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

Sunday 31st December  2017
 08:40 GMT
  There wasn't a lot, but there was some nice sunshine yesterday afternoon. More than that was that it was almost warm yesterday (12 to 13° C), and it gave a poor imitation of spring - the significance of which I'll explain later. Unfortunately, soon after sunset it started to rain, and it is still raining this morning !
                  end of another brief mild spell
 The forecast says nothing about rain this morning, but it is definitely raining right now, and the colour and consistency of the sky suggests it won't be stopping for a while yet. It is still quite mild, slightly over 11° C, and if the rain does eventually clear it might be OK outside until the forecast rain starts to fall at sunset. By midnight the temperature will have fallen back to something closer to normal, and tomorrow, the first day of the new year, promises to cold, wet and windy...well maybe not that windy.

  There was something in the air yesterday, and I think that something was a foretaste of spring. It had a profound effect on me that I didn't anticipate. I started the day thinking I would probably go out with my camera, maybe a quick visit to the seaside, but being delayed by a long rambling phone call from my friend Lee put paid to that. Then I thought I would have another long boring, pointless day, but that didn't happen either.

 It all started when I decided to change the linen on my bed. When I had the bed stripped off it seemed to be a good idea to turn the mattress topper around. It had a bit of a kink in it that did make a bit of my bed feel a bit lumpy. With the bed re-made I set about washing the sheet, and at the same time a t-shirt and a few other smaller items. Washing that lot by hand was hard work, and I ended up hot and sweaty.

 To cool off I went down to the kitchen where I did some overdue washing up, and I prepared a vegetable curry that I put in the microwave to three quarters cook. That curry includes the contents of a can of kidney beans. I feel it may end up as rocket fuel when I eat it. It was intended for dinner last night, but for reasons I'll get to soon, it will be tonight's dinner.

 I think all this work was starting to make me delirious because I did went on to do lots more jobs. Some were frivolous like screwing a couple of battery powered lights on the stairs. One of the lamps was a heat sensitive LED cluster lamp that I have been using for over 6 months without actually installing it. It is a really handy thing. As soon as it detects my body heat moving towards the toilet in the middle of the night it lights up just enough to show the two steps down, and one step up at the top of the stairs on the way to the toilet. It is now permanently fixed and worked well last night.

 The biggest job I did was to partly clear up the short stretch of passage leading to the bathroom. Lot of old junk has been lined up along the wall there for years and years. Yesterday the wheelie bin was emptied, and that gave me the opportunity to hide a few items in the bottom that possibly should not be included in the rubbish. I managed to dump a few items, one big and a couple of small, in the wheelie bin, and start cleaning up where they were. Loads of thick dust later, and a re-arrangement of the remaining items, and it all looks so much neater and tidier. Once I am able to move the rest of the bits it will complete a project that I probably felt would never happen - getting the hall, stairs, upper landing, and other bits completely clear of anything except for rather tired looking carpet - and maybe even that might be changed one day.

 All that housework used up a big chunk of the day. It was almost like being at work - except much of the work was very physical. At the end I was hot, sweaty, smelly, and aching ! I was also feeling quite good about it. I hope all that work was not in vain - i.e. I hope it won't be too long before Angela can inspect it.....although I do feel rather pessimistic about that. I was feeling so proud about almost clearing the entire stairs and passages that I decided to send a couple of pictures to one person who will see it soon - my friend Patricia in Argentina.

 It took maybe an hour before she replied with some pictures of her own. Apparently it was 35° C in Cordoba, in Argentina yesterday, and they were having another barbecue - Argentinians are more fanatical about barbecues than even Australians ! On this occasion their barbecue was quite modest - some sausages rather than half a cow !
morcilla and sausages
 The black looking sausages in the foreground are morcillas - blood sausages - probably closer to white pudding than English black pudding. I have never tasted them, but they are probably fairly nice...although I am not keen on black pudding. Not because what it is, but I don't find the taste to be that nice. Prior to seeing this, and several other pictures, I was going to eat my vegetable curry for dinner, but then I remembered what was in my fridge.
pork sausages
 Upon seeing the use by date it seemed very important to cook these sausages as soon as possible. So last night, instead of curry, I had sausages, mushrooms, onion and peas for dinner.
sausages, mushrooms
                        and onion
 I cooked the mushrooms under the sausages in my tabletop grill/oven and they turned out amazingly nice. The same was not quite true of the onions. They were a later decision, and I put them in to cook rather later. They were soft when cooked, but would have been so much better if they had started to caramelise.

 All the hard work, plus the promise of fresh bed linen, had me going to bed quite early last night. I can't be sure, but I think I was fast asleep before 9pm - rather earlier than of late. I woke up a couple of times in the night, but I think I probably slept quite well. It is even possible that I felt slightly less close to death when I finally got up this morning. Almost 2 hours have passed since then, and now I feel - - - - -dirty and grubby, but basically OK.

 The first thing I must do once I finish this writing is to have a good shower and wash my hair. After that...I don't really know. It think it might have stopped raining now, but it still looks very grubby outside, and I don't feel tempted to go out, or at least not to go far. I can't put any more in the wheelie bin, and so I can't do any significant tidying up today. Maybe I might end up doing some re-arranging of junk without being able to throw it away. I might spend a bit of time refining the work I have already done ready for the 2018 version of this blog, or whatever these ramblings should be called. There does seem to be the potential for a lot of today being boring, but I do have plenty to read, and something unexpected may turn up.
Saturday 30th December  2017
 10:01 GMT
  It was good that there was more sunshine yesterday than the forecast suggested there would be. If you could ignore the really filthy first few hours of daylight, and also some showers later on, it could almost have been described as a nice day, but then there was the final hurdle to pass. That was the temperature. 7° C may have been better than some recent days, but it was still cold, and ultimately the day has to be written off as not nice.
unseasonal weather
 Today can probably be described as unseasonal. It seems as if it will be pot luck as to when the sun actually shines - it has just started shining as I write this, a few hours in advance of the forecast time - but it is set to be a sunny day until sunset. After sunset it is forecast to pour with rain. It rather depends on how the wind blows, but if it is not too gusty the forecast 13° C could feel quite nice. The latest update to the forecast for today shows that the rain may now start a bit later at 7pm. Unfortunately it looks like it will rain non stop through the night, until sunrise tomorrow. Some sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, and it is supposed to make 12° C, but like today, the evening will be very wet.

  My friend Aleemah not visiting rather spoiled my day yesterday. The poor girl was laid low by something similar to my stomach upset the day before, but was made worse by a migraine. She feels better this morning, but she is away this weekend, and I have no idea when I might see her in the new year.

 The curious thing was that I ended up being quite busy doing very little of consequence yesterday. I wrote about going to Aldi yesterday, and I think I mentioned going to the corner shop to pick up a parcel from amazon. The parcel contained camera accessories. One item was another camera case to keep my new old camera in - the Canon Rebel (aka EOS 300D). The other bits were some lens filters.

 I bought a set of filters to give starburst effects, and a set of graduated colour filters. I also seemed to forget to delete a set of filters from my order, and so I have an extra UV filter, a polarising filter, and one other filter that I have yet to determine it's use. I spent a fair amount of time experimenting with these filters. The main result of my testing is that they will only enhance an existing condition rather than create one. This is particularly so with the graduated colour filters. The big problem yesterday is that all the views looked rather flat. I should have taken a camera out into the real world, but I didn't fancy going out again, plus there was also the problem of there being no nice scenic views in easy reach of here...although I suppose the park may have been good enough to test a few of the filters.

 In the afternoon I just sort of moped least I think I did. One thing I didn't do was have an afternoon snooze. I did try but nothing happened. That was probably a good thing because I was able to get to sleep relatively early last night. I seemed to have quite a good sleep too - although it was in two parts. At first I woke up much too early. I think it was just before 5am. I'm not even sure why I woke up. I did have a pee, but there was no urgency about it. So I had my morning pills, checked a few things on my computer, and in less than an hour I was back in bed and fast asleep again.

 I can't remember when I woke up again, but it seemed almost light outside. I think it was after sunrise, but it was a bit gloomy outside. Perhaps it was about 8.30am. I didn't feel too bad, and started thinking about where I could go today to do a bit of photography in the (slightly) warm sunshine this afternoon.  I thought that maybe I might go and explore the Victoria embankment on the north side of the River Thames, but a check on the trains showed that trains from both Catford and Catford Bridge stations are diverted to Victoria station today. Ideally I would have liked to go to Charing Cross or Blackfriars stations - maybe walking between the two - but that is not possible today. I also considered going to Hastings. I checked the weather and it looked OK.
weather forecast for
                        Hastings today
 It looks as if the weather there is going to be almost as good as here, although I can imagine it will be much more windy on the coast. The major flaw in this plan as that I would already be on the first train by now, but I am not. I'm not even washed and dressed yet. I will blame my friend Lee for that. He called me up and we had one of his long rambling phone calls earlier. If I had just gone for my morning shower 5 minutes earlier all might have been well. Now I have no idea what I am doing today. I guess it is going to be a walk around the park with my camera now. I'll probably do a bit of laundry, but maybe I'll b passing a lot of time reading again.
The temperature in Mississauga Canada a
                      few days ago

 One other interesting thing happened yesterday. I had a call from my friend Mike who lives in Toronto, Canada. Mike is evidently a masochist because he still reads a lot of my rambling writing here ! Hi Mike !

 Inevitably the conversation turned to the weather. In common with Scandinavians, East Europeans, and Russians, Canadians sneer at our complaints about winter here in England, and in particular the south east. We moan when the temperature falls below about 5° C, and the country comes to a halt when a half inch of snow falls. I mentioned to Mike that I thought I had seen a posting on social media about the temperature dipping to minus 41° C, but on reflection I think I was confusing it with a SciFi novel I am reading that was set on Mars. The actual temperature I saw on social media was only -21° C (only !!!).  I haven't checked to see where the unpronounceable Mississauga is in relation to Toronto, but I think Mike said he had the same temperature recently.

P.S. Mike, if you still have my email address (most of them still work) can you remind me of what to search for to find your new stores web presence.
Friday 29th December  2017
 13:55 GMT
  It was cold but sort of cheerful yesterday. When I say it was cold I mean it was very cold ! I don't think the temperature topped 4° C at any time yesterday. When I say it was cheerful I mostly mean it was bright and sunny. There was another reason to be cheerful, and another reason not to be. Maybe the foreknowledge about this mornings weather was another reason not to be cheerful !
maybe less wet and soggy than the
                  forecast suggests
 There was still traces of morning frost when I went out yesterday evening, and the frost was getting quite thick again when I came home again. So it was no surprise that this morning started with a thick frost, but then it started to warm up quite quickly. It is now 8° C according to my more optimistic thermometer. This would be all fine and dandy if the morning had been horribly wet and soggy. There was some very wet rain in copious quantities this morning ! Fortunately it didn't last as long as the forecast predicted, and I was able to go out to the supermarket, and come home again in sunshine.

 After that it got dark and started to rain again, but the rain has stopped now, and it looks as if we could get sunny spells until sunset. After sunset the temperature will dip, as it normally does, but then it will start to rise again, and by 5am tomorrow it is supposed to be 10° C. The temperature could rise to 13° C tomorrow, but sadly it will be a dull day, and even sadder is that from about 6pm it is supposed to start raining again - heavily !

  The one thing I was looking forward to yesterday was not as good as I hoped, but one earlier thing mostly worked out quite well. During the morning I went out seeking a new hairdryer, and it turned out to be quite a pleasant walk in the sunshine. One little thing spoiled that walk. It was not quite a pain, but a sort of unexplained odd feeling in my gut. The reason for it would became apparent a bit later, and then again, only doubly so, late in the evening.

 I could have walked direct to Boots from where I expected I might be able to buy a new hairdryer, and where I did actually buy a hairdryer, but I wanted to visit a cash machine while I was out. So I took a longer route that took me past Super Savers, and out of curiosity I took a look in there to see if they stocked hair dryers. They didn't but I did not they sold vitamin D tablets for considerably cheaper than the pharmacy. They also had some interesting Original Source shower gels. One of them was Sweet Apple And Vanilla flavour. I used that for my shower this morning, and it smelled quite pleasant.

 My next stop was the Santander cash machines. I don't think it could have been all that long ago that the machines were replaced with new machines that have touch sensitive machines. I can't believe how slow and sluggish they are to use. It is really annoying, and like we have gone back in time to Pentium I PCs. Things were quicker and better when I went into Boots. They had some compact basic hairdryers for £13.99 - or so I thought. It seemed a reasonable price, but when I got to the till I was only charged £8.99. Either I had misread the shelf label, or I got some unknown discount.

 After Boots I decided that it would be nice to walk in the sunshine to the pawnbrokers/second hand shop to see what they had in there. This time they did have a BluRay player, but I thought it overpriced even if it was a bit more than a basic model. I ignored that, but I did spot a lens for my camera. It was quite a good lens, and it was only £100. So I bought it. It was only when I got it home that I realised I already have a very similar, but not identical lens. In that respect it was not a bargain.

 One of the things I was trying to avoid doing doing yesterday was to eat too much. I had been feeling like I had been eating far too much recently, and the feeling I had when out walking was a little like mild bloat. It turned out it was in a slightly specialised way. With just a couple of hours to go before I was due to go out for my Thursday evening drink my gut started getting twitchy. Strictly speaking, it was lower down than my gut....sort of it the colon area.

 Very soon I was on the toilet. It was a very average sort of affair, and I felt better for it. 10 - 20 minutes later I had to rush back to the toilet where I had a more explosive visit. That did not feel good considering I had a long bus journey coming, but after a while I felt strong and stable, and that was just as well as the bus ride took twice as long as it should. For reasons that I can't even begin to guess at, the traffic was horrendous around the Catford one way system. The tailback was so bad that it ended up chasing it's own tail. I reckoned it would take under 30 minutes to get to Bromley before I set out. The reality was more like just over an hour !

 I felt a very brief small twitch from within my bottom on the bus, but it didn't seem anything to worry about too much. I felt annoyed to arrive at the pub late because of the traffic in Catford. I felt even more annoyed that it took so long to be served in the pub. I think it set me up to not really enjoy myself. After spending the previous 5 days without seeing anyone, with a whole house to myself, I think I was a bit overwhelmed in a busy pub. The noise level in the pub was bad enough that I had trouble following some conversations. The very worst thing was after my first pint I realised that I needed the toilet again. Doing an explosive poo in a pub toilet is not the most pleasant experience - even with abundant toilet paper, and soap and hot water for afterwards.

 After my second pint I initially decided that I should go home again, but I bought myself a neat double whiskey and stayed. Then I was bought another double whiskey, and so stayed a bit longer. I actually left the pub half an hour later than I usually would. I was 99.5% comfortable on the bus home, and looking forward to some dinner. Dinner was in two parts. Part one was just broccoli and cauliflower in gravy. That was going to be all, but I gave in to having some "pigs in blankets" that I had in the bottom of the fridge getting close to their use by date.

 I generally felt fine for the rest of the evening, but once I went to bed the vegetable in hot gravy started their well known revenge. As soon as I turned out the light, and turned on my side I could feel a commotion starting in my bottom region. So I got out of bed and rushed to the toilet. 5 or 10 minute later I was back in bed, and 5 or 10 minutes later I was back on the toilet. After three such visits I felt sore but empty, and I was able to go to sleep. I think I fell asleep around 11pm.

 I was having some wonderful dream, although not erotic one like the previous night, when I woke up after sleeping for just over 5 hours non stop. That is some sort of record for me these days. I got up for maybe an hour to (unbelievingly) go to the toilet (quite normally this time), take my morning pills, and check my email and stuff. Then I went back to bed, and didn't wake again until 8am. At that point I had to get up and get ready to go out - despite not feeling too wonderful.

 I was supposed to be seeing my friend Aleemah this morning, but time passed and I didn't hear anything from her, and I wondered if I had got my dates wrong. Eventually a message came through but it was from amazon to say I had a parcel to collect from the corner shop. I was halfway to the corner shop when Aleemah finally messaged me to say that she had been stuck on the toilet all morning ! So I took advantage of being fully dressed and ready to go out by going to Aldi.

 I really didn't need any food shopping, although I did buy a few things. Mostly I wanted some whisky, but I also bought some useful stuff like frozen peas, and some more green vegetables. I didn't feel all that good when I walked there, but fortunately no worse when I walked back. I might have even felt slightly better when I walked back. A little bit of the discomfort was my guts feeling slightly tender (but not volatile in any way), and some of it was my wonky "twisted rib" playing up.

 It seemed like lunchtime when I got back from Aldi and I cooked/reheated a Tesco cornbeef hash ready meal. It was very nice, but it is repeating on me now. I tried to have a snooze after eating it, but sleep would not come. I guess this was not surprising after getting over 8 hours of seemingly good sleep last night....although as I write this I can't stop yawning !

 I have only one thing to do this afternoon, and that is to finish washing a towel that I started this morning. Other than that I have to invent ways of keeping me amused until (possibly) lunchtime on the 2nd of January when I should be seeing Angela again. Luckily I have quite a few unread books to read at the moment, and they are very good for passing the time. It is even possible that Aleemah might reschedule our missed meeting today for sometime  in the next few days.
Thursday 28th December  2017
 09:36 GMT
 Yesterday was a really despicable day ! It was cold. It was dull. It was gloomy, and it was wet, although the later as only true in the morning. The forecast said the highest temperature would be 4° C, and for a short while it probably was, but the average was a degree or two lower. at about 9.30am it was cold enough for the rain to fall as soggy flakes of snow - quite a few flakes did look like snow flakes, but the rest was just sleet.
another very cold day, but also a sunny day
two degrees lower than
                      forecast ! Shortly before I settled down to write this I checked my radio linked outdoor thermometers. The worst reading was as pictured on the left it was minus 1.1° C. I think the other one only read minus 0.5° C. Both show it to be very cold outside despite their differences, and both are rather colder than the forecast for plus 1.0° C.

 One thing the forecast has right is that it is gloriously sunny right now, and it says it should continue for all the few hours of daylight we get at this time of the year. With luck, that sunshine could raise the temperature to a heady (!) 4° C. Once the sun sets the temperature will fall to a forecast 0° C by midnight, but surprisingly the temperature is supposed to start climbing again. By 5am tomorrow it could be back to 3° C, and it will continue to climb because we will be getting drenched in comparatively warm rain all day. It should kick the temperature up to 8° C. The afternoon could see bright sunshine, and heavy rain - at the same time ! (I think this is code for the forecasters not really having a clue what it will be like !).
blue skies and frost
 A quick snapshot through a dirty back window shows frost on my lower roof, plus on everyone's sheds, the sky looking blue, and the distant flats in the top left of the picture lit up by bright sunshine.

  Yesterday's dismal weather rubbed off on my psyche and my physical health. I mostly felt miserable, and I didn't feel all that well. The highlight of the day was going out to Tesco in the morning - even though I failed to get what I went there for. Going out in the freezing rain is never nice, but it is a challenge, and overcoming a challenge can be uplifting. My best rain coat is not very warm, but it does keep me very dry, and while wearing it it did feel good to challenge the rain gods.

 I went to Tesco with two specific products in mind - and they had neither. One thing was a BluRay player. I know they did have some on the shelves a week or two ago, but not yesterday. I probably wouldn't have bought one on this occasion if they did have one because I had forgotten to take the Clubcard vouchers that I was intending to use to partly pay for one. The other item was a cheap and cheerful hairdryer. I had no specific knowledge that they might have any, but it seemed like the thing they might have - but not yesterday !

 My trip to Tesco was not wasted because I did buy a few useful groceries, and a few not so useful. One of the less than useful was some stuff from their "Hot Deli" counter - hot cooked chicken and sausages. I used to love stuff from that hot counter despite it being terribly unhealthy. Gradually I weaned myself off it, and I was helped by either convincing myself that it no longer tasted as good as it used to, or because it actually didn't taste as good as it used to. After sampling a few items for the first time in age, it does seem that it is true - it doesn't taste nearly as good as it used to. What is more, it made me feel sick - more in a bloated way than nauseous, but there were moments when I seemed close to the possibility of vomiting.

 The rest of yesterday was really tedious and boring. I could have forced myself to do stuff like a sink full of washing up, or even change my bedclothes and start to wash the old ones, but the cold grey weather sapped my inclination to do anything. I was almost in hibernation mode, and in fact I did spend a lot of the afternoon dozing on my bed. I don't know how long I lay there, sometimes reading, and how long I was asleep for. I was past caring what the time was as long as it passed quickly.

 The downside of all that is that when I decided to go to bed I couldn't sleep. I think I may have slept for as much as an hour during 11pm to midnight, but I got up at midnight and played on my PC until almost 2.30am this morning. When I finally got to sleep I may not have slept well because I remember lots of vivid dreams. It is a shame that I can't remember the contents of those dreams because one was deliciously pornographic !

 This morning I seemed to feel OK. I washed my hair, had a shower, and felt ready to do stuff. Sadly, in the last half hour I have started to feel very sleepy again. I have several things I will or could do today. I think it likely I will do the washing up that I have neglected for the last few days. I might go out to Boots to seek a new hairdryer there. Lastly, I will be going to my regular Thursday evening drink with the lads. Tonight we meet at 4.30pm because of some cunning plan to secure seats in the pub before the place fills with the last of those who have been trawling the shops of Bromley for sale items. I think I might try for another snooze in a minute !
Wednesday 27th December  2017
 08:59 GMT
 Yesterday's sunshine was very welcome, but it still felt very chilly because of the wind...or maybe it was just me. It certainly didn't inspire me to go out apart from to the local shops. I think the sky clouded over before sunset, but the rain that was due to start falling soon after sunset, started a bit later, although I am not sure when. That rain is still falling this morning.
wet and windy
 It is truly dreadful outside right now. The rain may not be very heavy, bit is seems quite persistent, and gusts of winds are driving it against the windows. On top of that it is almost cold enough for sleet or snow. It is supposed to dry up this afternoon, and it may even brighten up a bit, but only to a lighter shade of grey - no sunshine ! Tomorrow will probably start with a frost, and it will continue to be cold all day, but unlike today, there should be a lot of sunshine.

  Yesterday was a rather dull day. There was housework I could have done if only I had any inspiration...and also some room in the wheelie bin to throw out some more ancient rubbish. The one thing I did do was to go shopping just before midday. I bought some stuff from the 99p shop, and some stuff from Poundland.
charcoal toothpaste
 Here's one of the strange things I bought from the 99p shop - charcoal toothpaste ! I wasn't expecting it to have any miracle attributes, but curiousity meant it had to be tried. I used it before going to bed last night. The paste itself is almost black, as you would expect, and the foam you spit out after cleaning is grey. The worst thing is that it has a faint Germolene/root beer taste. If that taste was stronger, like root beer, it would be very unpleasant. I'm not sure if my mouth felt that good after using it. If anything my teeth felt slightly rough rather than polished.

 Another thing I bought was some super glue. To buy some of that was the prime reason I went out shopping in the first place. It was also the reason why I went in Poundland - they didn't have any in the 99p shop ! I used it to repair the lens hood of my Canon Powershot SX40 camera. That camera is a bridge camera, and so has a fixed lens with a possibly non standard lens hood fitting. I thought it worth trying to repair the split lens hood rather than buying what might have to be an expensive Canon replacement. I have doubts about how robust it will be, but my repair seems to have worked for now.

 09:27 update: The rain has turned to wet snow !

  I seemed to spend the rest of yesterday afternoon reading and snoozing. It is nice to have an afternoon snooze, particularly so if, unlike yesterday, I have some lunchtime booze, but I fear it spoils my sleep at night. I fear I am not trapped in a cycle of needing that afternoon snooze because I haven't slept for long enough at night, and the reason I haven't slept well enough at night is because I have had an afternoon snooze....

 There is another error I am making too. At lunchtime I had the second half of the chicken, potato and broccoli curry (I had the first half was Xmas lunch). It may be the potato in it that means I don't feel hungry enough to have a proper evening meal, but I still get strong desires for "nibbles" when I am bored or insufficiently distracted. I suspect the sustained attack of those nibbles is probably worse than having a proper dinner in the evening.
Fenella Fielding and
 One distraction was Fenella Fielding and Guinness ! Unfortunately it was only a temporary distraction. I managed to snap this picture just as Fenella Fielding, aka "Valeria" from Carry On Screaming, appeared on screen while watching a three part documentary about the "Carry On" films. Three cans of Guinness went down well, and the documentary provided some amusement even if it was either a repeat, or just rehashed old interviews and the like.

 After the last part of the documentary finished I turned off the TV, brushed my teeth (with charcoal toothpaste !), and went to bed. That was probably at 9pm, but it could have been 10pm, and if it was 10pm it may have been that I also watched a documentary about Fleetwood Mac at some time last night. Anyway, the times of TV programmes are irrelevant. Once in bed I picked up my book and read until I had finished the book. I am sure that was before midnight, and I think I may have been asleep by midnight.

 I slept rather poorly last night - particularly at the beginning. My bed felt hot and lumpy, and I think I went to sleep partly uncovered. I woke up an hour later feeling cold, and after going to the toilet almost shivery cold. When I got back in bed I pulled the duvet up tightly around me, and fell asleep fairly quickly. Another hour passed and I woke up again drenched in sweat. I had to turn my pillow round, and find bits of the bed that weren't damp before I could get back to sleep. I slept better after that.

 This morning I seem to have a very mild headache. It is almost like a very mild hangover, but I doubt I could blame it on just three cans of Guinness - the equivalent to about two and a half pints. I have also had a small period of time when my nose went very runny. It seems to be OK again for now, but it does feel a bit like I am hovering on the edge of a cold.

 Even the hint of a cold is probably the cherry on top of idea that the weather is just too horrible to go out in today. I had been thinking of going on a novelty train ride today. While all line through London Bridge are blocked because of engineering works, Southeastern Trains are making use of Waterloo mainline station again. Trains to Dover and Ramsgate are running to and from Waterloo today. The useful thing about today (and tomorrow and Friday) is that they are stopping at Orpington, and Orpington is within the London Travelcard area, and I can ride between Waterloo and Orpington for free on my 60+ Oystercard.

 Maybe I'll go and play on the trains tomorrow when the sun may be shining again - which would be better for photography - but today I think I will be staying close to home. I will probably go to Tesco this morning. I will be looking to see if there is any reduced price worth having. If there is it will probably be Xmas themed chocolate or other inappropriate food for me. I might still buy some of it is cheap enough, but I more specifically want to buy a new hair dryer. I have examined my old hair dryer to see why it has become intermittent. There is nothing that is obvious and easy to repair, and I think I will throw it away. I rarely use a haor dryer, but I do occasionally, and it would be good to have a working one here for Patricia when she stays here for a couple of days mid January.

 Going to Tesco is about all I can think of doing today (unless I go to Aldi as well). I think today could be rather boring, but something, or some inspiration could turn up to help pass the long hours. If nothing else, I have another book from my current favourite author, Ben Bova, to start reading.
Tuesday 26th December  2017
 06:59 GMT

In theory, yesterday should have been almost mild, but a gusty wind made it feel cooler than it was - 11° C with no wind = no coat, but 11° C with a strong blast of wind = bloody cold ! On top of all that it was a very dull grey sort of day. From mid evening it started to rain, and from time to time it was quite heavy. The rain finally stopped in the early hours of this morning.
much colder today, but also much sunnier
 We haven't quite finished with the rain yet because the forecast says it will start to rain again just after sunset. Before that it could be deliciously sunny. The only catch is that it is also going to be very chilly - just 5° C, but it will warm by a degree or two in the afternoon. Tomorrow might see the return of snow. The latest forecast suggests it will only fall for about an hour, and it is more likely to be little more than sleet....but we can always hope !

  A typical Xmas day for me is a tedious affair. It is usually very boring, and inevitably quite lonely. Yesterday was not like that. Getting a phone call from Angela in the morning really perked my Rosey Noseyday up. If I recall correctly she completely ignored me the previous Xmas. On that occasion she was all loved up looking after John (who was dying from Cancer). I come away with the impression is that she is rather less loved up with her current lover boy - and that is not based on just one impression !

 Getting out to do a bit of photography was not unusual for me on a boring Xmas day, but maybe I approached it this year with more enthusiasm, and less of a desperate way to pass a bit of time, and stretching my legs.

 Of course that walk ended up with a couple of pints - one in The Black Cat, and the other in The London & Rye. It was in the latter pub where I had a pint of Rosey Nosey - a seasonal ale that was the strongest they had, and at just 4.9% it wasn't a lot stronger than some session ales. That was a disappointment, but it was otherwise quite nice.

 When I got home I had my Xmas lunch - a home made, but using a ready made sauce,  curry with chicken, potatoes and broccoli. I had made quite a lot, and the theory was that I would have half of it for lunch, and the rest for dinner. When it came to dinner time I fancied something different. So last night's old dinner will become today's lunch. Last night I had steak and peas for dinner, and it was very nice !

 In between not doing much I started washing a towel and some t-shirts. I washed them in separate buckets because I added some disinfectant to the towels wash (the towel had started to become smelly). At the end of the day I finished washing the towel, and hung it up to dry. It should be dry this morning. I only got as far as the second rinse of the t-shirts because I became more interested in steaks and whisky ! One of the first things I'll be doing this morning is to finish washing those t-shirts so I can clear the bath ready to wash my hair and have a shower.

 One other thing I did yesterday was to call my sister. It seems I hadn't called her for something like 12 months. Oh well, another yearly chore, it wasn't that bad. I enjoyed talking to her. One result of that chat was that I am hoping to get a few pictures emailed to me. I haven't got a single picture of my late mum, but it seems my sister has. It just needs my brother in law to scan the photos so they can be sent to me.

 I could have stayed up all night if I wanted to last night, but I think I was fast asleep by 11pm, or maybe very soon after. Last night's sleep was full of contradictions. I woke up at about 2am convinced it must be much later. After getting back to sleep I woke up just after 6am convinced I had only been sleeping for a few minutes ! I reckon I got close to 6 hours sleep in total, and I feel quite wide awake, but I still think I might try for a bit more sleep once I have written this.

 I don't think I have any plans for today, and the day could be much more boring than yesterday, but with one exception. I think places like Poundland and the 99p shop will be open today, and I need some superglue to see if I can glue a snapped lens hood back together. The annoying thing is that I can picture buying a twin pack of superglue from somewhere, but I can't find it anywhere ! So I guess I can look forward to a walk to the shops today if nothing else.
the famous Catford
My main photography aim yesterday was to take a traffic free snap of the famous Catford butterflies painted on the side of the road bridge over the railway line.
memories of the old Catford greyhound
On the other side of the bridge are these greyhounds painted in the style of the animated neon sign above the entrance of the old greyhound stadium. My attempt to get traffic free pictures was partly thwarted because the road under the railway bridge was closed for bridge maintenance, and sometimes a tail back built up as cars tried to filter down a side street to get around the road closure.
Catford - in the style of an old railway
There is one of these paintings, done in the style of an old railway station name board, on both walls of the bridge under the railway. I think they are rather good, but suffer from things getting in the way of a clear photo of them. The side on the left when heading towards Forest Hill or Sydenham, is the one I snapped, and has the clearest view. If I recall correctly the other side is obscured by both a lamp post and a road sign pole as well as the safety railings.
Monday 25th December  2017
 16:54 GMT

I can't say I noticed that much variation in the greyness of the sky yesterday. There were supposed to be a few times when the sky would get a lighter grey, the only thing I remember is that it was nasty and gloomy all day ! Perhaps the temperature being 10° C for much of the day was the only slightly positive thing about the day.
on the whole - dull
 The sun set some time ago, and it set on a day as dull and gloomy as yesterday, and exactly as forecast. A few changes have been made to the forecast since I took this screenshot early this morning. One change is the little bump in temperature shown for 2pm in this screenshot was modified to start an hour earlier, and finish an hour or two later with a brief peak of 12° C. It looked as if it would be just on the edge of being comfortable when I went out without a coat. It wasn't ! The wind was strong enough to make it feel really chilly when it was blowing. The one other change to the forecast is that the rain is now scheduled to start an hour later at 9pm. Tomorrow is forecast to be cold and bright in the morning, and cold and wet after sunset.

  Yesterday, being a Sunday, could have been really boring, and if I hadn't had to spend so long going through the pictures I took on Saturday night it would have been very boring. I don't know how many hours I spent going through those pictures, but I ended up finding 30 shots from the 448 taken that were either good by themselves, or could be smartened up with a bit of editing. It might be worth noting that many of those 448 originals were almost duplicates where I was using continuous shooting so I could capture the exact moment the flashing and flickering lights in The Black Cat produced ideal lighting.
The Life Of Brian
I decided I ought to be fair to the band and include pictures where the drummer can be clearly seen. He is Angela's lover boy, and I really don't like looking at him.
Miranda Bell
I wish I could take pictures, like this picture of Miranda Bell, on demand, instead of by luck !
Angela Bell
The lovely Angela who was looking stunning in a sparkly dress and sexy boots.

 I finished all my photo editing in time to watch two episodes of QI on TV last night. Sadly, one was a Xmas edition, and to make matters worse it was an "XL" version. It was still good though.
close up of PC
                            monitor showing Freeview EPG
This eye straining photo is an extreme close up of my computer monitor screen showing part of the Freeview Electronic Programme Guide while I was watching QI.
screenshot of opentraintimes web
This is a screenshot I took at midnight of the webpage - - note the Ho Ho Ho Mer(r)y Xmas where train reporting numbers would be shown in the platforms of London Bridge - if trains were running there.

 I didn't have any trouble sleeping last night because I didn't even try to sleep until I felt sleepy. There was no need to get up for anything this morning, and so I just kept reading until it felt right to put the book down and go to sleep. That was about 1am if I recall correctly. I still woke up stupidly early after that, but I went back to bed after being up for an hour or so at 5am (or was it 6am ?). I then went back to bed for what felt like 10 minutes, but the clock said was closer to nearly 3 hours !

 I woke up with a stiff shoulder, and a few other twinges, but maybe I didn't feel quite the wreck that I usually do. It wasn't long before I settled down, and felt mostly OK. Perhaps the one thing that lingered until this afternoon was a slight feeling of trapped wind - the result of another very sprouts orientated dinner yesterday ! I thought that I had better wash and dress today (I didn't yesterday). I didn't expect to see anyone today, but I did want to go to the pub at lunchtime. After washing I started to do some laundry. It was mostly preparation - I put some t-shirts and a few odds and ends into soak, and actually started washing a medium sized bath towel. I got as far as one wash and several rinses before deciding I would finish it later - something I still have to do.

 After that I prepared my Xmas lunch and dinner - two halves of the same chicken, potato, and broccoli "tikka" flavour curry. I had one half when I got back from the pub, and I'll have the other half later this evening. At least I think I will, Maybe I might have it tomorrow. Then it was time to go out. I took the scenic route to first, The Black Cat, and then to The London And Rye (Wetherspoons) pub. Along the way I took some pictures that I will show tomorrow. The Black Cat were doing a "first pint free" offer today. I felt a bit guilty for not staying and buying a pint later. So I offered to buy Dave (the manager) and Richard a drink before I left, but the offer was turned down. I next went to the Wetherspoons pub, but it was very uninspiring in there. I had hope I might bump into my friend Kevin in there, but he wasn't there. I had hoped they might have had a very strong seasonal ale on, but the best offering "Rosey Nosey" was just 4.9%.

 After that second pint I came home via the corner shop. I had no real need to go in there, but I went in to buy a couple of bottles of Diet Coke - because I could ! Once home I had my lunch followed by a snooze. I now ought to finish the laundry I started, but other than that, I think I am bored. At least this Xmas day has not been as soul destroying as usual. One thing that perked me up was a phone call out of the blue. It was a call from Angela to wish me a happy Xmas, and in the background there were wishes from Miranda and her son Lawrence too. I was rather ecstatic that Angela had remembered me. I suspect it happened before her lover arrived to spend Xmas there, although it would seem strange that he didn't spend the night there after the gig last night. Maybe I'll find out one day.
Sunday 24th December  2017
 10:38 GMT

Yesterday's weather was pretty much as forecast. It was very dull, and the temperature stayed almost constant at 10° C until a few hours after sunset when it dropped a single degree to 9° C.
another day like yesterday - very
                  dull, but (probably) dry
 Today is forecast to be very like yesterday. One small, insignificant change is that the morning will only be 9° C, and then from midday it will be 10° C. Another small change is the possibility of a few brighter periods - not actually sunny, but the sky turning from dark grey to a lighter shade of grey. Once again it should stay dry. Tomorrow will be the same until mid evening when it is supposed to start raining - drizzle at first, with heavier rain following for the rest of the night, and into the next morning.

  I seemed to pass a whole lot of time effortlessly doing very little yesterday. Perhaps the only thing of note that I did during the day was to take the hoover downstairs and do some more hoovering of the bottom half of the stairs, and another quick run over the hall. Maybe I could have done more, and maybe I could have gone out, but the deeply overcast sky was sapping all my interest in life. I probably passed the the best time by getting immersed in the scifi book I am currently reading - Ben Bova's "Return To Mars".

 The main feature for the day was to go to a Life Of Brian gig in The Black Cat. I had many negative thoughts about going to the gig because of the difficulties of Angela's lover being there. It makes my skin crawl, and upsets my stomach to see them together. Fortunately he was kept busy playing the drums for most of the time, and the only time I had to stand outside in the cold was during the break. Except for that 10 - 15 minutes, to my great surprise, I had a nice time with Angela. I don't think it was pre-planned, but she effectively reserved the seat next to her for me to sit in.

 As usual, the band were very good, and seemingly even better since the last time I saw them. In particular, Miranda (Angela's daughter) has become much more relaxed when playing guitar, and plays it on more songs than before. She also plays it more fluidly, and can "dance" (or pose) while playing it. In some ways it was a shame when the gig finished. The only good thing when it did finish is that Angela's lover was too busy taking his drum kit down to get in the way of saying goodbye to Angela. We even managed to sneak in a very quick (less than a second) kiss when we were out of his sight !

 I was bought lots of Guinness last night, and it had two effects. The first was that when I got home I could not decide whether to eat the pre-cooked baked sweet potato of the ordinary baked potato. All they needed was a few minutes to warm up in the microwave. The easiest decision was to eat them both. I was drunk enough to not notice that I was going to bed a bit bloated, but after a few hours of sleep I woke up feeling ! This morning the bloat has gone, but the hangover still lives !

 I think that after last night I have to be really careful what I eat today. This could be particularly tricky because I will probably be home all day today. It is too dull and gloomy to inspire me to go out, and besides that, I have loads and loads of picture I took last night to go through. It could easily take all day (with a few breaks) to go through the 488 snaps I took to select and edit possibly no more than 20 good (or good-ish) pictures to show publicly.  One thing I have done already is to tidy up the top and tail of a little video clip I took last night. The band started a cover of "Moonlight Shadow", a song I love, and have never heard covered before. I quickly got out my little Canon Ixus 82IS camera, flicked it over to video mode, and shot just over a minute of this great song.
Saturday 23rd December  2017
 08:20 GMT

After about midday the weather settled down and roughly followed the forecast for the day. Earlier in the morning there were two departures from the forecast - some rain followed by a few all too brief sunny spells. The temperature peaked at 12° C, and it felt like it was like that for a bit longer than the forecast predicted. There was only a few degrees difference to the temperature over the whole day, and into the night. By midnight the temperature had only dropped to 10° C, and by 7am this morning it was still 9° C.
constant gloom
 By my reckoning it was only 9° C at 7am this morning, but the thick cloud shown in the forecast is spot on. It is so dull outside that it is hard to believe the sun rose nearly half an hour ago. The forecast doesn't mention rain, but it looks like it is about to pour down at any moment ! Once again, the temperature profile forecast for today is remarkably flat with just one degree variation all day. Tomorrow is forecast to be almost the same except for being one degree warmer. Monday, which is Xmas day won't see any snow, but it seems almost certain that it will rain.

  Yesterday was a day when I did a whole lot of nothing - during a big chunk of the day. In the morning I went to Aldi and topped up my collection of foods and stuff. After that I did some serious resting, or being lazy as some would put it. It wasn't until the evening when I started doing stuff. It was inspired by some recent news.

 My friend Patricia, who is currently wintering in Argentina, is having some trouble with her UK bank. Anti money laundering regulations, and the like, have caused her bank, the HSBC, to ask her to prove that she lives here, but she can't because she only uses my address as a convenient constant address while she spends half her life in Argentina, and her time in Europe in short stay accommodation.

 Her only solution to this dilemma is to make a short visit to London to (probably) close her account and move the money to a bank in Italy that she is trying to set up. She has now booked a flight to London, and will arrive here on the 17th of January. She is coming on her own, and I have the pleasure of putting her up for a few days. It is fortunate that I have been trying to keep my spare room in usable condition. It was inevitable that clutter would start to build up, but it was very manageable this time.

 I think it must have been past 6pm, and perhaps heading towards 8pm when I felt inspired to start a bit of tidying up. It wasn't just the spare room but also the area around the landing at the top of the stairs. It was probably good that it was a gentle start or I may have not done it. I started with the idea of just moving one or two things, and it sort of snowballed from there. Had there been a plan it would have probably put me off, but I did one little thing, and when I had done that I noticed another little thing I could do. It proceeded like that over the course of the next few hours. I think the last little thing I did was just before 10pm !

 I was worried that I wouldn't sleep again last night, but in the end I had nothing to worry about. Maybe I was helped by it being very mild last night. I was able to turn off the heating quite early (my tidying up helped to keep me warm), and my bedroom was quite cool when I got into bed. I read for a while, but I think I was fast asleep before midnight. I remember I got up at least once for a pee, but essentially I slept through to about 6am, and I managed to snatch a few short naps after that until I decided to get up to take my morning medication.

 I felt lousy when I got up, but most of it was short lived, and maybe there were a few less pains than usual. Maybe my biggest complaint was my right shoulder. It felt stiff and painful. I am thinking that I might need to alter the shape and thickness off my pillows to stop that happening. I also had a little bit of lower back pain. I wasn't really conscious of it until I had to bend forward to wash my hands after going to the toilet.

 Today there is the amusing prospect of trains from both Catford and Catford Bridge stations both going to Victoria station. While there have been many occasions when trains have been diverted from one or other station to Victoria while engineering work is taking place at London Bridge and also Blackfriars, I can't think of an occasion when services from both stations have been diverted on the same day (and tomorrow). The sky is so dull and gloomy that I do not feel inspired to go out to play on the trains, but maybe I will.

 My only real plan for today, and it is one that I approach with a lot of reluctance, is to go to The Life Of Brian gig in The Black Cat tonight. It will be nice to see The Life Of Brian again - all except the drummer ! I am in two minds about whether to be discrete or not. If Angela seems open to it I could give her a big friendly hug, and of that upsets her lover boy then maybe so much the better. If he can't grow up that is his problem. The alternative, and what I thought I would definitely do, would be to be very discrete and hardly acknowledge Angela or the band, but I will have an ally there tonight, and I know he will want to hug and flirt with Angela. Now I feel like I'll probably join in !
sprouts - or the lack
                        of them !
 One of my big disappointments recently is to do with the picture above. It is of part of a sort of Xmas catalogue from Aldi. I am quite partial to sprouts with bacon and chestnuts. It is what probably turned me on to sprouts after almost shunning them for countless years. One of the reasons for the last three visits I have made to Aldi since the 14th was to buy one or more bags of these sprouts, but I haven't been able to find then anywhere in the store. I feel quite sad about that !
outside Lewisham
                        Hospital looking south
Another picture taken with my latest camera. I took it outside Lewisham Hospital, and it is the view looking south down the main road towards Catford.
Outside Lewisham Hospital looking north
This is the view looking north towards Lewisham snapped from the same place as the last picture
Friday 22nd December  2017
 11:57 GMT

As promised by the winter solstice, the sun set a few minutes later last night.
sunset last night - Thurs
                  21st Dec 2017
 In actual fact, the sun has been setting a few minutes earlier for almost the last week, but at the moment it is still rising later. That will turn around in a few days time, and then the days really will be getting longer - from both ends. The pretty sunset last night (if 4pm can be called night) was rather nice after a day that was mostly a bit gloomy. On the plus side it wasn't that gloomy, and it did stay dry....and best of all was that it briefly hit 12° C.
                  as gloomy as this chart suggests
 Today is a bit of a mixed bag. We are half way through the day and the weather has not obeyed the forecast. It's not shown on the chart, but it rained for several hours this morning. Mostly it was very fine misty rain, but there was some that was slightly heavier. Another departure from this chart is that in the last 45 minutes we have had several bright sunny spells. A few more of them and ,maybe the temperature could exceed the forecast peak of 12° C. The next few days are forecast to be similar to the forecast for today - and that seems to be wrong. If reality matches the forecast then the next few days will be dull and gloomy with temperature in the region of 10 to 11° C

  I took my latest camera with me when I went out to meet Angela at lunchtime. There were no rats (or voles) playing in the river yesterday, but I did rattle off some test shots on the camera. The results were both good and bad. That old camera definitely has a slightly noisy sensor, and to make matters worse I think the inbuilt exposure meter might over read under some conditions. Some pictures taken of ducks on the river came out rather underexposed - and a bit noisy because of it.
drake on the river
I can't help but thinking this hen duck would look a lot clearer if it was sunny instead of quite flat and grey outside.
Now I have shrunk the image down to fit on this page you can't so easily see some of the deficiencies of this picture of a drake. Nicely posed for me though - thanks duck !
magpie at the top of a tree
Trying to snap the underside of a magpie at the top of a tree with the bright (grey) sky behind it may have been a bit ambitious. I'll never get a job with David Attenborough, but I think this hand held snap, taken through my 300mm lens at full zoom, didn't come out too bad.

 My meeting with Angela was good, but tinged with a little sadness. It seems that without meaning to do it, or even realising I was doing it, I have been applying psychological techniques in my talks with Angela. It seems that the result of me saying that I should stop bothering her, and let her get on with her life with lover boy, the more she wants me ! Although maybe "wants" is not quite the right term here. She was definitely very physically close again yesterday - resting her head on my shoulder, and I think we hugged very tightly twice. So close, and yet so far.

 Another thing that happened was she said she really wanted to buy me a Xmas present this year, and pleaded with me to suggest something. I suggested a bottle of whisky - nothing fancy though. I suggested my favourite - Tesco Special Reserve. The one bit of sadness concerned tomorrow night. I have promised to go and see The Life Of Brian, featuring Angela's daughter on vocals, in The Black Cat. The trouble is that Angela's lover boy will be there - he is the drummer - and I said I probably would not enjoy it with him there. I haven't been to any of their gigs for ages because of this. I don't think Angela is angry about it, but for tomorrow night's she said to just ignore him and carry on as usual. He will go through the roof if he sees us cuddling...and maybe that wouldn't be a bad idea !

 The other sad thing is that apart from tomorrow night, I won't be seeing Angela again until the 2nd January when she is back at work. At least I probably won't see her, but I wonder.... As far as I can tell, Angela will be spending practically the whole of the holiday with lover boy, and that gives him plenty of opportunity to have another of his strops, and if one happens at the wrong time he could be told to walk ! It is pure conjecture on my part, but I think Angela is already thinking about this. Last night she sent me a picture out of the blue. It was a picture of a handwritten poem written to her, and about her, by John, the guy who died from cancer in the middle of the year. It is a deeply personal momento, and she chose to share it with me with no explanation. If feels like my mission on life is to make Angela happy, and it is times like this when I can imagine living far longer than otherwise.

 That picture came through while I was drinking with the lads in The Shortlands Tavern last night. I was thinking of throwing caution to the wind and staying for at least 4 pints last night, but I decided that three was enough - more so when the last pints was a high strength (6.2%) beer. I didn't feel drunk when I left the pub, but I did feel a little weird. I think it was probably caused by resuming all the drugs I am prescribed after a holiday of 5 or 6 weeks from them. Although I got my prescription on Tuesday afternoon, last night would have been the second time that I would have taken the full compliment of drugs again.

 There was one positive indication that one drug only kicked in again last night. That drug is Losartan K, and it protects the kidney's from the other drugs I take. One happy side effect of this is that it delays me wanting to pee after drinking. I did have a small pee before leaving the pub, but after that I had to wait 10 minutes for my train to arrive. 10 minutes after that I arrived back in Catford. I didn't go straight home because I was drunk enough to be diverted via the fried chicken shop. Then I went home. When I got home I had the usual fumble for my front door keys...but this time it was less of a fumble for the simple reason that I wasn't dying for a pee ! I had time to get changed into comfy indoor clothes before I took a leisurely stroll to the toilet for a pee !

 From then on I didn't have a good night, and I am not really sure why. Perhaps a bit of it was guilt after eating chicken and chips, but it couldn't have been that bad because I felt hungry again 2 hours later. On the other hand, with the benefit of hindsight it was probably an early warning of something that wasn't hunger ! I think I tried sleeping at 10pm again, and like the previous night (I think ?) I couldn't get comfortable and/or shut my brain down and go to sleep.

 I eventually got maybe 4 hours sleep sleep, but there are a few doubts about the true time. There were definitely times when I thought I was awake, but it is obvious I was actually dreaming. I think it was sometime between 5 and 6am when I decided to partly get up and take my morning medication. Maybe that did some good because I was feeling pretty rough. After it seeming like I didn't get any more sleep, but with time flashing by, I got up again closer to 7am - and I didn't feel like I was going to die then.

 This morning I have been to Aldi to get my last supplies until after Xmas. I now have nothing more planned until Xmas day itself (apart from Tomorrow night). On Xmas day, to stave off utter tedium and loneliness I  will be going out with my camera to capture old road names. There are many old fashioned road name plates on the sides of houses, and it would be nice to capture some before they eventually get taken down. I will semi plan my route to end up at either The Black Cat and/or The Jolly Farmers. As for today - I reckon reading and snoozing is the best option.
Thursday 21st December  2017
 09:01 GMT

Today is the Winter Solstice. It's a slow process, but from today the days get longer again ! Happy days are here again - sort of. 

 It was dull yesterday, but not as dull as the weather forecast made me think it would be. The significant thing about yesterday was that compared to recent days it could almost have been called warm. 10° C is low enough to be barely called mild, but compared to some of the frosty days we have had recently, it was luxury. And it gets better !
12° C - you could almost call it warm !
 Today we could reach the heady heights of 12° C ! If only it was bright and sunny it would feel rather marvelous. The sad truth is that even now, a full hour after sunrise, I need a light on to see what I am typing. The cloud cover is very thick now, and the forecast says the rest of the day will be like this. The next 4 days could be very similar to today, but next Monday, which is Xmas day, it will probably rain !

  My walk through the park to meet Angela at lunchtime was interesting. By the bridge that crosses the river to join the park to the hospital there is a weir. At the moment parts of it are still clogged by leaves and branches that have come off trees overhanging the river. I always stop to look at it as I walk through the park. In the spring you can sometimes see fish in the river, but at this time of year it is usually ducks and moorhen that hang bout there. Yesterday there was an added attraction - rats, or were they water voles ? There seemed to be a family of them scurrying about and exploring. Even if they were rats, in their proper place they do look nice. My only regret is that I didn't have a decent camera with me. I had forgotten to take my pocket camera, although I am sure that would not have had the range for a good picture. Maybe I'll have more luck today.

 My meeting with Angela was another one touched with sadness, and yet also joy. Emotions ran very high when I gave Angela her big Xmas present. She had already received and opened a small present of some glittery tea lights and another cheap necklace for Aldi.  Yesterday I gave her the big present, and because she had guessed roughly what it was, I told her after she pleaded with me to tell her. It was a bottle of posh French vodka and a bottle of salted caramel flavoured vodka. That earned me the tightest hug ever as tears welled up in Angela's eyes.

 All too soon our meeting was over, and Angela had to go back to work. I still had half a pint of Guinness to finish before I could leave the pub, and so couldn't walk Angela back to work. When I did leave the pub, perhaps 10 minutes later, I hatched a plan as I walked towards home. I decided I would take a look in the pawnbrokers/second hand shop to see if they had any BluRay players in for a reasonable amount of money - less than £35 ! They didn't, but I did walk out with yet another camera.

 My latest camera has both good and bad qualities. It is a Canon DSLR camera, and it was cheap because it was the American version of the EOS 300D badged as the Rebel. It cost just £50, and I think that is cheap for a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera. It didn't come with a lens, but I have a selection I can use on it. It did come with 2 batteries and the official charger. It has a 6.2Mp sensor. That is a bit low by modern standards, but not really of any great significance. The main problem is that it is not sensitive enough for low light work. That problem is compounded by the menu/information display is very small and hard to see in low light with my eyes. Aside from that, it does work, and I think it will take good pictures when I feel the need to use it.
candle flame on red
                        glitter tea light
 I took this picture last night as a bit of a harsh test of my latest camera. If I had reduced the exposure a bit there would be more structure in the flame revealed, but then the glitter in the wax, and the ashtray the tea light is sitting in, would look far too dark. The next test of this camera will be at lunchtime. I am going to trust it to take some pictures of those rats or voles if they are out playing again today.

 All I did yesterday afternoon and evening was to play with my camera and read (I also had a snooze in the afternoon). By 10pm I tried to go to sleep, but I didn't feel sleepy at all. So I started reading again, and didn't put my book down until 1am this morning ! It still took me a bit of time to get to sleep, but eventually I managed to get about 5 hours of sleep. I remember waking up once or twice with cramp in one of my legs, but the memory seems dream like now. I do remember a bit of dream I had before waking up. In the dream I had been walking through a department store, and I came out in the middle of Catford. The disturbing thing is that Catford, while still recognisable, had changed so much that I almost became lost.

 I felt pretty lousy when I woke up, all aches and pains, but I seem to be feeling mildly OK now. My main achievement this morning was taking out the rubbish, including the food recycling bag to the food recycling micro wheelie bin. I also did a few days worth of washing up. The next thing I have to do is to wash my hair and have a shower.

 My plans for the rest of the day are to go to the park earlier than yesterday to try and get some wildlife pictures (even if it is just ducks !) using my latest camera. Then I shall go on to the pub to meet Angela for the last time until after Xmas (apart from being at the same gig as her on Saturday night - but that has complications and may not count). Today is Thursday, and the usual Thursday evening drink is on. Tonight we are in The Shortlands Tavern again. After that it will be some sort of unhealthy dinner (because several pints of beer will erode my senses), and a little later, bed !
Wednesday 20th December  2017
 10:53 GMT

  Like the day before, yesterday was cold except behind glass when the sun was shining - which it did for most of the morning, and a few hours into the afternoon. There was one other situation when the sun felt warm, and that was when it was shining on my back as I walked in the park. My fingers were tingling with cold, as was my face, but my back felt warm ! The highest outdoors temperature was probably as forecast, 6° C.
warmer but very
 I am so tempted to describe today's weather as being gloomy. Maybe it will be, but until now it has been merely dull rather than gloomy. One feature that doesn't show in the forecast is the occasional very light drizzle. It would hardly be noticeable, but it is keeping the ground looking very wet. The main feature of the weather is that we are going through another mild period. The temperature today is forecast to be 10° C this afternoon, and tomorrow, once again under a very dull (and possibly gloomy) sky, it could be 11° C. The next 5 days could be very similar.

  My appointment with my doctor was very simple yesterday. He was running a bit late when he saw me, but I think I managed to keep things straightforward enough for him to get back on schedule. After noting that I had not been taking most of my medication since it ran out 5 or 6 weeks ago he said there was no point doing anything like checking my blood pressure. He gave me the opportunity to query any of my medication, and when I had nothing to ask he printed off my prescription, plus two repeat requests, and I was out of there, and in the next door pharmacy in little more the 5 minutes.
drugs, lots of drugs
My haul of drugs, fresh from the pharmacy.
warm sun on my
No sooner had I got home from the pharmacy then I got an email to say I had a package to collect from the corner shop. It was a powered USB I had ordered from Amazon.

 After I got that home I had time to rest for a bit before I went out again. This time it was to go to the pub to meet up with Angela. It was nice walking through the park - at least in one sense it was. I did feel a bit uncomfortable while I walked. It felt like my chest was strangely tender, and I felt like I should be careful about doing any sudden twisting movements. On the other hand the sun shining on my back did feel quite delicious, and while my fingers were almost tingling in the cold, my back felt very warm, and that warmed up a lot of my body. It was almost a shame when I had to turn off the path to cut through the hospital to pick up a copy of The Metro, and to get to the pub.

 I think I had a full pint of Guinness before Angela turned up, and that may have help or influenced what was a slightly strange meeting with Angela. I think Angela was just here normal self, but I was feeling in a strange mood. As I had assumed, Angela had spent a lot of her long weekend with lover boy, and said she was looking forward to seeing him last night when they went to a gig together. It was a gig I was thinking I might go to, but only if he wasn't going to be there, and evidently he was going to be.

 The next piece of the jigsaw was when Angela said she was going to give up cigarettes on new years eve. I told her that I ought to give up seeing her because it had no future. It was not a new idea, and something that had been gnawing away at the back of my mind for a little while now. Being able to put a date on it just seemed to make it easier to say. It rather shocked Angela, but she rebounded by saying how much she loved lover boy, and how she would even consider marrying him. I ended up feeling bloody miserable, and I don't know where this is all heading. What I do know is that Angela gave me a wonderful Xmas card.
xmas card from
 I've "photoshopped" the picture to show the front and inside of the card. We are so close, and yet there is this impenetrable barrier that stops our ultimate happiness. It is very hard to be happy at all at the moment, but very soon I will be off to meet Angela again. With no chance now of meeting her after work, or even at home, I will take her second Xmas present, the real one, and not the interim present I took her almost a fortnight ago, with me to the pub. It is a bit heavy and I think Angela will have an awkward journey home from work today.

 After I got home from the pub I had some food. It was a "layered cheese salad" bought from Aldi the previous morning. Later on I had a baked sweet potato with butter, and later still I had an ordinary baked potato with butter. The latter was effectively my dinner, the sweet potato must have been lunch, and at that rate the layered cheese salad must have been breakfast despite the times all being wrong for breakfast and lunch. I also had a few naughty snacks as well !

 I didn't do anything in the afternoon or evening..or nothing of note. I did have a snooze in the afternoon, but mostly I just read the book I was reading right to the end. It was the best distraction from real life possible, and real life is not very good at the moment. One other thing I did last night was to resume my prescribed drugs - just the ones I normally take in the evening. The doctor warned me that a "cold re-start" could leave me feeling a bit weird, and indeed I did feel sort of mildly strange for some of the evening.

 After a fair sleep I woke up feeling pretty dreadful. It seems unlikely, but after taking my morning drugs I might have felt a bit better in some respects - some of the weirdness may be of the opposite polarity to the post sleep weirdness. I still don't feel that wonderful, but I reckon I am OK to walk through the park to the pub for a few pints of Guinness, and seeing Angela. I look forward to it with a mixture of dread and curiosity. This afternoon, and this evening, I will probably just mope !
Tuesday 19th December  2017
 10:11 GMT

  It wasn't warm (except indoors) but there was some nice sunshine yesterday. The highest temperature was probably as forecast, 6° C.
cold start, very slightly warmer later
 There was a very cold, frosty start to today, but no sign of any mist or fog once the sun rose. There may have been a hint of haze while it was still dark - but it's difficult to tell in the dark ! It seems slightly annoying that just as the temperature hits it's peak it will cloud over. If it weren't for the cloud there might have been an outside chance that the temperature would exceed 6V C today. Oh well, I shall enjoy the bright sunshine will it lasts, and sort of rejoice that it will stay dry today. Unfortunately that might not be the case tomorrow. It is currently forecast to be dry tomorrow, but the sky might be almost black with thick dark clouds. On the plus side it might reach 11° C if we are lucky.

  Not seeing Angela at lunchtime rather spoiled yesterday, but I got on with doing other things. "Other things" included hand washing a medium sized bath towel, and doing yet more hoovering. I was wary of doing both after my unexpected sudden attack of lower back pain. My back still felt a bit tender yesterday morning, but it seems that it was probably caused by spending too much time laying down on my bed. A bit of physical exercise, like doing housework, seemed to be the cure...although I did do it with some care if I could.

 The day passed relatively smoothly, although I didn't seem to come away with much satisfaction for the stuff I did, and later in the afternoon it did feel very much like Sunday all over again. So much so that I keep thinking of today as Monday ! Of course had it really been a Sunday the morning would have been mostly bring too !
pretty pink and blue
 By a quarter past four the sun had officially set, but the western horizon was still bright. There was very little cloud in the sky, and the few streaks of it to the west were lit up in a delicate shade of pink. Ten minutes after I took the picture above it was dark outside. From that point on it felt like night, and time for bed. That was actually quite a twisted idea because I didn't feel sleep, and yet it really felt like the day was over. That could be relevant to tonight as I will explain soon.

 I spent my last waking hours reading in bed. I am currently reading Ben Bova's "Mars". It is a scifi novel about the first manned mission to Mars. Like most relatively modern scifi it does acknowledge sex, but doesn't describe it. Maybe that is worse because it forces the imagination to go into overdrive. I mention this because it coloured my dreams last night. I can't remember any real details about my dreams, but I do remember that one or seemingly more of them were about the difficulties of having sex while wearing a spacesuit !

 This morning I felt really awful for the first hour or two. Some would see this as an excellent idea for when you have an appointment with a doctor in the morning. I, on the other hand, don't like seeing doctors when I am least not if I am not certain there is a simple cure for my illness that will be quicker or more effective than letting the body heal itself.

 Fortunately I felt reasonably OK when I saw my doctor. He was running a bit late and appreciated me ignoring all my aches and pains and getting to the point. That point was that all my medication had run out weeks ago, and that I needed a new series of prescriptions send to the pharmacy next door. I was given the opportunity to question any of my usual drugs, and discuss options about them, but I've lived with them so long I can't be bothered to fight them any more. The best part was that I didn't have my blood pressure checked because there was no point in doing it when I was not on my correct dosage of drugs.
lucky shoes
 I would like to think that my visit to the doctor was so quick, and not traumatic because I was wearing my luck shoes. They are the shoes seen in the picture above. They are the exact same shoes as I was wearing when I went to hospital on the 1st of September 2013 (in an ambulance). Those 12 days I spent in hospital, having my heart re-plumbed, was like a holiday. Apart from the worry about getting out in time to pay my credit card bill, I had a very pleasant time, and it must have been because of my choice of shoes...sort of....well I can't think of anything else it could have been !!

 The next think I look forward to is walking to the pub to met Angela, and have a drink or three. I'm also keen, albeit with some fear, to hear how her weekend went. My fear is that she spent a lot of it with lover boy, and that they had a good time. As much as I wish her well, it would be the recipe for me being ever sidelined.

 After I've had my drink with Angela I will be coming home via the pharmacy to pick up my prescription, and after that...maybe boredom. I can't think of anything I want or need to do this afternoon. There might be a small chance of going to a gig tonight, but it is unlikely on two counts. First there is the simple reason that I vowed not to do any late evening stuff until after Xmas was out of the way (but not including the gig in The Black Cat on Saturday night - I intend to go to that). The other reason, and to some extent it may be the more powerful reason, is that it is Angela's daughter's other band playing tonight. I am sure that Angela will be there, but I am also sure that her lover will be there too. If she confirms that as being likely then I definitely won't go.
Monday 18th December  2017
 12:24 GMT

  It was good that yesterday was almost warm with the temperature reaching 9° C for a few hours, but that was the only good thing. It was a depressing wet and overcast day that did nothing to improve the reputation of Sunday being the most popular day to slit your wrists...well it would be for me.
Bright and cold
 It may be a few degrees colder, but today is a far superior day compared to yesterday. Today the sky is blue and the sun is shining. That sunshine is carrying enough warmth to warm my front rooms up when it shines through glass, and with very little wind, it's heat is almost detectable on the face when outside. It seems a shame that it is only going to heat up outside to a mere 6° C. In the early hours of tomorrow morning it is supposed to get misty, and then possibly foggy. It is not shown on the weather chart, but the small print for tomorrow says the fog could persist for much of the morning. That sounds like a photo opportunity to me !

  Yesterday was a very dull day - both the weather and mentally. About the only thing that broke up a very dull, very boring, very depressing day was when I suddenly developed intense back pain for no adequately explained reason. I guess it was caused when I reached down to pick something up in the kitchen, but I didn't notice it for a while. I first noticed it when I went to walk upstairs, and then I noticed it big time !  It was a most painful experience as I walked up the stairs, and I had to be very careful how I sat down when I got back to my bedroom.

 It was fortunate that the intense pain did not last long. The legacy lives on though. Even now, maybe three quarters of a day later, my lower back and/or hips are very tender. I have to be very careful when doing simple things like reaching down to get my hands under the running water when washing my hands in the bathroom wash basin. Perhaps I am lucky that many things that might seem to be uncomfortable aren't. That includes carrying heavy shopping back from Aldi.

 I was more than happy when bedtime came around yesterday - although I wasn't desperately tired, and I was not sure how comfortable I would be in bed. I think that laying on my bed, bored, for so long yesterday was one reason why my back played up. The cold, damp weather, even though I wasn't out in it, was probably another contributing factor. In the end I found I was as comfortable as usual when in bed, and I think I slept quite well.

 This morning I didn't feel that bad...I did feel bad, but just not that bad ! No change there then ! The biggest disappointment was when I got a text message from Angela saying that she was going shopping at lunchtime, and wouldn't be able to meet me. Not only will I miss her, but I'll have to wait another 24 hours before I get to hear the latest gossip, and what happened at the weekend. I have sad feeling that Angela spent much of the weekend with lover boy, and I can't help having pessimistic thoughts that a time could be coming when I will have to give up all hope of getting back with Angela. I don't know what I will do if that becomes the case. There doesn't seem to be much reason to live without hope.

 I have done one thing today that satisfied some needs. I have been to Aldi. As the shops get more and more manic as Xmas approaches (although Aldi was quite civilised this morning) I do like to stock up on stuff like sugar free cola so I can stay clear of the supermarkets in the last few days before Xmas. I also wanted to buy a present for my friend Patricia. I think there is a small chance that I'll be seeing her sometime in the next 3 or 4 weeks. I also thought it might be nice to get in a few cans of Guinness - now that raised a problem !
Guinness in limited
                        edition cans
 The problem was that initially I couldn't find any Guinness on the shelves in Aldi. Then suddenly I spotted it in an unfamiliar can. As can be seen in the picture above, Guinness is currently in limited edition cans instead of the familiar black and gold cans. I don't know how many different cans there are, but I picked up two different 4 packs.

 I carried my 8 cans (2 x 4 packs) plus 6 litres of sugar free cola, plus other stuff, quite easily, and I think it may have even done my back a bit of good. As I sit here typing this I am only very slightly uncomfortable, and if I sat up straight I would feel even less uncomfortable. This does pose a problem. I feel that I ought to go out and do more walking, but apart from another trip to the shops where I would probably only waste money on stuff I shouldn't have, I can't think of anywhere to go. It makes me feel even less motivated when I consider that there is only 3 hours of daylight left today (as I type this). It looks like I may spend the rest of the day laying on my bed reading - which is enjoyable - but which is not good for my health.
Sunday 17th December  2017
 09:50 GMT

  Yesterday was one of those rare occurrences where reality matched the weather forecast quite well. I can't say it was identical because I wasn't looking out the window all the time, but it was close enough - even down to the little shower sometime around 5pm when the temperature peaked at 5° C. After the sun went down the temperature gradually fell until at around 3am this morning I could see all the cars outside covered by a thick white frost. But then.....
less cold and less sunny than yesterday
 An hour or so later the temperature began to rise again, and by 8am the frost was gone, and the ground looked wet as if it had rained. Rain is forecast for today, but not until 1pm. As I write this the clouds are medium grey, and there is a very small possibility that the sun may squeeze through a tiny gap for a few seconds. Fairly soon now the clouds are supposed to thicken up, and two things are supposed to happen. The one that is almost certain is that the temperature will rise to 9° C - not quite t-shirt weather, but a light jacket will suffice. I am not so sure that we will get the amount of rain forecast. We are bound to get some rain, but I reckon it might be intermittent showers. Tomorrow might be sunnier but a degree cooler. It is unlikely that any forecast for as late as this coming Thursday will bear any resemblance to reality, but if it does it could be t-shirt weather - just !

  When I think back I can't seem to remember doing anything more significant than going to Aldi in the morning. I guess I was just in a lazy mood, or maybe it was burn out from doing so much housework the day before. Of course there were two other things that I did. One I have already mentioned yesterday - I stunk the house out by almost setting a baked potato on fire inside the microwave oven. I must have caught it seconds before the flames started because  the underside was very charred when I rescued it from the oven.  Having sliced off the bottom half inch (or a bit less) of the potato, the top was perfectly edible, and I didn't really notice any taint. However, I can still smell burnt potato, even in my bedroom, this morning !

 The only real thing of note that I did in the evening was to pay a flying visit to The Mitre Hotel in Greenwich to see some of Chain's gig there. It was all very festive, and many people were in a party spirit and insisted on dancing where I wanted to take photos. This rather pissed me off, and as I was planning on leaving early anyway, in anticipation of this happening later, I decided I would leave extra early. I guess I was only there for 20 minutes, and I didn't even stop for a beer !
Jo Corteen at The
 In that brief 20 minutes I didn't have time to take many photos. The repercussions of that were twofold. I didn't have many photos to choose from when selecting and editing them, and secondly, I was able to do the entire job before I went to bed last night. The picture above is probably my favourite one from last night. At first I didn't like it because I normally try and only show bright and clear pictures, and this one looks a bit messy. On reflection though, I sort of like it. I did do a little bit of work on it in my "digital darkroom", but I managed to resist over doing it.

 I was in bed before midnight, and I think I may well have been asleep before midnight too. I only slept for about 90 minutes before waking up again to have a wee. I thought I might have needed more than a wee, and so I had time to review the edited versions of the last night's pictures before going back to bed. It was than that I decided I liked the above picture.

 I had two dreams that I can remember bits of this morning. I can only remember one bit of one dream. In that dream I had been holding a monkey for some unexplained reason. After putting it down I realised my left elbow was covered in very small fleas. Why it was only my elbow, and what I did about it evaporated into the aether like so many dream do.

 I am not sure the second dream was all dream. Some may have been more like a day dream, and for some of it I may have been awake. It was about photo editing, and the theory that on some occasions "less is more". Even if it wasn't a dream it involved a lot of imagination as I considered possible post production lighting effects. I now often use some selective lighting effects to, for instance, slightly brighten up a face, but I have this idea of adding depth, not quite 3D depth, but something similar by using post production lighting effects on certain pictures. I think it would work better, assuming it works, for pictures taken with this idea in mind. I might go back and see if I have already taken something usable.

 This morning I woke up earlier than I desired, but for the moment I don't feel particularly tired. I feel sure that I'll end up having a snooze sooner or later though. I initially felt really creaky, and like I was halfway to death, but that has passed now, and while it could probably be easy to stir it up again, I feel reasonably OK for now.

 I don't really know what I'll be doing today. I don't even know if it is worth having a shower today. I might go out for a brief walk, and if I do I'll probably a wipe a damp flannel across my face or something, but I won't be seeing anyone, or getting close enough to anybody to worry too much about stinking. If I feel fairly masochistic I have a towel that needs washing, but other than that I will probably just lounge around doing little today.
Saturday 16th December  2017
 13:39 GMT

  As I guessed, the weather forecast for yesterday was not completely accurate. It got it right in spirit, but missed out the occasional sunny spells that brightened up a few bits of the day. The best couple of sunny spells may have been short lived, but they were right in the middle of the afternoon when dark heavy clouds were forecast. The clouds were very thick and black then, but they had gaps in them that the sun could shine through. The temperature was forecast to start at 4° C and end up at 5° C. If I were charitable I might suggest the temperature briefly hit 6° C in the afternoon, but I have no evidence to prove it.
a medium sort of
While it is most definitely cold today, the forecast, and the reality until now, show it to be a very medium sort of day. The morning was not bright and sunny as the forecast shows, but there were some sunny spells, and a lot of the rest of the time has been almost bright. It was supposed to have been overcast for the last two hours, but odd periods of weak or better sunshine continue. Maybe there will be a splash of rain later, but it doesn't feel like it at the moment. It is going to get very cold overnight, but surprisingly, considering tomorrow is forecast to be rather wet, there will be no snow. The top temperature is shown as 8° C.

  I never heard from Angela yesterday, and I suspect it was because she had lover boy with her. That was a shame, but every cloud has a silver lining. I was able to get on and do some housework - and I did quite a lot of it !
cleared hallway
 I started off with the simple, but hard work task of hand washing some t-shirts, and a few other things. Once that was done, and I had cooled off a bit I tackled one tedious task - that of clearing the hall of junk and dust and stuff. The hall (and stair) carpet is badly worn and faded, as can be seen in the little picture on the left, but it is still serviceable for now. Had I taken a "before" picture I could have given some idea of how much work I put into clearing the hall. I have also cleared the stairs of some assorted junk, and lightly hoovered the carpet all the way from outside my bedroom, along the short upper hallway, down the stairs, and along the hall to the front door. I didn't do a thorough job of it, and the bit of hallway that goes to the bathroom desperately needs lot of clearing and cleaning done to it. The only trouble with this type of housework is that the end result still looks grubby, and no one can appreciate the hard work that I did yesterday.

 I didn't do it all at one sitting, but even so, by late afternoon I was feeling very sweaty, very dirty and very smelly - but sort of smugly satisfied. I also felt tired and aching almost in a good way, but not quite. It was enough to kill off any remaining ideas about going out last night. I decided on a nice relaxing evening with food and beer and a bit more clearing up. The latter clearing up was of a far less physical kind. I did a little more on a project I had started quite some time ago in the living room. It was to copy/transfer mostly movie and TV files off a huge stack of recordable CD and DVD disks onto one of my laptops hard drives (and later on to portable hard disks - main and back up). It is not a huge difference, but some of these very small jobs add up to a useful bit of de-cluttering.

 I cooked a nice evening meal for last night. Originally it was going to be a lunchtime meal, but I had a couple of rolls at lunchtime. My evening meal was all vegetable except for chicken stock cubes. The vegetable were potato, onion and cauliflower. I flavoured it with some herbs and spices plus a squeeze of tomato purée. I thought it was remarkable nice, and I might make something similar, with broccoli instead of cauliflower for dinner tonight.

 I had beer to drink last night - three different kinds. First there was a can of Guinness. I would have had more, but I only had one can. Next can a bottle of "Wild Bill's IPA". That went down nicely. The last beer was something a bit special or unusual. It was a cherry stout brewed by Marstons brewery. I had some dubious feelings about it before I tried it. I now wish I had had another bottle because it was very, very good !

 I spent some time reading before I went to bed last night. I think I put the book down in time to get to sleep by 11pm. I think I slept well last night, although I don't think I slept all,the way through to 5am (or thereabouts) when I first got up in need of the toilet. After a couple of visits to the toilet, and a bit of time checking email and the like, I managed to get back to sleep for another hour or so.

 I didn't feel all that good when I got up this morning, but I recognised the symptoms, and I knew what the cure was. The symptoms were the usual assorted chest aches and pains, and the cure was to go shopping ! I decided that there were several things I needed form Aldi this morning. Most importantly was some butter to go on baked potatoes. I also needed some sugar free cola. I bought a fair bit more on top of that as well - mostly long lasting stuff to keep for future use.

 I walked to Aldi with my chest hurting, and it feeling like the two halves of my sternum (which should be one whole) rubbing and clicking together. By the time I reached Aldi the ache was fading fast, and carrying back a heavy rucksack, plus a couple of moderate heavy bags of stuff was a complete cure.

 Since then I have stunk out the house when the bottom quarter of an inch of baked potato wanted to catch fire while being zapped in the microwave (the rest of the potato was only just about cooked when I took it out of the microwave oven). It mystifies me why just that bottom layer of potato should be so overcooked. Obviously I have eaten the majority of that potato now. Ideally it would have been cooked for another 30 - 60 seconds, but I didn't want to see flames from the bottom of it ! It was delicious with nothing more than melted butter on it.

 I have also transferred a few more files from recordable CD and DVDs onto hard disk. That is all I have done so far today, and it doesn't sound like much ! Next on my agenda is an afternoon snooze. Tonight I want to make a big effort to get to Chain's gig in Greenwich. I feel that if I make it there I will only stay for the first set. The only trouble is that I don't feel terribly keen to go out tonight - it would be good to go out, and yet it would also be good to stay in the warm, with some booze, and some dinner, and be early to bed. I am trying to convince my brain of the reality that I will enjoy it once I get there.
Last night's sunset was not as wonderful as this picture shows. The principle reason is that the camera can't catch just how dazzling bright the last bit of light above the rooftops was.
Friday 15th December  2017
 09:53 GMT

  There were many times when it was bright and sunny yesterday. There was little, if any wind, and that meant that the sunshine actually felt warm - but only when sunshine was actually falling on the back of my dark coat (or behind the windows of my front rooms). In reality it was quite a cool day - possibly a degree or two less than the 5° C that was forecast.
it seems brighter than this forecast suggests
 I have doubts about the accuracy of this forecast for today. This screenshot taken just after 5am, and the latest update hasn't changed it. There certainly was some rain earlier on, but I can't say I noticed the rain being heavy at 7am. Since 7am the day has seemed brighter than the forecast makes me think it should be, and some of that brightness has been weak sunshine diffusing through some of the thinner clouds. As I write this it is almost bright enough to cast a shadow. Maybe the clouds will thicken up soon, and the temperature will rise. It is supposed to be 4° C right now, but the average of two of my outside thermometers is just 2.5° C. Tomorrow looks like it is going to be another bright and crispy day.

  As I wrote yesterday, I went to Tesco yesterday morning, and bought lots of stuff - the usual mixture of naughty and healthy. Yesterday it was the naughty that won out ! Later in the day it seemed to have consequences that were not to my liking. I was OK in the morning, and enjoyed another walk through the park to meet Angela for lunch. Along the way I noticed that the gates to the old Lewisham Library were open. I don't think they are normally. It gave me the opportunity to take some snaps of a memorial in the garden area of the front of the library.
Lewisham Library -
                        currently closed due to Tory austerity measures
This is the grand entrance to Lewisham Library. It was built in 1900 and faithfully served the people through two world wars, but was closed when the government decided it was better to divert money away from local government to secret accounts in various tax havens opened by right wing ministers of parliament and their dodgy mates. The memorial garden area is to the right of this picture.
memorial plaque
Plaque with a simplified, easy to read, version of what is etched in stone.
dedication carved into a sort of stone
This was the original text carved into the base of what may have been the octagonal base of a statue, or a fountain, or just a receptacle for flowers.
memorial garden area in context
Here's the entire garden area in context. In the centre is the original stone memorial, and you can see the octagonal shape of it's top - suggesting that it once held something more. At the back is a stone with the names of some of the fallen etched in it. Unfortunately the direction of the sun made the writing very indistinct when I tried to photograph it.

 Angela's workload was fairly light again yesterday, and she was able to stay in the pub for over 30 minutes. We had another lovely chat, but Angela was no so cuddly as the day before, but she was a bit cuddly ! The only bad thing is that she told me she was taking today off work, and it is very unlikely I will be seeing her again until Monday. There is still a microscopic chance that I could get a call today to meet Angela for lunch while she is out shopping today. I have strong doubts that will happen. It is even possible that she won't be on her own, and could be with lover boy, but she thought that she wouldn't be seeing him today until a gig in the evening.

 I had three pints of Guinness swilling around in me when I walked home from the pub, but I mostly felt OK. When I got home I tucked in to a couple of snack I had found with reduced price stickers on in Tesco in the morning. One was a pasta based snack, and the other was a layered cheese salad that seemed to have more carrot in it than cheese. I did wonder if I might have got carried away and eaten too much considering I only had a few hours to rest before going out again.

 It turned out that I did slightly over do it. I felt quite bloated when I walked to Catford station (the station the other side of Catford Bridge station). I arrived there almost winded, and not feeling very good. The walk from Shortlands station to the pub seemed like hard work despite being almost a tenth of the distance between home and Catford station. It didn't bode well for a good evening, and I assumed that adding beer would make it worse - and in a way it did. After three pints, and lots of great banter, I announced that I was going home.

 Then I realised that I had just missed a train. It was 30 minutes before the next, and so I sat down again - but only after I purchased a double whiskey. It was a double of Tullamore Dew, an Irish whiskey, and it went down very smoothly. It seemed to be the cure for how awful I felt. When I walked to the station I didn't feel nearly as bad as I did when I walked from the station. I was dreading going up the stairs at the station, but they didn't seem to be much of an obstacle. The same was trued when I got back to Catford station, and had to walk up and over the bridge that crosses the end of Catford Bridge station. From then on, walking home was easy.

 When I got in I had a couple of "sub" type rolls I had also bought in Tesco in the morning, and just to be on the safe side I washed them down with more whisky ! I didn't feel any great rush to get to bed, and I stayed up to watch a programme about the science of Dr Who presented by Brian Cox. He presented it from The Royal Institution, and while it was for adults, it used very much the same formula as the Xmas Royal Institution lectures for kids.

 I think the programme ended at 10pm, and I went to bed when it finished. Initially I read in bed, but it wasn't long before I had to put the book down, and fall asleep. I slept far better than the night before, but it still wasn't that good. I tossed and turned a lot, hurting my chest, and I woke up a couple of times with cramp in my lower leg muscles. This morning I don't feel great. I feel like I might have another snooze before I get on with the business of the day, and I might take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to calm my chest down.

 My only achievement so far today is to have showered and washed my hair. Assuming I don't get a call from Angela I intend to try and do some housework today. To be truthful I urgently need to do some hoovering upstairs. Now I have an empty wheelie bin I want to see if I can get the hall completely empty of junk - or near to it. If I ever achieve all that there could be other stuff to do. Tonight there is a slim chance that I will go to a gig in The Admiral Hardy pub where Lord Algea are playing. If they were due on considerably earlier than 9.20pm (which seems an odd time in iteself) I might feel a bit more enthusiastic about going. It is a shame they are playing tonight, and not tomorrow night. Chain are playing in The Mitre, in Greenwich, tomorrow, and because I tend to leave there after the first set of whoever is playing, I could have seen half a gig in there, and half a gig in The Admiral Hardy...but it ain't going to happen like that !
Thursday 14th December  2017
 09:53 GMT

  What a difference a day makes ! The day before yesterday was bright and crisp. Yesterday it was back to gloomy skies, and occasional drizzle or rain. On the plus side there was possibly less rain than the forecast seemed to predict. In theory there should be another plus side - the thermometer said it was at least 7° C, and at one point it touched 9° C. The day before it was not far removed from 0° C, but the lack of bright sunshine, and the general soggyness yesterday made it feel colder somehow. Today is an improvement over yesterday.
                  but maybe feeling less cold
 The temperature is going to be half that of yesterday, but the lack of gloom makes it so much better. The sun may only be peeping through gaps in the cloud, or sometimes managing to shine through some of the thinner patches of cloud, but it has made all the difference this morning, and with luck it will continue like this for the rest of daylight hours. It is currently looking like tomorrow is going to have a similar temperature spread as today, but it could be very gloomy, and there may well be a couple of hours of rain in the morning.

  Once again, I didn't seem to achieve anything in the morning, but I did have a very nice time at lunchtime when I went to meet Angela for a quick lunchtime pint. These lunchtime drinks with Angela are definitely the highlight of my day. To be able to spend more time with Angela was one of the reasons I retired. Once the weather has considerably improved I hope I will supplement my extra freedom with some walking and exploring, and getting fit again - I hope. In the meantime I don't know what I would do without my lunchtime meetings with Angela - which is going to pose a problem during the misery period known as Xmas. I think I might be more miserable than usual this Xmas.
grey, wet and
 It was pretty miserable in the park yesterday. The day before it was blue skies, sunshine, and glittering frost, but yesterday was dull, grey and soggy !

grafittied train
I almost missed taking a snap of this passing train. It was covered by heavy graffiti, and I am told that it has been running around the Southeastern network like this for some time now.

 My meeting with Angela was quite strange, but very, very nice. When she arrived at the pub she flopped down beside me, rested her head on my shoulder, and asked if it was OK to fall asleep there - obviously not in a serious way. She was very tired after not getting enough sleep. It seems that her lover boy was on his best behaviour, and she had an enjoyable evening with him, and it went on a bit late. That wasn't exactly what I wanted to hear, although I was happy that she was happy, but somehow it put her in a very cuddly and tactile mood with me ! The only sad thing is that she said lover boy was seeing her again last night. It will be interesting to see how that turns out.

 I felt rather good in a mental sense even if not quite in a physical sense as I walked home from the pub. Feeling good like that has some useful side affects. The first thing I did when I got in was to start preparing and cooking some dinner, but I decided that unlike most other days, I didn't want or need to eat it as soon as it was ready. I opted for a far simpler snack, and had my lunch for dinner.

 Once dinner was cooked, and my snack eaten, I ended up as I so o0ften do now, having an afternoon snooze. I have no idea when I fell asleep, and I have no idea what time I woke up. What I do know is that I had my dinner at 6.30pm. It was a simple dinner of skinless chicken and kalettes in a Madras curry sauce. You may wonder what kalettes are. They are a mutant hybrid between brussels sprouts and kale. They were neither nasty nor nice, but they did pad out the size of my dinner without adding and significant calories to it.

 I could have gone out to an open mic session last night, but several things went against the idea. Being stuffed with dinner, and the sort of dinner that can leave your guts volatile, was probably reason enough, but the cold, and the dark, and the rain, and the lack of Angela all played their parts. By 8pm I started heading to bed - initially to red, and latterly to suffer from bloody insomnia.

 I made the mistake of getting my bedroom far too warm earlier in the evening. Well it needs to be nice and warm to get the full luxury of laying on your bed naked while reading ! Later on I found I felt too warm to get comfortable. That set in motion a chain of events that just made things worse. The more I thrashed around the more I hurt my chest. It is hard to get to sleep when there is that small element of doubt about why your chest hurts. No matter how much you rationally know it is just bones, ligaments and muscles that are the cause of the pain, there is always the nagging doubt that this time it could be a heart attack !

 After a lousy night I feel pretty lousy this morning. That lousiness includes a few aches from my chest. Some pain killers are partly taking care of that, but I still feel like I have a hangover. I did have a few whiskies last night, but I doubt I had enough to account for the way I feel right now. All this negative feeling didn't stop me going out semi-early this morning (this is the new type of early rather than the old type when I went to work every day). I first went to Boots to pick up a prescription for my friend Patricia who is currently in Argentina. Then I went to Tesco with the intention of just picking up a few bits and pieces.

 I actually bought quite a lot in Tesco. It included some heavy stuff like King Edward potatoes. It just had this sudden whim that it might be nice to have the occasional baked potato in these cold times. Somehow I managed to walk pass the chiller with butter in it twice without realising that after the potatoes, butter was the second item on my shopping list. It seems another trip to a supermarket will be needed soon.

 My plans for the rest of the day are to go and meet Angela at lunchtime. I hope that today will be just as nice as yesterday. The only sad not is that she has tomorrow off work, and it is almost certain I won't be able to see her again until next Monday lunchtime. A bit later on today I will be travelling to Shortlands for my Thursday evening drink. I am considering the possibility of going on from there to Beckenham for the open mic session in The Coach And Horses, but I feel it unlikely that I will go.
Wednesday 13th December  2017
 09:34 GMT

  There were two significant aspects to yesterday. It was very cold, and it was very sunny. Under the right circumstances the sunshine did carry some heat. It warmed my front rooms up as it shined through the windows, and I could feel it warming up my back as I walked through the park at midday. Apart from those special circumstances, the sun was not strong enough to melt the frost that persisted for most of the day.
wet and warm by comparison with yesterday
 By comparison with yesterday, today is almost going to be warm ! The highest temperature is forecast to be 8° C (the latest revision of the forecast shows 2pm as being 8° C and not 9° C). The penalty for this is that it is going to be a very grey, and very wet day. Once again, the forecast has been revised since I took this screenshot just before 5am, and it now shows most of the rain as heavy rain. It also doesn't show the possibility of a sunny spell at 3pm either. At the moment the forecast does say there could be a couple of sunny spells tomorrow, but mostly it is going to be a light grey day with the temperature in the region of 4 or 5° C.

 Yesterday morning seemed to rush by. Waking up later than usual helped that a bit. It was probably more a lack of inclination than anything else, but it seemed I didn't find time to do anything before I had to rush out to meet Angela. She messaged me late in the morning to say that she would be going to lunch earlier than usual, and I had to rush off to the pub before it was even midday. Despite it being so cold it was nice to go out in the bright sunshine, and I felt good as I rushed to the pub...although I did stop once or twice to take a few snaps.
red wheelie bin by the
                        race track
 Now this was a mystery - a red wheelie bin by the running track of Ladywell Arena. I assume, rightly or wrongly, that red means it is for hazardous or toxic waste. I can only guess it is for discarded sweaty socks or other sweaty athletic clothing - including worn out jock straps !
bright and sunny
 Yesterday was so different to the day before. The day before was all dull and gloomy as well as being very damp. Yesterday was bright and crisp. It was probably all in the mind but it didn't seem to be so cold as the day before despite it actually being close to, or even below zero yesterday.

 I arrived at the pub a minute or two after Angela, and she had time to order me a Guinness. Emma, the barmaid, had just finished pouring it as I walked in the pub. It seems unlikely, but I think I only had two pints of Guinness yesterday. I did pace myself a bit on the last pint so I would finish it at the same time as Angela finished her last drink. It was so I could walk her back to work, and give her a big hug as I said goodbye.

 There was a small possibility that we might both go to Stretchy's open mic in Bromley last night, but neither of us went in the end. Angela has been suffering from a mild cold recently. It has not been bad enough to keep her off work, but it was enough to make her doubt the wisdom of going out last night despite wanting to. Later on there was a better reason why she didn't go out. She had a visit from lover boy. She didn't sound terribly enthusiastic about it when she messaged me to tell me about it.

 I felt slightly bloated when I walked home after saying goodbye to Angela. Maybe it is just as well that I didn't have three pints of Guinness. It felt like the two I had were swilling around inside me as I walked home. I'm not sure why that was because I thought that the effect of the very big portion of sprouts I had eaten the day before was to purge my entire digestive system. Once I got home I had two conflicting feeling. One was of bloat and the other was of hunger. I decided I would me both half way. To that end I set out to have just a light lunch - and failed !

 My lunch ended up as fish fingers with peas, and I didn't skimp on the portions ! By the time I had eaten it I felt quite sleepy. I resisted that for a bit, but ended up fast asleep on my bed. I'm not sure how long I slept for, but I missed sunset at 15:51, and it was almost fully dark when I woke up. I managed to wake up, and get my wits about me in time to take a quick snap -
just after sunset
 If it was a pretty sunset then I missed it completely. The time stamp in the metadata of the photo says I took it at 4.35pm - some 45 minutes after sunset. As far as I can remember the sun was still shining when I fell asleep. I forgot to show it yesterday, but I did capture a very colourful sunset on Monday night. By coincidence, as I was taking this picture at home, Angela was taking a similar picture a few hundred yards to the north from the bus she was going home on.
pretty sunset
 I think it was sleeping through sunset that was the ultimate nail through the coffin of the idea of going out last night. At 6pm I had a very light dinner because my guts were still feeling strange. It was more a nauseous feeling than a bloated feeling, but I can't seem to find an exact description for it. So for dinner I just had two cans of soup. One was Heinz "Beef Broth". That advertised on the label that it only contained x number of calories, but I can't remember what x was. I am sure it was supposed be a low number.

 At 8pm I was back on my bed reading, and I think it was a bit past 9pm when I was in bed and asleep. At least I think it was 9pm, but a little itch in my head suggests it was closer to 10pm, but if that was the case than I can't account for where the extra hour went. As far as I know, I slept unusually well last night. I can't remember anything but getting at least 5 straight hours of sleep before reverting to short periods of sleep and waking.

 One unusual thing this morning, and one that hindered falling asleep completely in my last hours in bed, was that I felt incredibly hungry. It really felt like there was a big empty hole in my belly. I resisted it as much as possible, but I did give in and have a sort of quite unhealthy breakfast. It wasn't big, but it is going to keep me going until I get back from the pub at lunchtime. After that I will be attempting to just have some stewed vegetables in stock.

 Lunchtime should be interesting. I am predicting that Angela will tell me that her lover boy was on his best behaviour last night, and that she had a nice evening, but...... That "but" may even be unspoken, but I know my Angela, and I think she will not have completely enjoyed the evening because it was a bit "edgy". Of course it is very likely that I am deluded by my rivalry for Angela's affections, but we are all told from multiple sources to think positive, and so I have to hope for the best regardless of reality.

 There is another open mic on tonight. It is one I have never been to before, and it is a famous pub that I have never been in before. The pub is famous for giving it's name to a bus stop ! It is The Royal Standard pub, and it is on two bus routes - one of which passes Angela's house. She has expressed an interest in going, but I doubt she will. I doubt I will either, although I definitely will if Angela is going - we would probably get the same bus there. As the winter solstice, and the shortest day approaches, I look forward to going out in the lengthening days, but only in the future. For now I really can't raise the enthusiasm to go out in the dark. The good news is that tomorrow, because of the lopsided way the day changes, we do get an extra minute of light. The sun sets at 15:52 - a whole minute later than today. Sadly, the sun continues to rise later and later, and that won't turn around until the 28th of December - or so I was recently informed. By the end of the month the days will truly be getting longer again !
Tuesday 12th December  2017
 08:41 GMT

  It was cold, wet and miserable yesterday. A little after midday it snowed, but if I hadn't been looking out the window at the time I could have missed the big flakes drifting down because they melted as soon as they hit the wet ground. There were also a few sleet showers during the dull and grey day. On the whole it was not a nice day, but maybe it wasn't quite as cold as forecast - I reckon it might have occasionally been a whole degree warmer - almost 3° C !
Bright but
                  bloody cold !
 It's a lovely bright and crispy morning. The sky is blue, the sun is shining, and it is currently minus 2° C - just as forecast. It seems the rest of the day will be bright and sunny, and by midday the temperature will be in positive figures - just ! After sunset it is supposed to get cloudy, and the temperature will rise as high as 6° C, Unfortunately that warmer air will bring rain too. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be almost warm by current standards - a whole 9° C - but the downside is that it it will wet and soggy with gloomy skies again.

dull wet and soggy
                        picture 1
A couple of pictures showing how wet and grey the local park looked as I walked through it yesterday. The place was all but deserted - not even the hardiest kids playing on the swings.
cold soggy and wet picture 2
 Yesterday's highlight was meeting Angela in the pub at lunchtime. I decided to get there by walking through the park (where I took the two pictures above). All the recent rain, and melted snow had really swollen the river, and the little, man made, stream that meanders across the field at the Ladywell end of the park was a raging torrent....compared to it's usual slow trickle. Walking through such a dull and sodden park could have been depressing, but on this occasion I found it slightly uplifting. It felt like a challenge to go that way. This must have been the view of almost everyone else too. I think I only saw three other people as I walked. Not even the regular masochistic athletic types dared challenge the wet and gloom !

 It was definitely nice to get into the warmth of the pub, and it was wonderful to see Angela. The only small negative thing was that the pub became rather crowded because a wake was being held in there for one of the pub regulars. It ended up that the table we were sat at was also shared by a couple of other people, and that made for a less intimate time for us.

 I didn't care to walk back through the park when I left the pub about 10 minutes after Angela, and walked back along the high street. I probably should have arranged some hot food for when I got home, but I had decided that I was going to test some crab flavoured Pringles. I don't think crab is a usual flavour in England. I bought them from the 99p shop, and most of the writing on the tube was foreign (possibly Spanish).

 They were initially quite nice, and did indeed have a crabby taste. As usual, after eating quite a few the taste buds get saturated by the artificial flavourings, and they taste less and less flavoursome. For a more long lasting taste I had to wait until after 6pm when I had my dinner. It was basically sprout and bacon stew ! The fat from the bacon made it less healthy than it could have been, but I am sure it was a lot healthier than eating a whole tube of Pringles !

 I didn't really do anything apart from cook and eat after getting home from the pub unless chatting on the phone counts as something. If it does then there was a lot of it ! My friend Lee phoned rather later than I would have preferred, and somehow we managed to chat for 4 hours ! In my case it was helped by generous amounts of whisky. While feeling so "mellow" it felt rude to end the conversation, and so we talked on and on. I didn't get to bed until 2am !

 It was probably the whisky, or it might also have been due to keeping my bedroom nice and warm, but I slept rather well last night. I can't recall and problems from my "twisted ribs" or other types of chest aches during the night, although now I am up and moving around I am not free of various aches and pains - some of them new ! Quite a few bits of me ache, but the new ache is my neck. The simple explanation is that in my drunken state I slept awkwardly, and indeed that could account for some other aches and pains, The complex explanation is simply that I am about to die !
unusual place to
                            park a bus
 Also spotted yesterday - a bus where no bus should be ! I have no idea why this bus was parked at the end of the road yesterday morning. One possibility is that there was some sort of obstruction that stopped the driver turning right further back down the road earlier. It may have only been there for a few minutes before it moved off again, and threaded it's way down a few narrow roads back to the bus stand behind Tesco.

 Today I have one definite plan, and one possible plan. The possible plan is to got to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley tonight. I've been to a few of his in the past, and it is generally enjoyable, but maybe less so in freezing rain - which I could easily encounter tonight. My very positive plan is to go out at lunchtime to meet Angela. Sometimes I have doubts that there will be a long term positive outcome to these short meetings, but why stop when you are enjoying yourself !
Call for Angela
Talking of Angela...this poster was in the gents at the pub. I would have thought that it would be aimed more at the ladies, but in these days of gender equality.....
Monday 11th December  2017
 09:11 GMT

  When it was supposed to rain it snowed. When sleet was forecast it rained, and when heavy snow was forecast there was neither rain nor snow ! The forecast got all the major ingredients right, but somehow got them in the wrong order....although that is more true of the morning than the afternoon. Quite a bit of snow managed to fall, but that which fell on the road turned to slush almost instantly. Some snow, and in particular that on the turf insulated roof of the building opposite last well into the night. The temperature varied little during the course of the day. It ranged between 0° C and 3° C, but the average was closer to 1° C.
another cold day that will be rather wet
 Today the temperature is going to be almost universally 2° C. That should be cold enough for more snow, but this morning there was no trace of yesterday's snow. It had been replaced by heavy rain. Some sleet or snow is shown on the forecast for a bit later, and there is the possibility for some heavy snow for a while after midday, but I can't imagine it settling on the sodden ground. At the moment it is really gloomy, and I think it is likely to be like that all day. Tomorrow the temperature may be very similar to today, but it might be nice and sunny.

 Last Friday and Saturday I didn't go out at all, or at least not beyond the wheelie bin on my front garden. I was beginning to sieze up yesterday, and needed some sort of exercise. I also needed some shopping, and so for the first time in a few days I got dressed to go out, and I went to Aldi. Unfortunately I forgot to buy some tomato ketchup, and had to go out again. My second foray into the wide world was to the 99p shop, the cash machine outside Santander on the high street, and to Poundland. I came away from that second visit with all sorts of stuff - mostly food and candles.
amusing grafitti
It was while I was heading towards the cash machine that I noticed the amusing grafitti above.
the giant cat of Catford
In case a reminder is needed, this is the giant cat of Catford. The giant mouse grafitti is on the wall at ground level about 30 - 40ft behind the cat.

 After my two shopping trip there was nothing to do but eat what I had bought...but only a little of it. The stupid thing is that I can't remember what I ate between getting up and some time after lunchtime. I feel sure I cooked something, but I have no idea what it was. I do know what I had for dinner (or was it supper ?). I had a calorie controlled cottage pie, and I had some lamb chops.

 The cottage pie was probably the best in Aldi's "Slim Free" range. It is almost meat free, and the mash on top has more swede in it than potato. They are simultaneously nasty and nice ! The lamb chops were some cut that I was unfamiliar with. I think they were sold as leg chops, or something. They had just as much bone as ordinary lamb chops, but it was a far less annoying shape. I'm guessing it was a cheaper cut of meat because they came dressed in a rosemary and garlic dressing. I'm not sure I reacted well to that dressing, but the meat was delicious !

 It was some time after eating those lamb chops that I started to feel bad in various ways. One symptom was like acid indigestion, and indeed some anti-acid tablets did help a bit. More generally, my chest started playing up. I think that was because I was feeling slightly bloated, and when laying on my bed reading, I was laying awkwardly. I think my chest may have been complaining about the weather too - it can do that even when it is warm and dry indoors !

 I can't call it a pain because it was too mild, but the aching I was getting from my chest did make me quite concerned that I was having some sort of heart problem, but there was some clues that that was not the case. The clicking and popping from my sternum and/or ribs when laying down was one clue. Another clue was how laying on my right or left could move the pain around. Perhaps the ultimate clue was that I am still alive this morning !

 One strange, counterintuitive, effect of my depression about Angela was that I decided not to drink on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. I have no idea why I decided to do it, but I didn't have a drop of booze. By midnight, last night, my chest was stopping me relaxing and sleeping. I think today was little more than 10 minutes old when I decided to break my booze fast, and I consumed a couple of very large whiskies before I managed to get some sleep - and that was at almost 3am!

 I slept very badly, and maybe only got 3 hours sleep - and even that may be optimistic. This morning it is no surprise that I feel rather tired. As well as tired I am still suffering from some chest aches. My chest gave me no more bother than usual when I washed my hair and showered this morning, but it was in the middle of writing this that I made an odd stretching and twisting movement, and it felt like my ribs were grinding together.

 I think that I had better take a couple of paracetamol an hour or so before I go out later on. Angela is (or should be) back at work today, and so I will meet her for a drink for lunch. It could be an interesting meeting. Very late last night, way beyond what should have been her bedtime when she has work in the morning, Angela posted a link to a very sad song on a social media web site. I sent her a private message noting this, and saying that she could tell me all about it this coming lunchtime. I thought she had gone to bed by the time I sent that message, but 10 minutes later she sent me a "thumbs up" icon as a reply. Before I go out to meet her I think I might try and have a little snooze !
Sunday 10th December  2017
 09:17 GMT

  Yesterday was another sunny day, but it was also a very cold day. I am not even sure that the temperature hit the 3° C that was forecast. Whenever I looked at my thermometers I saw figures between 1.5° C and 2°C ! At least the wind was light, and it stayed dry - unlike today.
snow !!!
 The headline feature of today's weather forecast is snow ! Sleet and rain was also mentioned, but the very latest forecast seems to have changed rain to sleet, and sleet to snow - some of it heavy ! It also predicts snowfall into the night too. It is going to be a very cold day with a strong wind to make it feel colder still. I haven't noticed any strong wind yet, and to me it seems quite calm out, but it has snowed ! Tomorrow is forecast to have similar low temperatures, but it will only rain....well, they would say that, wouldn't they !
snow at the back of
                        the house
This was the view out the back of the house at about 8.45am this morning.
snow and slush on the road
Out the front there is snow on the cars, and although not obvious, the road is covered in slush.

 There were lots of things I could do, and a few I wanted to do yesterday, but I didn't do any of them. I missed out on seeing the old subway under Crystal Palace Parade, and I didn't go to any gigs last night. In fact, for the second day running, I didn't even leave the house. What I did do was to wash a double duvet cover by hand. It was hard work doing it, but somehow that just made it more satisfying - once it was hung up to dry.

 I'm trying to think if I did anything else of any significance yesterday, and I seem to draw a blank. One thing of no wider significance than my own personal satisfaction that I did do was to read quite a bit more of the current book I am reading - "Privateers" - a Sci Fi book by Ben Bova. I guess I can also pad out my meagre list of things wot I done by adding preparing, cooking and eating what should have been a nice vegetable korma curry.

 I can't take any credit for the korma sauce the curry was cooked in, but maybe I can take some credit for using it in a slightly unusual way. The finished dish was really a cross between a soup and a stew - a sort of extremely lumpy soup ! The biggest problem was that the curly kale that I used seemed to be very tough. I think it was it was the bottom of the bag, and all the tough stalks had fallen to the bottom of the bag. The only other ingredients were peas and leeks (or to be precise, one big leek). It is a shame that those woody stalks spoiled it so much because it was very tasty.

 It was also quite filling too because it contained at least a pint of korma curry flavoured stock. That stock, which was full of vegetable juices, had a very predictable effect. The two evenings of takeaway curry I had on the previous two days did not really affect me, but a couple of hours after consuming that hot (real hot, not spicy hot) stock, and all the vegetables, and it was like my colon had a power flush ! I try to convince myself I feel much better for it. I don't know if I do in the real world, but my imagination says I must do !

 The two explosive discharges from my bottom were a small part of the reason why I didn't go out last night. The main reason was that I just couldn't be bothered to go out. I didn't fancy going all the way to Blackheath, and the 5 to 6 minute walk from the bus stop to see Chain playing at The British Oak pub - and it was mainly because it is so frustrating taking pictures in that dark and gloomy pub.

 I didn't fancy going to Bromley to see Big Red Bus playing in The Partridge. The journey there is easier - the bus stop to go there is closer to the bus stop for Blackheath, and the bus stop in Bromley is little more than 30 seconds walk to the pub. The problem with The Partridge is that it is also rather dark, and rather crowded - once again making photography difficult. There was another reason why I am glad I didn't go - I later learned that it had been a bit Xmas themed. It is possible the band may have done a bloody Xmas song or more too.

 I have decided that I am not doing Xmas again this year, and maybe this year I seem more anti-Xmas than ever ! I feel sure there must be some tie up between my extreme anti-Xmas mood and not drinking. For the last couple of days I haven't had any booze at all. Somehow I just didn't seem to want to drink. Maybe that will change today, or maybe it will only change when I go to meet Angela at lunchtime tomorrow. Maybe some of my negative mood and boozing abstinence has something to do with being sidelined by Angela. Maybe it has a lot to do with that, and maybe I should be trying harder to get a reply from her, but I find myself in a very strong "I can't be bothered with anything" sort of depressive mood.

 Maybe today's snow will cheer me up in mysterious ways. I certainly intend to go out in it today, although it may only be to Aldi this morning. It is highly unlikely I will take advantage of it, but for the first Sunday in ages we have a working railway again through Catford Bridge station. The trains are going to Cannon Street instead of Charing Cross, but that wouldn't matter, and could even be useful if I wanted to go somewhere near Cannon Street !
Saturday 9th December  2017
 11:10 GMT

  There was some nice sunshine yesterday, but not much of it. Fortunately, when there wasn't any sunshine it was still a mostly bright day for the short period of daylight at this time of year. Unfortunately there were also a few times when it did get rather gloomy. It was a bit of a mixed bag apart from the temperature. Until mid afternoon it was only 4° above freezing, and once the sun set the temperature fell further.
another very cold day, but also a sunny day
                  too !
temperature in minus
                      figures ! By midnight the temperature was just 0.3° C, and it was still falling. I'm not sure just how low it got, but at 9:47am (not 8:47am as my thermometer is displaying - it needs setting to GMT correctly !) the temperature was display as -1.1° C on one of my outside thermometers (the other was less pessimistic. It said -0.8° C). At 5am it may well have been even lower.

 The official forecast, as shown in the screenshot above, says it would have been 0° C at 7am, and that the temperature would rise to a glorious 3° C by early afternoon. I think all the glorious sunshine, that is forecast to last until sunset, may actually push the temperature up a bit higher than just 3° C. I am thinking it might reach 5° C, but maybe I am just very optimistic.

 Tomorrow should be warmer, but we will have to put up with wet weather, and strong winds ! The weather warning is slightly relevant to London, but is mainly to do with coastal areas where strong gales may cause all sorts of havoc. While contemplating today's forecast it is worthwhile considering that exactly a year ago we were in the apparent grip of "global warming", and the daytime temperature was 12 to 13° C. (check my diary for this time last year for some screenshots and descriptions of the weather.)

 Yesterday was, in one sense, a very lazy day where I didn't wash, and I didn't get dressed properly. In another sense it was quite a busy day. I ended up doing quite a lot of housework. The simple bit, and despite all the muscle needed to wash stuff my hand, the less stressful work was to wash a double sheet and a couple of t-shirts. The really hard work was hoovering the hall and some of the living room. That hoovering included removing a few high up cobwebs. I also got out a duster and polish to clean the little table in the living room, and also the TV stand and stuff around it.

 The other bit of productivity was to finally finish selecting and editing the photos I took a week ago at Chain's gig in The Black Cat on the Saturday night. Overall I am quite pleased with the results. I ended up with quite a few rather good pictures, and a handful of less good, but still "not bad" photos. Among the not bad were a couple of experimental shots using a slow shutter speed. They do have a sort of "ambience" but I think I still prefer to aim for pin sharp pictures. All I have to do now is upload the very best to Flickr, or alternatively I might do what I have done before, and post thumbnails of them here with each thumbnail linked to a full sized picture.

 The final bit of yesterday was the great curry experience - otherwise known as warming up the spare curry, rice and vegetable side dish that I ordered on Thursday night. On Thursday night I had a Vindaloo, and it was predictably very hot, although far from extreme. Last night it was a Madras, and in some ways it was a tiny bit disappointing. It didn't have anything like the bite of the Vindaloo. It was still very nice though, and it had an unexpected effect.

 One of the last things I did last night before retiring to bed to read for longer than I intended, was to watch a really interesting programme on BBC4. It was a sort of documentary about life on the road for bands in a tour bus. It was narrated and hosted by Rick Wakeman, and to my great relief it was 90% about touring the UK. It featured clips of some great 60s and 70s band, plus some more modern stuff. It was most enjoyable.

 I intended to get up, and more importantly, get ready quite early this morning, but I spent a bit too much time in bed reading last night. On top of that I woke up far too early again, and had to get myself in the right mood to get back to sleep again. By the time I had what I thought was sufficient sleep it was just past 8am. On the whole I feel fairly good this morning, but there is one small exception to that idea.

 In theory I should have had a brief attack of "the runs" after two nights of curries, but it seems almost the opposite. I have "been", but I fear, perhaps irrationally, that there is a lot more to come, and it could be violent ! It is for this reason that I doubt I will be going out to do one thing I have been waiting several years to do !

 This morning until about 5pm, the Crystal Palace Subway will be open to the public as part of a festival taking place in the park. It is a beautiful remnant of what was a grand railway station that served The Crystal Palace exhibition halls of Upper Norwood. The Crystal Palace burnt down over 60 years ago, and was never replaced, and the railway station lost all it's passengers (although today it could be a thriving commuter route). All that is left is the very ornate tunnel under the main road. It may be that I will go a bit later today, but there is other stuff I can do today.

 After doing the hoovering yesterday I feel inclined to do a bit more today. In some respects it is a bit of a waste of my time because no one will ever see the result if my pessimistic thoughts about Angela are right. (She still hasn't contacted me since I saw her Wednesday lunchtime, and nor has she replied to a couple of messages I sent her). I haven't started any hoovering yet, but I have put a double duvet cover in to soak as the first stage of washing it. Duvet covers are a real struggle to do by hand, and are almost impossible to wring out by hand. I may hang it outside until it has stopped dripping. I am pretty sure I won't actually dry out in the freezing air, but once it has stopped dripping I can hang it up indoors to dry.

 Whether I achieve much, or indeed any hoovering really depends on how much of one other thing I want to do today, and that is reading. It seems like it is taking ages to read my current book. I would like to get in at least a chapter or two before it is time to go out. Tonight my intention is to go and see Chain again. Tonight they are playing in The British Oak in Blackheath. If I could only find out who, if anyone, is playing in The Mitre In Greenwich, I might have gone to The British Oak via The Mitre - the bus from Greenwich stops right outside The British Oak. It's a good 5 minutes walk from the closest bus stop that the bus from Catford stops at ! 
Friday 8th December  2017
 09:46 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday got it about right. One small variation was that there was more sunshine in the afternoon than originally forecast. To balance that out there was probably a little less rain in the morning. To unbalance that balance, the sun, or more precisely, the sunny periods lasted longer than forecast, and the rain was just lighter than the forecast seemed to suggest. The highest temperature forecast was 12° C, and that was about right.
cold, cold cold !!!
 Last night, as forecast, the temperature plummeted down to about 2° C by my reckoning - the forecast said 4° C. The temperature is due to peak at 4° C today, but from early afternoon it will get colder and colder until we are almost in negative figures by tomorrow morning. It is going to be a very cold day today. Some small compensation for that is the sunny periods we've had this morning, and which could carry on through to almost sunset. On the other hand, the small print does hint at the possibility of a snow shower. While I can see a few very small patches of blue sky, more of the sky is filled with some ugly looking dark clouds. Maybe it will snow ! Tomorrow may be a whole degree cooler, but is predicted to be quite sunny.

  Yesterday was another day that seemed to pass by effortlessly with little to show for it. I continue to be amazed that I can do so little and yet still not be bored. "So little" is not the same as nothing though, and I did do some little jobs like hand washing some t-shirts, and some other bits and pieces. I also did more photo editing. All too soon 4pm came around, and I had a rush to get ready to go out to my Thursday evening drink.

 I was half an hour late getting to the pub, and some of that delay can be attributed to the buses. I didn't have to wait that long for a bus, but it became evident it might have been the first bus along after a long period without a bus. We seemed to stop at most stops, and picked up quite a few passengers at each stop. That made for quite a slow journey. I later learned that there had been some sort of crash in Bromley that had disrupted the buses quite a lot.

 By the time I arrived at the pub I had missed out on the first round. I haven't done that for a long time ! Another I hadn't done for a long time was to stay for 4 pints of beer. I think it was because I am resigned to not seeing Angela, and maybe not even speaking to or messaging her until Monday that I ought to get the maximum enjoyment out of anything else I could do. The surprising result of it was that I left the pub the same time as everyone else.

 Going home from the pub was rather good in as much as I had a zero seconds wait for the bus. All I had to do was to walk fractionally faster, and I arrived at the bus at exactly the same time as the bus did (I had seen it coming as I left the pub). The one unfortunate thing that happened in the pub was talk about curry. It was specific to the notion of having a large takeaway curry, bought the night before, for Xmas dinner. I thought I was unique in doing that, but it seems Dave and his wife also do it too on some occasions.

 When I got home I had an unreasonable urge to have a curry. It was a flagrant abuse of the savings that I now live on, and a flagrant disregard for some never really enforced, self imposed,  rules about calorie intake that I mostly dream about, but I ordered a big takeaway from one of the local curry houses. As usual, much of the reason for it being a big order was so that I could meet the minimum price for delivery.

 It was the first time I've had curry, as in "proper" curry, for ages, and it was delicious. One thing I wanted to find out was whether I could still handle a vindaloo without being in agony. It seems I could, but it was close enough to the threshold to make me think I would need some intensive practice before I could tackle a phall again ! As I write this my mouth is watering, and I am wishing the day away again because I have a lamb madras with pilau rice, and a vegetable side dish to look forward to later today - the second half of last night's order.

 I ate that curry as a very late dinner, and after giving it a few hours to settle down I didn't get to bed until midnight. I fell asleep really quickly - I think. My subsequent sleep was both good and bad. I got about 7 hours of sleep, but it was in two parts. I slept for about 4 hours, and then I was awake for a couple of hours before I got the final 3 hours sleep.

 I did seem to have a small amount of spicy flatulence earlier, but generally speaking it was another morning where I felt generally OK. I don't feel like running, or even a speed walk to the corner shop, but otherwise I seem to be in good enough working order. I don't know how I might use that moderate amount of health. Today could potentially be a boring day. It might look nice outside, but I don't care for exercise with the temperature so low. If I put on a warm coat and glove I would just end up getting hot and sweaty under the coat if I walked for more than 5 minutes.

 There is the possibility of a gig tonight. Bouncer are playing in The Railway Telegraph in Forest Hill. On a nice day it is only a little further than I would want to walk. Getting a bus would be simple. The only negative thing is that I don't really like the band. I don't know why, particularly having never been to one, but they are what I would imagine a band would be like in a Butlins, or Pontin's holiday camp - bad announcements between tunes, and attempts to gee up the audience to convince them to enjoy themselves. Maybe that is just all imagined - perhaps I had a headache last time I saw them or something.
Xmas tree outside the
                        entrance of Lewisham Hospital
More tree spotting - this tree, that appeared a few days ago, looks to be actually planted, and maybe able to continue to grow, just outside the main public entrance of Lewisham Hospital
Thursday 7th December  2017
 11:15 GMT

  Yesterday was just as monotonously grey as the day before, but with the slight difference that it was a few degrees warmer. The temperature in absolute figures didn't show it actually felt. The morning felt milder than the start of the afternoon despite the afternoon being two degrees warmer. This was because the wind strengthened in the afternoon, and that draft felt chilly despite the air temperature being 11° C.
warm(ish) and wet
 The sun might come out today - at precisely 2pm, and for 3 minutes....maybe. The more significant thing about today is that this morning has been, and will be wet. Maybe some of the afternoon will be wet too. It is currently pretty soggy outside, although I don't think I have seen rain as heavy as the forecast makes me think it could have been. The other notable thing is that it feels mild. The rain is being pushed in as warm, wet air from out in the Atlantic ocean. From midday it is all change. The wind swings round to come from the north, and it will rapidly cool down. So tomorrow is going to be a bitingly cold day. There is a small possibility of a snow shower, but I doubt it will come to much, and probably won't even settle in the London area.

  Yesterday was good, bad and indifferent. In the morning I went along to Aldi and stocked up on some accessories of the alcoholic kind, and some food for both instant and long term consumption. The long term consumption was mainly some tinned rice pudding. Buying it provided a valuable lesson - one that I had been meaning to learn for many months now. Poundland were, and I think still are, doing an alleged special offer of two cans of the well known Ambrosia branded creamy rice pudding for £1 - or 50p per can. Aldi's "everyday essentials" rice pudding is, I noted yesterday, just 20p per tin. I think their ordinary creamy rice pudding was about 39p a tin - still considerably cheaper than the alleged bargain in Poundland !

 I didn't have all that long to rest after getting back from Aldi before going out to meet Angela for a liquid lunch. One thing I shouldn't have done was to eat a triple sandwich pack while resting. I felt quite good going to, and even coming home from Aldi with heavy shopping, but I felt really sluggish walking to the pub near Ladywell to met Angela. With three pints of Guinness in me, probably causing the bread of the sandwiches to swell up, it really felt like hard work walking home again.

 Once I was in the pub I felt perfectly OK, and I had a good half hour with Angela. One thing we discussed was last night. An earlier idea was that we would go out to an open mic session in Blackheath together, but that open mic session was cancelled when the organiser realised that yesterday was not the second Wednesday of the month ! I suggested a back up plan, and it seemed to be warmly received. It was an idea that I had last Friday, and which Angela suggested a modification to.

 The idea last Friday was that if there was another Friday night when Angela was by herself, and there were no gigs on that we wanted to see, we could meet up, possibly at Angela's house for a few hours. Angela suggested it would be better to meet here, at my house where she would not be disturbed by random, unannounced visits by either of her two sons. That was to be the idea for last night, but it depended on one of her sons, who was due to visit early in the evening, leaving early. Evidently that didn't happen. I knew it was a possibility, and in that respects I wasn't too upset about it, but I was (and am) rather peeved that Angela didn't even send a brief text message to say she wouldn't be seeing me. I fear I won't be seeing her until next Monday now, and that is unsettling.

 I waited until about 8pm last night, and when I hadn't heard from Angela I decided I would do some other stuff. That other stuff was a bit more photo editing. It was still slow progress, and this time because of the opposite reason to usual ! Many of the pictures I took in The Black Cat last Saturday night were well lit and generally sharp (many, many more were crap !). It takes a lot of care to pull a semi decent picture out of some of the dull grainy pictures I am forced to take in some places. Some of the pictures taken last Saturday night seem to need a lot of care to make them look as excellent as I can make them.
                          playing in The Black Cat
 You would be surprised to know what little tweeks I have done to this picture - things like changes to the exposure and colour balance in different areas of the photo. The end result is still not perfect, but it's not bad. Of course this shrunk  down picture does not show everything in all it's glory, but clicking on the picture will bring up a bigger version in a new tab or window.
                          view of the band
 On rare occasions the stage lights conspire to shine the best colours in the best direction, and this picture of Steve Pitt playing harmonica needed far less work to look good.

 I nearly stayed up very late editing pictures, but I decided to leave some for today - I think there is still another 100 to consider. I was doing some experiments for those last pictures - mostly unusually slow shutter speeds to what would happen - and this could mean an awful lot of terrible pictures, or maybe some good ones. I'll find out later, but by 10pm I gave up photo editing, and an hour or two later I was in bed asleep.

 I would have been happier if I had not woken on the dot of 5am this morning, but I took the opportunity to take my morning blood pressure medication, as well as going to the toilet. I think it was than that I took the screenshot of the weather forecast, but soon after I was back in bed, and probably much faster than it seemed, I was asleep again. I awoke a couple of hours later, and I felt OK - not good, not bad, but a rather bland "OK".

 I did make a mild suggestion that maybe I could meet Angela while she was out shopping this morning (she has taken today and tomorrow off work), but I didn't pursue the idea. I was hoping that I might hear from Angela this morning, but it is possible she is not alone, and I wouldn't want to intrude on her with a message or phone call if she is with lover boy. So I am very sure my day will be Angela-less (as might tomorrow and the whole weekend !).

 As such my day is mapped out differently to how my imagination hoped. My only achievement this morning was to wash my hair and shower, and to do some laundry by hand. The next definite thing is to go out for my Thursday evening drink. Tonight we are meeting in The Partridge in Bromley. Getting to the closest end of Bromley by bus takes the same or longer than getting to the far end of Bromley by train, but I need the nearest end, and will be getting the bus at, or before 4.30pm.

 That leaves me plenty of time to do some reading, and having a snooze. What I ought to be doing is some hoovering, and maybe I'll do a bit...or not ! It is more likely I will do some photo editing, and very likely I will do some when I get back from this evening's drink - unless I end up drinking Fuller's ESB. In which case I may be far to drunk to do any photo editing, and I may possibly end up in my bed rather earlier than usual.
big tree next to
                        Ladywell Arena
While walking to the pub I did some tree spotting yesterday. This big mature tree is on the western end of Medusa Road in Catford. It is next to the Ladywell Arena building, and I think it looks rather magnificent.
tree reaching across to the other side
                        of the road
Almost at the other end of Medusa road is this tree that seems to be trying to cross the road.
Wednesday 6th December  2017
 06:26 GMT

  Yesterday was monotonously grey, and dull, and depressing, and fortunately not too cold. There was a choice of two temperatures, 8° C for morning and evening, and 9° C for the middle of the day.
another day
                  like yesterday
 Today is forecast to be a lot like yesterday - which is a reasonable guess. The main difference is that the temperature may rise to 11° C today. The small print hints at two more faintly possible differences. There is a small possibility of a brief sunny interval at some time today, and an equally minute possibility of a shower. Even if either happens it still means that today could be written off as dull and grey and miserable. Tomorrow is still forecast to be wet and warmer, and then the sun comes out on Friday and Saturday, and the temperature plummets !

  I achieved all the tasks I set for myself yesterday morning, but maybe not quite like I had hoped for. I think I successfully washed both small bath towels, and hopefully they will refrain from going smelly after just a few uses this time (although to be fair it was only one of them that seemed to get smelly so fast). The next task was to wash me and my hair. Just for a laugh I tried some shower gel I had bought for a laugh ! It was "foamy banana" flavour. I'm not sure it was appropriate for an old man, but I sort of liked it !

 The only problem with my shower and shampoo is that I had it a lot later than intended. As a consequence my hair was still wet when I walked to the pub to meet Angela at lunchtime. Fortunately I was told that my hair looked wet rather than dirty and greasy, and it was dry  before we left the pub. Yesterday's meeting with Angela was very pleasant, but also routine. We were just happy to drink in each others company.
odd looking fungus
 While walking through the park to the pub I noticed this rather odd looking fungus amongst the leaves on the river bank. I'm guessing there were a couple of twigs, or something, buried in the leaf litter that the fungus had to push through....or it's aliens !
tree surgeon
 There was some evidence that my conjecture about the micro park being temporarily closed (pictured yesterday) because of tree pruning may have had some credence, but maybe not. There are a whole row of micro parks alongside the main road to Lewisham. Each one is separated from it's neighbour by a road or driveway. Tree pruning was happening in the very last one on the Lewisham end, but none of the parks were locked out of use except for the one I pictured yesterday. Maybe that one is closed for some other reason.

 There were plenty of things I could have done when I got home from the pub, but apart from cooking and eating, I didn't really do any of them. Hoovering parts of the house after three pints of Guinness was probably never going to happen, but I should have been able to find time and inclination to go through more than a quarter of the photos I took on Saturday night, and get a good photo album prepared.

 The first quarter of the photos did yield some good shots, and some are clean enough to leave in high resolution for ultimate upload to Flickr, but most needed a bit of careful editing - mostly cropping and noise reduction. All the photos I have looked at, and selected the best of, were taken before the stage lights were switched to the normal crazy mode that can look good to the eye, but make photography awkward. My biggest complaint is uneven illumination when taking wide angle shots.
wide angle shot of
 This was one of the better pictures taken with the wide angle lens, and it shows the problem with uneven lighting. Jo, on the left, is almost in shadow, while Chris, on the right, is almost over exposed. Sometimes it is easier to do close up shots of just one person.
Jo Corteen
 I am unsure why I couldn't concentrate on these pictures more yesterday afternoon and evening. I ended up editing a few pictures during commercial breaks while watching TV in the evening. By 9pm I gave up on everything and partly went to bed. The good thing about that was that I managed to make some headway in the book I am currently reading - Ben Bova's "Powersat".

 I think I read until 10pm, but it might have been later before I put the book down, turned out the light, and went to sleep. I think I fell asleep really quickly last night, and I slept almost right through until 5am this morning. I may have go up for a wee during the night, but I have no clear recollection of it. What I do recall was the agony of cramp in my left leg at 5am. I had no choice but to leap out of bed, and walk around a bit to free the muscles up.

 The last part of that walk, which was mostly walking up and down beside my bed, was to walk to the toilet. With all discomforts gone, I got back in bed intending to sleep for a few more hours. That never happened ! As soon as I lay down on my side my chest started to ache. So I tried the other side, and a different part of my chest ached. Then I turned back to the first side and something went click, and the main pain faded away, but I was left with a mild but still irritating broad pain across my chest. Not only that, but while trying to find that elusive perfectly comfortable position I could feel the muscles in my lower left leg trying to sieze up again. The only possibility was to get up.

 As I write this I feel that I should be asleep, and yet I can't really say I feel tired. Being asleep is more an expectation than a need. My chest still feels sort of tender, and I think I will have to be careful about how I make certain movements this morning (throwing a used tissue into a bin on my left using my right hand caused quite a painful jolt a couple of days ago !). I do have some plans for this morning, and one of them may help ease my chest despite it being counterintuitive.

 Sometime soon I will have a wash and get dressed. Then I think I will go to Aldi. Carrying a ruck sack with 6 litres of sugar free cola, and two moderately heavy shopping bags was the way I damaged the healing of my chest far too soon after my quad heart bypass operation in Sept 2013, but now it seems to help my chest when it gets into the clicky sensitive mode it is in now.

 Once I have got my shopping I could do several things. I still need to hoover both the upper and lower hallways (I don't want to even think about the connecting stairs !). If I am hot and sticky after getting back from Aldi it is unlikely that I will want to do more physical stuff. That just leaves getting on with selecting and editing Saturday night's photos until it is time to take a walk to the pub to meet up with Angela.

 Today's drink could be an interesting one. Yesterday there was talk about going together to an open mic night in Blackheath tonight, but the organisers made a mistake with the date, and it is next week and not this week. This means there is nothing to do tonight except for one slight possibility. Angela is off work tomorrow and Friday, and so today is like her Friday, and tonight will be like a Friday night for her.

 It was last Friday, on the way home from the Nico Tamburella gig that I suggested that if another Friday night arose where she was free we ought to get together again. If there was no gigs to go to I suggested that maybe I could spend some time with her at her house, but Angela said that it would be better for her to come to my house where she could relax, and not have to be bothered about her sons and daughters suddenly turning up. I doubt it would happen tonight, but it would be wonderful if it did !
Tuesday 5th December  2017
 09:22 GMT

  A few times in the morning, and maybe a couple of times in the early afternoon, the sun managed to seep through a small gap between the dull and gloomy clouds yesterday. The rest of the day was very dull, but thankfully it wasn't too cold. The forecast reckoned 9° C, and that was about what it was. The wind was quite light, and there was little wind chill.
an even duller day
 Today has started very dull, and it looks as if it will be dull (and gloomy) all day today. Tomorrow doesn't seem to offer any break from this grey monotony, but at a possible 11° C, it will be a couple of degrees less cool than today., The day after it might almost be warm....but wet, and on Friday or Saturday it might snow !

  I don't know how I do it, but yesterday was another day that seemed to whizz by without me doing all that much to speed it up. I can't think of anything I did except read news reports (mainly technical stuff) in the morning before I went out to meet Angela for a quick lunchtime drink. The main thing that happened during that drink was the idea that we might go out in the evening to the local open mic session in Lower Sydenham.

 I did all my research about the open mic later in the afternoon. That research included the official start time - 8pm, although I doubt much would happen until closer to 9pm. I found out where the closest bus stops were to the pub - I would usually go by train, but to/from Angela's house the only two options are a moderate walk or a bus. Finally I found that the buses were still on diversion because of emergency works for a burst water main, and with no buses passing Angela's place the whole evening had to be called off. That was annoying because I really wanted to spend some more time with Angela.

 On my way back from the pub at lunchtime I spotted something that intrigued me....
this park temporarily
                        closed was this ! It may not be easy to read the white sign in this reduced size picture - it reads "Park Closed Temporarily". The intriguing thing is why, or how this little patch of grass is called a park, but then again I can't think of a better description of it. A view looking along the "park" gives some idea of it's size.
park or open
 I think you can just about follow the railing around to give an idea of how little they enclose. It was also intriguing as to why it was closed. Nothing was going on in there as far as I could see, but I suppose it is possible that something was scheduled to take place a little later - tree pruning perhaps.
inside a similar
 This is the view inside the next "park". It is worth noting the historic origins of these "parks". Once upon a time there was a stream that ran from Catford towards Lewisham as far as St Mary's church. It then flowed behind the church somehow until it joined the River Ravensbourne. It is only in the last 10 years or so that these parks have been enclosed by railings. Prior to that they just had a granite brick wall, about 18 inches high, around them. If it were not for occasional breaks where roads or driveways cross the course of that old stream bed, it would be continuous for about 3/4 of a mile. The sad thing is that sometime near the beginning of the last century the bed of the stream was pierced during road works, and all the water drained away ! I don't know if that is legend or fact.

 During the afternoon I did several things. I prepared, cooked and ate some dinner. I had a snooze, and I did the research I mentioned earlier. I also made a very small start in selecting and editing photos I took of Chain's gig in The Black Cat on Saturday night. The only problem is that I didn't seem to get very far. I think the urgency drained away once I realised I wouldn't be going out in the evening.
Jo Corteen at The
                            Black Cat pub
Here's one picture I did manage to edit yesterday. It's Jo Corteen at The Black Cat.

 The rest of yesterday evening should have been boring, but somehow wasn't. I watch a bit of TV, and read some more stuff from the internet, and somehow didn't edit any more pictures !  The one thing I wonder why I didn't do was read more from the book I started to read nearly a week ago, and haven't made much progress on. Last night would have been ideal to lay on my bed with a glass of whisky nearby, and the book in my hand.

 I have no idea what I am doing differently to a few weeks ago, but once again I seemed to sleep fairly solidly again last night. However, some things never change - I still woke up feeling moderately dreadful, and it took some time before it felt like my body could function in the real world without killing me. Several hours later I feel like I am probably in as good a condition as when I went out to see Angela yesterday - and I was quite surprised at the speed I managed to attain when I rushed to the pub (because Angela sent a message saying she would be there earlier than usual).

 Last night's sleep was also perfectly normal in another respect. I woke up with the memory of some wonderful dreams, at least I think they were wonderful, but all but the last second of the final dream have evaporated into the aether. The last thing I remember is that I was going to take a picture of one or more people either inside, or by a car, and saying "I've got the spray". I don't know that person, or those people were, and what the spray was about is a complete and utter mystery !

 Today I have a few things on my agenda. One of the first things I have to do is to finish washing a couple of small bath towels. Washing one by hand is really hard work. I've never attempted two at once, and it only came about because the towel I had only used a couple of times suddenly went very stinky. I had to walk to my bedroom while still dripping wet to get a clean towel ! I have washed and rinsed those towels a few times, but they will need quite a few more rinses until I can use some fabric conditioner, and then hang them up to dry.

 When I have done that I can wash my hair and have a shower so I am all sparkling clean when I see Angela at lunchtime. After lunch I really ought to muscle down and get on with selecting and editing the pictures of Chain last Saturday night. That could be the final thing on my agenda for today because I am not going out tonight because there is nothing least I don't think there is !
Monday 4th December  2017
 09:49 GMT

  It was noticeably milder yesterday, but it was still a rather dull day. I think most of the unforecast drizzle was confined to the morning, but it still looked quite damp outside for a lot of the day. I suppose we should applaud 10° C at this time of year, but maybe not.
another dull day
 It is going to be another rather dull and gloomy day today. although having said that, the sun was just about managing to push through some small gaps in the cloud a bit earlier this morning. At the moment the cloud cover seems completely unbroken, and it is almost dark enough to justify turning on the lights. The wind should be fairly light today, and so the 9° C forecast for this afternoon should not feel too cold. At the moment the forecast for tomorrow is just an even gloomier version of today, and as I sit here typing this is looks very gloomy outside !

  Yesterday was one of those days where I didn't seem to do anything of any significance. As I mentioned yesterday, I did spent a few hours with Aleemah from mid morning to early afternoon, but apart from that I achieved very little. I couldn't even be bothered to carry on editing pictures. Despite all that I didn't seem to be bored, and I didn't seem to have time, or maybe the inclination to read any more of the book I started reading quite a few days ago now. I seemed to amuse myself with a little bit of TV, and a lot of internet. It seems incredible now, and maybe it was a dream, but I think it was almost 2am this morning before I was in bed and asleep.

 After going to sleep so late, and almost certainly aided by several large vodka and colas, I slept quite well. I have a vague recollection of turning the heater on after waking up feeling cold sometime in the early hours. I also remember having an exciting dream. The only trouble is that all I can remember of that dream is just one snapshot image that is so indistinct that I can't describe it. The sharpest memory I have is waking up thinking "that was an exciting dream, I must try and remember it.......". Like most dream, it has now vanished into the ether.

 I seem to think I feel mostly OK this morning, and I look forward to testing that theory a bit later on when I take a walk through the park to meet Angela for our lunchtime drink together.  At some point I have a shed load of photo editing to try and do today. I still have pictures to insect, select and edit that I took last Friday night, and I haven't even transferred the pictures I took on Saturday night to my PC yet. To make matters worse, I will probably go to the Lower Sydenham, Railway Tavern, open mic session tonight......probably.
Sunday 3rd December  2017
 16:48 GMT

  Yesterday was very dull, but with only a very light wind it didn't seem to feel all that cold. I still needed the heat on all day to compensate for the outside temperature only being 6° C.
slightly milder than the previous few days
 It has definitely been much milder today, although I would question that it reached 10° C this afternoon. 8° C seemed more likely. The other error in the forecast today is that it doesn't seem to acknowledge all the drizzle that has made today not just gloomy, but rather wet too ! This may be because the written summary does not always say what the pictograms say. For instance, the pictograms say that the temperature will not fall below 5° C all night long, and it will be 5° C tomorrow morning at 5am. The written summary warns of frost in the morning ! It may, or may not hit 9 or 10° C tomorrow, and it might, or might not have some sunny intervals just after midday.

  I seemed to spend a lot of yesterday selecting and editing photos from Friday night. Trying to pull some decent photos out of the noise and gloom took a fair amount of effort - it goes against all the rules of photography to have all the light behind the subject, but that was what I had to cope with. There are times when you can break that rule for special reasons, but Friday night was not one of those occasions.
Geoff Paice
You can see all the bright, slightly over exposed, lighting behind Geoff Paice in this photo, and how his face is partly in shadow. Before I had carefully brightened up Geoff's face, the picture looked a lot worse than this. Last night I was given a tip that had I known it, could have made for some better results. I'll explain it in a minute.

I barely managed to get enough pictures together in time to upload to a social media web sight before I had to start getting ready to go out and take even more pictures. The event was Chain playing at The Black Cat. They were playing what is probably the second to last gig ever played in The Black Cat. (The last ever may be The Life Of Brian on 23rd December). It made it a special occasion, but even that was not enough to pull in a big enough crowd to pay for the gig - and that is why gigs are ending there.

 One person who was there was Rod Tidman. He is a professional photographer - albeit with a particular specialisation that does not include taking band photography. His particular tip was that I should try a slower shutter speed to increase the sensitivity for low light situations. He suggested that many people, including those playing instruments, or even singing, move a lot slower than I might have thought. A high speed shutter is great for "freezing action", but it seems it isn't always needed, and Rod also argued that some motion blur could be an artistic asset rather than a fault. I did try slowing the shutter down - even going as low as 1/10th of a second (I usually fear going slower then 1/100th of a second. I haven't examined those photos on my big PC screen yet, but in the viewfinder screen of my camera they didn't look that bad, and maybe looked rather good !

 It was a great gig last night. Chain played well. I knew many people there, and many pints of Guinness were drunk. I am unsure just how many pints of Guinness, but I definitely had a hangover this morning. One peculiar thing is that I didn't feel tired last night, nor the previous night, and I think I have Angela to thank for that. I'm not sure if I blotted my copybook when I showed the picture of Angela and the band, the one that she feared might upset her lover boy, but life has been so much sweeter, almost exhilarating, since relations with Angela have got so much better. Not feeling tired, and also the The Black Cat being so local to home, meant that I didn't leave there until the very end - which was almost getting on for 1am this morning !

 I still felt quite alert, albeit a rather drunken alertness, after I got home. I had eaten very little by normal standards during the day, yesterday, and I was rather peckish when I got home. I curbed my hunger by drunkenly wolfing down a large packet of crisps ! Then I went to bed, but I have no real idea of what time it was. I'm pretty sure it was after 1am, but as to how much after will probably remain a mystery. Once I was asleep I slept the sleep of a drunk !

 I woke up at around 7.30am feeling pretty dreadful, but I had to get my act together because my friend Aleemah was visiting me in the morning. She actually arrived a bit later than I expected. She forewarned me when she go ton the bus to Catford (no trains again through Catford Bridge for the 3rd or 4th Sunday in a row), and I met her in the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast. As in the past, when I regularly saw Aleemah on a Saturday morning, my breakfast was a pint of beer, and hers was coffee and cooked veggie breakfast.

 After breakfast we visited a couple of shops before coming home to watch a DVD. As in the past, the DVD was chosen by Aleemah. Today's DVD was the "erotic thriller" 50 Shades Of Grey. Like many said about the book it was based on, it was not terribly exciting, but the leading lady did appear topless - a lot ! That was, ahem, interesting !! Soon after the movie finished Aleemah went home, taking the Xmas present I had bought her with her.

 It is a very rare occurrence that I see something and think it would make a great Xmas present for somebody. Usually I am left scratching my head, and can't think of anything to buy for a present. Aleemah is into the dark arts and stuff, and I saw an ornament on the British Heart Foundation charity shop that was perfect. It was a facsimile of three stacked ancient books with titles of "Spells", "potions" and "magic" underneath an inkwell with a pen made from a bone. It was all cast from resin or something, but looked quite good. Aleemah couldn't resist opening her parcel and declared that she really liked it when she saw it.

 After Aleemah had gone home I confirmed a theory of mine. It was that a traditional Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie in a shallow can could fit, and be cooked in my little table top oven. I haven't had one in ages upon ages, and it was delicious - well sort of. Having seen how it cooked in the default way I think I can cook the next one a bit better. For one thing it should have been turned a few times while cooking because one half of the pastry was almost burnt, and the other half was slightly undercooked. Alternatively I could have cooked it in oven mode only, leaving the top grill section off, for a bit longer. Now I know they fit in the oven I intend to buy more of them, and experiment. I must check to see if they have them, or some equivalent, in Aldi. Today's pie came from Poundland. They have several varieties in there, and I doubt that they would be less than £1 in Aldi....but you never know.

 Since eating my steak and kidney pie, with baked beans, I have had a sleep. I don't know how long I slept, but it was almost dark when I woke up. What I ought to next, once I have finished this blog is to go through the last of Friday night's pictures, and see if there are any more worthy of adding to the photo album. After that I need to copy last night's pictures from the camera to my PC, and then start the process of selecting them to make a new photo album. The only thing is, I feel sort of lazy right now, and some booze and another snooze feels like it might be nice. Meanwhile I will look forward to tomorrow, and meeting Angela for a lunchtime pint.
Saturday 2nd December  2017
 10:50 GMT

  There seemed to be less wind yesterday, and it didn't feel so cold as the day before despite the temperatures being similar. I can't remember there being quite as much sunshine as forecast, but what sunshine there was did a good job of warming up my bedroom and living room. There was a little bit of unscheduled light rain in the evening, but it was generally inconsequential.
cold and dull
 Today is forecast to be cold and dull ! If any rain had fallen between 9 and 10am it might have fallen as light snow, but there was no sign of it. On the whole, today's weather could be summed up as cold, bland, and grey. Tomorrow could be just as dull, but it could be twice as warm...well, sort of. 10° C is nothing to get excited about, but with little wind it would be comfortable without a coat for short periods of time.

  I had a very nice lunchtime drink with Angela yesterday. Some of it concerned plotting to go to a gig in the evening. The conclusion of that "plotting" was that I would meet Angela at her place, and we would share a cab to the venue. I guess I found that quite exciting. We haven't done anything like that for over a year now. It was just another step on the road to normalisation. The only road block now is her lover boy.
winters here
As I walked through the park it was obvious that winter is here. All these trees have lost their leaves now, and many lay on the ground waiting to be gathered up...although some will be left to rot in these new eco times.
This tree is holding on to some of it's
Not every tree has shed it's leaves, and these two even have a few green leaves on them.

 When I got back from the pub I took extra care to not eat too much, and make myself uncomfortable for the evening. I decided that soup might be a good idea, but the first can I opened could only be called soup by the most deceptive of definitions. The can label actually said meat balls in gravy. I did follow that by a can of tomato and basil soup. After my lunch I lay on my bad, as I seem to do most afternoons now, and dozed off to sleep for at least an hour, and maybe more.

 After I woke up I still had lots of time to waste before going out. Some of it I did use constructively. I washed some t-shorts, and I did a little bit of tidying up downstairs. Eventually it was time to go out. It should be straightforward getting to Angela's house, but a burst water main meant all the buses were on diversion, and I ended up having to walk quite a long distance - at least 15 minutes of fast walking. The last 7 or 8 minutes was uphill, and I arrived at Angela's house rather damp and fatigued. After 5 minute cooling off she called a cab, and we were on our way to the venue.

 The venue was Grace's Bar And Grill, and we were going to see Nico Tamburella and The Alchemy doing a warm up gig prior to a larger tour. They were also introducing a new album. It all sounds very impressive, but essentially it was a pub gig, and because of that there was no front lighting. It made photography quite tricky, and many of the pictures I took were crap. I think I did manage to get a few good shots, and a selection of mediocre shots that can be tarted up with a bit of care. This picture was posed for another photographer (I'm not sure whom) before the gig actually started. I'm not sure how it happened, but Angela ended up as part of the group photo - I think Nico Tamburella was just acting the rock star, and posing with the birds !
Angela poses with
                            the band
Nico is between Angela and Geoff Paice in the centre. I don't know the names of the other two.

 There is a chance that Angela's lover boy is going to freak when he sees this picture, but it is all perfectly innocent, and if he is so uptight, and so possessive, Angela is probably better off without him. The band put on an impressive performance, but I found it hard to warm to them because I always have difficulties with stuff that I have never heard before. It turned out that we only stayed for the first set. Angela was feeling tired, and I was feeling a bit weary too.

 I don't think we had planned to share a cab home, but that is what we did. I had a little surprise for Angela once were were in the cab. I had noticed that she hadn't finished her drink when she left, and so I picked it up and hid it in my camera case. I was very careful, but I did manage to lose a little bit of it in the case. Fortunately none of it got on my camera or lenses.  Angela was most surprised when I handed her the drink once we got moving.

 The cab took us to Angela's house first, and I wished her a good night outside, and for the first time in 14 months I was offered a kiss on the lips !!! The cab then took me home. It was nice to get in relatively early, although it wasn't far short of 11pm. I had a little bit of dinner before going to bed. It took a while to get to sleep, but once I did, I slept well.

 I don't feel all that good this morning, and I think it is all to do with my "twisted rib". As I sit here typing I have an ache that is a bit like heartburn, and also a few other aches from higher up my chest - one of them is quite close to my left shoulder. Most of it must be posture related. One of the things I had to do before sitting here writing this was to go to the sorting office to pick up a packet. I decided I would get the bus there and back, but by the time I had walked to the bus stop I felt mostly OK. Having got my parcel I decided I would walk back to Catford, and go home via the Pound Shop.

 In theory I have lots of housework to do today. Tomorrow My friend Aleemah will be visiting for a few hours. I lured her over because it is cheaper than sending her Xmas present by post ! It would be nice to do a bit of hoovering and tidying in the living room before she arrives. The only trouble is I feel like a snooze now. Well I guess I have time for that as well. I don't know where I'll find time to go through all the photos I took last night, but I ought to try and do something with them today because I'll be taking more tonight when Chain play in The Black Cat.

Here's two more pictures I took of Angela last night. I had to use some powerful noise reduction on these pictures because there was so little light, and the original pictures were very dark and grainy. They also look much better when shrunk down to this size.

Friday 1st December  2017
 08:49 GMT

  Yesterday was very cold by the thermometer, and utterly bitterly cold when out in the wind ! Not only that, but instead of the forecast sunshine it snowed ! It may not have been a lot of snow, and none of it settled, but it was a stark reminder that it is now winter, and autumn has passed (even if not officially). The forecast said the highest temperature yesterday was just 3° C, and it probably was, but the wind chill made it feel closer to ZERO !
another wintery day
 Today is going to be warmer than yesterday, although using words like "warmer" when the highest temperature is forecast to be just 6° C, and that for less than an hour, seems wrong ! By my reckoning, it was just 2.5° C at 7am this morning. Maybe it was the forecast 4° C a few hundred feet up in the sky, and that would be why the unforecast rain did not fall as snow at the time. Once again there is going to be nasty feeling wind coming from the north, but maybe it won't be as strong as it was yesterday - not that the wind was particularly strong yesterday - except in it's capacity to chill to the bone !  Tomorrow may just be a duller version of today - which is quite depressing.

  I didn't have a lot planned for yesterday. There were just two things on my agenda initially, and one of those was only a "might do". What I might do I actually did, and that was to go to Tesco to buy some wine (and a few other things while I was in there). It took ages to find some Pinot Grigio wine, and that was because I was sure it was a red wine. It turns out that it is a white wine. Maybe I was also showing my complete ignorance about all things wine when I hoped there might be a Greek version of it. Maybe there is, but all Tesco had was Italian Pinot Grigio. I now have a couple of bottles of it here in case Angela wants some when she visits sometime in the unknown future.

 It didn't seem terribly long before it was time to go out have a drink with the lads in Bromley. Only a few hours had elapsed since I went to Tesco, but in that short time it felt much colder outside. I think the wind can be blamed for that. I not only put on my warmest coat (warmest except for the one that is a bit too small for me, and that I was hoping I might "grow into"), but I also kept it firmly zipped up even on the bus. I don't think the heating was working that well on the bus.
last night's beers
 Sometimes it seems rare for a Wetherspoons pub to have nice beer available, but last night they had these beers on as well as their usual beers (which I don't like, and avoid).  Out of the two in the picture the Twelve Days was the best, and I had 2 pints of that, and just 1 pint of the Moredue.
Angela's new dresses
 One unusual occurence while I was in the pub was some exchanges of messages with Angela. Since coming back from her "holiday" with lover boy we have kept in touch much more frequently, and a lot of it is initiated by her - which I very much approve of. Last night, while she knew I was drinking, she wanted to show me pictures of two new dresses she bought when she was in Lewisham during her lunch break on Tuesday.

 Back in the pub there was some interesting banter, and I had my regulation three pints of beer before my farewells, and went out into the cold dark night. I was sort of lucky that I only had to wait a few minutes before a 320 bus turned up that should have rushed me back to Catford Bridge station. The first problem was that the front of the bus said Catford rather than Catford Bridge station. So I asked the driver if he was going to kick everyone off the bus at the Lewisham Town Hall stop instead of continuing to Catford Bridge station. He mumbled something so quietly, and in some unknown language that I had no idea what he said. What actually happened is that we had barely gone a third of the way towards Catford before he announced over the PA that the bus would now be terminating at Catford Bus Garage. This was also shown on the internal displays.

 I think it was the third time this has happened, and it is bloody annoying - maybe less so the first time because it was a few months ago, and it was a warm sunny evening, but doubly so when it is really bitter outside. Fortunately we had maybe less than a minute to wait until a 54 turned up, and that was good enough for me. I was home, and in the warm again in less than 15 minutes after that.

 There were two things I wanted to do when I got, make that three ! After a pee I wanted some hot food, and I wanted to wish Angela good night and sweet dreams. I did all three, and then after watching a bit of TV I went to bed. I think I was asleep before 11pm, but at just gone midnight I thought I was going to have a repeat of the previous night - the one that involved long waits sitting on the toilet in a cold bathroom. It was a bit like that, but only 10% as dramatic, and I was comfy in bed again in less than 20 minutes.

 One extra thing that happened last night was I got a call from Lee. He said he would be passing my place in about 30 minutes (it was typically more like 40 minutes), and that he would have a strong mate with him. He offered to take away my old and heavy Sony TV last night instead of today. That meant moving a few things in the hall way rather faster than expected, but I did that, and when the time came it was easy to get the TV out of the house. Although the new flat screen TV that Lee gave me gives a far worse picture than the old CRT based set, it was good to be able to get rid of the big and heavy thing !

 Apart from the midnight visit to the toilet I must have slept well even though it didn't feel like it. It felt like I was suffering from bad insomnia, and that I spent half the night awake, but the big chunks of missing time suggest that I was actually asleep for most of the time. I would be thrashing around trying to get to sleep, and than suddenly a few hours had passed without me realising it. It was not ideal, but the best of a bad deal.

 This morning I got up fairly slowly, and tried to ignore how I felt for the first 10 - 20 minutes. I can now report that I felt fairly OK, and although I have yet to test my body properly, I think I am in fair working order - but only for light duties ! Today I have several things on my agenda. Ideally I need to tidy up the hall a bit more, and to give it a good hoovering. I may fit that in sometime today, and if I do it will be before the main feature - meeting Angela at lunchtime for a couple of beers.

 That may not really be the main feature. The goodness of the next feature is a bit unknown, but it could excede that of meeting Angela at lunchtime - it should be meeting Angela in the evening too. I don't know if I will be meeting Angela at her house, and sharing a cab, or whether I will make my own way to a gig and meet her there. What I do know is that lover boy is safely out of the way playing drums at a different gig way out in Essex. The gig tonight is not straight forward to get to, and sharing Angela's cab there (and back) would be most convenient. The gig is a small warm up gig for Nico Tamburello And The Academy before  he does a tour of Italy (or something - I am unsure of the details at the moment). It's in a venue called Grace's Bar And Grill - a venue that has only recently come on the scene. It is alleged to be big and spacious inside - which will be good !