and all trains between Charing Cross and London Bridge were suspended for a few hours - and Waterloo East, where I was due to get my train back to Catford from, is the middle station between those two !

 I am pleased to say that it all worked out OK in the end, but it did involve quite a lot of rushing around. The first I knew that all trains had been cancelled was when I had walked almost all the way across the link from Waterloo to Waterloo East station. There was an eerie quietness about the place, and the reason was not apparent until I came to the screens at the top of the slopes leading down to the platforms. I had two choices then - turn back, or press on - on all the way to the far end of the platforms, down the stairs, through the double set of ticket barriers, and down, down, down to the Jubilee line for a tube the one stop to London Bridge.

 It was quite a lot of rushing about, but it didn't seem to take that much effort. Traveling on a crowded tube train is no fun, but it wasn't long before I was getting out again, and going up the two sets of escalators to get out of the tube station, and into the mainline station. At that point I expected to go up another escalator to the subway that leads onto the slope up to the platform. It was a race against the clock because there was a train to Catford Bridge due to depart at 16:24, and it was already 16:20 ! Unfortunately those escalators didn't seem to be working, and we had to go up two flights of stairs, into the mainline part of the station, then round the corner into the subway under the through platforms. From there it was a mad dash up the slope , and onto the platform where my train was waiting.

 Curiously enough, timing wise, it was the train I would have got from Waterloo East station. It said the first stop would be Catford Bridge, but it actually stopped at Ladywell before going on to Catford Bridge. It arrived there at 16:36 - the same time as my normal train. That was good because I had originally worried that I might end up being much, much later, and late enough to interfere with my appointment at the doctors at 18:30. The other rather good thing was that all that rushing about did little more than raise my heartbeat a little. I didn't even seem to be even mildly short of breath when I finally say down on the train, and I certainly didn't feel any chest pains at all. Once again it is proved that my chest pains are the opposite of angina - they go away during exercise.

 The ease of that exercise should be a good thing for another reason. The doctors have now stopped bullying me about my blood pressure. I took a few readings at home before going to the surgery, and a couple of those readings were exceptionally low (for me). The doctor I saw last night seems to have made it her mission to bully me about my blood glucose level. Although lower than the disastrous peak 12 months ago, it is still running high despite my efforts to try to avoid the worst things for it. It seems I have to try harder to eat healthily. It is what I intended to do anyway once spring was well under way, but I didn't really intend to go at it hammer and tongs in the depth of winter. Eating far less when you are feeling cold is no fun, but it seems that is what I am going to have to do to get these annoying doctors off my back.
salad for
 What you see in the picture above is all I had for breakfast this morning (noting that the figures are for half a pack)(who ever splits a pack of salad in two ?). Prior to today I used to have two of these for breakfast, but now I am reduced to one, and in theory, once we get some warm sunny mornings, I will reduce it to nothing. While I am at work this is pretty easy to do, but it's a different matter when I get home. It is going to be really hard work reducing what I eat then, but somehow it will have to be done. I have done it in the past, but that was with the aid of cigarettes. It is going to be very difficult now - and more so on a cold, grey rainy day.

 Tonight I will have one distraction that might help a tiny bit. I really ought to trim my beard before I end up looking like a bomb vest wearing loony. Trimming my beard will take up a few minutes, and washing my hair will take up a bit of time as well. Quite how I'll use up the hours without eating is a mystery !
Free pizza at
                            Waterloo station
This is one temptation that doesn't bother me - free samples of pizza.
pizza giveaway
At least I think they will be giving away free samples of pizza at Waterloo station today - they were still setting up when I passed through there at 7am this morning.
Monday 8th February 2016
08:20 GMT

  There was quite a storm last night. Strong winds were whipping up some heavy rain, and sending it crashing against my bedroom window. Apparently it was quite bad, but I slept through most of it. This morning it was a rather cool feeling 7° C, made worse by continuing strong winds, but the sky was about 70 -  80% free of clouds. Stars were visible while it was dark, and the pre-dawn light was encouragingly bright. I can still see a lot of blue sky through my office window, but somewhere to the left, out of sight around the corner, there must be a cloud blocking the sun. The forecast has changed to say there will be no sunshine at all today. By midday it is forecast to be pouring with rain, and it will continue non-stop until about 7pm. It is going to be another cool day that will feel very cold as we continue to be swept by strong winds (sometimes very strong !). Tomorrow may be slightly better, but not by much. It will still be cold, maybe no more than 7° C at best, but less wind will mean that won't feel as chilling as today. There could be some sunny intervals, but it will be mostly light grey. One light shower is forecast for 5pm, bu by the time tomorrow has arrived that could change to no rain or torrential downpours for most of the day !

 The storm did sound quite dramatic last night, and reports suggest it lasted for quite a long time. It was enough for me to get out of bed for a few seconds to have a quick look outside when I heard the rain hitting the windows quite loudly, but then I got back in bed. As far as I can guess, I fell asleep very soon after that, and although I feel sure I must have woken up once or twice in the night, I don't really remember anything more until I woke up earlier than desired at just after 4.30am.

 I woke up feeling rather better than usual. i.e It didn't feel like I was about to die ! That feeling has stayed with me all morning. It is far from perfect, but if it was the start of a trend it would be a good start. I suspect it is just a flash in the pan, and after all it is only better than pretty bad. My chest still complained a few times. For a brief time it complained quite loudly when I stepped awkwardly at one point, and I did manage to work up a diffuse low level ache while walking from the station to work. I think that ache was just a mechanical one rather than anything related to angina, but maybe on this occasion there was a moment of doubt.

 Now I'm at work, and waiting for the heaters to warm the place up after losing heat all weekend, the novelty of feeling not too bad is wearing off. A strong sense of ennui is fogging my brain, and it is a little too cool in here to be comfortable. I am now feeling rather tired, and I would really love to be able to lay down and close my eyes for as long as it seemed like a good idea. Oh well, such is work !

 There is nothing and everything to look forward to tonight. Once I get home from work I'll have a little while to clean myself up before going out again to see a doctor. I am unsure what I will be seeing her for - as I explained yesterday - but it would be nice to get a second opinion about my dodgy chest if there is spare time during the appointment.  Once the appoitment is over I do have something to look forward to - dinner ! I think dinner is going to be heavily biassed towards curry - served without rice as if it were a very thick soup.
tickets for The
                            Who promotion on the concourse of Waterloo
SSE, who are an energy company (I think) are doing some sort of promotion on the concourse of Waterloo station where you can win tickets to see The Who this coming Saturday. What you have to do to win, and where The Who are playing on Saturday are currently a mystery to me. Maybe I'll learn more on my way home late this afternoon...or not !
Waterloo concourse - SSE and win
                            tickets for The Who
Sunday 7th February 2016
17:45 GMT

  The forecast said it would rain last night, and it did. It was also very windy ! During the early hours of this morning the rain stopped, and the clouds broke up...and the temperature fell. It wasn't cold enough for a frost, but it was probably getting close. A day of almost unbroken sunshine slowly warmed things up, but only to 9° C, and with it still being rather windy, it didn't feel anything like that ! The forecast says it is about to rain now, but for the moment it is still dry. Tomorrow may start dry if we are lucky, but it is going to be cold, grey and miserable until near sunset when it will be cold, grey, wet and miserable...or so the forecast is currently saying.

 About the only important thing I did yesterday afternoon was to make a backup of all my pictures on my PC. I really should do a full backup of all my files (including the pictures) soon, but the pictures are the most irreplaceable files. Having said that, in most cases I still have the original pictures on the memory cards from my cameras, and some of my better pictures are sort of backed up in high resolution on Flickr. I also have some older pictures saved on some older hard disks from previous computers (or incarnations of this one). In theory my pictures should be pretty safe.

 There was one other important thing I did yesterday, and that was to be very mindful about what I ate. This was a bit difficult because I went to Aldi in the afternoon, and bought a few tempting item. With my failing will power I still have some of those tempting things. Looking back at some random months since I started writing this blog like thing in 2003, I notice that I quite frequently claim to be eating carefully or healthily, but I guess I must be lying most of the time. If every claim I made was accurate I would be stick thin by now. Of course there have been times when I have actually lost quite a bit of weight. In the 12 months leading up to stay in hospital in 2013 I managed to lose quite a lot in an attempt to cure my angina. Since then a lack of smoking has been devastating, and my efforts since then have been more a case of trying not to get worse. Maybe if we have a good spring, and a better summer.....

 All the extra sleep I got yesterday morning, and the snooze I had yesterday afternoon, really mucked up my sleep last night. I stayed up later than usual, but when I went to bed I found it really hard to relax and go to sleep. It seemed that I only felt sleepy when I had my eyes open ! Eventually I got to sleep, and I seemed to sleep OK. Probably the best thing was that having woken up at nearly exactly 5am (when I get up for work on weekdays) I managed to get back to sleep, and slept passable well until 7am. That felt good !

 I had to get up then to prepare for a visit from my friend Aleemah. She was supposed to come over yesterday, but with my dodgy guts exploding all over the place (figuratively speaking !) I advised her against it. So she came over today. Fortunately the local Wetherspoons still opens early for breakfast on a Sunday morning, and as usual Aleemah had the traditional veggie breakfast with coffee, and I had some beer. This morning there were three I wanted to try....
three beers for
 I had a half pint each of these three beers, and they were all rather nice ! Until I tried it I had some worries about the one on the right, the Twickenham brewery's Black Eel. It looked as if it might be unpleasant, but it was actually very nice - or was for half a pint. Maybe more would start to taste nasty, or conversely, maybe more would taste even better ! While we in the vicinity I took the opportunity to take a couple of snaps of an often overlooked relic of old Catford.
Rushey Green
                            village pump
Rushey Green Catford village water
 This relic from the past is the Rushey Green village pump. It may only date back to the mid 1800s, but that's old enough, and it is nice that it has survived, and is now considered an artefact to be conserved (although it would be nice if our impoverished council could afford to repair the broken pump handle that used to be there not that many years ago). There is another pump half a mile down the road near Lewisham Hospital that I must get around to photographing some day.

 As usual Aleemah brought over a DVD to watch. This time it was a boxed set of all the episodes made of what was supposed to be a three series childrens Sci Fi show - The Tripods ( Series three was cancelled because the controller of the BBC at the time, Michael Grade, didn't like Sci Fi !! We watched the first of the four DVDs in the box set, which was episodes 1 - 4, and it was hmmmmm. I recall seeing it when originally broadcast, and while it had it's moments, I don't remember it being very important viewing.

 One unusual thing I was going to do today was to catch the train with Aleemah when she went home, and go and do some photography near to Charing Cross and Trafalgar Square. I didn't do it for two reasons, or maybe just one. The important reason was that the trains weren't running to Charing Cross today, and that made me lose my enthusiasm. Oh well, I did take some pictures around Catford Bridge station today, while I was waiting for Aleemah to arrive, and today's bright sunshine gave them an extra sparkle. I'll get around to "processing" them sooner or later, and while I'll mainly be adding them to my Catford Bridge photo album on Flickr, I'll show a couple of samples here sooner or later.

  I haven't really done much this afternoon, and I don't think I'll be doing much this evening. Hopefully I'll be able to get to sleep early enough to get a good enough night's sleep for work in the morning. I don't know how I'll manage it, but somehow I ought to try and have a good day at work tomorrow so I am in a good mood when I go and see a different doctor tomorrow night. She is a senior doctor at the group practice, and for some reason she wants to see me. The more I think about it, the more I am convinced it is for the same reason that I saw the doctor last Wednesday ! It was never intended to be this way, but it might be nice to get a separate opinion.
Saturday 6th February 2016
13:05 GMT

  It was horrible yesterday, and it is horrible today. Maybe it being 11° C is supposed to be some sort of bonus, but it is just windy enough to take away any advantage of it being almost not cold. Like yesterday, today is dull and gloomy. I haven't actually seen any rain today, but there was some yesterday. However the road looks as if it has been wet recently. Maybe there was some fine drizzle that was hard to see. The forecast does seem to be quite emphatic that it will rain, and possibly rain quite hard, this evening. Tomorrow will see a respite - of sorts. The day is supposed to start off rather cool, almost, but not quite, cool enough for a frost, but it will be a bright morning, and there is supposed to be non stop sunshine until mid afternoon. After that it will get cloudy, and then later in the evening it will pour down. It is supposed to continue into the night, and quite probably make Monday morning truly terrible !

 I didn't like yesterday. Not only was it dull and grey outside, but I was in pain. Lots of bits of me hurt, but no bit hurt all that much. In isolation each pain would have been ignorable, or close to it, but combined together they made my day miserable. It's hard to say which was the worst pain, but I think it has to come down to my feet. The shoes I was wearing were not very comfortable, and I don't know why I wore them...some sort of fantasy that they may not have been as bad as I thought they would be.

  Perhaps it wasn't that big a fantasy. The previous day I wore a pair in identical style, but different colour, and they were not that uncomfortable. What I should have taken into account was that they started to get uncomfortable as my feet became "tenderised" as I wore them. A second day of wearing the same style proved to be too much, and by the afternoon I was wishing I had put on a different pair of shoes.

 The other bits of me that hurt were my chest, legs, arms, head, neck, stomach, hands, and hair ! My chest was possibly behaving itself better than some days. Mostly it was just a widespread dull, low level, ache, but I did feel several brief more painful twinges in various locations - including some mystery pains that were lower down than usual. I could almost imagine I could have some sort of hernia as well a "floating rib". The other possibility was that it was my spleen, kidneys, live or pancreas exploding. There all down there below the diaphragm somewhere or another.

 The other aches and pains were probably as the result of being sensitised to any sort of other pains by the more obvious pains, the weather, or maybe boredom and ennui. On the whole it was a depressing sort of day, and while I did have one small triumph when a solution to a problem occurred to me (and worked), it was a great relief to put on my coat and go home.

 Unfortunately such depression lingers, and can be expressed in different ways. Yesterday it was expressed in being a bit of madness when calling into Iceland on the way home. My original intention was to buy a few of their Slimming World ready meals, and I did do that, but I also bought lots of other old crap - including several full fat curries.

 Those curries didn't come with rice, and I didn't buy any. That meant that each curry made a small(ish) meal, and that meant I had some sort of excuse to eat more than one. In fact I ate three. I dread to think how many calories that was, but it was probably less than the ice cream I also ate. I'm not sure why I had this strong urge to buy, and eat some chocolate chip mint ice cream, but I did buy it and eat it !

 The curious thing is that when I eventually went to bed, far later than I ever thought I would, I didn't feel full at all. If anything it was difficult to resist eating more ! I had felt dreadfully tired during the day, but for some reason I decided to watch some assorted TV last night, and it was getting on for 11pm when I turned in. At first I slept well. Considering how tired I was, that was not that unexpected, but then all that curry got to work !

 At 4am (or was it a bit earlier ?) I was rushing to the toilet, and then I had to do the same at 30 minute or less intervals for the next couple of hours ! After that I felt pretty empty, but still too uncomfortable to go back to bed. So I pottered around, checking some web pages here, and some there, before I eventually decided to go back to bed. It was one of those occasions where you don't realise that you are sleeping, and I was most surprised to see it was a quarter past 11am when I got up. It's lucky that I had sent a text message to my friend Aleemah saying I felt too rough to see her today.

 After that extra sleep I felt quite good. I still felt old and creaky, but good enough to do some laundry with a bit of extra masochism thrown in for good measure...and maybe some sort of penance for my excess eating last night. I washed three work shirts, and some underpants, and that was easy enough. I also washed a medium weight medium sized bath towel. Now that needed quite a lot of effort to do !

 To make it all seem harder, and maybe burn off a very small portion of my excess calories last night, I decided to carry each item down stairs on it's own to hang it in front of the heater to dry on a clothes horse. (Each item except the underpants - it would have been very extreme to do those one at a time !). I rather expected it to be very hard work to go up and down the stairs six times in fairly quick succession, but the short rest between items seemed to be enough to make it strangely effortless. I can feel a little ache from my arms after doing that laundry, mainly from manhandling the towel. Towels can be bloody heavy when dripping with water.

 That is not the only towel I have to wash.   The one I washed today was one of a pair I bought in the sale at Poundstretcher. It was the turquoise one, and it did have a habit of shedding green-blue fluff that looked like the sort of hairy mould that grows on fruit etc. Hopefully it will do it a lot less now it is has been washed. The logical thing was to start using the other new towel. It is black, and I used it to dry my hands after doing the laundry. My hands came away almost black ! While the turquoise towel may have shed some fluff, the black one is shedding tons of the bloody stuff ! I can't use it as it is, and so I have changed towels and maybe I'll wash the black one tomorrow.

 I am unsure what else I will do today. There is a gig on tonight, but it is in Dartford. Dartford is one of the boundaries for free travel on my 60+ Oyster Card so I could get there for free, but it is a long way to go, and I would have to leave very early to get home from there. The weather forecast says it will possibly be bucketting down with rain tonight. I think I will do better to stay in and try and find something constructive to do. Some weeks ago I made a start on building a spare PC out of bits and pieces, but I lost interest in it for some reason. Maybe I might resume doing that later. I think a bite to eat followed by a snooze (if possible) will come first.
sign post in
I must have walked past this sign post hundreds of time, and barely gave it any recognition until I was on my way home from work yesterday. It's roughly halfway between work and Earlsfield station on Garrett Road. The thing that struck me yesterday was how much it looked like a cheap and nasty replica of a traditional English iron sign post - if such a thing actually exists. To be honest I am not sure what I was, and what I am thinking of. It just sort of feels like it has a replica look about it.
Friday 5th February 2016
08:23 GMT

  The weather is going through a very bland stage recently. It is cool and grey, and nothing happens to make it memorable. After a cold start it warmed up enough for it not too feel unpleasantly cold yesterday, but I can't seem to picture any sunshine, and yet I feel like there probably was some in the early afternoon. It is also possible that there might have been a brief light shower - I have the vaguest recollection of a few rain drops hitting my office window...or was that the day before ? Or even the day before that ? I do know a few things about today. It was 10° C when I walked to the station, and there was some fine mist like rain blowing about. The forecast for today says it is going to be a fairly constant 11° C for most of the day. It was also be heavily overcast for most of the day except when it is slightly less heavily overcast ! So far the forecast is looking remarkably accurate. It also says that there could be a light shower or two during the day. It's not going to be a very nice day, and neither is tomorrow.

  I felt decidedly lazy yesterday...Maybe lazy is not quite the right word. Unenthusiastic maybe a better word, and there is probably an even better word that takes into account feeling a bit off colour, but I can't think what that word may be. The good thing was that I felt better in the afternoon, and by the time I left work I felt OK to go boozing with the Thursday night guys. I was originally a bit reluctant on account of the choice of pub.

 The pub in question was The Railway (or Railway Tavern) opposite Bromley North station. It's a pub I have never been in before, and Bromley North station is a station I have never used before because I needed to. (I have been there to take some pictures in the past.) So that was too novelties to make the day more interesting. It was also a potential moment of sadness. Once upon a time The Railway tavern was a thriving music venue frequented by many people I have come to know via music and gigs, and yet at the time I never realised it. I missed out on a lot of great stuff.

 The pub closed down a few years back, and was taken over by the Antic group who also run The Catford Constitutional Club and The Ravensbourne Arms - two pub I often frequent. They do have music in their pubs, but it is "special occasion" only rather than a regular music venue. Meanwhile, "The Railway Children" as those who used to frequent the place dub themselves, still tend to stick together, and on occasions when Chain borrow Geoff Paice to play bass for them, Chain can be guaranteed to have a bigger audience because Geoff was one of the "movers and shakers" of The Railway Children.

 There is only one significant problem with the pub, and that is that it is in Bromley. If it was in the south of Bromley High Street, near Bromley South station,  I would probably get a train back to Catford, but it's not, and that means a long boring bus ride home. It may only take 25 minutes on the bus (maybe slightly less, but it often feels much longer), but I really hate that 25 minutes - particularly when it's dark outside, and the bus windows are steamed up. On a bright summers evening it is merely an annoyance.

 I only had three pints last night, and that seemed about right. It's a shame that Kevin turned up just as I was going, but he knew we were meeting at 5pm, and that we would have got a very big head start on him. I stuck to my guns and wandered off to find the bus stop after I had drunk my three pints. It was enough to cushion the agony of the tedious bus ride, and probably to take the chill off the cool night air (which was probably no cooler than it had been many hours earlier, but night air always feels colder).

 I actually felt reasonably well when I left the pub, and the five minute walk to the bus stop didn't seem to be a bother, and nor did getting off the bus one stop early so I could buy some fish and chips on my way home. It seemed to me that cod and chips, even the always large portion of chips that seem standard in most places, is not such an outrageous thing to have for dinner/supper when all you've had is salad for breakfast, and nothing else. Well that's my excuse, and I am sticking to it. Not only that, but it was most enjoyable.

 It wasn't all that long after eating my fish and chips dinner that I went to bed. I was in that curious state when I felt very tired, and yet somehow not ready to sleep. So I read for a bit, and tried to ignore the fact that I still felt hungry. I guess it wasn't actually hunger, and just a desire to eat more because eating is so pleasurable. So I lay in bed reading until I had read a few pages from a magazine, and then I turned out the light. It didn't take long to fall asleep after that. I think it might have been as early as 8.30pm, and I am sure it was no later than 9pm.

 It was a pleasant sleep with some pleasant dreams, and I dearly wish there could have been more of it ! This morning I feel fairly rotten, and I can't really explain why. I think it is a mix of small things, and a good portion of the winter blues. My chest aches a bit, but it has been far worse on may occasions. My guts feel a bit unstable and/or windy, but only mildly. My legs feel a bit stiff, but still usable. I seem to have chose my shoes unwisely, and so my feet are uncomfortable, but not actually sore. Finally, as some sort of summation, it feels like I am over pressurised. That probably makes no sense, and I must admit it hardly makes sense to me. It is not the feeling of high blood pressure - which you can't usually feel anyway. It is not the pressure of an over full stomach and gut. Maybe it is like the feeling when The Alien is about to burst through your chest wall - but about a 100 times less dramatic. I don't know what it is, or how to describe it. All I can say is that I would be far happier laying on my bed reading a good book, and with the opportunity to doze off if it seemed like a good idea. Instead I had to endure an hours commute into work, and now I am here at work I will spend most of the day wishing it were home time again.

 I am not planning to do anything once I get home apart from eating and sleeping. Well, I'll probably do a bit of reading, and maybe even watch a bit of TV too, but I guess I mean to be very lazy. On the other hand, I might find the energy and enthusiasm to do a special bit of laundry - a very taxing bit of laundry. A couple of weeks ago I bought two new bath towels in the sale at Poundstretcher. One is a very nice turquoise colour, and I have been using it this week. The only trouble is that it is shedding greeny-blue fibres that look like mould growing on some fruit - or even mould growing on my skin ! Sooner or later I am going to have to wash that towel to get rid of a lot of it's fluff. It's going to be very hard work, but even that can some sort of enjoyment if it does what is wanted. Maybe I will, or maybe I won't....
Thursday 4th February 2016
08:08 GMT

  It was a bit draughty, and rather cool yesterday. I was a bit too preoccupied to keep an eye on the temperature, but I don't think it went much above 8° C - if indeed it ever went over that. I seem to recall seeing an odd minute of sun once or twice, but it was mainly a grey day. Fortunately it was mostly light grey. There was no rain yesterday, but some damp patches seen this morning suggest there was a shower during the night. This morning wasn't so cold as yesterday morning. I think it was 6 or 7° C when I left home to come to work. It is supposed to stay dry today, although rain is forecast sometime before midnight, but it is going to be another grey day - probably a darker grey than yesterday, but somehow the temperature is supposed to rise to 11° C before sunset (which is now getting close to 5pm !!). Tomorrow may well be colder and wetter, but I would rather not think about it !

 The first thing on the agenda yesterday morning was to go and get an elecro-cardiogram taken at Lewisham hospital. I set off a bit later than I had imagined I would, but with freshly washed dry hair (waiting for it to dry was one reason why I left late) I strode off up the road, and through the park, to Lewisham Hospital. The cold air, and light grey sky were negative features, but it was still a pleasant stroll, and the best bit about it was that it untangled my ribs, and the chest pain I was experiencing went away. One of the sights I saw on my way was daffodils in full bloom - at the beginning of February !!
Daffodils in bloom
                            at the beginning of February
  I guess we have had a very mild winter, and that has allowed these daffodils to bloom a month early (or that is what people with better knowledge about flowers are saying). Being by the river probably helped too. The flowing water usually generates it's own micro climate that can be a little warmer than elsewhere.

 I had quite a long wait to be seen when I got to the hospital. It is a walk in service with no appointments, and the waiting time depends on how many people turn up at any time. However, I think they forgot about me because when I mentioned to the Cardiology receptionist that I had been waiting a long time, and hadn't seen anyone called in for some time, I was called in within minutes !

 The modern electro-cardiogram machines are a great improvement over the one that was used on me 20 years ago. Actually that might no be quite true. 20 years ago the technician seemed to have difficulty getting a clean signal, but on reflection it might have been my fault. You are supposed to relax, but I was both apprehensive about it, and I was curious about it. So I found it hard to relax and stay still. Yesterday was very different. The longest part of of procedure was sticking the electrode pads on. Once they were on the reading took mere seconds. I asked for a personal copy of it, and it looks like this -
 (Sorry, I didn't bother to get my flat bed scanner out for a better picture than this quick snap using the camera in my mobile phone). This does reveal a minor problem, but only an expert could spot it. There is one little blip that goes down when it should go up. Fortunately it has not changed in 6 months, and my doctor says it is just an artefact left over from my heart surgery, and is of no concern.

 Considering I was due to see my doctor in four hours and twenty minutes time, some suggested it was probably a bit of a risk to meet my friend Kevin for a couple of pints at 1pm yesterday, but that's exactly what I did - except it wasn't the couple of pints I intended, but three pints because one of the two beers I tried (Hackney breweries Red Ale) was going down so well. That did mean I felt quite sleep when I got home, and it was hard staying awake. Having a pile of sausages both helped and hindered that.

 Eventually it was time to see my doctor. She pointed out the anomaly to me again, and when she pulled up a copy of the cardiogram that was taken 6 months ago she was able to confirm that there was no change, and that my heart was fine. That just left the problem of my chest pains. We discussed various possibilities, but it seems there is no conclusive answers. She is happy that it is not my heart or lungs, and reached the same conclusion that I had reached almost 12 months earlier - that it was some sort of muscular/skeletal sort of thing.

 She doubted anything would show up on an X-RAY, although I am not so sure - it really depends on how much control the "photographer" has on the depth of field. If they could get a sharp image from just under the skin I reckon it might reveal something, but there would probably be too much clutter from deeper tissues to reveal a nice clear picture. So that leaves me with the option of taking Ibuprofen when it gets too annoying, and grinning and bearing it at other times. So excuse me when I am grumpy - I'm probably in pain. Oh, there was also a possible option of being referred to a chest pain clinic, but they usually deal with pain from heart or lung problems, and not other problems.

 One bit of good news came from my visit to the doctor. I mentioned yesterday that I had received a call from the surgery the night before requesting I make an appointment with the doctor who specialises in diabetic stuff. I thought that maybe my recent blood tests had thrown up something bad, but the doctor I saw last night had a quick look at the figures. Apparently one of the figures is a little bit higher than it should be, but she said that it was marginal, and of no concern.

 While I was in the surgery I tried to make the requested appointment with the diabetic doctor. Thanks to their weird computer system that seemed impossible, and I was advised to call at 8am this morning. I wasn't expecting that to work, but amazingly, on my second attempt I got through, and I now have an appointment booked for next Monday evening after work. I'll be curious to find out what it's all about. I have a terrible feeling that it is just going to be a repeat of the examination that the diabetic nurse gave me a fortnight earlier - because someone, or something (like a brain dead computer) doesn't realise I've already been seen. Of course it could be news of some wonderful new treatment...and pigs might fly !

 After seeing the doctor I took a walk back to the pub where I was supposed to meet Kevin at 6pm. I got there at 6.02pm, and there was no sign of Kevin, and there was no sign of Kevin after I had ordered and drunk 7/8ths of my pint of beer. By that time I was feeling a bit bored, and probably because I was full of sausages, I wasn't in a drinking mood. So I went home. Kevin claims he was in the pub by 6.10pm, but I am sure I didn't order and drink a pint in less than 8 minutes !

 When I got home again I didn't feel like cooking, or even having a proper meal, but maybe I should have because I ended up having several snacks that are not the sort of things I should be eating (like crisps), but still do far too often. It was probably because I felt a mixture of edginess, excitement and extreme tiredness....or something like that. It was too early to go to bed, or at least that is how it felt, but maybe I should have done. It didn't take long to get to sleep once I did go to bed, and I seemed to sleep quite well until 4am when I woke up and couldn't get comfortable again.

 This morning I feel predictably bad. My chest is annoying me. It is a long way from being painful enough to consider Ibuprofen. In fact a lot of the time it is not painful, but every so often I make some sort of movement that causes a little burst of usually minor pain, or a bigger pain when I almost jumped off the bottoms steps of the stairs down from the platform of Earlsfield station. On top of that I feel a bit muzzy and  generally creaky. It may be mild now, but I need hot dry weather to cure most of my ailments.

 It's Thursday, and that should mean booze night. The only trouble is that I don't know where we are boozing yet. I hope it is somewhere local to home because I am not sure I want to have many pints tonight, but maybe I do ! I think I'll just wait and see what happens.
Wednesday 3rd February 2016
09:56 GMT

  It remained chilly all day yesterday, or that was how I felt it, but I guess 8° C is pretty cool for anyone. It wasn't forecast, but there was a shower that lasted for well over half an hour in the late morning, but the afternoon was bright and even sunny a lot of the time. During the night the temperature fell, and it probably fell far enough for a frost in the early hours. The lowest I saw on my thermometer was just over 2° C, but with the help of a few flashes of sunshine, it is warming up now - if you can use the word warming for a rise to about 5.5° C. The current forecast says there will be some light rain falling soon, and it will last to about midday. After that it will be partly sunny, and the temperature should rise to a glorious 8° C ! Tomorrow is forecast to be dry and 12° C, but it is going to be a very dull grey sort of day.

 It seems that recently, or maybe longer than recently, I have felt pretty horrible in the morning, and very much better in the afternoon. This was the case yesterday, and as I hoped, I didn't feel too bad when I left work to go home. On this occasion I didn't actually get as far as feeling good, but I did feel good enough to make the long detour via Lidl on my way home.

 I kept wondering if it were a stupid thing to do. One reason is that it is quite a long walk from Lidl to home when carrying heavy shopping, and the other reason was that I could have gone there today while I have a day off work. I think I may have made the right decision to get it over and done with while I was sort of enthusiastic to do it last night.

 For a completely unrelated reason it didn't turn out to be quite as joyful as I hoped. It is true that I managed to grab three bottles of Red Sun shower gel, and that was a significant reason for going there, but I didn't expect a phone call on my mobile phone while I was waiting at the checkout. The call was from my doctors surgery. I get the impression that they don't know if they are coming and going at that place.

 On the 25th January I saw the diabetic nurse for my annual checkup. Two days later I saw a doctor about a possible anomaly on an electro-cardiogram taken back in September last year. This morning I will be getting another electro-cardiogram taken, and presenting it to my doctor tonight. The call last night was to say that a different doctor wants to see me for a diabetic check up. Now it is possible that the blood sample I gave on the 25th January has shown up something bad, but I thought I had my blood glucose level fairly well controlled recently. On the other hand it could be that my repeat prescriptions still say that my review date is March last year, and they are acting as if I haven't seen a doctor or nurse for over a year now ! This would not be surprising considering they can't even get my name right in that place. It must have been three years ago that they suddenly decided I needed a new name, and they haven't managed to correct it in all that time !

 That phone call, particularly with the timing of it - while I am in the middle of treatment by another doctor, but more so while I was in a queue at a supermarket checkout - really spoiled my evening. I felt very edgy, and I ended up eating too much as well as being very tempted to drink too much. I did consciously have a couple of large whiskies as a sort of protest, but no more than that.

 I don't think my annoyance affected my sleep. It was another night when I seemed to sleep OK, but I felt rotten when I got up. It was almost as if I had slept too deeply, and had seized up or something. I suddenly realise that it was five hours ago that I started to get up, and I still don't feel that wonderful. Maybe a walk through the park will help.

 I will be taking a walk through the park soon to get to the hospital where my electro-cardiogram will be taken. It's a 10 minute procedure usually preceded by an hour or two wait. In fairness, it is a walk in service, and it all depends on how many people decide to turn up at the same time. If I time it right (which will be impossible, but I might get lucky) I will go to the pub afterwards to meet my friend Kevin for a couple of pints. On this occasion it had probably better be absolutely no more than two because I don't want to be too drunk when I see the doctor early this evening.
tower seen from
                            Waterloo East
The last couple of pictures taken using my now retired Olympus X42 camera...When it was being built this skyscraper had a big banner on it saying it's name, but I can't remember what it was. This is the view over the wall at the far end of platform A at Waterloo East station.
class 465 train in platform B of
                            Waterloo East station with the London Eye in
                            the background
Class 465 train at platform B of Waterloo East station with The London Eye in the background.
Tuesday 2nd February 2016
08:04 GMT

  The temperature didn't fall that much last night, but it was enough for it to feel chilly by this morning. I don't think it was all that much below 9° C. So maybe it was just me when I thought it to be a bit chilly. Unfortunately the forecast says all of today is likely to be around 9° C. I guess I'll feel chilly all day unless my office heater can pull it's finger out and get the place nice and warm. Originally the forecast said it was going to be a few degrees cooler this morning, and there would be some rain. The last forecast I saw was ore accurate. It said 9° C and dry, but nasty and overcast until late morning when the sun should break through, and shine all afternoon. It seems tomorrow is going to start off very cool - maybe cool enough for a frost - certainly cool enough for some sleety snow if the forecast that it will be a dry day is wrong. Once again it will be quite dull in the morning, but brighten up in the afternoon. Unfortunately the top temperature is only forecast to be 8° C.

 By the time I was ready for bed last night I had somehow revived from the deep weariness I felt earlier in the evening. So it took some time before I was relaxed enough to fall asleep. It was yet another night where I seemed to sleep well, but woke up feeling lousy. I would have loved to have gone back to bed this morning, and if I had I reckon I may have got a few more hours sleep. Maybe it was the dreams I had that exhausted me, or maybe they were a symptom of sleep Apnoea - the condition where you snore so hard that you stop breathing for a while. That would explain the headache I woke up with.

 I seemed to have one long dream last night, but I know it was a series of dreamlets strung together like a movie is edited together from lots of little scenes. This long dream was set in an old telephone exchange. The place was like a blend of several places I once worked in, and the people in the dream were similarly like a blend of people I used to work with.  It was set in a time when the exchange had been converted to a modern electronic one, but all the electro-mechanical equipment was still in situ and mostly powered up. I have no idea what our purpose was in there, but I was concerned that we shouldn't be there, and could get thrown out or worse.

 So this morning I feel, or felt pretty lousy. I've already mentioned the headache I had. It was not a bad one, but it was still irritating. It has gone now. My chest felt pretty sore this morning, and was clicking and popping a lot as I came to work, but that as settled down a lot too - probably due to the Ibuprofen tablets I took just before leaving home. A few other bits of me ache too, and that includes my feet. There is a good reason for my feet to ache, and that is the shoes I am wearing. They are cheap and nasty slip on plimsoles, and while I have found the Chinese made ones to be very comfortable, the Pakistan made versions I am wearing this morning do not feel so comfortable despite looking identical. I think the canvas is a bit stiffer, and the sole seems to be made of a slightly harder plastic type material (possibly a melange of assorted recycled plastics).

 Hopefully I will be feeling good when I leave work, or maybe just after - like I did yesterday. I fancy going home via Lidl tonight. It is quite a big detour, and I won't go there unless I feel quite good. There is nothing there that I need - well not desperately, but I would like to get a few more bottles of their own brand "Red Sun" flavour shower gel, and I have a mild desire to have one of their ready made curries. I seem to recall that they are slightly different to their counterparts in Aldi and Tesco. They are all nice, and all appear to be made by the same people, but with those small differences that don't make them better, but do provide a novelty value when not bought and consumed too frequently.
TFL building near
                            Waterloo East station
Here's one of the more interesting pictures I took using my Olympus X42 camera on my way home from work last night. The building, which is adjacent to the railway just beyond the country end of Waterloo East station, is the headquarters of Transport For London. It is quite a weird shaped building. It is a trapezoid on stilts, and looks as if it is leaning. One day I will take a picture from ground level to show just how weird it really is. Just beyond it, the next building down the line, is a Travelodge hotel that is useful for anyone staging an art exhibition in the Menier Chocolate Factory theatre.
Monday 1st February 2016
18:55 GMT

  The weather forecast didn't forecast it, but there was some sunshine yesterday. Maybe it was not forecast because the sun was rarely out for more than a few minutes, and it probably only happened half a dozen times, but it was still very welcome. As far as I can recall it stayed dry  after the showers we had in the morning, and the temperature stayed up at around 12 - 13° C. Today was forecast to be grey but dry except for a shower at around 2pm - that was when the sun came out ! There wasn't much sun, but there was much more of it than the rain (because there was no rain). There was less wind today so 13° C felt very neutral...although while I waited for my train at Waterloo East I could almost imagine I could feel the merest hint of an allusion to an approximation of a little warmth. There could be a light shower tomorrow morning that might even be over before I leave to walk to the station. From mid morning to sunset the sun is forecast to shine, but unfortunately it is only going to be a disappointing 9° C (although strictly speaking, that is quite good for the beginning of February).

 I apologise if you couldn't access my website for most of today. The reason was my firewall threw a wobbly. It all started yesterday morning when I suddenly appeared to lose internet access. I am unsure what actually happened, but my web browser had thrown a wobbly, and disconnected itself from the internet. Restarting it cured that problem, but one of the tests I did was to log in to my firewall to check everything was OK there. It seemed to be, but unknown to me my firewall took great exception to my Firefox web browser not accepting scripts because I run a plug in called No Script. Until today I had no added my firewall as a safe web site. So No Script blocked the java script that the firewall was trying to send, and it decided to wait until hell froze over (or it was re-booted) before it would do anything else - including allowing any incoming connections !

 When I got home from work today I worked all that out (otherwise known as taking some wild guesses), and re-booted the firewall. As far as I can tell this web site is now available to the wide world again...Well, I can connect using my mobile phone, and hopefully I'll be able to connect to it when I get to work tomorrow.

 It wasn't just my firewall that went loopy yesterday. It seems I did too ! I started out by washing a few shirts. I did have some ideas about going out to do some shopping after doing that, but at that time it seemed gloomy and damp outside. So instead of going out I did the washing up. That lead on to cleaning the inside of the microwave oven, and also my little mini electric oven. Both were a bit overdue for a good clean ! I am not sure what I carried on after doing that, but I did yet more housework. It was almost as if it was spring, and I was spring cleaning. Most significant was hoovering the stairs. That is a task I tend to neglect at an Olympic level ! I didn't exactly do a wonderful job, but I can see the difference ! I also hoovered the mats in my living room, and bedroom.

 Now the trouble with doing all that stuff is that it made me really ache today. That was a pity because I had a rather splendid nights sleep last night. Well I say splendid because it seemed that way, but I have felt rather tired today, and I am looking forward to my bed tonight.  Some of today's aches were probably die to a lack of exercise yesterday. I could probably have done with some walking to stretch the muscles in my back (and all the other muscles involved in walking upright like a human). After feeling almost rotten for a lot of today, I finally started to feel semi-OK after walking from work to the station (because there is never a bus when you want one), and the walk from platform 1 of Waterloo Mainline station to the far end of platform A of Waterloo East was the icing on the cake.

 I have often suspected that the walk between the two stations, plus the walk along the platforms, is not far short of the walk from home to Catford Bridge station. Today I was even more sure it was. There is no easy way to measure it apart from timing how long it takes, and today I did just that. It is a very inexact measurement, but both walks seem to take about 6 minutes on average.

 One of the things I have decided to do today is to semi-retire one of my cameras. It is the Olympus X42 camera that I bought for £15 from Cash Generator (the place I keep accidently calling Cash Converters). I have decided it is not a very good camera. It's major failing seems to be that it has a very insensitive sensor. I know it was not a bright summers day today, but on my way home I took a few snapshots while waiting for my train at Waterloo East. It seemed bright enough to my eyes, but some of the exposures were as long as a full eighth of a second long. That is really slow ! I am sure that my little pocket Nikon or Canon cameras would have taken the same snap in maybe something like 1/50th of a second. While it can take good pictures, it is not reliable enough to use on the spur of the moment unless the light is really favourable. Here's a few of the last pictures taken on it.
New vehicle charge
                            point in use
Last Friday morning one of the new electric vehicle charging points near Catford Bridge station (at the end of this road) was in use. It seems they glow green when ready to use, and red when in use.
car on charge
A car on charge with an expanded view of the top of the charger inset - you just about see that the top glows red while this happens (although it's more obvious on the pavement side).
popcorn - only 95 calories on the
                            concourse of Waterloo station
Free samples of popcorn on the concourse of Waterloo station today.
popcorn samples
Popcorn girls !
Who, what why ?
It wasn't terribly obvious what this second stand on the concourse of Waterloo station was all about.
Trying to sell Virgin Media stuff
It seems that some sad bastard was trying to sell some, or all of Virgin Media's products to some sad bastards !

 If I remember to make a note of the file numbers, and take them to work tomorrow, and if I can access my server from work tomorrow, I'll upload a couple more pictures taken on my way home tonight. It's now almost 8pm, and I  think I deserve a lie down. Maybe I might even doing it under my duvet after brushing my teeth, and turning the light out. Zzzzzzz