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December 2015
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My Diary/Blog For
 the Month of
January 2016

Sunday 31st January 2016
12:16 GMT

  As far as I can recall, the weather on Friday was close enough to how it was forecast to be. There was a little rain in the morning, and a few sunny intervals in the afternoon. The forecast also said it would be rather cool, and it was. I think just 7° C was forecast, and it was probably about that. Yesterday morning saw a few light splashes of rain, and that was rather less than I expected. Once they had finished there were some periods of lovely bright sunshine in between the longer periods of grey. By 3pm it was just grey, and it was rather cool too - I don't think I saw my thermometer go above 7° C again.

 The weather today is not very nice - although I realise that is a rather relative judgement. Further north of here some people have been, and probably still are, enduring some really terrible weather. Here in Catford the sky is grey, and every so often we are treated to a spell of light rain. Nevertheless, it is currently 12° C, and if it wasn't for the wind it would feel quite mild. The forecast  for temperature seems quite accurate, and if it stays accurate the temperature will remain constant to well after sunset, and maybe even through the night. The forecast says the sky should be almost black rather than grey, and yet as I type these words the sun is trying it's best to break through. If it manages it, it could be a nice afternoon. Tomorrow could be even warmer - 13° C - but as well as a mix of grey and black clouds forecast for all day, there could also be a shower or two in the afternoon. I am unsure if I should think that good or bad for a month that is often associated with snow !

 After a less than perfect start I didn't feel too bad at work on Friday. My chest didn't bother me much, but nose was a great annoyance. It wasn't dripping, but it did slowly, slowly fill with thick mucus which might, or might not have been oozing from the deeper recesses of my sinuses (if that is anatomically possible). Clearing my nose was a rather noisy process that resembled an elephant trumpeting ! It is worth noting that I could only do this in private, or out in the open air where there were no windows to shatter.

 I didn't feel in a very productive mood at work, and it might be a bit tricky to explain why I have not made better progress on a task that I am carrying out. In other words I felt bloody lazy. The only problem with that, apart from having to make some very creative explanations, is that it can be a bit boring. So it was with some relief that home time came around, and I could start out on the long boring journey home.

 I had a yearning for something exciting, and I did consider going to plunder Tesco, but I decided to go in the Turkish supermarket on my way home. I haven't been in there for some time now, but it is all mostly the same except for an increasing amount of rather fine bottled ales from some of the (semi) local small breweries (and some more distant ones). I didn't buy any of those, but I did buy a rather tasty bit of Polish smoked pork. It might seem strange to go into a Turkish shop to buy Polish products, but that's just how these things go.

 I had some grand plans for Friday night, and I carried out two of them. The first was to wash my hair, and the second was to finish selecting/editing/preparing some photos I took last Monday. I didn't have the energy, or enthusiasm to upload a photo album to Flickr....or more brain felt too foggy to caption and tag the photos if I had uploaded them. I finally did it yesterday, and you can see all the pictures here - - in glorious high resolution....well it should be glorious, but a few are not as good as I would like them to have been. Here's a couple of small samples of what is in the full album.
the dome of St Pauls
The dome of St Pauls.
looking upstream along the south bank towards
                  Blackfriars station/railway bridge
Looking upstream along the south bank with Blackfriars railway bridge/station in the background.
Thameslink class 387 train
New Thameslink class 398 train in platform 1 of Blackfriars station. Once it had departed my train (a class 319) to Sevenoaks via Catford arrived three minutes later.

 It was quite late after I had done all the photo editing, and I had sipped a couple of whiskys while doing it. That could have been a recipe for a good nights sleep, but I don't recall it being all that good...although in it's defence, it probably wasn't that bad. Saturday morning, and a bit of the afternoon, were fairly typical. I met my friend Aleemah for breakfast in the pub, and a DVD afterwards. Once Aleemah had gone home I could have done all lots of exciting things - but I didn't !

 I did upload the photo album, and provide some captions and tags for most pictures, but it felt like hard work. It was as if I had no enthusiasm for it. Captions and tags are not essential, but they are handy, and I always find them a terrible drag to do ! Another thing I did do was to wash a towel Now washing towels is hard work, and most of that hard work is trying to rinse them out. It seems impossible to do. I rinsed an wrung out the towel about 5 times, left it for an hour to get my strength back, and rinsed and wrung it out again another 4 or 5 times, and still the water would not run clear. I gave up at that point and just hung it up to dry.

 Unfortunately I seemed to do something nasty to my "floating rib" while doing all that. As well as the typical hand sized pain I get just below, and half a hands width to the right of my right breast, I also seemed to develop a new and exciting pain that continued round my right side to the middle of my shoulder blade. It was a little uncomfortable to lie on, but it would have been of no interest to my doctor because a couple of Ibuprofen reduced the pain to just a dull background annoyance.

 Prior to the Ibuprofen tablets doing their stuff, the pain was sufficient to make me think it would be a bad idea to go out in the cold. In particular I didn't fancy hanging around on cold draughty railway station platforms to go and see Chain playing in Longfield. That was a shame on several levels. The Railway Tavern pub in Longfield, where Chain were playing, is straightforward to get to, and although you have to be aware of the time of the last train (or for cowards like me, the second to last train), it is straightforward to get home again - at least it sounds like it should be.

 All I would have had to do was to walk to Catford station - which is few minutes extra walk compared to Catford Bridge station (but don't underestimate how annoying those few extra minutes are). From Catford station I can get a train to Bromley South station. When there are no engineering works further down the line, as there were yesterday, it is a quick connection to catch a train that runs fast to Longfield. The entire journey is only about 20 minutes station to station plus a 10 and 5 minute walk from home to station, and station to pub. Engineering works yesterday messed up all the timing, and add extra stops between Bromley South and Longfield.

 So I didn't go to see Chain, and I missed another chance to test my new (secondhand) Cannon EOS 400D DSLR camera at a dimly lit gig. Oh well, the day will come sooner or later, and unfortunately I think I will be disappointed. The pictures I took on Monday seemed to show similar levels of noise in dark areas when pictures were taken in low light. There were some pictures I took that I didn't include in the photo album that show that noise really easily - but maybe only when the picture is manipulated to make it more obvious. Imagine the underside of some of the bridges over the river when the sun is hidden behind a big grey clouds. It is very dim on the underside of the bridge, but I can still brighten the picture enough to see lots of details in the gloom, and with hose details comes loads of speckly noise. It is a similar problem trying to squeeze details out of a picture taken without flash in a gloomy pub.

 Last night I had a two part sleep. I slept well from about midnight to 5am when I woke up feeling lousy. Fortunately, it being a Sunday, I was able to get up and potter around for a couple of hours before going back to bed. It didn't take long to fall asleep, although I don't think I realised it at the time. I then slept for at least a couple of hours, and woke up feeling almost good ! I intended to do loots of things today, and I am beginning to think I will hardly do any of them.

 At least I have almost done one thing - write this very long blog entry ! I have also started to wash a few shirts. They are currently soaking in soapy water that must be almost cold now. I will definitely finish them, and hang them up to dry sooner or later. I think I definitely want to hoover a few select areas even if I can't find the energy or enthusiasm to hoover a wider area. Once upon a time I considered going out to take a few snaps, or do some shopping, but the showers have put me off doing that even if they are mostly very light and intermittent. I think I'll fill in the spare time, and it's looking like there will be more of it that I thought there would be, by reading.
Friday 29th January 2016
08:18 GMT

  It stayed fairly cool yesterday, just 9° C with a bit of breeze to make it feel even cooler, but it was a lovely sunny day. It started to get cloudy as I made my way home from work, but there was still a few glimpses of sunshine while my train from Waterloo East was halfway to Catford Bridge. Sunset is now around 16:45, and so it was still perfect daylight when I got home from work...well I say perfect, but the light was beginning to dim, and the increasingly cloudy sky did add a bit of added greyness. That cloud may have dropped some rain in the small hours of this morning, and I felt a few light raindrops as I walked to the station, but it also kept the temperature up. My thermometer said 10° C. That would almost be nice if it wasn't accompanied by a very chilling breeze.

 There will probably be an hour or two of rain soon. After that the cloud should break up, and we are supposed to have some sunny intervals. It will stay dry, with temperatures up at 12° C for a while, until mid evening when it will (or may) pour down. That is forecast to continue until 8 or 9am tomorrow morning. After that it is forecast to stay dry for the rest of the day. There might even be some extended sunny periods, but it may well stay rather cool. Perhaps no more than 7° C !

 My plan was to rush home after work, eat a sandwich or two, relax for 10 minutes, and then check my blood pressure. That is exactly what I did, or tried to do. I don't think I got the relaxing bit quite right because my blood pressure was moderately high. On any other day I might have left it for an hour and tried again, but I had to rush out to join the rest of the Thursday night drinkers in the pub. That's probably why I couldn't relax properly.

 Last night's drink was in The London & Rye - Catford's Wetherspoons pub - which was rather handy for me. Last night was one of those nights where there was some unknown ingredient in the air, and everyone was on good form. I enjoyed myself enough to have an extra pint - making four pints in total - before putting my coat on, and walking home again. Now there is a theory that booze raises blood pressure in some mysterious way. It is possible that this is a rumour put out by some teetotal killjoys, or maybe I have just misunderstood it.

 It wasn't all that long after I got home that I re-tested my blood pressure. I expected it to have gone up, but in fact it had gone down - right down to the sort of figures that my doctor could only dream about. In terms of actual numbers I can usually only remember the systolic pressure. That is usually the first number quoted. It's been a long time, but I have a vague memory of the hospital being moderately satisfied when they got it down, and kept it down to 133. My doctor, and the nurses I have seen, are usually looking for a figure around 120. Last night, with four pints of booze in me, I managed 121. That may be a record for me !

 Having lower blood pressure didn't seem to do anything for the quality of my sleep last night. It was still a bit lumpy, but not too bad. Of course I woke up with a mild hangover. It wasn't painful to any degree, but it did feel like I was wrapped in grey fog. Unfortunately the effects of the booze didn't hang over into my blood pressure. This morning it was it's usual morning high. Maybe it was a slight improvement over the average, but only a very small improvement. Mind you, if my blood pressure was directly related to how I feel this morning it would be pretty bad. I seem to have a bit of a hangover from my recent cold. My nose may not have dripped for a few days, but it still occasionally fills up with thick mucus from the depths of my sinus system. I also seem to be intermittently coughing a slightly wet cough this morning...although maybe it has stopped again for now. Then there is my chest with, in the words of my doctor, it's muscular problem. It does feel quite crunchy this morning, and I have provoked it to low levels of pain a few times this morning. Now I am sitting down in my office, and the heating is taking the chill off the air, I feel moderately comfortable, but I do have a hankering to lay down and have a snooze !

 It was back in June last year that I showed some pictures of the electric vehicle charging point near Catford Bridge station.....
 Some weeks ago that charging point was removed, and the electricity board dug up the pavement to install some quite thick new cable.  Eventually two new charging points were installed where there was only the one. They are physically bigger, and it looks as if they can probably provide a higher current, faster charge - and their tops glow green ! It is only recently that the power was turned on to them, and their top started glowing, and it was only yesterday that there was enough daylight for me to take picture of these two new wonders of the modern age (possibly !).
twin electric vehicle
                  charging points
 For anyone who feel that two are not enough, there are five, that may or may not be working yet, on the bottom deck of the multi-story car park next to Tesco in Catford.

 I have some grand plans for tonight, and I reckon there is a fair chance I will carry them out. Most important is that I wash my hair. I have left it unwashed for too long again on these cold damp days, but tonight I really have to wash it. When that is done I hope I can raise the energy and enthusiasm to edit/prepare the photos I took along the south bank last Monday. When they are done, and maybe uploaded to Flickr, I can look forward to a nice untroubled sleep.
Thursday 28th January 2016
08:48 GMT

  I can't remember if there was any sunshine yesterday morning. There was only a slim chance that we might see a brief glimpse or two anyway. I certainly remember it starting to rain, and I think it was around the forecast time of 2pm, but instead of it lasting into, and maybe beyond the night, it sort of fizzled out an hour or so later. There were still a few small rain drops blowing about in the wind for several hours afterwards, and maybe some heavier rain returned once I was safely in the warm, and ignoring the outside world...or maybe not. During the night the wind blew all the cloud out the way, and this morning we have glorious clear skies, sunshine, and frost ! It was just 3° C when I got up this morning. The sunshine is forecast to continue until sunset, and by that time the sun should have warmed things up to a whole 9° C. With any luck the forecast for tomorrow will change from dry, but terribly grey, and no more than 8° C (if we are lucky) to something a lot better !

 I didn't feel too bad at work yesterday. I seemed to be over my cold, or the worst aspects of it (i.e. my nose dripping all over the work I was supposed to be doing !). Maybe I had a bit of lingering fatigue, or maybe I was just feeling my usual zest for being at work ! At least I had one good thing to look forward to, and that was going home early. That turned out better than I hoped because the expected heavy rain was so light and intermittent that it wasn't worth doing my coat up. It would have been nicer if it had been sunny, but I guess the lack of heavy rain was the only treat.

 I left work about 15 minutes earlier than my earliest, and that was enough to allow me to get the train half an hour earlier than usual at Waterloo East. Getting home half an hour earlier gave me enough time to prepare myself for my appointment with my doctor without having to rush. I was hoping that by not rushing, and being relaxed about it, I would be able to take a couple of good blood pressure reading to present to the doctor, but it was not to be. I am unsure why my blood pressure gets so high in the presence, or soon to be presence of a doctor, but it always happens. That is why they don't pay too much attention to my blood pressure when taken in the surgery, and ask me to take a weeks worth of morning and evening readings using my own meter.

 The purpose of my visit was two fold, and to the doctor it was two and a half fold. Once again the doctor dismissed my chest pains as "probably being muscular", and of no concern if Ibuprofen can take the edge off the pains. That's fine apart from the fact that it is me who has to suffer them. Plus there is still my worry that on occasions when the pain is particularly severe it could be masking some more serious pains - like my heart exploding.

 The second purpose was to discuss the electro-cardiogram that was taken last September, and then ignored until I got the nurse to dig up the records when I saw her on Monday. My doctor does agree that it shows an anomaly, and said that if she was aware of it I would have been called in to discuss it last September. Apparently my "L wave" (if I have remembered that correctly) should peak positively, but is going negative. The doctor thinks it is most likely to be an artefact of my quad heart bypass operation despite that being two years earlier when the electro-cardiogram was taken. She would like another electro-cardiogram to compare it to - ideally an earlier one - but the ones taken in hospital are not available on the GPs system. So I have to get a new one taken, and at least that will show any change for the better or worse. If it is worse it could indicate that I have some sort of heart disease, or I am having mini heart attacks, or something entirely different.

 The doctor has made an appointment to see her again at the same time next week, and I've booked another day off work to get the electro-cardiogram taken during the morning. That just leaves the bit that I wasn't very interested in, but doctors just love - my blood pressure. The readings I took just before leaving home were high, but in the surgery the first reading was super high with bells on ! A second reading, after doing my best to relax, was a fair bit lower, but still very high. Half an hour after leaving the surgery, sitting at home feeling very relaxed, and glad that I had survived another visit to the doctor, my blood pressure was right down to the upper limits of perfectly acceptable. I must really hate doctors !

 I was obviously feeling quite good, even elated, after coming back from the surgery, and that may have reflected in the quantity of dinner I ate. Now admittedly I did have a couple of sandwiches before I went to the surgery, but I could easily have still had a big dinner. What I ended up having lacked stuff like green vegetable (but I did have double salad for breakfast), but was not exactly terrible - although that was partly by luck. The core of my dinner was sausages. They were "Porky White's" something, something sausages bought from Tesco. I cooked them in the oven, and they produced hardly any fat - which seemed odd, but was good - and best of all they tasted very good with a nice texture. I had them with some stuffed mushrooms. I didn't dare look what their food qualities were like, but I assume they were low in sugar even if there were high in other stuff (like fat).

 I went to bed feeling very far from bloated last night, and it still seemed to take ages to get to sleep. Now that was really weird. I was reading in bed at about 8pm, and within 20 minutes I found my eyes drifting away from the text, and closing. On the first occasion I must have almost fallen asleep with the book still in my hand, and on the second occasion I think I might have fallen asleep for a second or two. Of course once I put the book down, and turned out the light, I couldn't fall asleep for something like 20 minutes. Oh well, I reckon I was asleep just before 9pm, and that's not bad. It wasn't perfect, but I think I had a reasonable nights sleep (not that was good enough to stop me yawning as I think about, and write about it !).

 This morning is one of those odd mornings where some of the old aches are still aching, but I somehow still feel good. Maybe it's just a continuation of the elation of getting out of the doctors surgery last night, or maybe it is the clear sky, and the expected sunshine. (I am expecting the sun to still be shining when it finally gets past the building that is in the way of it shining straight through the windows of my office at the moment). Another oddity is that I am back to blowing my nose slightly frequently again. I think it is just my sinuses draining out now, and not new snot being produced. I am also coughing up a bit of mucus now. The cough, while very intermittent, can be powerful enough to cause some brief chest pain. This pain, for reasons I don't understand, is mostly diagonally across my left man boob.

 Another reason to be cheerful is that it is Thursday, and booze night. Tonight it's in the local Wetherspoons - a place we have never visited as the Thursday night gang/club/boozers - or at least not since I have been drinking with them. I shan't be going there direct from work. It is not much of a detour to go via home, and I intend to go home, relax for 10 minutes, and take a couple of blood pressure readings. I shall also take a couple after I get back from the pub. Whichever is the better pair of readings will go into the official records. I know that's cheating, but I have to protect my doctor from too much worry.
another crappy Just Eat
Just Eat must have the crappiest adverts ever. I snapped this one on the train this morning. It seems to be one of a series of similar crappy adverts. What worries me is this "mini-fist-pump feeling". I have a feeling that to search on Google for mini fist pump would probably bring up many links that were most definitely not safe for work viewing !
Wednesday 27th January 2016
08:18 GMT

  Yesterday was most definitely a wet day. There was heavy rain, and there was light rain. Fortunately for me it was light, and even intermittent rain when I was going home from work. It wasn't as warm as recently, but I think it managed 11° C by the time I got home. The heavy clouds kept the temperature up overnight, and while it didn't feel like it, if I correctly recall the brief glance at my thermometer soon after I got up, it was still 11° C this morning (but I may have imagined it because it didn't feel that mild as I came to work). There is a chance of a brief glimpse of the sun this morning, but generally it is going to be a very grey day. It has been trying to rain with a few spots here, and a few spots there since before I left home to walk to the station. Some fresh raindrops have just hit my office window, but it is supposed to dry up very soon. The forecast says the rain will return at about 2pm today, and from then on into, and beyond the night, it could be quite heavy.

 I felt rather good from the chin downwards at work yesterday. Above that line it was snot, snot, snot, and more snot ! I was using some rather rough feeling kitchen towel to blow my nose, and while I have felt it worse in the past, my nose was getting very sore by the time I left work to go home. Once I was out in the fresh air my nose started to behave itself better. I had expected it to dry up a bit, but I think it dried up more than that. During the course of the evening it seemed to drip less and less.

 By the time I arrived back in Catford my nose felt stable enough not to embarrass me if I went home via Tesco, and so I did. Virtually everything I bought had a reduced price sticker on it, and I had so much that I could have had a veritable feast last night. That was what I wanted, but not what I allowed myself to have. The core of my dinner was some pork belly strips that I cooked well enough to roast off much of the fat, and leave the remains crispy. They should have been delicious, but for some reason they tasted rather insipid. I don't think I can blame my dwindling cold for the lack of taste - everything else tasted normal - and so I think it was just the result of mass produced meat deprived of all the taste making muck that pigs would normally eat.

 I didn't really fancy doing much last night - and that included "post production" of the photos I took last Monday. Maybe I might tackle some more of them tonight, but last night I just wanted to rest by reading my book, and then trying to get to sleep nice and early. With my nose almost dried up it was possible to get to sleep early, and I think it might have been as early as 8.30pm (I didn't bother to check the clock when I put my book down and turned out the light). It wasn't the best sleep I've had, but it was far, far better than the night before, and probably pretty close to the poor end of average (if that were mathematically possible).

 I woke up once or twice in the night, but only on one occasion did it take longer than a few minutes to get back to sleep again. What spoiled the whole night was waking up almost half an hour before I had to, and not being able to get back to sleep again. I didn't feel all that good when I woke up. In the absence of worse problems, like snot leaking out everywhere, it was my chest that was most annoying. I can only describe it as feeling crumpled. As I lay on my right side in bed I could feel the tension and pressure around the rib case, and upon getting up it left my ribs, mostly on my right side, feeling delicate, or tender. I could feel that a lot as I went through the contortions of showering and towelling myself dry afterwards.

 The rest of my body is probably about as good as it gets on a cold wet morning. My legs are a bit stiff, my right knee is slightly sore, as is my right elbow (site of an old injury), and I guess that there might be some residual effect of my cold that has left me feeling very slightly asthmatic this morning. I managed to push myself to keep up with, or overtake, all but the fastest walkers on the mad dash over the link from Waterloo East station to Waterloo mainline station, but it was hard work, and I couldn't manage anything like that level of stamina when it came from walking from the station to work. I now feel breathless just thinking about it !

 Hopefully I won't feel too bad a work today. It would be nice to feel nice and relaxed when I see my doctor after work, and to that end I have told my manager that I might have to leave 10 - 15 minutes early this afternoon. This was mainly to be if I suspected that there could be any delays on the trains - which there could be knowing how the signals and rails on the approaches to Waterloo station hate rain. I think I will probably leave early regardless of any delays on the railway. If I leave 15 minute early I can probably get the train that leaves 30 minutes earlier from Waterloo East.

 Getting home half an hour early will give me a little time to relax, and maybe take a good blood pressure reading to show the doctor. Last night, after some serious relaxing, I got my blood pressure down to 125/97, and while some can manage much lower, that is very low for me. Hopefully, if I can present a couple of good readings to the doctor (I've been taking them for the last few evenings and mornings) we can concentrate on the two things that are of more concern. The first is the abnormality that showed up on my electro cardiogram last September, and the second is my "floating rib" (or twisted rib as I now like to incorrectly think of it). The former could be a sign of early death, but that is not important provided I can lead up to it without the annoying pain from my rib cage. Ideally I want something better than taking Ibuprofen when it gets bad, but I suspect that is what it will come down to.
Tuesday 26th January 2016
08:30 GMT

  It stayed dry yesterday evening, and also through the night, but it is not forecast to stay that way. During the night the temperature dropped to 7° C, and a moderate amount of wind made that feel rather more chilly than it might otherwise have been. This morning should be fairly bright, but very little sunshine is expected. After midday the temperature may hit a peak of about 11° C, but the clouds will be thickening up. After an hour or two it will pour with rain, and I'll probably get soaked to the bone going home from work. Tomorrow will be a little warmer - 13° C - but is forecast to be considerably wetter !

 My cold really built up to a crescendo last night. It seemed I had snot pouring out all the usual orifices, plus I was sneezing and coughing. Apart from that I felt mostly OK ! Of course it didn't bode well for a good night's sleep, and sure enough, i had a terrible night's sleep. As my sinuses filled up, my face started to feel a bit sore in places, and there seemed to be a peculiar itchy pain up my left nostril. It was like someone was trying to fish my brains out using a corkscrew.

 As well as waking up every 30 minutes (or less) on the occasions when I did manage to fall asleep, I was tossing and turning all night. That made me feel too warm, and feeling too warm lead to more tossing and turning, and that didn't not have a good effect on my chest. When I got up this morning my face felt like it was full of snot. My nose felt red raw from all the nose blowing, and my chest was feeling quite sore.

 On other occasions I would have called in sick, but I didn't like to do that straight after having a days holiday, and I have/had this rather simplistic idea that after all I've gone through, I must be getting better by now - and maybe, just maybe, I am starting to feel better. My nose is definitely not dripping as violently as it was last night, and while it was rather minor compared to how it would have been in my smoking days, I am hardly coughing at all this morning (which isn't quite the same as not coughing at all). Having said all that optimistic stuff, I have just sneezed, and then filled a tissue up with just one single blow ! The good thing is that while I may feel mildly terrible, I don't feel the terribly terrible that I thought I would.

 I have no idea how I'll feel later, but I should not be surprised if lack of sleep does not catch up with me this afternoon. With that in mind it is probably a good thing that I will probably be pulled to instant high awareness when I leave work. A face full of cold rain water will doubtlessly revive me. I don't think I even dare consider what getting soaked on my way home will do to my cold...double pneumonia maybe ? It will definitely be good to get home, and get the heating on, and get some hot food in me. Maybe if I time it right I can go to bed at the optimum feeling sleepy after eating moment - which could be quite early in the evening, but if that is my best time to get some sleep then I'll take it.

request for blood tests
 I remembered to take a quick snap of my blood test request form in the interval between leaving the nurse, and having the blood sample taken. I get the impression that my friendly vampire should have taken two samples, but it only felt like one. On the other hand, I tend not to look at where the needle goes in, particularly when it is actually going in, but it is only when the needle breaks the skin that there is a brief prick of pain. It is possible she could have changed sample tubes without me noticing. As to what these samples are for in detail....well, you can use Google as well as I !
inverse silhouette of a stag
                  on a tunnel wall
 This is a view of the river Ravensbourne (or the Ravensbourne river as some like to call it recently) flowing through an arch under Catford Road just a few feet away to the west from the bridge that the railway line passes under by Catford Bridge station. I don't know how long the picture of the stag has been painted on the wall of the arch, but it looks very fresh and clean. Whoever painted it must have done it standing at least ankle deep in water, and possibly more than knee deep.
painted or stencilled stag
 Here is a close up of the same stag. There is an identical looking (or so it seems) stag painted, or maybe stencilled onto the inside perimeter wall of a piece of disused land that can be seen when looking out the left side windows of a train from London as it approaches Ladywell station.
Monday 25th January 2016
17:06 GMT

  As the second to last week of January gave way to the last week of January, the temperature has stayed unseasonably mild. The temperature may not have fallen below 9° C during the night. This morning the sky was quite clear and blue, and we enjoyed several hours of very pleasant sunshine. By 1pm the sky was getting quite cloudy, but the sun still managed to break through now and then. It wasn't quite as warm as yesterday, but 13° C, and maybe a degree more in central London, still felt very pleasant. Unfortunately tomorrow is going to be rather dull until early afternoon when it will get duller still - and rain. It is also going to be a lot cooler. The temperature will barely make 10° C until after sunset when it will start to rise again. Tuesday morning could start at 12° C.

 I thought I was finally shaking off my cold last night. My sore throat was almost not sore, but while that was good, there were hints of worse to come. My nose seemed to get stuffy again, and I started to cough more. These things, plus feeling stupidly hot during the night meant that once again I got less sleep than I felt was owed to me. Strangely enough, tiredness was not one of the things I seemed to suffer from today.

 The prime thing on the agenda this morning was my check up with the nurse at 9.30am. I felt moderately good when I went there. The blue sky and sunshine must have contributed a lot towards it, but for some reason my nose and cough conveniently decided to act OK for the duration. Of course there was a downside to that. Ideally I wanted to seem as ill as possible to distract the nurse away from other stuff. Fortunately, unlike a couple of other nurses there, the nurse I saw today is very good natured, and seemed to want to help instead of chide. It makes all the difference !

 I finally heard the results of the tests that were carried out last September. My blood glucose level was higher than ideal, but a great improvement over the disaster of about 12 months ago. Part of today's testing was to check my feet. She still recommends that I soak my feet and grind off the callouses with pumice stone more often. So I have decided I will do it ten times more frequently - although ten times not at all is still not very frequent !

 More interesting was the result of the electro-cardiogram taken last September. It did show a potential problem. Quite why nobody contacted me about it is a mystery - to me and to the nurse. Apparently it does suggest some damage to my heart muscle (or one of them), but it is, as far as I can tell, only a suggestion. I suspect further testing will be needed - as will further testing of my "floating rib" (assuming it is deemed worthy of investigation).

 As I hoped, the nurse had been able to escalate things to the point that I will be seeing a doctor, maybe not one of their best, but a doctor this coming Thursday evening. It's mainly to see about this anomaly on my electro-cardiogram, but because that is just a life or death thing, I mainly want to discuss my floating rib problem. That involves pain now rather than potential death in the future, and so is rather more important to me.

 After seeing the nurse I popped upstairs to where the vampires live under the eaves, and gave a syringe full of blood to be tested for lipids, renal function, and other or different stuff. The results of that will come in about a week, and so will not be available to the doctor on Wednesday. The vampires were not very busy, and I was seen within about 15 minutes of going up there - which was quite good.

 The only problem with having to give the blood samples was that it delayed me, and that delay was after waiting for almost half an hour after my appointment time before I saw the nurse. I dread to think how long the next person had to wait because I am sure my time with the nurse was far longer than the allocated time. By the time I left the surgery I decided it was getting too late to take a quick visit to the seaside as I would like to have done. I was considering a walk around Southend. It is a terrible place, but fairly quick to get to, and quite cheap too. A ticket from the boundary of where my 60+ Oyster Card will take me to for free, which is, Upminster station, to Southend is only £8.50 return when also using my Senior Railcard discount.

 I still wanted to get out into the sunshine before it faded away, and I wanted to take some test shots with my new (old) Canon EOS 400D camera. A less ambitious day out was an idea I had for Yesterday before I realised I just couldn't be bothered to go out, and that was to take a train from Catford station to Blackfriars station so I could take a walk along the south bank of the Thames. So I did that, and it was rather pleasant. It was easy enough going, but I don't think it would have been easy going for much longer - unless the sea air had worked some kind of magic if I had gone to Southend.

 The manual controls of my Canon EOS 400D are pretty much the same as on the 1200D, and so it was fairly easy to "drive" the new camera, and I got quite a lot of good shots today. I took so many in total, and had such a low level of patience this afternoon that it is going to take some time to go through them, and find the best to display on Flickr. It's going to be a project for a few evenings this week. One reason I don't have the patience now is that my cold has taken a new turn for the most inconvenience. As I sit here in front of my PC my nose is dripping, and seem to be doing a lot of sneezing. It is as if I have a real mk1 standard cold now !
class 387 train at
                  Blackfriars station
 I have prepared just one picture because there is a story behind it, and I wanted to tell it to an old friend of mine who is a manager at Blackfriars station. Just after I had taken the picture above, the best of four, all taken hand held, and without flash, one of the platform staff approached me and told me off. She said that the driver was very stressed, and that I shouldn't take pictures of his train. I am pretty sure I know the rules for station photography, and they are no commercial photography without permission, no flash photography, and no tripods (plus general courtesy in not getting in other peoples way). So the driver who was walking by me in the orange hi-vi jacket didn't say a word to me even though he was in a better position to see what I was doing, but the platform assistant (or whatever she was called) would not believe me. I have been lead to believe that a manager will remind her of what the rules actually are, rather what she believes them to be.

 Since getting back from the south bank I have been mostly resting, blowing my nose, and coughing. On reflection, maybe I am not coughing so much now (although I wish I hadn't thought about it because I have just started again). Mostly I have been blowing my nose, or if I didn't I would almost drip. I've also been doing a good line in sneezing too ! I have managed to fit in a bit of laundry this afternoon. It wasn't so bad doing it apart from one major inconvenience - trying to blow my nose, or at least stop it dripping, while wearing soapy rubber gloves ! Oh well it's done now, and it was a good way of warming up. I've been quite sweaty since doing the last of that laundry, and I don't know what proportion to attribute to physical labour, excess blood sugar*, booze, or the illness causing my body temperature to fluctuate.

 * Having given my blood sample that will be used to assess my long term blood sugar level today, I can take a few liberties. So to help cool my throat, not that it really needed cooling today, I pigged out on a minor overdose of ice cream !

 I intend to go into work tomorrow. Maybe it will be just to shower everyone with snot so they know I am suffering, and then possibly go sick during the day, but there is potentially a better reason for not going sick on this occasion, and that is that there could be better reasons coming up. There is the possibility that my electro cardiogram anomaly will need some specialist treatment that will mean many visits to the doctor, or potentially even time in hospital. The latter would be awkward, but it could have it's rewards. Maybe they could take my chest apart again, and put it back together properly....and maybe I could do the right stuff to make sure it stays together properly this time !
Sunday 24th January 2016
17:29 GMT

  It didn't cool down that much overnight, and after yesterday's 11° C it was probably only 7 or 8° C first thing this morning. It was obvious there had been some rain during the night - the road looked wet, but there were no deep puddles. That set the pattern for today. There were a few brief sunny periods, but most of the day has been at least lightly overcast. That makes it all the more surprising that I was seeing 15° C on my outside thermometer this afternoon. It has cooled off a little now, but it is still just over 13° C right now. If I hadn't seen the road outside sometimes looking dry, and sometimes looking wet I would have said that today was a dry day, but the evidence says it wasn't.

 The forecast for tomorrow is still saying that the morning, and perhaps some of the afternoon is going to be bright and sunny, and even if it is not it is still supposed to be dry. It is not supposed to be so warm/mild as today, but we should still see 13° C. Maybe it's worth looking at what the weather was doing about this time three years ago (actually 21st January 2013).
a frozen pond, and snow all
I think this picture, taken in Ladywell Fields, is pretty self explanatory.

  The honey and cinnamon flavoured Jack Daniels I had last night definitely did something positive for my sore throat, but whether it reduced the inflammation, or if I was drunk enough to ignore it, can only be speculated about now. What I do know is that the effect wasn't permanent, and maybe I was less drunk than I thought I was. I wrote about it just before 8pm, and by 10pm my throat was feeling very raw again, and I was feeling annoyingly sober !

 I guess the booze was still working at a deeper level because I didn't seem to have any trouble sleeping once I managed to relax. Some of my sleep was good, perhaps most of it was, but I wish I could have slept properly beyond 6am. I did sleep after that, but it was in small chunks totalling no more than an hour...maybe 90 minutes. I would have preferred to sleep until at least 8am, and maybe even 10am.

 I had grand ideas for this morning, but they all came to naught. It was almost dry, and with a bit of charity you could have called it warm. I didn't seem to feel that bad, and I thought I ought to go out. I didn't feel quite well enough to do any grand schemes like going to the seaside, but I thought I might jump on a train to Blackfriars station, and then take a walk along the south bank taking some pictures while I walked. That would have been a fine idea, and I could have come back with some nice snaps. The only trouble is that it took me so long to get my act together that I missed the train I intended to get.

 The trains are only every half hour, and I thought I ought to do something to keep myself amused. I chose something that would take more than half an hour, but potentially could set me up to get a train an hour later than my original choice. That thing was to take a wander around the 99p and £1 shops.  I bought some cleaning stuff in the 99p shop, but I made sure I stayed clear of their food area....well almost clear. I did buy a big naughty bag of BBQ flavoured peanuts.

 I never did get to the £1 shop because I went into Poundstretcher and found quite a lot of stuff to buy. They had a sale on, and I bought a few good and useful things, and some stuff that could only be classified as toys like half price LED fairy lights. Once again I was annoyed that I bought yet another string of fairy lights that said they were red, but were actually blue. Once was a mistake, and repeating that mistake not once, but twice was doubly annoying....and yet strings of blue LEDs are still rather nice.

 I also bought two new towels that were reduced from £5.99 to £2.99. One is a rather nice turquoise colour, and the other was black. For some strange reason that I don't even dare to work out, I thought it would be nice and sinister to buy a pair of black rubber gloves to use when I was washing that black towel. Well it would (why ?) but only if they were like normal rubber gloves used for dish washing or other household tasks. They seemed thin and flexible like normal rubber gloves when in their packet, but as the packet admittedly said, they were for engineering purposes and were thick and inflexible. Oh well, maybe they will be OK if I ever have to clean deeper in the toilet than I would ever hope to be necessary !

 The best thing about going to the local shops was not what I bought, but as a reminder that I still have this cold. While the stuffy nose during the last couple of days of the working week was an annoyance, and the sore throat was very annoyingly painful for a while, neither was bad/persistent enough to make me keep in mind that I had a cold, and could expect to feel weak or lacking in stamina etc. Until I stopped smoking a cold was always accompanied by a terrible cough, bronchitis, and frequently single, double, or even occasionally triple pneumonia ! It was difficult to miss ! Now it seems a cold is a series of nasties, but not always terribles, that can be mostly ignored until you try to do something like walk to the shops and back. Today's walk was no great hardship, but there was enough effect to make me think that I was glad I didn't try anything more taxing.

 Actually I did do something that was taxing, and yet it wasn't as taxing as I thought it might have been. I did some laundry, but hand, of course, and it was not as bad as I thought it might be. As a result I did a little more than I expected. I washed two little 1m by 1m mini table clothes, two shirts, some underpants, and a small towel. It's all hanging up to dry, and maybe some of those items are almost dry now.

 I don't think I'll be doing anything else for the rest of the evening beyond a bit of reading. Tomorrow morning I will be seeing the nurse for my check up. I expect my blood pressure will be nice and high, and I'll be moaned at again. Unfortunately my blood glucose level will probably be high as well after some frosty mornings, and freezing evenings, have encouraged me to eat unwisely...not to mention the effects of almost syrupy flavoured Jack Daniels. It's going to be hard to explain that one away when the latest goofy government idea is that we should not only be drinking less alcohol, but ideally we should be drinking anti or negative alcohol so we be safe from minute risks of cancer (while being in big danger of suicide when life becomes incredibly tedious and boring).

 Maybe after I've seen the nurse I will go out and enjoy myself. Maybe I could even go to the seaside. I expect that what I should be doing is queuing upstairs in the attic of the surgery building where the vampires live, and giving a blood sample, but I don't fancy doing that while I know so many things will be wrong. On the other hand the test of blood glucose metabolism gives an averaged result over the preceding 2 or 3 weeks, and for a couple of those weeks I was probably eating/drinking correctly. So it wouldn't make much difference. I guess it will all come down to how I feel and how the weather feels.
Saturday 23rd January 2016
19:54 GMT

  It really was amazing how accurate the weather forecast for yesterday was.  There may have been a few timing issues over exactly when the rain was due to start in the morning, and when it was supposed to end in the afternoon, but it wasn't far off. It was probably closer to 3pm when the rain had completely stopped, and the sun came out, but even if a little later than I thought, it was still rather fine by me. With the sky over 50% clear, it was another great example of how the days are slowly getting longer. It was still slightly light when I got home, and that was after detouring via Tesco.

 I don't think the temperature was as high as hoped for, but it was very noticeably less cold than it has been. I think I noticed 8° C on my thermometer when I got home. During the night the temperature fell to about 5° C. It might have gone lower if it wasn't for another covering of clouds. I think there was probably some rain after dark, but it hasn't rained since then. There have been some nice sunny intervals today, but a bigger percentage of te day was probably overcast to some degree or another. I did notice that the temperature hit 11° C for a while today, but it is still 8.5° C now. The forecast for tomorrow says it is going to be very gloomy for a lot of the time, but it should stay dry, and the temperature could hit 13° C ! I can't believe the forecast for Monday. It is currently saying it will hit 13° C again, and some of the time it will be sunny !

 Yesterday morning all I could really complain about was the sensitive nature of my chest, and how just reaching over my PC monitor to turn a mains switch on triggered a major twinge from my "floating" rib, although I wonder if I would not be better off describing it as a twisted rib. It rather overshadowed another little problem I had. For a couple of days, but getting more prominent yesterday, my nose had been feeling very stuff, and while not exactly dripping, it did need increasing amounts of blowing.

 It was annoying, but didn't cause any problems. What was less obvious was that my throat was becoming dry and itchy. By late afternoon it was beginning to cause me to cough a bit, but provided I kept it wet it didn't give much trouble yesterday evening. This morning it was definitely beginning to feel sore, but the rest of me was mostly OK. So I didn't put off a visit from Aleemah. In the morning we went to the local 'spoons for breakfast, and a pint and a half of beer kept my throat nice and wet for a while.
beer for breakfast
Breakfast : half a pint of Robert Burns brown ale, and a pint of Glorious English !

  When we came back home we watched a Daily Mail free DVD of Arabian Nights. I don't think it was supposed to be, but I thought it to be a bit funny.....on second thoughts, it probably was meant to be funny, and we did laugh, but I am not sure if we laughed at the right bits ! The only problem is that while watching the DVD my throat slowly got more sore. This afternoon it was getting quite annoying, but there was worse to come...and better !

 After Aleemah went home I spent the afternoon relaxing. I did a bit of reading, and I had a snooze. When I woke up I thought I had better try and get myself ready to go out. I was very keen to try out my new (secondhand) camera at Chain's gig tonight, and I was determined to go out no matter what. So I had some "medicine". Initially I gargled with some Jack Daniels Tennessee Honey, and a couple of large ones of those did seem to help, but not help enough. So I tried a few big doses of Jack Daniels Tennessee Fire, the version of Jack Daniels with cinnamon in it. That seemed to be very effective.

 The only problem is that I rather over did it. I feel rather too drunk to go out now, and so I will have to wait for another occasion to test my new camera. Maybe I'll feel OK to take it into the perk tomorrow, or maybe even go out "train spotting" with it, although neither will test it's fidelity under low light conditions. Of course that rather assumes I don't feel too bad tomorrow. If it really is 13° C,  it could be very tempting even if I still feeling a bit rough (but not too rough).

 Of course the only problem with drinking these sweetened bourbon whiskeys is that it is going to really wreck any blood samples I will almost certainly be asked to give when I see the nurse on Monday. Oh well, at least Monday is supposed to be warm and sunny, and with the whole day booked off work, I could do something exciting once I've seen the nurse.

 I've just written all this while under the influence...I've used the spell checker quite liberally so all the words I have used should be spelled correctly. I just wonder if the words I have used are in the right order, and if I have only imagined that I used them. If some sentences don't make sense you can blame it on Jack Daniels. I can also blame it for making me feel considerably better than I probably should, and for the inspiration to get into bed very soon now !
Friday 22nd January 2016
08:21 GMT

  It was less dull than expected yesterday. Most of the morning was rather dull, but at approx 1pm, to my great surprise, the sun came out, and shone through my office window for about half an hour. It wasn't quite as good as the day before, but it was still very welcome, and very nice. The rest of the afternoon wasn't sunny, but it was brighter than expected, although the temperature was still around the expected 4° C. The other change to the expected was that it didn't rain last night - or not that I was aware of. I want to have great faith in the weather forecast for today. It says that this morning should have started at around 5 or 6° C, and it did. It also said that while it would be dull, it wouldn't rain until about now, and it has just started to rain. If it continues to be correct we will have some very heavy rain soon for a few hours, and then it will ease off, and stop around 2pm. That allows a good margin of error for it to be dry, and even possibly sunny, when I go home from work this afternoon. By then it could be 9 or even 10° C. There is a possibility that tomorrow could see a similar pattern, but with the temperature possibly reaching 12° C - although that does seem rather optimistic.

No toilets at Waterloo East
 I had a good day at work yesterday. I was doing easier work, and for the second day running I was mostly free of pain. That meant that going home wasn't quite the complete and utter joy it was a couple of days ago, but it was obviously still joy of a high degree. The only thing that spoiled my journey home is summed up by the picture on the left. I was not desperate to use the facilities, but it would have saved a few people experiencing some wind I passed in a less appropriate place.

 Of course last night I wasn't heading directly home, but I was heading for The Ravensbourne Arms pub as a detour on my way home. Just for a change they had some nice beer in there - so nice that I seem to have a mild hangover this morning. It is just a shame that the beer that tempted me to have a fourth pint ran out just as I wanted it, and I had to have an inferior, but still pleasant pint instead.

 It was a curiously good night in the pub. Maybe not good as in memorable, but just pleasant and relaxing with all sorts of good banter, and with a good selection of music playing in the background (but only just in the background !). On the way to the pub I took a snapshot of the sunset as I walked across the park. The view towards the west is a little too obscured to see the best of the sunset, and this view looks more to the north, but it shows a little streak of red among the clouds (and behind the treetops).
sunset at Ladywell Fields
 When I left the pub I had to escort Jodie onto a 54 bus. If I hadn't have had to do that I may have walked home, and I may have walked home avoiding the fried chicken shop...but I didn't ! It wasn't good for my body, but it was good for my soul, or sanity, or whatever it is that lives inside my skull detached from reality, to have instant hot food when I arrived home. It wasn't long after eating that I went to bed. I wasn't paying much attention to the time, but I think I was in bed, and maybe even asleep by 9pm.

 I seemed to have quite a good asleep until 3am when I woke up and couldn't seem to get back to sleep again. Obviously I did fall asleep on more than one occasion, but it felt like I was more awake than asleep. Well I guess that about 6 hours sleep should be good enough, but I think I might feel a bit sleepy today. Apart from a lack of sleep, I don't feel nearly as good as yesterday or the day before. This morning my legs feel stiff. I think I shall blame that on the rain even if it is just a coincidence. I shall also blame my chest pains resuming on the rain too. My chest felt a bit crunchy when I went to bed last night, but it wasn't actually painful. This morning it felt tender, but mostly still not painful until I reached over my PC monitor to turn on the mains switch for many things on my desk. As I did that the floating rib on my right hand side, the one just below the bottom of my right hand man boob, went SPROING ! (or something like that), and for a full second it was bloody painful. For the next 5 seconds it was quite painful, and from then on the pain faded away leaving just a sort of tender feeling. At the moment, almost 90 minutes since I did it, there is no pain as such, but it does feel on edge as if it would be very easy to provoke it. Hopefully I will have a mostly pain free day, but I have yet to find out what it is going to feel like when I am hunched over my microscope.

 I am expecting a spare battery, and a spare compact flash memory card for my new (old) camera to be delivered today. Putting the battery on charge will take up a few minutes of my time tonight, but that's OK because I will have a lot of time on my hands. There are no gigs on tonight, or at least none that I can remember. So I can have a nice quiet night in. I think I will definitely have to wash my hair tonight. I haven't washed it all week, and it's been feeling yucky for days now. Maybe the bathroom will be more bearable tonight if it's 10° C outside. I probably ought to wash a shirt or two tonight, but I have plenty of clean shirts, and so it's not urgent. With luck I can do all these things and still have time for an hour of reading before going to bed at 9pm.
traffic cone on a train
 They say you can always tell when you've been to a good party when you wake up the next day with a traffic cone in your bed. I presume my train from Earlsfield had had a good night before I caught it at 15:47 yesterday afternoon.
Thursday 21st January 2016
08:11 GMT

  The weather provided a little treat yesterday. It was sunny practically all day, which was good, but just before 1pm, and for the next half hour, something special happened. With the sun so low in the sky at this time of year there is only a small gap between two buildings where the sun can shine through into my office. Just before 1pm, where "just before" could be 10, 15, or even 20 minutes before, the sun poured through my office window onto my back, and it felt delicious. The sun seems to carry no heat when outdoors, but behind glass it felt really quite hot, and for the next 30 to 40 minutes I was in heaven !

 The clear sky also meant there was a lot of afterglow that extended daylight hours (or semi-daylight) until a lot later than sunset (which is now approx 4.30pm). The only fly in the ointment was that it was an exceptionally cold day. It was 1.9° C when I got home from work after taking a slight detour from my normal route. There was a sharp frost in the night, but we have now come under the influence of some slightly warmer, and rather wetter air. So it was just above zero when I walked to the station this morning, and after a sadly dull day the temperature will have gone up to 4° C. By mid evening it is forecast to rain (although it sounds like some of the first fallscould be of sleet). Tomorrow could see temperature soar to 10° C or more, but it is going to be dull, gloomy, and very, very wet - probably !

 I don't know how it happened, but on one of the coldest mornings we have had recently, my office seemed, for the first time ever since the new "climate control" units were fitted, to warm up faster, and quite effectively. So it wasn't long before I was feeling quite comfortable, and that is probably why I didn't seem to suffer any chest pain yesterday. My chest still seemed to make a good selection of grinding, grating, popping and creaking noises - mostly when walking - and on a few occasions gave me a brief twinge, but there was none of the persistent dull aches that have been rather uncomfortable on previous days.

 That set me up in a good mood, and I was able to do a lot more work at work. It also helped that I have temporarily swapped to a different project. The new project is theoretically harder to do because it involves soldering some really tiny components, but while I am still able to get a clear sharp image into my old eyes by using a microscope, I sort of enjoy this precision work. This left me in a good mood for when I left work to go home, and that left me determined to do something that was just a possibility from before I went to work yesterday morning.

 I think I explained here some days ago how I seem to have learned how to use my DSLR camera quite well now I have been practising on it for the last 3 months. I think I also said that I am now beginning to see the limitations of my camera when using it to take pictures of musicians on quite frequently dimly lit small pub stages. The image sensor in my camera is quite noisy. You would never notice it in a brightly lit picture, but a dark background behind a poorly lit subject can be really speckled with noise, and that can be really noticeable when the image is blown up.  So what to do ?

 The obvious answer is to get a better camera. My camera was classed as a "lower entry level" model. I noticed that sitting in the window of the Catford "Cash Converters" was a Canon EOS 400D, and it was less than £100 (albeit just 1p less !). It is an old, as in 2007, model, but it is described as "upper entry level", and sits one notch below "pro". So yesterday I didn't go straight home from work, but went back to Cash Converters to have a look at it.

 It seemed in fairly good condition, although the generic camera case it came in looked rather nasty and tatty, and it came with the bassic kit lens. It had a battery in it of unknown quality, and the charger for it, but didn't have a Compact Flash memory card with it.  Fortunately I have a couple of spare CF cards, and so I bought the camera and took it home. The battery seemed to charge OK, but it must be near the end of it's life, and may be losing capacity. I took a few test pictures in my dimly lit bedroom, and while I didn't try and push the camera to it's limits, I think there is hope that my theory that it would have a lower noise image sensor is probably correct.
Canon EOS 400D DSLR camera
The Canon EOS 400D DSLR camera I bought last night.

 I should be able to better test this theory about lower noise this coming Saturday night when Chain play in The Chatterton Arms pub in Bromley. It's not one of the darkest stages, but is rarely brilliantly lit. In the meantime I have ordered a couple of cheap and nasty (and possibly explody) spare batteries, and another spare CF memory card. One of the useful things is that the camera takes exactly the same lens as my Canon EOS 1200D camera. So I already have a set of suitable lenses - although I still have an irrational desire for a super zoom lens - the type that the papparazi use !

 The other thing I did last night was to do a full back-up of my home partition on my PC. Of course once I had set a couple parameters the software took over, and I didn't have to do another thing until it finished. The only thing I did do was to try to not do anything else while it was doing the back-up. There was over 900 GB of date to copy to the new portable USB hard disk I had bought, and it took a very long time to do it ! I have no idea what time it finished, but I would think it would have been sometime in the early hours of the morning. There is plenty of room on the new back-up disk (more than my home partition), and so it should last quite a long time. The good thing is that Lucky Backup, the software I use, does an incremental back up, and the next time I do a backup, which in an ideal world should be at least once a week, will not take nearly as long because it only has to copy files that are new or have changed.

 Today is Thursday, and Thursday is usually boozing night. Tonight is no exception, and I am looking forward to a couple of pints (probably three - and no more) in The Ravensbourne Arms which is just a short walk from Ladywell station. All I have to do is to remember to get on the back of my normal train home instead of the front (the exit from Ladywell station is beyond the back of the train instead of by the front of the train as it is at Catford Bridge station).
Wednesday 20th January 2016
08:19 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was pretty much as forecast. It was mostly a bright sunny day with the only caveat that with the sun so low in the sky at this time of year, it wasn't always directly visible. Fortunately there was very little wind to make the cold feel colder than it was.
minus 2.3 degrees when I went to work
I'm not sure if we hit the forecast high of 3° C. It was just 1.9° C when I got home from work, and it just got colder and colder. The temperature was going negative by not much later than 7pm, and still it slowly, slowly got lower and lower.  By 06:02 this morning it was minus 2.3° C, and it was probably still dropping because I'm sure it was only minus 2.0° C when I first woke up.

 Today is forecast to be much like yesterday with lots of blue sky, lots of sunshine (for those lucky enough to be up high with a clear view towards the horizon), and it is going to be bloody cold. I'm sure the forecast is more pessimistic than yesterday, and it says the best we can hope for is just 2° C. Interestingly enough, it reckons it will be minus 3° C at 09:00 today.

 Further into the future there are forecasts for 10 or 11° C for the weekend. That would be good if it were to stay dry, bright, and sunny, but rain is forecast with terrible dull grey depressing skies. I think I prefer shivering in the frost !

  I picked up some great bargains in Tesco on my way home from work yesterday. That is obviously a complete lie ! Many of those "bargains" would have been even cheaper than half/reduced price if I had not bought them in the first place. Some were just a waste of money, and others were stuff that I shouldn't really be eating. As a for instance of a waste of money I could cite the half price prawn and pepper sushi I bought. It was an incredibly small snack for £1.03. I could have enjoyed it a lot more if it were about 50p a pack.

 I am not sure why I felt the urge to buy a pack of fat free yoghurts. I don't think it was because they were on special offer. It was one of those cases where my body seemed to be suggesting it needed something in yoghurt. So I bough a pack of 6, and ate three of them last night without looking at the ingredients or the nutritional breakdown. They were only 99 calories per pot according to the big sign on the package, but in reality that is a lot for just a couple of mouthfuls, and unfortunately most of those calories were in the form of added sugar.

  With the high probability of a blood test looming next Monday, I am trying to avoid as much sugar as possible right now. So buying and consuming those yohurts was not my finest decision...and yet there was this strange urge to buy and eat them. While there is no other specific thing I am trying to avoid at the moment, I am generally trying to avoid too much of anything, but that is proving tricky when the mercury dips into negative figures. I guess it starts becoming hard well before that. I don't think there is an actual trigger point because it is a combination of cold and damp. Freezing cold is an obvious attack path, but lack of sunshine and rain at any temperature is possibly a less obvious attack point, although I am far less sensitive to these things once the temperature tops 20° C.

 There was stuff that I might have done last night, but I basically did nothing. It felt too cold to wash my hair last night, and ten times so this morning ! I did consider washing a couple of shirts. It would have been a good way of warming up very quickly, but with all the trouble I have had with my chest recently it didn't seem like a good idea. My chest gave me some trouble while I was feeling cold at work yesterday (and probably again this morning), but once again it was feeling a lot better once my office had warmed up (in the afternoon !). It clicked and grated a lot as I walked on my way home from work, but while that was very annoying, it didn't cause any pain.

 My chest was comfortable once I was home and in the warm, but because it seemed so mechanically unsound earlier on, I decided to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets an hour or so before trying to get to sleep. They did give me a comfortable sleep (or would that have happened anyway ?), and after taking ages to get to sleep, I seemed to sleep quite comfortably. To my great annoyance, I couldn't resist having to go and have a pee just 25 minutes before I was due to be woken by my alarm, but I did manage to fall asleep again having had it. It was one of those odd occasions where it seemed I wasn't asleep, until my alarm clock went off, and I had to wake up from what must have been a dream about laying in bed not being able to sleep - unless that was true and this is a dream !

 This morning is another of those occasions when my legs seem to be working better and faster than my body can keep up with. I mainly judge this by how well I perform when crossing the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station, although the walk from home to the station can act as an indicator too. That first walk seemed easy enough, but it is not a walk performed under pressure. Going across the link at Waterloo is more like a race, and this morning it was usually easy to accelerate for a bit to overtake the slow commuters. I don't think I can outpace the fastest walkers, but I can usually just about keep up with them, and of course the marvellous thing compared to just over 2 and half years ago is that it is painless to do it - even when I am breathing quite deeply (but not actually panting). Maybe that is a bit of a generalisation because there have been odd occasions when I have twisted my floating rib, and that has been rather painful, but at least it is a very different pain to angina or heart attack in a sort of less lethal way.

 I hope my office heats up a bit quicker today, and I suffer from the cold less than I did yesterday and even more so the day before (when a weekend with no heating chilled everything I could see or touch to the extent I could have died from exposure). I think I can feel my office getting warmer even now, and while my computer keyboard still feels icy, there does seem to be an unusual warmish feel to the air. Maybe I might even feel like working sometime today !

 I didn't have any plans for this evening, but I have now. I just got a message saying my new USB hard disk will be arriving today, and so tonight I will attempt to do a full backup of my /home partition on my PC. If all goes well that will consume 15 minutes of my time tonight (although the backup process itself will probably take a couple of hours or more). What I will do for the rest of the evening is anyone's guess at the moment.

 Just one thing to add.....You know there are supposed to be 12 days of Xmas, and that keeping decorations up after the 12th day (the 6th Jan I believe) is supposed to be unlucky.....It seems no one has told Pimlico Plumbers about it. Their headquarters is by the railway line about a minute away from Waterloo on the way to Vauxhall station. If you can see this embedded video then you can see a rather blurry version of what I could see on my way to work this morning.
Tuesday 19th January 2016
08:09 GMT

   After a depressingly dull, grey, and cold day, the sun just managed to shine a few rays onto the top of a few high buildings just as it dropped below the horizon. Even if the sun had broken through the clouds much, much earlier, even mid morning, it would not have influenced the temperature that much. Once again, the temperature may have hit 5° C for a few seconds, somewhere, but 4° C was about right for most places. With the clouds broken up the temperature dropped even lower last night. One of my thermometers said 0.6° C and the other 0.5° C when I got up this morning, and that seems pretty cold to me. (Yes, I know it is probably minus 99° C in Canada, and the snow is 24ft deep, but this is England where two snow flakes can block the entire rail network !). The sky doesn't look all that clear right now, but today is forecast to be very sunny, and that will raise the temperature to more than 2° C - maybe even 3° C !. This is going to be the pattern for the next few days, but early, and perhaps premature forecasts are suggesting temperature up near 10° C at the weekend - and rain !

 My optimism about how I felt yesterday morning was a bit over optimistic. Thanks to my office being so bloody cold for a lot of the morning I started to feel rough in all sorts of ways. I felt a bit stiff, and incredibly unenthusiastic about doing any work, plus what had only been sounds, or sensations that felt like sounds, from my chest soon turned into actual aches. Some five hours after arriving at work my office was just warm enough to be comfortable, and I started to feel considerably better.

 When I had finished work, and headed out into the cold I was feeling tolerably well, but more than that, I seemed to have an unguessed amount of energy. It was another of those days when my legs were working extremely well - even if other parts of my body seemed to be in a rapid state of decay. I had a quick look to see if a bus was coming up the hill, and when I saw there wasn't one anywhere in sight I strode off towards the station at a moderately fast pace, and it felt fine doing it. On a warm sunny day it might even have been enjoyable.

 I don't know where all that energy came from, but it lasted all the way home, and then a bit longer. Considering how sleepy I had felt after what I was convinced was a terrible night's sleep, it all seemed rather amazing. Maybe it had something to do with having a couple of sandwiches for breakfast instead of salad, but usually that slows me down instead of speeding me up. I've had a couple of sandwiches this morning to see if it work again. At the moment it seems to have slowed me down, but you never know - maybe I'll feel like Superman when I go home this afternoon. (Now that seems most unlikely !).

 I'll confess that I did have a few packets of crisps last night, but my actual dinner was one of my lowest calorie dinners for some time. It was a two part dinner. The first part was an Iceland "Slimming World" cottage pie. I did spoil it and improve it by a spoonful of chilli chutney. It added a nice kick as well as some unwanted sugar. Dinner part 2 was a bowl of steamed green vegetables that I improved/ruined by a very generous application of mayonnaise.

 Having had my dinner I started a very important job on my PC - a long overdue back up. I use a free program called Lucky Backup. I would have to agree it sounds a stupid name - particularly for something so important, but it does work well, and it is available for Windows PCs too. I use it on my work PC now and then. The only problem with last night's backup is that it failed for lack of disk space. Lucky Backup doesn't do anything fancy like compress files, and so what it did manage to copy to my back up disk is valid data - it just didn't manage to copy all files.

 I guessed this would happen sooner or later, and I pre-empted what would need to be done by ordering a new USB connected 2TB hard disk yesterday afternoon. It will take a few days to get here because I opted for free postage, but once it is here I will make a fresh backup to it. That will take ages to do, and it may take a while to decide whether to leave the disk in it's original Windows compatible format, or to reformat it to a Linux filesystem. I am thinking that a Linux format like ext4 may be better. One of the reasons my current back up disk is apparently full is that all the thousands of tiny files, some only containing a handful of bytes, are allocated blocks of disk that can contain many more bytes. I can't put a figure on this off the top of my head, but 925GB of data on my Linux PC's ext4 file system seems to translate to 938GB of data a FAT32 Windows formatted hard disk.

 It took quite a long time for Lucky Backup to do it's stuff, and while it did it I lay on my bed reading. Before getting too relaxed I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to reduce the inflammation of the cranky bits in my chest. By the time came to go to sleep those tablets were doing their stuff quite well. As I turned onto my right side, and shifted my arms, legs, and a few other bits into comfortable position, my chest creaked, popped, grated, and groaned, but it did not hurt. That allowed me to get to sleep quite easily. The strange thing was that despite a large sleep deficit, or the belief in one, I didn't seem to feel particularly tired last night. Nevertheless I fell asleep quite quickly, and I think I probably slept really well. I am sure I woke up at least once to have a pee, but while I am convinced I did it, I can't actually remember anything about doing it.

 I am sure it must be a sort of sign of getting a good sleep, and being refreshed and re-juvenated, that I am very sure that the dream I woke from just before my alarm was due to go off, was what you could call a bit sexy. Maybe it was erotic, or perhaps even totally pornographic, but rather annoyingly I can't remember enough details to do a repeat day dream. In fact the harder I try, the less I can remember about it. It is like remembering the name and author of a book, but not being able to remember a single word of the plot. Shame really !

 This morning my chest is still rather crunchy, but apart from the occasional twinge it seems to be mostly comfortable...although I am wondering if that should all be said in the past tense. It's been another struggle getting my office warm, and there is still a long way to go. I think that maybe the cold is getting to me. I doubt it helped when I had to hold a container up at shoulder height to drain about a couple of pints of condensate out of the top air con unit to get it working again. The rest of my body seems to be close to normal working tolerances, but it could be a lot better (mainly on hot sunny days !).

 I have one plan for tonight, and that is to go home via Tesco and buy a bit of shopping. It won't be my principal reason for going in there, but I fancy looking out for something that approximates to a large bowl of hot stew. I think what I want has to be home made, and needs a working gas ring and patience to make, but maybe I'll find some sort of substitute. If I am feeling particularly good tonight, and how I felt last night would suggest that it is possible even if unlikely, I might do a bit of laundry. I would like to wash my hair too, but washing it in a cold bathroom is not terribly appealing !
Monday 18th January 2016
08:23 GMT

   This morning we are unfortunately protected from the rays of the sun by a covering of thick cloud. That, and a lack of wind, makes the 5° C we seem to be blessed with, seem not too cold. Today's forecast reckoned it would only be 4° C this morning, but in an unusual show of unity, both my outside thermometers agree it is 5° C. The rest of the forecast is probably correct. It predicts a very grey day with the temperature not really moving much until much later tonight. It will start to fall then, and tomorrow we could wake up to minus 3° C. Tomorrow should be dry and sunny. Today will just be dry.
selfie using a reflection in a train window
I had a lousy sleep last night. It seemed as if I was awake all night, but I know that's not true. Time passed too quickly, and I know I had some dreams. One dream involved a very nice and friendly pussy cat - which was nice.

 Despite the bad sleep, I don't feel too bad this morning. Although I have to admit I did take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets soon after getting up. They were just about working by the time I started to walk to the station, and my walk was quite comfortable despite some of the usual clicking/grating/squeaking noises coming from just inside my chest. It may also have helped that I didn't feel the need to zip up my coat, and so there was no pressure on my chest.

 It is probably that lack of chest pain that makes me feel something that must be what is known as fairly good, and maybe even touching on the outskirts of happy this morning. I guess I don't look too happy in the selfie picture on the left. Maybe that is because I am trying to keep my balance on a moving train while trying to take a photo at the same time.

The picture came out better and worse than I expected it to. It is actually my reflection in the window of one of the train doors. Thanks to the thick cloud this morning, my entire journey into work was done in the dark, and train windows were like mirrors against a black featureless outside....Well not completely featureless. I could see blobs in various shades of grey flying past the window, and I sort of expected something of the outside to be visible in the picture, but apparently not.

 I am somewhat relieved to hear that the stuff I've been doing at work recently is no longer so urgent, and the amount that needs to be done is only half of what it originally was. This is just as well because I don't seem to be able to do the work as fast as I thought I could, and there has been a tremendous double cock-up with the ordering of the parts I needed. The original deadline was last Saturday, and the new deadline is now the end of the month. I am rather happy about that !

 I don't think I have any plans for this evening, and I don't think I want to make any plans for the evening. I predict that I will be going to bed quite early, and I think I probably ought to aim to eat healthily - or something close to it. When I think back at what I remember eating yesterday, it seems that I did eat unusually carefully for a Sunday. Although I have to remember that I had two pints of beer for breakfast, and I did have a couple of packets of crisps. Maybe it wasn't so healthy after all...and yet it does seem that I feel better than expected this morning. Maybe beer and crisps is the answer !
Sunday 17th January 2016
18:53 GMT

   I don't know what time the snow started to fall last night. The last thing I saw before going to sleep was rain, or wet sleet. This morning I saw that it had snowed at some time in the night.
thin wet snow
 The soggy snow on this car was possibly half an inch thick at the very best. If the ground had been cold enough for the snow to settle there, and not melt, it could have seemed like an interesting morning ! By 10 or 11am all the snow had melted, and we were just left with a rather cold and dull day. It does seem to be a degree warmer today than yesterday, but that may just be a fluke. Tomorrow is supposed to stay dry, but it is going to be very overcast and grey, and the temperature my only rise to a shivery 3° C. Hopefully, like today, there is hardly any wind, and that stopped it feeling too terrible today. If the forecast holds good (which I am sceptical about) it will start getting even colder after sunset tomorrow, and the forecast says it will be minus 3° C on Tuesday morning.

 I didn't get a wonderful nights sleep last night, but it was an awful lot better than the night before. I took the precaution of taking a couple of Ibuprofen tablets a little while before I went to bed, and that calmed down my inflamed chest muscles/ligaments/ribs/blood vessels/lymph nodes/all the diodes down the left hand side, or whatever it is that ails me. They probably wore off by about 6am, and although I think I got a little sleep after that, it wasn't that good. I think it was about 7am when I decided I could sleep no more, and I got up.

 One of the first things I did when I got up was to do something I've been meaning to do for a couple of days now. I removed the two memory foam mattress toppers from my bed. One of them I put under the mattress where it doesn't really do anything useful, but at least it will get flattened out. Plus it is somewhere to store it. I then put on a brand new topper that I had been airing for 24 hours to get rid of the smell of the fire retardant chemicals. I think that with a different pillow, that seems less lumpy than one I was using, I might just possibly have a more comfortable sleep tonight - although it is more to do with my chest rather than the bed itself.

 Doing all that to the bed, lifting and turning the mattress for instance, did have the potential to jar my chest, but it didn't seem to do anything bad. That is not to say that my chest has been all sweetness and light today. It remains on the edge, and feels a "bit odd" in a way that can't be called painful, but is still not comfortable. It is at times like this that I wonder if I have two problems with my chest, and that while the "floating rib" can be the source of quite intense pain when it "floats" to the wrong place, there is also a sort of "old injury" discomfort that just gently aches from time to time. I guess having your chest opened for heart surgery could be called an old injury.

 After doing my bed, and getting washed and dressed (and after a phone call to say she was on her way) I walked to the station to meet Aleemah. It was fortunate that there was no wind blowing, and I felt no need to do my coat up. I think that the tightness of of my coat across my chest on Friday night was responsible for much of the pain I endured. This morning I wore a different coat that is far looser, and I didn't need to do it up anyway.

 I arrived at the station with plenty of time to spare, and feeling mostly comfortable. With time on my hands I took a couple of pictures using my new Olympus X42 camera (bought from Cash Converters for £15). I think some of the reviews that said they didn't take very good pictures were probably correct - but probably only under conditions of poor light. It was rather grey and miserable out this morning (and all day), and the pictures I took did sort of reflect that. To make matters worse I took most of them under the shade of the platform canopy.
exit from platform 2 of
                  Catford Bridge station
 This picture shows the exit from platform 2 that leads to the north side of Catford Road up a short flight of stairs. It is one of three possible exits from platform 2 without going over the footbridge. Platform 1 has only one exit, but that exit does split into 2 ways as soon as you leave the actual platform.
Toilet on platform 2 at
                  Catford Bridge station
 This is the entrance to the unisex toilet at Catford Bridge station on platform 2. As the paper sign on the door says - the toilet is out of order for health and safety reasons. It is not so easy to see on this shrunken image, but some has added "for ever" to the sign. Until some higher manager does some sort of inspection, or something special happens at the station, this is how it is likely to be "for ever". There are three real reasons why it is out of order, and all are true to some degree.
  1. The staff can't be bothered to clean up after some thoughtless people who don't seem to know how to use a toilet.
  2. Incidents of drug taking and/or vandalism.
  3. People kept stealing the key that was only issued by asking to borrow it at the ticket office.
 Originally there was an electronic entry system, and you had to show evidence of a ticket to a little CCTV camera by the call button. That failed when some stupid idiot sprayed over the lens of the camera. Maybe in some future time the station will be taken over by Transport For London, and they have a better record of keeping toilets maintained and open. There are far better versions of the pictures, plus several more, at the end of my ever growing Flickr album of photos of Catford Bridge station to be found here -

  After Aleemah's train arrived we wandered down to the Wetherspoon's pub for some breakfast. Just like on a Saturday, Aleemah had coffee and a cooked veggie breakfast, and I had beer ! A small twist on the usual is that Aleemah fancied a second mug of coffee - which is on a free help yourself system - and so I decided to have an extra pint of beer two. That did leave me feeling a bit sleepy when we came back here to watch the second of a four DVD set documentary about The Beatles.

 After Aleemah when home in the afternoon I cooked myself some "Irish Recipe" sausages. It was only today that I realised "Irish Recipe" meant that they were quite poor quality sausages. Maybe if I had given them another half an hour in the oven so they came out crispy they would have been better. They certainly would have had a better texture ! I didn't really enjoy them, but they filled a hole for a while.

 I have hardly done anything since then. I have tried out laying on my re-jigged bed to do some reading, and I think it is going to be more comfortable. A little while ago I had a proper dinner, and now I have nothing to look forward to until salad for breakfast at work tomorrow. Tonight I had a cheese salad starter followed by an Iceland "Slimming World" chicken sagg curry. The only problem is that I am not sure if I enjoyed it. It was nice enough but I was in a funny mood, and I was after something else. Something far more satisfying in a way that I could not work out. I don't know what I wanted, but whatever it was, I probably didn't have in the house.

 I think I am over that unknown want now...or am I ? I do feel a bit edgy, or restless, or something. It doesn't bode well for relaxing prior to sleep, and bed time is not far away now. Maybe I ought to lose myself in my book, and hope that will relax me.
Saturday 16th January 2016
20:05 GMT

   The thing about yesterday was it was very cold - positively freezing !! I must admit that was more true of the morning when I spotted a frozen puddle, but it was also true of the evening. After a sunny day of basking in sunshine that heated the air to a glorious 4° C, the temperature fell back to just a couple of degrees at best, and maybe damn close to zero late at night (and if it didn't actually hit zero, then the wind made it feel like it). Today has almost been a re-run of yesterday, but I don't think the temperature even got up to 4° C today. I think the highest I saw on my thermometers was 3° C.  We could be in for a treat tonight - a perverse treat - snow ! The forecasters on TV seemed quite adamant that a band of snow was heading our way, and even though it will drop much of it's load further north, we could still get a sprinkling here in south east London. 10pm was the predicted time of it's arrival, and with the ground now pretty cold, it will probably settle. Tomorrow could have some photo opportunities with some thin snow on the ground, and maybe a freezing fog too !

 I decided I just had to be brave and go out. I mentioned I had two choices (plus the choice of staying in with some booze). The two choices were to go all the way to West Wickham to a pub I don't really care for, or to head out into the unknown to find The Catford And Cyphers Cricket Club's clubhouse where there was an open mic session. I opted for the open mic session, and it was both good and bad.

 The good was that it was relatively easy to get to. There were people there that I knew - albeit not too well, and being in a clubhouse he beer was likely to be cheaper than a pub. (I'm not so sure it was, but £3.50 for a pint of Guinness was not bad.). Two other good things were that there was space to move around in without getting in too many people's way, and (as I guessed there might be) there was some decent stage lighting. That all added up to me taking some of the most professional looking musician/band photos ever (even getting a compliment from a pro). As usual it need a lot of photos to choose some good ones, but the best 23 can be seen right here -

  There were two problems last night. One is simple to fix using a lot of cash, and the other rather less easy to fix. The first problem is that my photographic techniques now seem to be getting good enough to expose limitations in the camera I am using. My Canon EOS 1200D DSLR is described as an entry level DSLR camera, and it is now becoming rather obvious that the sensor in it is rather noisy. On very dark pictures there pictures is marred by (mostly) red speckles everywhere in dark areas. This is no problem in brightly lit scenes, but it is a bit of a nuisance for a lot of the gig pictures I take. The cure would be to spend £500 or more on a semi-pro camera, or even a lot more on a pro camera. It is very tempting, but can I justify it for a bit of fun - probably, but not yet. Maybe a future Xmas or birthday present to myself.

 The second problem concerned my chest. It has been very clicky and poppy recently, and from time to time it has been mildly painful (with occasional very, very brief far stronger pains). Last night a (presumed) combination of freezing air, plus wearing a coat that when done up is a little tight around my chest, caused some rather unpleasant chest pains. They rather spoiled my evening until I had enough Guinness (4 pints) to relax my chest muscles.

 I wasn't feeling so bad when I left the venue at about 10.30pm if I recall correctly. The booze helped me feel warm, and so I didn't do up my coat when I walked to the bus stop. It is a moderate uphill walk to the bus stop, and because of the cold I walked fairly fast. I was breathing fairly heavily when I got to the bus stop. This actually made my chest feel even better, and I hope I am not deluding myself too much when I believe this proves these chest pains are nothing to do with my heart, and thus while being quite unpleasant sometimes, are otherwise harmless.

 It is typical of these pains that they return when I am slumped down in a chair after walking. So my chest became quite mildly sore after I sat down and started eating some chicken wings and fries that I "accidently" bought on the way home. Now I don't know if eating that greasy stuff also gave me a bit of heartburn to add to the muscular/skeletal/ligament problem, but I ended up having the most lousy night I've had for ages. In what should have been my most comfortable position my chest hurt in the most mild way possible. The pain, if pain is the right word, was so mild as to be usually ignorable doing anything else but trying to sleep. It was no more severe than being poked with a marshmallow, but you try sleeping when someone is doing that to you !

 I think I got no more than 4 hours of crap sleep before I got up and started editing the photos I took last night. Since then I have tried to snooze many times but despite being comfortable, it seems I just don't need sleep that badly. I've stayed in the warm today, and I've decided I won't go out tonight in the cold - which is a shame because Chain are playing an easy to get to gig in Biggin Hill. I think it may well be on a small, but proper stage, and it is possible it may be reasonably well lit. It would be a great opportunity to practice my photography, but not tonight. My chest has had a few grumbles today, and that is after trying to avoid stressing it too much. I think going out in the cold and dark....and maybe snow (!!!) would be asking for trouble.

 I am not sure what to do about my chest. I have a hope that it will be a lot better behaved when the winter is over, and the temperature rises, but that is going to be some time yet. In 9 days time I see the nurse at my doctors. This is primarily to piss me off about my blood pressure, and raise it umpteenfold, and to check my blood glucose level, and piss me of about that. I think I am going to try and distract her by going on about my chest, and see if she can escalate things to one of the doctors. Unfortunately I don't think they can do much for me apart from check that it is not my heart, lungs, or anything else important, and maybe prescribe some more powerful anti-inflammatories to calm things down a bit better than Ibuprofen does. The other unlikely alternative is to get a surgeon to pull me apart again, and put me back together correctly - and then to follow his instructions about not carrying heavy weights to the letter this time.

 Tomorrow promises to be rather unpleasant - cold, snow, and maybe fog - but I have to go out in it to meet my friend Aleemah at the station - assuming a millimeter of snow doesn't bring the capital to a standstill. I look forward to a couple of halves of beer for breakfast, and then watching some (possibly)  terrible DVD with her. After she goes home I think I intend to be completely lazy. I wonder if I can manage that ?
Friday 15th January 2016
18:05 GMT

   There were a couple of short showers yesterday, but despite feeling damn cold, it wasn't cold enough for them to fall as snow - wet, or otherwise. Maybe closer examination would have revealed some very wet sleet, but I didn't care to look that closely. I prefer to remember yesterday as being a mostly bright and sunny day. It was bloody freezing when I went home from work, but the clear sky, and the slowly, slowly increasing length of the day, meant that it was still brighter when I got off the train in Catford than midday on some of the more overcast days we have had recently. During the night the temperature fell low enough for a frost and frozen puddles. Most of today has been gloriously sunny, but all that weak winter sunshine could only raise the temperature to about 4° C. In fact it may not have even reached that because my thermometer is saying it is only 2.6° C right now. To add to the misery there was, or is, a bitterly cold wind ! The wind should be lighter tomorrow, but otherwise it is going to be very similar to today.

 I did a little less work peering through a microscope at work yesterday, and that may have helped my chest to be less sore. It wasn't a complete cure, but hopefully a weekends rest will help it even more. After work I had a comfortable journey back to Catford - well, comfortable if you ignore the biting wind. I had my warmest coat on, and gloves, but my nose and earlobes still felt bloody cold !

 Back in Catford it was full steam ahead to The Black Cat (the pub formerly known as The Catford Ram) for some beers with the Thursday night guys. I drank three pints of Young's Winter Warmer. In the past, probably in excess of 10 years ago, maybe even 20 years ago, that would have got me very drunk - particularly drinking it on an empty stomach. Sadly it is a much weaker beer now, and now it is brewed by Charles Wells in Bedfordshire, it doesn't even taste the same. The good news is that is that it tastes a damn sight better than Young's ordinary or Special bitter. Unfortunately it has another negative aspect - it is rather sugary - and that is not good while I am trying to keep my blood glucose level low prior to giving a blood sample towards the end of the month.

 My original plan was to walk back from the pub by the most direct route past Tesco's, but I walked Jodie, who was also there, back to the main road near(ish) the station, and that meant walking past the chip shop. I was cold and hungry, and slightly drunk. Under such circumstances the pull of that shop was too much to resist. Last night I succumbed to the temptation of saveloy and chips - and it was very nice, but it may have had a sting in it's tail.

 The house was rather on the cool side when I got home, and so instant hot food definitely hit the right spot. After I had eaten I turned everything off downstairs except for the heater, that I left on low. Then I went up to my bedroom, and checked my email and stuff. I had the heater on full blast, but it took some time before it got warm up there. So I brushed my teeth, and went to bed. It was much nicer under the duvet, and after reading for half an hour I went to sleep.

 I slept fairly well for most of the night, but when I got up at 5am to get ready to go to work, I found myself feeling rather uncomfortable. It was almost as if the saveloy I had eaten the night before had been re-heated one too many times, and had given me mild food poisoning, but then again it could have been the beer I drunk. Whatever it was left me feeling unwilling to travel, and so I called work to say I was going sick today.

 I may have slightly laid it on a bit thick when I described how I felt, because by the time there was someone at work to call, my guts had settled down....or mostly settled down. My stomach still felt a little tender, but I was no longer having to rush to the toilet like I had to do quite frequently a couple of hours earlier.

 So I had an extra day off work, and the opportunity to do something useful. I was tempted to go out in the sunshine, but when I did go out just to get some shopping I quickly realised that despite the sunshine it was not exactly pleasant out there - it was barely above freezing, and the wind seemed to be able to get into any small opening !

 I was originally just heading for Aldi to pick up some bottles of sugar free cola, and other stuff like sausages etc. Then I thought that while I was heading that way I would take a look at Cash Converters. Until recently I thought it was a very dodgy place, but a few people have said they have had a few good bargains from there. I note that their second hand mobile phones are extortionate, but some stuff is rather better priced. Sometime before Xmas I am sure I saw a reasonably priced Sony camera in there, and I considered buying it to play with. Unfortunately I have seen nothing similar since.

 This morning I did see a couple of interesting things inside - and they were rather cheap ! One was a Samsung camcorder. It was a few years old, and only records standard definition on Mini-DV tapes. I don't seem to record much video now compared to 3 or 4 years ago, and so it was not much use to me as a camcorder, but at just £20 I could not resist it.
Samsung camcorder
 I examined it in the shop, and it was clean, and allegedly in good work order. Plus is had the most important accessories with it - a couple of leads and the charger. When I got it home I found it did have one sort of fault - the battery wouldn't take a charge. This is typical of camcorders that have been put in a cupboard for a year or two, and forgotten about. I managed to "spike" the battery using secret methods only know to madmen and electronics engineers - briefly giving it a spike of high voltage in the hope that a little leakage current in the batteries control circuit will raise the cells voltage just enough for the internal charging regulator to work. On this occasion it worked - sometimes it doesn't.

 The battery needs a couple of charge/discharge cycles now to recondition it. After the first full charge it played a tape for a full 50 minutes, but for half that time it said the battery was empty. Hopefully after a couple of charge/discharge cycles it will start to give a more accurate estimate of the state of charge. In theory it doesn't really matter about the battery because it will run off the charger, and that is how I will probably use it, if I use it - as a backup player for my Mini-DV tapes if my other Samsung camcorder fails (and it has a small problem already).

 The other thing I bought from Cash Converters was another stills camera. It's yet another little pocket sized snapper to add to my collection. There was a perfectly logical, if slightly mad reason for buying it. For a start it was only £15, and secondly I was curious about it. My first proper digital camera was made my Olympus, and while it was only a 1.3 megapixel camera with no optical zoom, it could take some rather good pictures. The camera I bought today was also made my Olympus, but this one is a 12 megapixel camera with 5x optical zoom.
Olympus X42 camera
 Some reviews I seen since buying it say that the pictures can be a bit grainy, and some say they aren't. The two pictures above were taken with it, and I have to admit they (or the unshrunk originals) were a bit grainy, but they were taken under semi-low light conditions. I think this camera would struggle at many gigs, but is probably fine in daylight.

 I did consider taking it out in the sunshine to take some proper test shots, but it was too cold out there, and I had other stuff to do. Some of that stuff was to be very lazy. Some of it was to eat too much - not a huge amount, but enough that I really shouldn't eat for the rest of the day - and maybe I won't....or maybe I will a bit later. I did do one important thing that was not being lazy, and that was to wash 4 work shirts and a hand towel.

 I now face three choices. I could go to West Wickham to watch Chris Mayer's side project, The Spiders, playing in The Swan pub. I could go to an open mic session here in Catford (although a short bus ride away). or I could have some booze here and stay in the warm. I would like to see The Spiders, but I hate the pub, and it is a long journey. I think that leaves me with just two choices, and if I can get myself ready and enthused in the next half hour I might end up at the open mic session.
Thursday 14th January 2016
08:15 GMT

   It was pleasantly bright yesterday. There was lots of blue sky, and plenty of sunny intervals, but of course it was also rather cold. I'm not sure if the temperature went any higher than 6° C, and of course for some of the time it was a degree or two lower. It seemed to be a clear night and a clear morning, and yet there seemed to be fresh puddles in the road when I walked to the station this morning. I presume it rained sometime in the night, and maybe that added just enough heat to stop there being a frost this morning. The thermometer on the windowsill of the back bedroom was registering just 2.5° C at 5am this morning, and it had dropped to 2.4° C when I left to walk to the station. The thermometer outside the kitchen window said it was a little warmer - just 3.5° C. These temperatures are getting into the right region for snow to fall, and while there is still plenty of blue sky to be seen now, the weather forecast does hint of a possible shower or two later this morning, and then again later this afternoon. The top temperature today is forecast to be just 4° C, and it is possible that any rain may look like rather soggy snowflakes until it hits the ground. That is too warm for any snow to settle today, but if the temperature continues to fall......

 Once again I felt fairly rotten at work yesterday. Some of it can be attributed to it being a bit cool in my office. One of the two recently installed "climate control" units has failed already, and even when it and it's compatriot were running flat out they could only just cope when the temperature was a couple of degrees higher. My next task after writing this is to see if I can find my old fan heater. I don't recall feeling so cold when that thing was rattling away !

 The other reason for feeling rotten was my busted chest. The cold probably didn't help that either, but poor posture was surely a major contributor too. The only problem is that no other posture is feasible when using a microscope for precision micro-soldering. As usual, a couple of Ibuprofen tablets helped a lot with the background mild ache, but there were a few occasions when one particular rib (I assume) was unusually painful.

 Once I left work, and started walking, the discomfort seemed to fade away, and on the whole I had a comfortable journey home. That, and the fact that it was still sort of light when I got back to Catford (although technically after sun set), inspired me to actually follow the plan I suggested as a possibility yesterday. So I went home via Iceland where I bought several of their "Slimming World" meals, plus a full fat ready meal, and a three litre bottle of Diet Coke.

 The "full fat" ready meal was beef in black bean sauce, and I suspect it was actually quite low in fat, but I suspect it may have had more sugar in it than I would ideally like. The tragic thing was that it was less nice than my imagination thought it would be, but it was quite small, and only supposed to be a snack. I also had a "Slimming World" cottage pie with some shavings of Parmesan cheese on it for added flavour, and a bowl of steamed green vegetables - also with some shavings of Parmesan cheese on it. That was the second part of my plan completed.

 I'll admit I did feel a bit full after that dinner, but after giving it half an hour to settle I completed the third part of my plan - I washed my hair. While it dried I did the last part of my plan, and that was to upload the pictures I took at Chain's gig last Saturday to Flickr, and to add all the tags and some brief descriptions. Most pictures range from a bit grainy to very grainy because of the poor light. You can see them here -

 There was one optional part of my grand plan, at least I think there was, and that was to get to bed early and do a bit of reading. I'm not sure how I did everything else so quickly, but not only was there enough time to read a whole chapter of my book, even if it was a small chapter, but to put the book down, turn out the light, and fall asleep very soon after 8.30pm. I guess that last night was very average - I got some good sleep and some bad sleep. I think one of my projects for the weekend will have to be to change the foam memory mattress topper on my mattress. I thought they should last longer than mine seems to, but then again I can't remember when I first added it. What I do know is that it is now feeling lumpy in places, and I don't think that is helping my sleep.

 I am feeling on the far outreaches of good this morning. This is partly because I don't seem to be in much pain this morning, and partly because I think I have just got over a mild cold. I still have not come to terms with what a non-smokers cold is like. What I had seemed too mild to be a cold - just a cough here, and a cough there, plus the occasional bit of nose drip. I mostly thought they were a reaction to breathing in cold winter air, but even though the air is even colder this morning, I seem to be doing both less, and I feel a bit less crap. So it is only with hindsight that I realised I probably had a cold. It is strange to get one without chronic bronchitis and pneumonia these days.

 There are two more reasons why I feel better this morning. One is to do with work - the mad panic has subsided for the moment. There was a deadline to ship an order by this coming Saturday, but some vital parts for that order won't be arriving until the middle of next week, and that gives me far more time to do the stuff that I have to do (and I am the only one capable of doing it !). The other reason for feeling good is that it is Thursday, and that means it is booze night ! The cream on top of the cake is that tonigh'ts venue is The Black Cat in Catford - which is very, very handy for me. I could be tempted to drink too many pints tonight, but I think I ought to restrict myself to just three pints if I can. I have a strong suspicion that I will be giving a blood sample to check my blood glucose level on the 25th of this month, and those blood tests can "see back in time". So just to keep the nurse happy (and off my back) I had better try and be good until the vampires have drawn the blood sample from me.
Wednesday 13th January 2016
09:30 GMT

  It stayed predictably cold, no more than 6° C, but yesterday was sunnier than I thought it would be. This was most noticeable when I left work to go home. I walked through several pools of sunlight where the sun managed to filter between houses or trees from it's position so near the horizon. Although the sun had set over half an hour earlier, there was still a lot of afterglow giving a sort a psuedo dim daylight effect even as I was opening my front door to go in. The clear, or semi clear sky continued through the night, and so we had the same thing in reverse with some welcome pre-dawn light. Oddly enough, the temperature didn't drop low enough for a frost overnight, but it was very close - a tad under 4° C when I walked to the station. Today should be a fairly bright day, but there could be some showers this afternoon. It's looking like tomorrow will not be quite as bad as thought. It is still going to be a very dull day, but less rain is forecast now than in earlier forecasts, and that probably reduces the chances of any snow - which was originally described as "wet snow" at best.

colourful skies seen from
                  Platform A of Waterloo East station while waiting for
                  the 16:20 train yesterday
This was the view towards the west from platform A of Waterloo East station while I waited for the 16:20 train to take me back to Catford Bridge yesterday evening.

 I gave the wrong URL for my Flickr album of photos of Catford Bridge station over the years yesterday. Once again, the recent additions will be found by scrolling towards the end of the correct URL which is -

 Yesterday I said I felt pretty rotten in the morning. Soon after writing that I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and although they took well over an hour to work, they sorted out my aching chest. From then on I felt reasonably OK, and I guess I continued to feel that way until I got home, and probably through the evening. Going home in daylight helped my mood a lot - even to the point that I came closer to eating in the healthier way that I aspire to than I have for ages. That's not to say I couldn't have improved on what I ate by a long way, but it was heading towards the right direction.

 Maybe that helped me to sleep better than I did the night before. I am feeling that I could have done with an extra hour or two in bed, but there could be other reasons why I feel a bit off colour and tired this mornings. (Although I wouldn't care to speculate what those reasons are.). The one thing I do remember about the night is that I had at least one, if not several, severely weird dreams. One of those dreams should have been deeply disturbing, but it seemed all terribly normal in the dream.

 This morning my guts were playing up, and I had to get the later train. that was so full that I had to stand all the way to Waterloo East. That came as no real surprise, but having to stand all the way from Waterloo to Earlsfield was a bit of a surprise considering that when I am on time I can sometimes have an empty carriage all to myself ! When I got to Earlsfield my feet were aching a bit, and that made walking to work seem more of a chore than usual. It also seemed to make my legs feel stiff and aching a bit.

 It is difficult to say what it is that is worse, and responsible for me feeling rather fed up this morning. The journey into work was annoying. Being late, despite it having almost no consequences is annoying. My legs, feet, and a general sort of feeling of fatigue is annoying. I might be developing a headache, and that's annoying. To top it all my chest feels sore again, and I have taken Ibuprofen to calm it down again. I am doing a lot of work hunched over a microscope, and I don't think that is helping my chest at all - although I don't think it is the root cause of the current problem. Overall, I feel pretty fed up...although I do feel better for moaning about it here !

 Tonight I have a perfect plan all mapped out. If I follow it I will go home via Iceland for some more low calorie meals (and maybe a high calorie one too). The first thing I do when I get home will be to have dinner. After that I will wash my hair. while my hair is drying I will upload the photos from Saturday night to Flickr, and do the tedious business of tagging them and adding a brief description. Once that is done it will probably be time for bed. If it is still a bit early I might read for half an hour before turning the light out, and hopefully getting a pleasant, and refreshing night's sleep.
Tuesday 12th January 2016
08:39 GMT

  Yesterday morning it was pouring with rain when I started my journey to work, but the rain stopped for a while when I walked from Earlsfield station to work. Going home again was sort of opposite, but also the same. It rained, or perhaps drizzled would be more apt, as I walked from work to Earlsfield station, but the rest of my journey home was dry. It might have only been drizzling when I left work, but it was still incredibly gloomy as I walked to the station. When I got back to catford it was almost as if the day had got lighter. It was only a sort of illusion, and it was actually darker, but by that time the clouds had started to break up, and lighter patches of sky were visible. Meanwhile, yesterday's temperature was a rather cool 6, or maybe at the very best, 7° C.

 Today there is a welcome change to the weather. It might only last until midday, but there is loads of blue sky to be seen, and in places with a clearer view to low down in the east, there will be some sunshine. It comes at the price of it only being 4° C this morning. By the time the sky has clouded over, and rain starts to fall, it will probably rise to 6° C, but the longer term trend is for the temperature to continue to drop as winter bites harder and harder. Thursday might see some "wet snow" (presumably it could also be called dry sleet) is forecast to fall, and while no mention has been made of any precipitation yet, the forecast says Friday will be no warmer than 4° C at best, and 0° C at worst !

 I didn't feel very good yesterday. After no heating on all weekend it took ages to warm up here at work. I put on a jumper I keep here for such occasions, but I still felt cold for three quarters of the working day. During the morning when it was particularly cold, I found my nose starting to run as if I had a cold. My chest seemed to be suffering too. It felt quite tender even if it didn't hurt. What became far more obvious as I walked to the station is that it was going through one of it's phases where every movement makes popping, clicking, and ratcheting noises/sensations from within my chest. It was no worse than it has been at any other time, but it does seem to happen more frequently in this cold, damp weather.

 It was just bloody typical that on a day where a bus would have been damn handy, there was no bus. I can only conclude that I must be a very evil man, and this is karma in action, or maybe it is just the universe having a joke at my expense. Of course it is far worse now that I can get free travel on buses using my 60+ Oyster Card. It is now my right and mission to use that card as much as possible, and in any other part of the galaxy it is usually very easy to do......but not from the bus stop in Garratt lane that is a mere 2 stops from Earlsfield station. Buses only appear at that bus stop when you don't need them. At any time that you really need a bus, maybe with a damaged foot, or when it is raining, they just aren't there !

 So I walked in the drizzle to the station, and it was both easy and hard, and it was wet and it wasn't. It is a tedious walk that seems like a wasted chunk of life, and it raises the heart rate, but it only takes 9 minutes, and is no longer painful like it was when I had angina, but that seems no reason to attempt to enjoy it - even on a warm sunny day. So it was nice to reach the station where I could relax for 20 seconds as the lift took me up to the platform, and I could wipe the rain off my glasses. I had barely time to walk to the far end of the platform before a train turned up to whisk me to Waterloo station, and finally, about an hour after leaving work, I was approaching my own front door.

 Last night was one of those nights when my dinner was carefully planned out, and the plan followed. The only trouble was that the plan was not designed to be the most healthy of options. Dinner was basically in three parts. Part one was a Tesco "Oriental noodles with peanuts" salad-like pot. to be honest I have no idea where it came on the scale between deadly and healthy. I would guess it had more calories in it than was obvious. Dinner part two was one and a quarter pieces of "southern" fried chicken left over from Saturday night, and part three was a salad. Now a salad should have been healthy, but the generous quantity of mayonnaise I put on it probably ruled that out, and the generous amount of sliced garlic sauasage I had with it had an unknown amount of fat and salt in it (maybe even some sugar too - who knows ?).

 I wolfed that lot down before the evening news had even started on TV. I switched off the TV as soon as I had finished eating, and went straight up to my bedroom, and PC, to start editing photos. The first photos I tackled were ones I had taken at Catford Bridge station yesterday morning, and also on Sunday while I was waiting for my friend Aleemah. I showed a few here, but there are more that I tacked onto the end of my Flickr photo album about Catford Bridge station. The album is supposed to be a sort of historic document that may one day be viewed in the future - if there is any way that Flickr can continue to exist into the future. You can find the photo album here - the latest photos are to be found by scrolling through to the end passed some far old photos I've taken over the years.

 After I had uploaded the Catford Bridge station photos I made a start on the photos I took at the gig on Saturday night. There are probably more usable photos than I thought there would be, but there are also many, many absolutely terrible photos ! I probably got about halfway through all the photos I took before it got too late and I had to stop. I hope I can go through the rest tonight, but I may not have time to upload them to Flickr tonight. Maybe you'll be able to see them after tomorrow night.

 It was a little after 9pm when I turned out the light and tried to go to sleep last night, but sleep didn't come for ages. It was one of those nights where I just couldn't seem to get comfortable. The bed was too hot and too cold. The pillow was filled with bricks etc etc, but worse than that was my chest - but only if I tried to sleep on my right. It felt like my chest was a ball of paper being scrunched up. It wasn't painful, but was still uncomfortable. My chest was fine if I tried to sleep on my back, but then my back was uncomfortable. Sleeping on my left side just didn't feel right. So I thrashed around most of the night - or at least that is how it felt.

 The peculiar thing is that while I was reluctant to get up when my alarm went off at 5am, I didn't really feel very tired, and even now I don't feel tired, but I predict I may feel different about it by this afternoon. Many bits of me seem to be in fine fettle this morning, but my chest, left elbow, and right wrist are an exception to that general idea. My elbow and wrist do feel actually painful from time to time, but my chest has only generated a light ache. That is not surprising considering how ratchetty it is this morning. Even breathing in too deeply can get my ribs popping and grating, and at times every step I took on my way into work would cause the same. The worst was the walk from the station to work. Although it was almost entirely painless, there were a few times it felt like my chest would unzip itself and fall off. It was no great surprise that once I got to work, and could sit down to consider the matter more, I found my chest to be a little sore. Fortunately a couple of Ibuprofen tablets have calmed it down again - which is a pity because I am sure my doctor would take a bit more interest if they didn', who am I kidding ? Doctors are not concerned with pain and discomfort any more. They are only concerned about blood pressure these days.

 I derived no joy from Xmas decorations and stuff this year, and indeed most of the previous 10 to 40 years, and yet I couldn't help but admire the effort that went into the decorations put up by Pimlico Plumbers at their headquarters by the railway line between Waterloo and Vauxhall stations. If you never saw it you still have a chance. I have no idea when they will take it down, but this morning 3 or 4 days after the last day of Xmas, they were still lighting up the pre-dawn sky as my train conveniently stopped by them at approx 07:15am for a few moments.
Pimlico Plumbers still
                  lighting up the night sky 3 or 4 days after the last
                  day of Xmas
Monday 11th January 2016
08:36 GMT

  The forecast was right - there was torrential rain as I came to work this morning. There has been a small change to the forecast since I reported on it last night - plus reality has stepped in to render parts of it as incorrect - but essentially the last version I saw said that the rain would continue a fair bit longer this morning, but there would be a far wider window of opportunity for me to travel home in the dry after work. The reality is that the rain had stopped by the time I arrived at Earlsfield, and the walk from the station to work was dry from the ankles upwards (below the ankles there were deep, deep puddles in Earlsfield's cracked and sunken paving stones). The forecast for tomorrow is currently showing one long block of rain, and it encompasses the the time from leaving work to getting home (Boo !). It is also getting colder. Today will peak at 7° C, but only for a couple of hours. Tomorrow will only hit 6° C, and by Friday it could be down at 5° C for much of the day. A couple degrees lower and we can look forward to snow !

  It started badly, but overall I had a rather good weekend. Probably the best in ages. I finished it off last night by just being nice and lazy - once I had finally rinsed out, and wrung out the medium sized bath towel I was washing yesterday. With that done I could put my feet up, and indulge in a couple of large bourbon and cola drinks - but only a couple, unlike Friday night when I had four big ones ! I did a bit of reading before turning the light out, and I sort of lost track of time, but I don't think it much passed 9pm when I turned out the light and fell asleep. As far as I can tell, I seemed to sleep unusually well. I hardly woke up in the night, and I think I was asleep when my alarm went off at 5am. That didn't stop me yawning heavily while on the train to work, though.

 the 06:33 from Catford Bridge cancelled
My chest felt a bit tender this morning, and it felt like that maybe I had eaten too much over the weekend, but generally speaking, I felt fairly OK - far from the best I have ever felt (miles and miles from it to be honest), but at the same time rather better than many worse mornings I have had to endure.

 It seems I was in rather better condition than the train that I normally catch to get to work. The 06:33 from Catford Bridge to Charing Cross (calling at Waterloo East) was cancelled because of some darkly mysterious fault on the train.

 That made for some difficult decisions. The next train direct to Waterloo East would have been the 07.04 some 31 minutes later. The alternative was to get the 06.42 Cannon Street train, and that is what I did. One version of this route is to travel as far as London Bridge, and then get the Jubilee line to Waterloo. I can use my 60+ Oyster card on the Underground for free travel at any time, and so this option becomes cheaper than it used to be, but I think I would still get charged two journeys for the two rail journeys - Catford Bridge to London Bridge, and then Waterloo to Earlsfield. It seems that Waterloo East, where I normally change trains, is classified as being part of Waterloo, and so I only get charged one single journey from Catford Bridge to Earlsfield.

 Fortunately there is one other alternative that is easy to overlook, and that is to get the Cannon Street train as far as Lewisham, and change there for a Charing Cross train - and that is what I did. It meant travelling on a train that was packed solid with two trains worth of passengers until I could get off at Lewisham, and then another wait on a rain soaked platform (but mostly under shelter). The last time I did this I only had to wait 3 or 4 minutes, but maybe another train had been cancelled because it was a 16 minute wait there. At least when the train finally arrived there were some empty seats on it.
train cancelled
I already knew that the train was cancelled before I left home, but this was the first sight that greeted less fortunate passengers. I could have got to the station almost 10 minutes later, but I got there with 30 seconds to spare before the 06:30 deadline to touch in with my pay-as-you-go Oyster Card for an off-peak journey.
Sheltering from the rain on platform 1
Once upon a time the canopy on platform 1 was twice as long. Now a trainload of passengers have to huddle together to stay out of the rain under the shortened canopy. 10 minutes after I took this picture they would have been really packed in. The terrible thing about it is that on some lengths of train only half of the rear carriage actually lines up with the canopy.
A wet and soggy platform 1 seen from near the
                  entrance on platform 2 of Catford Bridge
One final look at the rain soaked platforms at Catford Bridge this morning.

 I think I am very much going to look forward to going home from work today. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I am very much looking forward to being at home after work today ! I have no hard and fast plans about what I will do tonight, but I want to make at least a start on selecting and editing some photos that I took on Saturday night. Other than that I probably ought to try and eat sensibly - although that may not be so easy to do. There is stuff in the fridge that needs using up soon. That includes some very nice, but probably terribly unhealthy garlic sausage. Stay clear of me in the morning !
Sunday 10th January 2016
17:13 GMT

  I must confess that I was expecting more rain last night, and today, but there was none ! No, that's not entirely true. There was rain last night, some of it quite heavy judging by the size of the puddles, but apart from a little drizzle when I deliberately stepped out into the big wide world for a few seconds to take a breather, I managed to to be under cover, and oblivious to it falling. Today has been entirely dry, or at least as far as I am aware it has been. There was even a few sunny periods, but sadly it has been another cold day - about 7° C. Tomorrow is forecast to start with torrential rain, but it is forecast to dry up soon after I arrive at work (but not before). After 3 or 4 hours some lighter rain will fall, and continue to fall into the evening. The forecast does show a small window in the rain that could allow me to get home from work in the dry, but only if the timing is correct, and only if it actually happens !

 I find it hard to describe how I felt yesterday. Some bits, including my dodgy chest, were a little cranky, but for some reason they seemed of little consequence. Admittedly I did take a couple of paracetamol tablets late in the afternoon more as a precaution than a need, and it is highly likely they smoothed the way for me to go out, and enjoy myself last night.

 I guess I good a bit of a boost when I found it had stopped raining when I walked to the bus stop at the end of the road. I was expecting that walk to be a bit of a chore, as it usually seems to be these days, particularly after dark, and in the cold, but the cool damp air seemed to be sort of soft feeling, and refreshing. I can't really describe it because it is probably beyond logic. I can't really say that I enjoyed it in any special way, but the important thing is that I didn't not enjoy it.

 My destination was The Mitre Hotel in Greenwich to see Chain's second gig of the year. It is a venue that I have never like that much. In the past it has been crowded, and the lighting has been very poor. Last night the lighting was not as dim, and Chain had one of their new stage lights on to brighten their corner of the bar up. The effect was quite pleasing on the eye, but my camera hated the way it lit up Jo's face. Best of all was that as had been reported from a previous gig there, the furniture had been re-arranged so the band could play in a more conventional set up rather than lined up like at a bus stop !

 There were a few people at the gig it was nice to see. One was a woman called Therese who has been a bit of an enigma recently. I knew we had been to a few of the same Chain gigs in the past, but had never met. I have finally said hello to her, and satisfied my curiosity. She has a lovely figure, but sadly has some severe mental health problems. It's almost as if she is on drugs - drugs of the bad variety. The grapevine says she is, or should be on prescription drugs, and when properly dosed she can be a very intelligent and social person, but it didn't seem that way last night. It's shame in a way because I usually seem to get on well with weirdoes, but perhaps only up to a certain point, and sadly she crosses that point.

 There was one other woman there, apart from the lovely Jo who it was nice to see - turned out nicer than I thought it would be. Her name is Nina, and she has one very strange quality. At gigs she can look very attractive, but when dressed up for a formal occasion she can look the ugliest frump ever. That is, of course, a rather personal opinion that others may well disagree with, but I feel OK saying it here on my own semi-secret blog. Last night she looked attractive, and I very much enjoyed a posed for the camera hug with her !
me and Nina
 Thanks to Jo for taking this picture of me and Nina last night.

 It must be a measure of how good I was feeling last night that I stayed right to the very last song (at least it was supposed to be the last one). I actually slipped away while the song was being played, and that was just gone 11pm. It was only with hindsight that I realised I should have stayed just a few more minutes to say a few more goodbyes because I had an 8 minute wait for the bus home.

 Once on the bus it travelled at a good speed (for a bus) and it didn't seem to be a tedious journey. I had stuff waiting at home that I could have cooked/warmed up for dinner  (I hadn't eaten since early afternoon), but while I was feeling good I thought I would further enjoy some fried chicken and chips for supper. I had only drunk three pints of Guinness at the gig, and so I managed to restrict my order to just three pieces of chicken and a small portion of "fries".

 After getting in, and filling my face with chicken and "fries" (those puny, cardboard tasting things could never be called chips !), I washed the grease of my hands, and transferred the pictures I had taken during the evening onto my PC for a quick look at them. I think I took something like 180 pictures, and I have to confess most of them were completely useless. Many were mysteriously terribly out of focus, but even more looked terrible because they were of Jo, and she had a multicolour stage light shining up her nose instead of shining down from above her as those lights should probably be used. I haven't had time today to start reviewing/editing those photos, but hopefully I can find a few good ones tomorrow night, and/or the night after, and eventually upload the best to Flickr (and a small taster here).

 It was 1am before I was in bed with the lights turned out, and about thirsty seconds later, before I could even finish thinking that I was never going to relax and get to sleep, I was fast asleep. In an ideal world I would have slept solidly until at least 9am this morning. Some of my sleep was solid, and some less so, but more significantly I had to start getting up at around 7am so I could get myself ready to meet Aleemah. I did sort of try and straighten the house out a bit as well, but on that score I sort of failed.

 It was a bit unusual to see Aleemah on a Sunday instead of a Saturday, but the proceedure was the same. I met her at the station, and we walked down to the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast. As I am sure I have explained before, it is boring watching Aleemah eat, and so at 10am I had the opportunity to try a couple of beers  to help pass the time. Well, that's my excuse, and I'm sticking to it. I had a half pint each of these beers, and they were both nice. Maybe that on the right was slightly nicer (or was it the one on the left - this morning feels like a long time ago !).
beers for breakfast
 Aleemah brought over a DVD to watch that I don't know whether to describe as good or bad. It was disc 1 of a 4 disc set of a non-narrated documentary about The Beatles. Someone had patiently sought out almost every scrap of newsreel footage, plus some TV footage of The Beatles, and strung it together in chronological order to make a sort of documentary. I feel it was really only for extreme fans, but at least it was rarely boring, although some of the accompanying sound was really terribly poor. (Some American TV stations must have been using some grotesquely poor quality equipment).

 After Aleemah went home I treated myself to something I had been looking forward to for a couple of days - sausage in crusty finger rolls. The only disaster is that I forget to buy some mustard to put in them. Once they had nicely settled in my stomach for a couple of hours I did a bit more laundry. I had left a few items soaking in the morning, and all they needed was rinsing out, and wringing out. I've done all the easy bits, but one item is a medium sized bath towel - and they are bloody hard work. I gave it two rinses before abandoning it to write this. I guess I had better get back to it soon before I prepare myself for another gruelling day at work tomorrow !
Saturday 9th January 2016
16:58 GMT

  Most of yesterday was quite bright, but there was still some rain in the afternoon that left the ground looking wet and soggy when I left work to go home. It warmed up a little bit after the frosty morning - if you can call 8° C warm. The rain returned in the night, although I don't think it was very heavy, and there have been some showers during the day too. The sun did manage to break through the clouds a couple of times this morning, and almost made it once in the afternoon, but the day must be recorded as a dull miserable sort of day. It is currently 11° C - which is sort of surprising - and more rain is expected at any time in the next 36 hours.....maybe.

 I wasn't as productive at work as I was meant to be, but at least I was more productive than the day before. Perhaps I'll get it right when I go back to work on Monday. Anyway, it was a great relief to go home yesterday. I went home via Tesco where I bought a couple of essentials, and a selection of bargains - most of which I shouldn't have bought, and many of which I shouldn't have eaten when I got home !

 Yesterday evening didn't go quite right for several reasons. I ate enough of the bargains I had bought (which were hardly bargains at all) to make me feel a little too full to want to go out, but on this occasion I had a sort of excuse. When I got home I took my two bags of shopping into the kitchen, and as I put one down I did a sort of twisting motion that "spiked" my dodgy rib/cartilage/muscle system rather painfully. As usual it was one very brief sharp pain followed by a sort of tender ache.

 The actual ache never lasts that long, but the tenderness can linger for ages sometimes. It was all enough to make me doubt whether I wanted to go out like that or not. This doubt was bolstered by the idea that my chest seems to ache more in the cold night air (or any cold air) - just like many old injuries do. I guess that idea set me up to eat more than was good for me - or at least enough to make me feel too uncomfortable for travel.

 There were a few things I could have done about the tenderness of my chest. Ibuprofen tablets are good for reducing the inflammation. Paracetamol are fairly effective as painkillers. Sometime doing stuff like hand washing some shirts can pull the ribs back into the right, or less painful positions, although that only really works when something is out of place rather than just "spiked". The other rather pleasant thing is to get drunk - and that is what I did !

 One of the things I bought from Tesco on an earlier visit was some own brand bourbon. I think it was called Samuelsons or something. It may not be as good to create a "Lemmy", which by tradition can only be made from Jack Daniels and full sugar Coke (at least I think it has to be full sugar Coke), but when mixed 50 - 50 with Diet Coke, still tastes damn good. I had 4 very large one last night, and although I thought I didn't feel any more than very slightly tipsy, I certainly didn't feel and pain from my chest.

 Not only that, but it seems I slept rather well...or did I. Events this afternoon would seem to contradict that. I did a bit of reading in bed, and finished the book I was reading. I went out like a light when I put the finished book down and turned out my reading lamp, but I am not sure when that was. It is possible it was before 9pm, and I doubt it was much later than that. My last three hours of sleep were not all that good, but they weren't that bad either. By 8am I decided I probably couldn't sleep any more, and slowly, slowly got up.

 It took a little while for me to wake up, and get my body running as best it can these days, but eventually I felt good enough to do some laundry. I hand washed 5 shirts, three of them long sleeved, and some underwear. It was hard enough work to raise a sweat on a nasty cold damp morning - although I did have have the heating on low in the living room overnight, and the heater running full blast in my bedroom from about 5am. So it was hardly freezing cold even in the bathroom where I do my laundry.

 Once I had hung up the clothes to dry, and cooled off a bit I finally got to wash my hair, and I had a shower. It is possible that there was something wrong with time this morning - or possibly all day today - the hours seem to be slipping by a lot faster than they should. So it was gone midday when I felt ready to go to Aldi to do some proper shopping. I managed to get that home, and to put the bags down without doing myself any damage this time !

 Since than I have eaten enough for the whole day, and little else. I started reading another book, and only managed one page before my eyes started to droop. So I had a little snooze of undetermined length before stretching my legs, and checking a few pages on my PC. Then I lay on my bed again and started to read. This time I managed two pages before I felt like having another snooze. I slept for another indeterminate time before waking up to write this. It does suggest that I didn't sleep that well last night even if it seemed to feel that way.

 A bit of extra sleep today could be useful because I want to go out tonight. Chain are playing their second gig of the year in Greenwich tonight (last night it was in West Wickham), and hopefully I'll get there tonight. As has become my habit now, I think I will only stay to see the first set, but maybe I'll stay to see some or all of the second set. It all depends on how bored and isolated I feel after the first set I guess. If it was warmer and drier I might have gone out to join the smokers, and steal some of their second hand smoke for some amusement. Going outside for a smoke was always far more satisfying than standing in a corner twiddling my thumbs.
Friday 8th January 2016
08:04 GMT

  There was some absolutely torrential rain yesterday. I'm surprised there was no thunder and lightning to go with it. The very heaviest fall was around midday if I recall correctly. After that the rain slowly petered out, and with 30 - 60 minutes to spare before I left work to go home, the sun came out, and I enjoyed a bright, often sunlit, journey to Waterloo. Sunset is around the time I arrive at Waterloo now, but with the sky mostly clear, there was still a lot of afterglow when I arrived in Catford. So what started as a thoroughly despicable, soggy wet morning, ended with bright clear skies. The only problem is those same clear skies allowed the temperature to drop quite a lot. By the time I got home after spending 90 minutes or so in the pub with Jodie, the temperature had fallen to 4.5° C, and it continued to drop over night. I expected it to be sub zero, but my upstairs thermometer said 2° C, and the downstairs thermometer said 3° C. However there was frost on the cars parked outside, and some of the puddles on the station had ice crystals on them. It is forecast to be quite a cool day today - perhaps no more than 6 or 7° C - but it should stay dry until at least late evening, and there should be a fair bit of sunshine. Tomorrow might see the return of lots of rain, and temperature a couple of degrees higher.

  I have  a rather important job on at work right now. It is for an order that is supposed to be shipped in 8 days time. It is never going to happen then because a rather vital part was not ordered until 2 days ago, and it has to be made and shipped from China ! This is to my advantage because yesterday's rain really pissed me off and slowed me right down. I was indoors and fully isolated from the wet, but the noise of the rain hitting the tin roof of these industrial units did little to fill me with enthusiasm. Worst of all was the night like gloom that crept through the windows, and strangled the enthusiasm centre of my brain. Instead of completing the custom modification of 15 units I only managed to do 3 !

 It was somewhat of a relief to leave work and go home yesterday, and of course leaving in sunshine cheered me up a lot. I had already sent an email apologising for my absence at the Thursday night drink when Jodie phoned me to ask if I was going, and if I wasn't, would I like to meet her for a quick drink in Catford. I must admit I was looking forward to going straight home, but I said I would meet her for no more than 2 pints. Things didn't go as planned last night !

 The first part of the two part not going to plan was when I was waiting for my train at Waterloo East. As I waited I heard an announcement from the other platform which blew away my main reason for not going to Petts Wood to meet up with the usual Thursday night guys. I thought that had I gone I would have had to mess around with trains, and probably catch a train from Victoria station. I am unsure why I thought I couldn't get a train from Waterloo East when, as was clearly announced, the 16:09 train from there to Sevenoaks does call at Petts Wood. What's more is that it was the same train that I had used to get to Hither Green and to Grove park for other Thursday night drinks late last year.

 The second bit which didn't go to plan was Jodie's fault. She decided she wanted a bowl of hot soup. I can have some sympathy for that. It wasn't very warm, or warm at all in The Catford Constitutional Club, and I mentioned earlier, it was only 4.5° C outside  when we left there. I had to wait for Jodie to receive and consume her soup before I could leave, and that meant I had to have an extra half pint of beer. Now that was good and bad.

 It was good because it was an unusually nice beer. It was Titanic Stout, and unlike some stouts it didn't taste too much of burnt beans. On the plus side it did have a pleasant vanilla-ness about it with strong hints of chocolate. It was also fairly strong - perhaps 6% - or so I thought, but Titanic's web site says 4.5%, and also describes a completely different taste - a taste that I would have avoided ! The bad was that two and a half pints of beer was just enough to tip me over to the idea of getting fish and chips on the way home. I think the rather cold air outside, particularly when I was only wearing a light jacket chosen for it's waterproof qualities rather than it's almost non existent insulation, may have helped quite a lot too.

 I had planned to have a couple of Iceland's "Slimming World" cottage pies when I got home, but it was nice not having to wait for them to cook, and being able to plunge straight into fish and chips when I got home. Now I don't know if it was the cold, or whether I was more drunk than I imagined, but I have never managed to make such a mess with tomato sauce before. I got it on the sleeves of my shirt, down the front of my shirt, and on the carpet - mainly as the result of the same accident ! I was eating with my fingers when the piece of fish broke as I lifted it to my mouth, and lump heavily doused with tomato sauce bounced down the front of my shirt, hit my sleeves as I tried to catch it, and ended up on the carpet ! Oh well, the shirt will wash, and I think I got most of it out of the carpet.

 After my dinner I went straight up to my bedroom, and after checking a few things on my PC I ended up on my bed reading for half an hour. Then I turned the light out, and I was fast asleep before 9pm (if I recall correctly). I slept until 2am when I woke up in mild pain. I couldn't work out where it was worse, but it was part chest pain from my dodgy ribs/muscles/ligaments, part from what felt like trapped wind (of which there was no later evidence of it being so), and part indigestion. I assume it was probably something terrible like a heart attack or my innards being gnawed away by cancer, but maybe not because it was an almost ignorable discomfort that could have been lost under the noise and confusion of normal life, but refused to be ignorable in a quiet dark room.

 Eventually I got out of bed and went to my PC. I did have the heater on full blast at that point, but still the cold was far more uncomfortable than anything going on in my torso, and all pains except for feeling cold were forgotten within a very short while. After half an hour I got back in bed, but I found it very hard to get comfortable. It was probably my chest that was troubling me then, but eventually, after at least another half hour of being awake, I managed to fall asleep. It wasn't the best of sleep, but I got close to two hours worth.

 This morning I don't seem to be suffering from lack of sleep....well, not yet. The rest of me is not happy with it being so cold, but once again it is my chest that feels most delicate. It feels, or felt like any wrong movement could trigger some strong pain. Fortunately I have made it into work without any more than the very merest of twinge from my chest. It probably helped to keep it warm by wearing the warmest coat I can currently wear.

 I have several coats, all bought from the same shop - Peacocks - and with a peacocks label inside. All the labels say the size is XXL. My lightweight jacket seems to fit well, and it is easy to do up when needed. My leather look jacket is a bit warmer, but I try not to wear it for work. I can do the zip up on the front easily, and while it feels slightly tighter than my lightweight jacket, it seems quite comfortable to wear. This morning I wore a coat that is much thicker and is padded with much more insulation. It is surprisingly lightweight, and also a surprisingly good fit. Apart from being stiflingly hot on when on some trains, I could almost forget I am wearing it because it is so light and roomy. The last coat I will describe is orange, and looks far more like a foul weather coat with it's hood. It says it is the same XXL size as the other three, but doing it up is like doing a corset up. I can do it up, but I can hardly breath when I do, and I can hardly bend my arms ! How does that work ? I hope that somehow I can manage to be a bit thinner for next winter so I can wear it. If it were snowing I could wear it now, but I doubt I would be able to make it into work without collapsing, but it could be just about tolerable for a quick walk to the shops - maybe !

 Tonight I could go to a gig if I can find the energy and enthusiasm. It will mainly be the energy that is lacking, and if it is raining, or likely to rain, my enthusiasm will go into heavy negative figures ! Before going to the gig, if indeed I do go, I really will have to wash my hair as matter of urgency. I've been meaning to wash it for the last three nights, but on each occasion I don't seem to have managed for one reason or another. I still haven't done the washing up either, but maybe that could wait unto tomorrow morning now. I think it will be too wet for any outdoor activities tomorrow. So I could do lots indoors - except for the depressing effect of cold, dark, wet skies. Oh well, as usual, I'll just have to see what happens tonight and tomorrow.
Thursday 7th January 2016
08:50 GMT

  Yesterday I wrote that the days were getting longer, and that on Tuesday that idea was reinforced by it still being bright, and almost sunny when I walked from work to the station. That was not the case yesterday ! My walk to the station was done in terrible gloom. As forecast, yesterday was either grey or very grey. It was also rather cool - perhaps little more than 8° C. The only good thing was that it was dry until I was safely indoors, and possibly even until I was fast asleep. This morning it was between 7 and 8° C, and it was raining. It didn't look like it was raining enough to warrant putting on my waterproofs, but maybe it was ! The thick cloud delayed/obscured any sign of sunrise. I guess it did start getting light, as in a dull miserable grey light, at sunrise, but there wasn't any hint of it, as there usually is, before it happened. The good news is that the rain should dry up sooner or later, and this afternoon could be bright and sunny, although there might be more rain this evening. It's going to be another day when it may be slightly less cold than the average for early January, but I am not expecting to anything better than 8 or 9° C.

 The grey miserable skies when I was going home from work yesterday were, as some say, a bit of a bummer ! Like this morning, when the clouds blanked off any pre-dawn light, there was no post dusk light last night. At sunset, which was about the time I was crossing Waterloo station, having got off one train, and heading for Waterloo East station for another, it just went from dull grey to black as night almost in an instant - or, I got off the train at Waterloo in dull grey daylight, and night fell like a bucket of black paint by the time I had reached the platform at Waterloo East.

 That experience did little to enthuse me. In fact it did the complete opposite. When I got home I somehow managed to restrain my eating to only a bit more than I would have aimed for in ideal circumstances. To avoid any temptation I only stayed downstairs until I had finished eating, and I watched the start of the London news on BBC1 on my PC in my bedroom. As soon as I had watched the full item that had been shown as a teaser during the national news, about a proposal for half price rail fares for travellers before 7.30am, I switched it off, and went to lay on my bed to read.

 I wasn't exactly bored last night, but I certainly lacked any enthusiasm for watching more TV, or doing anything useful or constructive like washing up, or washing my hair - as I suggested I might do when writing yesterday. Maybe I was more tired than I realised, and that helped dull my enthusiasm as well as the cold dark weather. I am not sure when it was when I put my book down, turned out the light, and fell asleep, but I think it was no later than 8.30pm, and it could have been earlier. Just for a change I seemed to sleep unusually well. I have vague memories of waking up a couple of times for a pee, but they are very dreamlike memories. I think they must have happened though because I wasn't bursting for a pee when I had the almost novel experience of being woken up by my alarm clock (which was actually the clock on my mobile phone).

 I am not sure if I can say I felt refreshed after my good sleep, but I guess I didn't feel bad - well no worse than usual. I'm not so sure I feel so good after getting cold and wet coming to work. I wasn't soaked because the waterproofing I had applied to my coat about a month ago worked OK to stop my coat getting wet, and allowing the rain to soak through, but my head got wet, as did my hands, and to a lesser extent, my legs too. Now I am sitting here wishing my office would heat up quicker.

 Tonight's entertainment should be boozing, being as it is a Thursday night, but tonight's venue is The One In The Wood which is a micro pub in Petts Woods. It is conveniently very near the station, but the station is not easy to get to from here in Earlsfield, and not particularly easy to get home from either. To get there would mean a minimum of three trains, and possibly four, and definitely two trains to get home. I think tonight I will sit this session out, and go straight home where I may, or may not do all the washing up, and will definitely try and wash my hair well before I want to go to bed.
Aviva flogging their wares
                  on the concourse of Waterloo station
Aviva trying to sell insurance
There is a difference between these two pictures that may not be obvious - the top one was taken yesterday morning, and the lower one this morning. I think Aviva do insurance, and they were on the concourse of Waterloo station trying to pick up a few gullible customers.
railway tool ?
I am pretty sure this is a railway tool. It is some sort of clamp, and seems to have the right profile for rail. I spotted it on the road side of the fence where the railway and Doggett Rd in Catford run next to each other.
Wednesday 6th January 2016
09:03 GMT

  The days are slowly getting longer, and last night that effect was enhanced by the sky being clear enough to let some sunshine brighten up the first half of my journey home from work. There was also a nice residual glow in the western sky where the sun had only just set for the second part of my journey home. Much of yesterday was bright even when it wasn't actually sunny, but it was still a very chilly day with the temperature not really getting any higher than 8° C. Judging by the puddles there must have been quite a lot of rain in the night, and I did see the tail end of it while I was getting up this morning. Fortunately it had stopped before I would have walked to the station if I had left at my normal time - which I didn't. I left later than usual. Today should be mostly dry until well after dark tonight, but it is also going to be mostly grey, and when it isn't grey it will be dark grey !  It's hardly going to be noticeable, but today could average a whole degree less cold than yesterday !

  My office reached a passable temperature a lot quicker yesterday, and I was mostly comfortable. Not only that but I devised some simple, no rush work to do, and that kept boredom mostly at bay. So when I left work to go home in some rapidly fading sunshine (but still sunshine !!), it should have set me up for a pleasant journey, and maybe even evening. Of course it didn't happen like that. The first minor irritation is that on a day when I was wearing shoes that are great for walking around at work, but not so good for pounding the pavements, there was no bus in sight, and I had to walk to the station. Now I will admit this was the healthier option, but I still felt cheated out of using my 60+ Oyster Card for a free bus ride.

 The next irritation was when I got on the train at Waterloo East. I found a nice seat to myself, and got comfortable when some bloody woman and her piss and vomit stained pram (at least I assumed it had these stains - most do) came and parked the pram and it's probable noisy occupant right next to me, and blocked the gangway in the process. I two choices. Either bomb and napalm the train, or get up and walk away. I didn't have the facilities for the former, and I didn't want to delay the train. So I did the latter, and ended up standing all the way back to Catford.

 I was quite fuming by the time we were about 5 minutes away from Catford, and then my phone rang. It was my doctors surgery wondering if I would like to come in for a 'flu jab. Well maybe I might like to, but the day offered was Saturday 23rd. I kindly pointed out that I was seeing a nurse on Monday 25th, and that if they had vaccine left, and there was time, I would get the jab then. The woman at the other end didn't seem to understand that for some reason, and that just annoyed me more. The thing that made it all the more annoying is that the reason I was seeing the nurse was because there was a note attached to my last repeat prescription asking me to make an appointment, and having phoned up to make this appointment they couldn't give me one until the 25th January - which was a stupid three weeks away on the day I phoned up.

 None of that probably sounds rational, but I was feeling riled anyway, and that probably wasn't the best mood to be in when I popped into Tesco. There was no real reason to go in there, but I fancied a sandwich, and it was an opportunity to buy some more diet cola - because I didn't think I could buy any tonight because I thought that tonight was tomorrow night when I might be going to the pub on my way home (although now I don't think I will !). It's all terribly confusing, but the outcome was that I went into Tesco, and because I was in a bad mood I bought all sorts of things that I shouldn't have - well not all at once.

 I didn't have a formal dinner last night. I had a series of snacks, and many were of stuff I had never seen before. There was the Oriental noodle thing with peanuts - which wasn't very nice. Then there was the Mediterranean chick pea salad type thing that was not very nice either. The "Korean beef" (dogmeat ?) wrap was quite nice, but not nice enough to make me want to repeat the experiment. The feta cheese stuff peppers were a known indulgence - totally unhealthy for reasons that I don't even care to guess about, but extremely nice !

 I ended up in bed, and was probably asleep around 9pm. I slept quite well apart from a couple of unpleasant dreams. One reason for sleeping well was that my bedroom was still very slightly cool when I went to bed. That helped get me to sleep. A slight error on my part helped me keep asleep - I accidently left the heater on full power last night, and my bedroom was definitely very toasty when I got up this morning ! The one time I definitely woke up in the night was about 11pm, and I woke up from a rather claustrophobic dream. I can't remember being short of breath when I woke up, and so I don't think it had anything to do with sleep apnoea. The dream involved going down a narrow pipe that I couldn't turn around in. It might have been full of water too. I can't really remember any more about it, but it didn't feel nice.

Signal failure at London Bridge
 I didn't feel anything wrong when I got up, and it wasn't until I was getting close to when I should have left to walk to the station that I realised that I had visited the toilet once or twice more than usual, and that I needed to go once again. Fortunately that was the last time, but it was enough for me to miss my usual 06:33 train, and I had to get the 07:04 train (and pay full peak rate for it after not touching in with my Oyster Card before 06:30 - my 60+ card doesn't work until after 09:30). This morning was not a good time to start out late ! The screenshot on the left explains why - signal problems through London Bridge !

 It wasn't long after my train left Ladywell, and joined the mainline that we started to slow down. The next few signals were at caution (amber) (I guess) and so we crawled along. Then we started stopping at each signal for a few minutes, and then more than a few minutes, and then for even more than more than a few minutes. An awful lot of very boring time passed before we passed the actual faulty signal, and the train could run at the usual speed from just after London Bridge to Waterloo East station (which because of the winding track and all the points, is fairly slow at any time).

 So I arrived at work about an hour late, and in theory I shall be making up the time, but maybe in ways that aren't terribly noticeable...... Now, because tonight is in fact not tomorrow night, i.e Thursday night, like I thought it would be last night, I shall be going straight home from work, and not going home via a pub. Tonight I really ought to do the washing up that I meant to do last night, and I really ought to eat more healthily. I probably ought to wash my hair as well. Once my hair is dry I can look forward to going to bed, and getting some sleep - although I don't think there is any need to rush to bed early tonight, but I might do because I might be bored !
Tuesday 5th January 2016
08:28 GMT

  The weather wasn't wonderful yesterday, but it was better than the previous few days by quite a large margin. If it had just been warm, or even approaching warm, I might have even said it was a nice day, but while it wasn't freezing cold, it was cold enough to seep deep into the bones and chill them. There was also the matter of the rain. I think it was just before midday, but it could have been soon after, when there was some moderately heavy rain, but I doubt it lasted for much more than half an hour. The rest of the time it was bright, and quite often it was sunny too ! Today will probably be very similar to yesterday except that today the temperature may hit a whole 10° C !! I think yesterday it tended to be closer to 8° C for much of the day.

 I started off feeling moderately OK yesterday, but my office was so cold that I ended up feeling every ailment possible as result of being chilled to the bone. Assorted muscles and joints ached, and so did my chest. Eventually the two pathetic heaters in here succeeded in what my old fan heater could do in half the time, and the air became pleasantly warm, but while the air may have been warm, my desk, and everything else in the room was really cold to touch. That was the result of no heating over the Xmas break. During that time every single bit of warmth was sucked out the fabric of the building !

 I went home after work feeling rotten, although I will admit that once I got moving I warmed up a bit, and started to feel marginally better. Nevertheless, when I arrived back in Catford I still felt cold and miserable, and while there was still a hint of light over in the west, it was essentially cold and dark outside, and that did nothing to amuse me (it did the opposite). This was not the best mood top be in when going in a food shop, but I mostly stuck to my guns and bought 4 Iceland "Slimming World" products, and a 3 litre bottle of Diet Coke (a stupid sized bottle that doesn't easily fit in the fridge, but works out cheaper per litre than Tesco sells it for).

 I did buy one other item that formed part one of my dinner, and although I can't spell it without looking it up, I will describe it as beef bleurghingunk, and you can guess what it was. I didn't even dare to look how many calories, or how much sugar it contained, but it looked as if it might be a nice warming sort of dish...and it was ! To compound this comedy of errors I decided I had better use the spare nan bread that came with my curry on Saturday night. I used it in the worst possible way, but it was rather delicious !! I smeared it with a very generous amount of lime and chilli pickle, and covered that with a very generous amount of cheese before zapping it in the microwave for 3 minutes (long enough to reheat the bread, and melt the cheese).

 My mood during the day had not been helped by feeling tired after a lousy night's sleep. To cure that I made sure I went to bed extra early last night. I was laying on my bed reading by 6.30pm, and I think I went and brushed my teeth for the night around 7pm. I can't remember when it was that I turned out the light, but I reckon it was probably about 7.30pm, and after some minutes of thinking I would never get comfy and fall asleep, I fell asleep !

 I must have slept quite well until 4am this morning. I have the very vaguest of memories of waking up once or twice, but it wasn't until 4am that I woke up properly. I woke up hearing a brief noise that worried me. I thought it was the sound of a mouse chewing something. A few minutes later I heard it again, but because I was more awake I realised the noise was more metallic than any noise a mouse may make. The third time I heard it I realised that it came from my fan heater. If I had got out of bed, and administered the correct cure, a thump to reseat the join in the casing, I might have managed to get back to sleep again. I did try and fall asleep again, but I had probably woken up too much, and on the couple of occasions that I did seem to be falling asleep, the fan heater realised it, and gave another rattle. By 4.40am I gave up and started getting up. Well the extra time allowed me to do it more gently than usually - and that helped a bit.

 I guess I didn't feel too bad this morning. Most of me felt rested, and nothing really ached, or not out of the ordinary. I did feel a little twinge from my chest while I was showering - all that twisting around getting soap on or off difficult to reach places can do the nasty to my chest sometimes. On this occasion I seemed to sense it was about to happen and took more care before the twinge turned into a major ouch ! I set off for work feeling mostly comfortable, but it didn't last......

 Mindful of how cold I felt yesterday, I took precautions to keep myself warmer today. So I put on some thicker slip on shoes - thicker than the cheap and nasty Chinese sweat shop made plimsolls that I favour. The shoes I have on today are comfortable in most ways, but it does feel like walking on treacle. I can't really describe the problem. It just feels difficult to walk at my usual speed. That didn't seem to matter as I walked to the station from home, but it made the walk from Earlsfield station to work seem like hard work.

 Different shoes shoes, which were warmer to wear, were not the only change this morning. I also put on a long sleeve shirt, and wore a thicker/more padded jacket. They kept me a lot warmer, or far too warm on a hot train, and also felt far too restrictive ! Here at work, despite it being rather cool in here (but at least it is warming up faster than yesterday), I have already rolled up my sleeves because I find the extra length and the cuff to be rather irritating. I look forward to the days when I can go travel to work not only in short sleeves, but without a coat at all ! Maybe even in shorts !!

 I can only think of one thing I will/ought/could do tonight, and that is to wash up several days of washing up. Last night I had to wash a knife, fork and spoon specially so I could eat my dinner. Tonight I probably ought to wash up all the knives, forks and spoons - and the plates too ! One other fearsome task for tonight is to decide whether to have one or two "Slimming World" meals. I guess it all hangs on what snacks I may or may not have (it ought to be no snacks, but this is the real world....or at least this is my world). I think another early night might be nice, but probably not as extremely early as last night.

 Yesterday it was ITV Hub, which is apparently some sort of internet based TV catch-up service, promoting themselves on the concourse of Waterloo station. Today it is.....actually I am not sure....
Waterloo concourse Tuesday
                  5th January 2016
It is either Hertz, presumably the car rental people, promoting Florida, or Florida Oranges are promoting Hertz.
Florida promotion at Waterloo
The message on the side of the display in the top pictures says - "Dear London, we are on a mission to brighten up your darkest month of the year. So keep an eye out for lots of warm, sunny gestures from the Sunshine State". I still can't work out where Hertz comes into it, but there were boxes of oranges there, and presumably this is what the real promotion was about - bullet ridden oranges flavoured with a hint of rocket fuel, grown by inbred residents of America's favourite place for retirees.
Monday 4th January 2016
08:58 GMT

  Yesterday was most definitely horrible. Fortunately today has started a lot better than yesterday ended. I'm not sure how long it will last because rain is, or was forecast for sometime this morning, but right now I can see a lot of blue sky (with some streaky white clouds) through my office window. If it were 20 degrees warmer it might even be nice ! My thermometers said it was just 6° C at 6am, and that was two degrees lower than the forecast. The latest forecast says there will be some light rain within the hour, and if I peer around the edge of my office window I can see a black cloud. So maybe that rain will fall, but it is not supposed to last long. Until the next shower, sometime this afternoon, there could be an occasional glimpse of sunshine, but it will do little to the temperature. The forecast says it will only reach 9° C. Unfortunately tomorrow will probably be similar today, but then again the weather could be far, far worse, and much more unpleasant than it is. For instance it could be like yesterday....shudder !

 Now I will admit that some blame could be pinned on the curry I had for dinner last night, but I put the blame purely on the weather for having a really bad sleep last night. I have never known my mattress and pillow to be so lumpy, and I have never known it be so hot under my duvet when it was almost chilly without it.  It took me ages to get to sleep last night. I was aiming to be asleep very soon, if not before, 9pm last night, but it was gone 11pm before I fell asleep.

 That wouldn't have been so bad if I had managed to stay asleep, but I was fully under the duvet (apart from my head), and after barely 2 hours I woke up wet with sweat. From then on I got a little bit of sleep, perhaps no more than 20 minutes at a time, sleeping with bits of me uncovered. That continued for the rest of the night, and I would be surprised if I got much more than four hours sleep in total. I much prefer 8 hours !

 It is unfortunate that this happened on the first day in a fortnight when I could not go back to bed at 5am to try again. Here I am at work, and to my surprise I don't feel terrible yet. In fact I don't feel too bad at all right now....apart from one little thing - it was freezing cold in my office when I came in, and it is not exactly warm now (but it is still warming up). The cold journey into work, and the cold office means my chest is feeling very vulnerable right now, and I have had a few twinges this morning. I thought I had jarred my chest when I rushed down the stairs at Earlsfield station. Actually I did jar it a bit, but only enough to give a bit of mild ache. I did worse a few seconds ago when I stretched upwards and yawned. that felt like it came very close to popping a rib out of place (or whatever really happens below the skin where the muscles, ribs and ligaments live).

 I am almost forgetting two other reasons why I might have felt far too hot in bed last night. One reason was the shear physical effort of doing a bit more laundry by hand. One item I did yesterday evening was a medium sized bath towel. It needed so many rinses before the water coming off started to be almost clear, almost bubble free, and after every rinse I had to wring it out. At the end it felt like my arms were about to fall off. The other reason for feeling hot was that I boiled my head - no I didn't really, but I did wash my hair using fairly hot water.

 It is still early in the day to make wild predictions, but at the moment I am back on track with healthy eating. I've had two bowls of salad for breakfast, and I won't be eating again until I get home. I am going home via Iceland (the supermarket), and I'll mostly, and possibly exclusively buying some of their "Slimming World" products. The big question now is whether I really need to eat two, or if I could get away with one plus a can or two of soup. I'll find out when I get home ! In a similar way, I wonder if I really need two bowls of salad for breakfast. Maybe at this time of year I do, but once it becomes warmer, if not sooner, I will try and wean myself off having two.

Meanwhile, back at Waterloo station....
ITV Hub at Waterloo station
ITV hub showing off their wares (or showing off something) on the concourse of the station this morning.
ITV Hub on the concourse of Waterloo station
Sunday 3rd January 2016
15:44 GMT

  Yesterday ended wet, and today started wet. It wasn't supposed to be quite like that. This morning was supposed to be dry, but it certainly seems like it was raining at dawn, and has been raining ever since. A consequence of that is that today has been the most soul crushingly, depressingly, and several other ????????ly dull grey day. A greyness that saps all energy and enthusiasm. To make matters worse it has been barely more than 9° C today. The fact that this was forecast doesn't make it any better, or excusable ! The current theory is that there could be a few glimpses of sunshine for a couple of hours in the morning, and then a couple of hours of rain in the early afternoon tomorrow. The rest of tomorrow will just be rather grey, and the temperature will struggle to reach 9° C. For a lot of the day it will be 8° C or less.

 It wasn't a cure, but ordering a curry last night was a distraction. I enjoyed it, but somehow it lacked the excitement that a curry could once bring. As I tend to do, I ordered quite a few portions, and had enough left over for not only breakfast this morning, but also a dinner later this afternoon/evening. There was one other thing I did to help blot out the rainy weather last night (beside closing the curtains and pretending the outside world didn't exist), and that was to have another couple of large Jim Beam "Devil's Cut", extra strength bourbon and colas. I guess I should have had enough to get drunk, but I didn't notice it, and nor was it really the reason for having them. It's just a way of having an exotic tasting drink.

 Exotic tasting or not, it all helped me have one of those nights that starts off so nicely that you wish it could go on for hours and hours more. Unfortunately by 5am I start to wake up as the bed starts to feel lumpy, and the wrong temperature - plus bits of me start to ache. So I have to get out of bed and start moving around a bit - just a tiny little bit. Then, being s Sunday, and with nothing happening, I can try going back to bed to sleep a little more, It almost worked, but eventually I had to get up and start doing stuff.

 Unfortunately there wasn't much to do today....well nothing much that I wanted to do on a depressing cold, wet, and grey day. There were many things I thought I might do over this holiday period, but I seem to have done very few. On the other had I did things like going to Herne Bay that I never imagined I might do. One thing I could do, and needed to do to get the bath free for use, was to rinse out and wring out the sheet and t-shirt I had left soaking over night.

 It was hard work rinsing and wringing that sheet, but I've tackled worse - but never on an energy sapping miserable grey day like today ! Having got the two items hanging up to dry I should have had a shower and washed my hair, but I just couldn't be bothered. I still intend to wash my hair before today is over so I don't have to go to work with wet hair in the morning. It seems pointless having a shower this late in the day, and I am not going to be seeing anyone today so it doesn't really matter if I stink.

 About the only other constructive thing I have done today is to prepare for uploading another 20 photos taken on my day out to Herne Bay. I have also upload those 20, plus another 20 I had prepared the day before, to Flickr, and you can see the glorious results right here - don't forget that clicking on a picture allows you to zoom in on the picture, and read a brief description about it, and see the location on a map.

 Tomorrow I am back at work. That is going to be a shock to the system ! It has it's plus points (as I keep trying to brainwash myself into believing). It is something to do on a day that is no good for anything else. It earns me extra pocket money, and it is a good opportunity to restrain my calorie intake and get a bit of exercise. However, I will have to get some shopping in on the way home. I think I had better get it from Iceland (the supermarket) where there is less temptation to buy random unhealthy products. Having said all that I have nothing to write about tomorrow -except to moan about the weather, and how much I ache !
Saturday 2nd January 2016
17:56 GMT

  I think the rain fell more or less as forecast yesterday. It was a mostly grey day, and fairly cool, but I have a vague recollection that the sun came out for a few moments. During the night it may have actually warmed up a tiny bit, and today has been around 11° C - it's still that as I write this. There have been a few splashes of rain today, but it hasn't been as wet as I expected.....Although having said that, a peek behind the closed curtains shows it is rather wet outside ! It seems tomorrow is also going to be wet from about mid morning until some time after sunset. It's also going to be a little cooler. At best it will just about hit 10° C for a few hours in the afternoon. We still haven't suffered the depths of winter, but the weather is trying it's best to be horrible !

 The only significant thing I did yesterday was to go for a drink with my friend Kevin. As expected, it went on for far longer than it should have. I met Kevin at 3.30pm, and we did a mini pub crawl from The London & Rye to The Catford Constitutional Club by way of The Black Cat. I'm not sure how we did it, but we seemed to be drinking quite slowly, and so by the time we said good bye at nearly 8pm I had only drunk about five and a half pints plus a couple of shorts. The reason for the odd half was that the last pint I had in The London & Rye was off, and was unpleasant to drink. So I left it half finished.

  I felt pretty hungry when I left the pub, and had any of the more convenient takeaways been open I would definitely have bought something to eat on the way home. When I got home empty handed I checked the couple of Iceland "Slimming World" meals I had in the fridge. Unfortunately they were all well passed their best, and the packages were bulging. It is possible they were still edible, but I threw them away to be on the safe side. That didn't leave me much to eat, or at least not much that didn't need some sort of tedious preparation. So I heated up a can of soup, and that went down well. I followed that by a can of German meatballs in a mushroom sauce - which I "zapped up" with some chunks of cheese and chilli sauce - and thus doubled or trebled the calorie count !

 Despite these occasional detours off the road, I delude myself that I have shown remarkable restraint in what I have eaten over this holiday period. I may not have lost any weight, but I feel sure that unlike many people at this time of year, I have put none on. If I wasn't just about to order a takeaway, I think there is a strong chance that my calorie intake for today would be below the point where weight loss takes place !

 After my food last night I went to bed not exactly early, but not late either. In theory I slept well. I can barely remember waking up more than once in the bulk of the night, but I still haven't shaken off the habit of waking up at 5am. That is, or will be rather good on Monday when I go back to work, but this morning, with quite a generous hangover, it was annoying !

 It has taken quite a lot of time to shake that hangover off, and even now I feel the longer term effects, but the pain went ages ago. It was helped on it's way by some hair of the dog ! I saw my friend Aleemah this morning, and as usual we went to the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast. I thought I was going to be thirsty, particularly because they had one rather good beer on, but I found myself drinking my pint rather slowly. It was beer whose label Aleemah, who is into occult type stuff, found amusing.
Stone Amber Ale
 The picture I took of the pump clip came out a bit blurry so I had to "borrow" this picture off the internet, and I have just realised it is rather different, but it does the job. The beer I had this morning (and last night) was actually called Amber Ale by the Stone Brewery, but both use the same Stone logo of the gargoyle type man with his pint of ale. To Aleemah it probably meant something diabolic, but it just reminded me of a scene in an old Dr Who episode -

  Today Aleemah brought over another "terrible" DVD to watch. It was a back and white film made in France with English subtitles. It was a French take on the beauty and the beast fairy story. I will admit it wasn't as hateful as a Disnified version, but I can't say I cared for it. I think I would have preferred to watch a 20 year old Dr Who episode !

 I haven't really done much today, apart from spending a few hours with Aleemah. Despite claiming to have slept well, or desperately trying to convince myself so, I has a snooze this afternoon - and I think it may have lasted over an hour. On the other hand it may have only lasted 5 minutes. I haven't been paying any attention to the time, but it seems an awful lot of it has passed today without me noticing.

 I did do one little tiny thing this afternoon, and that was to put a bed sheet, plus a couple of badly food stained (!) t-shirts into soak. Dealing with that will be one useful thing that I expect to do tomorrow. Other things I might do include getting some shopping, and just being totally, and utterly lazy - if I can !
Friday 1st January 2016
10:53 GMT

  After yesterday's glorious sunshine it is a shame to report that we have gone back to it being overcast. The weather forecast feels that there should be a few sunny periods for the next couple of hours as the temperature slowly rises from the frost we had earlier this morning. At midday a light splash of rain may happen, but no more until 9pm tonight when some heavier rain will start to fall. By then the temperature may have made it up to 8° C - it's going to be a chilly day today ! Tomorrow may be a bit less cold, perhaps 11° C, but it is going to be very dull, and very wet !

 I had a suitably relaxing night after my visit to Herne Bay yesterday. Although I adopted postures that minimised, or even stopped any pains from my chest, and some Ibuprofen helped too, my chest remained quite tender yesterday evening. It was a bit ironic that after going all the way to Herne Bay, and walking around there, it was stepping down into my own kitchen that twisted my ribs in the wrong way ! I passed some of the time photo editing, and some of the time drinking a couple of strong Jim Beam "Devil's Cut" bourbon and colas. They helped dull the pain from my chest, and helped me to get to sleep by about 11pm last night. If there were any loud celebrations around midnight, I didn't hear them !

 I am a little surprised that I got to sleep so quickly and so deeply because I was sort of buzzing after my day out. I felt quite elated that I had managed to get out, have good weather for it, and found I wasn't quite as unfit as I thought. I guess the booze, but maybe more importantly, the fresh air and exercise helped a lot to get me to a well deserved sleep. It would have been nice to sleep a bit longer, but I guess I had enough, and I didn't get up until it was already almost light.

 This morning my chest is not bothering me much, but only as a result of taking care because it is still rather tender. The curious, or stupid thing is that I didn't seem to take much care when I stepped down into the kitchen a few time this morning. I would have thought I would be a bit wary of it after the (very briefly) very intense pain it caused yesterday, but I guess I was more interested in getting my sausages cooked !

 I still haven't "officially" got up because I haven't showered yet, but I have been busy photo editing. I have finally uploaded the pictures I took at Waterloo, and the walk to Blackfriars on the 28th Dec. They have been uploaded to Flickr in high resolution, and you can see the set here -
I've also edited the photos I took yesterday, but I have yet to upload them to Flickr yet. I have edited a couple of low resolution snaps to show here.
South Eastern class 375
                  train in "high speed" livery
This is the front of the class 375 train that took me to Herne Bay station. It is painted in the same livery that South Eastern use for the high speed trains. I have yet to find out if this is to be their new standard livery. It looks better than plain white in my opinion.
Take Courage sign
I haven't seen one of these signs for years and years, and yet here is one seemingly in good condition above a shop that still sells booze (I think) on the high street through Herne Bay.
Herne Bay
I probably should have shown this sign first, but it was one of the last pictures I took yesterday.

 If I get the chance, and there is a good chance I will, I will upload the complete set of pictures from Herne Bay sometime later today. Before then, any time from about midday onwards, I will probably be going for a drink with my friend Kevin. It will start with the intention of just being a few pints, but could very easily be many more. Maybe today, with nothing important to do for the next few days, I will allow myself a few extra pints, and suffer the consequences !