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

Thursday 30th June 2016
07:30 BST

  Yesterday was probably drier than expected - but only by a little bit ! Most of the rain fell nearer to midday than home time, but it was spitting as I left work. It had all but stopped by the time I got to Earlsfield station, and from then on, as far as I was aware, it stayed dry until I woke up to rain at 5am this morning. I don't think I can recall any time when it was particularly bright yesterday, although I'm sure it wasn't all doom and gloom. Of course the temperature was a great disappointment. There were one or two times when I felt a bit cool on my way home. I think the temperature only reached 17° C yesterday, although I wouldn't argue if someone said it was 18° C.
weather forecast for
                          today - Thurs 30th June 2016
 Here's a screenshot taken just a few minutes ago. This is the forecast for today. It is, of course, wrong already. Earlier this morning it showed the prediction for 6 and 7am - it said bright, and reality said rain. 8am is still 20 minutes away as I write this, but instead of being overcast it is actually sunny ! All I hope now is that the afternoon rain really does finish before 4pm so I can go home in the dry. If that is the case then it is a pity I didn't bring my shoulder bag or rucksack to work so I could put my raincoat in it. 19° C is not particularly warm. In fact it is hardly warm at all, but it could still be nasty and sweaty under my raincoat, and I would prefer to not wear it if it is not raining.

 The brief return of coughing I had the day before yesterday didn't seem to inflict itself on me yesterday, and I felt mostly OK at work. There was only one short period when I felt very sleepy. On the whole, everything was fine except for one annoyance. That one annoyance was I did not select a very comfortable pair of shoes. They were the type that seem perfectly comfortable in the morning, but by the end of the working day it feels like some sadistic policeman has been beating the soles of your feet with his desk ruler to elicit a confession.

 The discomfort from my feet meant that what I did after coming home from work a bit stupid sounding. Rather than going straight home so I could get those shoes off, I decided to do a bit of shopping - some actual, some just window shopping. I went the long way around. First of all to Poundland where I bought some delicious "Genuine Lancashire" Eccles Cakes, plus a few other odds and sods. Then I walked along the high street taking in the non existent sights until I came to Cash Generators - the secondhand and pawn shop where I have bough a few camera s and some accessories in the past. I was curious what they had in their window, and in one case I was curious as to why a 19" Alba TV was so expensive. The answer, when I looked more carefully, was that it came with a "free" Xbox games console. They had a couple of cameras in the window that I might have been interested in, but nothing I could really justify spending any money on.

 It was nice to get home, and to take my shoes off. It was also nice not to feel exhausted as well. I wasn't exactly brimming with energy, but I had enough to do two of the things I wanted to do - but only after I had eaten some dinner. The main part of dinner was salad with extra mini plum tomatoes and haslet. For sweet I had three small Eccles cakes and some satsumas. It is not often I have anything like that, although I have been eating some satsumas after meals recently, but the addition of the Eccles cakes made for a rather naughty, but extremely nice finish to dinner.

 After dinner I allowed at least 30 minutes for my dinner to settle before doing two of the things I wanted to do last night. They were to trim my beard, and to wash my hair. Having accomplished both I then had to wait a fair while for my hair to dry. I needn't have worried about it taking too long to dry because I found I just didn't seem to feel sleepy last night. It was getting on for 10pm before I went to bed, and I read until well past 10pm before I turned out the lights and tried to sleep.

 Sleep didn't come easily or smoothly. I think I initially managed to doze off once or twice for short periods of time before midnight, but it didn't seem to be until after midnight that I got into proper sleep. Even then I am not sure I slept that well. I have a vague recollection of waking up a couple of times from variants on the same dream. It all seems so hazy now, but it had something to do with a strange shaped aircraft circling the Thames Estuary. I cannot even begin to imagine how it could work, but that aircraft had something to do with selling duty free booze and stuff from Europe.

 This morning I feel like I may be starting to regret not getting a proper night's sleep already, but other than that I don't feel too bad. It still seems that I cannot walk as fast, or as easily as I feel I ought to be able to do, but maybe there were hints that things were improving again. The walk from home to the station seemed particularly hard work, but the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station didn't seem too bad this morning. I'm fairly sure that the walk from Earlsfield station to work seemed less arduous than yesterday - it was still arduous, but less arduous !

 I hope I am feeling fairly good when work ends today. It's Thursday, and that means booze ! Tonight's venue is the very conveniently placed Ravensbourne Tavern. It's little more than 5 minutes walk from Ladywell station (the station before Catford Bridge station on the way home from work), and afterwards I can take a very pleasant stroll through a warm sunny park to get home...No, that's where it all goes wrong. If it was really summer I could take pleasure in that walk, but as it is really still April, despite what the calendar may say, it would likely be a horrible dull soggy walk through the park, and I think tonight I'll get a bus towards home.
Wednesday 29th June 2016
07:35 BST

  It seemed like a case of "when will it rain" rather than "will it rain" yesterday...and no more so than when I was on my way home from work. After the bright start in the morning it became increasingly cloudy, and it warmed up a bit - just a very small bit ! The best temperature I saw was on my upstairs thermometer, and it said 20° C, but I now distrust that thermometer. It seems to read high. The downstairs thermometers were more in accordance with the forecast - just 17° C. It seemed pleasant enough to go home in shirtsleeves, but as I stood on Waterloo East station, waiting for my train back to Catford, it became increasingly obvious it was about to pour with rain. I was fortunate that the rain held off until after I had been in Tesco, and was just 5 minutes walk from home. I didn't bother to put my coat on, but I was only slightly damp when I got home. This morning was nice and bright and sunny, and rather cool ! 13° C seems wrong for an end of June morning, and it definitely felt chilly as I walked to the station in my (short) shirtsleeves. It seems today is going to be a lot like yesterday. The only unknown again is the time it will start to pour with rain. I've got a raincoat with me, but it would be nice if the rain could hold off until I'm safely home - doubly so considering it is probably going to be a degree cooler than yesterday !

 Once again I felt moderately good at work yesterday, but maybe not as good as the day before. On Monday I was suffering from a lack of sleep the night before, but I had almost no symptoms of my previous cold. Yesterday I had had the luxury of a good nights sleep, but for some reason my cough returned. It was mild compared to the ravages of the previous week, but still annoying, and perhaps worrying too. The other annoying thing was that I seemed to have a great lack of energy at the end of the working day. Going home felt much to much like hard work. Maybe I recovered a bit on the way home, and it didn't seem too much like hard work to divert via Tesco, but I just could not find the energy to quicken my pace when I had to walk the last 5 minutes in the rain.

 I couldn't resist a few bargains from Tesco, but a lot of what I bought was fairly healthy stuff. I am unsure whether to describe the Satsumas and "Easy Peeler" oranges I bought as healthy or not. For most they would be, but they can tip my sugar intake over the top - at least I think they can. (I really ought to do some experiments some time). As well as oranges, I also bought three lots of ready made salad. I had one last night with some prawns and muscles. Some say seafood is high in cholesterol, but I have tablets for that. Otherwise it would have been a good low fat, low everything else dinner, if only I hadn't drowned it in 1000 Island Dressing ! It was very nice though !

 It did seem that my appetite was back at full strength last night, and it lured me into some bad eating. The worst thing, in more than one way, was the reduced price coleslaw I had with chunks of cheese. There were several reasons why I should not have eaten it, but the more important one was that I seemed to be burping up the taste of that coleslaw all evening ! It is both fortunate and unfortunate that I still have half the coleslaw left. It would have been nice to use it all up yesterday so I don't have to have any tonight (not that I actually have to...). On the other hand I think it would have made me feel sick to overdose on it last night.

 I didn't feel inspired to do much last night. Maybe it was finding tennis on both TV channels at the same time that put a dampener on things, or maybe it was just how depressing the TV news was when the tennis graciously gave it a few minutes break to be shown, or maybe I was still tired. In fact all three are correct. After dinner I could only stand to watch the first 10 minutes of the TV news. All those bloody politicians gurning at each other made the food churn in my stomach. So I turned off the TV, and went up to my bedroom. I thought I would look at my PC, but I decided to lay on my bed for a while. Within minutes I was fast asleep, and I think it was as much as an hour later when I woke up again.

 That must have been close to 8pm. It was tempting to go and brush my teeth then, and go to bed properly, but I wanted to make a backup of the pictures on my PC before I put it off any later. So I started that, and checked a few web pages. Once the back had finished I then went to bed, but after my earlier sleep I didn't feel that tired. So I read in bed for as much as an hour before turning out the light. After that I fell asleep very quickly. My sleep was not disturbed by a single cough, but I did seem to have to wake up to pee a couple of times.

 I also had some unusual dreams. They seemed to centre around a walk through my local park. About half way through the park I found something like a caravan park. It didn't seem to be like a random invasion of "travellers" because the area was marked out for parking the vans. Plus they didn't seem to be like normal caravans. They seemed to morph into something like mobile market stalls - sort of half open and half closed. A bit further into the park I came across an unattended table covered with military electronics. I think it was supposed to be some some of radar equipment, but I could only see the back of it. I noticed some dry joints on it, and found a soldering iron so I could solder them up again. I was about halfway through when a Squaddie appeared in a strange black uniform, and warned me he was turning it on, and that 2000V would be flowing through it. I knew that would only be the display unit, and stayed clear of it while I soldered up a particularly bad joint on a processing unit. Then I woke up.

 I can't decide if I had a good night or not. It seemed to be easy to sleep when I slept, but it seemed like there were too many times when I was awake. I guess I didn't feel too bad when I got up. I had some low level soreness from my "twisted rib", but most of me seemed in fair working order. I didn't need to have a good cough to clear my airways this morning, and I think that my airways seem generally clearer this morning. They are still not perfect, but maybe they are recovering faster than I thought would be possible when I was in the thick of it, and coughing my lungs up last week.

 It all sounds very positive, but once again it seemed hard work to get up to speed when walking to the station, rushing across the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline stations, and, worst of all, walking from the station to work. To make matters worse it seems the cold morning air was triggering more coughing than I would like, and even after being at work for some time, my throat still feels tickly. This is a bit like yesterday, and it is annoying !

 I think that tonight there are two things I ought to make some special effort to do. One is to trim my beard, and the other is to wash my hair. That will probably be quite enough for one night, but if I don't feel tired, and I feel bored, I could always wash a few shirts. Somehow I don't think I'll be doing that laundry, but you never know...who can tell what I'll feel like tonight ? I could feel like miracle man, or I could be dead. Oh well, in 12 hours time the truth will reveal itself to me. 
Tuesday 28th June 2016
07:35 BST

  We are rapidly running out of June, and I don't think we have had one "flaming June" day...or have we ? Yesterday started with rain, and so yesterday can be discounted. The afternoon was a big improvement on the morning - I went home in glorious sunshine. It felt nice and warm in the sunshine, but the air temperature was still a bit disappointing - no better than 20° C. The cloud stayed thin overnight, but the temperature only dipped to about 13 or 14° C - cool, but not bad. Unfortunately the cloud is thickening up now. The forecast warns that today will be mostly overcast, and that there will be rain this afternoon. It looks touch and go as to whether the rain will start before or after I leave work to go home. It seems likely that the highest temperature today could be as low as 19° C. Tomorrow looks like it could be truly awful. The forecast says it will be very grey. The top temperature will be only a very autumnal 16° C, and it will only be that high for an hour or two. It will be just 15° C for most of the day, and it's going to rain - quite frequently !

 I felt surprisingly good at work yesterday. That is, of course, a relative measurement/opinion compared to how I was feeling last week, or even the week before. Nothing really hurt, my nose was mostly clear, and I can only remember a couple of occasions when I needed a good cough and prolonged cough to clear my throat. I didn't even feel tired after my poor nights sleep...Well not until about 2pm when I crashed ! I felt desperately tired for the last 90 minutes that I was here.

 I perked up a bit once I was out in the fresh air, and I was OK, or possibly even mildly good, for most of the journey home. The last bit, the walk from the station to home, was rather a slog though. It felt really good to get indoors, get out of my work clothes, and relax. I would say it was good to turn the TV on, but with bloody football on BBC1, and blasted tennis on BBC2, it was no fun at all - although I did find some Star Trek on one of the channels. It was the episode called "Spock's Brain" - a very silly, but enjoyable episode.

 It seemed like I had got my appetite back last night, and I had to throttle back my desire to eat too much, or atleast I tried to ! Maybe it might be more accurate to say my appetite was selectively back. Some things I fancied, and others less so. I had a two part dinner. The first was a steamed ready meal of smoked haddock, spinach, and pasta. It was neither as healthy or as nice as it might sound. The second part was fish fingers - found lurking at the back of the freezer, and getting a bit close to their "best before" date. I love fish fingers, and can eat them until the cows come home. At least I thought I could, but halfway through making a glutton on myself my appetite failed. I ate them all, but I didn't really enjoy the last of them.

 Maybe my appetite failed again because I was really tired. It wasn't the same bone deep weariness I had at the end of work, but it was rapidly catching up with me. There were a few things I might have liked to have done last night, but instead I went to bed at 8pm, and it took very little time to fall asleep ! The good thing about last night was that I can't remember coughing at all. I could sleep on my left, and I could sleep on my right, and neither triggered any coughing. Neither seemed to provoke any pain from my "twisted rib" either. I woke up a few times in the night, but only briefly, and it was almost like I had slept from 8pm right through until my alarm woke me at 5am this morning. I haven't slept that well for ages and ages !

 This morning I should feel good, and I am trying my best to believe that I do. Probably my main complaint is that I still get a little short of breath when walking. I have previously described it as wheeziness, and it was, but it doesn't seem like such a good description lately. This morning it was worse on the longest walk - which is rather obvious. That walk is the bit of my commute from Earlsfield station to work itself. On a good day it can take as litlle as 9 minutes to walk. This morning it was possibly closer to 10 minutes. This was partly because my legs didn't seem to be working at full efficiency, and partly because of this breathlessness problem. It's not that I couldn't breath deeper of more frequently. It's more that it felt too much like hard work to do either, and I just couldn't be bothered...or something like that. Now I have mostly stopped coughing my lungs and windpipe should heal/recover and eventually I'll be able to do that walk at top speed again.

 I think I have some plans for tonight, but maybe only one of those plans will come to fruition. I think I'll be going home via Tesco. I could do with some more salad, and although they carry some excess sugar (fructose) penalty, I fancy some more satsumas or similar easy to peel oranges. I've been eating some recently on the theory that the vitamin C is probably quite useful to me. So I'll get some more of those, and from then on I will try and be careful not to come away with too much reduced price crap !

 Perhaps my other plans for tonight are mutually exclusive. I was thinking of washing a few shirts, and I was also thinking about another early night. Maybe I can find time for both, but neither should have any particular priority. To do the washing would be nice, but not essential. An early night would also be nice, but probably not essential. I'll have to see how I feel. I also have a couple of photo albums to upload to Flickr. Maybe I might upload one or both of them tonight, but from this end of the day I can't seem to feel any great enthusiasm to do either for the moment.
Monday 27th June 2016
07:56 BST

  Yesterday's weather was very variable. Mostly it was grey, but there were some sunny periods. As far as I can recall it stayed dry - or it was dry any time it mattered or I noticed. The temperature was disappointing for "Flaming June", probably around 20° C at best, but at least that wasn't cold. This morning it was raining - which didn't seem to be part of the plan. I knew that the old forecast described a fairly unpleasant day, but I wasn't expecting that.The current forecast says it will be a dry, but lightly overcast day with an occasional sunny spell - and indeed, we have had one of those already - it lasted all of 37 seconds ! Once again it is only going to be about 20° C today, but maybe we should be thankful for that. Tomorrow is forecast to be a degree cooler, and much greyer with some showers.

 I had a rather splendid time on Saturday night. The Life Of Brian were great performers, and Miranda Bell, the lead singer really filled the stage area with enthusiasm. The pleasure, and the Guinness helped to sidetrack the ever lasting remnants of my cold, and it wasn't until the end when I was having a long conversation with the rather wonderful Angela Bell, mum of Miranda Bell, the lead singer, that my cough kicked off a few times. It wasn't all bad though - it earned me a few pats on the back plus some healing rubs. I rather liked that. You can see both Angela and Miranda in this short clip I took on my mobile phone.

 It was after midnight when I left the pub, and I felt peckish. ( I hadn't eating anything since mid afternoon - maybe 8 or more hours earlier). I went the long way home, and noticed the chip shop was open. So I popped in and bought sausage and chips. It was nice to get home to tuck into that, but I probably rushed home a bit too fast and I became quite wheezy towards the end of the walk. Even though I was theoretically a lot better I still found that the curse, or blessing of my super cold kicked in, and I only fancied eating half the chips. It is rare that I throw away chips, specially a whole half a portion, but I did in the very earliest hours of Sunday morning.

 A little later, when I went to bed, I was actually feeling hungry again. I guess it probably wasn't such a bad idea. It would have helped to keep my blood glucose level lower - something I have neglected to control recently - and it would have helped keep my belt slightly (very slightly !) loose when I put my work trousers on this morning. It is theoretically possible that during the course of my illness I have actually lost as much as 873 milligrammes ! (and not all of that was because I trimmed my toenails !). It was probably just exhaustion, helped along a bit by the 4 pints of Guinness I drank, that enabled me to sleep better on Saturday night/Sunday morning than I have recently. It would have been better still if I had managed to stay asleep for another 4 hours !

 In reality I couldn't stay in bed as late as I would like, even if I could have managed to sleep, because I had to get up sufficiently early enough to get ready to see Aleemah. I think I noticed a small improvement, as in a small reduction in wheeziness, when I walked to the station, from the station to the pub, and from the pub back to home. Apart from the first leg, home to station, I had to slow down a bit to Aleemah's usual pace, and that may have helped a bit.

 Aleemah brough a really weird DVD to watch. I think it was called "Listzomania". It was written and produced by Ken Russel, who must have been smoking something extra strong when he did it, and it starred Roger Daltry plus a few other famous actor musicians including Ringo Starr. It was a very weird movie, and I don't think I enjoyed it, but on the other hand it is probably the sort of thing you have to see once before you can't enjoy it !

 After Aleemah went home I had a small dinner. I thought I was going to have more, but once again my appetite seemed easily satisfied - and yet I did want more, but only some of some mysterious ambrosia with a taste that would satisfy my taste buds - but I had no idea what that could possibly be. So I ate no more, and got on with the main business for the day - editing all the pictures I took on Saturday night. As usual I took a shed load of pictures - mainly as a result of setting the camera to continuous shooting - it's the most reliable way of catching the lights displaying a favourable range of colours for good photography. I have actually become a bit disallusioned with those lights. That can be nice and bright, but I notice that my pictures still have a lot of grain, or harshness that isn't there when a stage is lit by tungsten lights (or even better - by natural daylight). I've heard form profession circles that LED lighting is not favoured, and once again it seems the professionals are right.

 I made a silly mistake last night - I left it rather late to wash my hair. That delayed me going to bed, but it may not have made a great deal of difference. I had a lousy night last night. I just couldn't sleep on my back, or not for any length of time. Everytime I turned to sleep on my left or right sides I would start to cough, and then often having to sit up to cough up the tiny ball of mucus that was irritating the top of my throat. It felt like I hadly got any decent sleep at all last night. I seem OK at the moment, but I am expecting it to catch up on me later in the day. As for the rest of seems that I feel rather better than I expected. I didn't seem to have any particular aches and pains this morning, and I coughed far less than expected as I made my way to work. I still got a bit wheezy, but I think I was pushing myself a bit harder this morning. Now I've been at work for some time I find I don't feel that wonderful, but I can't put my finger on what's wrong. Maybe it is just tiredness, and it is fighting the desire to lay down that is the problem.
 I'll finish with a picture today.....
the slowly
                              decaying shell of The Catford Bridge
I took this picture of the slowly decaying shell of the old Ralway Tavern by Catford Bridge station yesterday morning. It looks to be in a sorry state, and surely must be decaying further after being left open to the elements for 18 months (or is it more than that ?). The idea that it will be running again as a pub in December this year seems laughable, but that is, or was the last claim on the website for the pub. I have grave suspicions that the owners are letting it ot beyond hope of repair so they can pull it down, and build a bland block of poky flats on the land that would prove far more lucrative for them than a pub. I believe it is a grade 2 listed building, and the exterior is supposed to be protected, but once the core has gone there is litle point in saving the shell - at least that is what I would guess the idea is.
Saturday 25th June 2016
14:30 BST

  The weather didn't seem to spring any surprises yesterday. It was very much like the forecast. For a few hours in the late morning it was a bit overcast, but it was mostly a sunny day. I suspect the humidity was a bit lower than recently too - it seemed to feel a bit fresher, although that could be because the temperature was only a moderate 21° to 22° C. This morning started off bright and sunny - and not too cool either - maybe 15° to 16° C. Unfortunately the forecast said that an hour or two after midday the sky would cloud over, and rain would fall. Once again, for an amazing two days running, the forecast has turned out to be right - it is raining now ! I think the forecast has changed since first thing this morning. It is now saying that this rain should give way to a bit of sunshine in half an hour time. It also says there will be another shower at 5pm and 7pm, but it should be dry at other times. We have already hit the peak temperature of 19° C (although I'm sure my thermometers have indicated 21° or 22° C very recently). The current forecast for tomorrow says it will be a dry, but mostly cloudy day. There might be a couple of sunny intervals, and the temperature should rise from 14° C at 5am to a peak of 20°C in the afternoon.

 Sometimes I didn't feel that bad yesterday, and that enabled me to get a few things done. For instance, in several stages, I washed and dried an entire set of bed linen yesterday. It was wonderful drying weather, and I had the sheet and pillowcases washed and dried in the morning, and the duvet cover in the afternoon. Along with the two towels I did in the morning, it made for quite a productive day.

 I think it was near midday when I pulled on some outdoor clothes and went to Aldi. It was certainly easier going than the previous time, but I still felt a bit wheezy walking there, and once again mysteriously a little less wheezy when I was carrying all the shopping home. Maybe with the added load I was only as wheezy as I expected to be. Apart from the wheeziness it seemed easy enough to do, and yet a little while later I felt quite tired. I can't seem to remember exactly, but I think I had a snooze, or maybe two snoozes in the afternoon - possibly as a direct result of that shopping trip. As I typed that I filled in a few gaps in my memory with a few hazy recollections. What actually happened was I lay on my bed reading, and once or two, or even thrice, I put the book down, closed my eyes, and time passed unknown.

 I thought it would be useful to have some booze in one for or another before going to bed last night, but it seems I either didn't fancy it at the time, or I just didn't get around to it. I didn't seem to need it to get to sleep, but being drunk as a skunk might have made staying asleep a bit easier. I am still waking up coughing, and from around 3am it happened a few times. These bouts of coughing are no longer triggered by deep burbling noises as globs of mucus compete to be expelled from my windpipe. So I have made some sort of progress. Now it is almost dry coughing, but not quite - at least most times. It starts off like a dry cough, but won't stop until I have cough a bit of mucus up from seemingly quite close to the top of the windpipe.

 At 4.30am I got fed up with the cough starting everytime I tried to lay down on my most comfortable side - my left hand side. So I pulled a pair of lounge pants on, and started washing 4 work/short sleeved shirts. Just before 5am I was hanging them out in the garden. The sun was still too low in the sky to shine into my garden at that hour, but it did seem to be a nice bright morning. A few hours later and my shirts were hanging in the sun, and almost dry.

 The physical exertion of hand washing the shirts, and going out into the early morning didn't seem to make me feel any worse, and if anything it made me feel a bit better. Perhaps some detrimental effect emerged later. It does seem that I feel marginally worse than yesterday, but on the other hand it could be that I am just getting fed up because my cold seems to have reached another plateau. It seems I have got a lot better in the last few days, but I just cannot seem to jump to the next level - that of being cured. Maybe I am impatient, or maybe I am annoyed that all the propaganda about the benefits of not smoking seem to be half lies. I had times when I was far worse than this while smoking, and yet because there was an obvious reason they didn't feel so bad. Next monday, when I go back to work, I should feel well enough to run up the sides of mountains, and yet at the moment it is feeling like I will still be wheezing just from the walk to the station. That will really piss me off.

 Tonight I will see how a walk over a similar distance treats me. There is a gig on at The Black Cat that I intend to go to. The band is called The Life Of Brian, and it is fronted by Miranda - a young lady (who is not so young) with a very big stage presence. It should be fun, but only if I can get in the mood to drink Guinness. My appetite is still wonky. I am definitely eating more than when I lost my appetite. Maybe that is another sign that I am slowly recovering, but I seem to be quite selective about what I want to eat. So selective that most of the time I have no idea what I want to eat, but I want to eat something. I've just eaten a couple of fishcakes, but I really wanted something sweet, or sour, or spicy, or something....I really don't know what it was I really wanted. Maybe a big thrill with tomato sauce on it !
Friday 24th June 2016
09:19 BST

  It was so wet yesterday that many train lines came to a halt - which is a very rare thing ! There were no trains, or in SouthEastern Trains parlance, the trains were delayed (for ever) through Catford Bridge station. It seems probable that we got off lightly here in Catford. Although there was plenty of rain, it never seemed quite bad enough to flood railway lines. I think at one point we even saw a few seconds of sunshine, but the only good thing about yesterday's weather was that it wasn't cold. It seemed like most of the day the temperature was around 20° C. Today it is all change. It is a bit cooler this morning, maybe around 14 or 15° C, but it has been a sunny morning. The sun has gone in now, but it is still bright, and the forecast says it should be out again sooner or later. It is not going to be a particularly warm day, but 21° C is acceptable. Tomorrow is forecast to start off with non stop sunshine, but after a few hours that will reduce to just sunny intervals. They could last all day long, but from about 2pm they could be accompanied by rain showers - light at first, but heavier from about 6pm.

 Yesterday was a pleasant enough day. I think going out for a drink on Wednesday night might not have been wise. On the other hand I needed something like that, and I did enjoy it. The problem was that I woke up yesterday morning with my chest feeling very congested, and my cough was on a hair trigger. The coughing was a grand annoyance when it happened, but there were long bits of the day when I was not doing anything to trigger coughing, and I did feel unusually good.

 In the early part of the afternoon I had a very long telephone conversation with an old friend, and that was very pleasant - made more pleasant by the fact that he seems to be far less eccentric than he was a few years ago when a conversation with him could occasionally be hard work ! In the late afternoon I had a visit from my friend Patricia. Originally we were going to go for a drink in the local Wetherspoons pub, but I didn't fancy going out in the wet.

 We had a very nice chat for a couple of hours. Inevitably, one of the topics of conversation was about the EU referendum. Patricia is of dual nationality - Italian + Argentinian - and can legally work here, or could because she can be classified as an Italian national. I'm not sure if anyone knows the definitive answer yet about what will happen to those who have moved here to work from other places in the European Union. Now we have voted to leave will they all be deported ?

 There are some I wouldn't mind saying goodbye to, but it would be a shame if some people have to go back to their country of origin. Patricia is obviously one person, although in her case she can be simultaneously on holiday and working - as she is now. For work she is a citizen of the internet, and can work anywhere in the world she can get an internet connection. The other person I would hate to see go in Ainhoa at work. I've just got to know her, and I enjoy working with her. She is from Spain so maybe we can swap her for a British "expatriot" who wants to live in Spain.

 I coughed far too frequently yesterday. In the latter half of the day it was mostly triggered by talking. On the other hand I also seemed to have hints of feeling good. Admittedly most of these hints were while I was relaxing, but at best they were more than hints. There were short periods of time when I felt perfectly well. It wasn't hard to do something that would completely disprove that myth, but while it lasted it felt deliciously good....and maybe it was less myth than a taste of things to come.

 I don't think I took a single snooze yesterday (apart from a small second session in bed first thing in the morning), and I did feel pretty tired by the evening. While most of the country were sitting glued to their TVs to find out how the referendum was doing, I was in bed before the polls closed. I had poured a whisky or two that I sipped before going to bed, but this morning I noted that tiredness must have overcome me before I could finish the whisky. This morning I saw that I left what could easily be as much as a pub "double" measure still in the bottom of my glass.

 I think I woke up coughing in the night a few times - or did I wake for a wee and start coughing later ? At about 4.30am I woke up with my chest feeling very thick and congested. I had to cough up a lot of mucus (at least I think I did) before I could attempt to get back to sleep. The same thing was almost repeated when I woke up, and decided to get up a couple of hours later. For 10 or 15 minutes after waking I felt most peculiar. I can't quite describe it without using descriptions like it felt like my head would explode. Something similar is not that unusual for me most mornings these days.
 After a while it settled down and I began to feel almost good. Maybe it was the sunshine, or maybe I am finally getting better. I think it is probably both. It certainly feels like I probably would not be breathless just for walking to the supermarket like I was the other day. This is something I hope to test this morning. It feels like the antibiotics I am taking are finally winning, and I've seen with my own two eyes some evidence to back this up.

 This next bit is not pleasant, but it helps explain a few things. I have already mentioned that the hard lump adjacent to my operation scar seems to have turned out to be more zit/boil/abscess than a broken rib poking through, or the surgeons wrist watch. Until this morning there was still a tiny bit of doubt about it. I had ejected a small amount of pus from it, but it still seemed to have a hard core - just like a broken rib attempting to poke through the skin. I would have quite liked that for the novelty value, although I can imagine it could get agonisingly painful, and getting it mended by a doctor could be infinitely tedious.

 Now this is the really unpleasant bit.....This morning I gritted my teeth, and gave the lump an extra hard squeeze. It erupted in the most violent manner, and sprayed pus across the room (or seemed to, but all I could actually see later was one blob on the carpet about a foot away from me). It seems there were two or three chambers that needed a good squeeze to burst and be emptied of pus. I'm not sure I could speculate how the antibiotics could have accelerated this process, but I have a gut reaction they did.

 I do speculate that that abscess/boil/zit/carbuncle was a reservoir for the bugs that have been doing my chest in. It is stupid to think that getting that clean could have a beneficial effect on the rest of my body so quickly, but that is exactly what I am deluding myself to believe. It is nothing but pure coincidence obviously, but the timing is right. With the muck gone from the surface layers of my chest, my inner chest feels so much better - probably.

 Time will tell if these wild theories have any relation to reality, but all the while I can delude myself I feel better then I do ! This morning I have already washed a couple of small towel, and hung them in the sunshine to dry. Washing towels, even smallish ones can be hard work, but I don't seem to have suffered by doing it, and while my muscles felt a bit weak, it didn't seem to be a difficult job. The next thing is to wash a sheet and a couple of pillow cases. They are already soaking in the detergent. Very soon now I will do the hard bit and get them out on the washing line too. I do this laundry in big buckets in the bath. So once I have got the sheet and pillowcases done I will be able to use the bath to wash myself under the shower. Then I can see how well I fare going to the supermarket - probably Aldi. Until proven otherwise, it's looking good for a triumphant return to work on Monday feeling fit and refreshed (that'll last all of 5 minutes !).
Wednesday 22nd June 2016
09:49 BST

  I think the highest temperature yesterday was about 23° C - which was about what was forecast. I think the higher reading I saw on one of my thermometers must have been a fluke. There was the potential for the warmth to boil up a storm yesterday afternoon, but although it became quite overcast after the sunny start to the day, there was no rain at all that I was aware of. By late evening the sky had cleared, and there was a little weak sunshine in the last half hour or so before sunset. This morning started off bright again, but it didn't last nearly as long as yesterday. I think we have even had a brief shower in the last hour. It seems the chances of rain are quite high this afternoon, and there is even an official "weather warning" for the possibility of some torrential rain, with thunder and lightning thrown in, this afternoon. There is talk of a months worth of rain falling in under an hour. That's heavy !

 As usual, when I check the weather forecast to make sure I have my facts straight, I find it has changed again. It is still going to be 23° C this afternoon, and it is still going to feel humid, but now it seems there is less likelihood of rain, and if any thunderstorms do develop they are more likely to be over Kent than here. The forecast then goes on to say that it will start to rain at midnight, and not stop until 11am. Then there will be a few hours respite until it starts again at 3pm. It will then rain non stop until the end of time (or 5am the following morning - whichever comes first). In between the rain drops there could be some sunny periods !

 Yesterday is a bit of a blur because I spent so much time doing the same thing - laying on my bed either staring at the ceiling, reading or sleeping. I seemed to be able to do quite a lot of the latter - and I still managed to get to sleep at a sensible time last night. I don't know how much credit to give to the Amoxicillin (antibiotic) tablets I am taking, but they and maybe time are starting to cure my cold-gone-out-of-control. I was coughing and blowing my nose far, far less yesterday. In fact there were times when it seems I had to do neither for quite long periods of time.

 By late(ish) afternoon I almost got my appetite back. I decided it was time to have something like a proper dinner, and it turned out a lot closer to the sort of dinner I have been trying to eat for months now. It was a fairly simple cheese salad with some healthy eating, low somethings or another, French dressing. I probably overdid the cheese a bit, but it was sort of healthy, and quite small. It seemed to go down quite well, and inspired me to have a bit more. I didn't want anything too heavy, and I didn't want anything too light (plus I didn't really have anything in the latter category). I opted to have some chocolate covered (on one side only, and rather thinly) rice cakes. I ate a whole sub-packet of 3 (or 4?), but I guess it was still ill because I lost my enthusiasm while eating the last one.

 I timed my dinner for 6pm so I could watch the 6pm news on BBC1, but because of the bloody football I ended up watching something else. After eating I came back up here to my computer with the idea of watching the news using my digital TV USB receiver. I watched a bit of news but it was so tedious. They kept going on about some sort of referendum....Other things distracted me, and while channel hopping I noticed there was an interesting programme on BBC4 at 8pm. It was part of a (presumed) series called "Timeshift", and last nights programme was about comparing three named trains from the past and their modern equivalents. They were the Flying Scotsman (the service, not the loco), The Cornish Riviera Express, and The Brighton Belle. There was some nice old footage, but nothing revolutionary. It was quite a laid back programme, and sort of nice for it.

 After the programme finished I started to prepare to go to bed. I splurged more Vick's "Vaporub" on my chest, and got into bed. I didn't think I would get to sleep very easily after sleeping so much in the day, and also because I was feeling rather hot. Maybe it was more fever or something, but whatever the cause it was certainly making my forehead damp. Rather than trying to sleep I started reading, but I doubt I read for as much as half an hour when I realised that my eyelids were starting to droop.

 I don't know how long I had been asleep when I woke up to find I was laying in puddles of sweat...although when I say puddles I probably mean damp patches, or in the case of my top pillow, fortuitously covered with a small towel, an extremely, almost wring-outable damp patch ! I think that was a good sign, although when I woke up after what seemed like a good sleep at approx 4am I did seem have have started coughing more.

 That coughing is different in as much as it is easier than how I was coughing before, but while on the grand scale of things it is more intermittent, it is still happening more than it was yesterday. I am also blowing my nose more frequently than yesterday - at least I think I am, it's hard to tell. One difference compared to, say, the day before yesterday, is that today each blow is producing far less mucus. So little that one paper tissue is lasting an hour or so. A few days ago the contents of one blow could hardly be contained in one tissue - and I was doing that 3, 4, 5, and occasionally more times an hour !

 So it seemed like I could be both better and worse this morning. There was one way to to test it, and that was to see if I could do any hard physical labour without dying ! The task I set myself was one I had been meaning to do for a while, and could easily be abandoned again at any time. It was to sweep the 10ft of path down the side of the house from the kitchen door to what should be, has been, and maybe will again be where the lawn is. It didn't seem very taxing at all so I added a few frills to it. I washed out the drain grill and the gaps through the surround to it so surface water can drain away easier, and as a final flourish I made up half a bucket of weak disinfectant to help wash away a bit of a pong where some animal - probably a cat - had peed near the back door recently.

 That didn't seem to sap my energy. So while I was in the vicinity of the kitchen I did nearly a weeks worth of washing up. It wasn't as much as it sounds because I have been eating so sparingly recently (but it was starting to get a bit smelly !). The last thing I did was to start soaking off a couple of beer bottle labels for Jodi who collects them. For that I used my tall, glass Bacardi jug. It is just the right size to immerse a standard beer bottle in. I soaked off two labels that way, and something good happened !

 Once upon a time I was plugging some holes using a tube of ready made filler. It seemed very convenient to rest the tube of filler in the Bacardi jug while I wasn't using it, but unfortunately it left a blob of filler in the bottom of the jug that I couldn't shift. It seems the one thing I didn't try was hot water and patience. After soaking the second beer label off I gave the blob of filler one more pull, and it came off easily. Now all we have to do is wait for summer, and I can make cocktails in the jug to drink on the non existent lawn.

 After doing all that work, possibly lasting little more than half an hour, I came back upstairs to my computer feeling good - until I sat down and started to rest. That made me feel quite peculiar, and has delayed my next little job - shopping in Tesco. I'll do that soon, but first some good least I think it's good. Some while ago I mentioned a hard lumpy type thing had appeared on my chest. I joked (well it was 99.99% joke) that it was where the surgeon had dropped his wrist watch when operating on me back in 2013. An alternate theory, and one that had a very small chance of being possible is that it was the end of a broken/detached rib, or maybe even a loose staple pushing it's way to the surface. It may be thanks to the action of the antibiotics, but I now know what it is, or was. It was a huge zit in the most unlikely place. I noticed it had developed a small head this morning, and just now a rather eye wateringly painful squeeze has just liberated quite a quantity of pus. In theory the hard core I can still feel should now shrink. If it doesn't then it is back to theory one and two again !

 Sooner or later I will be going to Tesco. Then I am going to have a nice rest. Ultimately I am going to met Mark and Jodi in the local Wetherspoons for a drink around 5pm. They probably think it is a birthday drink, but I think it will just be a feeling better drink !
Tuesday 21st June 2016
09:54 BST

  All I can be sure about is that it was grey yesterday. It was difficult to get a feel of the temperature because my own internal temperature regulation was up the creek, but I think the prediction of about 20° C at best was about right. The rain that made the morning rather soggy was over by midday, but it didn't really brighten up. It did brighten up this morning, and it was very welcome to see some sunshine. The latest forecast says the sunshine will be ending soon, but the day will stay dry and fairly bright. My thermometer outside the upstairs back bedroom windows says it is currently 23° C. I'm sure that must higher than reality, although I've just opened the window and it doesn't feel cold. The forecast says that it will only be 21° C today ! Tomorrow is forecast to be 22°, but it is going to be terribly grey until early evening when some sun might peek through the clouds, but at the same time it might rain too !

 I most definitely felt rotten yesterday. As I have already recounted, getting to work wasn't too bad, but later on I found myself shivering while all around me said the temperature was quite comfortable. It was interesting to meet the technical adviser/salesman who came to have a meeting with us yesterday. It was a shame that his product, which as a drop in replacement could have been so useful, turned out to be worse than the product we were hoping to replace. On the plus side, he did seem to know what he was talking about, and took away one of our units to compare with his own to try and see what the difference was, and to see if his product could be changed to achieve the requirements we were hoping for.

 As interesting as it was, it was some relief when the meeting was over. It was just before midday, and I told my boss I was going sick. Getting home was hard work. I frequently ran out of breath if I tried to go too fast, and it was like wading through treacle. The only good thing is that my nose wasn't pouring, and I wasn't coughing my lungs up. I think I felt too miserable at the time to wonder why I felt so miserable, but later on I remembered to check my temperature.
running a fever
 I was most definitely running a fever, and I have a strong suspicion it was a lot higher than 38.5° C earlier on. I recorded that temperature after I had arrived home via the doctors surgery. It seems there is no actual normal temperature, and I suspect that in hospitals, for instance, they are looking for changes rather than a specific temperature. The latest guidelines I've seen give 36° to 37° as normal. I think my personal normal is closer to 36° C. So my temperature was up 2.5° C when I got home, but at that time, apart from feeling a bit muzzy, I wasn't shivering or anything. I suspect that earlier in the morning, while I was shivering, it may have been a lot higher.

 I wasn't expecting much when I called in at the doctors, and I was almost right. They couldn't give me an appointment for days - probably not even this week. They did say that I could come along at what would have been 8am this morning and queue all morning for a walk-in visit, and they offered another option that I had not heard of before. They said to describe some of the worst symptoms, and they would be passed on to a doctor or nurse. If they thought them bad enough they would phone me and invite me along for a quick triage. I accepted that option, and played my trump card. I quoted the advice of the Cardiac Rehabilitation Nurse at the hospital - that for someone, such as myself, who has had heart surgery, it is always worth getting an opinion on any strange chest pain.

 My chest was definitely hurting from time to time, but I didn't have any fears that it was anything to do with my heart, and yet the mention of chest pain when you have a history tends to open doors. Maybe it did this time, and maybe not, but a few hours later I was seeing a nurse practitioner (a nurse who has had additional training, and is able to prescribe certain drugs). She prodded and poked me, and questioned me about this and that. She definitely was concerned about my chest pains, and it was tricky keeping a balance between reality and fantasy.

 Anyway, the outcome was that she could hear some congestion in my chest (although of course my chest was almost clear for those important few minutes !), and considering my the periods of fever I had back to last Saturday (and maybe before) she decided that anti-biotics would help in this case. So I was duly prescribed a weeks course of Amoxicillin. I was a bit annoyed that she would not prescribe another Salbutamol inhaler. A few squirts from one of those is so wonderful when trying to cough up a ball of mucus as big as a football. By very careful use I have managed to make my current one last three years, and maybe It will still be working the next time I get a bad cough.

 While I was in the pharmacy getting my Amoxicillin I noticed some Vick's Vaporub. It's pretty foul stuff, but it used to work, and I wondered if it might improve my breathing when I went to bed. So I bought a pot of it, and went home to contemplate dinner. I thought I wanted to eat, and yet in a way I didn't. I decided to cook some Turkish sausages, and some corned beef crispy bakes. Both are usually very nice, and just what is needed for a jaded pallet. I started off by attacking the sausages. I had cooked one small packet of 4 of them. I ate 2 of them, and decided I had eaten enough. I can't remember the last time I was so ill that I was off my food !

 I can't remember what the time was, but I am sure it was around 7pm that I was feeling so tired that I went to bed. I didn't actually get into bed because I had put the heater on, and it was very warm in my bedroom, plus I had spread a big dollop of vaporub on my chest. From then on there are many unknown variables. Was the Amoxicillin starting to work already, or was it just my body's natural defences finally beginning to overpower the bugs that were laying me low ? Likewise, was it just pure exhaustion, or was it the vaporub doing some good ? It was probably all of them is some proportion or another that allowed me to get some long periods of solid sleep for the first time in 3 or 4 days.

 It is hard to know exactly, but I think I managed a full 8 hours sleep over a period of 11 hours. The only trouble was that it left me feeling stiff as a board. I have no idea if it was the case or not, but I suspect I might have managed to do most of my sleeping laying on my back. It is probable that if I wasn't feeling so uncomfortable after that, I may have managed even more sleep. Since then I have had a shower to get rid of the big oilslick of vaporub off my chest, and I have washed my hair. I now feel refreshed and almost normal, but, and it is a big but, only when I am doing stuff like writing this. Just going downstairs and coming back up again is enough proof that I still need time to recover. Overall I do feel so much better, and it feels like the worst thing I have to face now is boredom. Maybe I could pass some of my spare time sleeping.....hmmm, that sounds quite attractive now I come to think of it.
Monday 20th June 2016
07:48 BST

  Yesterday stayed dry, but that's about all that was good with it. It was a miserable grey most of the time, although I think I have a vague recollection of it brightening for a short while at some unremembered time. The temperature was in the region of 17 ~ 18° C. So neither hot nor cold. During the night the temperature dropped to about 13° C, and the cloud really thickened up. It started to rain as I got myself ready for work. The rain was fairly light as I made my way to work, but now I am here it has started teeming down. The forecast says it will now stay like this until just before I go home - if I am lucky ! By that time it will be close to 20° C, and I reckon it will feel quite steamy out there. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be brighter, and drier, and warmer, but not actually sunny !

 I felt fairly rotten in variable amounts yesterday. One novelty is that I didn't seem to be hungry, or at least I didn't fancy eating. I did have a dinner of sorts. I was brave enough to eat a second portion of the Indian takeaway that I had bought on Friday night, enjoyed, and then threw up ! I was concerned that it may have been infected with something, and that the reason I threw up was food poisoning, but it didn't seem to affect the far end of the digestive process, and so I assumed that my first theory was correct. That theory is that I was coughing so hard on Friday night that I practically coughed my own spleen up, let alone my dinner !

 At any other time I think I would have really enjoyed vegetable bhaji on naan bread with added melted cheddar cheese, but while it was OK, I didn't get much pleasure from it. Maybe I was still worried about possible food poisoning, or maybe I was only eating out of habit rather than need. I think it probably was habit because there were a couple of times when I was feeling bored, and elected to get some excitement by "raiding the larder", but instead of it being satisfying it seemed like hard work to enjoy it. As far as I can recall, I didn't eat all that much yesterday. If the rice cakes I ate didn't have chocolate on them I could probably claim that I had an unusually low calorie day.

 I really felt like a snooze yesterday, but I just could not get comfortable. It was an effect that became a lot worse when I went to bed last night. If I lay on my back to read a book I soon felt reasonably good in one respect, and not so good in another. The not so good was just simply some back ache. I have never been good at sleeping on my back because it never feels that comfortable, although with a lot of perseverance I managed to do it OK when I came out of hospital in September 2013, and with my chest held together with staples I had no choice but to sleep on my back. The feeling good part was more noticeable later in the afternoon. I found that laying down on my back stopped my nose feeling blocked, and apparently made the mucus in my windpipe mysteriously vanish. If only it were comfortable to sleep like that I would be feeling much better !

 I found that when sitting up at my computer I was coughing less and blowing my nose far less frequently too. I almost believed I was getting better ! I should have been able to go through the photos I took on Saturday night, and edit them for upload, but I could not motivate myself to do it. Finally the time came around to go to bed. It could have been up to an hour before I turned the lights out that I was laying on my bed reading. For most, if not all of that time I was able to breathe freely through my nose, and I felt no irritation from my throat or windpipe to induce me to cough.

 It was 9.30pm when I put my book down, turned off the lights, and turned over to my side to go to sleep. Within seconds it felt like someone had poured half a gallon of mucus down my windpipe. Each breath was accompanied by gurgling, and bubbling sounds. At one point I must have sounded like a cat purring. Very soon I was coughing fit to bust, and my nose started to run. So I lay on my back again, and these symptoms started to subside a bit, but not quick enough to be able to relax and try to get to sleep. All through the night I tried different positions for sleeping. A few must have been close to OK because I think I managed to get at least an hour of sleep. I might have got more, but I am not sure if some vivid dreams weren't some sort of hallucination !

 I expected to feel pretty rotten this morning, and I wasn't disappointed ! Strangely enough, coming to work was not that bad. Obviously it wasn't that good either, but the worst thing was nearly falling asleep on the train. On the whole I didn't feel all that uncomfortable. Now I am at work I am not sure how I feel. As the effects of the fresh air wear off I am having more difficulty breathing without stirring up mucus in my windpipe. I'm sitting here relatively calmly, and yet it feels much worse than when I was rushing over the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station. I think today is going to be a bit of a trial ! I have to be here to meet and greet a potential new supplier of a part that might solve a problem we have, but after I've seen him I may go sick. I probably ought to try and get an appointment to see a doctor tomorrow - though I doubt I will get one that quick.

 Meanwhile, I have worse problems. The mouse mat for my PC at home finally disintegrated yesterday. Luckily it didn't disintegrate too completely because it was a novelty fluid filled one. The sac with the fluid in it (probably just tapwater) didn't burst, but the outer membrane that had the printing on it completely broke up. I had to dig out a replacement for it. The only one I could find easily was one I didn't want to use because it is almost a piece of art. I have no idea how or where I originally obtained it, but I am pretty sure I'll never be able to replace it. I had better find a replaced for it soon before it starts to wear, and maybe once it is replaced I ought to frame it and hang it on the wall....or maybe not.
(possibly) rare and
                          valuable Hobgoblin mouse mat 
Sunday 19th June 2016
08:15 BST

  Yesterday stayed grim and grey all day. I can't seem to recall a single moment when I could see even a patch of blue in the sky. Oh well, at least it didn't rain, and while it wasn't warm, it was tepid - maybe no more than 17° C. Today sees the first nice change to the weather for what seems like ages. This morning it is 15 - 17° C, and it is bright and sunny ! The current forecast says we can expect sunshine until about 1pm when it will lightly cloud over. Sadly the hoped for 20° C seems unlikely according to the forecast - that says the temperature will peak at just 19° early this afternoon. The forecast shows rain starting at midnight, and tomorrow could be dark, wet and gloomy - unless the forecast changes - and there are plenty of precedents for that to happen.
sunset on Friday
                          17th June 2016
 I was so busy feeling terrible that I forgot I had taken this picture of the sun set on Friday night. To the eye it looked a bit more pink compared to how the photograph turned out. It looked like it should have heralded a nice day yesterday, but for once, old fashioned weather lore let us down !

 It was nice to spend much of yesterday afternoon doing all the things you are supposed to do when sick - not actually in bed, but laying on my bed with the heater on, and making sure I was well hydrated by drinking water. It might have done some good, or maybe not, but it didn't do any harm. It is probable that my high fever in the morning may have done more good, but that, plus lack of sleep, did leave me feeling quite drained. I am pretty certain I wouldn't have gone out last night if I had any further to go than The Black Cat (6 or 7 minutes walk away).

 There are a couple of reasons why it might have been better if I had not gone out. The first being that I don't think going out in the cold night air was good for me, and the second was that the band were very off-form last night. For some of the time 2 of the guitars were out of tune with each other, and both singers couldn't hit some of the higher notes. It all sounded a bit of a mess. The band were Red Post Hill, and the last time they performed in The Black Cat I made a comment something to the effect of "what they lacked in talent they made up for in enthusiasm". Last night I was not so forgiving. What drove the point home even hard was when I listened to some video I took of the band. Once out of the live environment it sounds appalling !
Red Post Hill
Here's the culprits - Red Post Hill
Red Post Hill
 Apart from the assault on my ears, while I was in the pub I felt mostly OK. My nose remained mostly dry, and I was hardly coughing at all, but towards the end I was feeling quite fatigued, and the Guinness didn't seem to be settling in my stomach that well. I almost wondered if I was going to throw up again. So at 10:18pm (I think) I made my excuses, and made my way home.

 I think it was then that the cold night air triggered off the return of some of my cold symptoms - particularly my cough, although it was only a nuisance when I was in bed. After that short walk my gut was feeling fine again, and I wanted something to eat - but not much, and nothing too greasy, or spicy, or rich. Well maybe the rich was OK if it wasn't too rich. I don't think egg custard tarts could be described as too rich, and they were what I ate. They went down nicely, and didn't cause so much as a murmur from my stomach.

 Soon after I went to bed, and of course as soon as I laid my head on the pillow the tickling in my throat and/or windpipe increased ten-fold. Before going to bed I had taken the precaution of taking a couple of Paracetamol tablets. They sometimes help, but they take some time before they kick in. Eventually I got to sleep, and I expect it was pure exhaustion that kept me asleep for a solid 4 hours. After that my sleep became a bit intermittent. Like yesterday, I eventually gave up trying to get back to sleep, and got up for a while before trying for sleep an hour or so later. It partly worked.

 This morning I feel both good and bad, but maybe slightly more biassed towards bad. Like yesterday, my nose is mostly dry, but I think I am coughing more, although the reason seems to have changed a bit. If I put on my optimists hat I would speculate that the change in my cough is a sign that it is getting better - even though in some ways it feels worse. This morning my windpipe has almost stopped making burbling noises when I breath in and out, and that was the biggest reason why I was coughing yesterday. Now the tickling sensation seems much closer to the top - practically at the top of the throat. The bad news is that I seem to be coughing in a different way, and it seems to be making my weak chest muscles ache a bit. I have absolutely no idea how I am coughing in a different way, and I'm probably not, but it feels as if I am somehow.

 I have recently taken a couple more Paracetamol tablets. They could both help with the coughing, and dull the ache from my chest. Hopefully they will do both, and do it well because I think I am going to do what I did yesterday, but do it better. I did have ideas about going out to do some photography in the morning sunshine, but I feel I probably out to go through the motions of being ill - not going out, but staying in the warm, and resting and sleeping as much as possible. I have to remember this will be my last chance to do it before it's back to work again tomorrow. It would be nice to be not coughing and spluttering everywhere on the trains to work, and at work.
Saturday 18th June 2016
13:39 BST

  There were no thunderstorms yesterday, but it did seem quite humid in the afternoon. Maybe I was too preoccupied to notice any other details about the weather, or maybe the weather was so blandly grey that there was nothing to notice. Sadly that appears to be the case today. It might get lighter soon, but it has been very grey until now. It is possible there was some rain in the night but it is supposed to be dry all day today. At 18° C it is not cold, but it would be nicer if it was a more June-like 20+° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be over cast all day, but it is supposed to be brighter than today, and it may finally get to be 20° C or more.
nice company at work
On the whole I felt pretty rotten at work yesterday, but every cloud has a silver lining...sort of. The last couple of days at work have been better than usual because I have struck a rapport with one of my work mates. Pictured on the left is Ainhoa from Spain. She normally works in the Development Area, but has been working in my room while we investigate a very infrequent, but very annoying problem with some equipment we have sold to one of our customers.

 It's funny how just one little comment can make or break a friendship. In this instance it made one. I can't remember how it came up, but I suggested Ainhoa was about 22 years old. This rather pleased her because she is actually 31 ! It certainly broke the ice, and instead of it just being a bit nice to have some occasional company in my usually solitary day, it actually made it very pleasurable.

 It would have been even more pleasurable if I wasn't coughing and blowing my nose all through the day, but I guess the ultimate pleasure was that it looks like we finally cracked the problem between us yesterday. All credit must go to Ainhoa for putting the final link in the chain.

 As usual, I didn't feel too bad when I was out in the fresh air going home from work yesterday, but it was only a temporary pleasure, although it did last for a while after getting home. As I suggested yesterday, I ordered a steaming hot curry, and it seemed rather delicious - at least it did on the way in ! Some 60 to 90 minutes after eating it I went to bed. As soon as my head hit the pillow I started coughing and spluttering. It seems my lungs must be full of snot that has trickled down the back of my neck. While lying down, every time I breathed I could hear it gurgling in my wind pipe.

 Not only is it impossible to go to sleep in that condition (at least not until total exhaustion sets in), but it is a potent trigger to cough your lungs out. I haven't coughed like that since I was smoking 50 cigarettes a day. There is one obvious reason for what happened next, but I have a feeling a less obvious reason was the correct one. It is an established fact that the layout of the digestive system can lead to acid reflux when laying on the left. When you add in convulsive coughing stirring all your innards up then anything could happen - and it did.

 I started to feel some twitchiness from my belly. That was followed by salivating a lot. They were all the symptoms I needed to send me rushing to the toilet where I vomited up part of my curry. It took two more similar episodes before I seemed to be empty. It was all very unpleasant, but on the plus side it got rid of a very potent source of calories, and other stuff I shouldn't eat. It may have been the richness of it that was a contributory factor in inducing the vomiting. There still remains the possibility that it was food poisoning.

 After my third visit to the toilet I was able to get a little sleep, but not much. I think it was around 3am that I woke up shivering - absolute convulsive shivering. I wrapped myself up tightly in the duvet until I felt I could walk a couple of paces to turn the heater on. A little later I tried to take my temperature. I have a feeling I probably reset the thermometer wrong because it seemed to suggest I was cold rather than feverish. 30, 40, 50 minutes later (who knows ?) I had just about stopped shivering, but I did feel very peculiar. This time I took my temperature correctly, and it was 38.6° C (or 101.4° F). I have an unprovable theory that it was even higher earlier.

 I think I was able to get back to sleep for a short while after that, but when I woke up I was sweating quite profusely. I checked my temperature again, and it had fallen to 38.1° C. I would have liked to stay in a high fever because it helps to kill all those naughty little cold causing bugs, but I desperately wanted to try and get some more sleep. So I took some paracetamol that should have lowered my temperature, and helped in other ways to get some sleep.

 I think it was 5.20am when I woke up next, and although I felt horrible, it didn't seem to be as horrible as it had been earlier.  I decided I would get up for a while and answer an email or two, and some some time "surfing the net". After an hour I went back to bed, and then after a period of coughing and spluttering I finally fell asleep again, and this time I slept for a couple of hours. I still felt pretty terrible, but I thought it was time I rinsed all the sweat from my hair, and rinsed the sweat off my body. It felt nice to be clean again.

 Over a period of an hour or so, I prepared myself to go out into the big scary world to buy some stuff from Aldi. There were several things I needed, and some of them I needed desperately - man sized tissues probably being the most important. Now the good thing about this is that now I have 4 brand new boxes of man sized tissues my nose has almost dried up ! As I walked to Aldi my chest was burbling fit to bust I must have sounded like the subject of Jethro Tull's "Aqualung".

I felt weak walking there, and I wondered how I would fare carrying a few bags of stuff home. I took it fairly easy, but it wasn't nearly as bad as I feared it could be. I felt tired when I got home, but in some ways it was more a sort of sleepy tiredness, although I could feel some muscle fatigue from my chest. I had a few sandwiches for breakfast, and like the couple of little bags of Twiglets I had eaten earlier (being the closest thing to dry toast and Marmite I had available) they didn't seem to upset my stomach in any way.

 After breakfast I lay on my bed, and while I usually find it to be uncomfortable, I lay on my back. I didn't seem to feel the need to cough like that - apart from an occasional clearing of my throat. I think I ended up asleep for well over an hour, and it could have been two hours. The very next thing to do was to write this. I'm sure I feel some better today. As I've mentioned, I am not using many tissues recently. Once I have emptied my lungs, or windpipe of mucus I will probably feel quite good once I have had a good sleep.

 I will probably spend the rest of the afternoon snoozing if I can. I hope I will feel well enough to enjoy a few hours in The Black Cat this evening. Red Post Hill are playing a gig in there tonight. I've seen them once before, and while they make the occasional mistake, they more than make up for it with enthusiasm. I think the last time I saw them I went  home early because I was feeling rough, and I guess I will do the same tonight, but a couple of hours of music is better than no music at all !
Friday 17th June 2016
08:21 BST

  The truth about yesterday's weather was that it was a bit like the early forecast, and a bit like the later corrected forecast, and exactly like neither of them ! There was some rain around midday, but I don't recall it lasting very long, and nor did it seem very heavy. The next rain was just before 5pm, and it was so light that I didn't even bother to put a coat on when walking the 5 minute walk between the station and the pub. That was the last rain I saw, but as I was walking home from the station, on my way back from the pub, there were some distant sounds of thunder from the west. As far as I can recall the day came in several shades of grey without a single glimpse of the sun - although I did spot a small patch of blue sky at one point. It was neither cold nor warm. The forecast predicted it would be 17° C, and I would say that was about right. When it might, or might not rain is open to conjecture, but today feels like, and indeed is forecast to be very like yesterday. So we can expect a random sprinkle of rain at any time, but always with the threat of a severe, localised flooding strength, thunderstorm as a possibility this afternoon. Tomorrow is possibly going to be ever so slightly warmer, with a little less chance of rain, but still depressingly grey.

 The pub was easy to get to last night, but it wasn't a very enjoyable session. It seems there was football happening yesterday, and the pub was filled with very noisy people who like football. The noise and the crowds around the bar were not their only sin. For some reason these people like pissing all over the seats, and all over the floor of the cubicles in the gents. It was not very pleasant in there. Then there was the problem of the beer. When I went in there I couldn't spot any hand pumps for cask conditioned real beer, and so I opted for that good fallback - Guinness. The Guinness was perfectly acceptable, but on Thursday nights we usually have a choice of several "real ales" to try. It seems that there was at least one real ale hidden somewhere, but maybe it wasn't very nice because I noted that Chris had Guinness for his second pint.

 For all the disadvantages it was still a pleasant couple of hours. Going home was quite pleasant too - well pleasant in so much as by pure chance I had a zero minutes wait for a train back to Catford Bridge. My timing wasn't actually perfect though. I didn't have enough time to walk down the platform for one more carriage length so I would be in the correct carriage for the rear door to open exactly by the exit at Catford Bridge.

 Three pints of Guinness helped to take the edge off the negative aspects of this cold that I still have this morning. Yesterday, as I think I mentioned yesterday morning, it has gone to my chest, and I am coughing up much mucus (plus bits of lung, intestines, kidneys, and anything else that gets in the way). The coughing, and the blocked nose made for a less than great day at work yesterday. The Guinness obviously didn't help these symptoms, although fresh air did, but it did make them seem less important. It also made it seem less important to try and eat carefully. So I treated myself to some chicken and chips on the way home.

 After eating my chicken and chips I almost went to bed, but I checked my email, and a few other things before I went to bed. I can't actually remember what time I went to bed, but I think it may have been slightly before 9pm. I'm fairly sure I fell asleep almost instantly, and although I do have some dreamy memory of waking up once in the night, I essentially slept right through until 4.40am this morning. When I woke up I found my pillow, and a few patches on the duvet and lower sheet damp from sweat. It wasn't a particularly warm night last night, and I think the sweat was possibly the result of fever - and that is usually a good sign !

 This morning my nose is still getting blocked by mucus, but maybe it is happening less frequently (said he with stupid optimism), and maybe if I ignore the first 20 minutes after waking up, I am coughing less - but maybe not that much less. To be honest I have no idea how I feel. It seems probable that this cold has also settled on my brain ! It seems my sense of time is very distorted this morning as a result of the germs and microbes eating away at my brain cells. It seemed to take ages to walk to the station this morning. I was trying to walk faster but I was feeling a bit asthmatic, and I just could not push myself to walk and faster. It felt like I would never get to the station, and yet when I got there I found I had probably got there faster than usual - maybe by a full minute ! Was I actually walking much faster than I thought, or have I just forgotten how to read a clock ?

 I feel today is going to be a tedious day. The symptoms of this cold, which has grossly outstayed it's welcome, seem to have decreased, but I feel worse in a way. I think it is partly, maybe mostly, because I am getting very bored with it, and that is making me feel tired, or at least tired of fighting it, and tired of coming to work with it. I think I have a plan forming that may help, or if it doesn't help it should still be enjoyable. Tonight I think I will treat myself to a steaming great curry. I am not seeing Aleemah this week so it doesn't matter that I will probably end up spending half the morning on the toilet, and any spare time left over from that I will spend part sleeping, and part farting in bed. With luck I will end up feeling good enough to enjoy a gig in The Black Cat tomorrow night. I think it's Red Post Hill playing, and they seemed quite good last time I saw them.
Thursday 16th June 2016
07:38 BST

  Some parts of the weather forecast for yesterday were about right, and some bits were wrong. There was some rain late in the morning, and then it brightened up enough for some sunny spells. The last forecast I saw for the day said it wouldn't rain when I went home from work - but it did ! There was some light drizzly rain when I left work, and a slightly heavier splash while I waited for my train at Waterloo East. By the time I got back to Catford, little more than 15 minutes later, it was dry, and the sun was out. It didn't look as if there had been any rain at all in Catford. The rest of the night was dry too. This morning started off fairly bright, and it was about 13 - 14° C. From then on it gets complicated......
the early forecast
                          for 16th June
This was the forecast a little while before I was due to leave home to come to work, and as such it is what I use to make decisions about what to wear for instance. The only trouble is that after I get to work it has all changed !
updated forecast for
 Now it seems there will be far less rain, and also far less sunshine, but the temperatures will be roughly the same. If I am lucky that little glimpse of sunshine seen at 3pm may be a bit more sunny, and last a little longer so going home won't be so gloomy. You'll not there is a weather warning issued for today. Like most days recently, it warns of the potential for thunderstorms, torrential rain, and localised flooding somewhere, some time today. Probably in the afternoon, but no one knows. So it could all go horribly wrong !

 I didn't feel all that good at work yesterday, and it was all due to my cold. I stupidly thought that my nose had almost dried up yesterday morning. It did for a while, probably the result of fresh air as I walked from the station to work, but it wasn't long before it started dripping again. I also started coughing more. Once I was out in the fresh air again, on my way home from work, I was mostly OK, but it all started again soon after getting home. It wasn't quite so bad as earlier, and my snot was often much thicker as if it were drying up. Unfortunately it was another false alarm !

 Considering I was not feeling all that good I did a few remarkable things last night. For a start I ate quite healthily (until I ruined everything by eating some chocolate that has been staring at me every time I opened the cupboard - last night the temptation proved too much). I also did too small batches of laundry. First of all I just washed four work shirts, and then a bit later I washed a couple of t-shirts and some underwear. The grand finale was to finally upload the best picture I took last Saturday of The Dirty Habits, and International Rescue performing at The New Addington Peoples Carnival. You can view the photo album right here -

 I ended up going to bed a little after 9pm. My nose was a bit stuffy, and I was coughing a bit before I went to bed, but neither seemed to stop me from falling asleep fairly quickly. Later in the night they probably both woke me once or twice. The worst thing is that my cough became worse, and it was presumably because snot had been pouring down my throat as I slept, and it was starting to congeal. It made coughing quite hard, and sort of painful. Luckily I still have a good few doses left in my (almost) three year old blue asthma inhaler, and a couple of shots of that opened up the airways, and I was able to cough freely.

 I slept better for the rest of the night after that. This morning I still felt rather clogged up, but once again my nose was far better behaved when I was out in the fresh air. Now I am at work my nose seems moderately bad, but not terrible, and I am coughing far less (but it is still quite "throaty" when I do). This should be a good excuse to go sick, but I think I might possibly feel worse if I were at home. It would be nice to be able to lay down if I wanted to, but this cold doesn't seem to make me feel like laying down much. The way I look at it, it is my duty as a malcontent, to spread my germs far and wide to my fellow workers, and to all the commuters I cough and sneeze on as I travel to work.  Maybe I am not a real malcontent, and it's just the years of uncaring, inhumane, government rubbing off on me.

 Tonight I am looking forward to a beer or three - at least I hope I am. It's Thursday, and that means another meeting of the Thursday night drinking club. Tonight's venue is a nice easy to get to venue. It's the pub that was previously known as The William IV in Elmers End. It's just as easy to get to now it's known as The Elm Tree. All I have to do is to forget to get off the train at Catford Bridge, and stay on for a few more stops to Elmers End station. From there it is a 5 or 6 minute walk to the pub. I just hope this cold abates enough for me to enjoy a couple of pints.

Wednesday 15th June 2016

07:38 BST

  The weather is getting very tedious lately. Everyday sees the same pattern. A grey overcast morning followed by rain around lunchtime, and then more rain around the time I go home from work. The temperature profile has also been roughly the same for days now. Somewhere in the region of 13° C in the morning, and maybe 18° C by 4pm. Today the mold has almost been broken. This morning the temperature is still around 13° C, but it has been sunny with nice big areas of blue sky. It is starting to get a bit cloudy now, but the forecast does say there could be sunny intervals throughout the day. Unfortunately some of those sunny intervals could be accompanied by torrential rain, and the forecast predicts I will be going home from work in the rain - possibly very heavy rain - maybe even in the middle of a thunderstorm ! No, sorry, the forecast has just been changed in the last half hour.The forecast now says it will only rain at 11am, and it also says there will be far less sunny intervals. The latest theory about the temperature predicts a high of 19° C. There still seems to be a weather warning for thundery showers, but maybe more to the west of here. The forecast for tomorrow is looking quite similar to the earlier forecast for today, but with the rain not stopping until midnight after starting at 3pm.
sunny morning
 This was the glorious sunny sight as I waited for the 06:33 train this morning. Note the blue sky, and deep shadows.

 Out of all the ways I could have suffered at work yesterday, I chose to have very painful feet ! In one sense it is literally true that I chose that pain. After all I was the one who chose my shoes in the morning, although I did do it in a stupidly innocent sort of way. I thought I could get away with wearing the same maroon coloured Dunlop basket ball style trainers that I last wore when I did an almost 4 mile walk to Lower Sydenham and back a month or two ago. On that occasion something inside the right shoe did it's best to rub all the skin off one of my toes. I don't know why I didn't think the same thing wouldn't happen again yesterday.

 Maybe it was because I knew I wouldn't be walking 4 miles yesterday - well not all at once. By the time I got to work the same toe was a bloody mess. It was fortunate that I keep some sticking plasters here at work. One of those provided some protection, but those shoes were rubbing in other places too, albeit less savagely. It was a great relief to get home and to take off those shoes. I reckon it would be safe to wear them to a local pub for a short drink after putting on a precautionary sticking plaster, but I don't think I dare wear them for any longer at any other time.

 The pain from my feet rather distracted me from any of my more common aches and pains, but it didn't distract me from the fact that my nose continued to drip yesterday. It was no more than the common cold, but it did leave me feeling rather tired, and particularly so last night. The good thing last night was that it did seem that my nose was drying up, although maybe I only realise that now with the aid of hind sight.

 Going home from work was a painful experience - not seriously painful, but painful enough. Then again, not so painful that I couldn't go home via the Turkish supermarket (although it is only a detour of a hundred feet or so). I was hoping to buy another pack of the rather delicious goats cheese with herbs that I bought from there some weeks ago. Sadly they didn't have any, but the did have an even more insanely expensive "artisanal" (probably) cheese with herbs. I can't recall what it was called, but I do recall how expensive it was, and I do recall that it wasn't very nice. It wasn't exactly unpleasant, but it is going to be no pleasure finishing it off.
two out of focus
                          beer bottles
 I also bought these two beers from the Turkish supermarket yesterday (they were in focus when I originally bought them !). They were much, much nice than that cheese ! The formed a part of my balanced diet yesterday - I drank one using my left hand, and the other using my right hand to make sure it was balanced. My dinner included salad with the strange herb flavoured cheese, and some smoked fish (flash heated in the microwave). I probably ate more fish than I should have, although I have little idea what the optimum amount should be - if indeed there is an optimum amount, which seems unlikely. Some of the fish was smoked mackerel, and the other was smoked salmon. The latter was in the form of fillets rather than the thinly sliced smoked salmon as used in salads or bagels. Both packs of fish were very close to their use by date.

 After dinner I felt very tired, and I was also feeling a bit cold...well maybe not cold, but not quite warm enough to be comfortable laying on my bed, and falling asleep. It was no later than 7pm when I decided to lay down and close my eyes for just a few moments, and it could have been as much as 20 minutes before that. The next thing I knew it was 8pm ! At that point I decided I should probably get ready to go to bed. I had a few things to do first, but by 8.40pm I was in bed, and falling asleep. I woke a couple of times in the night, mostly to have a pee, but apart from a short period of doubt around 4am, I slept until my alarm woke me at 5am.

 I probably feel quite refreshed this morning, but I wouldn't go as far as saying that. It has got to that time of the morning where I'd like to go back to bed for another snooze - at least I think I would, but even though I am thinking about it, I am not yawning. That must be some sort of good sign. Of course morning sunshine is always good to wake up to, and to lift the day. This morning I am aware that my feet are rather tender, but I have chosen a pair of my most comfortable shoes, and my feet feet OK. I haven't had to blow my nose for a while now, and it seems my cold is over bar a few lingering effects. Even my chest seems to be mostly behaving itself this morning. It is all sounding very positive, and yet I'm not sure if I feel that good right now.

 One thing I meant to do last night, but there wasn't time (and I didn't seem to have the inclination) was to upload all the best pictures I took last Saturday to Flickr. Maybe I'll do that tonight. If I am feeling moderately good I might wash some shirts too. On the other hand I might just feel bored and depressed, or I might just feel tired and have another early night. Who can tell ?
Tuesday 14th June 2016
07:50 BST

  As often seems to be the case recently, the weather forecast for yesterday was right in essence, but the timings and strength of the various features of it were wrong. The forecast said there would only be some rain for a few hours after midday. My recollection is that there was a light splash of rain sometime before midday, and more substantial rain starting around 5pm. The temperatures given were probably about right. It wasn't cold and it wasn't hot - it was just tepid !
weather forecast for
                          today Tuesday 14th June 2016
  The weather is so unappealing lately that it seems easier to let a screenshot of the forecast tell it's own story. It looks like I will get wet going home today, but I could also see some sunshine if I am very lucky. On the other hand, it was supposed to be dry when I went home yesterday but I got wet ! Maybe today will be the opposite - it will stay dry when it is supposed to rain. A weather warning has been issued for tomorrow. I didn't include it in my screenshot, but basically it is to warm of torrential rain, thunder and lightning, and the risk of localised flooding tomorrow. I think that is all I have to say about tomorrow apart from I hope the forecast is wrong !

 I didn't feel that good at work yesterday. The most sinister thing was that from time to time it felt like I was developing a cold. This is impossible because only a couple of weeks have passed since I got over the last one. The last one was mostly mild but lasted over a fortnight. It might be impossible to have another cold, although that's mostly wishful thinking. Regardless of what should and shouldn't happen, it remains a fact that my nose got a bit drippy yesterday, and as the day wore on my throat became a bit sore. It became so bad that I had to "gargle" with some whisky last night - well that was my excuse, anyway !

 I didn't feel too bad when I went home from work, and I even had enough energy or enthusiasm, to go the long way around when I walked from the station. I wanted to check on something I had seen in the Pound Shop - UMD disks. I had never heard of UMD disks until recently, but The Pound Shop has acquired a small stock of them. They are a small, approx 2 inch diameter, optical data disk in a caddy that Sony invented to use in their Playstation Portable games machine. they can hold the data for games or enough video for a full (average) length movie - and the disks that the Pound Shop have are movie disks. I have bought a couple out of curiosity, and now I need to look around for a battered, cheap and nasty, second hand Playstation Portable to play them on. It is of course a complete waste of money, but sometimes curiosity has to be satisfied.

 I also had a look in Cash Generators, the secondhand goods and loan sharking shop where I have bough a couple of cameras, and some lenses for very reasonable prices. They had a couple of cameras and another lens that could almost have tempted me, but not this time. It was while I was looking through the shop window that the first drops of rain began to fall. At first it was very light, but it slowly got heavier. 6 or 7 minutes later, as I walked the last hundred yards toward home it had reached close to torrential proportions - although nothing like the downpour on Sunday night ! I'm not sure how long it lasted. Once I was safely indoors I lost interest in the outside world.

 I didn't feel very inspired to do much at all last night, but I did finish doing all the washing up, and I washed my hair, but I didn't get around to uploading all the pictures from last Saturday to Flickr. I'm not sure why I didn't do that. The uploading can take a while, but it gets on with it itself, and so is not trouble, although thinking up descriptions or captions for pictures is a really tedious process - particularly when you are uploading 30 - 40 pictures ! It feel like I didn't have time to deal with Flickr, and yet I have no idea where the time went to, but it certainly went fast enough that I went to bed late instead of early.

 It was about 10pm when I fell asleep, and I slept like a log until I woke up feeling hot and sweaty just after 3pm. It felt like the aftermath of a fever, and maybe that is what it was. This morning my nose is dripping less, and my sore throat has almost gone. Is it possible that I did have a cold, and this time it really is the common cold ? The common cold is supposed to only last about 24 hours, and that means I should be completely over it about lunchtime today ! The less optimistic version says the core of it will be over in 24 hours, but it will take another day or two for the body to return to normal, the nose to stop running, and suchlike. Oh well, everything will be fine once the rain goes away, and the hot sun comes out - if it ever does again !

 Tonight must be the night when I will finally upload those photos to Flickr. Well I can't think of anything else to do, and if it is nasty grey and wet outside, as it is almost certain to be, I doubt I will feel inspired to do any more than eat too much. Hopefully I'll resist the worst of that temptation, and should I weaken I do have lots of salad that needs to be used up soon - although salad can be a great attractor of cheese and other unholy food ! Mmmmm, maybe I ought to buy some of that stupidly expensive, but oh so delicious, herb flavoured goats cheese from the Turkish supermarket on the way home from work....
Monday 13th June 2016
08:04 BST

  The weather forecast warned of the possibility of a torrential downpour somewhere, sometime, and last night it was our turn. After a fairly bland day of occasional drizzle things changed just after 9pm - and changed a lot. The rain started falling like stair rods, and it wasn't long before the road was getting close to being flooded, and the area outside my back door was flooded to a depth of a couple of inches. The rain didn't last that long, and perhaps by 10pm the flood outside my back door had subsided to just a bit of surface water. At it's worst there were a few splashes that came under my back door to leave a small puddle, but I've seen worse, and it was all dry again this morning.
weather forecast for
                          today Monday 13th June 2016
 This is a screenshot of the BBC's weather forecast for Catford today. I don't think there is any way of describing this in anything but the most negative terms. It looks awful, and I am sure it will be, but in an effort to scrape the bottom of the barrel for something positive to say, I could say "at least it's not going to be too cold". I did come to work in just shirtsleeves (a short sleeve shirt), and while it was cool, it was not uncomfortable. If the sky had been blue, and it had been bright, it would probably have felt almost warm despite being exactly the same temperature. Another positive thing...assuming this forecast turns out to be approximately correct, then at least there won't be much rain, and it should be dry when I go home after work.
chocolate orange
 I like a nice novelty soap. I thought the soap on the right - shea butter and honey flavour - was odd enough (and oddly very nice to use), but over the weekend I found the ultimate in weird soaps - Chocolate Orange flavour soap. It came from the Pound Shop (obviously for just £1). It smells very nice while you are washing your hands - particularly so in hot water because it helps the volatile odours to be released easier. The only problem, if it is a problem and not a blessing, is that it doesn't leave a strong chocolate orange smell to the hands. Maybe that is just as well - it could tempt me to eat my own hands.

 The excitement of the torrential downpour last night delayed me going to bed, and that was a pity because I didn't sleep that well in the later part of the night. In the early hours of the morning I felt a little uncomfortable because of trapped wind. Not that it stayed trapped all that long. Oh no, it most definitely didn't ! It was sometime around 3am, or at least the first digit on my clock was a 3, when I decided it might be prudent to visit the toilet. Apart from a lot of farting, nothing happened on those visits, but on the last attempt I did notice that there was some feint light in the sky, and the bottom of some clouds was being lit up with a feint pink colour. Sunrise was at 4.43am this morning, and I reckon it was possibly an hour before that when I saw this feint light in the sky. It seems quite depressing that in just over a weeks time we hit the summer solstice and the days will start getting shorter again.

 It was probably in my last hour or so of sleep that I had some dreams that I can remember some bits of. There was one dream that was set in some sort of college or training school. With hindsight it was probably lots of short dreams that had a common setting - like different scenes in a movie. One dream that seemed to be part of the series was set not set in the college, but did seem to be a logical progression of it. It was set on a bus, and maybe I was going home. The memorable bit was an overheard conversation between two women who were sitting in the seat in front of me, at least I assume they were, but I can't seem to picture it now. What I do remember very clearly is what they said. Considering the whole dream was "written" by my own brain, it must be a very naughty brain ! One woman was telling the other that she was sending the kids away at the weekend to stay with their grandma. The woman said she didn't know what she was going to do exactly, but she knew that Saturday night would end with a man's knob inside her !

 I woke up this morning feeling slightly tender from the trapped wind, and ultimately slightly tender after I deflated with some violence ! Tender, but rather relieved. The rest of me felt moderately OK. For some reason I was sure my chest was going to play up this morning, but either I was being careful without realising it, or I misjudged some sublimal clue because it has behaved itself quite well this morning. Even the mystery lump by the scar down my sternum seems like it is less tender this morning - although I didn't dare poke it to see how tender it might or might not have been. While left alone it is usually painless even though this morning it looks more prominent, although that is more to do with it seeming redder than before. It still has a pale core. I think I can only report two negative things of any significance this morning. The first is that I am definitely feeling the result of a late night, and interupted sleep. The second is like a mild hint of asthma. My breathing doesn't become difficult, but it does feel a bit heavy when, for instance, I have to put a bit of extra effort into walking. It's probably just the cold and damp.

 I think I am looking forward to getting home from work today a little more than usual, and of course even on a good day I look forward to it a lot. I think I only have two ambitions beyond eating dinner. One is to upload to Flickr all the carefully selected pictures I took while standing in the rain watching The Dirty Habits and International Rescue at Addington on Saturday. the other ambition it to go to bed for some delicious sleep. I can't stop yawning as I think about it !
Sunday 12th June 2016
17:06 BST

  Yesterday was wet, but it was also warm and sunny. The only problem is that there was only a couple of hours of warm and sunny (and maybe even less than that), and many, many more hours of rain. There was also some thunder rumbling around, but it didn't seem to be very local. The positive thing, apart from the brief treat of hot sunshine, was that it was still moderately warm (somewhere in the region of 20 - 25° C), and the rain lowered the humidity (or washed all the sweat away). Today has been worse then yesterday in as much as I don't recall much in the way of sunshine, and it has been a good few degrees cooler. Thankfully it is not actually cold, although it is getting close to it, and, it's hard to judge, but I think there has been less rain today - but not that much less. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be worse and better. At the moment it looks like it will be mostly, but not totally, dry - which is better. The worse bit is that it looks like it will be non stop very grey all day, at the temperature may not even reach 20° C (just 19° C is the best forecasted). Hopefully this will have been revised for the better by the time I write tomorrow morning.

 I refused to let the rain ruin my enjoyment yesterday. I actually had a great time ! The occasion was "The New Addington Peoples Carnival", and the bit I wanted to see was the live music stage. I set out half an hour later than I intended. I first caught a train to Elmers End station where I changed to the Croydon Tramlink system. On a Saturday afternoon they run nice and frequently - every 8 to 10 minutes - rather better than the pathetic once every 30 minutes of the train service yesterday. The tram does not go directly to Addiscombe from Elmers End (or Beckenham Junction where I might also have joined the system), and I had to change trams at Sandilands station (or stop).

 Once my tram arrived at New Addington I had what seemed like a long(ish) walk, but that was mainly because I was unfamiliar with the place. Up until about the halfway point between the tram stop and the venue I had missed any rain, but at that halfway point a huge clap of thunder rang out. I expected a huge downpour at any moment, but all that happened was some moderately heavy drizzle. I soon found the venue and prepared to enjoy that came later...I prepared to take some pictures.

 The first band, The Dirt Habits, who had temporarily changed their name from The Bromley Bastards in view of it being a "family" occasion, had already started, but the soon noticed me and greeted me. At that point there were maybe 20 - 30 people watching in an enclosure that could probably take several hundred or more. As the rain became heavier quite a few deserted the place, and for a while it seemed like I had the whole band to myself.

 There were two bands on that I saw (and one or two later on after I left). Both bands had a strong leaning towards punk music. It seemed unlikely entertainment for a family fun day out (there were  fairground rides, and entertainments for all ages, but mostly for kids), but I thought it was all rather wonderful. Apart from the lead guitarist of The Dirty Habits, I knew all the musicians by face if not by name, and they all knew me. I got applauded for turning out in the rain, and I was hugged and kissed, and had my hand shaken. It was all rather wonderful, and left a good feeling.

 I wasn't sure of the exact amount of time, but I think it was after about three hours of standing in the rain, some of it really torrential (as you will be able to see when I upload the pictures to Flickr), I declared that I had seen enough. It was a convenient point to say my goodbyes. The two bands had finished, and there was going to be a delay before the next band came on. So I packed my bags, and started walking back to the tram stop. As I walked the sky got brighter and brighter. Then the sun peeped through the clouds, and by the time the tram dropped me off at Elmers End I had not only just missed a train, but I was steaming in the hot sunshine.

 I had a difficult decision at Elmers End. Waiting 20 - 25 minutes for the next train would be extremely tedious, but I wasn't sure if a bus could get me back to Catford any faster. I decided I would try the bus. If nothing else at least I would be moving. It turned out that I arrived back in Catford about 10 minutes earlier than if I had waited for the next train, and of course that rather pleased me !
Patsi Spike O'Shea
                          of The Dirt Habits
Maybe this picture does show how hard it was raining ! On the left, on the drums, Gavin. Centre, on lead vocals, Patsi Spike O'Shea, and on the right of the picture, on lead guitar, Laurence.
The Dirty Habits
With the addition of Geoff Paice on bass guitar - The Dirty Habits !

 Had I energy left I could have gone to a gig in the evening to see a third band - Chain - but I had had enough of the big wide (wet) world, and opted to stay in working quite hard photo editing.  One thing that added to my decision not to go out last night was that the gig was not supposed to start until 10pm. That stupid late start was because of the stupid football match of one side paying another side (but I haven't got a clue who was who, and I don't care). At 10pm I was just going to bed !

 I made the bold assumption that because I woke up again at 5am that I had had enough sleep for these theoretical bright summer days, and I actually got up when I could easily have tried for more sleep. It wasn't that long after that that I started photo editing again. I may only be a photographer for fun, but it is often hard work. It's lucky that it carries a bit of fame with it ! Yesterday I edited all the photos I had taken on my Fuji HS35 bridge camera. I wasn't too happy how well that had performed in the rain and lighting conditions. Some pictures were fairly crisp, but there were a couple that would have been really good snaps, but were poorly focussed (I think the camera was trying to focus on the rain).

 The pictures I edited this morning I took using my Canon SX40 bridge camera, and they were far crisper. I wish I had taken my Canon DSLR camera because I am sure I could have got some really good snaps from that, but I was worried about it getting wet. Maybe that wouldn't have mattered - both the camera I did take came to no harm, and they were literally dripping wet from time to time...even so....

 I didn't see my friend Aleemah yesterday because I wanted to get out relatively early to Addington, but I did see her this morning instead. I think I was still buzzing from my day out yesterday, and maybe I was also suffering from a lack of beer. (There was a beer tent yesterday, but with what seemed to be just one or two portaloos for the entire crowd, I decided it might be better not to drink). This morning, for breakfast, I had two lovely pints of beer, and I was quite tempted to go for a third. I just felt very relaxed and that strange sensation some lucky people know as happy. It's a shame that it's back to work tomorrow, and that will kill any pleasant sensations.

 After breakfast we watched a DVD back here. It was called "Harry Price - Ghost Hunter" (or something like that). It had it's moments, but it didn't really grip my attention. After the movie Aleemah went home and I got on with some things I had been neglecting to do. I washed a couple of small hand towels, and I did most of a weeks worth of washing up - but not all of it - just enough to stop it getting smelly. I'll do the rest after dinner tonight (or tomorrow night !) All that's left to do now is to practice the art of being black belt grade lazy, and try not to think of another week of work to get through until I can do something enjoyable again.
Saturday 11th June 2016
10:57 BST

  The last version of the weather forecast for yesterday, which appeared once the Met Office could look out the window to see what was really happening in the real world, tuned out to be about right. It was generally overcast, although at time it was still quite bright, and it was mildly warm - probably about the 22° C that was forecast. This morning started off overcast, and it seems likely it will be like yesterday with some almost, but not quite sunny periods as the sun tries to burn through the haze (but fails). It also seems likely that there could be the odd rogue shower popping up later in the afternoon. There is a chance that one of those rogue showers could be extra rogue and turn into a thunderstorm ! It was slightly better than mild a little while ago. My upstairs, outside thermometer is currently saying 26° C, but I think nearer ground level it is probably a couple of degrees lower. It doesn't feel that warm at the moment, but on the other hand it does feel very humid, and it doesn't seem to take much effort to break out in a sweat. If, as the forecast makes vague allusions to, we get some heavy rain around 6pm it will probably cool things off a lot (and clear the air). Unfortunately it is looking as if there will be a fair amount of rain tomorrow, and it is supposed to be a lot cooler too.

 I don't really know enough words to describe the different sorts of pain there are. I was often uncomfortable at work yesterday, and I guess you could say that I was suffering from ache and not pain, but even ache doesn't seem to convey an annoying, and easily provoked tenderness, but not one that is so powerful that it can't be relatively easily ignored given sufficient distraction. I am talking about the assorted aches, pains, and suchlike that appear in my chest in different places, and in different strengths. (It is so hard to describe a million variables !).

 I had the usual pains from my "twisted rib" popping up from time to time in a mild way, but there was this new pain. This new pain, as I think I tried to describe yesterday, is from a definite tender spot that can actually be felt as a lump. With the light at the right angle it can also be seen. One development is that in the middle of the ever so slightly, barely discernible, redness is a pale, perhaps almost white area. It almost looks like it could be a gigantic zit forming, and maybe it is, although it would be a very strange place for such a thing. A more fanciful explanation, and one I think I shall choose to believe purely because it sounds wonderfully dramatic, is that it is the end of a broken rib trying to pierce it's way to the surface. Two other fanciful ideas that I find pleasing are that it is one of the staples that held my chest together after the operation, and it has come loose and is working it's way to the surface. Although this does assume they used the same staples internally as they used on the surface. The other fanciful idea, and as a lover of British comedy movies of the 1950s and early 1960s it absolutely has to be the explanation, and it is actually the surgeons wristwatch that fell off as he operated, and was overlooked !

 All my assorted pains seemed very attenuated as I made my way home from work, and eventually seemed to go away completely after I had eaten some dinner. I came home via Tesco where I bought some odds and sods that I couldn't eat because I had pre-planned my dinner, and left the ingredients out to defrost while I was at work. I thought it was going to be a big  dinner, but in the end it seemed quite small - although quite unhealthy...maybe.

 Both parts of dinner had been frozen at the back of the freezer for ages and ages - possibly 3 or 4 years, and probably only had the old style nutritional information panels on them. I didn't really check the ingredients and stuff, but the Tesco chicken curry seemed quite small, and seemed to be quite low in fat. It probably had all sorts of stuff in it that was no good to me, but I declined to investigate further. What was a surprise was that the Chicken Kievs I had were much nicer than some I had more recently, and they seemed to be herby and garlicy without being stuffed with gallons of goo. Upon cutting them open a little butter ran out, but they only had just enough to stop them being dry. I did eat some other junk too, but I reckon I may have just managed to keep the quantities down enough not to have a detrimental effect.

 I was very unsure if I had slept well or not yesterday morning. I doubted it because I couldn't stop yawning when I got to work. Evidently I had slept well, or at least I didn't seem to feel very sleepy last night. I can't remember what time I went to bed, but I think it may have been after 10pm, but it could have been just before. I do seem to recall that it wasn't long before I was fast asleep, and seemingly sleeping quite well.

 Going to sleep late didn't seem to stop me waking up just before 5am this morning. I didn't seem to feel tired then, and I had no reason to rush around getting up to go to work or anything, but I half got up anyway. I spent over an hour checking news and stuff on the internet before I thought that maybe I would go back to bed and try and get a bit more sleep. That sort of happened, and I might have got an extra hours sleep. Eventually I decided I had better get up and do something.

 That "something" was mostly going to Aldi to do some proper shopping. Although having said that, I didn't buy all that much. Included in "not all that much" are several things I would dearly like to tuck into, but I won't be doing that until I am back from a photo expedition. Once I have finished this, and uploaded it, I have to rush out to go to Addington. There is some sort of summer fete taking place in Mitre Park. I don't know much about it, but I know there are two bands playing there, and I know some of the musicians. It could be the source of a few good photos...
Friday 10th June 2016
07:57 BST

  It was nice to have a dry day with no rogue thunderstorms yesterday. It took a bit longer than expected for the morning cloud and mist to break up, but then we had several hours of pleasant sunshine. The sun became a bit hazy later in the afternoon, and that meant it was a bit cooler than the previous couple of days. It was still very pleasant though. I'm not sure just how warm it got, but I would guess it was only 22 - 23° C. By 9pm I noted it was about 17° C, but it didn't drop too far after that. This morning it was a cool, but not cold, 14° C, and quite cloudy. The forecast seems to change so frequently that it is hard to keep up with it lately. This morning was forecast to be sunny, which it definitely isn't, but is now forecast to be overcast - which it is. It seems it is going to be overcast all day today. The highest temperature is predicted to be just 22° C, but at least it should stay dry all day. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be grey and murky until it starts raining from around 6pm. It is also going to be quite a bit cooler with the maximum temperature possibly being as low as 18° C.

 It was lucky I was feeling quite good yesterday because I had a bit of an adventure. Not a dramatic adventure, but just some unusual travelling. To get to yesterday evening's drink I travelled on two buses and three trains ! The first bus was just a matter of luck. As I got to the main road after leaving work I spotted a bus approaching the bus stop, and all it needed was a suicidal dash across the main road to catch it. This follows the usual rule that any time I don't intend to get the bus there is always one there. Of course if I had really needed a bus, perhaps if one of my legs had accidently fallen off, there would not be a bus anywhere in SW London !

 The real journey started, as it does every day, at Earlsfield station. After a wait of a minute or two I caught a train to Clapham Junction. I changed trains there for a (typically) very late running Southern train to Victoria station that arrived after a few minutes. At Victoria we arrived at the highest numbered platform (18 ?), and I had to walk almost the entire width of that very wide station to platform 4 to catch the 16:10 to Orpington. After 3 or 4 minutes we departed for the longest part of the journey. 25 minutes later I arrived at Shortlands station where I had no more than a few minutes wait for a 227 bus. 10 minutes later I was tasting my first beer !

 I expected it to be a bothersome journey, but it was actually very smooth. After drinking three pints with the lads I headed home again. I thought that would be a bothersome journey too, but it wasn't bad. There were several ways I could have got home, but I opted to take the 227 bus back to Shortlands station, and then get the train direct to Catford from there. I knew what time the train departed, and I thought it would be touch and go whether I could get to the station in time. Fortunately I only had to wait a minute or two for the bus, and even though the rush hour traffic slowed things down a bit, I got to the station in plenty of time. In fact I had five minutes extra time because my train had been delayed by five minutes somewhere down the line.

 I have to admit there was some temptation to buy some takeaway food, but there beer I had drunk was not very strong, and so resisting the impulse was relatively easy. I stuck to my plan of eating stuff out of the freezer. Last night it was a bowl of steamed mixed vegetables which had too many carrots in it, and so had lots of hidden sugar in it. I made it even unhealthier by adding a rather generous amount of Cheddar cheese to use the last of the pack up. That was part 1. Part 2 was some Tesco fishcakes found at the back of the freezer. There were pleasant, but not as nice as the fishcakes I buy from Aldi. I also ate some other bits and pieces that are best left unmentioned - apart from the fact that I doubt I would have lost any weight yesterday !

 For some reason I didn't feel very tired last night, and there was the temptation to put off going to bed until some time later, but I forced myself to go to bed soon after 9pm, and I think that was a good idea. Once I was in bed it didn't seem to be very long before I was fast asleep. Once again it seemed like I slept well, and once again I couldn't stop yawning as soon as I started thinking about it a few minutes ago. Apart from yawning, I feel half good and half bad this morning. Bits of me are working exceedingly well, but I am getting some annoying chest pains this morning. They seem to be centred around the recently appeared lump just to the left of my operation scar. It is far from a bad pain, but it is a little mysterious, and that can be worrying. I also feel hungry, and that's worrying too because I won't be able to eat until I get home after work - and that is many hours away !

 One other bothersome thing, or things, are my feet. This morning I am wearing an almost identical pair of cheap Chinese plimsol like shoes to those I wore yesterday. The only visible difference is that yesterday's pair were white, and this morning I am wearing a black pair. Yesterday my feet were generally perfectly comfortable, and even after a very long day, just over 12 hours, I felt no burning desire to take my shoes off when I got home. This morning my identical in all but colour, shoes do not seem half as comfy. Maybe not even a quarter as comfy. They are not actually painful, just sort of uncomfortable in the vaguest sense of it.

 I have only one plan for tonight, and that is to go home via Tesco to buy a few bits and pieces. At least it should only be a few bits and pieces because I intend to a more fuller shop in Aldi tomorrow morning. Tonight I want a bottle or two of diet coke, some tomato sauce, and some salad. I know it will end up as more than that, but I can live with that knowledge ! Apart from shopping, I can't think of anything else to do tonight. I don't think there are any interesting gigs on, and I am not sure if I feel like going to a gig tonight anyway. Maybe I will just luxuriate in decrepitness or something. Maybe I will digitise another old Hi8 camcorder tape. Speaking of which...I made an error when I encoded the little video I embedded yesterday, and it wouldn't play. If you scroll down to yesterday, you should find the video will now play OK (in most modern web browsers).
Thursday 9th June 2016
08:29 BST

  There was a warning that the heat and humidity could brew up a thunderstorm yesterday. The warning came in the weather forecast, and yet the forecast didn't actually show and rain or little lightning bolts - and I don't know why because it was sort of obvious it would happen. Apart from a bit of stickiness, everything was fine up to about 2pm. It was hot and sunny, and I decided to shock the world by wearing my shorts to go and buy a few bits and pieces from Aldi. Despite my fears to the contrary, I fitted in my shorts perfectly (possibly even better than when I last wore them some years ago). As I did up the last button there was an ominous boom from from somewhere distant, and the sun hid behind a cloud - a big black cloud ! It wasn't long before the first rain fell. I quickly brought in some washing that was hanging on the line, and abandoned my idea of going out shopping.

 The rain was not very heavy in Catford, but I could hear plenty of distant thunder. By 4 or 5pm the temperature had dropped from a peak in excess of 25° C (I'm sure I saw 28° C on one thermometer) to just 20° C, and the rain stopped. Soon afterwards the sun came out again, and the rest of the evening seemed quite pleasant (and fresher feeling). This morning the temperature was a slightly cool feeling 14° C, and it was rather dull. The sky is a sort of blotchy milky white colour even now, but the forecast says it should clear to give a warm and sunny day. It is not supposed to be quite as warm as yesterday, and we should escape any thunder storms....should ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be rather dull, and cooler still, but that forecast could change at any time - including after the forecasters suddenly realise it looks very different out the window to what their charts tell them !

 Yesterday was a sort of lazy day, particularly after I abandoned my shopping trip, but I guess that is how it is supposed to be when you are officially off work sick, recovering from the terrible affliction of loss of sleep because of chest pains, and resting the muscles/ribs/ligaments that were, and are the source of those pains. What was probably amazing was that somehow I managed to control my eating rather better than I imagined, and there is a microscopic possibility that I may have even eaten less than on a work day. I expect things might have turned out differently if I had made it to Aldi, but maybe not.

 I am currently on a mission to use up food from my freezer. There is stuff in there that hasn't seen the light of day for ages, and one thing I ate yesterday was right on it's use by date. There is stuff in the cupboard that probably should be used up too. My dinner yesterday was two Aldi "steam meals". One was old, and the other fairly recent. It was interesting to see the difference between the two.
steam meals
 This rather overshrunk, and hard to read, picture shows the two "steam meals". Ignoring the fact that I seem to have forgotten to increase the contrast in the left hand picture, you'll note that the picture of the meal in the plate looks identical, but the left hand meal contains 304 calories, and the right hand meal only contains 255 calories (and has to be microwaved for two minutes longer). The reason is easy to see when you start eating them. The early version, on the left, had more peas, and less green beans and brocolli. It is my theory that it is the peas that add to the calories rather than the more obvious 2gm less fat in the newer version.

 One little amusement I got up to in the early evening (or even late afternoon) was experimenting with transferring analogue video from my old Sony Hi8 camcorder to a digital format. I was using a little "Mini-DVR" (miniature digital video recorder) that I bought some months ago, but had not actually used it until yesterday (although I had done a few tests with it). I am not convinced the little device is the best option for digitising analogue video. It's primary weakness is that it has no setting from European video at 25 frames a second. It is fixed on the American standard of 30 frames a second. That makes the video a little jerky sometimes. There is some light at the end of the tunnel though. I have noticed that when the video is shrunk down to be closer to the native resolution of a standard definition analogue camcorder, it doesn't look too bad. All I have to worry about now is my poor camera work. Some of it is pretty bad in this video, and one of the worst sins was filming against a too bright sky. You can see it all in this little video. It was taken in 2002, and shows the preserved "little red tube train" in public service one Sunday morning running between East Finchley and High Barnet on the Northern Line.

 Tonight it might be nice to go on a magical mystery tour after work....or it may not ! It's Thursday night, and that means it is boozing night. Tonight's venue is The Jolly Woodman in Beckenham. The only trouble is that it is not in the centre of Beckenham, and it could almost be described as being in Shortlands. It is going to be a bugger to get to, but after missing last Thursdays drink I ought to make some sort of effort to get there. I think my easiest option is to get the train to Shortlands, which is a pain, but at least it is well rehearsed, and then get a bus the 4 or 5 stops to the pub. I haven't quite worked out how I will get home again. I might get the bus back to Shortlands station, and then a train back to Catford, or I might get the bus in the opposite direction to Beckenham, and then a bus from Beckenham to Catford. Either way will be an annoying journey - probably !
Wednesday 8th June 2016
12:09 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday was approximately correct, but all the times were wrong, and things happened in the wrong order, plus some of the weather effects were very localised. The weather deteriorated much faster than expected. By midday it was very dull, and by 1pm the first peal of thunder was heard from afar. By 2pm it was raining quite freely, but it wasn't extremely heavy. The rain continued until I was about half way home from work, and even for the half when it did rain it was very light rain. Very soon after I got home, perhaps 5pm, the sun came out. The rest of the evening seemed quite pleasant, although it was quite warm, and rather humid. That made for quite a muggy night - which had consequences ! It was originally supposed to rain at 6am this morning, but it has been dry so far, and although it is fairly cloudy, we have seen quite a lot of hot sunshine. It is supposed to be about 21° C right now, but I reckon it is closer to 25° C - which is as high as it is forecast to get by about 5pm. Maybe we will see 27 or even 28° C later. No specific rain is forecast for today, but there is a warning that the heat could brew up a thunderstorm, and with the temperature seemingly higher than forecast it is feeling like quite a possibility. Tomorrow is forecast to be dry, but with a lot less sunshine, and maybe 3 or 4 degrees cooler.

 The early afternoon rain in Earlsfield was never particularly heavy yesterday, and the peals of thunder always seemed fairly distant. When I got home to Catford the depth of the puddles, and other clues suggested that there had not been much rain there either. Others were not so lucky. It was only 3 or 4 miles away (very approximately) in a sort of Croydon direction where all hell was breaking loose. They had torrential rain, and some severe localised flooding. The worst place would seem to have been under a railway bridge in Wallington (I think). At some time in the past the road had been lowered to give more clearance under the bridge for lorries and buses. At the lowest point there was an estimated 4 - 5ft of standing water with cars floating about in it !

 My "twisted rib" remained a bit tender at work yesterday, but I must have been reasonably successful at avoiding provoking it because it was hardly any bother at all. I probably forgot about it for long periods of time. Even being jolted around on the train home only generated some occasional mild discomfort. So I got home feeling rather tired, and with less energy than I thought I would have, but generally feeling quite OK. I even had some control over what I ate, but not much, and it started to fade as the evening progressed.

 My major amusement for the evening was watching TV. There were a few good programmes on in the early evening - all repeats from years and decades ago of course ! My minor amusement was something I could mostly do while watching TV (Plus it didn't really take that long). It was to finally, after months and months and months of putting it off because it had no real practical purpose, get around to cleaning the head drum, with the video recording/playback heads on it, of my old analogue Hi8 camcorder. The job seemed to work quite well - at least on a short test it did. The tape that was still in the camcorder just gave a blank noisy screen before I cleaned those heads, but afterwards I was rewarded with nice crisp playback.

 One other nice thing was that I had been "rejuvenating" a few of my old camcorder batteries. I reckon on of them must be 20 years old, and to my amazement, after a couple of charge/discharge cycles it can now hold a usable charge. I think it could probably power the camcorder for at least 10 minutes ! I very much doubt I will ever have to run that camcorder on batteries again, but it's sort of nice to know I can if I want to. It is possible that a second battery may even be very slightly better. It's rather amazing for such ancient nickel-cadmium batteries !

 It was hot and sticky last night, and as I thrashed around in bed I seemed to jolt my "twisted rib" one too many times. There was no bad pain -  just an annoying mild ache. By itself it probably wouldn't have been too bad, but in the sweaty heat, probably made worse because my blood glucose level would have been near it's highest at that time, I ended up  sleeping very badly. in the later part of the early hours I also suffered from a mild stomach ache. I don't know what the cause of the cause was, but it became obvious what was going on inside me when I went to the toilet this morning.

 This morning was one of those mornings...The most annoying thing was the loss of sleep. That was followed in equal parts by some uncertainty about the state of my guts, and my "twisted rib" being so tender. It all seemed like a terribly good excuse to go back to bed, and to (later) call work to tell them I was taking the day off sick citing my "twisted rib" as the major cause of it. In theory I am taking it easy, but I have been experimenting.

 In the past I have noted that it is sometimes possible to improve (as in reduce or even eliminate) the pains from my "twisted rib" by doing some hand laundry. I think it pulls and pushes in the opposite direction to whatever makes it worse. So I've washed a small bath towel and a couple of shirts. I also have a couple of pairs of jeans soaking away at the moment, and I'll go through the tedium of trying to rinse them out through umpteen changes of water soon. Luckily, thunderstorms permitting, they should dry fairly quickly out on the line in this weather. The only downside is that all the effort is going to get me sweating like a pig in this humid weather. Oh well, at least I can have a lie down, and maybe even a snooze afterwards.
Tuesday 7th June 2016
08:11 BST

  It may fall outside of any other official dates, but it seemed like yesterday was the first day of summer. It didn't actually get hot, but after a day of bright sunshine it was nice and warm. Some reports said that it reached 26° C in London, but I'm not so sure I experienced that. I think that it didn't go much above 24° C in Catford. The forecasts for today didn't look that good yesterday morning, but since then they have changed. Many showers were originally forecast, and the earliest could have made for a wet journey into work, but it was dry, sunny, and a fairly pleasant 15° C. It now seems that today will be similar to yesterday, but with a great big caveat. It seems possible that the heat could brew up a thunderstorm late this afternoon, and they reckon it could be a big one - if it happens ! Correction : The forecast has changed yet again ! It now looks like it will be rather dull when I'm going home from work, and that it will rain from about 6pm. The likelihood of of a torrential thunderstorm is now a little less. The current forecast for tomorrow says there could be a splash of rain at 6am. That will be followed by lots of sunny intervals until 6pm when there will be showers with sunny periods. It will probably be very warm again. I wouldn't mind betting that by late tonight the forecast for tomorrow will be completely different !

 My "twisted rib*" gave me quite a lot of aggravation yesterday. It made any other complaints pale by comparison. One annoying aspect was that it would sit there dormant for ages until I pushed the door open to leave the room. That action, particularly if I raised my arm too high, could trigger a really unpleasant bolt of pain that would leave a dull ache for some time afterwards. I'm not sure if Ibuprofen helped much yesterday, or if it did it took quite some time to help. Perhaps the couple of tablets I took early in the afternoon helped to give a mostly comfortable journey home from work, but it might also be that the worst of it was wearing off anyway.

* "Twisted rib" is almost certainly anatomically, and medically impossible, but I think it generates a more evocative image than trying to stumble of a list of possibly damaged body parts in my chest - none of which have ever been proved to be damaged.

 I hardly noticed any pain after I got home from work, although I seem to recall I did get one small jolt, but I can remember when, and what I was doing to trigger it. It was actually quite a boring evening punctuated only by eating more than I should have. I think I almost managed to keep the amount I ate just low enough to not actually gain weight, but only just, and I am sure I haven't lost any weight now for several weeks. That is a bit of a shame because at one point I was doing quite well.

 One consequence of it being a boring even, apart from the consequence of eating too much, was that I went to bed while it was still light outside. I can't really be more specific than that, and at this time of year it could have been as late as 9.30pm (maybe later), but I think it was before 9pm. I could feel a certain amount of tenderness from my twisted rib, but it didn't seem to bother me during the night, and I slept quite well until about 4.20am. I guess it was a consequence of going to bed early after a bright sunny day, but much to my annoyance I just couldn't seem to sleep much later than 4.20am. I got up 10 or 15 minutes later.

 Once again I feel mostly OK. Most of me seems to be working fairly well this morning, and a couple of Paracetamol tablets seems to have kept my twisted rib under better control than the Ibuprofen tablets - although I will admit I took them more as a precaution than out of any great need. Now I am at work my rib is tender and sensitive, but not actually painful. If I try to avoid provoking it, I should be fine. All I have to do now is to try and imagine, in advance, all the things that might provoke it !

 I have previously complained that the Earlsfield Tesco charge £1.31 for a 500ml bottle of Diet Coke while the Earlsfield Sainsbury's only charge £1.25. This morning I went into a small sweetshop/newsagents as I walked from the station to work, and bought two bottles from there. Now admittedly it is old stock, with a best before date of June 2016, and I think I may have bought the very last two bottles (there were no more in the chiller, but there could have been more elsewhere), but they were just £1.00 each ! Later in the week I'll check and see if they have more old stock, or new supplies, and what the price is of those.

 Tonight has the potential to be another boring night. About the best I can say about it is that it will involve fishcakes for dinner. I quite like fishcakes ! Maybe I'll have another early night, or maybe I will watch some more old episodes of Yes Minister, or.....Maybe, and this seems unlikely, but it could be possible, I could clear a bit more crap out of what was once the dining room until it became a repository of assorted crap (the majority of which is probably ancient computer bits). Yesterday evening I did have a few daydreams about a badly neglected project to transfer some analogue video recordings to digital formats. Having a clear dining room table could make that easier. It could also make it easier to set up my flat bed scanner to digitise some of my old (paper and chemicals) photographs. Maybe I will, or maybe I won't tonight.

 One thing I can't do tonight, because I did it last night, is to upload stuff to Flickr. The album of photos of Chain performing in The Swan in West Wickham on Friday 3rd June 2016 can be found here - The album of Voodoo Room performing in The Black cat in Catford on Saturday 5th June 2016 can be found here -
Monday 6th June 2016
08:08 BST

  Yesterday was pretty nice after it's slow start. It was warm and sunny, and that is about all that matters. This morning started bright and clear, but a little cooler than yesterday morning - about 12° C. The forecast is adamant that the sun will shine all day today, but I find it a little disappointing that the temperature will only peak at about 23° C. Of course that is only a minor disappointment. The big disappointment comes tomorrow. The forecast says the temperature profile will be almost identical to today, but if the little pictograms are correct the sun will be shining around the side of clouds that are raining, and it will be like that from dawn to dusk. So basically it is going to be hot and sweaty inside my coat, and hot and rainy on the outside. not nice !

 I finally got all the pictures taken on Friday night with Chain at The Swan in West Wickham, and all the pictures of Voodoo Room on Saturday night in The Black Cat, Catford, edited and prepared for upload. All I have to do now is to actually upload them to Flickr. Maybe I'll do that tonight. The only other things of note that I did yesterday was to take a quick wander to the Pound Shop (that I have already mentioned yesterday), and to trim my beard and wash my hair. Oh, and I also ate far too much crap as well ! Despite seeming to have not much to do yesterday, I ended up in bed a little later than I probably should have, but at least I seemed to sleep well - to the extent that I had the rare privilege (?) of having to be woken up by my alarm this morning.

 The morning I felt pretty good except one thing. That one thing is some soreness from my chest. I am unsure how I did it exactly, but I think it was when I was showering that I managed to pull a muscle, or twist a rib, or mangle a ligament. I really don't know what the underlying problem is. All I know is that if I adopted certain poses, or twisted a bit if I made a sharp right turn (more so if it was at the same time as stepping down from a step or out of a train) I got a really unpleasant pain. I've said that in the past tense because it has got a bit better in the last hour. (Some Ibuprofen helped). Now I am at work I am aware of it feeling more tender than actually hurting. I think I'm going to have to be careful for a while longer.
new signs at Catford
                          Bridge station
  Network rail must have taken advantage of the trains being stopped, and the power to the third rail being turned off to fix these new signs at intervals along the supports of the platforms at Catford Bridge station yesterday. So this morning would have been the first opportunity for the public to see these signs. The timing was perfect ! This morning there was no electricity at Catford Bridge station. It was only the domestic supply for the lights, ticket issuing equipment, information screens and Oyster card readers that had failed. The third rail was still powered and lethal, and the railway signals were still powered - they both come from a separate supply.

 The other system that lost power was for the cctv monitors that the train driver uses to check it is safe to close the doors prior to departure. It seemed a little excessive, and maybe there was some extra problem, but it appeared that the driver got out of his cab, and walked the entire length of the 10 car train manually closing and locking each train door before we could set off again. As a result of that we arrived about 10 - 12 minutes late at Waterloo East station. My time is fairly flexible, but I bet some people were quite annoyed about it.

 Well it's another day at work, and it is likely to be quite boring. I don't have much to do, and my boss is out today so I probably won't be looking very hard for things to do. I guess I am going to have to steel myself for facing a day that will appear to never end ! Tonight doesn't get much better. As I have already said, I'll probably upload a heap of pictures to Flickr tonight. It is the one part of the photographic process I don't like. There's the boring wait while the pictures upload, and then I have to rack my brains to try and think up captions and stuff. Oh well, it's all worth it once it's done.
Sunday 5th June 2016
15:12 BST

  Generally speaking, yesterday was pretty grey, but it did have a trick up it's sleeve. I may well be wrong, but I can't seem to recall a single ray of sunshine yesterday, but that didn't stop the temperature slowly creeping up. By 6 or 7pm it was 20° C. It was at 6pm that the weather forecast said there would be some sunshine, but there was no sunshine. It also reckoned there would be some showers, but there were none of those either. Once it got dark, which was after 9pm, and the greyness had merged into the night sky, it was a fairly pleasant evening. This morning started off rather grey, but at least it was around 15° C. At precisely 9am (by the clock on my microwave oven) the sun finally came out. It was still rather cloudy, but slowly, slowly the clouds dissipated, and the temperate rose. It is now 23° C, and it is at last perfectly comfortable to be mostly sedentary with the windows open. It is probably still warming up even now, and that is going to give tomorrow a good head start. Tomorrow is supposed to be very similar to today, and maybe a little bit better.

Ticket for Voodoo Room at The Black Cat
I should have gone out with a bit more enthusiasm last night, but I kept having nagging ideas at the back of my mind that I might fancy an early night - early for a Saturday night. Maybe not that long after 9pm. On the other hand, I did enjoy Voodoo Room last time I saw them, and I had been given a free ticket to go in return for the pub using some of my photos to help publicise it as a music venue.

 Now I have to admit that while I mostly enjoyed myself, I found myself slightly impatient for the gig to finish. On the plus side I did enjoy the music, and I did enjoy the multiple pints of Guinness I drank (5 pints, or was it 6 ?). I also enjoyed the photography. I managed to take quite a few good snaps, but I never managed that elusive "perfect" picture. One problem was the lighting. The lightbar was set to change colours far too quickly again, like it was some sort of demented disco or rave. I guess it was pretty psychedelic, and that sort of suited the 60s vibe of the songs, but it make the poor old light meter in my camera go crazy ! So some pictures were over exposed, and some very under exposed. If I was to carry on making excuses I could also note that I couldn't get the perfect position where I might have been able to take a picture of all three players at the same time because there was a table full of people there !
Voodoo Room
 This was the best picture I took that features all the band (they are only a threepiece), but because of the angle I had to take it from the lead guitarist/singer is a bit nearer the camera, and in very soft focus. I do have some very sharp pictures of him - probably too many ! With just three musicians to choose from, and only one at the front of the stage area, it was inevitable that most pictures would be of him.

 I think the gig ended at roughly 11.30pm. I hung back just long enough to thank the band, and then I went straight home. I was not tempted to visit any food shops because I knew I had some sandwiches I had bought from Aldi in the morning waiting for me when I got home.  I think I had rather too much of them, and I should have saved one for breakfast or something.

 I didn't stay up editing photos last night, and I was in bed not that long after midnight. My sleep would have been perfect if only it had lasted until about 9am this morning, but I think I started slowly getting up before 7am this morning. I wasn't paying too much attention to the time, but I think by around 8am I was just coming to the end of doing some laundry. I washed a couple of shirts, some smaller stuff, and a bed sheet this morning, and hung them on the line to dry outside.

 Thanks to the more summer like weather, even if it was a bit slow starting, it was almost perfectly dry 3 or 4 hours later. If I had enough stuff to make it worthwhile washing more I could get that out on the line and perfectly dry long before the sun sets today. Doing that washing was the second most physical thing I've done today. The other thing was to take a quick wander to the Pound Shop to buy some bleach, some fly spray (which I totally forgot to buy), and some rather nice mouthwash that they had there a week or two ago, but don't seem to have any more of (boo !). A considerable chunk of the rest of the time I have spent editing photos - and not just gig photos !
railway engineering
When I came back from the Pound Shop I noticed why Catford is cut off from the rest of the world today. Network Rail, or their contractors, are doing some maintenance of the track just to the north of Catford Bridge station.
road/rail vehicle carrying stores for
                          rail maintenance
This road/rail vehicle can probably do all sorts of fancy stuff, but it seems to be just used to carry stores today. Maybe it will lift some heavy rail later.
working on a wet spot
I've noticed there has been a defect here for some time. Water had got under the track and was converting the subsoil to mud, and every time a train went over it, it would pump/squeeze some of the mud to the top, making the void below even deeper.
more track workers
More track workers a few tens of feet closer to the station.

 My plans for the rest of the day involve more photo editing stuff, and also uploading the Voodoo Room photos to Flickr. I might even finish preparing an album of photos of Friday night's Chain gig to upload to Flickr, but maybe not. I feel my eyes need a rest from the PC for a while. I might even try closing them for a bit !
Saturday 4th June 2016
18:50 BST

  Yesterday wasn't all horrible, although much of it was. It was mostly cool and grey. I think the temperature was somewhere in the region of 14 or maybe 15° C when I left work to come home. The positive thing is that it didn't seem to get any cooler during the late evening. It may have just been the two pints of Guinness I had drunk, but it sometimes felt like it may have actually been a little less cool as midnight approached ! It was certainly a less cool morning, and by 9am it was probably in the region of 15° C. It is now a more summer like 21° C. Amazingly enough, this is what the weather forecast predicted. It also predicted it would be a rather dull day up until about now when there could be some sunshine and showers for a few hours - there is none of either ! The forecast for tomorrow has now swung back to warm and sunny after a few more negative ideas. With luck there will be a lot of sunshine, and the temperature could hit 25° C. Monday could be similar.

 Yesterday wasn't a bad day at work. I managed to keep myself fairly occupied doing almost nothing ! We had yet another meeting regarding what some think could be a manufacturing weakness in one of our products. I don't think it is, and the problem is more likely mis-use by the end user. That is by the by (bye the bye ?). The significant thing is that it was scheduled to start earlier in the afternoon, and the scheduled end time was my going home time. Of course it overran, but only by 15 minutes, and that was just on the outer limits of acceptable. It was a bit of a mad dash, but I managed to get my usual train home, and it didn't involve actual running this time !

 It was the end of the week. I had had to dash around to get home, and I had to stand on the train all the way from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge, but somehow I managed to find the energy to go out again in the evening. I have no idea, no idea at all, where I could have found that energy from. Probably from down the back of the sofa or somewhere, but I managed to haul myself to the station, and get myself to one of my least favourite pubs, The Swan in West Wickham, to see the first set of Chain's gig there.
Jo Corteen at The
                          Swan in West Wickham
 One oddity of the night was that there was some lighting on the stage area. Normally it is usually quite dim in there, but they had Geoff Paice deputising on the bass last night, and he had brought his stage lights along. It wasn't bright, but it made all the difference for my photography. The picture of Jo (above) is still more noisy that I would like,but she is well lit, and sharply focussed. I'm quite happy with this snap.

 The band had already started playing when I arrived at the pub a little later than intended, and so I decided to hang around for a bit once they had finished their first set. I got involved in a little conversation, and that delayed me leaving the pub by a few minutes. I hadn't actually planned any specific leaving time, but it turned out that when I did leave I managed to miss a train back to Catford Bridge by 10 minutes. Until the timetable changed a fortnight ago that wouldn't have mattered, but they seem to have reverted back to a half hourly service for the last couple of trains of the day.

 I was faced with a very boring 20 minute wait for the next train, or I could see what the buses were doing. So I wandered to the bus stop, and a bus turned up in no more than a few minutes. That took me to Elmers End, and I was lucky enough to be able to change buses for a Catford bound bus after a wait of little more than one solitary minute ! It turned out that even after stopping to buy some fried chicken on the way, I was nearer to home than the station is when I heard the train go past. One reason I didn't want to stay later at the gig was that I didn't want to have to mess around with buses, but it seems the bus was champion last night !

 I thought I would tumble straight into bed after getting home last night, but for some reason I stayed up for a while to make a start on reviewing and editing some of the pictures I had taken. It was getting on for 1am when I finally got into bed, and I slept soundly until I woke up at 5am - habit can be a bastard sometimes ! I did get a bit more sleep after that, but I started getting up at 7am. By not long after 9am I had been shopping in Aldi, and the place was moderately tidied in preparation for a visit from Aleemah.

 This morning it was a two pint breakfast with Aleemah in the local 'spoons. Afterwards we watched quite a good movie. It was an Americanised version of HG Wells story about the Time Machine. The DVD was labelled in Spanish, and I am unsure what the English title of the movie was. Since Aleemah went home I have done nothing of note, but now I have to pull my finger out and get ready to go and see Voodoo Room playing in The Black Cat. Once again it is an unlikely £10 admission, but I have been give another free ticket because the pub like my photography, and they use it in their publicity (mostly on "social media"). One day they will offer me free beer.....maybe.
Friday 3rd June 2016
08:00 BST

  Today is forecast to be very similar to yesterday - mostly horrible, and feeling very unseasonal. Yesterday started off rather cool, but this morning I think it was about a whole degree cooler still - not much better than 9° C. Yesterday was relentlessly grey, but this morning might be a lighter shade of grey. The late afternoon temperature will be in the same range too, but today, after starting one degree cooler, it may end up a whole degree warmer (although one degree less cool may be a more appropriate way of describing it). The forecast reckons we might see 15 or 15° C by late afternoon - lucky us ! Tomorrow is forecast to start off cool and grey, but there could be some sunshine in the late afternoon that might be able to push the temperature up to 20° C or more, but then we might get a mix of sun and showers until sunset. This is June !!!

 I was not happy at work yesterday, not happy at all. All complaints of tiredness or subtle aches and pains were completely overridden by the lecture at 11am. This was about the new stores/parts requisition process. Once upon a time it was a bothersome complex process that I couldn't care to master, and if anybody wanted me to do stuff for them, which is my most important role here, I would ask them to order the parts. Then the process was simplified for small orders. All I had to do was to email a list of parts, with their part numbers/order codes to the procurement assistant, and all the details were taken care of.

 At this point it is worth mentioning that we are a manufacturing company, and can order thousands of parts for thousands of pounds. We also do research and development, and sometimes have to order a handful of screws - as an example of a small order. I fall under the latter category, and would occasionally order a few electronic parts here and there, and most orders would be well under £100. The small orders were handled by the simple email process in an efficient and speedy process. The new system is like the old system, but made three times more complicated. It is now exactly the same process to order one single fuse as it is to order £10,000 worth of parts from the other side of the world ! I refuse to use it, and if people want me to do stuff for them they will have to start ordering the parts themselves again.

 Having been thoroughly pissed off by that lecture, I was pissed off more by a meeting we had in the afternoon. It was an extra twist of the dagger, or more salt in the wound. The subject of the meeting was not bad, and in some respects it was even occasionally interesting, but it didn't end until 90 minutes past my usual going home time ! At any time that would be terrible, but on a Thursday night, my drinking night with the Thursday club, it was cataclysmic ! I didn't even attempt to get to the pub (although I wasn't overly enthusiastic the location of the chosen pub before all this happened).

 At 5pm, the time we notionally meet up for drinking, I was only just leaving work, and stomping up the road with murder on my mind. Maybe all the adrenaline generated by feeling really wound up had some sort of beneficial effect. A few things happened on my way home that seemed a bit unusual - one of them very unusual. I really wanted to get a bus to the station because I didn't feel like walking there. It was pure laziness rather than any genuine need, and only facilitated by being able to use my 60+ Oyster card for free travel. The unwritten rule is that if I ever want to get a bus there are no buses in sight, and that was the case last night.

 I could have waited for a bus to appear, but I opted to walk, and somehow the walk seemed to take a little less effort than usual. Now I get this far in the story I remember there was one semi-valid reason for wanting to get the bus, and it was because the lift is out of order at the station, and I didn't want to walk up those three flights of stairs after walking all the way to the station. On this occasion I had no choice but to walk up the stairs (as I did the day before as well). I can't say it was easy. Even fit looking people are observed to slow down as the near the top. There is something about those stairs, and I think it is the tread height, that makes them hard work to walk up. While it wasn't easy for me, it did seem to be less of a killer than usual, and I didn't have to grit my teeth so hard to force myself not to break my pace when I reached the top.

 So far so awful, but it gets weirder. While I was on the train I used the National Rail app on my phone to see what my options were when I reached Waterloo. It looked like I would just miss a train home from Waterloo East by a minute or two. My next option was to wait a few minutes more for a train to Lewisham, and then wait there for 7 minutes, fortunately on the same platform, for a train that had originated from Cannon Street station to go to Catford Bridge. I would have got home about 90 minutes late by that method - the same amount of time that I had left work late - except it didn't happen like that.

 There seemed no particular need to rush when I alighted from the train at Waterloo mainline station, but I did by force of habit. If someone had not blocked my way I would have walked up the escalator, and walked fairly fast (but not quite fast enough to call it jogging). As I crossed the link I frequently accelerated to pass anyone in front of me until I got to the very highest bit where the platform indicators were. They showed that I hadn't missed the direct train home, but I could see it just entering the platform. I then did something very strange - I ran for the train. It wasn't just a quick 20ft mild sprint as I might occasionally do to catch a bus, but a fast jog down the entire (100ft ?) length of the slope down to the platform. It may have been downhill, but I haven't run that far in decades ! It felt very strange, but curiously it didn't feel bad. More astonishingly was that I didn't feel out of breath when I leapt on the train mere seconds before the doors started to bleep (indicating they were about to close).

 In theory I should have been elated about being able to run like that, but I was still seething about being so late. If I hadn't been so distracted amusing myself with planning the ultimate bloody revenge (definitely involving nuclear weapons) against work, I might have found some comfort in getting home 15 minutes earlier than I thought I would, but I didn't ! I still felt fairly stormy when I got home, but that quickly dissipated once I was home with the heating on, and dinner started. Perhaps it is more true to say that the stormy feeling dissipated on the surface, but deep inside it was still roiling. The consequence was that I had far too lavish a dinner again. At this rate I will be lucky if I can hold my weight steady. I am certainly not loosing any lately.

 Thanks to my late arrival home I had just three hours to pass before I was asleep in bed. During those three hours I did nothing of any significance apart from eating too much. I did try one glass of whisky because I thought I needed it, but it turned out I didn't. Once again, it seemed like I had a decent night's sleep, and once again I woke up at 3am - not near 3am, but at exactly 3am - and I still have no idea what happens then to wake me up. It may be a train going past, but I can hardly hear them, and I am sure any noise I could hear wouldn't wake me up, but it could be some sort of subliminal trigger to wake me. Maybe I'll never know.

 This morning I feel moderately OK, and moderately comfortable. I noted that going over the footbridge at Catford Bridge station had me breathing more deeply than running down a long slope - maybe my theory about adrenaline is not so stupid after all. I knew that there was to be another meeting at work today, and I didn't want to reject my invitation to it, but I would have done if it had been for too late in the day. I think rejecting it would have caused a bit of a row, but I could live with that if it meant going home at my correct time (which is doubly important on a Friday !). Fortunately it seems someone got word of my cursing and cussing as I went home yesterday, and the meeting has been set to start earlier and finish at my usual going home time - although it could easily over run again.....

 Tonight, assuming I get home on time, and I am feeling nearer happy than miserable, I want to make an attempt to go and see a Chain gig, or a bit of one. They are playing at my least favourite pub, The Swan in West Wickham, but travel to and from it is relatively easy providing I leave early enough to get the last train. I don't find it easy going out after work these days, and it is touch and go whether I will feel OK physically and mentally, but I''ll give it a go because I will definitely not be seeing them tomorrow night. Tomorrow night I have another free ticket to see Voodoo Room at The Black Cat.
Thursday 2nd June 2016
07:37 BST

  The good thing about yesterday was that it didn't rain, but beyond that....It was too cool and too grey ! I don't think that the temperature even reached 14° C (I think I saw 13.3° C when I got home from work), and a consequence of that was that it was just under 10° C this morning, and feeling damn chilly ! This is not good for June ! This morning it is as grey as the forecast guessed it would be. If that forecast carries any credence it should get a bit brighter, but still grey, around midday, and a few hours later we could have some sunny spells. The forecast for tomorrow suggests it will be like yesterday. The next day that comes close to a cheap shoddy imitation of a summer today is still forecast to be Sunday, but the latest forecast seems to have reduced the amount of sunshine expected. It has been transferred to next Monday. If that forecast doesn't change we will see plenty of sunshine, and at 22° C it will feel nice and warm - and I'll be in work so it will all be wasted !

 I was hoping that my time at work would pass quickly yesterday, and in a way it did. There was less reason to hope that it would pass quickly because I was feeling mostly comfortable yesterday, but I was still very glad when it was time to put on my coat and go home. I can foresee I am going to have some "issues" with work coming up again. We are about to start, if it hasn't started already, some new procedures here that are actually old procedures. It's all to do with ordering stores. Now there are two types of stores that need ordering. There is stuff needed in large quantities, and usually custom made for the stuff that we manufacture, and there is stuff that is ordered "off the shelf" in small quantities. The latter is stuff like spares for repairing stuff, or parts to make prototypes or other one off projects. In the past all orders, and all the paperwork that went with them, was done by the person needing the parts, and a senior manager would sign it off.

 A few years later it was realised that it might make good sense to employ someone specifically to deal with ordering stuff, and this produced some good results. He was able to spend more time researching, and even visiting suppliers of our custom made parts. Money and time were saved, and he also provided the first step for quality control. Later on he acquired an assistant to deal with the small one off orders. If I needed ordinary off the shelf spare parts from one of several well know suppliers I would look up the part numbers, and then email a list of the stuff to the assistant, and she would deal with the actual ordering, and do all the paperwork. It was nice and simple for me, and for anyone else with similar requests (including stuff like stationery orders and even for more toilet paper). Now we are going back to the old system of filling out forms in triplicate, getting the order blessed by the Pope, and enough bureaucracy to really piss me off ! So the new order of the day is that if anyone wants me to make something, or to repair something, then they will have to order the parts. I will not be ordering anything ever again...hopefully !

 On my way home from work I did my shopping in Tesco, and as was inevitable, I bought all sorts of inappropriate things. One item I bought because it intrigued me, was a butternut squash and parsnip bake. I dread to think how much sugar and calories were in it, but I ate it regardless. Of course the ironic thing was that I didn't really like it. It was not horrible in any way, and I wouldn't be averse to eating another, but it just failed to excite me. I'm trying not to think how much other stuff I ate last night. It was much too much, and I went to bed feeling very satiated ! I also had to have a lie down to let it all settle before I did the one other thing I intended to do last night, and that was to wash my hair.

 Waiting for my hair to dry meant that I went to bed a little later than intended, but maybe that wasn't so bad because I didn't seem to feel that sleepy. I'm not sure, but I think I snoozed for more than the blink of an eye lid when I laid on my bed to let my dinner settle. I can't actually remember sleeping, but there does seem to be a chunk of time I can't seem to account for. It was about 9.30pm when I got in bed, or about an hour later than when I intended to go to bed, but it didn't seem to take long to get to sleep - probably mere minutes !

 All the indications are that I got a rather good night's sleep last night. There was a moment of doubt when I woke up at 3am again (why ?), but on this occasion I fell asleep again five or ten minutes later. Another good thing is that I didn't wake up again until just ten minutes before my alarm was due to wake me at 5am - which is rather better than the all too common 30 or more minutes early ! So everything looks good - except why can I not stop yawning as I write this paragraph ?

 This morning is yet another morning when all my usual aches and pains are there, but are very mild to the point of being almost ignorable. Of course this means there is an excellent opportunity for something else to crop up, and it has. I would imagine it is the result of the recent damp weather, but this morning my right knee seems a little stiff, and almost hinting at some soreness. The same is true for my ankles, although rather curiously it seems to be only one at a time. It is generally rather mild so I can ignore it most of the time. So I would be  walking down the road and realise that one ankle seemed to be a bit stiff. After I bit I would forget about it for some minutes until I would be aware that the other ankle, or maybe the same ankle was feeling a bit stiff. I can't seem to recall that there was any time when I thought both felt stiff at the same time !

I don't seem to have any particular reason to hope that this day at work passes as quickly as possible, but I will out of pure habit. Once the (work) day is over it should be booze time ! This Thursday we are supposed to be meeting at The Prince Frederick near Sundridge Park. It might be easy to get to, but I am not sure about it yet. It has been suggested that I could get the 336 bus from Catford to get there, but if I get to Catford I will be drawn straight home like a moth to a flame - and not just because I really don't like the meandering route the 336 takes ! It may be that I can get there on a train from Waterloo East with a change of trains at Grove Park, but I would probably still have to get the 336 bus home again. My saviour could come in the shape of my friend Patricia. She has a hospital appointment tomorrow morning, and I have the paperwork about it at home. It is not essential she has it, but the hospital do prefer it if you have it with you. Maybe she will want to pop over and pick it up tonight (but she probably won't).
Wednesday 1st June 2016
07:43 BST

  Yesterday was horrible ! It was cold, grey and wet. Having said that, I guess I was lucky that I dodged all the significant rain on my way to work, and then going home again. The worst of the rain was from late morning until a little after midday. From time to time it was a bit heavy, but not as bad as the torrential rain that was forecast, and there was no thunder and lightning. It is possible that the temperature may have hit 14° C, but I think it was closer to 13° C when I got home from work. This morning started with some rain, but it had stopped when I walked to the station at 06:20. Today is forecast to be a dry version of yesterday - cold and grey - but with clouds this thick it could potentially rain at any time. Tomorrow may see a small improvement on today, but it is not until Sunday that it will be dry, warm and sunny - maybe 21° C. Of course the forecast could, and almost certainly will change by then. It would come as no surprise if we had hurricanes on Sunday !

 From time to time I most definitely felt sleepy at work yesterday, but otherwise I didn't feel too bad. That changed a bit just as I was leaving to go home. I can't recall anything to provoke it except putting my coat on, but I had some little stabbing pains in my chest from time to time. It is faintly possible that this could have been provoked by the gyrations of putting my coat on. Waving my arms about has caused a few aches in the past. As is sometimes the case, the pains became worse after sitting on the class 376 train, with it's bloody uncomfortable seats, that takes me from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge station.

 Up until I got home there was nothing particularly unusual about this, although that doesn't make it any less bothersome. What was unusual is that I had never noticed any change at the top of the scar left from my quad heart bypass operation back in 2013. It was only by chance that I looked at in the bathroom mirror, and noticed that it almost looked bruised instead of it's more usual pale pink colour. There were even some thread like streaks of red in it, and it seemed as if there had been some internal bleeding. I tried to take a snap of it in case I wanted to show it to my doctor, but it didn't photograph well.
old scar
 In fact, in the cold light of day it seems to be a completely useless photograph ! You'll just have to take my word for it that it looked far more like it was bruised last night. Within a couple of hours it seemed to fade back to normal, and it seems normal this morning. I could come up with many theories about how this "bruising" could happen, but the chances are that they would all be wrong. On the other hand I feel fairly sure that it shouldn't happen, and does provide some evidence of an anomaly. If it happens again I will attempt to take a better picture of it - perhaps it will be more vivid using daylight instead of an LED lightbulb or flash gun.

 I made sure that I was in bed nice and early last night, although maybe I could have tried for even earlier still. I did very little last night. I spent a little of the time having dinner. It was a two part affair consisting of a small cheese salad starter followed by a couple of fishcakes and a small tin of garden peas. It was a fairly modest dinner by comparison with some I have had lately, but not really modest enough for my purposes. I watched a bit of TV while I ate, but as usual, the TV didn't really catch my attention, and I soon turned it off again.

 One useful thing I did do last night was to clean up an old camera bag. I can't quite remember where it came from, but I suspect it was one being thrown out from the place I used to work at before my current job. It was possibly designed for one of the big old camcorders that were once popular. I had never used it except for storing assorted crap, and over the years it had acquired a coating of cigarette tar, cat hairs, and other stuff on top of whatever it had when I first got it (probably fished out of a skip !). I thought it was basically black, but after a good scrubbing it turns out that it is actually a dark blue and black. I think it is going to be useful on those mad days when I want to take two big cameras to a gig, or wherever.

 I did a little reading after I went to bed, but I think I still managed to get to sleep by, or soon after, 8.30pm. On the whole I slept quite well, although there was a long period at 3am when I seemed to be more awake than asleep. This morning I feel moderately well in many respects, but I think I still have a sleep deficit, and I reckon I'll be in bed early again tonight. Like yesterday morning, my usual aches and pains, creaks and squeaks, seem unusually mild, but unlike yesterday my legs are not working so well. I left home at the usual time, and arrived at the station at my usual time, but it seemed harder work than usual to walk there. It is probable that my blood glucose level is a bit high this morning. I did get a bit sweaty on the way in to work this morning, and that could be an indication that the level is high, but it could also be an indication that my waterproof coat makes me sweat at any time, and that after this cold weather they had the heat up high on the train from Waterloo to Earlsfield.

 Until I said I felt moderately quite well I really did believe it, but as I was writing it I started searching my body for ignored aches and pains. Upon further consideration I have come to the following conclusions. My chest does seem creaky and mildly sore. My head feels sort of heavy and achey, and I do seem to have a powerful urge to go back to bed for more sleep. Other than that, I do still feel like I am not dying too fast this morning. I also have a powerful urge to wish the day would go by at top speed so I can go home again. Of course the only way to make the day go fast is to work hard, and I can't possibly do that.

 I think I only have three ideas for tonight. On the way home from work I will go via Tesco and pick up a few things for dinner (and future dinners). It will probably be the case that I find all sorts of reduced priced stuff that will contribute to another night of eating badly, but hey ho ! I really must wash my hair tonight. It feels sort of yucky, although I think it doesn't look too terrible yet. Once my hair is sufficiently dry it will be bed time. Hopefully I'll be asleep by 8.30pm again, and hopefully I won't wake up at 3am again tomorrow morning !