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August 2017
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2017

Thursday 31st August  2017
 07:32 BST

  The reality of yesterday was every bit as horrible as the forecast said it would be. It was cold, grey and wet ! It left a legacy too - this morning it is only 9° C, and that is rather chilly !
back to
                    some better weather

If we are very lucky the weather may turn out to be slightly better than the forecast (above). Maybe that is clutching at straws, and is only based up the fact that the sky looks to be clear blue as I write this, rather than the "light cloud" shown for the start of the day. So maybe the sunshine will be a little stronger and a little warmer. I doubt that will do anything fir the forecast rain, but at least it is shown as light rain between sunny intervals. Tomorrow should see an improvement with more sunshine and less rain, and Saturday could be quite nice (for this time of year).

  I didn't actually feel in terribly good condition yesterday, but I managed to force myself out to have a ride on a few trains. My destination was initially Waterloo mainline station, and ultimately Sevenoaks station. There were no trains to Waterloo East station from Catford Bridge station because of engineering works lasting for several days. So I took a Cannon Street train as far as New Cross. From there I took the London Overground service to Canada Water. At Canada Water I changed to the Jubilee line direct to Waterloo.

 That route can be an interesting novelty when done very infrequently, but it would quickly become really tedious if it had to be part of some routine. On this occasion I didn't really enjoy it because I was feeling ill, or if not exactly ill, out of kilter. I arrived at Waterloo feeling quite wet, and it because I was wearing a raincoat, and not because I wasn't ! The first order of business was to buy a cheap day return to Sevenoaks from boundary zone 6 with Senior Railcard discount. "Boundary zone 6" is as far as I can travel for free on my 60+ Oyster Card. The rest of the journey from there to Sevenoaks cost me just £3.10 with my Senior Railcard discount.

 Buying my ticket was quick-ish but not quick enough for me to get the 11:57 Ramsgate train. I missed that train by no more than a minute, and so had almost half an hour to kill before the 12:27 Dover train. I noticed that for the duration of the engineering works (which had officially ended yesterday) the Gents toilets were free (instead of 30p), and I thought I may as well take advantage of them. It turned out I didn't really need them, but while in there I took off my rain coat, and revealed that my arms were shiny from a slick of sweat on them. Putting my coat back on felt horrible !

 The next thing to pass the time was to go and look at the rebuilt lower numbered platforms that had been extended to take 10 car trains. I must admit I was slightly underwhelmed.  Platform 1, for instance, didn't really look that much longer than before, although I do appreciate an awful amount of track had to be ripped up and relaid differently to allow just that short extension. The ironic thing is that while the platforms were not in use there were 10 car trains running from the higher numbered platforms, but with the low numbered platforms back in use they returned to 8 car trains.
                          platform 1 showing it's extension
You can see the platform extension in this picture of platforms 1 and 2. There is an 8 car train standing in platform 1, and the front of it would be approximately where the old platform ended.
the 12:27 to Dover - a Southeastern
                          service !
I snapped this at the wrong moment. A second or two before or after and it was say Platform 22 instead of "Boarding". Note that it is a Southeastern service (at the bottom) instead of a South West Railway service (SWR).
Souheastern "Electrostar" train
                          in platform 22 where "Eurostar"
                          trains used to ply their trade
Here's my Dover train in platform 22 at Waterloo. 375805 is an "Electrostar" train, and it is running from a platform that once used to serve "Eurostar" trains.
train from Waterloo arrived at Sevenoaks
 Some of the journey to Sevenoaks (picture above) was rather slow. I expected the train to take the old Eurostar route, but it didn't ! We started off OK. From the old international terminal at Waterloo we used the Linford Street crossover that has been out of service for years to cross over from the south west lines to the south eastern lines. It is the only connection that connects Waterloo to Kent without a lot of mucking about miles down the line, and perhaps needing a reversal of the train.

 Once we joined the south eastern lines we seemed to follow what I believe was the same route that the Eurostar trains would follow, but only as far as Nunhead. We turned off there for a very slow crawl to, and through Lewisham. I had assumed we would be going through Catford station just like the old international services would do. It wasn't until we were going through Hither Green that we started to pick up speed, and maybe from Grove Park onwards we were travelling closer to a speed that befits a class 1 long distance train.

 My original intention was to change platforms at Sevenoaks, and do the same journey in reverse. There were three minutes available to change platforms, and that seemed adequate, but another possibility presented itself. On the right of the picture above can be seen a class 700 Thameslink train. It would only mean an extra 10 minute wait for it to depart, and it would take me direct to Catford without having to change trains. That seemed like a good idea, and so I got on it.

 There are only two interesting things about that ride back to Catford. The first is that I was in the 1st class compartment, and I had my ticket checked. I knew that there is no timetabled 1st class service from Blackfriars to Sevenoaks, and the official timetable is the word of God, but I wondered if the ticket inspector knew this too. Thankfully he did, and not a word was spoken apart from "tickets please" and "thank you".

 The other thing about that ride was that it was very cool on that train. I don't think the air conditioning was actually one, but the heating certainly wasn't. The temperature and the feel of the air seemed to really perk up my cough, and I didn't feel too happy as we slowly made our way back to Catford. Back in Catford the need for a raincoat changed from "being a good idea" to "absolutely essential". It was totally pissing down ! It felt like I was heading for double pneumonia as I rushed home as fast as I could - which was surprisingly fast.

 It was good to get back home, get out of my wet clothes, and to put some heating on. A huge bowl of vegetable stew probably helped a lot too. I spent the remainder of the afternoon, and into the evening relaxing. As bed time approached I thought I would treat myself to a couple of large whiskies, but in the end I didn't. I don't know if it was just me, but the bottle of "Highland Earl" whiskey I bought from Aldi the day before, tasted very odd. It had an unusual, and quite unpleasant smoky taste. It wasn't the hint of peaty smokiness that I don't like in some whiskies, but more of a burn down warehouse sort of smokiness ! I hope it was just me, or I am going to have to wait 5 years, or something, before Aldi make up a new batch from the leftovers of many distilleries !

 During the evening, and without the help of any Scotch, my tickly throat, and cough had subsided a lot, but I still expected it to interfere with my sleep. It turned out that it didn't seem to be that much of a problem, and I might have slept quite well last night. I remember having some interesting dreams about food, and in particular about Greek food. It reminded me that in theory, Angela did promise that sometime in the future she would finally cook me one of her Greek specialities - Tava - cooked in the peasant way. My darkest fears say it will never happen now, but in my more optimistic moments I could believe that it will happen - and possibly sooner than I think.

 I woke up feeling almost refreshed at about 7am. I would have liked to have tried for more sleep, but I felt it important to get up, get washed, and to get dressed in preparation for a very stressful day. It is stressful because I am expecting a parcel delivery, and this means I can never be more than two and a half seconds away from the front door ! I have no idea when to expect the postman apart from "today", and that it is coming via Royal Mail. Everything else about today is on hold until that parcel arrives, although tonight I should be going out to a gig.
Wednesday 30th August  2017
 08:53 BST

  The forecast for yesterday promised so much sunshine, but ultimately failed to deliver. There was some sunshine, but not much. I'm not even sure I could describe it as a bright day, although I guess there were only a few times when the cloud cover looked grey. The one thing the forecast did get right was the temperature. It was indeed about 25° C in the afternoon. As night fell there were little hints about today. It didn't cool down that quickly, but there was a very earthy smell wafting up from the back garden.

 It was probably worth taking a screen shot of how today was forecast to be yesterday morning.
tomorrow looks
                    like it will be awful
 The reality is turning out even worse today !
a real taste of Autumn
 As far as I am aware there has only been some light drizzle this morning, but it started much earlier than 8am. Some drizzle could have fallen in the very early hours of this morning. It looks like we are getting a real taste of Autumn today. Without the rain it would be pushing it a bit to go out without a coat, but if I go out today, and I think I will, I'll definitely need to be encumbered with a rain coat ! It looks like the next few days after today will be a bit more reasonable, but while the weather is going through such flux it is dangerous to believe that the forecast is any more than a loose idea of what the weather may be like.

  I didn't exactly do much yesterday, and maybe that was a good thing. My cough was quite annoying for a lot of yesterday. It wasn't too bad when I was just quietly resting, although it was initially hard to quietly rest while coughing ! During the evening the cough seemed to settle down a fair bit. I could go for quite long periods without having to clear my throat, but when I did there was the same struggle to loosen a little gob of mucus, maybe as small as a little pea, that was tickling to top of my windpipe.

  During the night the intensity of my cough reduced even further, and while it didn't stop, it made sleeping a lot easier than the previous night. I almost got a barely adequate sleep last night. This morning  feel tolerably well, and while I still have to occasionally clear my throat, it seems much easier. It makes me wonder if the change of weather has been of some benefit in this particular area. I think I mentioned yesterday that I hardly coughed at all while I was in the air conditioned centre of Aldi yesterday. So is it the drop in the air temperature, a change of humidity, or a change of barometric pressure that is providing some relief.....or is it just my body's defenses having another go at clearing the remnants of my cold ?

 I don't feel terribly dynamic today, and I think I can blame the weather for most of it. I am never good under a dark grey sky, when it is raining, and when it is rather cool - and we have all three at the moment. Yet maybe I want to be dynamic. Today, with engineering work going on all over the local network, South Eastern Trains are running their services from Ramsgate and Dover into Waterloo Mainline station, and I would rather like to experience this.

 There are a couple of complications to this wish. I can't actually get to Waterloo directly....well, maybe that is actually a single complication, but it does lead to several possibilities. I think I can get a train from Catford Bridge to New Cross today. At New Cross I should be able to get the Overground to Canada Water station. From there I can get the Jubilee line to Waterloo. I can do all that on my 60+ Oyster Card, and so it could be a good idea, and will probably be the route I will take.

 The other alternative seems rather silly now I have rethought this. It would be to get a train from Catford station to Sevenoaks. That is the closest station to Waterloo that these unusually diverted trains stop at. I could get there on a combination of 60+ Oyster Card and my Senior railcard, but then I would have to buy a return to Waterloo as well. Maybe the more complex route via the Overground and Underground will be simpler - plus there is a better chance of finding a manned ticket office to produce the complex "boundary zone 6" to Sevenoaks plus Senior Railcard discount, ticket that I will need.
Tuesday 29th August  2017
 15:48 BST

  Yesterday I said - "Yesterday was like a summer's day - just the sort of day that I think August should be like (even if historic records say otherwise). It was bright and sunny, and it was quite warm too." - and today that is exactly what I would say about yesterday. It was almost exactly what was forecast. Tomorrow has been different to the forecast....
So far, today has not
                  been quite like the forecast said it would be
  The big difference between was was forecast for today, and reality, is that very little of the forecast sun actually materialised. There has been some sunshine, but very little. The temperature profile is a bit suspect too. It could have peaked at 27° C today, rather than the 25° C forecast. There is some closeness in the air, and if there were a bit more, and the clouds got just a little bit thicker, I could readily believe that a thunderstorm could be brewing.

tomorrow looks
                    like it will be awful
 I don't normally show the forecast for the day after today, but the change from the recent weather is so marked that I thought it might be an idea to make a record of it. My expectation is that the forecast will look very different when I check it tomorrow morning - and hopefully it will be for the better. As it stands, it looks like tomorrow is going to be a terrible day !

 Yesterday was a rather quiet day - and maybe that was good. From time to time the cough that was a hallmark of the recent cold I had  came back full strength. Particularly so last night. The curious thing is that apart from that cough, I appeared to be in fairly good working order, and potentially I could have been rather more active than I was. What I actually did for quite a proportion of the day was to select and edit photos I took of Chain's gig on Sunday night.

 Evidently I was on form Sunday night, or maybe it was just that the picture taking conditions in The Partridge were a lot better than my naked eye said they were. With some special care, and utilising the tools in my photo editing application to best effect, I managed to get some pictures looking like they had been taken in daylight. Other show how dark it really was in there.
Derek the
                          drummer, Steve the bass man, and Chris on
Derek Brand, Steve Pitt and Chris Mayer.
Chain at The Partridge pub
Just managed to get the whole band in using a wide angle lens, and very slow shutter speed.
Jo Corteen with severe lens flare
A daring experiment that sort of works - Jo Corteen with strong lens flare.
Jo, Chris (on keyboards) and Derek
Jo, backlit but with less lens flare, Chris the keyboard player, and Derek the drummer.
low angle shot of Jo
While bits of my body seems to be falling apart at the seams, the bottom half of my body seems to have grown a new measure of suppleness, and crouching down to get this low level shot of Jo didn't seem to cripple me - much !

 I do my best to control my eating on these days where I spend most of the day inside, and yesterday was no exception. I almost did quite well, and even the slight failure didn't affect my efforts to keep my sugar intake as low as practical. Perhaps it was one occasion when a good breakfast does work. As I mentioned yesterday I cooked a pile of bacon (all 89p's worth of a packet of Aldi "cooking bacon"), and served it with a pile of rapidly heading towards decay plum tomatoes that I microwaved until almost a soup. I also cooked what should be a nice vegetable stew. If I hadn't used chicken flavour stock cubes it could have been eaten by a vegan.

 The only trouble was that it was feeling far too hot and close to eat anything hot for dinner. I almost didn't feel like eating, and I guess the only reason I did was habit rather than need. I had a cold dinner that consisted of a small can of spam and a can of garden peas. It wasn't a totally cold meal.....well not after I added some lime pickle and some chilli sauce!

 I have no idea if that dinner made my cough better, worse, or was neutral. Maybe it was neutral, but the actual cough was anything but. Like last time it was mostly little gobs of tickly mucus in the upper reaches of my windpipe that was the real bastard thing. I would be laying there in bed, breathing normally, perhaps even falling asleep, and suddenly this "frog" would catch in my throat, and I would have a hard time trying to shift it. A squirt or two of my (old) Salbutamol asthma type inhaler would usually help to get just that little extra wind speed to shift the mucus, but I couldn't use that all night (it is possible that the new inhaler that isn't two years past it's use by date may have had a longer lasting effect, but they are not easy to get from the doctor, and I am loath to waste any).

 The end result of that annoying cough is that I probably got no more than 2 or 3 hours sleep last night. It being hot and steamy last night didn't help either ! It's probably because I don't have to worry about work that losing sleep has not been disastrous today. Even so I have had a mostly lazy today punctuated by a few brief naps. The most significant thing I have done today was to go to Aldi.

 That was a curious experience. I had a nice brisk walk to Aldi, and while I was coughing a lot on the way there, and on the way back, I didn't feel as if I was out of breath. The other curious thing is that my cough almost stopped when I was in the air conditioned middle of the store. It makes me wonder if I will feel a lot better in tomorrows cold and wet air.

 Tonight I could go to an open mic night in West Wickham. I am sort of tempted, but I don't think I probably should go while this cough continues to bother me. The other unknown variable is whether Angela would be there. If she was I would want to both go and not go. The thing that complicates that decision even more is that I received a text message from Angela today. It simply said that she had finally got her 60+ Oyster Card today - something I was urging her to get as far back as last October. I replied to the message, but I heard no more from Angela. Putting my imagination into overdrive comes up with the idea that we are both acting parts of a set play - a play where we are not talking to or seeing each other, but her excitement of finally getting her 60+ Oyster card broke through the confines of the play. Maybe there is hope for the future - somewhere between the future of a few weeks and the end of time !
Monday 28th August  2017
 12:00 BST

  Yesterday was like a summer's day - just the sort of day that I think August should be like (even if historic records say otherwise). It was bright and sunny, and it was quite warm too.
the last day of summer, and it is
                  like a summers day
  I have lost track of when the official last day of summer is, but today seems to be a quite fitting day for it. Today has already started off exactly as the forecast predicted, and there seems no reason why it shouldn't carry on as forecast. It is going to be hot and bright. Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit less sunny, and a couple of degrees cooler. Unless the forecast changes. It would seem we will get our first taste of autumn on Wednesday.

  Staying out late the night before, and maybe the night air, or maybe something completely different, revived my tickly throat, and the consequent coughing yesterday. It was all a bit confusing - particularly the way I described it yesterday. I think what I meant to say is that I didn't start coughing until about half an hour after I got up. Then it partly faded away, and by early evening I felt fine to go out again.

 I didn't really do much yesterday. I think photo editing, reading and an occasional snooze seemed to take up most of my time. I managed to take quite a lot of really crappy photos on Saturday night. The photos I took of M.T. Pockets were probably the best, but it is a bit of a toss up between the pictures of Lord Algea and Life Of Brian as to who came second. Maybe the second best were Lord Algea. I think if I had stayed a bit longer, and got more comfortable in an unfamilar pub where I didn't know a single soul, I might have managed some better snaps, but at least one of the snaps was liked by the pub itself. So I guess it wasn't too bad.
Lord Algea at The
                    Admiral Hardy
One of the better pictures of Lord Algea showing all three members of the band.
Lord Algea at The Admiral Hardy pub in
Probably the best picture of Lord Algea that I took.

 It might be worth noting that these pictures were taken with no flash, or any additional lighting beyond the fairly low ambient lighting in the pub. They needed a fair bit of processing to clean them up. The same was true for the pictures I took of The Life Of Brian. It took a lot of processing to bash a few of those pictures into a just acceptable form. Once again it seems like I might have done a half decent job because the British Oak pub, where Life Of Brian were playing, have "liked" nearly all of them. If I had one of those very expensive 600mm lenses with large apertures that a few of my photographer friends have, I could probably take some fairly nice pictures at the British Oak while hiding at the back in an attempt remain discrete.

  Last night The Life Of Brian were playing in The Coach And Horses, and I would have liked to have gone there, but it is such a tiny place that it would be impossible to avoid Angela. It breaks my heart having to avoid her, but the perceived wisdom is that the only friendship I can offer is wrong for someone grieving. So I grieve too. Fortunately there was a very good alternative last night, and that was Chain playing a gig in The Partridge in Bromley.

 I was more than happy to be there - up to a point. The only trouble was the state of my throat. It seemed to be the opposite of what you and I might think, but the hot steamy atmosphere in the pub seemed to make me want to cough more. The problem was compounded by the amount of people in there I knew and who I talked to. With the general background noise in there, it was difficult for me to hear what people were asking, but worse was that I had to raise my voice a lot to reply.

 I am not sure how long I was at the gig, maybe getting on for three hours, but eventually I found I was coughing too much, and had to slink away out into the night. The cool night air felt much better, and I didn't cough much on the bus, and I was feeling almost OK when I got back to Catford - so much so that I didn't go straight home, although with hindsight I wish I had.

 I had this cunning plan when the bus got to the high street. I would get off there, one stop short of my usual stop, and instead of buying a very late dinner from a greasy fried chicken shop, I would buy a chicken shish kebab. I still cling to the delusion that grilled skinless chicken and salad is a healthy meal that is only very slightly spoiled by the pitta bread. Sometimes I won't eat the pitta bread, but having not eaten since midday, some 12 hours earlier, I was feeling a bit hungry, and the pitta bread followed the chicken and salad down my throat.

 The second part of my cunning plan was to call into the Wetherspoons pub next door for a quick pint when my kebab was cooking. It was exceedingly quiet in there, and I wasn't even sure if they had stopped serving. There was no one at the bar, and just 10 - 20 people thinly scattered around the big interior of the place. It seemed they were still serving (I have no idea what time the place closes on a Sunday), but the reason why the bar was deserted was because of a new rule (new as in a whole year old I was informed). It is a very good rule provided it is used at the correct time. The manager has decided that people should not stand drinking at the bar, and when the place is busy it is a rule that is worth enforcing, but to apply it when there is just one person there (me), and the rest of the place is looking deader than a cemetery, just struck me as being very offensive, and rather "jobsworth". I feel much less inclined to drink in there in the future - less than the very infrequent visits I make anyway. I can be assured of much more friendly service in The Black Cat.

 Last night I was back to the insomnia that plagued me during the (almost) fortnight that my cold raged. It seemed as soon as I laid on my side my throat would start to tickle. That had one or two consequences. The worst was that I would start to cough while laying on my side, and that would inevitably "unhinge" my "twisted ribs" and make my chest sore. The second worst thing is that I would almost always have to sit, or even stand up, to get a powerful enough cough to dislodge the tiny little bit of mucus that was irritating my throat.

This morning it felt like I had only got half the sleep I would have liked to have got. On top of that, my throat still feel tickly form time to time. It is not nearly as bad now as it was earlier, and maybe by tonight I will have recovered again. Maybe one of the good things is that it is not accompanied by constantly having to blow my nose. I also feel sort of OK - excepting some tiredness - but it's not the bone weary tiredness that I had during the worst ravages of the cold I had (or maybe still have in a very diluted form).

 Today I don't have to do anything. I have no one to see or talk to, and I could do some intensive resting, but I have started some laundry. A few shirts and stuff are soaking in the mega sized bucket in the bath, and before the day gets any hotter I must rinse and condition them. So that is a bit of hard work to look forward to. Some other hard work, but hard in a mental rather than physical sense, is to go through the pictures I took at The Partridge last night. The last time I took pictures in there they needed a lot of artistic touches added as well as selective noise reduction and brightness/contrast changes. I took quite a few pictures last night, probably a silly amount, and so I reckon I could be busy until bedtime !
Sunday 27th August  2017
 09:56 BST

  It was a shame it clouded over before 6pm yesterday, but generally speaking it was a warm and pleasant day - even very late at night.
A very nice day
  Today could be quite exceptional. If the forecast is correct it is going to be very sunny, and ultimately very warm ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be just as sunny, but a couple of degrees warmer still. It seems reality has jumped a groove. Tomorrow is the August bank holiday, and by tradition it is supposed to be cold and wet !

  I had quite an active day yesterday. As midday approached I forced myself to go for a walk. I thought I needed some sunshine, and to straighten out the aching creases in my body. Maybe it was also to prove to myself that I really was on the way to recovery after my long and horrible cold. That might have been a bit optimistic because at the end of the walk, which was in the region of two miles, I felt completely dreadful.....or mostly I did, but there was a hint of accomplishment about it too.

 I walked through the Linear Park, between the river and railway, as far as the children's playground area that is very near where Angela lives. I've met her there twice in the past, and both times were very happy memories for me. The first time was pure happiness even if it did end on a sad not. It was the time that Angela fulfilled a long held desire to have a go on the swings. That was on 31st October 2017. It ended a bit sadly because Angela had a stomach upset that really took hold a bit later, and our day together had to come to an early end. A month later the process to dump me in favour of John started to happen.

 The second time I met Angela by those swings was in the spring this year. I think it was during a period of time when John was on some strong steroids as part of his cancer treatment, and they made him so ratty that Angela had a partial breakup with him. A few tears flowed when I met her, but 5 minutes later we were walking hand in hand through the park, and the more we walked and talked the happier she became. The exit from the park we aimed for comes out near the stall that sells builders breakfasts to all the builders who use Wickes. I treated Angela to a cheeseburger with extra onions, and a cup of tea. Eventually we ended up at my place, and maybe an hour or two later Angela went home with a smile on her face instead of tears.

 When I got home from my walk yesterday I did some extensive resting in preparation for some evening madness. After feeling so physically wrecked after my walk I was not even sure it was sensible to go out in the evening, but I was determined to give it a try. First of all there was M.T. Pockets playing in The Mitre in Greenwich. Gigs there usually start at about 8pm, but M.T. Pockets were really quite late starting. It must have been at least 8.30pm before they started.
Dylan Tidman
                        on the drums
Oddly enough, it was the drummer, Dylan Tidman, sitting at the back, who was best lit.

 I stayed in The Mitre, taking pictures of M.T. Pockets until a little after 9pm, and then I took a 5 minute walk through Greenwich to The Admiral Hardy pub where I assumed that Lord Algea would have started playing - they hadn't ! They were still setting up, and didn't start until almost 10pm. I have no idea what time that pub closes, or what time their gigs go on for, but it did seem stupidly late. I managed to take a what I hope were a few usable pictures in there before moving on again to The British Oak in Blackheath via a 15 - 20 minute bus ride.
Life Of
                            Brian band
 The Life Of Brian Band were playing in The British Oak, and it was sociably awkward to go there, but after four pints of Guinness it seemed a bit easier to break through the taboo. I don't really know who is avoiding who, but I didn't want to bump into Angela (despite that being the one thing I really wanted to do more than anything), and so I tried to sneak in and just stand at the back. It wasn't long before I was spotted - once by Debbie who appears to be Angela's son Lawrence new girlfriend - and then by Miranda herself from the stage area. She gave me a little smile and wave while singing. I took a few snaps, most of which were pretty bad because of the poor lighting, and having to take them from the back of the pub, finished up yet another pint of Guinness, and faded away again like a phantom of the night.

 The walk from the pub to the bus stop, which can seem like hard work going there, was pleasant enough going in the homeward direction, and I only had a 4 minute wait for a 54 bus when I got to the bus stop. It is difficult for me to say that any bus ride can actually be pleasant, but last night it wasn't bad. The bus was very lightly loaded, and seemed quite quick, and to make the whole travelling experience that much better, the night time temperature was just about right.

 I had purposely avoided eating yesterday afternoon, and so I was feeling like a snack when I got off the bus - although I have to confess I was feeling a very long way from starving, and maybe even only hungry in the mildest of senses. I think it is sufficient to blame the Guinness for going in the fired chicken shop and coming out with a couple of chicken burgers ! Once home I joyfully munched through them while trying not to get grease on my PC as I took a brief look through the photos I had taken on the night. On the whole they were pretty bad, but some, including the two I have included here, seemed to polish up to "not too bad". Finally I went to bed.

 I really don't have much of a clue about what time I turned the light out, but it must have been getting on for 1am this morning. I fell asleep predictably quickly, and I seemed to sleep well for two hours before having to get up for a pee. I didn't think I would get back to sleep properly after that, and I was awake for maybe half an hour, but after that I fell asleep and had what was the longest run of sleep I've had this month - over four hours, and it seemed to be very good sleep too. Not once did I wake up coughing, or at least not as far as I remember.

 It seems I kept my coughing for half an hour after I got up. I seemed to have settled down a lot since then. But for a couple of hours this morning it seemed like my cold was back at, at least, half strength. I now need to do two things. One of them is some pretty serious photo editing using every technique I know to pull some almost acceptable pictures out of the muck and gloom of the originals. The other thing is to do some intensive resting in preparation to going out to another gig tonight. Tonight's gig is from Chain, and they are playing in The Partridge in Bromley with an early start of 7 or 7.30pm (there seems to be a bit of confusion over the exact time).
Saturday 26th August  2017
 09:32 BST

  It was just like a summer's day yesterday. That made a change ! The sun was out most of the day, and it was warm. It may have even been a degree or two higher than the 23° C forecast.
not quite as good as yesterday, but not bad
                  at all
  Today is probably not going to be quite as good as yesterday, but it could come close. It's mainly a shame that it seems we will lose the sunshine by 6pm, otherwise today would be as good as yesterday. Tomorrow may be be a little better and a little worse than today. The temperatures should be about the same, and there will be sunshine into the early evening, but the price will be that we may only sunny spells all day rather than continuous sunshine. Monday looks like it could be hot and dry - which is all wrong for a British bank holiday !

  I was definitely feeling better yesterday - better, but not best ! The main thing on the agenda yesterday was to go to John Fisher's funeral at Hither Green Crematorium. It was a nice day to be out, although traditionally funerals should be held in icy rain blown by a gale force wind....although perhaps that only applies to burials. Maybe dry and bright was appropriate for a cremation. The warm sunshine certainly made my creaking bones feel better.

 It was also the case that once I was dressed (all in black apart from a dark purple tie) and in the warm sunshine it seemed like all my mucus dried up. I am wondering if I had to blow my nose at any time until I was almost home, and I certainly don't remember coughing beyond anything more just a simple, single cough to clear my throat. I'm not even sure I had to cough at all until I was close to home again.

 When I got to the crematorium I found there were probably in excess of 200 people there, and I doubt I could even recognise more than 20 faces. It made it it a bit intimidating - as if I was intruding in some one else's ceremony. Fortunately there were some there who I knew well, and I hung around with them until it was time to go into the crematorium building. It was at that part I decided I wouldn't go in, and would go home.

 It was only a bit later that I realised exactly what my feeling were all about. I felt like a hypocrite. Everyone else there was there to celebrate the life of one man who had brought them so much joy in a variety of ways. By all accounts he was a nice man, but not from my unique point of view. On reflection I had only known of his existence for about 10 months, and while he did nothing to promote it, and was probably mostly unaware of my very existence for a lot of the time, he brought me nothing but misery.

 The first misery was after some of the happiest days of my life, when it almost seemed like I was a member of the human race, and having the most intimate relationship I have even known, I was almost suddenly cast aside by Angela when she somehow fell in love with John. For the next 9 months I had so many heartbreaking moments and yet also heart warming moments as I supported Angela through many dark periods of her new relationship with John - and some of those were very dark moments. Although I was 97% sidelined I was still apparently needed on some of these occasions, and that included the first couple of days after his death. After that I felt totally discarded. It would be easy to say that the reason I went to the crematorium was to make sure the bastard was actually dead, and I suppose there may have even been a tiny subconcious element of that, but it was mostly because I thought many of my peers, and maybe even Angela herself expected to be there, but in the end I decided it was better to just let them all get on with it and slink off into the shadows.

 I had very mixed feeling coming home. On the one hand I felt like the lonesome outsider again, and on the other hand I felt good that at least I had shown my face, and enough would remember it to say that I had at least turned up, and also that I was feeling physically fairly OK. I might have wished to feel considerably better, but compared to how I was feeling a day or two earlier, it was good. I think my house was actually in sight when I felt a strong need to clear my nose, and to then start coughing.

 When I got home I was glad to take off my tie and shirt, and to change into more comfortable shoes. After a very short rest, perhaps less than 15 minutes, I pulled on a t-shirt and went to Tesco to buy booze and sandwiches - and a few other things too. When I git home I was definitely beginning to feel tired. So I had some breakfast/lunch and had a lie down. The very late breakfast/lunch I had was a bit unusual. It was a tub of Alpro hazlenut cocolate icecream. It claimed to be non dairy (I think) and lower in sugar than most ice creams. I could almost take the latter claim with a pinch of salt, but it didn't seem to be all that sweet when I tasted it.

 I spent much a lot of the afternoon resting, but for an hour or two I did some more work on my project to transfer files that had been archived on bulky piles of recordable CD and DVD disks back onto hard drives. While I did that I watched another episode or two of the old TV series "UFO" from my DVD box set. Then it was back up to my bedroom to check stuff out on the internet, and to contemplate the idea of going to the pub later. I had a vague idea that I might bump into someone in the local Wetherspoons pub, but the chances of it were small, and in the end I decided that I just could not be bothered.

 Everything would have been fine if I had been a bit more sleepy, a bit cooler, and my brain wasn't going 10 to the dozen thinking about the events of the day. To top it all, as soon as I lay down with the lights out my coughing started up. Once again I didn't really get to sleep until at least 2am, and even then it was a series of lousy short periods of sleep.

 This morning I feel pretty rotten, and it is almost as if my cold is back full strength. Once again I am frequently coughing up sticky mucus from the depths of my chest, and that seems to make my nose run again. This leaves me in a quandary in how to plan my day. Ideally I should force myself to go out in the sunshine - perhaps just a walk in the park. I feel that would make me feel better, but on the other hand it might be better to conserve my energy for tonight. I definitely would like to go out tonight. There are actually two possibilities of double gigging tonight. Chain are playing in The Chatterton Arms - I would get there by using the bus that also goes past The Partridge in Bromley - and that is where The Belles are playing. It might also be where Angela is tonight - although that seems unlikely.

 The other option is to go north instead of south, and go to Greewich. M.T. Pockets are playing in The Mitre, and that is usually an 8pm start. Just under 10 minutes walk from The Mitre is The Admiral Hardy, and Lord Algea are playing in there. I am unsure of their start time, but it could be as late as 9pm. There is a great opportunity to do an hour at each gig, and then there is also the possibility of getting a bus from practically outside The Admiral Hardy to definitely right outside The British Oak in Blackheath where The Life Of Brian are playing until gone 11pm.

 If I know that Angela was definitely going to see The Belles rather than her daughter at The British Oak (which seems unlikely) I could be tempted to call into the British Oak too so I could say hello to Angela's daughter Miranda. In reality, I think I will be scratching around to find the energy to do even a couple of hours in Greenwich. In the meantime, with the chance that I do see Lord Algea tonight, I ought to spend some time today going through the photos I took of them at The Black Cat last week, and see if there are more that they can use for publicity purposes. I might even earn a pint of Guinness if I have anything good.
Friday 25th August  2017
 10:05 BST

  It was, as expected, pretty dull yesterday, but the temperature probably hit the 21° C forecast.
lovely day for a
  It looks like it will be pleasant out today. I like the idea of lots of sunshine, and 23° C is a nice warm temperature which wouldn't be too sweaty for anyone not suffering from the cold of the century ! Tomorrow is forecast to be a little less sunny - more sunny intervals than non stop sunshine, but the temperature profile looks very similar to how today might be.

  My appointment with the doctor at 10:40am was partly, or perhaps mostly disappointing. Walking to the surgery shook up all the mucus that makes this ongoing cold so annoying, and I was able to blow most of it out before I went inside the surgery. After sitting quietly in the waiting room for 10 - 15 minutes I found I was unable to display some of the extremes of this cold to the doctor. He had a listen to my chest, and unlike an hour earlier when it was quite bubbly, it sounded clear.

 The doctors diagnosis was that I had a cold, and it would just have to run it's course - unless I had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease. COPD is a legacy of heavy smoking, and makes you short of breath amongst other things. The doctors suggestion of COPD as a possible problem sort of showed he had hardly listened to much of what I described. He seemed to discount my tales of how it wasn't all that long ago (2 months or less) that I was still amazed that I can run up the escalators, and even for a train, without getting breathless.

 Maybe it is the case that you are not supposed to get breathless when it feels like you are drowning in your own mucus. I'm not a doctor, and so how am I to know ?  One positive outcome of that visit is that I did persuade the doctor to prescribe a new Salbutamol inhaler when I showed him the 4 year old one (2 years after it's expiry date) that I have been using very sparingly on special occasions over the years. I haven't actually used it yet, but I have made use of the old one a couple of times since without worrying about using it up.

 After leaving the surgery (and the next door pharmacy with my new inhaler) I didn't go straight home. I walked to the other side of the main road to pop into the Tesco Express there. I found the chiller cabinet which should have sandwiches in it completely empty, but another cabinet had plenty of sandwiches all with reduced price stickers on them. I bought a couple of salmon and cucumber, and a couple of egg, sausage and bacon sandwiches.

 I felt really quite tired when I got home. I ate the salmon and cucumber sandwiches, and then lay down on my bed. I read a few pages from the book I am reading, but I probably dozed, an and off, for the next three hours ! Eventually I decided that I ought to get up and do something useful. One thing that should have been a nice sit down job was to transfer some video from an old analogue Hi8 tape to a digital mp4 format.

 One of the problems of doing that is that the little video>digital gizmo I use can't record for more than about 20 minutes before the file size it generates is too big for the file system, and the file becomes unplayable. I forgot that at first, and had to re-do the whole thing from scratch - and this time I had to keep an eye on it all the time. It would not have been so bad, but it was not one of my own tapes. I was doing it for a friend, and while the basic subject matter was music, it just sounded like a cacophony !

 While this was going on I felt rather different. I had to rush up and down the stairs a few times, and I think I substituted tiredness/fatigue with annoyance. By the time I had finished the transfer, and marvelled at how poor quality it was, I was feeling really sort of annoyed, but also there was a hint of satisfaction of another job done. I opened a can of Guinness as a reward, and this time I managed to drink two cans with no bother.

 By the end of the day I had eaten the sandwiches I had bought in the morning, and nothing else of any significance. I was possibly more off my food than the previous day. By 9.30pm I thought I ought to be feeling tired again, and by 10pm I was in bed with the lights out. I think it was close to 2am before I fell asleep. Once I got to sleep I probably slept fairly well in 1 or 2 hour segments, but it was far from ideal.

 This morning I don't feel all that bad.....just generally bad ! Of course the worst thing about today is that it is John's funeral day, and I feel that I am expected to go to the funeral. While everyone will be celebrating his life, I will be celebrating his death....sort of. The thing is, I really don't know who John was. I met him a few times, but never really said anything to him except for "hello". I was not aware of his existence until after some of the happiest days in my life had passed with Angela and then she suddenly announced she had fallen in love with him, and I was, to intents and purposes, dumped. It is hard to raise much sympathy for someone who, probably even without his knowledge, killed what may have been my last chance of happiness. To actually feel part of something. To have someone to care for, and be cared for in return.

 Once upon a time I though that once John died from the widespread cancer he was suffering from, that things might slowly return to normal, but with Angela completely convinced that John is waiting for her in heaven (which he apparently promised her), there seems little chance of ever winning her affections again.

 The funeral is at 12:15 in Hither Green crematorium (just next door to Hither Green cemetery where my mum and dad are buried). I think I will quietly sit at the back and go home quickly after it finishes. Provided a few people see that I have gone will be all I need to do.
Thursday 24th August  2017
 08:45 BST

  Yesterday seemed warmer than I expected. The lack of sunshine, and grey skies made it feel as if it should have been cooler than it actually was. One aspect of that warmth was that the temperature of my incoming water supply was slightly raised, and that was enough to raise the temperature of my shower water to very hot (but not scalding) this morning.
nice morning but the rest of the day very dull
  This morning has started off nice and bright, but the forecast says we'll soon lose the sunshine, and be plunged back into a miserable overcast day. The only good thing you can say is that it is not going to be cold. Tomorrow is currently looking nice. It could be a degree or two warmer, and there should be lots of sunshine.

  The thing about this illness that I am still suffering from is that while I am resting in a warm room I can feel almost OK. It is only when I try and do anything that I find I am in a bad way. "Doing something" can be as simple as going downstairs to get a drink from the fridge. It is rather odd that it is the going down the stairs part that seems more debilitating than going back up the stairs. Of course there are times even when I am warm and comfortable when some little piece of mucus, probably no bigger than a pea, and maybe even smaller, will wiggle it's way out of wherever it hides, and lodge in the most ticklish part of my windpipe. That causes terrible coughing, and there have been a few times when I have actually become light headed as I try and dislodge the naughty bit of mucus. The mathematics don't add up, but it sometimes seems I can cough out more air than I can take in !

 There is another sort of lightheadedness that I have had several times that I can't really explain. It is not a lightheadedness that makes you unsteady on your feet, or think you might feint, but more a sort of feeling that your brain is partly insulated from reality. Perhaps an analogy is like when you have a local anaesthetic for some proceedure, and while there is no actual pain, you can still feel every single movement the doctor or dentist makes.

 I didn't attempt to do anything yesterday. I just lazed around, and on the whole I was fairly comfortable - but not all the time. By 4.30pm I decided it was time to start boozing. My original intention would have been to have a few large whiskeys that I would sip over the course of the evening, but as I think I mentioned yesterday, I had run out of my favourite whisky. One of the things I wanted to do yesterday, but felt too ill to do it, was to go for a quick walk to Tesco to buy more whisky.

 The previous few days of this illness included that most unusual (for me) symptom of loss of appetite. I just didn't fancy eating anything as big as a proper meal, although I was still happy to have an occasional nibble. Unfortunately all those small nibbles added up the equivalent of several full sized meals. So I doubt I lost any weight - more the pity ! I never really expected this loss/modification of appetite to affect my boozing though, but it did.

 It was far from an ideal replacement for a glass of whisky, but around 4pm I went down to the fridge for a glass of chilled water. As I took it out of the fridge my eye was drawn to a single can of Guinness, and that triggered off a memory. On the other side of the kitchen I had four more cans of Guinness, and the just needed chilling before use. So I put them in the fridge, and got quite excited about the idea of drinking Guinness in the evening. Sadly it was not to be. I struggled to finish the second can. It made me realise that I was probably more ill than I thought I was.

 Going to bed sober had the disadvantage of making me not feel sleepy, and the effect was double or more after lots of little naps during the afternoon. Eventually I fell asleep, and I ended up having a fair nights sleep. My sleep was only interrupted a few times by either coughing or the desire for a pee (often both). I woke up this morning wondering how long it would take me to start feeling horrible again.

 It wasn't long. Once I had a hot shower I started to sweat, and to cough. I decided that my experience with the Guinness yesterday was probably a good reason to finally try and seek some medical attention, and the real reason for taking a shower so early was because I wanted to get to the surgery before 8am so I could queue up, and try to get an appointment with a doctor or nurse practitioner as soon as possible.

 I arrived at the surgery, normally a very relaxed 5 minute walk, very slightly breathless. The first thing I saw was a big notice on the door saying that they don't offer that service any more because all the receptionists are too busy answering the phones. So I walked back home, and it seemed like hard work - not terribly hard work, but it was still nice to get in and sit down. I kept my eye on the time, and with radio controlled accuracy I started to phone the surgery at 8am on the dot. 10 redials later, and I finally got through. By 8:04am I had made an appointment to see a doctor I have never heard of (I hope I can understand what he says to me - his name suggests he is Scottish). That appointment it, amazingly enough, at 10:40 this morning.  I hope that I can still raise a good sweat, lots of breathlessness, and plenty of mucus bubbling in my windpipe when I see him or it could all be a waste of time....or worst of all he will just want to fuck about with my blood pressure - as if I care what my blood pressure is while drowning in my own mucus !
4 cans of Guinness
I was so looking forward to sinking these 4 cans last night.
The first pint went down nicely, but I had to struggle to finish the second. It was then that I knew I was seriously ill !
Wednesday 23rd August  2017
 10:23 BST

  I mostly ignored the outside world yesterday, but I think it was vaguely like the forecast said it was going to be. The morning was certainly bright, and I seem to recall some sunshine. Rain and sunshine was forecast for 6pm onwards, but I don't think there was any appreciable rain. The temperature probably was in the region of the 23° C that was forecast.
A flat and boring
  The weather today, if it follows the forecast, is going to be tediously dull ! I'm sure that the first few hours of daylight were brighter than forecast, and maybe the black clouds I should be seeing right now are not that black. It seems almost certain that today is going to fail to excite me. The only semi good thing is the forecasted 22° C. Tomorrow might be a nicer day. It is only going to reach 21° C, and there may not be any periods of pure sunshine, but there should be many sunny intervals. Friday looks like it could be better still - if the forecast for it doesn't change !

  It has to be said....I felt pretty rotten for much of yesterday, but the morning was the worst. My cold was back to full power. My nose was often blocked, as was my chest. On top of that I felt very weak, and bits of me ached. It sometimes felt closer to 'flu than a cold. It made doing stuff like washing a couple of pillow cases and a double fitted sheet seem very much like hard work. If it were not the case that I had left those items soaking the day before, I would never had started to do them in that state. In the end, I completed the washing process by doing it is several stages with a decent rest between them.

 Another thing about yesterday was that I partly lost my appetite. It is hard to describe how it felt. There was a sort of inner conflict between the idea of wanting to eat, and little desire to do the actual process of eating. That is exceedingly unusual for me. By the end of the day I had probably eaten a fair amount, but I did it by eating small amounts every hour or two.

 It is hard to put a definite time on it, but sometime in the evening, probably early evening, I started to feel a lot better. My nose was mostly clear, and I was coughing a lot less. I also didn't feel as ill - although the precise nature of that is hard to explain. The good thing was that it allowed me to get a fairly good nights sleep. I wasn't waking up every half hour to blow my nose and/or clear my throat. Also, I didn't get the shivers like I did the previous night. It really felt like I was definitely on the mend.

 As I write this I am having second thoughts about being on the mend. When I first got up I felt fairly good, and I was looking forward to going out - even if it was just a quick walk to the shops. To prepare for that I washed my hair and had a shower. It was while doing that, that I seemed to run out of energy. Since then my nose has got snotty again (but not heavily), and my chest seems very congested again. On top of that I have started to sweat quite freely. Maybe I also feel a bit cool, but my temperature is only 36.4° C, and that is slightly low instead of high.

 It's looking like I will be returning to my sick bed again today. That is a bit annoying. It feels like I am missing out on my retirement, and yet being able to do stuff like being ill without having to worry about work was one of the advantages of quitting work, plus there is an endless (or it feels like endless) amount of days ahead of me to do stuff. Even so, being ill is not exactly fun. I probably ought to see a doctor about this cold because it does seem to be hanging around a lot, and the congestion in my throat could be an infection that could be cleared up more quickly with antibiotics. The only problem is that it could take several days before I could see a doctor, and it might all be cleared up by then. Oh well, time to lay down and do some quite reading.
Tuesday 22nd August  2017
 09:54 BST

  Yesterday wasn't cold, but it was grimly grim and grey. I can't recall the merest glimmer of sunshine. The only positive thing you can say was that it didn't rain.
slightly better than
                  yesterday....or sometimes slightly worse
  The forecast gives some hope that a few bits of today will be better than yesterday. These are the parts when there should be a ray or two of sunshine. We should be having one right now, but I can't see it, although the sky does seem brighter. It seems there could be some more possible sunshine from 6pm, but at the same time there could be rain. For a reason I'll explain soon, today's weather is largely irrelevant to me. Tomorrow could be more important, but it is not forecast to be very nice. The day could start foggy, but the afternoon will be fairly warm. Unfortunately the whole day is likely to be dull and miserable.

  I had a nice afternoon out yesterday.....sort of. The only thing of note that I did in the morning was to go to Aldi. I felt fairly good being out in the fresh air going to Aldi, but it was a bit of a strain coming back. Until I came back I thought the cold I had was drying up nicely, and to a limited extent that was right, but coming back with shopping showed how weak I was feeling, and just how easy it was for my chest to really complain - although in this instance it was not the usual "twisted ribs" that were complaining, but how blocked my windpipe was.

 A far better example of that was when I walked to the station to get my train into London to meet Barbara. I had to get the train from Catford station, and that means walking up and over the railway at Catford Bridge, and then walking up the stairs to the platform at Catford station (and also walking to the far end of the platform). I felt short of breath doing that. It wasn't so much not being able to breath air in, but the amount of time I was coughing it, along with globs of mucus, out again.

 Once I was on the train, sitting down and relaxing, I felt mostly OK, and I never really noticed any bother from then onwards until I was coming home again. Getting to the pub where I was meeting Barbara meant changing from the train at Blackfriars onto the District line, and then there was a short walk from Tower Hill tube station. All that walking, including going up and down several small sets of stairs, seemed to be no bother.
demonic guard for the City
                  Of London
There is one (or is it two ?) of these Demonic gargoyles/dragons guarding the entrance to the City Of London on Blackfriars Bridge. It seems there is one outside the Liberty Bounds Pub as well.
A remnant from the pubs former use ?
If I checked the history of The Liberty Bounds pub it would probably say what the original building was used for, and that might explain this globe and eagle high up on the building.
The Liberty Bounds pub
The Liberty Bounds pub in all it's exterior glory.
Barbara "Ruby" Murray
Barbara from Cumbria who I was meeting for our annual meet up in London.

 I had three pints of ale in the pub, and because it was a Wetherspoons pubs I could use some of the 50p off vouchers that I got from CAMRA. After three pints it was time to leave. I felt fine right up to the time I went through the ticket barriers to come out of Blackfriars tube station. At that point I didn't realise that there was a train almost due, and that rushing would have been a good idea. So I took it relatively easy until I had got up to platform level at Blackfriars national rail station. I then had to rush along the very long platform (at least 12 cars longs, and maybe more) to try and get nearer the front of the train to Catford that was starting to pull in.

 It was a very packed train, which wasn't nice, but fortunately I hadn't started the uncontrollable cough that happened later. That uncontrollable cough really got going once I was about half way between Catford station and home. It really felt like I couldn't get enough air in my lungs as I approached home. It would have been sensible to stop once or twice, but I just pressed on feeling worse and worse.

 Once I got home I felt a bit better, but all my hopes that I was almost over the cold, or whatever it is that ails me, were completely dashed. I felt pretty terrible, but the worst was yet to come. By 10pm I was in bed and fast asleep, but that sleep only lasted a few hours. The first time I woke up I felt slightly chilly. I think I put the heater on half, and tried to go back to sleep. Eventually I managed to sleep for 15 to 20 minutes before I woke up shivering. I turned the heater up full, and while I waited to warm up a bit I took my temperature. I was expecting a raging fever, but if anything my temperature was slightly low ! I am not sure how that can happen. Anyway, I got my bedroom up to tropical temperatures (28° C) and that seemed to help me sleep a bit more, but it was very lumpy sleep, and I doubt I managed any more than 20 minutes at any one time.

 Eventually I woke up feeling far too hot, and so I turned the heater off and just laid there sweating. It was about then that I realised I had mostly stopped coughing, and my nose was mostly clear (neither was perfect, but both were a huge improvement on even a few hours earlier). Fast forward to right now, and my nose only needs an occasional blow, and one good cough can last an hour or so. (except when I stop to write about it !). Earlier on I was feeling particularly weak, and maybe if I wasn't sitting here quietly typing I would still feel weak. In the last hour I have stopped sweating, and I feel neither hot or cold.

 Once again it feels like I have beaten the cold into submission, and now I just have to get my strength back. Maybe it's the truth this time, but this time I will only believe it when I can look back and say I have felt good for at least a couple of days. I fear that if I go out into the damp air it will trigger it all off again. Today I will try and be prudent and stay in and do my best to recuperate. I feel a nice snooze coming on soon. It would be nice to have several good, long snoozes, but it's hard to predict how I'll feel when laying down again. Perhaps all the snt and bogeys will come flooding back to places they are not welcome. I feel sort of pessimistic at the moment.
Monday 21st August  2017
 10:20 BST

  It was probably just me, but yesterday seemed to be warmer than 20° C. I don't think it actually was warmer though. Maybe it was just one of those illusions brought on by some sunshine, and the wind blowing from the right direction. I'm unsure if it happened on time, but the rain that was forecast to start falling at 8pm, and then continue right through the night, definitely fell. I don't think it was very heavy rain, but it was certainly wet, and it didn't finish until sometime after 6am this morning.
dull, dull, dull
  Today is going to be dull, very dull ! The one almost irrelevant good thing is that the temperature is going to be similar to yesterday. It is supposed to stay dry, but those black clouds shown for 3 and 4pm in the forecast seem worrying to me. The outlook seems to be getting worse by the day. Wednesday was originally forecast to be 26° C with bright sunshine, is now degraded to just 23° C and would appear to be not very sunny at all. Thursday looks suitably dull and miserable - just right for a funeral - of which there will be one.

  I think the best was I can describe yesterday is as a very relaxed day. Just before 4pm I said I had done bugger all, and the same was almost true by the end of the day. The one thing I did achieve yesterday was to select and edit some more photos from Saturday night's gig with Lord Algea. They went down particularly well with Max Edwards, the singer and bass player from the band (and the only member whose name I know). He has pleaded for more because the band seem to be very short on publicity photos. I theory I should probably charge him for a a selection, but I have no idea how much to charge, and to bring dirty money into it would spoil it as a hobby. Not only that, but without knowing the exact numbers, I know that the band were paid the bare minimum for their gig on Saturday.

 I am supposed to be practicing staying up late so that I can stay out late at various gigs and open mic nights without feeling the effects too badly in the morning, but last night I was in bed, and possibly asleep by, or soon after, 10pm. It was probably just as well because I didn't sleep well again last night. While all the worst symptoms of my recent cold have all but gone, the after effects seem to be lingering far too long - either that or it was more than the common cold - eith that or I am not fighting it properly because I don't have to take time off work sick - I'm off work anyway.

 There are two bothersome after effects of the cold....or maybe they are just two aspects of the same thing. While I can breath freely through my nose 95% of the time, there is still this problem of thick, semi congealed, mucus working it's way out of the far reaches of my sinuses. During waking hours that is only an inconvenience in as much as trying to clear my nose of that sticky stuff can be an embarrassing performance. When I am asleep it is different. Two things seem to happen, of which one my just be imagination. When my nose became partly block while I am asleep I breath through my mouth. That dries my mouth and throat out, and that makes me cough.

 Some of the sticky mucus would seem to slide into my throat, and that makes me cough too. As I explained yesterday, it can be a really annoying cough because it appears to not shift the mucus, although breathing in afterwards seems to make it jiggle and tickle more. The upshot of all this is that my sleep was very disrupted again last night, and after a few hours of seeming good sleep, I was waking up approximately once an hour to empty my nose and windpipe of thick sticky mucus. In theory I should have accumulated around 8 hours of sleep in total, but it never works like that. I feel I will be starting my evening by snoozing - in, I guess, 20 minute segments.

 There is no time for snoozing now. I do have stuff to do today. All I have done so far this morning is to wash my hair and shower. I might give it a bit longer for my hair to dry, but before midday I intend to go to Aldi for what could be one of my smallest shops ever there - if I just get the few things I actually need, and nothing else - which is unlikely ! I need more sugar free cola, and I think a few sandwiches could be handy for tonight.

 At about 3pm I'll be getting a train from Catford station to Blackfriars, and then changing to the District line for a tube to Tower Hill station. From there it is a short walk to the pub I'll be meeting Barbara in. I don't know how long we'll stay there, but I will definitely have a few pints inside me when I get home. That will leave me feeling peckish - possibly in the extreme. A couple of sandwiches should take the edge off that without having to do stuff like ordering takeaways. Maybe I might bolster the sandwiches with a can of soup or two, or maybe not.
Sunday 20th August  2017
 15:56 BST

  Yesterday morning was very sunny. The forecast said the afternoon would be quite dull, but I am sure I can recall some sunshine in the afternoon too. I don't remember it as being anything other than a "satisfactory" sort of day.
another fair day
  The weather today has generally been OK. In some ways today has been more like yesterday was supposed to be. The morning was generally bright and sunny, but there hasn't been much sun for a few hours now, although the sky remains fairly bright. It seems it is all change from about 8pm tonight when rain is supposed to fall, and keep falling until about 6am tomorrow morning. The lingering after effects of my cold mean that I can't fairly judge the temperature today, but I think the forecast of 20° C is about right. Tomorrow is forecast to be 20° C as well, but it's looking like the sky is going to be thick unbroken dark grey cloud all day. It would seem unlikely from that description, but apparently it was stay dry all day once the last of the overnight rain finishes at 6am.

  My cold was far less troublesome yesterday, and there were plenty of times when it seemed I had totally got over it - barring a few minor things from time to time. There were also times when it seemed I had some way to go ! As I think I reported yesterday, my throat was sore again in the morning, and that was probably the very worst thing about it. My nose was almost dry, and my cough was very intermittent.

 All that changed overnight, and (donning my most optimistic reasoning) it was all to do with my nose drying up. Rather than thin mucus that runs at the slightest provocation, I am now apparently dealing with thick dried up mucus that clings inside all the tiny passages of the sinus system, and can be almost impossible to expel with a delicate blow into a handkerchief. Today I sometimes have to resort to the infamous "snot rocket". In some private place, like my bathroom, I have to block one nostril, and blast out gobs of thick sticky mucus from the other nostril.

 Having done this unpleasant thing I can breath freely for sometimes tens of minutes - but that is only half the story. The other half of the story is that during the night, when asleep on my back, some of that mucus slips down into the windpipe - or this is what it seems to be like. Those thick gobs of mucus have a very unpleasant way of being just about impervious to breathing out, but quiver and tickle when breathing in. In short of I have had many episodes today where I have coughed a lot trying to dislodge such annoyances. This actually started in the night, and I didn't sleep too well in the latter half of the night, and it has been really hard to take a nap today.

 Back to yesterday, and stuff I did during the day, and then the evening..... The only significant thing I did yesterday was to go to both the 99p shop and to Poundstretcher.  As well as a few miscellaneous things I found what I wanted in the 99p shop - lint rollers. I must confess that they didn't work the way I once thought they did. The last lint roller I saw must have been over 30 years ago, and it was described as washable. It was a cylinder of a sort of sticky gelly, and it was claimed you could wash off the lint and stuff from the gelly, and keep using it. This turned out to be a nonsense, and after a few uses it had to be thrown away. The rollers I got from the 99p shop, and I bought 4 of them, turned out to have a roller made of paper tape with an adhesive coating, Once the surface become covered and non sticky you just tear off that layer, and there is a fresh layer underneath. I think that buying 4 of them was rather unnecessary. The one I tried worked really well at pulling off ancient cat hairs from my old jumpers !

 My visit to Poundstetcher was less satisfactory. I was after new curtain for my bedroom. They did have a small selection of curtains, but none was suitable. It is probably a seasonal thing. Later in the year they will stock less of something they think mostly sells in summer, and the use the space for curtains - at least that it what I am hoping. Alternatively I could probably order some from Amazon, but I would prefer it if I could physically see what I am buying.

 Last night I went to The Black Cat to see Lord Algea playing to a traditionally three quarters empty pub ! It was most enjoyable. Plenty of Guinness distracted me from all but a few brief bouts of coughing, and I can only recall having to blow my nose a couple of times. It was almost as if my cold was definitely over. I even felt well enough to lie on the floor !
Max Edwards of
                    Lord Algea
I think I was laying on the floor when I took this low angle shot of Max Edwards - bass player and singer for Lord Algea. (Click for a bigger picture).

 I stayed to the very end, and then 10 minutes extra, and I felt fine. Maybe walking home in the cool night air affected me, but not initially, and after a quick snack I was soon in bed, and fast asleep. By 3am I was awake again, and my throat felt dry and tickly. Worse than that was, as I described earlier, a globule of mucus almost at the top of my windpipe (or so it seemed) that would not budge when I coughed, but would quiver and gurgle whenever I breathed in. It, or similar globules, would spoil my sleep for the rest of the night, and still occasionally afflict me even now.

 I think it is fair to say I have done bugger all today. I am sure that should mean I've had a very boring day, and yet I don't know where all the time has gone to. It won't be long now until it is 5pm, and it's feeling like the greater part of the day is already over. What I should be doing for the rest of the day is going through the rest of the pictures I took last night. In theory it could be enjoyable because I think I took a few good pictures, but I am finding it hard to raise the enthusiasm. I seem to be letting a certain tiredness control what I do today. It is probably because I didn't get up in any definite way this morning. I sort of slouched around most of the morning barely dressed. Had I washed and dressed I may have felt completely different.

 Tomorrow morning I will definitely be getting washed and dressed fairly early, although not nearly as early as if I had to go to work. Tomorrow I have a very important appointment in an inner London Wetherspoons pub for my once a year meeting with my friend Barbara from Cumbria. Over a pint or three we will discuss life, the universe, and everything before heading our own ways until next year.
Saturday 19th August  2017
 10:43 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday exaggerated a bit...maybe a lot. The significant period of time was between 2pm and 8pm. For that six hours the little pictograms showed both sun and rain at the same time. The reality was that at around 2pm, a little before I wanted to go out to Aldi, there was a torrential downpour. It lasted about 10 minutes. From then onwards it seemed to be mostly sunny, and as far as I am aware, totally dry ! Apart from that one downpour, I seem to remember yesterday as a fairly nice day, and I am sure it was a lot warmer than the 17 - 18° C that was forecast for most of the afternoon. I'm not so sure that the temperature dipped from the 20° C that it was supposed to be just before the rain fell.
a fair day
  On the face of it, today's weather forecast paints today as a fairly nice day, although a little cool for what I believe August should be like. Most this morning has been sunny with big areas of nice blue sky. It doesn't feel likely that there will be rain at 1pm, but I suppose it could be possible. Looking ahead, it seems we could have some good and bad days coming. Monday, when I am meeting my friend Barbara in London, looks like it won't be smiling at us. Next Tuesday looks enticing with it's mention of 26° C, but there could be a catch. I caught the tail end of a forecast on TV yesterday, and they said it was exceptionally humid air coming in from across the Atlantic ocean. It sounds like the sort of weather that could be really sticky, and also the type to brew up some extra fierce thunderstorms !

  The nature of my cold changed yesterday. The most welcome thing was my throat stopped feeling so sore. On the other hand I think I reached "peak snot". I was getting through man sized tissues at a great rate ! I also started coughing. It was nothing like the sort of cough I used to get prior to four years ago, but it was still annoying, and I was coughing up foul tasting stuff from deep in my lungs.

 All these negative things didn't really incapacitate me much, and I was able to get out to Aldi to buy some important shopping. I intended to get out a lot earlier than I did - before the rain started. I steeled myself to the idea that I would have to put on a rain coat to go out, but just before I went out I decided to go to the toilet. While I was sitting on the toilet for no more than a few minutes, the weather went from torrential rain to bright hot sunshine !

 It was a pleasure, albeit with a few drawbacks, to get out into the fresh air and warm sunshine to walk to Aldi. By the time I had finished my shopping, and come out of the store, that hot sunshine had just about dried out the pavements and road. Walking back with a lot of shopping was not so pleasant.....well it was sort of pleasant, but it was also hard work in the condition I was in. Here's two of my most important purchases !
tissues and blueberries -
                  the prescription for a cold
 Vitamin C packed blueberries to help stop my dripping nose, and two packs of man sized tissues to catch those drips !

 I felt rather drained when I got back from Aldi. I had a quick bite to eat - two cheese and onion sandwiches - and then I had a lay down. It all seems rather vague now, but I think I lay on my bed for quite some time - sometimes dozing, and sometimes just staring at the ceiling, and sometimes possibly dreaming I was staring at the ceiling ! One of the first things I did once it felt like I had rested enough, was to finish washing the shorts I had left soaking in the morning. After that I didn't really do anything of note. I read a bit, and I watched a bit of TV and some recorded video.

 I don't think it was quite 9pm when I decided to go to bed. I think it was because I felt bored as much as anything else, but in reality I was more tired than I thought I was. It wasn't long before I was fast asleep. It must have been around 1am when I woke up from a peculiar dream. As far as I can remember my nostrils were represented as two hexagonal headed bolts in the dream, and they were explosive in some ways. It was all very symbolic, but I presume I was dreaming about my snotty nose.

 After that long period of sleep I began to wake up more frequently, and one of the things that became slowly apparent was that the nature of my cold was changing. My nose was obviously a lot drier, and my cough was more dry and tickly. The biggest change was that my throat had become really sore again. I am guessing this was the result of snoring with a dry throat, but maybe not.

 Fast forward to right now and my nose has stopped running, although it still need a good blow every now and then. My throat is no longer sore, and I only cough every now and then. It is almost as if I am over this cold, but I still feel a bit weak. Of course the weakness may also be the result of what I last did. That was to wash the smelly curtains that I released from their incarceration from a semi sealed plastic storage box the day before yesterday. They are still not perfectly clean, but they are very much cleaner than they were, and the fabric conditioner I used has made them smell quite fresh for now. I think I may end up using them for the window in my back room - the room that may, after lots and lots, and lots and lots of hard work end up as a dining room again instead of a sort of tip !

 For the rest of today I intend to do more resting, but also venture out a few times. I am pretty certain I've seen some lint rollers in the 99p or Pound shops. Several of those may de-fluff all the cat hairs on my two old jumpers that I washed the other day. I think I might also go into Poundstretcher and see what curtains they have. I feel that having put up nice new net curtains in my bedroom, I ought to replaced the cat claw slashed main curtains in my bedroom.

 Tonight I would like to see Chain playing in Biggin Hill - particularly after missing them last night - but I think it is probably more important (in theory, but ultimately probably pointless) to support music in my local venture - The Black Cat. Tonight it is Lord Algea. I was sure they vowed never to play there again after a cock up and double booking or something, plus the fact that nobody ever goes to the place, but it seems they will be there tonight, and so will I. More importantly, while I am only nearly over this cold, staying local feels like a good idea.
sometimes I stay out late !
A picture I had forgotten I had taken on my way back from the MT Pockets jam night at The Iron Horse pub in Sidcup - proof that I do stay out beyond midnight sometimes. I took this picture on the top deck of an almost empty 202 bus as we were on the South Circular going up the far side of Brownhill Road towards Catford.
Friday 18th August  2017
 11:47 BST

  I think the weather forecast for yesterday was very wrong....or maybe it's just the way I think I remember the day. What I think the major deviation was, was the amount of sunshine. Yesterday was certainly brighter than the forecast seemed to suggest it would be, and I also think it was a fair bit sunnier too. As far as I am aware, apart from some early morning rain, the rest of the day was dry, or if there was any it was over in a blink of the eye. The forecast temperature seemed about right. The forecast said a high of 23° C, and for a good few hours it was in that region.
Another fair day
  So far today has been sunnier than the forecast seems to predict, and I think it might be a couple of degrees warmer too. The next significant part of today's forecast happens at 2pm when it will either be sunny or rainy or both ! I haven't seen or felt any clues to suggest which way the afternoon goes. Whether rain or shine (or both), it seems like it will get cooler in a few hours.  Tomorrow is looking like it could be rather nice. It may not be particularly warm, only 20° C is forecast, but it is supposed to be a very sunny day !

  On the whole I felt fairly ill yesterday. I had all the symptoms of the common cold except for one. The one that was absent (or as good as absent) was a cough. I guess that is a symptom of not smoking for almost 4 years now. I didn't feel particularly low, and I was able to do a few useful things, but the one thing that slowed me down was the constant need for mansize tissues. By the early evening my nose was really dripping - and I mean that literally on a few occasions ! The mucus coming out of my nose was often so thin and watery that if I wasn't careful it would literally drip !

 The last thing I did of any note was to wash the two old smoky Mastercare jumpers that I mentioned yesterday. It took many hours before they stopped dripping, and I could hang them on a clothes horse in the spare room with a fan on them to theoretically speed up the drying process. It evidently didn't work too well because even now the bottom hem seems a little damp. The next task to do with those jumpers is to try and rid them of cat hairs. I have had some success using duct tape wound around a round hair brush with the sticky side out. I think a few more treatments like that and most of the hairs will be gone.

 Yesterday evening I just sort of lazed around. I felt too hot and sticky to do anything more. I guess that if I had taken my temperature I would have been feverish.....or maybe not. A fever usually make you feel cold, and I definitely felt hot and very sweaty. Of course much of the credit for the sweatiness must go to the couple of large measures of both honey and cinnamon flavoured Jack Daniels (not mixed, but one after the other - I think I had two extra large honey Jack Daniels, and one extra large cinnamon Jack Daniels).

 Part for the idea of the booze was to help me sleep, and it may have done that to some extent. After several hours of watching a bit of TV, and reading, I turned in at about 10pm. I didn't have great expectations of getting to sleep easily. My nose was still dripping, and I felt very hot and sticky, but to my later surprise I found that I did get to sleep quite quickly. I reckon I slept quite well for about 2 hours, but it could have been three. From then on I would sleep for an hour or two interspersed with 10 - 20 minutes awake.

 I think it was around 7am when I seemed to have had enough sleep. I woke up, and at first I didn't feel too bad. The most noticeable change was my sore throat had gone. There was even 10 minutes when it seemed my nose had dried up. Unfortunately that wasn't the case, and even now I am going through a man sized tissue every 5 minutes ! Unfortunately I also seem to be coughing a bit now. At the moment it is just at fairly widely spaced random times, and I hope it stays that way. Each cough is quite a throaty one, and I am coughing up something rather unpleasant tasting !

 I am unsure what I am doing today. Earlier on I was quite enthusiastic that I could do lots today - including going out this evening. Now I am not so sure. I have left some shirts and stuff soaking, and now I am feeling like it will be a bit of a drag to finish washing them. It is possible that I might pop out for a bit of shopping, although the idea of a full shopping trip to Aldi seems less than desirable. I might just go to the corner shop to buy a couple of bottles of sugar free cola. Maybe when I go out in the fresh air I might feel better. One thing that would be useful to buy would be more man sized tissues. Aldi would be a good place to get them, as well as a good place to get sugar free cola. Maybe I ought try walking there and see how far I get before I've filled up every handkerchief  I can carry !
Thursday 17th August  2017
 14:37 BST

  If there had been a few more hours of sunshine yesterday it could have been described as a very good day, but alas, I can only give it an average +. Having said that, even when not actually sunny it was still fairly bright, and it was warm and dry. The forecast, or at least one of them, said it would be 22° C for just one hour at 4pm, but I'm not sure if it was. I think the afternoon average was closer to 20° C.
A fair day
  Today seems sunnier than this morning's forecast suggested it would be. There was certainly some rain very early this morning, but the rain forecast for 1pm was replaced by sunshine. It is certainly 22° C right now, and it feels like it has been that high for well over an hour now.  With the sun still shining it is possible that the temperature today may top the forecast maximum of 23° C. Tomorrow should see a lot of sunny periods, but possibly no long periods of sunshine. The temperature is going to range from about 16° C in the morning and evening, to a brief peak of just 20° C in the afternoon. There could be a small chance of a shower - or by tomorrow there could be a big chance of a shower....or no shower at all !

  Yesterday was one of those days that wasn't really supposed to be, but turned out to be a busy day. It probably all started when I thought it might be nice to change the sheets on my bed. Prior to doing that I did some long overdue hoovering in my bedroom. With my bedroom floor looking relatively clean I set about deciding what sheets and duvet cover I would use on my bed. I have quite a selection of bed linen to choose from.

 Some of that bed stuff is in some plastic storage boxes in my bedroom, and some in the spare room.  I eventually opted for the all black set - which may have been foolish. Those black sheets show up the slightest sweat stain, and getting me to sweat in bed is all too easy if I don't take into account the temperature, how much chilli to eat, and how high my blood glucose level is, and how much booze I've drunk. I might have done better to wait until winter had set in before using the all black set.

 While investigating what bed linen I had in the boxes in my bedroom I decided to put away my shorts until next summer when hopefully they will get a lot more use than they did this year. I also investigated the contents of an extra storage box. All it had in it were a pair of old curtains, two jumpers with the old Mastercare logo on them (left over from when I worked for Mastercare), and a small blanket. Everything in that box stunk of ancient cigarette smoke, and I left it all out to be washed. I washed the box out, and when it was fresh I used it for some of my spare pairs of trousers.

 I'm not sure of the exact sequence of events, but somewhere during the time I was cleaning up my bedroom I stopped to do some cooking. I wanted to eat nice and early because I wanted to go out in the evening. I also wanted to try and eat something that was semi healthy. So I cooked up a stew of (mostly) red cabbage and venison meatballs. It turned out to be quite nice, although I think I was a bit over generous with the hot chilli sauce. That might, or might not have had consequences.

 The chilli seemed to irritate my throat, and started me coughing a lot. Even just chilli flavoured steam seemed to catch in my throat and extended my coughing. Some hours later I seemed to develop a rather sore throat, and it slightly spoiled my evening. I had decided that I was going to go the the M.T. Pockets jam/open mic night at The Iron Horse pub in Sidcup (handily located right next to the station).

 There are several ways I can get to The Iron Horse. The last time I went I caught a train from Catford Bridge as far as Lewisham, and then changed there for a train to Sidcup. The problem with that route is that there is (or was) something like a 15 minute wait to change trains. There is also the possibility of getting the 160 bus from one end of it's route (Catford) to the other end (Sidcup). I haven't checked, but I would imagine that would be a very long tedious journey ! The way I used last night seemed to work quite well. I caught a 202 bus as far as Lee station, which is a fairly quick journey (15 - 20 minutes) and from Lee station it is just 4 stations to Sidcup.
the mafia !
There were many musicians there I had never seen before. I didn't capture it that well in this picture, but these two guitarist looked like mafia dons from some angles !
ukelele player
When I first saw the geeky looking, but strangely attractive girl go up on the stage with her ukelele I had grave fears that she would start singing George Formby songs in a northern accent. Fortunately not. She and the rest of her band played some well covers of well know soft rock songs (although for some reason I can't think what they were today).
another picture of the ukelele player
Another look at the ukelele player.
another band
Without knowing the musicians it was hard to tell if these three were from one band, or just three players having a jam. Sounded good though.

 I stayed out quite late last night. I caught the 11.45pm train from Sidcup, and it turned midnight while I was half way home on the bus. Now the thing is, I had drunk about 5 pints of Guinness (maybe 6 !), and I hadn't eaten anything significant since my meatball and red cabbage lunch at around 1pm. I was both drunk and hungry - the perfect excuse to buy some fried chicken on the way home. I bought rather a lot, but when I got in I decided that I would only eat the "fries", and save the chicken for breakfast/brunch/lunch (it was actually breakfast and brunch).

 I still had a sore throat when I went to bed, and it definitely felt quite sore. It was partly responsible, along with sporadically having to pee out pints of used Guinness, for spoiling what might have been a good nights sleep. In fact it was probably the need to pee that actually woke me up, but every time I woke up my throat felt dry and I was very close to coughing. I guess I got nearly 6 hours of sleep before I gave up and got up.

 So far today I have gone through all the pictures I took last night, and selected the best. I've eaten cold fried chicken, and I have done some laundry. I first washed the small blanket. It was very hard to wring out, but not as hard to wring out as the two jumpers I washed next. It seemed impossible to wring them out. I would squeeze and twist until I was blue in the face, and then as soon as I hung the things up they would start to drip quite freely. They are currently still dripping quite freely into the bath.

 The other thing I've been doing today is feeling ill. As I write this my throat isn't really sore, but after a morning of my nose feeling stuff it is now giving every indication that it is about to start pouring ! I've also had some intermittent headaches, but as I write this my head seems clear. I have a strong suspicion that if I still smoked I would have a hacking cough right now, but while I have had a few brief periods of light coughing, it doesn't seem to be a problem at the moment. There is one strong indication that I am fighting some bug - temperatures ! Several times I have gone through periods of feeling cool (although not shivery), and several times I have come out in fierce sweating (which I choose to believe is a good sign).

 It does feel like I am going through all the symptoms of a cold rather quickly, and that gives me some hope that I will be OK tomorrow. Only time will tell. Generally speaking, nothing I have experienced today has made me feel particularly bad with the exception of one probably unrelated thing. Mostly I have just felt a little lethargic, although I suppose the periodic light headaches have been pretty annoying. The one huge exception was a brief period, maybe no longer than 30 minutes, when I had a very fierce bout of the runs. Three time I had to run to the toilet, and on the last two occasions I literally exploded ! Since then everything has been fine in that department.

 Tonight I should be going for a drink with the Thursday night lads. Tonight's venue is The Partridge in Bromley, and I am wondering of I should try and steel myself to go. Apart from the fact that all of sudden I have just got through three tissues in three minutes, I feel that I am not particularly incapacitated at the moment (although my nose is really itching now - almost like, and maybe is, hayfever). On the other hand there is the theory that I ought to stay in and get on with mending myself if I want to be fit and well for tomorrow. I guess I have about 90 minutes to solve the conundrum, although I think I am probably going to err on the side of safety.
Wednesday 16th August  2017
 10:09 BST

  Yesterday didn't start off too well, but at least it wasn't too cold, and maybe it was a little bit brighter than expected. The forecast said that at midday it might get very dull, but in fact that was when the first hints of sunshine started to come through. A few hours later it became bright and sunny...and fairly warm too. The forecast said 23° C, and that turned out to be about right.
some sunshine, but not as warm as yesterday
  The sunshine is going to be a little bit intermittent today according to the most recent forecast (the screenshot above was taken a few hours ago). In consequence the temperature may only reach 21° C today instead of the brief spell of 22° C shown in the screenshot. The best thing about the latest update is that it makes tomorrow sound like it could be a reasonable day. One thing that hasn't changed is the forecast for rain, potentially some heavy rain in the small hours of tomorrow morning, but after that it will dry up, and there should be some sunshine scattered throughout tomorrow. The forecast 24 hours ago painted tomorrow as being exceedingly dull, and occasionally wet. So a great improvement, and maybe tomorrow's reality will be even better (but it could be worse).

 The big thing yesterday was going to work again for another half day of changing surface mount resistors, but before that I had to actually get there, and that was none too easy. With half the platforms out of use, and engineering plant everywhere, Waterloo station is teetering on the edge of disaster at the best of times during this work. Yesterday morning it fell over ! First of all there was a report of a points failure, and then came a derailment as a train side swiped an engineering wagon. Maybe the points failure was the cause of that, or maybe they were two separate incidents.

 Regardless of the hows and whys, Waterloo station came to a halt yesterday morning, and I had to revise my travel plans in real time. I knew there was trouble at Waterloo before I had even left home, but not how serious it was. I had a naive expectation that it wouldn't take long for some services to start. I was wrong ! I took the same train as the day before, and kept an eye on the National Rail mobile phone app departure screens for Waterloo as I travelled towards Waterloo East. When we arrived at London Bridge it was obvious that going to Waterloo would be a waste of time. So I got off the train at London Bridge to catch a train to Peckham Rye station (I had checked for the existence of that train before I got off at London Bridge).

 At Peckham Rye I caught my third train, the London Overground service to Clapham Junction station. From there I could get the 77 bus from about the furthest bus stop that could possibly still be called "Clapham Junction", to Earlsfield. It was a very slow and tedious bus ride ! Eventually we got to Earlsfield, and from there I walked down Garret Lane to work. After all that I was only just over half an hour late - which sort of surprised me.

 I had visions of having to go home again a lot later than I would have liked, and also having to go home via a circuitous route. I needn't have worried about either. I got straight into my work, and having worked out a routine the day before, I found that doing the other half of the job took less time than anticipated, and instead of going home later than expected, I think I managed to go home 5 minutes earlier than the day before - despite arriving 35 minutes later in the morning !
just change these two
                  resistors.....on 90 boards !
The job I had to do was to change the two resistors inside the red circle, and I had to do it on 90 circuit boards. The significant thing here is that these are tiny surface mounted resistors, and have to be de-soldered with two soldering iron tips - one at each end at the same time !
an 0805 sized resistor on the tip of my index
To give some idea of the scale of things I managed to balance one of the resistors on the end of my index finger while simultaneously taking a picture of it using my mobile phone one handed !

 I will be paid for this job at just my old rate (unfortunately) at the end of the month as per usual. The only unusual thing is that I will have to pay emergency tax, and then I will have to wait until next April for a tax rebate. I am assured by the lady who does the wages, and who has great experience in all matters financial, that the tax office do these things automatically now, and I wont have to do anything to get the tax rebate. (I guess it will come as a lowering of my tax code rather than actual cash).

 Getting home from work turned out to be easy. By the afternoon they managed to get some trains going in and out of Waterloo, and so I went to Earlsfield station as normal. I just missed a train, and had to wait an unusual 10 minutes for the next train (the usual wait at that time of day would only be 3 - 5 minutes). The journey to Waterloo was about 10 minutes slower than usual because we were held at red signals several times. I got there in time to just miss the train I caught from Waterloo East the day before by about 5 minutes. That meant a 10 minute wait, but overall it was quite a satisfactory end to another working (half) day. Whether that was my very last day, or if others will pop up to interrupt my retirement is anyone's guess. I suspect I will be called on again sometime, and I did leave a parting comment that I would be happy to do 2 or 3 days a month if they needed me badly, but it would have to be when the time suited me rather than on demand.

 When I got home I decided that I ought to make some sort of effort to try and not get too carried away eating. I just had some assorted fruit and some cheese for a sort of late lunch, and that satisfied me until later in the evening. Despite getting a reasonable nights sleep the night before, I still found that the travelling and work left me feeling really tired. I did have vague thoughts that I might even go out yesterday evening, but by 5pm (or thereabouts) I seemed to be fast asleep on my bed. An hour later I woke up feeling almost groggy, and with no desire to go out at all.

 That left me feeling a bit bored despite having things to do. One such thing was to change the tap on my bathroom wash basin hot tap. It has been playing up a bit lately, and the evening before yesterday it seemed to have seized up (fortunately in the off position). Yesterday I tried it again and with a sort of a click and a bump it started working again. So I left it, and I'll probably leave it today, and so on until it stops working again, and when I am in the right mood to change it (I have a spare here already). One good thing I did yesterday was to check that the stop cock at the bottom of my multi-point water heater is still usable, and hadn't siezed up over the years. Fortunately it turns easily, but it drips badly unless fully open or closed.

 It was a boring evening, and that lead me to start eating some dairy free ice cream. Unfortunately it still has a lot of sugar in it, although less than many ice creams. Later on in the evening I found I had a craving for bacon (actually it was probably more for sausages, but I knew I had bacon in the fridge). The bacon I had was Tesco's "cooking bacon", and it's pot luck what you find inside the packet. Some times it's very small off cuts, but the packet I had last night had what were like to bacon steaks in it (obviously end pieces from when they were slicing off conventional bacon from the bacon joint). It was all terribly unhealthy, but I very much enjoyed them.

 I slept quite well last night, or so I believe, and this morning I feel fairly good again. I have no idea what I am doing during the day, but I feel that what I should do is to get washed and dressed after writing this, and go out and play somewhere. One idea I do have is to go all the way to Sidcup tonight for an open mic session at The Iron Horse pub. My record for going out in the evening has been non existent for the last week, or even fortnight, and yet this is supposed to be what my retirement is all about. I had better conserve my energy in some mysterious way so I can enjoy an evening out tonight !
Tuesday 15th August  2017

 08:22 BST

  It was nice yesterday. The weather had a sort of cheeriness to it, or it did until mid afternoon. As the forecast suggested, we lost the nice sunshine sometime after 3pm, but it still seemed fairly bright outside. I reckon the temperature just touched 23° C for a while. Rain was forecast for 7pm, and I think there was a brief splash of rain at some point in the evening, but it was probably later than 7pm, and it made very little impression.
duller than yesterday, but still warm
  Today's weather seems to be the inverse of yesterday in as much as the afternoon will be bright and sunny, and the morning rather dull. After the dull morning I fear that the afternoon heat may feel rather sticky, but maybe it won't feel too bad. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be very similar to today, although with the sunshine starting a little earlier. You might think the extra sunshine would make it a warmer day, but apparently it will actually be one degree cooler !

 The big thing yesterday was going back to work. It was both a good and bad experience. Getting there to work was straightforward, although my train from Waterloo did seem to leave about a minute late. I expected it to be an almost enjoyable day, and in some respects it was. I was doing it on my own terms, and so I could feel relaxed about it. That might have been a mistake !

 The work was quite intense, and I haven't worked so hard in ages ! To make matters worse I had to do it with no music ! I knew it was going to be used by a new intern in the development office, but I had hoped my old PC might still be in my office with all my music still on it (I deleted everything else), but no, it was gone, and I had to work almost non stop for 4 hours in silence !

 The idea that the work would take one day was a rather optimistic guess by my old manager (or whoever). By working almost non stop, with only one break for a wee, I managed to do half the job before I downed tools and headed for home. Admittedly I did leave 10 minutes earlier, but the timing seemed right.

 It was nice to get out into the sunshine, and head for home. In theory it should have been a nice leisurely journey home, but I didn't seem to go any slower when walking to the station, and when I arrived at Waterloo I found I only had minutes to race across the link to get the next train back to Catford Bridge. If I had missed it, which, by the skin of my teeth I didn't, I would have faced a 15 minute wait for the next on. I know 15 minutes is not terrible but......

 Once back in Catford I went to Tesco to buy, amongst other things, a bottle of Ballantines Irish whiskey. I saw it in Tesco a few days ago, and I got curious. I sometimes think I might prefer Irish whiskey to Scottish whisky. Maybe it is just my taste changing, but it seems like there is a trend to make Scottish whiskies ever more peaty and smoky flavoured. The Ballantines whiskey I bought seemed to taste quite nice.

 I also bought some fruit and a couple of sandwiches in Tesco. I ate the sandwiches very soon after I got home, and they seemed just the thing to make me feel very sleepy. I had not slept very well on Sunday night, and while I didn't feel tired while I was at work, I felt realy, really tired after eating those sandwiches. It wasn't long before I was laying on my bed fast asleep. I am unsure how long I slept for, but I reckon it was a good hour before I was woken up by a phone call. It was Angela, and it was the first time we had spoken in a fortnight (almost). It was nice to hear from her, but it was a very short call, and I am sure she wanted to say more, but couldn't.

 I did very little of note for the rest of the evening, and by 10pm I was in bed. About 10 minutes later I was fast asleep. I seemed to sleep quite well last night, and I think I almost feel refreshed this morning. I also seem to feel closer to good than I have for ages. Of course "closer to good" should not be taken to mean actually good. I could soon find some aces and pains if I looked for them !

 Very soon now it will be time to get dressed to go and do another half days work. There are reports of points problems on the trains in and out of Waterloo this morning, and I am hoping my journey won't be too disrupted. Four hours after I start I will have earned another days pay for my retirement. The only problem is that it seems I will be taxed at the emergency tax rate, and I won't get the difference back until, I am assured, the start of the next tax year in April next year. I am told this should happen automatically, but I still live in fear of having to get in contact with the tax man !

Monday 14th August  2017
 08:05 BST

  The forecast said we would lose the sunshine from about 4pm onwards yesterday, but I am not sure if we did or didn't. The whole day seemed bright even when it wasn't sunny, and once the day warmed up it was pleasant without being hot. I don't think the temperature got above the forecast 21° C, but maybe it touched 22° C for a few minutes.
                  like a reasonable day
  Apart from the rather cool start (12° C !!), and the possibility of rain at 7pm, today is looking fairly reasonable. A bit more.....OK, a lot more sunshine would be desirable, but 22° C is fair enough, and there is a chance it might hot 23° C. Tomorrow, if the forecast hold good (dubious !) should see extra sunshine, and a more definite chance of the temperature hitting 23° C.

  Yesterday was one of those odd days when nothing really happened the way you thought it might. There are two things I didn't do that I thought I might do. The first was doing the final photo editing of my Petts Woodstock photos. I have just one more band to deal with - The Kristian Baker band. The other thing I didn't do was go to the Chain gig in West Wickham. The reason for that was because there were no trains going to West Wickham, and I just could not be bothered to mess around on buses.

 So what did I do ? Well I did a little bit of this and a little bit of that. I decided that yesterday was the day that I should put my old collection of mobile phones on charge. I was prompted to do this after one of my old phones decided it's battery was almost flat, and gave a loud buzzing sound in the drawer next to my right knee. It sounded like a hornet was trapped inside that drawer for a second, but I quickly realised what it must have been. It does seem that I have got through quite a few Android phones in the last 5 or 6 years. Some have lasted a long time, and some have quickly been replaced. The funny thing is, I have yet to find the perfect phone. My current phone is almost perfect, but the camera lets it down. The Sony phone I tried a year or so ago had a wonderful camera, but everything else about it really annoyed me. For the curious, my current phone is a cheap (about £119 if I recall correctly) Chinese phone that runs almost pure unadulterated Android. It is made my a company called Cubot, and the model is called "Dinosaur" !

 Tending to my old phones took a few minutes here, and a few minutes there over several hours, but mostly they just got on charging by themselves. The thing that took the longest time to do yesterday was transferring more files from old CDs and DVDs to a hard disk. I think I transferred the files, all video files, from about 20 disks. It could have been a boring process, but watching a few episodes of UFO, Gerry Anderson's live action with realistic models TV series about a secret organisation called SHADO who track and destroy UFOs, helped pass the time rather well.

 All the disks I was transferring were in the living room, and it was part of my ongoing decluttering exercise that aims to get the contents of that room down to a minimum, and hopefully make redecoration easier....or maybe possible. I went further than just moving towards getting rid of another case of CD and DVD disks. I also cleared another small space. I had a cardboard box that was full of old railway leaflets. There was some semi-historical stuff in there that would have looked good in a museum at some unknown time in the future, but there were two problems with that idea.

 The first problem impinges on the second. That first problem is a lack of transport to take it anywhere. The second is that years ago that box was commandeered by my old cat who used to sleep on top of the paperwork. The lower layers were probably OK, but the top was covered in dust, fur, drool, muddy paw prints, and other detritus. I did save a couple of items, but I decided the best thing to do was to tip the whole lot in the recycling bin. That allowed me to reshuffle a few other things, and another half square yard of floor was revealed. The only really serious thing I have to deal with in the living room now is a big bag containing two Amiga computers. They are old, back from the days of the ZX Spectrum etc, but they were real computers with an almost reasonable graphical desktop controlled by a mouse. I never owned one at the time, but I found the two I have now in a skip along with lots of software and stuff. It is a long term aim to get one or other up and running.

 I had a good half nights sleep last night, and didn't sleep for the other half. Strangely enough I feel OK for it at the moment. It has sort of happened at an inconvenient time, but maybe it won't be so bad. The reason for it possibly being a bad thing is because I am back at work today. It seems that there are things I could do for my old employer that they cannot yet duplicate. I really ought to charge more for my services ! There are no peak hours train to and from Earlsfield station, and so instead of doing just one day I am doing two half days. I'll be getting the first train after 9.30 am from Catford Bridge (when I can first use my 60+ Oyster card for free travel on National rail), and that will get me to Waterloo in time for the first trains to run to Earlsfield. I anticipate leaving work at about 2.30pm - well in advance of when the trains from Earlsfield stop running at approx 4.30pm.
Sunday 13th August  2017
 08:44 BST

  I think that yesterday was sunnier, quite a bit more sunnier than the forecast said it would be. Having said that, there were still a lot of big clouds in the sky. I think the forecast for 20° C was probably about right, although there were a few times when I wondered if it might have been a degree or two higher.
a nice
                  bright start to the day
  Today has already started bright and clear, and I guess 14° C is not too terrible as a start. It's a shame that it looks like we will lose the sun sometime around 3pm, but maybe reality will be different. 21° C is acceptable, but I'd wish for more in mid August. Tomorrow is forecast to have a very similar temperature profile, but the sky will be overcast all day.
Update: The very latest forecast extends the sunshine for an extra hour (although the last two hours, until 4pm, will only see sunny intervals).

  I followed through on my intention of going to "Priory Live", an alleged music festival in Priory Gardens in Orpington. To be truthful, there was music being played on two stages, an acoustic stage, and an electric stage, but not while I was there ! There are three ways of getting to Priory Gardens. The very worst is to endure a whole hour, or more, on a 208 bus direct from Catford. The second worse is to get a train from Catford to Bromley South. Change for a train to Orpington, and then catch a bus from one end of Orpington to the other end. The third way is one I discovered back in the days when the gig was called "Party In The Priory" - probably about 5 years ago ! It is to get a train direct from Catford station to St Mary Cray station, and then get any of three different buses to a stop close to the entrance of the park. It takes about 10 minutes on the bus, and with three frequent buses the average wait is only about 5 minutes.

 When I arrived at the gig it was rather dead. The electric stage was up and ready for use, but no one was using it. There were quite a lot of people sunning themselves on the grass, and loads of stall were selling loads of different ethnic foods. As is typical at these events, there were assorted fairground rides for the kiddies. Eventually a solo singer got up on the big stage with his acoustic guitar and started singing. He failed to engage my enthusiasm, and so I wandered off to look at the duck and geese at the nearby ponds.
goose taking off
I took quite a few pictures of static birds, but with a bit of patience I managed to take this picture of a goose taking off from the water. It's not perfectly focussed, but I reckon it's sharp enough to show publicly. (I took some that were very much worse !)
two swans
There were a few nice swans on the ponds as well as the geese and ducks. With a bit of photo trickery I have managed to reproduce a famous image, although I can't remember the source of the original picture I have re-produced - an advert maybe ? I have an idea that the original picture I am thinking of may have had even more photo trickery to make the heart shape of the two necks and breasts even more heart shaped,

 After my wildlife photography I wandered back to the gig, and the solo singer was just finishing his set. I amused myself by taking pictures of all the food stalls, the portaloos, and general crowd scenes, but nothing seemed to be happening on the stage. If I had some company I might not have got bored so quickly, but I was on my own, and I felt I had seen everything there was to see. So I went home again. I did hear later reports that there was some good music on, and if I had had the stamina to stay to the very end, at about sunset, there were some spectacular fireworks promised.

 Once I was back home I had something that approximated to breakfast, and got on with going through the pictures I had taken the previous Saturday at Petts Woodstock. I have now done all but one band, and I am expecting to do their pictures today....although I am having thoughts about going out for a few hours to catch a bit of sunshine. By 6pm, or was it 7pm, I was starting to feel quite strongly about food, and I was contemplating ordering a takeaway. I was saved from that by a ring on my door bell. It was my next door neighbour, and she had some Thai food for me. It's been ages since she last offered me some, and I thought that now the minor inconvenience of the building work had finished she would not be giving me any more, but evidently I was wrong. It was lovely pork penang with rice.

 I guess it was the fresh air earlier in the day that was responsible for me getting a much better sleep last night...or maybe I was just exhausted after getting a lousy sleep the night before. I woke up a few times after 5am, but each time I manged to get back to sleep with little difficulty until I woke up around 7.30am. I couldn't seem to get back to sleep after that, and while I am still not washed and dressed even now, I sort of got up then. I feel moderately OK this morning, at least I think I do.

 I think there are four things I might do today. One is to get some shopping from either Aldi or Tesco. Maybe Tesco because I still have money on my soon to be discontinued "Clubcard Plus". I am tempted to go out in the sunshine. Maybe I'll take a train to somewhere, although my choice is limited in that respect because there are no trains from Catford Bridge station today. There are trains from Catford station. I ought to try and do something with the pictures I took of the last band I saw at Petts Woodstock - The Kristian Baker Band. I had never seen them before, and I have no idea who they are, and I wasn't terribly excited by their music, but I ought to do their photos as a matter of completion.

 Finally there is an acoustic gig on at The Wheatsheaf pub in West Wickham tonight. It starts at 6pm if I recall correctly, and it is a Chain gig. Getting there could be an arse with no trains to West Wickham, but if I was really keen I could get a 54 bus all the way to Elmers End, and then a 194 bus all the way up the hill, and along the main road to practically outside the pub. Having thought about that I suddenly feel less keen to go, but you never know....

 Tomorrow morning I am back at work ! It is only for two half days, and I won't be getting to the station until I can use my free 60+ Oyster card to travel at 9.30am. I estimate I'll be home again by 3pm. If there were early morning trains to Earlsfield I would have gone in at my usual early hour and get it over and done with, but two half days doesn't seem too bad. I wonder how long it will before the next emergency, and I get a call pleading with me to rejoin the company again for a day or two ?
Saturday 12th August  2017
 10:42 BST

  Just for a change the weather forecast for yesterday was just about right. It was a nice sunny day with temperatures hitting 21° C in the late afternoon. There was even the forecast splash of rain sometime around 9pm.
disappointing compared to yesterday
  At the moment we are having some unscheduled sunshine ! The forecast for today doesn't look terribly exciting. It is supposed to be lightly overcast for most of the day, and the temperature should be 20° C. I hope that it is a slightly pessimistic forecast, and reality will be better. The unscheduled sunshine, which admittedly is only coming in 2 minute packets, gives some cause for optimism. Tomorrow looks like it could be similar to yesterday - which would be nice.

  I had some thoughts about going out somewhere yesterday, and I did get close to it at one point. The only idea I had was to get a train into London, and maybe get on a tube train to wherever it was going. One the one hand I am sort of glad I didn't because I was not feeling very dynamic yesterday. On the other hand I wish I had gone out because that is exactly the sort of thing I ought to have done to help me feel more dynamic today.

 All I actually did, in terms of going out, was to go the Pound Shop on the high street, and also wander along to the pawn shop to see if they had any interesting cameras or stuff in there. They did have a few small cameras, and if I was still earning a full wage I might have been tempted to add to my collection of pocket cameras, but I resisted the temptation. The funny thing about that little walk (maybe 20 minutes in all) is that I felt sluggish when I started, and sluggish when I finished, but there was 5 minutes in the middle when I felt quite good.

 My visit to the Pound Shop resulted in me buying some stuff that I really should not have bought. Stuff with excess sugar or excess fat, and which is hard to resist. I did resist most of it most of the time. For instance my lunch was just boiled spring greens and runner beans in stock - very healthy, and, as it turned out, very horrible ! Well, maybe not horrible, but those greens were rather more bitter than I anticipated. I still have some more to use, and I think I'll use them a bit more sparingly.

 Once again, much of my day was spent in front of my PC editing photos. I don't know why it's taking so long to get through the photos I took at Petts Woodstock....or maybe I do. I did take a hell of a lot of photos, but then again I did see 10 different bands ! One of the good things is that the photos I took on the indoor stage were better than I least some were. One thing I had not really considered was that there were two different styles of image. The pictures of the outdoor stage were supposed to be clear and sharp, but not spectacular. On the indoor stage it was a very colourful look, and it were the colours and deep contrast that were spectacular. At least that is what I kept telling myself.
This is Estrangor on the inside stage - bright and colourful, but not much detail.
Shenanigans with lens flare (and an artificial spotlight).
Click this picture, or the one above for a 1280x720 sized image in a new tab or window.

 I was supposed to go out last night. Chain were playing in Beckenham, but I had got so bogged down photo editing that I left it too late to go out. Not only that but to sustain me through the photo editing process, which while it can be very satisfying, can also be a huge bore when doing it in industrial quantities, I realised I was on my third very large whisky, and had also too many snack. So I stayed in doing more photo editing !

 It was probably the last snack I had, which might also have been classified as my dinner for the evening, that probably caused me to have a very bad night because it was a very bad meal ! It consisted of slices of bacon flavoured spam like stuff with two small packets of plain crisps and a lot of grated mature cheddar cheese melted over it all. It was hideously unhealthy, but also very, very nice ! The trouble was that I ate it late in the evening (by my usual standards for an evening meal), and it gave me indigestion.

 I went to bed feeling a bit uncomfortable, and it took me some time to get to sleep. At 2 am, possibly as little as an hour after getting to sleep, I woke up feeling a bit acidy. To make matters even worse I turned over too quickly, or carelessly, and crunched my "twisted ribs". I took some "Settlers" and they calmed down my stomach, but my chest still gave me a lot of discomfort. If I laid on my right side it felt quite painful, and if I laid on my left side it was less painful, but still painful. If I laid on my back, my back hurt, but worst of all was the crunchy, possibly bone against bone, sound and feeling whenever I breathed in and out, If I could have stopped breathing for the rest of the night I would probably have got away with it, but that is a bit tricky !

 I took a couple of Paracetamol tablets, and they eventually calmed things down, but while waiting for them to work I went to my PC and confirmed my worst fears - I still have untouched pictures from two more bands - G-Force and The Kristian Baker Band. Once they are done, and it could use up quite a few hours today, I should be finished with the Petts Woodstock pictures - except for selecting the very best of the best for a Flickr album.

 Sometime after 3am I got back to sleep, but I didn't seem to sleep well, and woke up quite a few times before finally deciding to get up at 8.30 am (at least I think that is when it was). Initially I didn't feel too good. My biggest complaint was a pain right across the very top of my chest - a pain made worse by doing things like moving my hands and arms around for things like brushing my hair. That pain seems to have cured itself for now, but I still feel rather stodgy. That stodginess is unfortunate because I planned to go to another outdoor gig today.

 Party In The Priory, or "Priory Live" as I think it is called this year, is on again in Priory Gardens in Orpington. I don't know anyone who is going, and I don't know any of the bands playing there, but it is free entry, and I thought I might drop by for an hour or two. I have done all my preparations to go out - I've washed me and my hair, and I've charged the battery in the camera I am taking  (My Canon 600D), and I've cleaned it's lenses - now all I have to do is to wait for the sun to come out again, and I'll be theory. To be truthful I am not feeling terribly keen to go, and I have to keep reminding myself that I'll probably feel good once I am moving.
Friday 11th August  2017
 09:21 BST

  It wasn't bad yesterday.....not that that means it was good ! It was dry, and that was good, and for an hour or two in the morning, and then again for a couple of hours in the evening, there was some pleasant sunshine, but the middle of the day was lightly overcast. It could have done with being a bit warmer too. 19° C may be shirtsleeve weather, but I wanted to cook !
almost like early or very late
                  summer/early autumn
  Today has started off very cool, but blue skies and a lot of sunshine will raise the temperature to a more acceptable 21° C. Sadly it will all be over by late afternoon, and it may well rain early this evening. Tomorrow could be described as similar apart from no sunshine and extra rain, but at least it will be (or might be) 21° C again.

  I was tempted to go out yesterday, but it seems duty came before pleasure. My duty, if it could be described as such, was to try and make more progress in doing something with all the pictures I took at Petts Woodstock last Saturday. I'm not sure why, but everything seemed to be in slow motion yesterday. I can't work out why it took so long to do so little, or to put it another way, I can't seem to account for how I passed so much time without having much to show for it.

 Anyhow, I managed to produce a small photo album of pictures of Big Red Bus performing on the indoor stage. The lighting in there was bright, but it was almost all backlighting. This made photography challenging. A further challenge was the amount of stage smoke/fog. That introduced a hazy glare that spoiled many photos. Maybe one in ten pictures were sort of usable, and they have been lauded on social media. Here's a couple of the best - the worst were really bad ! (These two pictures can be clicked for a larger view).
Big Red Bus
Geoff Paice
 At about 4.30pm I went out to get the train to Shortlands where the Thursday gang were drinking in The Shortlands Tavern. The train I caught was the 16:47 from Catford, and it had a minor novelty appeal. Most trains from Catford go to Sevenoaks, but in the rush hour a few (possibly even just one !) goes to Orpington, and I caught one such train. I don't recall if I have ever caught one before. It would be rather handy if more trains went directly to Orpington. In an ideal world we would have four train an hour from Catford, instead of just two, and half would go to Sevenoaks, and half to Orpington. Ah well, one can but dream !

 I thought I would be daring last night, and not rush home from the pub like I usually do (or did). This was partly because I had eaten earlier in the day. When I used to go straight from work I would be drinking on an empty stomach after fasting for 24 hours. Last night I stayed for four pints, and went home on the 20:02 train. I may have eaten earlier in the day, but four pints was still enough to warp my intentions, and once again I went home with a couple of chicken burgers.

 I didn't have a great time once I got home. I felt a bit tired, but not sleepy at all. I would have loved to go to sleep but my brain was in overdrive...or something. I was considering heaven and hell. My conclusion is that heaven is hell ! The place must be full of gurning Christians all happy and helping. It would be like waking up and finding yourself trapped in a Mormon church or something. Then there are the rest of the people. You spend your life avoiding many people because they are boring or irritating, and slowly they die off, but you get to heaven and there are the bastards again. They say you get to meet your mum and dad and relatives again. It would be nice to have a beer with my dad, and talk about thermodynamics or something, something I never had the chance to do before he died, but if the rumours are true there is no beer in heaven, and the laws of thermodynamics probably don't hold in such a place. There are so many other problems possible, but I'll only mention one more - I bet it is impossible to get a power chord out of a harp so there will be no decent music there. I think when I snuff it I prefer oblivion !

 All that philosophy kept me awake for a long time, but I finally got to sleep at some time past 1am. Maybe I had only slept for an hour when I had to get up for a pee. Now the really annoying thing about that is that I just know I was having a wonderful dream before I woke up. I can't remember a thing about it, but I feel certain that beer was a significant thing in that dream.

 Today I have similar choices to yesterday. I feel the urge to go out, but I also don't feel like do it. I feel in a state that I know all too well - I feel sort of vaguely ill right now, but I also know that once I get moving I could feel wonderful. There is also the pull of even more photos to edit. The next lot were taken on the outdoor stage, and should be easier to do, but even there the light was sort of funny. There is a very good photographer who has gone from amateur to pro over the last 3 or 4 years, and who I get inspiration from. I noticed his photos from the outside stage lack the "glitter" than he can usually impart on his photos. In fact he has posted a few that look rather amateurish - like they had been taken on a mobile phone. So maybe I am not too bothered if my own pictures look a bit flat.

 So at this very minute I have no idea if I will go out or stay in editing photos....A thought suddenly occurs to me....If I did stay in I could break up my photo editing with a few visits to the garden. One of my long term aims now I am retired (apart from going back to work on Monday and Tuesday for two half days) is to try and rehabilitate my garden. If I could fight my way through all the spider webs (is it autumn already ?) I could slash down some more weeds and brambles, and uncover a small area of bare earth...maybe.

 Then there is tonight. Chain are playing a semi acoustic set in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. I would like to go and take a look, but for some reason I don't feel that enthusiastic about it right now.
Thursday 10th August  2017
 10:12 BST

  It is possible to sum up yesterday's weather in one word - foul !! It rained and it rained and it rained, and when it wasn't raining it was raining heavier than before. There was no thunder and lightning, and maybe that was a positive thing, or maybe it was just an inconsequential observation. Oh, and it was rather too cool too - probably more like November than August. Today we are offered a little relief, but is still doesn't seem like summer to me.
rather better than
                  yesterday, but still very poor for a summer's day
  As I write this there is some feeble sunshine. The sun has forced a small misty aperture in the thin white clouds that dominate the sky. It seems much of today is going to be fairly bright, but actual sunshine is still going to be at a premium. With luck there might actually be a lot more sunshine than the forecast admits to - just like last Tuesday. At least it looks certain that the temperature will get as high as 19° C. Once again it seems more suited to early Autumn than summer, but it is an improvement on yesterday. Tomorrow should be dry again, and the morning is shown as very sunny, but the current prediction is that it will cloud over in the afternoon.

 With the weather being do foul it was hard to be inspired to do anything yesterday, but I managed a few things. I think I mentioned yesterday that I washed a few shirts first thing in the morning. It was one thing to wash them, but another thing to get them dry again. I hung them on a clothes horse in the back bedroom, and had to resort to using a fan heater on low to get them dry. Having a fan heater on, even on low, in August seemed quite extravagant, but obviously no one told the weather Gods that ! Fortunately the heat didn't go to waste - it kept me warm too !

 There were a couple of things I did on impulse. One was to get dressed for the great outdoors, and do a bit of shopping in the pouring rain. Under the carefully controlled conditions of it being a short walk with warmth and dryness at the end, it was sort of exhilarating to defy the weather Gods and set forth into the tempest. It was also a useful test of an old pair of boots that have seen far too little wear considering their age. The problem with me and boots always seems to be that my socks get rucked up inside the boot, and make walking really uncomfortable. I discovered that it was more comfortable to not wear socks when wearing many types of shoes (and agony in certain types that have rough interior surfaces that grind away at my living skin). I wasn't sure how I would fare in those boots, but they seemed mostly harmless for a 15 minute walk. There was no blood, redness, or any particular soreness. I think I have my winter boots selected.
new net curtains
 Another impulsive thing I did was to put up new net curtains in my bedroom. I have to be honest and say that the old ones were in a pretty poor state. They had been hanging unwashed for years - back when I had a cat, who ripped them in several places, and back when I smoked heavily. So they were torn, dusty, smelly, and more ! The new curtains were originally delivered to work when I was working, and I was going to wait until I could move a lot of clutter (including my web server box - which of course I try to keep live 24 hours a day) and wash the windows before putting up the new curtains. I guess window washing has now been put off until some indefinite date in the future.

 The only other productive thing I did yesterday (reading and snoozing probably doesn't count) was photo editing, and I managed to do quite a lot of it. I should probably show more of my efforts here, but the pictures have been shared with the relevant bands for use on their social media pages. So far retirement hasn't been going quite how I imagined it, but at least I haven't really been bored yet (except maybe a few minutes here and there). Of course I haven't really retired yet !

 Yesterday afternoon I got a call from my old manager, and he asked if I had been serious when I casually remarked that if they got into trouble they could always try calling me, and I might consider popping in to help. Well it seems they have their first trouble. They have an urgent need for someone to do a very small modification to 90 circuit boards - and do it to production quality. It seems incredible but I am the only person they know capable of doing it. They estimate it will be about a days work. I have my doubts about that, but time will tell.

 So on Monday and Tuesday I will be going back to work for two half days. I must confess I would prefer to do it in just one full day, but there is the problem with the trains while Waterloo station is rebuilt. The timing of my resignation was because there are no peak time trains to Earlsfield station until the end of August. I think the first train to Earlsfield will be about 10am, and the last leaves at approx 4.30pm. One useful thing about the late start is that I'll be able to use my 60+ Oyster card for free travel.

 Lst night was good ! Maybe it was just exhaustion or something, but it seems I got a decent night's sleep last night. I read in bed to a little after 11pm, and then after turning out the lights I was fast asleep in 10 minutes or less. I have the vaguest recollection of waking up once in the night. That might even have been a dream, but it was no dream when I woke up at 5am. Fortunately I was able to get back to sleep again after a visit to the toilet, and I think it was around 8am when I finally got up properly this morning.

 I don't really know what I am doing today, or at least until this evening. I did have some thoughts about going out somewhere today, but I seem to have left it a bit late to go anywhere too far afield. This evening I'll be drinking with the Thursday night gang as usual. I might even dare stay out a bit later and have an extra pint with them tonight ! I still have loads of pictures from Petts Woodstock to consider, and maybe I should use the day to have a go at them. The next pictures I have to consider were taken of the indoor stage, and they may need a lot of careful work to make them, or at least a few of them, presentable !
Wednesday 9th August  2017
 12:51 BST

  The forecast said that yesterday's weather would not be very nice, and it was wrong. Not completely wrong though. There were periods when it was rather overcast, but there were also more periods when it was sunny. In fact, by 2pm the clouds, some of which were rather dark and heavy, had broken up enough to allow many sunny periods. At 3pm it was supposed to start raining - it didn't - it became even sunnier. From then on, instead of the forecast rain there was some nice sunshine. From time to time the sun was lost behind a cloud, but it stayed dry until this morning. It is even possible that the temperature exceeded the forecast 17° C by a good couple of degrees.
the forecast says rain, and it has
                  certainly rained !!
  Today the forecast is almost perfectly correct ! It says rain, and it has been, and continues to rain. In yesterday's version of the forecast for today it mentioned thunder and lightning, but none is shown in the latest forecast, and it doesn't feel quite right for it at the moment anyway. Once again, I think the forecast temperature may be a degree or so lower than the actual temperature, although it is low enough to feel rather cool. Tomorrow is looking brighter, and warmer too.

 Yesterday was one of my more busy days. I was doing the sort of stuff that my retirement was for. Some would say that I went out train spotting, but it was more complex than that. Before I embarked on the main amusement of the day I walked to the pharmacy to see if there was an automatically generated repeat prescription for me. There was, but it hadn't been made up, and I said I would be back in a few hours to pick it up.

 After I got home again I grabbed my Nikon P500 camera (it's a "bridge" camera, rather than one of my DSLR cameras, and it works very well in automatic mode). Then, camera in hand, I walked to Catford Bridge station to get a train to Waterloo East. My mission was to see the chaos as Waterloo (mainline) station is rebuilt/remodelled, and to have a look at the old International platforms. I did more than that, but that was my prime objective.

 Before I left home I checked the National Rail web site for departures from Waterloo, and found a signalling problem, and a more distant points problem had made the chaos seemingly much worse. I'm not sure why, but is always seems that problems on the South West Trains network are predicted to last a lot longer than is usually the case. Yesterday the disruption was predicted to last until almost the evening, and yet trains were starting to run normally by 1pm.

 When I got to Waterloo I found that, as expected, the low numbered platforms were out of use, but the old International platforms, 21 to 24, were in use, and I was able to explore along the length of platforms 23/24 under the award winning train shed canopy. I then jumped on the train at platform 24, and travelled as afar as Clapham Junction on it. At Clapham Junction I changed trains for a train to Earlsfield. There are no peak hour trains to Earlsfield for the rest of this month, and this fact was instrumental in choosing my retirement date. There are off-peak train though, and I thought I would go and have a quick look.

 A few photos later and I was on a train going back to Clapham Junction. At Clapham Junction I changed trains again, but this time to a London Overground train to Denmark Hill station. Those trains run every 15 minutes, and if you choose the wrong one there is a very long wait (~25 mins) for a connecting train back to Catford - and I chose the wrong train ! Well of course I didn't actually choose it - it just happened to be the first train there was.
The entrance to
                    the old international platforms
The new passage from Waterloo station concourse to the old international platforms.
information displays for platforms 21 - 24
Destination displays and first look at the award winning roof.
class 455 train in platform 24
Class 455 train (4558066) in platform 24. I used this train to get to Clapham Junction.
class 458 trains in platforms 21 and 22
Two class 458 trains in platforms 21 and 22
exit from Earlsfield station
A message above the exit of Earlsfield station. Unfortunately it is all lies. There is no fresh air outside - it is a main road with (often) heavy traffic. There is no laughter either - particularly when going to work - as I did for about 9 years from Earlsfield station.

 You can click on any of the above pictures for larger versions. One of several reasons to go to Earlsfield station was to take a snap of the message above the way out. It's been there since the station was refurbished 5 (?) years ago, and I had never stopped to take a snap of it on my way to work. It had to wait until I had quite work, and didn't have any better reason to re-visit Earlsfield station.

 All this dashing about on various railway stations was good exercise, and ultimately I felt much better for doing least I think I did. One problem I had while actually doing it was a nasty little pain that was like a stitch. It started off on my left side just about the point when the ribs end, and it appeared to slowly shift position to end up a hands width above my belly button...and then it just faded away. It was very mechanical in nature, and was most easily provoked while going down stairs, but could also be quite painful when walking on the flat.

 It had reached it's final position when I got back to Catford, and it was going down the stairs at Catford station that inflamed it after it had gone dormant while sitting on the train.  It was often really quite painful, but not so bad that I didn't embark on some extra walking. I walked from Catford station, via the main roads to the pharmacy where my repeat prescription was ready for me to pick up. It was somewhere on that 10 - 15 minute walk that the pain faded away, never to return...well not yet, anyway.

 Once I got home I prepared what was basically a very big, but very low naughtiness, dinner. It was essentially a green vegetable stew - loads of fibre, and not that much else. It was initially very filling, but as the bulk of it was just stock it drained away pretty fast. Several pints of hot stock had the almost instant laxative effect that is one of the unfortunate side effects of such a meal (where instant was probably slightly in excess of 90 minutes).

 I felt I had achieved something yesterday evening, and I thought I felt tired, but neither was good enough to shut my brain up. I think it was gone 2am before I fell asleep, and even then I didn't sleep well. I had a lot on my mind, and while I can't remember the dreams, I can remember thinking that those things on my mind definitely influenced my dreams. The dreams didn't directly reflect reality, but the negative themes in them reflected my mood.

 This morning I have been ultra lazy, but I have done one good thing, and one bad thing. The good thing was simply hand washing a couple of shirts and underwear. The bad thing was opening a jar of lime pickle. That stuff is so moreish that I could not help myself finding other stuff I could eat with it as well as the chunk of cheese I originally opened it for.

 I'm not sure what I will do next. The heavy rain means it is most doubtful that I'll be going out anywhere. What I ought to do is to get cracking on more of the photos I took at Petts Woodstock, but I have a funny feeling I am going to lay on my bed, read a page or two of the book I am reading, and then have snooze - preferably a long snooze !
Tuesday 8th August  2017
 08:58 BST

  Contrary to what the weather forecast predicted, there was some sunshine yesterday, but you might have missed it if you blinked ! As far as I am aware, the rain that was forecast for a few hours after 9pm didn't fall, and the ground looks dry this morning. Generally speaking, yesterday was a dismal day that failed to raise the spirits. The best I can really say is that it wasn't cold.
another flat grey
  I find it hard to raise any enthusiasm about today's weather. 17° C seems very poor for August, but that is the best that is predicted for today. I can't see any breaks in the cloud at the moment, and while the sky is bright-ish, the idea that there may be some sunny spells any time in the next 2 hours seems highly optimistic !  Any out door adventures will have to finish by 3pm today when rain might (or like yesterday, might not) fall. It's looking like the forecast for tomorrow is getting worse. The forecasters have added thunder and lightning to their prediction, and added a weather warning for torrential rain and flash floods !

  One of the things about retiring was that I would have loads of time on my hands. If you discount late evening, when I am starting to run down prior to bed time, I do find I have odd minutes spare. Otherwise I seem to be really busy doing nothing...or at least achieving almost nothing. Yesterday I mentioned that I had washed some shirts in the morning, and that was one thing I did. It was probably around midday that I got dressed properly and went to Aldi. It was nice to stretch my legs, although it is debatable that I really needed to go shopping. Some spare toilet paper was useful, but not essential, and some extra bottles of sugar free cola was handy.

 The sandwiches I bought were nice, but maybe a bit of a luxury, and definitely incompatible with my attempt to eat far less. This was also true of the lime and chilli glazed chicken wings I bought. It's probably a shame that I could not fit them in my freezer for a rainy day. Eating them was most enjoyable even if I did over cook them a bit ! The trouble was that they distracted me from all the healthy brocolli and other vegetables I was intending to eat !

 The one thing that took up much of the day was photo editing. In some ways it was worse than being at work, although the two are hardly comparable. It was definitely more work than I used to do on many days at work, and doing it at home brought more distractions. Anyway, I finally pulled my finger out, and went through all the pictures I took of Chain performing at Petts Woodstock. I thought I ought to prioritise Chain because of Jo who both fronts Chain, and organises Petts Woodstock - and was kind enough to give me the "access all areas" pass.
Chain on the
                    outdoor stage
 One of the things that now makes photo editing such a slow process for me now is all the "artistic embellishments" I tend to add now I am getting more and more practice with my photo editor of choice - The Gimp. For instance, in the photo below (which. like the other three, and the photo above, you can click to see a double sized version) it took some time to try and get the contrast just right to make Jo stand out from the smoke, and yet still seem to be encased in smoke. I also converted the picture to monochrome and added a smoky blue tint. Many of the pictures were taken in broad daylight, and so shouldn't have need much change, and yet most needed some careful cropping, and some selective dodging and burning to reveal of hide detail in the shadows. Sometimes I feel I've fallen into the trap of the more you can do, the more you want to do - even when much of it is probably not needed. On the other hand, you have to do something to justify not just using pictures straight off a mobile phone - many of which can be excellent on modern phones !

Chain on the outdoor stage Jo Corteen
Chris Mayer Smoky Jo

 These five pictures represent a small proportion of the pictures I took of Chain. I still have loads of pictures to process of the other bands I saw. The pictures taken on the inside stage are going to be a real challenge ! It was dark in there, but with a lot of very bright back lighting. My camera was struggling to focus, and I was struggling to see what I was doing ! I'll be surprised if one picture in 50 is going to be usable ! Later today, probably while it is raining, I'll make a start on M.T. Pockets. They were performing on the outside stage, and I should be able to find qite a few usable pictures of them.

 There are two things I should be doing the morning. The important one is to pop along to the pharmacy to see if my repeat prescription has been auto-generated like it was last time, or if not  to log onto my doctors web site and order a new repeat prescription. I have actually run out of most of the drugs I take - and I took the last of them up to two days ago. I guess I should prioritise getting new supplies. The other thing I want to do is to go to Waterloo and see what is happening with the great station rebuild !
Monday 7th August  2017
 10:51 BST

  There has been an assortment of weather in the last couple of days. Saturday's weather was more important than any because of the outdoor stage at Petts Woodstock. The forecast got the ingredients right, but the quantities were wrong, as were the timings. There was a thunderstorm with the obvious torrential rain, that started just as I arrived at Catford station on my way to Petts Wood. That was at approx 1.30pm. I was told there had been a torrential downpour just before I arrived, and it was bad enough to trip the electrics to the outdoor stage. There was probably about an hour of no rain, but grey skies, and that was followed by another torrential downpour, but no thunder and lightning. After that the sun came out, and it was probably sunny until sunset.
a sea of
The picture above shows a sea of umbrellas in front of the main stage.
Click the picture for a bigger view in a new tab or window.

 Yesterday's weather was nothing spectacular. On the whole it was a bit grey, but I seem to recall that was at least one light shower, and the sun did manage to come out for a few brief sessions. It wasn't hot and it wasn't cold. It wasn't wet and it wasn't dry. It was just sort of grey.......
unexciting weather
  Today's weather is forecast to be very unexciting - but worse than yesterday ! As I write this we have just had an unscheduled very brief, very light shower, and the sky is doing it's best to be a little bit bright, but overall it is looking to be a horrible grey day. Maybe that is a good thing because I have a lot of indoor work to do, but I would like to get out and stretch my legs too. At least it isn't going to be cold - just rather cool. Tomorrow is currently looking like it could be almost cold and wet, but maybe there will be a few minutes of sunshine. I did not retire for this weather !

 The most significant thing in the last couple of days was undoubtedly Petts Woodstock. There was a magnificent selection of bands playing alternately on the indoor and outdoor stages. That meant there was continuous music being played, and continuous photography to do. I was privileged to get an "access all areas" pass so I didn't have to drown in the huge audience. I doubt I would have gone without that pass. Even so, with access to places where I could sit down in relative peace (I didn't) plus proper indoor toilets, I found myself flagging after being there for 5 hours.

 The last straw was after the last band finished on the outdoor stage the sound engineer started playing some really horrible, really loud, really ear bashing, rave music. That seemed like my cue to leave. It was fortunate that I had seen almost all the bands that really interested me. Maybe I might have got my second wind, but it was also a fortunate time to leave when I realised I was more knackered than I thought. To get the the platforms at Petts Wood station you have to go up and over the railway lines on a footbridge. As I started going up that footbridge I felt completely knackered. I recovered a little when I got back to Catford, but I still didn't have any enthusiasm to do anything for the rest of the evening.

 One curious thing about my journey to Petts Wood was the first train I caught from Catford station. It was a Sevenoaks service, and I intended to take it as far as Shortlands station where I would change to an Orpington service that calls at Petts Wood. I knew where the train was going, and so did the driver, but the train's little brain had suffered some sort of stroke !
corrupt information in a
                  class 700 thameslink train
As you can see, the train's poor little brain thought it was going to Horsham (Calling at and Horsham !!). Horsham is a destination on the Thameslink network, but it is in Surrey (I think), and my train was heading to Kent ! Here's the offending train leaving Shortlands station where I changed trains for a service that would take me to Petts Wood station.
the offending train pulling out of Shortlands
 Despite feeling tired, I didn't go to bed very early on Saturday night. When I did go to bed I probably failed to sleep well because I felt stuffed after treating myself to a large takeaway - which was the highlight of my evening.  The good thing was that despite a slightly restless night I managed to keep going back to bed, and getting back to sleep until 10am. If I could have done that in one non stop sleep I may have felt wonderful on Sunday - and maybe I would have if I didn't also feel rather depressed  at the same time.

 There were an assortment of reasons for feeling depressed, and it was really only the combination of them that was so bad. I am not sure if one reason was cause or effect, but it was to do with the pictures I took at Petts Woodstock. Having spent so much time selecting and editing the photos I had taken the previous weekend at Chattfest, I couldn't face the idea of spending hours and hours and hours doing anything with the Petts Woodstock photos. I'll have to do something with them soon, and maybe soon is today, but yesterday I decided to do other stuff.

 One of my first tasks was a bit of mindless, but distracting, and also sort of satisfying, hand laundry. Then I played around with a couple of ancient laptops I have laying about the place. It is my intention that one of those laptops will be put into useful employment as a new, hopefully lower power, and definitely more compact firewall. (My current firewall is a big old desktop PC with specialised software on it). I didn't actually do any work to further that idea, but I think I have selected which ancient laptop is going to have the privilege.

 There is one thing I did that used up many, many hours. It was the continuation of a project I started a little while ago. It was/is all to do with de-cluttering my living room in long term preparation for an eventual project to re-decorate the room. What I did yesterday did not make a huge difference, but it helped, and while it was going on I did do just a tiny bit extra tidying up. I have several large "book-style" CD/DVD containers, and each can take something like 96 disks ! Apart from about three disks, I have now "decanted" all the mp3 files of a huge heap of CDR disks onto one tiny little memory stick.
all on one little USB
                      memory stick
 The old dusty case is on the left. To the right of it is the little memory stick that will be able to "consume" several CD cases like this one. Also in shot is an extra large rum and coke. I had quite a few of those to sustain me through the tedious process. I should add that I won't be trusting that USB memory stick to hold all those files by itself. I'll be making a back up of it on a second drive. As I mentioned, during the long waits for data to be copied off the CDR disks, I did a little bit more tidying up. It is hardly noticeable now, but it does pave the way for more notable changes. I can now almost get to a large cardboard box that contains lots of memorabilia, and I think I might throw almost all of it away. As it is all paper I can put it in the recycling bin - there is always space in that bin. One final thing I did last night was to watch a bit of TV. I haven't really watched any, specially actually on my TV for what seems like ages now. Luckily I found an episode or two of The Simpsons on one channel that amused me for a bit, and a couple of old episodes of Mash that provided a bit more distraction.

 Then it was time for bed, and I couldn't get to sleep for ages ! One thing that has been on my mind all weekend is Angela, and her recent reluctance to respond to me. I know what the problem is, and I have to keep believing that it will go away once enough time has passed after John's funeral - whenever that is. It is all terribly complicated, and I am probably a bit, or a lot mad, to think that it will all be OK in the end. In the meantime, being patient is killing me !

 The chances are that I fell asleep a few times before 3am this morning, but seems to be when I finally went to sleep sort of properly this morning. I think I got up for a pee once or twice, and I know I had some exciting, but of course rather weird dreams until I finally gave up trying to sleep at around 8am this morning. Since than I have washed a few t-shirts and a few other bits and pieces, and I have washed me and my hair. I have now almost finished writing this.

 What do I do next. If the day was going to be a bit brighter I had wanted to go out and have a look at the chaos at Waterloo station. We are now into the three week period where the station is being remodelled with longer platforms and stuff. It's the period of time when there are no peak hour services to Earlsfield station, and the inspiration for the timing of my retirement. I would like to see some of it, and of course to take photos, but in reality I am going to have to get stuck into playing with the photos I took Saturday. It's a shame really because staying in is making me feel peckish, and thinking about it is making me feel starving. I managed to be moderately careful about what I ate yesterday, but I am not sure I can do that today. Oh well, let's see what happens.
Saturday 5th August  2017
 11:00 BST

  Yesterday's weather was a great improvement on the day before, but it still wasn't to my satisfaction. There were some nice sunny periods, and it wasn't cold, but I would have liked it to be a bit warmer, and I would have much preferred it if there were no great big heavy looking clouds in the sky. Unfortunately I won't have that satisfaction today, but it could be worse.
rain is forecast for exactly the wrong time
  Above is the latest forecast, and below is the forecast for today as seen at about 4pm yesterday.

a wet afternoon
  The earlier screenshot of today's weather forecast (the lower picture) shows the rain starting at 3pm, and then continuing until 8pm. This morning the forecast had been updated (upper picture) to show the rain petering out at 5pm, although it is also shown as starting a couple of hours earlier. There is even a chance that today's rain may be more showery than torrential (although that is probably more wishful thinking than anything else). The temperature should be just high enough to be sort of comfortable, although I'll probably get nasty and sticky at times when I am forced to wear a raincoat. It ain't a great day for a semi outdoor music festival !

 I felt edgy yesterday, and I also felt ill. Not a specific illness - more like the aches and pains I am beginning to associate with rain the next day ! Plus I also felt tired and weary. The edginess was a mild form of depression....or maybe it was just disappointment that life wasn't better....or maybe it was the realisation that some of my darker predictions about how tedious some days of retirement would be were coming true.

 After doing a few useful things yesterday I spent the evening doing something useful but also quite tedious. As part of the clean up in my front room I had to move several cases of back up CDs I had burnt in the past. After so many years of sitting in the corner, gathering dust, I had forgotten what was on them. Yesterday evening I started to go through just one of three big cases of disks (each case probably holds in excess of 50 disks). It contained lots of music in mp3 form - mostly in the form of complete albums. I didn't even realise I had some of the albums, and I assume I acquired them by nefarious means a long time ago. It was a slow process copying them to a 32GB USB memory stick via a laptop. That memory stick will take a lot of albums ! Eventually I shall make a back up copy of it, probably onto hard disk, and then I'll throw out the original CDs.

 The only problem with all that file copying is that it was rather boring, and I had strong desires for a cigarette several times. I killed those desires with some booze, and with some food. The latter was not the greatest idea - particularly when I had been trying to eat as little as possible yesterday so I would feel energetic today. Earlier on in the evening I had eaten a fairly healthy meal. It was a very big meal, but most of it was just cabbage and leek cooked in stock with some herbs for more flavour. It also included just 6 small meatballs - which were hard to find under all the swirling green stuff.

 It must have been 11pm before I decided it was time to stop copying files, and think about going to bed. I took a chance that I would not be disturbed just after falling asleep, like I was a couple of nights ago, and resume my efforts to learn to stay up late. Initially I read in bed for a while, but at, or maybe 10 minutes before midnight, I put my book down, turned out the lights, and tried to find a comfortable position to sleep in. Unfortunately the most comfortable position was laying on my right side. As it does so often, laying that way ended up with my chest hurting as I crushed the damaged tissue/bones/ligaments/etc. It's not an instant thing, or at least it wasn't this time, but at 3am, or thereabout I was taking painkillers to help me get back to sleep.

 I think I'll be taking more painkillers before I go out today, but at least I shouldn't feel too tired. I may not have slept well, but I did manage to get a fair amount of sleep. I woke several times in the night, and woke up completely at 6am (I think). I half got up then, and checked some stuff on the internet, went to the toilet, and even had a sort of breakfast. An hour later (or was it two ?) I went back to bed. I didn't expect to sleep, but I did. Sometimes it was a very light sleep, and it ended with what seemed like a very long, mildly erotic, dream. When I was next aware of the time it was 10am. If I could sleep that late every morning I needed to I would have no worries staying out half the night !

 The big thing today is Petts Woodstock. It is a music festival held in Petts Wood with an assortment of bands. Half of them perform on an outdoor stage, and half on an indoor stage - they alternate so that there is always one band playing at any one time - in theory. Actually that is not strictly true. there is an 8pm curfew on the outdoor stage, but the indoor stage goes on to midnight ! I shan't be there that late - partly because I have to get home by public transport, but mostly because the last act is a David Bowie tribute act, and while I like many Bowie songs I am not a fanatic, and certainly not fanatic enough to listen to nearly 2 hours of them. It is quite possible that I will give up and go home much earlier than 10pm. I may not make it even as far as 8pm- and that is even with the special back stage pass I have. I got the back stage pass on the back of my photography, and it allows me access to, amongst other things, proper indoor toilets (the paying customers have to use porta-loos out on the road !).

 The curious thing about today is that I am not really looking forward to it. It seems like it is going to be a lot of hard work, and it will be testing my stamina. These  are actually the same feeling I had last year, but everything was fine once I got there and settled in. If I recall correctly I left early last year so I could go to a gig in The Black Cat in the evening. I won't be doing that today, but I wish I could feel a bit more enthusiastic about it as I write these words. After all, it was the freedom to do stuff like this that was one of the big reasons why I quite my job !
a dog guarding the mixer
I think I mentioned I took a couple of snaps while I was at the open mic night at The Catford Bridge Tavern on Thursday night. Here's one of them. I assume this dog had something to do with it. Maybe his job was the guard the mixer. It is out of shot, but you can just see a mic lead coming from it on the far left of the picture.
open mic host
 This is the host of the open mic night. I spoke to him briefly, and I think he said he was the under manager of the pub. He started singing and playing shortly before I left. He was playing some really tedious blues number that sounded like, but wasn't, the Rolling Stone's infamous "Cock Suckers Blues" (a song that was never on general release, but appeared on some bootlegs, and also appears on You Tube). On the whole it didn't give me the impression that it would be a very entertaining night, and on top of that the acoustics seemed lousy - there was no P.A. and the output of the mixer was just pumped into the pubs sound system.
Friday 4th August  2017
 16:11 BST

  While Wednesday's weather was best described as horrible, yesterday's weather could be described as disappointing. It was mostly rather grey, although the sun did manage to come out a few times, but never for long. On the plus side, I don't think it rained.....although I am far from certain about that because there were long periods when I wasn't really paying much attention to the outside world. I think I can agree that it did reach the forecast 20° C.
better than
                  yesterday - a bit
  There were several sunny periods this morning, and we seem to be having a slightly patchy sunny spell right now. The main problem is there are a lot of big fat, dark coloured clouds around. Even when the sun shines it looks sort of ominous ! The current temperature matches the forecast - 21° C - but it's a curious sort of temperature - mostly because of the gusty breeze that accompanies it. If I lay down to read or snooze with the windows open it feels cold, but on the other hand, if I do some housework, and in particular housework that involves vigorous hoovering, I soon begin to feel hot and sticky ! Tomorrow's weather still worries me.

a wet afternoon
 Tomorrow is Petts Woodstock day - a half outdoor/half indoor music festival in Petts Wood. For the last few days now the forecast has been predicting there will be a wet afternoon. This will not be good for the outdoor stage. I have a back stage pass to do my photography, and that will give me some useful privileges, but for some of the time I will have to wear a hot and stuffy (and sweaty) raincoat, and find some way of keeping my camera dry.

I didn't really enjoy myself yesterday. There were assorted reasons for this, but the core reason is that I was tired, and the reason I was tired was that the previous night I tried to stay up later than usual in an attempt to slowly shift from being an early bird to a night owl (although probably not in an extreme sense). As I explained yesterday, I was woken up by some incoming messages to my phone, and found I couldn't really get back to sleep again until 3am. Even then it wasn't good sleep, and I still found myself waking up at 5am as if I had to go to work.

 The result of all that was that I was tired and grumpy all day.  By the end of the day I was feeling really pissed off. It didn't help that Angela seems to have gone silent on me again, and I haven't heard from her for a couple of days now despite sending her a few messages (at more appropriate times than gone midnight !). If I had had a chance to go out and frolic in the sun I may have not felt so miserable, but I had stuff to do. Some of that stuff was to take a couple of naps. I'm not sure they did any good, and I may have even felt worse after waking up again. The other all consuming thing was photo editing. I was working harder at home than I used to do at work. What sort of retirement is this ? Anyway, here's some of the fruits of my labours.

Chris Mayer
Guy Harris
Jo Corteen
Steve Pitt
special guest guitarist Lucy

All these thumbnails can be clicked on for a bigger picture in a new window or tab.
 I didn't actually finish the Chain photo album until this morning, but I did finish photo albums for two other bands yesterday. I am at a loss to even guess when I will upload the best of the best from Chattfest to Flickr, and with a another very long photography session coming up tomorrow at Petts Woodstock, it feels like I'll never get around to it ! Anyhow, after a day of either snoozing or being stuck on my PC selecting and editing photos, it felt like it was a good idea to go and have a beer with the Thursday night crew.

 I sort of enjoyed those beers, and yet I didn't because I felt tired. I don't think I was particularly grumpy at that point, but I was on the edge. In such circumstances it was probably stupid to go to The Catford Bridge Tavern and expect to be entertained by their open mic night. It turned out to be infinitely worse than I expected. For a start, an hour after the official start time there was no one there except the pubs under manager who was the compère of the session.

 That was not strictly true. I was lead to believe there were a few people there who would step up to the mic later, but not before I had drunk up my second pint and gone home. To make matters more miserable there were hardly any facilities there. They had one microphone, a mixer, and no P.A.. The sound, from that one microphone was sent into the pubs piped music system. I can imagine that it could really piss off some people sitting in other parts of the pub who didn't want to hear out of tune singers !

 I went home from the pub feeling pissed off enough to buy chicken and chips. The ironic thing is that I think my guilt made them less enjoyable than they could have been. I went to bed feeling bloated. Not only that, but after drinking 5 pints of beer I had to get up a few times in the night to pee, and for some reason, fart a lot !  For all that I had a better sleep than the night before, and while I was doing little more than lightly dozing off for the last couple of hours, I managed to stay in bed until 7.30am this morning.

 I haven't felt terribly wonderful today, but at least I have managed to do more than just photo editing today - although I have spent quite a few hours doing that as well. One thing I tried to do this morning was to fast for as long as possible. If I could have done it I wouldn't have eaten at all today, but I think I gave in as early as 10am ! I looked at all the possibilities of what I could eat, and I didn't have anything that could really be described as healthy eating, and so I though I would just be weird. I had a can of "Hot Chicken Curry" for my breakfast. It was actually more like a chunky soup, but it partly did the trick.

 Just after midday I got myself dressed for the great outdoors, and went to Tesco. I had a deliberate plan in mind going there, and that was to spend over £50 so I could claim a £7 discount. The only way to do that was to buy booze. Now booze is one product where there is some sort of parity between the prices of Tesco and Aldi - this is particularly so for their own house brand of blended whisky. I actually prefer Tesco's "Special Reserve" whisky to Aldi's, and it is my favourite whisky of all time. To increase the size of my bill I also bought a bottle of Bushmills Irish whiskey. Aldi don't really do anything equivalent to that. Not only did I get my discount, but I managed to use up some of my Clubcard Plus credit. Clubcard Plus is being discontinued in September and I want to drain my card down to zero before then.

  The only other thing of significance that I have done today is certainly significant. I have removed the box of assorted crap from next to my TV in the front room, hoovered behind the TV, plus most of the rest of the living room floor, and installed a small plastic chest of drawers next to the TV. I have been intending to do this for several months now, and at last it is done. I think it looks a bit neater in there now, but there are other improvements I want to make at some point. I also made a very small start on clearing out my workshop. That room is just piled high with all sort of old crap. Today I threw out one bin liners worth of stuff, and I reckon another 20 of them will be enough to make my workshop almost usable again. Another ten after that, plus some redundant test equipment and it will be almost empty in there !
Thursday 3rd August  2017
 09:46 BST

  One word sums up yesterday's weather, and that word is "horrible" ! The day turned out to be just as bad as forecast. It was grey, wet and cold, or if not actually cold, very cool. I didn't have the courage to check it, but the forecast for it being just 18° C couldn't have been far wrong.
better than yesterday by far, but
                  still disappointing
  Today, while being a big improvement on yesterday, is still pretty poor for a summers day. It seems we have already had half our allocation of sunshine today already, and it wasn't much. At least the cloud is only forecast to be light cloud today, except around midday when we might also get a shower or two, and 20° C is just about acceptable. Tomorrow might almost be described as fairly decent sort of day if the forecast for rain from 7pm onwards is wrong. Saturday, the day of the semi outdoor Petts Woodstock music festival, is looking ominous - rain is forecast !

 Yesterday was a great example of just how bad retirement could be. It was hard work ! I seemed to be rather more busy than I cared for, and to make it even worse I was in the position and the mood to eat more than I would have liked to - and some of what I ate was particularly bad for me. This morning I am feeling it ! There is another reason why I feel bad too, and I'll get to explaining why soon.

 As I explained yesterday, my day started with some household chores - washing, washing up and cooking - and then I could get down to the hard work. It was mainly hard on the eyes, hard on the imagination, hard on the brain, and hard on the backside. The one thing it didn't need was any physical effort beyond that needed to almost induce repetitive strain injury. Specifically it was photo editing. By the time I gave up photo editing for the night I had completed photo album for M.T. Pockets, The Dirty Perks, The Shenanigans, my walk on Tuesday, and I had made a start on Vince Lightning & The Thunderboltz (this list includes all the work I have done since Sunday).
Shenanigans drummer
The Shenanigans drummer.
The Shenanigans
The rest of The Shenanigans
The Dirty Perks
The Dirty Perks
Vince Lightning & The Thunderboltz
Vince Lightning & The Thunderboltz

  Eventually I will upload the best pictures from Chattfest to Flickr, but that is low on my list of priorities at the moment. Today, if I can find the time and dedication to stick to it, I will finish off doing the photo album of Vince Lightning & The Thunderboltz, and then tackle the last band who were on at Chattfest - Chain. Once Chain are done I will be up to date - for now !

 I am slowly trying to wean myself off being an early bird, and not doing too well at it ! I felt really tired last night when I pushed myself to carry on working late, and not going to bed until about 11.30pm. I hadn't been asleep for much more than half an hour when I was awoken by a message coming through on my phone. If it were not that I had promised Angela she could phone me any time day or night if she felt too sad and lonely, I would have turned my phone off for the night. Unfortuanately it was not Angela but my friend Jodie, and I am guessing she was drunk because after I replied that she had woken me up she persisted in sending more completely pointless messages at 10 minute intervals. I almost managed to get back to sleep after the first one, but the next three seemed to unhinge my brain.

 I think it was almost 3am before I got back into some sort of deep sleep, but none of this stopped me waking up at 5am. I feel sort of tired and irritable now, but not really sleepy for some reason. I will attempt to snooze as much as I can today, but there are things I ought to do. For a start I want to try and get all the photo editing done, even if it is not really high priority. but there is other stuff to do.

  I have already done one little task for today, and that was to wash my favourite pair of shorts. They are my favourite because the pockets are of the right size and in the right places - plus they seem to fit quite well (or they did before being washed, and before eating too much yesterday !). They were another thing that I used a lot when I was a heavy smoker, and while I didn't smell fags on them, the water I washed them in came out a yellowish green - the shorts themselves are blue !

 The other tasks (or pleasures) for today include a bit of shopping - I've run out of brocolli, and there are a few other things that it would be useful to buy. It's Thursday, and so late this afternoon I will be off to Bromley for the Thursday night drink. It is after that, that things get interesting. I don't know if it is the first one, but there is apparently an open mic night in the rather handily placed Catford Bridge Tavern tonight. I have a feeling it will be rubbish, but it officially starts at 7.30pm, and that is when I would be arriving back in Catford from the drink in Bromley. I intend to pop in there for maybe an hour to see if anything there can tempt me to stay later. If it seems terrible I have the option of jumping back on a bus to go to Beckenham for the open mic there, but I doubt that I will do that....although you never know...
Wednesday 2nd August  2017
 10:37 BST

  Yesterday was very nice. At least it was by comparison to some of the recent weather we have had. It was mostly bright and warm, although there were periods when it became cloudy, and some of those clouds looked quite threatening. However it stayed dry, and the temperature reached, and may even have exceeded the forecast 22° C. Today doesn't look so good.
back to misery
  Today almost started off something close to bright, and it may have been as high as 19° or even 20° C, but as the forecast shows, it is actually cooling down. As it does so the clouds get thicker, and sometime in the next few hours, maybe 2pm, it will start to rain. It looks like it will be heavy rain too. That rather messes up my plans to go out tonight. Tomorrow is looking like it will be a bit brighter and a bit warmer, but there is still a chance of the odd shower, although hopefully nothing as fierce as forecast for today !

  It felt good to get my incoming internet connection up and running again, and I had the chance to confirm that it does indeed allow these words to be seen out in the big wide world. I went out This was a longer walk
                than anticipatedyesterday, and got completely knackered ! I must really be out of condition ! It was both good and bad that Angela declined to come with me. She hasn't been eating well since John died, and says she feels weak. I am sure that last time I walked from Eynsford station to Shoreham station it was less than 3.94 miles, but that is where I walked, and that was the distance my mobile phone said I walked. I doubt that Angela would have made it all the way without a few long stops along the way to recover. I did it almost non stop, and I was almost on the point of collapse when I got to the station to go home again.

 My walk wasn't actually non stop because I kept stopping to take pictures, and I also called into The Hop Shop (a farm shop) to buy some lavender oil (plus some lavender massage oil that I hope to use on Angela one day). I also stopped at a pub in Shoreham village - mostly, but not exclusively because I wanted to use their toilet, and it would be bad manners not to buy a pint first !

 I took two camera with me on this walk. One was my Nikon Coolpix P500 camera with it's big x36 zoom lens. I used it quite a bit, but my official photo album was taken on a Canon Ixus 70. It's a tiny little pocket sized camera I bought from the Salvation Army shop. I thought the asking price was a little high, but for such a nice little camera it wasn't so bad - or wouldn't have been if the camera had a battery in it. A charger might have been rather nice too ! Fortunately I have another Ixus camera, and it uses the same battery. I borrowed the battery for yesterday, and I have ordered another battery for it - under £10 from amazon.

 I've selected nine pictures that give a sort of overview of what I saw along the walk. As usual, click on the little thumbnails for a bigger picture in a new tab or window.

horses and ponies
Lullingstone roman villa

quiet shady walk

memorial seat facing the river
The Hop Shop

cattle and flies

the long walk !
view across the barley to the distant


last hurdle - up and over the
                            footbridge for the platform for trains home


 Some notes on the pictures -
  1. Horses and ponies in a field next to the track that leads down to the roam villa.
  2. The Lullingstone roman villa. I've never been inside it, but I visited it on a school journey way back in the 1960s before the building was built around the excavation. There should be tiled floors on view, and probably lots of small finds - coins and household bric-a-brac.
  3. A nice shady walk with the river Darent flowing along behind the tress on the left.
  4. A memorial seat with a view of the river slowly flowing past.
  5. The Hop Shop. The sell all sorts of Lavender stuff plus home grazed beef, but sadly no high quality bacon.
  6. The flies just love these cattle in the field by The Hop Shop.
  7. It looks like the path I was following goes on forever (it felt like it too !). The sun had just gone in when I took this picture and made the cereal, probably barley, look darker brown that it actually was.
  8. The cereal looks a bit closer to golden coloured here in the foreground of of this view of the distant hills.
  9. The final hurdle. Having walked up the hill to the station you have to walk up a staircase as high as the one pictured, and then you have to walk up this staircase to get to the London bound platform. It completely knackered me !!!
 I felt really tired, and my feet were killing me when I got back to Catford, but I found the energy to walk the long way home via Tesco to buy some sandwiches for instant food gratification. I also bought some bacon and a few other bits and pieces. I had hoped to find some special, non water-logged, bacon in The Hop Shop, but they only sell beef in there. I'm glad I didn't find any now. I to would have been very expensive, and I found the "cooking bacon" that Tesco sells to be perfectly good for the bacon and broccoli, and cauliflower stew I will probably be having for dinner tonight.

 After eating my sandwiches I laid on my bed to relax. I was going to read for a while before checking the photos I had taken, but within about five minutes I was fast asleep. I have no real idea how long I slept for, but I think it could have been as long as two hours. I felt very blurry, or even "bleaurgh !!" when I woke up, and it was very hard to concentrate on photo editing, but I managed to finish off another set of photos taken at Chattfest on Sunday, and the photos I took yesterday.

 Then it was time to sleep....or so I thought. It took ages to fall asleep, and once I got to sleep I didn't sleep that well. During my whole time out yesterday, even when my body was working it's hardest, and even when hand doing laundry, I didn't get a single pain, not even an itch from my chest. At about 3am this morning I woke up feel a bit cold. Before trying sleeping under the duvet instead of on top, I tried turning onto my right side and partly curling up. As I did so there was a sort of silent crunch from my chest, and while it is not actually bothering me as I write this, it seems I set off another period of chest pains.

 The good news is that I managed to sleep until 5.45am this morning, and I even had a little nap when I went back to bed  a while after half getting up. So far this morning I have washed myself, started the process of washing a medium sized bath towel ( a job I must finish when I have finished writing), and I have done all the washing up - including all the stuff I used to prepare and part cook tonight's dinner. Once the laundry is done I will take a breather, and maybe even another nap, and then it's back to the photo albums of the bands I saw at Chattfest last Sunday. I thought I had just two more bands to do but I was recently reminded that I actually have three bands to make photo albums of. It could easily take the rest of the day to do, and I still want to try and get to an open mic session in Bromley tonight. Being retired is hard work !
Tuesday 1st August  2017
 09:07 BST

The first important bit of news is that after whole week of being off the air, mainly because I didn't do things in the right sequence, my website is back on the air, and accessible from the whole world again (apart from those countries which are reluctant to let their citizens know what is happening in Catford.

  There has been quite a lot of weather since last Friday, and I can't remember many details about it. Saturday was quite a damp day. Some heavy rain was forecast, but I think it was mostly light rain, and I survived several exposures to the rain without bothering with a coat. Sunday was sometimes cloudy, but it was dry, and there were some nice sunny spells. Yesterday was like today is going to be, but today is a useful improvement on it.
this is close to what an August day ought
                  to be like !
  It was a slightly cool start this morning, but not too bad, and maybe any slight negativity was made up for by it being nice and bright with lots of blue sky. It does seem like today is going to be a slightly cooler version of a summers day. 22° C is not bad, but 28° to 30° C would have been better. Tomorrow is not looking good. It looks like Autumn may be starting early !

  Lots of things have been going on lately, and probably the most significant was that yesterday was my last day at work. I am officially retired today - although maybe not 100% retired. I did agree to consider the idea of being called into work on an occasional odd day when they need my expertise, but somehow I doubt that it will happen.

 There is the potential to be very bored when not going to work, and no doubt many days will be like that - particularly in winter. However, today I seem to be very busy. I've already done a weeks worth of laundry - by hand, and I have done some photo editing. Sometime soon I hope to go out for a walk in the country, and I hope to take Angela with me, although I suspect I will be disappointed about my hope for Angela coming along.

 One reason for being busy is the amount of photos I have to select and edit. The weekend just gone saw the annual "Chattfest" - a charity event in the huge back garden of The Chatterton Arms pub in Bromley. It should have been a two day event, but Saturday was cancelled because of the rain. The good thing about that was that I had the time to go and cheer up Angela for much of the afternoon, and well into the evening. It was a bit sombre, but immensely satisfying to look after her. However, Chattfest resumed on Sunday, and it was nice and bright and dry. I got there at 3pm, and just in time to take photos of M.T. Pockets. They were followed by The Shenanigans, The Dirty Perks, and finally Chain were the headline, closing act. I took rather a lot of photos on the day, and it is taking some time to go through them. So far I have done a complete photo album of M.T. Pockets set. M.T. Pockets describe themselves as a Power Trio ! Here is a selection of them - click on any photo for an enlargement in a new tab or window.

M.T. Pockets
Dan Murphy
Dylan Tidman
Dan Murphy
Dan Murphy
Matt Murphy

  Maybe tomorrow I'll have a set of pictures of The Shenanigans set. The next thing I have to do this morning is to see if I can get hold of Angela to see if she is coming out to play. With tomorrow looking cold and damp I feel I ought to get out today regardless of whether I have company or not. So for now everything else is on hold, including designing a web page for August, until maybe later this afternoon or evening !