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

Tuesday  28th  February 2017
 08:11 GMT
  And so we get ready to say goodbye to another month.........

  There were some good things about yesterday's weather, and some bad things. The bad was how quickly it seemed to get cold as sunset approached. The original prediction was that the temperature would fall to 5° C by 7pm, but I wonder if it wasn't close to that as early as 5pm ! On the plus side, there were some sunny intervals. The very strange thing is that those sunny intervals were usually accompanied by rain ! Another good thing was that the western horizon still seemed bright and cheerful at nearly 6pm. The reason for that was because much of the sky was clear. The sky was probably mostly clear through the night too. So this morning it is currently bright and sunny, but there was frost on many cars as I walked to the station. It should be a mostly bright day today, but it is going to be a cold day. The forecast reckons 7° C is all we can hope for today. To twist the knife in, there will probably be some light rain when I am going home from work. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a dull day, but it should make 9° C for a few hours in the early afternoon until some persistent rain cools things down for the night.

 I think I probably felt better than I expected while I was at work yesterday, but better does not equate to "good" on this occasion. My main complaint would be feeling sleepy - so sleepy that I fell into what was probably full sleep while reading stuff on my PC. Maybe it was only for a second or two, but it still came as a shock when one of my work colleagues woke me up ! On a more positive note, I didn't cough nearly as much as I expected, and my nose very rarely got close to dripping.

 Obviously it was a joy to leave work and get out into the fresh air (even if it was raining for the first few minutes after leaving work), but it was with an even greater joy because I was heading for the pub and a pint of Guinness. During the morning I spoke to Angela. It was a fairly bland, but still nice call, and no mention was made about the afternoon/evening. Just before 2pm I received a message from Angela asking if I would like to meet for a drink. Of course I did !

 I met Angela in The Black Cat at 4.30pm, and I had my usual Guinness, and she had a vodka. Towards the end of my second pint I managed to tempt Angela back to my place with the lure of a tuna and cucumber sandwich (from Tesco). We spent a couple of very pleasant hours there discussing coughs, cold, assorted diseases and work - although it was nowhere near as morbid as that list may suggest. Even a cough has a funny side - rare but true !

 A little after 7pm Angela went home, and I sorted out some dinner for myself. My first course was liver and bacon, and with hindsight it might not have been a great choice. Until I tucked into it I had not really coughed that much, but some of the slightly dry, slightly crumbly liver got in the wrong place, and started me off coughing at an intensity I had avoided all day until then. Eventually my cough died down again, and I was able to resume eating, albeit it with some care. I did eat some other stuff as well as the liver and bacon, but it wasn't all that much, and I am sure it can't account for me feeling a little fatter this morning. I think, or I hope, it is just one of those feelings that has no basis in reality.

 It wasn't too long after I ate dinner that I went to bed. By then my throat was a bit twitchy, and my nose was feeling stuffy. I guess I was rather tired because it didn't seem to take long before I fell asleep between coughing and blowing my nose. I woke up several time with a blocked nose, and with quite a lively frog in my throat, but I also woke up twice with cramp in my right calf. I have no idea what caused it, but I know that on one occasion I literately had to throw myself out of bed in the hope that I would be able to stand up without falling over. Fortunately I could, but it was a close run thing. The good thing is that once I put weight on my leg the cramped muscles released, and the pain went away.

 I was woke by my alarm at 5am, and I felt extremely bunged up ! My nose and sinuses felt full to the brim with snot, and my wind pipe seemed full of congealed mucus. It took quite a time before I could breathe properly, but eventually I could. One big change in my cold, and one I think should be for the better, is that this morning some of the stuff that came from deep inside my face, and out through my nose, was most definitely green - indicating a bacterial infection (as I thought all along). Rightly or wrongly, I usually take this as an indicator that I am starting, if not actually on, the road to recovery.

 My nose and throat gave very little trouble while I was out in the fresh air, and walking to the station. What was bothersome was that my legs felt underpowered this morning. I walked a lot slower than usual this morning, and that was a bit tedious. When I actually arrived at work, and tried to shout out my traditional "Good Morning" as I came through the door, my voiced cracked and it came out all croaky !

 As I write this I do feel terribly tired, and there has been a few times when I have paused to think and my eyes have closed. Once or twice I fell asleep deeply enough to start dreaming ! I can feel it is going to be a challenge to get through the day. Obviously I can't wait until I can go home again. I have no plans for tonight beyond going to bed as early as is feasible. Of course I would drop everything if I had the chance to spend a few more hours with Angela, but 2 nights running would be like fantasy - albeit a very nice, luxury fantasy !
Monday  27th  February 2017
 08:16 GMT
  It's a shame that the 15° C I saw on my upstairs thermometer wasn't accompanied by strong sunshine. It would have made it a very different day. The reality was that the dirty grey clouds meant that it felt cool and wintry - or it did in my mind. Today will be different, and a few of those differences will be very slightly good. Here's how the BBC's website describe the forecast for today - "A mild start with broken cloud, some sunny intervals, and showers. Then turning colder with occasionally heavy showers, these locally wintry with a risk of hail and thunder. Fresh or strong winds at times, with near gales on coasts.". It is now apparently as warm as it is going to get - 9° C - and once we see one of the fabled sunny intervals, it might even seem nice for that interval of time. By 7pm the temperature will have fallen to 5° C, and that won't be much fun. Tomorrow probably won't be much fun either. It is forecast to be just a chilly 3° C when I am travelling to work, but in compensation the morning is supposed to be very sunny. There might be a brief flirtation with 8° C at 3pm, but the temperature could have dropped a degree by 5pm, and it may well be raining.

 The funny thing about yesterday evening was that I kept thinking I had been out earlier in the afternoon. I'm pretty certain that I didn't go anywhere after my quick to Tesco just after midday. It is possible, if not probable that my confusion comes from watching a fairly long video on You Tube. It covered ground I am fairly familiar with, but seen from a different perspective. It is the video of a drivers eye view of a train from Erith station to Cannon Street station. There is no commentary to it, and only simple captions to name the stations the train calls at. It is both boring and exciting, and I don't think you have to be a "rail enthusiast" to be curious about what is going on ahead when you can only see out of side windows on train journeys. If you have half an hour to waste you can watch it here -

  I did try and moderate my eating yesterday, but like any day when I am feeling isolated and bored, it didn't really work. Feeling ill made the temptations even worse. On the other hand, when I also take into consideration that I bought some tasty (and in one instance, not so tasty) stuff from Tesco, I probably did a lot better than I might have expected. The not so tasty item I mentioned was a Tesco ready meal. It can't remember how it was named/described. Something keeps making me think it was described as a full English breakfast, but it was so far removed from that, that it couldn't be.

 Some dubious quality beans, a single horrible tasting sausage, a single hash brown (an American vegetable that has no place in an English breakfast), a bit of rubbery scrambled egg, and two little bit of bacon, do not make a full English breakfast ! Even the addition of a generous amount of chilli sauce failed to make it enjoyable. I should have thrown it away and saved the calories !
chilli sauce that is hotter than "mild"
 This was the chilli sauce I used in my failed attempt to make the Tesco ready made "breakfast" palatable. It is interesting that it is (or was) on sale at the reduced price of 50p a bottle. It is my belief that it has been mislabelled. It is part of a new range of chilli sauces that Tesco started stocking recently. This one is described as "mild", and yet my taste buds suggest it is warmer than the "medium" version. I found it to be very nice. It is hot enough to give a good bite, but not so hot that you have to use it with care. I could almost be tempted to pop into Tesco on my way home and buy up a few more bottles - maybe more if the price drops any more to get rid of it quicker.

 Last night was similar to the previous night or two. While I was sitting quietly in the warm, and avoiding eating anything that might tickle my throat, I felt generally OK, but once I lay down it seemed like my nose filled with mucus, and so did my throat. Blowing my nose was easy enough, but coughing up that mucus in my throat was hard work, and even when I did manage it, it would be back again within minutes. It came as a great relief, and of course great enjoyment, when I got a message from Angela, and got up again to talk to her.

 Poor Angela has gone down with a cold, and on top of all her other worries she is very worried about infecting her current "lover" because his chemotherapy leaves him very open to infection. That leaves a possible opening for me to meet her for a drink tonight, but I doubt it will happen. If she feels too ill to see him, then she will probably feel too ill to come out and meet me in the pub. Oh well, life goes on.

 Eventually I had some poor sleep, but I was up in time, and feeling just about OK enough to come to work this morning. Now I've been sitting here quietly in the warm I feel.......I think "bad" is an adequate description. I've had a few good coughing fits, and I am definitely feeling all the sleep I missed last night. Oh well, there could be some good bits of today. My new camera lens might be delivered here today (although it could be tomorrow). Maybe I might end up having a pint of Guinness after work. Sadly, I think the former is more likely than the latter. Oh well, only another five and three quarter hours to go and I can be on my way home (or to the pub !).
Sunday  26th  February 2017
 15:23 GMT
  Yesterday was pretty horrible ! Apart from the greyness, the lack of sunshine, the sky that wasn't blue, the clouds being dark and foreboding, the air of melancholy, and the greyness, it was also cool, and it rained in the evening !
15° C - but only outside the first floor
                        (12° C on the ground)
Today there was one significant improvement, and there is a clue in the picture on the left. This morning was slightly brighter than yesterday, but there has been no sunshine today, and yet it was almost warm early this afternoon. It might have been "actually" warm if it were not for two facts. The first is that this temperature reading was taken from the thermometer outside the back bedroom window. It is unlikely to be influenced from heating leaking from that room because there is no heating in it. The thermometer outside the kitchen said it was only 12° C.

 The second factor was the wind. It is a lot less lively than the winds that battered us on Thursday, but it still feels rather cool. The forecast says the winds should be dying down a bit now, but more trouble is on it's way. Around 9pm it will start to rain, and that rain is going to continue into tomorrow afternoon if we are unlucky. If I am lucky there may be a brief dry period at about the time I'll be travelling to work. It is forecast that tomorrow morning will be warmer than the afternoon - 9° C at 10am, and just 7° C at 4pm. The only redeeming feature may be some sunny periods - apparently at the same time as it is raining !
a wasp in February
 This wasp evidently thought it might be warmer than it actually was. I took this snap of it walking across the pavement while I was walking to Tesco.

 I was in two minds about going out last night, but in the end I elected to stay in. It didn't help that there were two different venues, featuring two different bands, and it was hard to decide which would have been best. The Life Of Brian were playing in The Partridge pub in Bromley, and MT Pockets were playing in The Mitre pub in Greenwich. Both are just one medium tedious bus rise away, and both are often a bit too busy for my liking (or maybe that should be my photography needs).

 I expect that if I had gone out it would have been to Bromley because there would have been one extra attraction there - Angela. Of course the real deal breaker is that the cough I have is hanging around just a little bit longer than my patience can stand ! I probably wouldn't have coughed much while standing up or travelling, and a handy beer would have kept my throat from getting too tickly, but I also had to consider the ethics of coughing all over everybody. Most of all it just seemed so easy to grab a few whiskies, and stay in, in the warm and dry (there was some rain last night).

 I think staying in probably made my cough worse, and laying down in bed certainly did. Whether the booze I sipped or swilled made it worse is unknown, but I was happy to conduct experiment number 78,053,228 to determine the therapeutic effects of booze on the common, uncommon, and even the very rare cold. As usual the results were inconclusive, but I will carry on researching the phenomena !

 With hindsight it is difficult to say if I felt tired or not last night. I think I felt I ought to feel tired, but I seemed to be in no rush to get to bed. This was handy (although as I write that I am not sure of the logic behind that statement) because just as I was getting bored I realised that channel E4 (who.what. why ?) were showing the film "Paul". This is a film that is definitely hard to define. It is a Sci Fi movie, but is also a comedy. It is also a most definite English film despite being set in America (and of course our two heroes are 100% English !).

 I think I went to bed soon after the film finished, but I certainly didn't go straight to sleep. One thing I did while watching the film was to nibble some of those sugar free, vanilla wafers I mentioned yesterday. It was a really stupid mistake. By their very nature they are what could be described as "dusty". Getting dust, or flecks of wafer, stuck on the back of the throat while your throat is on a hair trigger is a recipe for disaster. I coughed, and coughed, and coughed, and coughed, and then for good measure I coughed some more. I am sure I can still feel how sore my throat got even now !

 It took some time, but eventually I fell asleep. Like all my recent nights, at lest to one extent or another, I got a few hours of solid sleep in before just sleeping in hour, or sometimes less, segments. It's hard to pin down any reason for it, but when I finally decided to get up I felt strangely good. I think, but I can't be sure now, that I was strangely free of the worst of the usual aches and pains. Unfortunately I wasn't free of the main malady d' jour - a cough. My throat was still on a hair trigger, and any stray molecule of air could trigger off a good coughing session.

 Every time I started to cough, my eyes would water, and my nose would bung up with snot again, but otherwise it does seem like my nose is mostly dry. I think it rather depends on what I am doing, and it might also rely on a lot of optimistic self delusion, but sometimes I do allow the idea to flit through my mind that the periods between each major coughing session are getting longer. I guess I have to get well sometime, and maybe it is happening before my very eyes - either that or my imagination is running riot - and that seems very possible.

 One thing is for sure, and that is that I did feel like doing more than just lazing around this morning. It seemed too grey to lure me out for some exercise - a walk with my camera maybe - but maybe there was other stuff I could do. It may have been premature because it seems unlikely that I haven't finished having sweaty, snotty, coughy nights, but I thought some nice clean bedding might be nice. I decided a nice purple set might be nice. I also switched to a lighter duvet (it will probably snow now !).
Deep Purple in
Deep Purple In Bed(rock) - I won't feel ashamed if that 1 in a million chance of a visitor in my bed should happen....maybe tomorrow tonight if the stars align with Mars, and Jupiter is in the seventh high - or I just get lucky !

 I still wanted a taste of fresh air even if it was just a short one. I wasn't happy about any of the whiskys I had here. They were all OK as such, but it seemed like a good idea to get some more of my favourite - Tesco's Special Reserve. So my breath of fresh air was a walk to and from Tesco. I thought it would be a good time to start wearing in my new denim jackets, but when I saw the temperature outside I thought I should be comfortable without a coat - and while the wind wasn't blowing, I was.

 Since that shopping trip, which was obviously more than just getting a bottle of whisky, I have done very little. I'm not sure where all the time has gone, but it is only as I come to the end of this bit of writing that I feel some impending boredom coming on. At the moment there is only one thing I must attempt to do, and that is to get to bed, and to sleep, nice and early so I won't be shattered going back to work again in the morning (and maybe in the rain !).
Saturday  25th  February 2017
 09:37 GMT
  The thermometer said it was still rather cool (7 ~ 8° C) yesterday, but it didn't feel that bad thanks to the sunshine. That sunshine allowed me to turn the heating off in my bedroom, and still remain comfortable. There was still a lot of blue sky visible as the sun set. After that I drew the curtains, and the conditions outside were of no further interest to me. My first impression of the sky this morning was that it was horribly grey and depressing. For all that cloud, I think the temperature still dropped to about 4° C at first light. There are two ways to see the weather forecast. The first, and most obvious, is what I normal quote from. It means interpreting the little pictograms for each hour of the (current) day. Today that says grey, grey, greyer grey, grey, grey, maybe a splash of rain and grey, grey, grey, and yet more grey with occasional darker grey periods. The highest temperature is shown as 10° C.

 The other way is to scroll down to read the small print. This sometimes contradicts the pictograms, and sometimes reinforces them. Today it says - "Cloudy with occasional outbreaks of rain. However, there will also be a few drier, brighter intervals and feeling mild. A strong breeze which will be gusty at times.". The written forecast for tomorrow says - "Mainly dry with some bright periods, but a further band of rain and stronger winds moving east during the evening." - this seems slightly more optimistic than my readings of the pictograms. Any further ahead in time is as close to fiction as anything, and I hope it turns out wrong when Monday arrives - "Monday and Tuesday, showers occasionally heavy, with hail and thunder, but also sunny intervals. Rather chilly with some overnight frost. Wednesday, band of cloud and rain moving east.".

 I normally make a point of being a pessimist. This can be a good strategy because if you think the worst, and the worst doesn't happen, it is something to celebrate ! Sometimes I get it wrong. I had a stupidly optimistic idea that waking up at 3am in a pool of sweat was a message from my bodies immune system to say that it had really knuckled down, and my cough and cold would soon be cured. It was definitely a premature message, as I would find out later.

 I didn't mention that I came home from the doctors via Aldi yesterday. I fancied a sandwich to celebrate buy a sandwich (or something like that), and I also had it in mind that it would be a good time to buy something that I had spotted in there the previous time I had shopped in there. It was a 20V cordless hammer drill powered by Lithium Ion batteries. My initial thought was that it was possibly a little overpriced at almost £50, but on reflection it may have been a bargain that I would be foolish to miss out on.

 I haven't done much DIY for a long time, and one reason is that my cordless drills all have duff battery packs, and a new battery pack can cost more than the entire drill. I can still force a bit of charge into one of the drills batter pack, and it can last long enough to drill a couple of holes, but that is all. There are a couple of small, very non urgent jobs that I would like to do one day that will require a drill with a bit more stamina.

 So I bought what is actually more a kit than just a drill from Aldi. It comes with two Lithium Ion batteries - although this is not obvious on the packaging without reading the fine print. My experience with Lithium Ion batteries is that they don't usually deteriorate when not in use (although you do have to be careful that they don't fully discharge) - unlike NiCad batteries packs that are notorious for committing slow suicide unless given lots of love and care. The drill is actually a hammer drill, and I have never owned one of those before. I feel sure that it will shake itself to pieces in use, but I doubt I will ever have to use it - the walls of my house are only about as hard as a hard cheese ! The final thing that offsets what seemed like a slightly high price, is that it comes with a fair selection of drill bits and screwdriver bits. It obviously depends on getting some good use out of it, but if I do I think I might have got a bargain.

 I think it was about 3pm when I met Jodie in the Catford Wetherspoons pub. They didn't have any great beers on, but I had a couple of pints of acceptable beers. Before I went I made a pint of checking the Wetherspoons vouchers I got when I signed up to CAMRA.  My suspicions were right  - I had vouchers that had been valid since 1st Jan, and are due to expire at the end of next month. I only managed to use two yesterday, but that was a saving of £1.

 After the drink I felt curious enough to have a quick look in Peacocks - which is directly across the main road from the pub. The first thing that hit me was utter confusion. Some loony (they are always loonies) decided to re-arrange the whole store. All the menswear is not at the back of the shop on the left hand side. It was previously at the front of the shop on the right hand side ! Initially I thought I would just take a quick glance at their t-shirts, but then I spotted something else - denim jackets of a fairly traditional style (not the garish styles worn by "street cred", "hip hop" type lunatics).

 The thing about Peacocks is that they do far bigger tops than they do bottoms. No one knows why they do this, but I have never been able to purchase a pair of jeans in there that I can even do up without the aid of industrial hoists and winches - and even if I can, by some miracle, actually get the top button done up, I can still not wear then because  no blood can get through to my legs. However they do sell tops that can even be a very loose fit even for my manly size ! This was not entirely true for the denim jackets, but I bought the largest they had on display, and although it feels a bit stiff and tight in places, it is wearable. With more wear it will start to feel comfortable, and if, as I really hope will happen soon, I get in the mood to lose some weight, and actually do it, it could be a very comfortable fit indeed.

 After Peacocks I went into the high street £1 shop. I don't think I was looking for anything in particular. I was just seeing what might be new. Of course that didn't stop me coming away with a bag full of stuff. One of the more useful things was a couple of packets of biscuits - and not just any sort of biscuits. They were sugar free biscuits ! I first saw them in the 99p shop, but they ran out. I have subsequently seen the same brand appear in one of the local supermarkets (but not these particular biscuits). For some reason I remain ignorant about the food values of these very tasty biscuits, but I take it on trust that they will not raise my blood glucose level - and that is very handy for me. It is just feasible that they may be slightly low in calories too.
sugar free biscuits
 There was one other thing I bought in the £1 shop - it was a book.  A book about Led Zepplin. I've only read the first two chapters, but so far it is a most enjoyable read. I have no idea who the writer is, but he appears to know his stuff. It seems strange that such an interesting book should end up being sold for just £1 in the £1 shop.

 I didn't end up doing anything last night except cough and blow my nose a lot. Sometimes it seems like my cold is getting worse, and at other times it seems like it is just different. I can't quite put my finger on that difference - sometimes it could be that the symptoms are getting milder, but happening more often, and sometimes the opposite of that. On reflection, the periods when I am not coughing, and blowing my nose, do seems to be getting longer, and while I am not coughing one or other lungs up, I think I probably feel not bad. It is possibly 15 to 20 minutes since I have done any more than just a mild single cough, and I do feel sort of OK for the moment. Perhaps there is hope yet !

 It seems strange that there could be hope because I didn't feel so optimistic last night. I felt tired, bothered, and bored last night, and while I expected I might stay up a little late, I actually found myself in bed at roughly 9pm. Despite coughing and spluttering, I seemed to fall asleep quite quickly, and as far as I can remember, I slept until 2am. From then on it seemed like my sleep was frequently interrupted by an occasional hacking cough, a snot filled nose, and either being too hot or too cold.

 After hours of being half awake and half asleep I eventually got up at around 6am. Eventually I went and had a shower, and then.........I coughed for a while, and I blew my nose for a while, and nothing exciting, or interesting happened until I sat down to write this. Since starting writing I've had a couple of medium length phone calls. Once I've finished writing this I have to find something new to do.

 I had an idea that I wanted to go out and do some photography today, but when I look outside and just see endless greyness I lose all enthusiasm. It almost feels like I want to draw the curtains and ignore the outside world. There are two things I am sure I am going to do. One is to wash a couple of t-shirts and a few other oddments. I feel pretty sure I will do that because I have already left it all soaking. All I have to do now is the tedious rinsing and wringing. Another thing I feel a strong urge to do is to spend a while with some food. After that it may well be unrelenting boredom until, and if I go to a gig tonight. The Life Of Brian are playing in the often far too packed (for easy photography) and easy to get to, Partridge pub in Bromley. I have to consider if I feel up to going, and whether it is moral to go and cough over everybody. On the plus side, they do sell some wonderful beer in there !
Friday  24th  February 2017
 11:13 GMT
  It was very windy yesterday, very windy indeed ! It didn't disturb me too much, but it did cause some disruption to the roads and railways in places - and would have caused to me to get home late if I had been at work. All that wind was coming from a "warm" source, and it did keep the temperature up. Once it stopped it cooled down, and this morning it was calm and cold - barely 4° C when I walked to my doctors surgery. It is warming up now, and it should reach 8° C in another hour or so. That is not that good, but there have been many sunny periods so far this morning, and there could be some very long periods of sunshine this afternoon.

 I didn't feel like doing much yesterday afternoon and evening. That had all the ingredients for being very bored, but apart from the odd minutes here and there, I didn't seem to be, and the day passed quite smoothly. Later in the evening I might have helped the time to pass by more quickly by consuming a couple of large measures of fiery cinnamon flavoured bourbon whisky. This was, of course, for medicinal reasons. It is possible that it did help my cough in some small way.

 It is likely that it did help me get to sleep, and I think that it may have had one other beneficial effect - although I can't be wholly sure the effect was beneficial. I probably woke up several times beforehand, but at about 3am I most definitely woke up. I woke up saturated with sweat, and I had to be careful choosing dry bits of bed and duvet before I could get back to sleep.

 My theory is that sweat was my bodies finest effort at burning out the bug that has caused me grief for the last 3 or 4 days. I still feel far from perfect this morning, but I do feel something has changed for the better. In fact this morning has brought a few good and a few bad things. Some of the bad, was when I went to see my doctor at 8.10am this morning.

 I may have been called to the doctors consulting room as much as a minute or two before my appointed time - which was rather good. No mention was made of the reason I was there in the first place until I quickly ducked my head back inside the room as I was leaving. I was originally told to make an appointment after the results of my blood test came through. Reception said that one test showed I had a Urea/Electrolyte imbalance. Having reminded the doctor about it, just before I left the premises, she said it was such a small error it was not worth worrying about.

 Typically what my doctor wanted to bellyache on about was my blood pressure, and this was despite some of my home reading being very low - and not just low for me - some were genuinely "low" low, and low enough to cause momentary light headedness when getting out of a chair too quickly. Apparently my average was still too high despite most readings being about the lowest set of readings I have ever given a doctor before.

 I have allowed myself to be talked into being fitted with a 24 hour blood pressure monitoring machine. I dread what that will pick up over the course of a normal day ! If it does show my blood pressure is still too high then I will probably be offloaded to a specialist. One conclusion that specialist will probably come to is that my blood pressure would be lower if I lost some weight, and I know from personal experience that is true. So we''l return back to why I first wanted to see a doctor - try to find and fix the problem that is making me feel so crap so I can concentrate on, and be happy when losing weight.

 I told the doctor about the cough, and the drippy nose I've have been suffering from since just after the start of the week. She checked my lungs, breathing and heart. She also checked my temperature, and I told her some of my own readings. Her diagnosis was that it was most probably a mild viral infection, and would clear itself up soon. Maybe I should have lied and said I was coughing up great big green balls of pus as well at mucus (and for all I know I might have been - I haven't stopped to look). That would have qualified me for antibiotics, and then I could see if they had the same miraculous long term effect as they did last June. Sadly no antibiotics today. Oh well, at least I can look forward to lots of days off work - at least two to be fitted with, and then return the 24 hour blood pressure monitor - and then on the 8th March for my cyst to be ultrasound scanned.

 One thing that slightly cheered me up today was to hear from Angela. She had a back to work interview yesterday, and also had to take my rival for her love along to hospital for (I think) an MRI scan of his cancer. So there was a lot of news to hear, and she went silent on me. I was hoping it wasn't the case (and it wasn't) that she had gone funny on me. It certainly felt like that

 This morning I got a long text message apologising that she hadn't contacted me, and saying that she just felt too drained to speak to anyone at the end of it all. Knowing Angela I know that to be true, but on the other hand it would have been nice if she could have made a bit more effort - even if it was two lines to say she would say more later. I can remember an occasion some 20 (?) years ago when I resorted to writing several long(ish) emails with my left hand right after being up all night in casualty being treated for what was called "soft tissue damage" (i.e. a bruise), but was actually a partly dislocated elbow. Only after everyone who needed to know had been emails did I finally go to bed.

 After getting the text message from Angela I called her back. It seems her back to work interview went much better than she hoped, and I was able to point out the potential significance of one of the offers her bosses had made that she didn't twig at the time. The news from her cancer ridden friend sounds to me to be less good than Angela seems to think. It's all a matter of semantics. To sugar coat the news, the doctors said that these latest scans showed the cancer had not spread as far as it's original limits. To me that sounds like it has spread further than some other previous time. Of course I didn't point out this view to Angela, but it didn't sound good to me.

 I have only a vague idea of what I am doing later. I think there may be a gig on tonight, but I can't see myself feeling good enough to go to it. What may be better is to meet Jodie in the Wetherspoons pub, and have a few beers before coming home to sleep it off. Jodie is a very late riser and so her afternoon probably won't start until about 3pm !
Thursday  23rd  February 2017
 15:39 GMT
  One of the problems of staying in with a cold is that it is hard to keep track of the weather. I know that yesterday afternoon was fairly tepid, but I can't seem to recall if it was sunny or overcast. I noted the pavements seemed wet in the morning, and so the morning must have been overcast. I think the afternoon may well have been too. The temperature didn't dip much overnight, and today has been in the region of 12° C. There has even been some sunny periods, but the thing that is the predominant feature of the weather is the wind. It may be calming down a little bit now, but "Storm Doris" has given some very strong winds. One very strong gust hit me and it was hard to battle against it. The wind should calm down tomorrow, but it is going to be a very cold morning. Perhaps no more than 4° C when I have to go out to the doctors. Later on it should warm up a bit, and there is supposed to be more sunny spells.

 My cold continued through yesterday in varying strengths. From time to time I felt almost well, and at other times rather less so. At other times it was a combination of both. It was probably around 8pm, maybe a little earlier, that I started to sweat profusely for no obvious reason. Apart from the inconvenience of being all wet and sticky, I actually felt OK while it was happening. Just before 9pm I remembered to check my temperature. I was running a fever, but of the mildest type ever - just 38° C - barely above normal for most people.

 I don't think I could be bothered trying to get to sleep too early last night. I knew that I would not be going back to work today, and so there was no rush to get my 8 hours of beauty sleep. Of course I didn't get 8 hours, but I probably slept very slightly better than the previous night. I don't really know what woke me up a few times in the night. I went for a pee some of the times I woke up, but it was more force of habit rather than any great need to go. One reason that might account for a couple of times was feeling too cold after part kicking off the duvet a few times - or maybe I had gone to sleep with the duvet half off because I felt too hot.

 When I finally got up this morning I was in that state of superposition where you feel both good and bad. While sitting quietly at my PC, or even just laying in bed, I felt fine. It was only when trying to do something, or even think, when I realised that not going to work today was actually a good idea ! Eventually I decided to get washed and dressed and do something. One of the early things to do was to check my blood pressure. It remains quite remarkably low for me - provided I go through the rituals and incantations to make it so !

 There were two things I wanted to do today, although the second was actually an after thought. That latter thing was to wash another duvet cover. This one, currently the last to be done until I change my bedding again, seemed to be far heavier when wet than the one I did yesterday, and it took a lot of manhandling. It is currently drying on a cloths horse in the bath, and sooner or later I will need to transfer it downstairs where it can dry with the help of a fan heater set on low.

 The first task I did was to go to Tesco. This time it was not to buy food or booze, but to buy a new printer. My printer until this morning was a HP 1010. It was a fairly cheap printer, and it was rubbish ! The paper feed was forever jamming, and it would often report an ink cartridge to be empty when there is no way it could have been. I used it so infrequently that the black ink cartridge just gummed up, and I had to print test out in dark blue. It would have been too much of a fight to print out a record of my blood pressure readings in the morning, and so it had to be replaced.

 I knew that Tesco stocks the occasional printer, and it seemed the easiest place to buy one at short notice. The only trouble was that I did not want to buy another HP printer, but that is all they had - just one single model - an HP Deskjet 2130. On the plus side it was only £24. I seem to recall that when I bought my first ever colour printer, an Epsom 480 if I recall correctly, it was a couple of hundred quid in 1989 prices. That printer was really good for years, and once, when I was really broke, I refilled the cartridges with food dyes ! The colour fidelity was not great, but it worked ! Eventually, after a very hard life, the mechanics started getting slack, and it had to be replaced.

 I don't do much printing these days and so an almost disposable £24 printer probably suits my needs. In this case it is even better value for money because it includes a flat bed scanner too. I haven't managed to get that to work using my Linux PC, but the printer works fine on it. I had to resort to booting into Windows XP, something I only do on the rarest of occasions these days, to test out the scanner function It seems to work OK. Two snaps taken on my old Praktica camera from, at a wild guess, 1989......
two class 365
A scan of an old photo taken at Kings Cross station showing two class 365 dual voltage trains still in their Network South East livery. This would have been about the time that the stock that were used on South Eastern were transferred to work north of London.
class 319 train in Connex South
                          Central livery
Another dual voltage train - a class 319 in Connex South Central livery.

 This cold I am suffering from has some annoying features. This morning it was the way it gave me a false sense of feeling about how good or bad I was. This afternoon I feel generally OK except my cough has got a lot worse. Every now and then something triggers a good cough, and I (usually) cough up a lot of mucus. My nose seems to be getting drippy again, but that may just be a reaction to the coughing. A really good cough actually leaves me momentarily light headed. I guess my blood pressure is still nice and low (where nice and low is what the doctors think it should be, and not what my body seems to think is best for it).

 Well, tomorrow I can go and cough all over the doctor. I shall learn my fate regarding my Urea and Electrolyte imbalance (or whatever it is). Hopefully I shall get some praise for my low blood pressure, but I expect the doctor will take all the credit for it. If I am very lucky I will be prescribed some antibiotics to help clear this cough up. It will be interesting to see if they have a long term good effect like they did last June.

 The other medical news is that I now have an appointment to have an ultrasound scan of what is probably a sebaceous cyst on my back. It is possible that it could be the source of a recurring mild infection - although my doctors don't think it is very likely. The appointment is on 8th March, and hopefully I will learn some information about what the ultrasound sees at the end of the appointment (although it could take a week or more for the full diagnose to be passed to my doctor).
Wednesday  22nd  February 2017

 14:17 GMT
  I was feeling too rough to pay too much attention to the weather yesterday. My main memories are that it was grey, dry, and lurking on the borders of cool and mild......maybe tepid ! Today seems remarkably similar. Sometimes it has been light grey, and sometimes rather darker. Wet pavements hint that there was a light splash of rain this morning, but I haven't personally observed any rain. The temperature is about the 12 - 13° C that was forecast. Tomorrow is forecast to be windy, and that will make it feel cooler than the 11° C forecast for the morning. The afternoon will see the temperature a degree or two lower. During the morning some showers are forecast, and some of them may be heavy. Oddly enough, some sunshine is also forecast for the same time !

 I felt pretty rotten at work yesterday. It was worse during the morning when I was coughing a lot. That really got my chest aching - although it had been aching to one degree or another since the previous evening. My nose was dripping a lot in the morning too. By the afternoon I was feeling a bit better. I seemed to be coughing less, and my nose had all but dried up. It seemed, incorrectly, that I was just about over my cold.

 It was nice to get out into the fresh air after work, but not that nice. The trouble was, my chest was still aching from all the coughing earlier on. As soon as I tried to walk too fast, or at my normal speed, as I would describe it, my breathing rate went up, and every breath seemed to stretch my strained chest muscles. By the time I got home I was feeling pretty bad. On the plus side I didn't cough too much on the way home, and my nose was mostly dry. There was one instance on the train when I did cough, and cough quite hard. I don't know what I coughed up, but it was horribly slimy, and being on a train I had little option but to swallow it. Yuk !!!

 One of the first things I did when I got in was to have a hot can of "chunky beef and vegetable" soup. That certainly warmed me up a bit. I had been feeling quite chilly when I got home, and it seemed rather cooler than the outside temperature should have felt. I thought I might have a fever, and quickly dug out the clinical thermometer to check my temperature. No matter how I tried I could not get that thermometer to go higher than 36.7° C. As far as I know, that is below normal !

 There was better news about my blood pressure. It was low enough to not get a doctor too excited. Later on, after a bit more hot food, and some better relaxation, I managed to get the pressure down to almost low, and certainly below what I am supposed to aim for. I am not sure I feel too good when it is that low. There was one instance when I stood up very quickly, and had a momentary dizzy feeling. It would seem that the new drug the doctor prescribed me is rather more effective than the usual drugs I am on - or maybe it's the two working in parallel. What does seem certain is that I need to do a bit of fine tuning of the doses - hopefully with the doctors cooperation, or without if needed.

 More than anything else, I felt very tired last night. I can't remember what time it was, but I don't think it was much later than 6pm when I lay on my bed to read, and promptly fell asleep. Once again, I can't be sure how long it was I slept for, but I'm guessing it was something like an hour. Soon after 8pm I was back in bed again, and once I managed to clear my throat, and clear my nose, I fell asleep again.

 I slept until about half past midnight before waking up again. I woke up with my nose blocked, and with a tickly throat. There was no way I could relax like that so I got up for 20 - 30 minutes. One thing I did to amuse me was to take my temperature. After being wrapped up in the duvet, and with the heating on, my temperature at 1am this morning was 37.2° C. As far as I know, that is perfectly normal. By 04:39 it was down to 16.9° C as my corpse slowly cooled down - probably.

 I didn't sleep all that well, but I did sleep in the early hours of the morning. My best bit of sleep was after I turned off my 5am alarm at just gone 4.30am. I slept right through my usual waking time of 5am, and didn't wake up until 6.30am. In terms of my lifestyle, I thought that was rather marvellous. I decided not to check my blood pressure then, but to do it after I had taken my morning medication, and had another can of soup to amuse my stomach (it seems to draw blood away from y arm, and lowers my blood pressure). Once again I got a very satisfactory reading.

 I still felt bad enough to call in sick this morning, and maybe that was a good idea considering how I felt after doing two things I probably shouldn't have done. The first was to go to Aldi and bring back two medium heavy bags of shopping, plus three 2l bottles of sugar free cola in my ruck sack. I felt a bit sluggish going there, and my right legs seemed unusually stiff. Coming back home again, with all that shopping, was, I have to admit, a bit of a struggle. I didn't feel too good after that.

 The other thing I did that I shouldn't have was to wash a duvet cover this afternoon. It was really rather hard work, and if I hadn't run out of energy I would have ideally liked to given it one more rinse. I think it probably is rinsed just enough, but like the shopping trip, it did leave me feeling rather knackered. Actually, "knackered" doesn't quite describe it. As well as my arm muscles complaining a bit, various other bits of me seemed to have various twinges. I even seemed to get a short lived headache. It is a shame that I can't bottle all those feelings and present them to my doctor because they represent, in a more extreme form, how I have been feeling since the effect of the antibiotics wore off last September (or thereabouts - it was such a slow process that you can't easily put a range of dates on it, let alone a single date).

 Talking of was only with a medium amount of frustration that I got through to the surgery this morning, and I have booked an appointment with the nice doctor at 8.10am on Friday morning. The question now is what to do until then. It is possible that I will feel well enough to go back to work tomorrow - particularly if I sleep reasonably well tonight - but do I want to go in for one day when I am off on Friday. Maybe I could stretch this illness out a bit....maybe I won't have to stretch it out, and it will do it by itself. That then leads on to what to do about entertainment. I don't think anything is likely to happen tonight, but I could do stuff tomorrow night.....maybe. I guess I had better just wait and see how I feel, and also how I feel about seeing the doctor on Friday with a hangover !

Tuesday  21st  February 2017
 08:16 GMT
  There was some sunshine yesterday, but I was hoping there would be more. What didn't disappoint was the temperature. I am fairly sure it didn't hit the 18° C that was allegedly reported at Kew (3 or 4 miles to the west of Earlsfield), but I did see 13.8° C on my thermometer when I got home from work. I don't think it would accurate to describe that as warm, but it was damn close to it. Thick cloud kept the warmth in overnight, and it was 10 or nearly 11° C when I got up this morning. It is highly unlikely we will see any sunshine today, but the forecast does show a few times when the cloud may be fairly light today. The vast majority of the day will see thick dark clouds. Apart from a sprinkle of rain before I left home, it should be a dry day. The forecast for the temperature is remarkably simple - it will be a constant 11° C until 11am, and the it will be 12° C until 9pm when it will drop back to 11° C until 11am tomorrow morning. Then the temperature will rise to 12° C again. Tomorrow is forecast to be heavily overcast again, and with rain starting mid afternoon. That rain may not stop until sometime in the morning after.

 Yesterday was good and bad, but with the emphasis on bad. I didn't feel all that good, but then again I didn't feel that bad either. The major disappointment was when Angela phoned me to say she wouldn't have time to see me after work. I doubt she will tonight, but it hasn't been ruled out completely yet. When I left work I was in a curious state of feeling both good and bad at the same time. I definitely had some pains that were mostly mild, but were still annoying. On the other hand, quite a lot of my body felt rather good - up to a limit.

 Walking to the station didn't seem very taxing. It was probably almost as easy as it has ever been. Dashing from the train at Waterloo to where I would board the train at Waterloo East, began to tire me a bit. During the walk from the station to home my legs felt rather heavy, and I had to force myself to keep up a half decent pace. It seems counter-intuitive to me, but instead of raising my blood pressure, all that effort seems to lower it. It has been the case ever since I started taking home blood pressure readings, and the readings I have taken soon after getting home from work have usually been the lowest ever.

 Apart from checking my blood pressure I took all my drugs, and had a sandwich. I gave that very little time to settle down before doing what I said I would do if I wasn't seeing Angela. I washed a double bed sheet, and as usual, because I haven't bothered to try and get my new washing machine working, I washed that sheet by hand. It may not get as heavy as a towel when saturated with water, but it was till fairly heavy, and just lifting it clear of the water needed a bit of muscle power. Wringing it out needed even more muscle power - and I gave it about 6 rinses before giving up. After hanging it up to dry I went back up to my bedroom feeling quite knackered. Out of curiosity, I checked my blood pressure again.......
low blood
 I don't think I have ever seen my blood pressure this low before. To make sure it wasn't just a fluke I checked it twice. The first reading was a little bit higher, but not much. That seemed good and relaxed me, and then I tried again and got the measurement in the picture. It would seem the cure for my high blood pressure is to wash sheets by hand day and nights !

 After checking my my blood pressure I celebrated with the second and final part of my dinner. It was almost a good and healthy second part, but a few things conspired to make it less so. The core of it was an Aldi Mediterranean salad mix - basically green leaves with some tomatoes, peppers, and sliced onion. I added a pack of anchovies that had been sitting (still sealed) in the fridge for quite some time. They were not the strong salty type of anchovies, but otherwise very similar. Then I looked what else was in the fridge, and there was a lump of Edam cheese that had been sitting neglected for almost a week, So I sliced that thinly, and added it to the anchovies and salad. Then I drowned the whole thing in mayonnaise. It was very nice even if it was not as healthy as it could be.

 Sometime later after than enhanced salad I had a small bowl of peanuts, and maybe they were a big mistake - a mistake beyond just containing a lot of calories. It initially seemed like I had an allergic reaction to those peanuts. I have never knowingly had one before, and subsequently the very idea turned out to be completely wrong. The trouble was that my throat started to feel very tickly, and I started to cough. Later on it would become much worse. During the first part of the night that cough became quite painful - it was more like a bark than a cough.

 Eventually the cough settled down, possible because I took a couple of paracetamol tablets. Later on, after I got up this morning, it was joined by a drippy nose. It seems I have yet another cold ! The good news is that my blood pressure readings taken after washing my hair, and a hot shower, were reasonably good (we won't talk about the readings taken very soon after getting out of bed !). Once again I am in the position of feeling a bit good and a bit bad. The cough and drippy nose are annoying, but a lot of my body feels fairly OK.......maybe that's more true of my body below my waist. My legs seem in good form this morning, and my right hand, left ear lobe, and left eye lid have never felt better !

 If Sods law is in full operation I will definitely be able to see Angela after work - but shouldn't because I have a filthy cold. Maybe, in the unlikely event that she isn't trying to massage the beginnings of bed sores of my rival for love, and she can see me, I reckon it will have to just be a quick drink in the pub with no kissing or cuddling. Oh well, that would be better than nothing, although it is easy to wonder if I am flogging a dead horse (again ?). It all puts me in a difficult position. My rival, for all his cancer and other assorted ills, could live for years yet, and I worry that by the time he is dead Angela and I will be so estranged that there will be no chance to resume our relationship as it was before Angela made the decision to abandon me to look after an old friend. It was a very noble cause, but leaves me feeling very isolated and unloved. Oh well, nothing changes.
Monday  20th  February 2017
 08:23 GMT
  My morning paper said that there is a big plume of warm air heading our way, and it has come 5000 miles all the way from Jamaica. Some swivel eyed optimist in the paper was quoted as saying that some parts of the south could reach 19° C later today. Maybe that might be true of the south west of the country, which always benefits from warmer air coming in from the west, but here in London the temperature today is forecast to only be a little better than yesterday. It's swings and roundabouts - we may gain a little on the temperature, but lose a bit with less sunshine. This morning started a little less cold than yesterday. It was 10° C when I came to work. During the course of the day the temperature is supposed to rise to a high of 14° C by early afternoon. Along the way there should be a few sunny intervals around midday. At, or maybe just before sunset at 17:24 today, the temperature will drop a bit, but not by much. It may still be 10° C at 5am tomorrow morning, but it will have been raining since 3am. That rain, hopefully just light rain, may not stop until 10am. So I will most probably be coming to work in the wet. Once the rain stops the temperature may rise to 13° C, but it is supposed to stay a very dark grey day !

 My chest was aching when I went to bed, and it wasn't the usual sort of ache. I assumed I was going to die, but I took a couple of Ibuprofen so I wouldn't have a headache when I went to hell or heaven. Eventually I got to sleep, and by 1.30am I was still alive. I did end that portion of my sleep with a pretty weird sort of dream. I dreamed that I was moving from Catford to somewhere that seemed to be called Surrey - and I don't mean the county. In my dream Surrey seemed to be a town somewhere near Rochester or Chatham. One strange aspect of the dream seemed to suggest that my house had been compulsory purchased so it could be demolished to make way for.......probably a hyperspace bypass, or something ! That allowed me to leave loads of junk behind, and to go back for one last look to see if there was anything else worth salvaging for my new house - which I had never seen in my dream.

 Maybe it was the intensity of the dream, or maybe it was because I had to go to the toilet for more than just a wee, or maybe it was because the pain in my chest had broken up to several pains in different parts of my body, my left leg, my right foot, and my neck, but whatever it was, it was pretty good at keeping me awake ! I suspect that I was awake for rather less time than it seemed, and it seemed like hours ! I have a suspicion I woke up at least once before my alarm eventually woke me up at 5am, but I can't seem to remember that time, or any other with any clarity - there is an equal chance that it/they were just part of a mostly forgotten dream rather than reality.

 I am unsure how I felt when I got up, and I am still unsure how I feel even now. What I do know is that when I checked, and recorded my blood pressure, just about 10 minutes after waking up, it was both bad and good. My systolic pressure was quite reasonable, but the diastolic was a fair bit higher than usual. Maybe it takes longer for my blood to sink down to my feet, safely out of the way when I change from spending hours laying down to being upright again.

 Now I am at work, and my office is warming up, I can definitely say I feel rather sleepy still. Getting as far as Earlsfield station seemed to be easy, but evidently wore me out because the walk from there to work seemed a little harder than it can do. As I sit here I can feel a few aches and pains, but nothing all that unusual. Maybe I just need a good rest after what turned out to be an exceptional weekend for me - two gigs on two consecutive nights !

 I am looking forward to two things today. The first is to waste some of the companies time searching for a wide angle, wide aperture lens for my Canon camera. It is possible that I might limit my search to Amazon, but I may look further. I have an idea that what I really want could be incredibly expensive, or may not even exist ! I may have to compromise on my desires, and try something rather less than I might want, but only if it is a reasonable price.

 The second thing to look forward to is going home. Of course going home is always good, but tonight there is about a 75% chance that I will be meeting Angela for a quick drink, and then there is a 50% chance that she'll come back to my place for another drink, and a nice intimate relaxing time. Either that or I will be going straight home, and maybe washing a sheet. That would also be satisfying, but not nearly as satisfying as seeing Angela.
Sunday  19th  February 2017
 15:13 GMT
  I think I could bring myself to say that yesterday was nice ! There was a nice amount of sunshine, and the temperature seemed nice too. I think the temperature did hit the forecast 13° C (having just checked what I wrote yesterday - which would have been the sensible thing to do first - I see it definitely was 13° C for a while). It was even mildly mild late at night. It was certainly cool, but I didn't notice it being chilly when I came home from the pub at 11pm. I am unsure of the temperature this morning, but it didn't strike me as being that cold. We've had a few sunny spells today, and I don't think any were expected. My downstairs thermometer is currently saying it is 12° C, and the upstairs one is saying it is a very agreeable 14° C ! The current forecast says we have now lost the sun for the rest of the day, and probably tomorrow too. We will be wrapped up in a big grey fluffy ball of cloud, and that will keep the warmth in. It should still be 10° C when I get up tomorrow, and by mid afternoon 14° C is forecast.

 The great debate yesterday was what to do in the evening.  Angela didn't seem to know if she was going out to a gig, or not. If it was not I was hoping to have quiet evening in with her. At the last minute she decided she was going to Beckenham to see her daughter fronting Life Of Brian. I was feeling tolerably good, and so I decided I would definitely go as well. Angela turned up late, but it was wonderful to see her, and she made a beeline to me for a hug and a couple of kisses.

 There were several bad things about the evening, but only from a personal perspective, and then mostly to do with difficulties taking pictures. The pub was very crowded, and particularly so around the band. The band themselves were tucked into a small corner, and they barely had space to move. Moving around on the public side of the mic stands/PA speakers was rather hit and miss. So when Angela managed to squeeze through the crowd to see some more friends I effectively lost her for the night.

 Meanwhile I faced the difficulty of trying to take some nice photos. Miranda, who fronts the band, is a great fan of my photos, as is her mum, Angela, so I felt obliged to do my best to take a few good snaps (but then again I try my best on all occasions). Last night I was hampered by a severe lack of space, and poor lighting. My big aperture lens, combined with the ISO setting set to maximum, managed to pull in some bright but grainy pictures, but that lens only sees a narrow field of view. I really could have done with a wide angle lens when trying to take pictures while almost standing on the guitarists toes !
Life Of Brian band
 I couldn't get a wide angle shot to show all the band, and so I made up this composite picture to show here.  Top left is Dave Geering the bass player. Top right is Brian Bath - guitarist and vocals. Bottom left is Miranda Bell - most vocals and some guitar. Bottom tight is drummer Paul Gunn. I'll upload the full album to Flickr later on.

 I made one mistake towards the end of the evening. I stepped outside the pub for a breath of fresh air (once upon a time it would have been for a fag !). Once I moved out of the way, everyone shuffled around, and blocked the door so I could not get back in without being ride by pushing and shoving. I ended up going in by the side entrance, but couldn't get within 15ft of the band. As the gig drew to an end I managed to find Angela again. I was hoping that I might be offered a bacon sandwich back at her house, and I think if circumstances were different I would have been. The circumstances last night was that she wanted to rush back to her "patients" house to check if he was OK. So I got the 54 back home by myself.

 Fortunately it was not a long wait for the bus - under 10 minutes. I expect it is all in the mind, but the bus going home always seems faster than going to the pub. If the buses seemed as fast going to a venue I might even get out more. With all the crowds around the bar, and nowhere to put my glass when using my camera, I didn't drink that much last night - perhaps only 3 pints (but it could have been 4). That should still have been enough for potential discomfort when going home - particularly so when taking a drug that is supposed to be a mild diuretic - and yet I had no discomfort - none at all. In fact I think I did more weeing when I got up this morning than I did last night.

 Maybe I have been looking after my blood glucose level better than I thought I was. The truth is that I haven't been making any special effort to look after my sugar and carbohydrate intake, but on reflection I probably have been following my own unwritten rules automatically without thinking. Sometimes I can be "good" like that, and last night I was unusually good. I dismissed all thoughts about fast food takeaways, and just had a cold vegetable and pasta salad type thing for my late night supper. Then I went to bed, and slept soundly for at least 5 or 6 hours.

 This morning I felt fairly well - far from perfect, but generally comfortable. That allowed me to wash some t-shirts, pillow cases, and a pair of lounge pants. Other than that I have spent a several hours editing a new album of the photos I took last night. I'm not sure what else I have done, but I don't seem to have had a typical ultra boring Sunday afternoon. Maybe that will start once I have finished writing this...or maybe not. I will soon prepare some dinner, and eat it. That'll take a few minutes. Then I have my evening drugs to take, and after that I want to try and relax a lot. On this occasion, relax means the sort of relaxation that might give me a nice low blood pressure reading rather than just the being ultra lazy type of relaxed.

 It's back to work tomorrow, and because it will almost be warm (although probably dull and gloomy) I am hoping for a nice comfortable journey to work in my lightest coat. I am hoping even more than I will be seeing Angela after work tomorrow, and I am also hoping she will have time to spend a couple of hours with me here at home. It really all depends on how her sick lover is doing, If he takes a turn for the worse I won't see her. Fingers crossed.
Saturday  18th  February 2017
 15:13 GMT
  It was definitely a nice day yesterday. There was lots of sunshine, and early in the afternoon it was close to warm - perhaps tepid would be more accurate. It was even mild in the late evening. The high point would have probably been around 2pm, and it was 11 or 12° C. By 10pm, or so, it was still around 7° C, and that was pleasant enough while wearing a coat. Today has been another sunny day. Once again it hasn't been solid sunshine, but there has been a goodly amount of it, and it hasn't finished yet. I think the temperature has already peaked for today. It is currently 12° C, and I am sure it was 13° C earlier. That is rather good for mid February, and must be a sign that Spring is on it's way. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be about a degree cooler, and it is going to be overcast - sometimes heavily. Monday may be 14° C, but also heavily overcast - unless the forecast changes - which is 99% likely !

 Apart from the leaden feel of my legs, like the brakes were slightly on, I did, on reflection, feel quite good yesterday. Maybe it was the lightening of the load by seeing a nice, and most importantly, a helpful doctor. It seemed like things were on the move, and there might be an answer to my problems - although I think that warm sunshine will be the biggest contributor to my recovery. Perhaps in another month, if the weather continues to improve, I'll be feeling more or less OK, but I do feel that this time I might push the medical profession to try and improve upon that.

 One thing I did yesterday was to run up a very simple spreadsheet to record my blood pressure twice a day while I am at home. As usual, my own readings are rather less dramatic than the readings taken by the doctor. The very first reading I took, which involved a little bit of hassle with my blood pressure machine (it seems to have a wonky cuff that can't always hear my pulse unless I get it exactly right, and sometime apply a little external pressure until it is inflated enough to touch the skin firmly), was a little higher than I would like, but way lower than any reading the doctor took. My second reading, taken a minute or two later when I was more relaxed, was barely high at all. The systolic pressure was 136 - 110 to 130 would be considered satisfactory, and so I wasn't far off the mark. Last Wednesday, while I was feeling annoyed by the doctor, she managed to get it up to 212 - that is in the danger area.

 It is hard to believe my new, and additional tables are actually doing anything. I haven't noticed any significant change in the quantity or frequency of my weeing, but it was either the Guinness I was drinking last night, and/or the tablet I took this morning, that seems to have reduced my blood pressure a little this morning. The first reading wasn't terrible, and the second was a small improvement over last night - just 132. I can't find any evidence, but I have a recollection that the reading was 133 when I was discharged from hospital in 2013 after my heart bypass operation - and that was after the doctors were constantly tinkering with their drugs to get my readings OK.

 I wasn't sure if it was a clever idea to go out and drink pints of Guinness when I had just started taking a drug with diuretic properties (makes you wee), but I was feeling sort of good - not perfect, but the sort of feeling that is often improved by booze. So I got myself cleaned up, dressed, grabbed my camera, and ventured out to find a 54 bus to take me to Beckenham. I had to run for the bus, but only because it sneaked up behind me as I arrived at the bus stop, and stopped short of the stop because there was another bus in it's way.

 The band I was going to see was Big Red Bus, and when I got to Beckenham they had already started. It wasn't a great turnout last night, but there was enough to make it worthwhile, and few enough to allow me to take photos without stepping on too many toes. Earlier on I had spoken to Angela and she said she wasn't going to go, and was going to have quiet night in with her daughter. I heard a different story when I got to the pub. Her daughter had suggested to someone else that they would probably pop in there later after having a meal somewhere. Later on she confirmed that they wouldn't be going. That did leave me in a bit of a dilemma for reasons I'll explain in a minute.
Big Red Bus  
Big Red Bus - on the left with a smile on his face, Geoff Paice, then Patsi Paice on the keyboard. Auntie Doreen on sax, and new boy Martin on guitar. Derek Brand was playing the drums behind Auntie Doreen. The entire width of the "stage" is just enough for 4 people to stand shoulder to shoulder !

 It was one of those nights that was most enjoyable. There was some good company, some good music, plenty of Guinness, and Geoff was using his "old fashioned" tungsten filament PAR (polished Aluminium reflector) lamps. They are not that bright, but it is a light my camera likes. The only sad thing was the reason I decided I ought to go home early - approx 10pm.

 Earlier in the day I had had a phone call from Angela, and she was in tears. The man she has mostly transferred her affections to, the man who has had cancer, was seriously ill again. A recent scan showed the cancer was active again, and if that wasn't bad enough, he is now very poorly with pluerisy. It really sounds as if he is coming to an end, and yet he has pulled through several bad periods before. It's terrible news for Angela, and it puts me in a very difficult position. On the one hand I hate it that Angela is so sad, and on the other hand he is my rival for her love. I can't wish him any ill will, but at the same time, my life could be a lot happier if I didn't have to compete with him. It's difficult, but I guess it is just a microcosm of life - you have to ride out the bad bits, and rejoice if there are any good bits.

 The reason I hurried home early from the pub was because I had told Angela that if she was pissed off to call me at any time, and she did say she probably would phone me yesterday evening. That was on the assumption that I possibly wouldn't be going out. So I thought that it would obviously be easier to talk about sensitive stuff at home rather than in a noisy pub. In the end she didn't call, but she did send me a thank you text when I texted her to say I was back at home and available again if she did need to talk. That did leave me free to eat my very naughty chicken and chips that I bought on the way home.....well you have to after drinking about 5 pints of Guinness !

 I typically woke up too early this morning, but until I did it seemed that I was sleeping solidly. Those tablets I am now taking didn't seem to affect me in any way except to possibly lower my blood pressure a smidgen. It seemed I needed to wee less after taking them, and not more. After taking my morning selection of tablets I spent some time on the internet, and then I went back to bed again, and I think I slept for at least another hour. I had the usual selection of aches and pains this morning, but maybe they were a bit more muted than usual. I sort of felt good then, and I still feel fairly good now. I think much of it is in the mind rather than reality, but that's good enough for me.

 I have been a little bit busy today. Amongst my achievements are selecting and editing a selection of the best pictures I took last night (I'll upload them to Flickr sooner or later). I've washed 4 works shirts, a t-shirt, and some underwear. I've been to the corner shop without needing to put a coat on, and that inspired me to go to Tesco to buy some stuff - also without wearing a coat. It wasn't exactly warm out without a coat, but it was comfortable, and it felt good.

 Among the stuff I bought was two bottles of Vodka. One was rather expensive (I think). It was Swedish vodka in a very pretty blue, almost crystal cut bottle. The other was less expensive, and it was a Polish bison grass flavoured vodka. I remember (just about) drinking that at one of the work Xmas dinners some years ago. It was brought all the way from Poland by out Polish engineer. I'm not sure if it has a "nice" flavour, but it is sort of interesting.

 I bought the vodka for Angela. We seem to be on such good terms again lately that I think it won't be too long before she pays me another visit. It could even be tonight. She feels too "frazzled to go to a gig", and wants to be available to stay with her lover while he is seriously sick, but only if her lovers daughter doesn't take over the reins - as she will, but maybe won't get here from wherever she lives possibly until tomorrow. If Angela is not needed there is a good chance she will come and see me instead. It is such a shame that it will be on the back of a tragedy, and yet I won't be able to help myself enjoying it - particularly if I can make Angela happy, and I think I can - for a while. If I don't see Angela I will probably go to a gig...although my enthusiasm for that has waned recently.
Friday  17th  February 2017
 14:32 GMT
  It's funny how the weather forecast can change so rapidly. Sometime it is just as if the forecasters have popped outside the office for a fag, looked around, and decided that the weather is not quite how they thought it would be, and so they rush back inside to hastily update the forecast. Sometimes it would be nice if they could do a completely accurate forecast for at least a couple of days ahead. They did eventually get yesterday about right. There was a fair amount of sunshine, and it did feel unusually mild. I reckon the forecast for 11° C was not far off the mark.

 Today was supposed to be mainly cloudy, but the reality is that we have had better than sunny intervals. Maybe they were better than sunny periods as well. That was the case for Catford, maybe other places are/were different. My upstairs thermometer was reading 13° C a little while, and while it might be a degree or two lower nearer the ground, it is still rather impressive compared to even the best of recent days. The sun has gone in as I write this, but I can still see a lot of blue sky.  Tomorrow may start a little dull, but it is forecast to be 7° C, By lunchtime, and for the rest of daylight hours, sunshine is forecast. With luck it may even be a degree warmer than today - and that will make it shirtsleeve weather !

 There is no denying that a bit of sunshine did make my journey hone (via the pub) seem a lot nicer, and at the start, discomfortless. I decided that I would get to The Partridge pub by going to Bromley North station. It is a slower journey, but avoids the slog up the high street. I don't think I appreciated that Bromley North station is probably only half the distance to the pub compared to Bromley South, and no hills are involved. So it turned out to be the perfect choice - except for one thing.

  The train from Waterloo East, that runs 3 minutes later than my usual train home from there, is, I think, fairly empty at the front, but can be very full towards the rear. Unfortunately I misjudged how far along the train would let me alight right by the footbridge that allows me to cross to the platform for Bromley North trains at Grove Park station. I knew that the actual exit from the station was at the rear of the train, but thought that the footbridge was about 3 carriages along from the rear. I was wrong, it is probably nearer half way along the 10 car train.

 So I ended up travelling in the busiest part of the train, and had to stand all the way. It's not a long journey, probably no more than 15 minutes, and maybe a tad less, but when I got off the train I found my legs had seized up. I blame this partly on upping the dose of Bisoprolol, the drug that reduces my blood pressure. When throttled back too far my heart only has enough energy to pump blood to my brain and intestines, but not enough to pump it back up from my feet. So my left ankle swells, and my legs feel stiff.

 I have no idea if that comes anywhere remotely close to the truth. All I know is that I really had to force my legs to move to get me over the footbridge to wait about 5 minutes for the Bromley North train. Another 10 minutes later and I was at the other terminus of the line - Bromley North. Sitting down for 10 minutes was enough to restore my legs to good enough working order, and I had an almost pleasant stroll to the pub.

 I arrived there at about 4.45am - 15 minutes early, but 15 minutes later than I could have got from work to The Black Cat in Catford. I found Andy and Chris at the bar, and they were just ordering their first pint. I must admit they do sell some nice beer in that pub. I had two pints of HSB, and one pint of Fullers ESB - and thoroughly enjoyed all of them. My only complaint is actually a very common one, and applies at many visits to any pubs with any people. I have the knack of sitting between two different conversations, and being undecided which one is more interesting, and sometimes being unable to follow either because I can hear two lots of conversation going on at once. It often leaves me feeling a bit isolated.

 After three pints of moderately strong beer I headed for home. All the cooking smells in Bromley made me feel insanely hungry, and it took a lot of will power to avoid any takeaway shops on the way home, but I managed it. I did have it in mind that I would still sort myself out a fairly generous dinner, but somehow I didn't....well not to much.

 The first course of my dinner was salad. I did spoil it a bit with an excess of grated cheese...or did I ? Just possibly, if I had compressed the grated cheese back to a solid lump it may have been smaller than I imagined.....or bigger. In some ways it didn't matter because I overdid the mayonnaise as usual. I like mayonnaise ! It's hard to tell how bad my second course was. It was a sort of melange of ready cooked bolognese sauce (from a tin) with a small tin of peas, and another large handful of grated cheese stirred in it. I expect it was pretty unhealthy, but that wouldn't have matter if it had been as delicious as I imagined it would be. Sadly it seemed to be rather bland.

 After dinner I did a bit of reading. I finished the Robert Heinlein book I was reading, and then decided I might as well go to sleep. One thing I did before I had finished reading was to turn the heating off. Maybe that was the reason I seemed to sleep far better than the previous couple of days. I have a hazy memory of going to the toilet (for more than a wee) at some time in the small hours, and I remember having some dreams featuring Donald Trump of all people. I can't remember him doing anything, or saying anything, but he was there somehow. The next thing I knew was my alarm going off, and if I had been going to work today, it would have been time to get up.

 I didn't go to work today, and so I lay on my bed trying to get to sleep again. I don't really know if I did or if I didn't. On the other hand I am sure I couldn't have just laid there awake for an hor, and so maybe I did sleep for a bit. At 6am I decided to get up and start to prepare myself for a medical morning. At 8.20am I was in the vampires den waiting to give my blood samples. They were short staffed up there, and it was close on 9am before I was seen. It only takes 5 minutes to give two test tubes full of blood, and pretty soon I was racing home again.

 It didn't give me long to do anything before I was racing out again to get to the surgery  for my doctors appointment. Once again, staff shortages due to sickness meant I had a longer wait than expected, but eventually I got called in to see my doctor for the day - at least I think it was only for the day. I think she was a locum, and that is a pity because she was good in several ways. She was a rather pretty Indian looking girl, and she spoke perfect English....and most of all she had a very good "bedside manner". ,

 Her calm dealings with me meant my blood pressure was only dangerous rather than lethal when she measured it. Mind you it took four attempts and a lot of relaxing to get it as low as it was. I am unsure how long had been allocated for my appointment, but she didn't seem to rush, and listened attentively to my story about how the antibiotics for my chest infection last June had worked wonders on me beyond curing the chest infection. She half agreed that it had merit as an idea, but concluded that my theory was unlikely to be right - and explained some of her reasoning. However, on reflection, I don't think she actually said it was impossible, but she thought it was best to wait for the blood tests before giving any further opinion.

 She was still unhappy about my blood pressure, but her attitude did come across more that she wanted to help rather than punish. I find that unusual with most doctors. I did have to gently remind her that cause and effect wasn't always obvious - for instance lack of exercise is sometimes the result of not feeling well, rather than the cause of not feeling well. She consulted the notes about my intolerance of high doses of Bisoprolol, and after a bit of instant research came up with another idea. It was one that a doctor once suggested 10 or more years ago, but no doctor has mentioned it since.
a new drug to try
 The drug is a mild diuretic, and may make me pee a bit more frequently, particularly for the first day or two - or so it is said. Initially is it an experiment, and it has not been put on my repeat prescription list, but I expect it will if it is seen to work. I think I could easily put up with taking yet another pill if it allows me to keep the dosage of Bisoprolol low. Hopefully none of that will be needed if only  the real reason why I often feel so crap can be diagnosed and treated. I felt so wonderful last July, August, and some of September, seeming as a result of the antibiotics for the chest infection, and I want to feel that way again. Keeping my blood glucose level low was easy while feeling so good, and as a bonus my blood pressure was often better than the maximum recommended even while taking just the smallest dose of Bisprolol.

  After seeing the doctor I picked up my new tablets, and then went and did some shopping. First of all I bought some stuff from the Pound Shop (the one on the main road, rather than the shop in the mews). Then I wandered along to Tesco to buy a sandwich, and finally went home. The reason why I prefer not to take a strong dose of Bisoprolol was very evident while I was walking around. That walk should have been pleasant in the sunshine today, but it seemed hard work - as if my legs were extra heavy or something.

 Having had some sandwiches, and almost finished writing here, I have a desire to go out for another walk purely to get out into the last of the sunshine. I don't fancy walking far, and so I am considering just going to the Salvation Army charity shop to look at the couple of secondhand cameras they have in there (I mentioned them a few days ago) Should it turn out that they are just £4.90 each, I may buy all of them. They will be mostly useless, or probably will be, but cameras are interesting, and it would be doing a sort of good deed. Later this evening I may go to a gig in Beckenham. I don't feel a strong urge to do it, but I think there is still a fair chance that I might go.
Thursday  16th  February 2017
 08:24 GMT
  The forecast sunny period did happen yesterday, but it was rather brief. The worst aspect of the weather was that it was raining as I went home from work. Fortunately I did have my waterproof coat with hood, and it was not that cold - although it did feel cooler than expected. I am not convinced the temperature reached 10° C, let alone the 11° C that was promised. Oh well, it could have been worse. Today started off rather cool because the sky seemed very clear when I first started walking to the station. I reckon it was just 5° C then. Since then the sky has become rather hazy. It's almost, but not quite cloudy and overcast. The forecast says that should clear sooner or later, and most of today is going to be nice and bright, and once again we have been promised 11° C by mid to late afternoon. Tomorrow is looking like it will vary between grey and very grey. It will also be a degree cooler at just 10° C.

 I was definitely feeling slightly better yesterday - which is both a good and bad state to be in when seeing a doctor. Good because it makes you less vulnerable, and bad because it is harder to really lay it on thick when you come to tell the doctor your sad story. Just like that is good and bad, I was in a good and bad mood about seeing the doctor. I try to avoid seeing doctors whenever possible because they just make you feel ill. On the other hand, I was hoping for some sort of cure for how crap I've been feeling the last 4 months.

 I left work early, and without too much haste, or maybe with more haste than was needed, I caught the 15:50 train from Waterloo East - the one 15 minutes before my usual train. That left me a little more time to clean myself up before seeing the doctor. It was not a happy visit - but no surprise there ! Why are doctors so obsessed with blood pressure - obsessed to the point where they seem reluctant to actually consider what you are trying to tell them about your own body. It seems they always want to treat the symptom instead of the disease. Of course my blood pressure really shot up under such circumstances, and she wasted a lot of the appointment bellyaching on about it.

 I know that antibiotics are overprescribed, and that and the fact that some people don't complete the course, is causing a very scary amount of antibiotic germs to evolve, but I think I had a special case for being prescribed a course of them. Had I been seeing an engineer, instead of a doctor, and described how the last time I was prescribed antibiotics they had not only cured the chest infection that they were prescribed for, but then went on to make me feel like superman for a few months, he (or she) might have been inclined to see what affect another course of antibiotics may have.

 So I didn't get prescribed any antibiotics, but I did get prescribed more blood pressure tablets. She made a request for the sebacious cyst on my back, which I believe may be a reservoir of something  infectious that is affecting me, to have an ultrasound scan. Once again, if I had seen an engineer he would have arranged for the back to be opened, and the muck scraped out at the first opportunity, but no, it has to be scanned first. Maybe there is a good reason for it. Perhaps it is a worry that it is near my spine or something, but a good engineer surgeon could slash it open, clean it out, and superglue it together again in minutes - probably !

 I expect to get a letter from the hospital any time before the next ice age to invite me along to get that scan. In the meantime I have been ordered to see a doctor again tomorrow to re-check my blood pressure. My appointment is at 09:40am. While I am there, and hopefully before I see the doctor, I will be giving a few gallons of blood so I can be tested for loads of stuff. The good thing here is that the more blood they draw, the lower my blood pressure should be - maybe !
blood tests !
 I have no real idea what all these things are that I will be tested for. A couple I recognise as typical for diabetes sufferers, but most are a mystery. I think the doctor said it would reveal stuff about my kidneys and liver, and apparently, yes, one of the tests will indicate infection in some mysterious way. Apparently TATT (centre of the blood test request form) stands for Tired All The Time - which is not really what I was complaining of. I am not tired all the time. Sometimes it is the aches and pains, mostly from my chest area, but occasionally from various joints, make the idea of doing anything too physical unpleasant.

 I went home from the doctors via Aldi where I deliberately bought some nice but unhealthy stuff to cheer me up. Last night's dinner consisted of sandwiches, a chicken and bacon pasta type thing, and some savoury mini eggs. The latter, a sort of mini, mostly meatless Scotch eggs were actually not very nice, and I wished I had bought another sandwich, or just warmed up a can of soup. As well as eating I had a couple of strong glasses of vodka and (diet) coke.

 As well as eating and drinking I sent a message about my doctor visit to Angela. It was a sort of courtesy thing in case she remembered that I was due to see the doctor last night. I think I caught here just as she was getting ready to go out to an open mic night, and initially I thought she was ignoring me, but I was wrong. Some while later I got a very warm reply, and we exchanged a few more pleasant comments before the exchange finished. One message included a "see you soon", and that sort of surprised me. I think we are both realising that we both have problems to deal with that sometimes see us not at our best. Maybe that would bode well for the future if there still wasn't the problem of the old man she cares for, and who takes priority over me. I am obviously being selfish, but at the same time I hope there is some real practicality in the idea that while she is acting as (self appointed) nurse maid to him, she has fallen into the trap that professional nurses try to avoid - getting too attached to their patients.

 After not sleeping well the night before, I should have gone out like a light last night, but I sort of did and didn't. Initially I didn't feel sleepy, and that was true not just at night, but through much of the day too. I had to force myself to relax when I got in bed around 9pm, but once I did, I did fall asleep quite quickly. Unfortunately, like the night before, it didn't last - although I think it lasted longer. I think it was as much as 90 minutes later than the previous night when I woke up, and hardly seemed to sleep again. From about 1.30am I tossed and turned trying to get to sleep. Sometimes I would hurt my chest as I turned over, and the discomfort from that kept me awake as well as another brand new set of lumps in the mattress, and a duvet that felt far too hot.

 Once again, I don't seem to feel terribly tired now I am at work, and like yesterday, it was only as I typed these words, and thought about it, that I started yawning. Of course yawning is infectious, and it seems I can catch it off my own written word ! I have a medium amount of work to do today, and that should keep me slightly amused. Before that I have to look for my line manager and tell him the good news that I need a day off tomorrow, and I'll probably need more days off at short notice to go and be prodded and abused by the medical profession.

 Tonight is drinking night, and tonight we are drinking in The Partridge pub in Bromley. It might be a pleasant trip getting there is what I hope is going to be sunshine. There are two ways I could go there, and I haven't decided which yet. What I do know is that they sell some very strong beers there, and I am very tempted to have a few. I don't know what it will do to the blood samples I give tomorrow, and I'm not sure I really care.

 Just for fun, get your calculator out, and do the sums in this till receipt. To my mind it doesn't add up - in my advantage. !
it doesn't add up !
Wednesday  15th  February 2017
 08:19 GMT
  There was some sunshine yesterday, but it may have only lasted 10 minutes, maybe a little more. However long it lasted, it was very welcome. The rest of the day was, on average, overcast - sometimes quite lightly, and sometimes more heavily. The good feature was the temperature. I only saw 9° C on my thermometer when I got home, and that was a little lower than the 11° C forecast, but it definitely felt quite mild out. Maybe in some places it did hit 11° C. Oddly enough, the temperature seemed to rise later in the evening, and I did see 10° C on the thermometer outside the back bedroom. This morning it merely felt cool as I walked to the station. I think it was around 7 or 8° C. The forecast for today keeps changing every hour, but the common factor is that it is going to be a rather overcast day with at least one sunny period possible, and some rain mid to late afternoon. It is the timing and strength of that rain that the forecasters keep changing. First I was going to be rained on when going home, but now the rain should stop before I leave work, and start again soon after I am home - and that is just as well because now it could be heavy rain instead of showers. The top temperature today could be 11° C, and it might be that tomorrow too. It could be quite a sunny day too.

 Well I managed to survive Valentines day ! It didn't need any skills in clairvoyance to predict that I wouldn't get any cards, or even any messages. In fact I saw and spoke to no one except people at work (and the girl at the checkout when I bought my breakfast). I guess after 40 odd years of this I have got used to it. As I think I may have mentioned yesterday, back in December I might have hoped for something different this year, but it was evidently never meant to be. After yesterday I think I have resigned myself to the fact that my relationship with Angela is over. Maybe it is good that it ended with a whimper rather than a bang. It possibly leaves room for a fresh, or something, start if her current boyfriend, who many say is on his last legs, should pop his clogs in the not too distant future.

 It was nice going home in the mild weather yesterday. Of course it would have been even nicer if the sun had been out. The only problem I had going home was a rather silly one. I sort of wanted to feel a lot worse than I did so I would have ammunition to lay it on thick when I see my doctor tonight. In reality I felt possibly better than usual. I did, naturally, have a few twinges, but nothing of any great importance. Possibly the worse thing was that I felt like I had more energy than recently - but that could be an error in the way I was thinking.

 It was certainly the usual slog to the station after work, and yet some of that is in the mind. Regardless of how easy or difficult it is to walk it, it still seems very boring, and a waste of my time. Last night I didn't push myself to the very edge, and so the walk felt slightly easier. Of course it took a little longer - maybe a whole 30 seconds longer. When the trains are usually about every 3 minutes that is a significant difference as a percentage, but not really in reality. I was still able to get to Waterloo with time to merely amble over to Waterloo East. Of course I didn't merely amble, but walked at a fast pace, although, once again, limiting myself to maybe 95% of top speed.

 The funny thing is that I don't know why I feel the need to push myself to the edge all the time........or maybe I do. I guess it is good exercise for the legs, and that obviously works because my legs do seem to be one of the best working bits of my body recently...and that's why throttling back to just 95% of full speed feels like easy going. It is a lesson I probably learned while doing my long coastal/countryside walks, but never really applied it to commuting.

  I would have predicted that I would have felt really pissed off last night, and would have eaten almost anything I could have got my hands on. In fact I was planning some damage limitation for it earlier in the day, but for some reason I didn't feel very pissed off at all, and I might have eaten very slightly less than the night before. I started out with a cheese salad with a very generous amount of grated cheese on it. It would have been drowned in Salad Cream if I had had enough left to drown it, but I stuck to the more healthy option of not having enough left in the bottle to drown it ! I can't believe the tiny portion of a liver and bacon, and mash ready meal could have been too bad for me. What would have spoiled things were the 6, little more than golf ball sized, "easy peeler" oranges I ate. I only ate them because they were showing signs of getting towards the end of their shelf life. That made a couple of them really sweet, although the other four were typically rather tangy. Those oranges would have been good in most respects, but they will have (probably) raised my blood glucose level a lot - something I don't want when I am seeing the doctor tonight.

 Sleep was a bit of a disaster last night. It seemed easy to get to sleep, and I think I was asleep before 9pm, but sometime after midnight, let's say 30 minutes after midnight, I woke up and just couldn't get back to sleep. My bed felt too hot and too cold, and while my pillow seemed to be OK this time, it was like the mattress was a sack of coals. I guess I probably dropped off a few times in the three hours, but it felt like I was awake all that time, and even in the next couple of hours before I had to get up, I wonder if I was awake as much as I was asleep.

 I don't feel that bad for such a poor night's sleep, and in some ways I do feel quite good this morning. I crunched my chest a few times while thrashing about in bed, but my chest hasn't been particularly bothersome so far today (although I can sense it is a bit tender). I definitely seemed to have more energy this morning, and in a way that is unfortunate because a lack of energy is one thing I want to moan about to my doctor this evening. Perhaps as the day wear on I shall start to fade. With that possibility in mind I will be leaving work 12 - 20 minutes early today to make sure that I can get back to Catford in plenty of time to prepare myself to see the doctor. After I've seen the doctor I think I'll will tell Angela about it. If she remembers I exist, and that I am seeing the doctor tonight, then I think she would like to know how I got on. Other than that, it will probably be the usual routine - dinner - reading and maybe a bit of TV - bed !
someone doesn't
                          know their Arlsfield from their Earlsfield
Spotted near Earlsfield station this morning - someone doesn't know their Arlsfield from their Earlsfield !
With the amount of typos I mistake I shouldn't really show this, but what the hell. Enjoy !
Tuesday  14th  February 2017
 08:19 GMT
  The sunshine was very welcome yesterday. I think there was probably more of it than I was expecting. The only trouble was that there was a cold wind, and the temperature didn't feel like it got higher than, say, 3 or 4° C. I think the actual temperature was closer to 7° C. Indoors it was a different matter. Under the tin roof of the "industrial shed" where I work, the sun definitely had a very beneficial affect, and I was able to turn the heater down a fair amount in the afternoon. After sunset the temperature slowly fell, and by the time I woke up this morning it was only about 1.5° C on the north side of the house.

 I'm not so sure the temperature didn't fall even lower than that at some point - a few cars almost looked like they had frost on them. It was only condensation when I saw it - I think - but it did have patterns in it like frost would form. This morning there should be some sunshine followed by sunny intervals until midday. I assume that the rather grey and cloudy sky I can see outside my window is just a brief figment of my imagination, and will soon go away. The sky was mostly clear as I came to work, and that would account for the temperature being so low. The good thing was the lack of wind - it still felt cold, but it didn't feel freezing ! This afternoon is going to be cloudy, and after sunset that cloud could get quite thick - thick enough for some rain tomorrow morning. On the plus side it is supposed to be a mild 10° C this afternoon, and tomorrow, despite seriously lacking in sunshine, or so the forecast says, could possibly be 11° C.

 Yesterday's sunshine couldn't have come at a better time. It helped me stay on the borders between happy and sad....or maybe only a bit over the border into the valley of sadness. The reason for this was a rather pessimistic view of a brief exchange of messages with Angela. With hindsight I probably should have been rather less pessimistic. I said it would be nice to see her after work if she was free to come out. Her reply, at the time, seemed rather curt. In fact, upon re-reading it, it wasn't, and I don't really know why I thought it was. I think the trouble stems from her not really saying why she couldn't see me. Maybe she thought it was none of my business, and in a way, it wasn't, or more likely she didn't want me to be bothered by the fact that she was going out for a trip to the countryside with her new "official" boyfriend. If she thought that the she was wrong. I applaud the fact that she was able get out into the fresh air and sunshine when she is going through a period of winter depression. I wish I could have done the same myself - but it's not always easy without access to a car, and not possible when I had to be at work.

 So I spent the day at work moping about not being able to see Angela, but feeling good about the sunshine. It was nice going home in the sunshine, but it would have been nicer still if the wind didn't feel so cold. It is funny that it should have felt so cold because it wasn't a strong wind, the type that gets in all the crevices, or rattles the windows, but it was just enough to blow away any heat the sun may have provided. I arrived home with a mix of emotions, and with mixed amounts of aches and no aches.

 It does seem that the closer I get to seeing my doctor, the better I feel. The effect started a few minutes after I made the appointment, and seems to have slowly grown stronger every day. By tomorrow evening, when I see the doctor, I shall probably feel wonderful - which is probably the safest time to see a doctor ! While I thought I had mastered my mixed emotions, my mixed aches and pains, or the lack of some of them, and the cold weather, it seems part of my subconcious that I have no control over, was very much driving my appetite.

 I seemed very hungry last night, and I couldn't fully control it. I started off with a can of minted lamb and vegetable soup, and then I attacked some sandwiches. I had bought two packs of beef and horseradish sandwiches when I was in Aldi last Friday, and the original idea was that I would feed Angela with one pack if I saw her last night. They were already on their use by date and so I had to use them last night. The only trouble was that I nearly forgot they were there, and I had already put a sausage and mash and peas and gravy in a giant Yorkshire pudding-like shell in the oven to cook when I remembered them. I had little choice but to have a three course dinner - soup, sandwiches and sausage and mash...etc.

 One of the oddities of yesterday was that despite sleeping really badly the night before, I didn't really feel tired for most of the day, but I still felt a strong compulsion to try and get to bed early last night. It almost didn't happen because I got a bit carried away reading, but I managed to throw the book down, and turn out the light before 9pm. I think I was probably fast asleep a few minutes later - probably around 8.45pm. Between then and 5am, when my alarm woke me, I have one dreamy memory of getting up for a pee, and then laying in bed fretting that it didn't seem that I would get back to sleep again. Evidently I did, and probably much faster than it seemed at the time.

 It does feel like I slept well last night. I seem to be lacking in some of the more annoying aches and pains this morning (although most of the usual ones are there to some extent or another). I don't think I feel quite so sleepy this morning either. It's not all roses though. I had a generally comfortable journey to work....or maybe it was slightly better than that. The bit I like to use as a metric for the whole journey is the "mad dash" from Waterloo East to Waterloo, and this morning it did seem to be closer to easy than it has been for ages. I sat down on my train to Earlsfield after that high speed dash, and seemingly within seconds I could barely notice any after effects.

 The same was not true when I went into the Sainsbury's "Local" store in Earlsfield. I reached up to about, or slightly higher than eye level to grab a Caesar salad off the shelf, and as I walked away I felt a nasty pain in my chest as I dropped my arm down to normal level. I assumed, although I could have been wrong, that this was just another symptom of my loose and rusty chest superstructure. The next 10 to 15 paces were uncomfortable, and then the pain faded away to no more than a mild feeling of tenderness (like an old wound that doesn't hurt if you don't provoke it). The rest of my walk to work was not entirely painless, but it would have been 99% so if I had put my gloves on to stop my fingers complaining about the cold.

 Today is Valentines day. Before Xmas, if I had thought about it, I would have thought that this year would be different to all the others, but of course you turn around and reality bites you on the arse. The chance of me doing anything romantic this evening is estimated to be about 0.000000000000000638% of nothing. So nothing new then. I have one spare can of Special Brew left over from some time back, and I think I'll make love to that before going to bed for another (hopefully) early night. Before that I ought to try and wash my hair so it is nice and clean when I see the doctor after work.

 Sometimes you have to be positive about life, and if you look hard enough there is always something positive, something worth living for, and it doesn't always have to be Special Brew. Until I can have that pleasure there is always my Nectar points to raise the spirits. After two and a half years of hard saving, my Nectar points are now worth £4.83. How good is that ?????? Luxury beyond the dreams of cats.
nectar points
Monday  13th  February 2017
 08:15 GMT
  The good thing about Saturday was that it was least I think it was dry, or it was at any time it mattered. I'm more certain that it was a rather uninspiring grey day, and it was another rather chilly day. Yesterday was also very uninspiring. It was grey all day, and the temperature hovered around 3° C for most of the day - except in the evening. I'm not sure when it actually started, but the temperature slowly crept up, and by 9pm it was around 6° C. Sometime after that it started to slowly fall again, and it was just over 3° C when I left to come to work this morning.

 One exciting aspect of coming to work this morning was that there was some very dim light on the eastern horizon where the sun was due to rise. By the time my train, which was running over 5 minutes late, passed New Cross there was sufficient light in the sky to see features outside of the brightly lit train. It took some time for that to be improved upon because of a combination of a very light mist, and some thin cloud to the east. That mist and cloud has now dissipated, and the forecast says it will be sunny from now until sunset (at 5.18pm !!). The forecast for today's temperature has just been uprated, and most of this afternoon is expected to be 7° C. The only problem is that a cold wind will make it feel cooler than that. Tomorrow is still forecast to be cloudy, but it may still stay dry, and it might possibly be as warm as 12° C.

 The highlight of Saturday was The Belles gig at The Black Cat. On the whole it was very good, but there were a few negative aspects. One minor one was that the heating in the pub had partly failed. So it was rather cool in just a t-shirt. It may have not mattered if the gig was better attended. The last time The Belles played there it was probably the fullest I have seen, but on Saturday their gig clashed with one in Bromley that was also a birthday party. It seems to be a general rule that people from Bromley really don't like coming to Catford. The other person missing was Angela. She explained that she was too tired to go out, although the pessimist side of me did wonder if that was an excuse for an ulterior motive.
The Belles
Here's The Belles in action. On the left, playing guitar, is Roy Dalley. Just peeping out behind Michael Whitestar, with the red Gibson guitar, is Matt Donovan on drums, on the right, playing bass guitar is Gus.
The Belles at The Black
Another look at The Belles.
The Belles -
                          Saturday 11th Feb 2017
You can see high resolution versions of these shrunken pictures plus another 23 big pictures here -

 After the gig ended I rushed home, or at least I tried to (a previous pair of shoes I was wearing had grazed one of my toes, and it was stinging a bit as I walked home). I took the direct route that avoided any takeaway shops, but only because I intended to eat something that I had a little more control over. On Saturday I had successfully avoided eating anything of any significance after lunchtime so I didn't feel bloated when I went to the pub.. It worked well, but the desire for food was strong after the beer, and walking home in the cold only made it worse. My weapon of choice when I got in was an Aldi cottage pie ready meal (with a bit of extra chilli sauce). It wasn't the healthiest option, but it was probably better than a portion of chips without considering what else there might be in addition to the chips.

 I was in bed very late my usual standards. I didn't have to wait long until I was fast asleep. After as little as five hours sleep I was awake again, and I half got up and pottered around for a while before going back to bed. In an ideal world I would have slept for another three hours, but I think it was probably not much longer than an hour. In theory that was not enough, and it should have impacted on my sleep last night - but apparently not.

 I'm not entirely sure what I did yesterday, but I must have done a lot of it because the day didn't seem to be particularly long, and I didn't suffer from the usual terrible afternoon/early evening ennui. I know what did take a very long time, and that was going through the huge amount of pictures I had taken the previous night, and selecting, and editing the best. Sometime the selection process was very difficult. As usual at a gig, I had the camera in burst mode - taking maybe 4 or 5 pictures in very quick succession (it's probably cheating, but it works for me). That meant that sometimes I might end up with several pictures that were almost identical, and choosing which one to use took some thought, and even then I had doubts. Eventually, with a break here, and a break there, I came up with 26 fairly good pictures that I uploaded to Flickr.

 Apart from photo editing, I did some reading and some eating, but I don't think I did any sleeping (or if I did it was just a short nap). If I hadn't eaten so many Cheese Thins, and so much greasy salami, I might even have eaten healthily yesterday. Apart from those very naughty snacks, I only ate two cans of soup (mostly harmless) and a fish and potato steamed ready meal. The latter was quite low in calories - mostly because a lot of it is green stuff, and the whole lot is not much bigger than a snack !

 Eventually it was 9pm and time for bed. In theory I should have gone out like a light, but I seemed to have bad insomnia last night. It was one of those nights where sleeping was very uncomfortable. I put my head on the same pillows as the night before, but last night the pillow felt like a sack of coal. My mattress topper seemed to have developed lumps in it where it didn't have lumps before, and on top of that I couldn't make my mind up whether I felt hot or cold. The latter could well have been due to the rising temperature outside. Earlier in the day, when it was around 3° C, it seemed to need a lot of heating to keep my room nice and toasty warm. During the evening, when the outside temperature just about doubled, the rise of temperature inside my room seemed to be very noticeable.

 it's hard to say how much sleep I got last night, but I doubt it was any more than 4 hours. I dodn't seem to feel too bad on it for now, but maybe I'll suffer later. Various bits of me ache this morning. My neck, after resting on what felt like a hard and lumpy sack of coal, seems to be nasty and stiff this morning, and for some strange reason my right leg seems stiffer than usual. After a lot of tossing and turning during the night it is inevitable that my chest feel sore this morning. It felt cranky enough to constantly remind me of it's presence most of the time, but it was not bothersome until I did the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo station this morning.

 There is one fact about my morning commute that is worth noting. There was another railway problem this morning that meant my train actually started in service from New Beckenham station. A consequence of that was that it was very lightly loaded by the time it got to Catford Bridge, and I had a seat to myself all the way to London Bridge. Once people got off at London Bridge it was easy to walk down the train to get to a door that would be very close to the exit ramp from Waterloo East station.

 Being so close to the exit ramp, up and out of the station, put me near the head of the frenzied pack of commuters, and I had to work extra hard not to get overtaken. A few people actually ran past, but I don't count them. For the rest of us it was walk as fast as you can. I did wonder if I had over done it a bit because it felt like the two halves of my rib cage were flapping around inside on my chest, and by the time I had reached, and got on the train at Waterloo, my chest was hurting quite a lot - and I wasn't 100% sure that all those pains could be accounted for !

 Maybe I needed that good shake up to get the blood flowing, and the joints loosened up, because walking from Earlsfield station seemed curiously OK. I didn't take it at top speed, but I wasn't far short of it. Curiously enough, I constantly felt like my chest was going to complain. It was like a mild tickle that could have turned into real discomfort, but didn't. It was nice and warm in my office this morning, and that should have made me feel good, but as I sit here my chest is very gently aching. I think it is just a case of bad posture, and I am sure if I go for a quick walk, maybe to the toilet and back, the aches will move to different places....or something like that.

 I think tonight could be boring. It would be nice to spend a few hours with Angela, but it doesn't feel like it will happen today. I do feel pessimistic enough at the moment to think it will never happen again. That's probably silly, and maybe I'll feel more positive when I have seen more sunshine today. There are things I could, and maybe will do tonight, but I can't really imagine doing them at the moment.
Saturday  11th  February 2017
 17:04 GMT
  The cold grey days of winter continue..... Yesterday was cold and grey, and the temperature was only a couple of degrees above zero at best. Today the temperature seemed to vary between a few tenths of a degree above zero to about one whole degree above zero ! It has been persistently dull and grey. The only respite to that was the times when the air was dotted with swirling flakes of wet snow - probably closer to snow than sleet, so I'll call it snow. It was a little too sparse to settle, but if it had been a degree cooler it might have. From tomorrow it starts to warm up. It could be a glorious 6° C by midnight tomorrow ! The day will start off at a mere 2° C though. It is forecast to be a cloudy day with the possibility of a light shower in the morning. It's the day after when things might really be looking up - if the weather forecasters haven't been taking hallucinogenic drugs again. Monday could see some, but not much sunshine. Tuesday even more sunshine, and on Wednesday it might hit 12° C, although sadly it might be a grey, sunless day.

 I felt pretty rotten yesterday. It was lucky I had taken the day off work. I would have felt dreadful at work...or would I ? Maybe it was laying around doing little that left me feeling so crappy. It is equally possible that if I had forced myself to go out to Chain's gig in Beckenham I might have felt better - particularly after a few pints of Guinness. I think as much as anything else, I was scared to go out in the cold and damp air. It felt like it was doing that, that left me feeling like I was. Maybe today I have a few little cracks in that belief.

 I resigned myself to not going out, and settled down to what was a reasonably pleasant evening by myself. Last night was one of those times when a stray cosmic ray must have zipped through my brain, and flipped the state of a neuron when it passed through. For some unknown reason I decided to have a few Vodka and cokes instead of my usual whisky. Of course it is possible that I was actually having some sort of unrecognised premonition - of which more later.

 Two things made the evening more pleasant (OK, 3 if you count the vodka). The first was watching a documentary about Chrissie Hynde. She was originally the lead singer with The Pretenders, but I think she sings under her own name now. The subtext of the documentary was about living alone. I missed the first few minutes of the hour long documentary, and maybe that explained how she came to live on her own. I seem to recall she had a very messy breakup with Ray Davies (lead singer of The Kinks), and maybe the fall out of that has been echoing down through the years since then. It was a good documentary apart from one thing - it should have been shorter. I came away with a strong impression that it had been padded out to last the full hour, and maybe there was only enough material for, maybe, 40 minutes.

 The other thing that made for a pleasant end of the day was a phone call from Angela. It had it's genesis in a simple text message to her suggesting that if she was near a TV, and had nothing better to do she might like to watch the Chrissie Hynde documentary. (Her daughter Miranda sings a few Pretenders songs [and sings them quite well] so there is a mutual interest). A short while later she responded to say she was watching it. I sent a quick reply asking if it would be OK to call her at the end of the documentary if she was alone, and not too tired. I don't think she replied except by calling me at the end of the documentary. We had a nice warm conversation for maybe 15 minutes. Once again it felt like our relationship was not over, but just suspended for the duration.

I expect the vodka helped a lot, but it seem I slept really well last night - right up to the point when I woke up far earlier than needed or wanted. On reflection, I may have got nearly 6 hours of what might have been good sleep. I have survived on less, but after a couple of hours I went back to bed, and possibly slept for another hour.

 I didn't feel all that wonderful when I got up again, but on the other hand I realised I didn't feel that dreadful. That seemed to be the cue to do something or another. One than that did get done, but it might have been after first work up, and not the second time, was to upload all my pictures of the gig in the bingo hall to Flickr. You can see the pictures here -

I'm not sure why, but I had a strong urge to go out for a bit this morning. On the face of it, it was a stupid idea if I thought the cold damp air was fully responsible for me feeling crap. The reason was not only that the temperature was only 0.7° C, but it was most certainly damp - in fact it was snowing. Well I call it snowing. Others would say it was sleet, but there were definitely big, well defined flakes of the stuff. If it had been just a tiny bit colder, just as one degree colder to take the temperature just below zero, I have little doubt that it would have been true snow, and that by the end of the morning there would have been a light dusting of it on the ground. In reality it all melted as soon as it touched the wet ground.

In the end I decided on a fairly long walk. Initially I went to the pharmacy to collect the box of Avorastatin pills they owed me, and to see if they had missed one more page of prescription for my Bisoprolol tablets that didn't seem to come with the repeat prescription I picked up in the week. I felt sure the pharmacy was open all day on Saturday, but it seems it closes at 11am on a Saturday, and I had just missed them.

 From the pharmacy I went to "Cash Busters", the pawnbroking shop, to see if they had any interesting second hand photography stuff for sale. They did have one camera that may have been interesting, but maybe the Fiji XP71 waterproof camera I bought there some weeks back has satisfied my need for a good camera to carry on my commutes and stuff. It is small, light, and takes a pretty good picture, and heavy rain won't hurt it (although rain drops on the lens can interfere with the auto-focus).

 My next stop was Lidl. I only go in there now and then - mainly out of curiosity, and today was no exception. The first thing that struck me was that the whole store had been re-organised with new fridges and display shelves. Everything was in different places, and I never did find the ready made salads that used to sell. Maybe they no longer sell them. I did manage to find where they hide the "Red Sun" shower gel now, and they had good stocks of it for a change. I love the hippyish smell of the stuff, and bought three bottles.

 I managed to find the novelty (multi coloured) tomatoes they usually stock, and bought a punnet of those. One thing (technically three things) I spotted was rather brightly coloured rubber gloves. I use rubber gloves a lot to protect my hands when hand washing cloths and bed sheets etc. I don't treat them gently, and some can rip and tear easily. Those I buy from Aldi are tough(ish), but only come in rather subdued boring dull pink and yellow with a hint of brown. I am now the proud owner of bright green, bright red, and light blue rubber gloves. I almost want to wash a few shirts to try them out !
Putinoff vodka
 The other thing I found in Lidl was Putinoff "Platinum Oxygenated" vodka. Platinum Oxygenated - we truly live in wondrous times !! I bought a bottle of it, and a brief taste when I got home showed it tasted just like vodka....well maybe it had a "something else", but I'm not sure what. I'll primarily be using as bait to get Angela to visit, but after my pleasant vodka fuelled evening last night, I may have a few myself.

 On the walk back from Lidl I checked the Salvation Army charity shop because one of a few more or less direct routes home passed right by it. They seemed to have a few second hand camera in a display case jut inside the shop. The only trouble was I couldn't quite be sure of the prices. Some of them looked like £499, but that would be ridiculous. Maybe there was a decimal point in there somewhere. One camera, possibly a film camera by an unrecognised maker, might have been, and worth, £49.90, but it almost seemed like most were just £4.99 each. If I go back, and find that is the case I might buy a few more, possibly useless, cameras. It will help them out, and amuse me for a few hours.

 I guess it is a good 10 minute walk back from Lidl, and it was probably more like 15 minutes to walk there by a far less direct route. That means I did my 20 minutes of recommended cardio-vascular exercise today with 5 minutes to spare. How good is that ? !! Not only that but I was carrying a fair bit of shopping back - it included 6 litres of diet cola and some tins of soup, plus lighter stuff. I would have expected to feel like I was considerably more knackered than I actually was when I got back. I did consider going out again. I thought I might go to Peacocks to see what they had, but I have more than enough shoes/trainers, and that would have been half the reason for going. I did toy with the idea of another winter jacket, but then I decided I would rather eat some of the stuff I bought from Lidl.

 My lunch was some supermarket Sushi. Maybe Lidl's is slightly better than Aldi's, and both are possibly better, and certainly far cheaper than Tesco's offering. I also had a couple of sandwiches as a sort of supplement as much as an hour later. I am not entirely sure why I bought and ate those things when I thought my intention was to just have some hot soup, maybe two cans of it, for dinner.

 Since then I had done very little. I think I may have slept for an hour this afternoon, but I can't be sure. I know I definitely fell asleep, but I have no idea when I went to sleep, and no real idea when I woke up. It didn't feel like a long sleep but at the same time the afternoon does seem to have passed a lot quicker than I can account for.

 Tonight I am most definitely going to a gig. It's in The Black Cat, just 5 minutes walk door to door from home (possibly 6 minutes, but it can't be more). So I have no excuses no matter how good or bad I feel. I think there is a possibility I will feel good. The band tonight are The Belles, and they are part of the "Bromley Scene" so it should be a well attended gig. It makes my photography a bit harder, but the overall "vibe" should be good. Angela has promised to try and make it, and if she does she may be on her own. It will be wonderful if she does manage to go there, and is on her own, but I feel slightly pessimistic about it. We'll see.
Friday  10th  February 2017
 14:06 GMT
  Yesterday was pretty horrible ! It was cold and grey, and there was some light rain and even sleet ! I'm not sure if I dared check a thermometer yesterday, but I wouldn't dispute the forecast - just 3° C at best ! Later in the evening that had dropped to 2° C, or possibly less. The very fine sleety rain that I encountered several times did nothing to help me enjoy the weather either ! Today it's all the same but worse ! As far as I have observed, the temperature has not shifted from more than a tickle above zero. It was 0.7° C a bit earlier. On top of that it is horrible and grey....and there is more of that fine sleety rain - almost like a mist with some damp powder mixed in. The forecast says there will be a more substantial sleet shower at around 6pm, and from 2am tomorrow morning, when the temperature has dropped to just 1° C (if it ever manages to get high enough to drop to 1° C) there will be light snow - non stop until almost daylight. The rest of tomorrow will be grey, miserable, dull, horrible, and nasty, but it should be 3° C !

  I felt almost, but not quite good, at work yesterday. That almost includes how I felt mentally as well, but I would prefer to describe that as just neutral. However, it didn't take long before the cold and damp outside work began to affect me as I made my way to The Shortlands Tavern. By the time I got to the pub I was feeling fairly rough - and this was despite wearing a coat that kept my chest nice and warm, plus warm gloves, and being on warm trains for most of the time. My chest started to hurt, and I felt quite wheezy. In these situations only alcohol seems to work, but even that doesn't work that well. As far as I can see the only thing that would stop all these negative things happening would be to stop breathing. It does seem that it is breathing in the cold damp air that causes most of the problem.

 My original plan was to only have two pints in The Shortlands Tavern, but I didn't time my pints well enough to match the train timetables. I had to guzzle a third pint so I didn't have to wait too long for a train. It almost worked, but the 18:02 train was about 5 minutes late. If the 17:32 train had been 5 minutes late I might have been able to catch it - and maybe it was. The 18:02 was, as far as I can recall, shown as on time on the National Rail app on my phone when I left the warmth of the pub. 7 or 8 minutes later it was 5 minutes late !

 I arrived home feeling the positive and negative effects of the beer. The beer seemed to ease the crankiness of my chest, but it made me hungry. It might also have made me feel cold too - another reason to feel hungry. I carefully avoided any fast food shops, and headed straight home where I intended to warm myself up with a can or two of soup. I wanted to go out again later and so I didn't want to eat too much despite feeling like I could eat a grilled horse between two slices of bread. At the very last minute I slightly changed my mind and had a large can of "pasta spirals in tomato sauce with pork dumplings". The dumplings seemed more like meat balls to me, but lets' not quibble about it.

 In theory that should have warmed me up, but I felt so cold that I spent quite a bit of the next couple of hours under my duvet. Eventually the time arrived when I wanted to go out again (although my body wanted me to go to bed than as it usually does at the same time every night). I wasn't feeling that good, but I got my camera together, put on some fresh clothes, and my warmest coat, and stepped out into the night.

 My destination was the Catford Mecca Bingo Hall (which is on "Catford Island" - the little group of shops that includes Lidl). As I walked I could feel the pasta spirals slopping around in my stomach, and that was not very nice. To reduce the unpleasant effect I walked a bit slower, and that also meant I felt better than I otherwise would have when I arrived at the bingo hall.  The reason for going was to see MT Pockets perform a short, 15 minute set, for an entertainment competition.

 I have never been in a bingo hall before, and it was very weird ! I've never found gambling attractive in any form, and that place is just dedicated to gambling. It is big, brash, bright, and.....well, sort of weird. Walking in there was like walking into the wrong church/mosque/temple/synagogue/satanic place of worship/wherever[whatever] druids do their druid stuff in. Not only that but they didn't have any draught Guinness. They only had cans - and I drunk the last two of them !

 MT Pockets were predictably good, although I felt they were only warming up when their time slot ended. The next act was a weirdo. He recited poetry, almost in a rap style to an electro music backing track. He wore some sort goggles, and what looked like his mum's best curtains for a cape.  I went (ran !) home after seeing his 15 minutes of "fame". I am told there was better stuff later, but I was also scared off by an Elvis (Presley, not Costello) tribute singer that I heard was on next. I'm not a big Elvis fan (Can't stand him !).
MT Pockets
Here's one shot of MT Pockets - Dan Murphy, Dylan Tidman and Michael Murphy.
MT Pockets in (in)glorious blue light
One thing that spoiled the evening, and definitely spoiled photography, was the blue lighting. I don't think it was a deliberate act, but just ignorance by the DJ who was also the compère of the evening. What made it infinitely worse was that the background to the stage was a projection TV screen. Those screens are like hi visibility jackets - they make the reflected light look very bright. I had to over expose most photos or the band would be just silouhettes. On top of that there was practically no red or green light from that lighting, and it was impossible to try and make skin look like skin - except for skin of some alien species !
MT Pockets in black and white
When I finally upload the pictures to Flickr, many of them will be in black and white to get rid of that blue cast. It gives them a delightful retro look.

  The two pints cans of Guinness I drank helped with the cold (It also helped that the inside of the bingo hall was quite warm, and I was more than happy with my coat off, and just in a t-shirt). They also helped me feel hungry again. Deep down I knew I was going to end up with something I shouldn't have, but I found a small corner of a sort of warped moderation somewhere in my skull. I decided that just a bag of chips would fill a small hole, and would be nice and warming too. What I hadn't counted on was that it was evidently later than I thought, and the chip shop seemed to be getting ready to close. I ended up with the most massive "small portion" of chips I have ever seen. In a different reality I would have been very pleased about it, but in this reality I ended up throwing half of them away. I'm not sure if the bigger influence was feeling full or feeling full of guilt - maybe it was guilt.

 I obviously went to bed a lot later than usual, and that would have been OK if I had managed to get enough sleep, but I woke up too early. Even that might not have mattered if I was feeling OK, but I wasn't. I felt fairly rotten, and I am not sure why. Tiredness was obviously a significant thing, and there was probably a bit of hangover mixed in. Maybe what I ate last night had some sort of bad effect. The extra two exposures of going out in the damp and cold (going to the gig and back) may well have left their own legacy.

 Even now, many hours later, I still feel pretty crappy. The odd thing was that the only time I didn't feel crappy was when I went shopping to Aldi a few hours ago. Being out in the fresh air helped to wake me up (or something), and the walk there and back probably stirred my blood up (or, once again, something).  I probably now feel bad because of another exposure to that freezing damp air, and because I have eaten some crap that is bad for me (although my blood sugar will probably not be peaking to some silly level for a short while yet).

 Tonight I would sort of like to go out again, and who knows, maybe I will. Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. It is fairly easy to get to (just one 20 - 25 minute bus ride), and it would be nice to see Chain again. On the downside is that it would mean another exposure to freezing damp air, and there is also the problem that the pub is the wrong shape for gigs. It is a small pub with a U shaped bar, and U shaped walkway around it. The band is tucked away in one end of that U, and only about 6 people can ever get a clear view of the band. It is also not terribly well lit in there. It makes photography a bit of a headache. Maybe I'll still go, but probably not.
Thursday  9th  February 2017
 08:21 GMT
  Yesterday was as bad as I thought it would be. The sky varied between mid to dark grey, and with the temperature peaking at just 5° C, and then only for a short while, it was cold. Oh well, at least it was dry. I was hoping the dreadful forecast for today might change, and it has, and it is now going to be very slightly, just noticeably, less dreadful !
today's dreadful
 I think this latest forecast is similar to how today was forecast 24 hours ago. A later revision had the maximum temperature down to just 2° C - at least I think that is what I saw.What I am very sure I saw was that it would rain tonight. It looks like that is no longer the case, and that will be very useful. The latest forecast for tomorrow is almost the same as for today if you don't quibble about the odd degree. From the early hours of the morning to about 7pm it will be 2° C, and then the temperature will drop to just 1° C for the rest of the night. Saturday looks pretty awful too !

 There were several reasons to feel good yesterday, and several reasons to feel bad. On the whole, I felt physically OK at work yesterday, but the grey clouds, and the cold, did little to make me happy. In fact they pissed me off. One aspect of the weather momentarily felt both good and bad. As I walked out of work to go home there was a cold gust of wind as I looked up at the leaden grey sky. For a moment it really felt like it was about to snow. I found the idea of it snowing to be good - provided I got home in time to avoid any transport disruption. It would have been wonderful to be snowed in today so I didn't have to come to work.

 Work itself, or some of the regulations and procedures here can, and do piss me off. We've had a couple of reminders sent out about the sanctity of the companies IT equipment, and threatening dire retribution to anyone who doesn't follow rules and regulations. The regulations are totally valid, with just the odd quirk, as a way of keeping the companies network clean of viruses and trojans, and the like. I totally agree with them - in principal - but that still doesn't stop them being bloody annoying - particularly in regard to my using my work PC to writing these words. It isn't the writing of the words that is the main problem, although it is still probably a misuse of the equipment - after all I am slowly wearing out the keyboard by typing these words. The biggest problem, and it encompasses more than just writing this diary, is a semi ban, with comical overtones, on plugging in external devices to work PCs.

 There are very many valid reasons why I have to plug stuff in on my work PC. There are various programming tools, and communication links to our very own products that connect by USB. Then there are "mass storage devices" - things like phones, cameras and back up disks. Not being able to plug the memory card of my camera would make adding pictures to this diary awkward, but even worse is that making a visual record of some of the stuff I do for work is essential. Fortunately the rules have now been amended. We can now plug in, for instance, USB memory sticks provided they have been scanned by anti-virus software first. Of course they can only be scanned when they are plugged in - so we have to plug them in to scan them, but are forbidden to do it before we have plugged them in to scan them.........

 One good thing did arise while I was at work yesterday. It seems that M.T. Pockets, a band fronted by the very talented Dan Murphy, is making an appearance at the Catford Mecca bingo hall tonight. It is part of some sort of band competition. As far as I am aware it is free entry, but non members of the bingo hall have to produce photo ID. I assume they will accept my 60+ Oystercard as photo ID because I have no other. The only downside is that there are two bands appearing, and MT Pockets are not expected to be on until 10pm. That is more than a bit late for me on a work day. So I have booked tomorrow off work, and I think I may be more excited about that than seeing the band !

 The grey skies and the cold did their best to disrupt my attempt to eat frugally last night. I started with a can of soup. That soup was "Cullen Skink". It is a fairly expensive soup I bought out of curiosity from Aldi about 12 months ago - it is a seasonal speciality for Burns night along with haggis and stuff. It all sounds very posh, but it's not. It is a complete rip off as far as I can see. A better description would be "cream of a few flakes of haddock, and a small cube of potato or two", and as such it should be no more expensive that cream of chicken soup. Oh well, it was pleasant, but I won't be paying £1.19 for another can when I can get Aldi own brand cream of chicken soup for about 45p !

 I had another two parts of dinner last night. One was a Lancashire Hot Pot ready meal which had an unknown, but probably high amount of calories in it, and a chicken tikka "steam meal", which had few calories in it. I could have had more. I was feeling like more, but I managed to stop myself......or maybe I just had enough good distractions. Two distractions were hand washing a towel - really hard work rinsing and wringing until the rinsing water had a head on it like an ale (southern version) rather than the thick foam on a Guinness. The other distraction was washing my hair.

 There was one other distraction that I was not expecting. I exchanged quite a few messages with Angela. It obviously wasn't as good as face to face communication, but there was a warmth about those messages that proves there are still plenty of feelings there. If she just wasn't distracted in caring for an old man with cancer (probably in remission for the moment), and recovering from a hip replacement - all very meritorious - our relationship could get back on course.

 I thought I slept quite well the previous night, and I think I probably slept quite well last night. I am concerned that returning back to very cold weather is going to have a negative impact on my chest, but this morning I seem to be tolerably OK again. This is good, and while there are a few hurdles to get through, it is possible that I can have a pleasant evening. One difficulty is that being Thursday I ought to go for a drink after work with the Thursday club. We are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern again tonight, and at least that is easy to get to, and easy to get home again. I think I ought to try and have just 2 pints in there before heading home to prepare to go out at a time when I would normally just be falling asleep. Getting in the bingo hall, and the hall itself is going to be a shock to the system, but hopefully the rewards will outweigh some potentially negative scenarios.

 There is a small chance that Angela might go tonight. She knows about it, but as yet I have heard nothing about whether she is thinking of going or not. Oh well, there is still plenty to look forward to, and having booked tomorrow off work, not having to go to work in 2° C tomorrow morning is a wonderful glory in itself !
Wednesday  8th  February 2017
 08:03 GMT
  There wasn't much, but there was sunshine yesterday, and best of all was the sunshine that dazzled me as I walked to the station after work. The forecast said it would get to 10° C yesterday, and maybe it did despite my thermometer saying it was a couple of degrees short when I got home yesterday. Even if it didn't make the magical 10° C, it did feel a lot milder than recent days yesterday. Maybe when I got home it had started to cool down. It certainly did cool down, and by my reckoning it was just 3° C when I walked to the station this morning. It obviously wasn't cold enough for frost, but all the cars, and the tops of the wheelie bins, were dripping with condensation. Oddly enough, the pavements seemed to be bone dry. Today is not forecast to be very nice. At the moment the forecast says light cloud, but it looks pretty dense to me. In a another hour or two heavy cloud will replace what already looks quite heavy enough to depress me. No rain is forecast, and that is a plus point if it turns out to be true, but on the downside it seems it will be no warmer than 5° C today. Then it gets worse.....Tomorrow will feature thick cloud, and when it is not 3° C, for a couple of hours in the afternoon, it will be just 2° C for the vast majority of the day - that is cold enough for snow if those thick clouds defy the forecast, and dump their load on us !

 I had a fairly successful day at work, without too many annoyances yesterday. That was a minor plus point. Being dazzled by some sunshine pouring through my office window around lunchtime, and being dazzled by the sun, just shining over the rooftops, as I walked to the station after work were two very big plus points. Not having any significant aches and pains was also a plus point. Not hearing from Angela was unfortunate, but not unexpected, and so I would judge that to be almost neutral.

 The overall effect of all these things was that I felt fairly good when I made my way back to Catford after work. On the way back I formulated a new plan. Earlier in the day I had tried to phone the pharmacy where I collect my prescriptions to see if I had one more repeat prescription waiting there. I didn't manage to get through, and so I decided I would go straight from the station to the pharmacy, and ask in person.

 I have no idea how a bus, a 185 in this situation, in completely unpredictable traffic, can always arrive at the Catford Bridge station at exactly the same time every day. Well maybe not the exact time to the second, but close enough. The unfortunate thing is that exact time is the same time that my train arrived at the station. It is a bit of a rush to try and catch that bus. Most times I don't. Fortunately it is very rare that I need  or want to catch a bus from the station, but last night was one time, and last night I was lucky to just leap aboard 2.5 seconds before the doors closed.

 Four stops later and the bus dropped me off at the bust stop just around the corner from the pharmacy. They are very good in there, and one of these has a very good memory for names. She told the other "girl" my name, and I didn't have to wait long before the last in a series of repeat prescriptions was found, and my prescription served to me. That was really rather handy because this morning I took the last of two of the drugs I am prescribed.
two cranes
 I am unsure how long it was after I got off the train to when I left the pharmacy for the 5 minute walk home, but there was still plenty of daylight - which was rather nice, and in fact there was probably 10 minutes more of daylight after I got home (and that doesn't include another 15 - 20 minutes of fading twilight). As I walked up the road from the pharmacy the scene above caught my eye. So I had to snap it. On my work PC it looks a little washed out, but on my home PC there is some nice colouration in the clouds. I hope it looks nice on your PC.

 One of these days I must resist the idea of having dinner very soon after getting home, but one advantage of doing so is that I am less tempted to least until later in the evening. I don't think my dinner was as healthy, in terms of low calorie, low sugar, and low fat, as the previous evening. The lentil and bacon soup was mostly harmless, but the home made roast sweet potato, onion, and tomato probably failed on several accounts - particularly after the generous sprinkle of basil infused rapeseed oil that I added before roasting, and the chunks of cheese I decided to add at the last minute when I reheated it last night. If that wasn't bad enough then the most generous serving of spam and mustard I had as a sort of snack afterwards, must have been terrible.

 Last night was another night where I did little more than a tiny bit of cooking, some eating, and then mostly reading before going to bed. It wasn't terribly exciting, but I guess the time passed quickly enough, and that was probably the main thing. Tonight should be different. There are two things I ought to do tonight. One is to wash a towel that I left soaking this morning, and the other is to wash my hair. Other than that, I shall try to eat as little as possible - maybe just soup, maybe not - and carry on reading my book. Tomorrow night could be far more interesting, but I shall say more about that tomorrow.

  I'm sure I must have slept well last night. I don't recall it taking very long to fall asleep, and I only recall waking up for a brief pee once in the night (and that memory is so dream like and vague that I could almost ignore it happened). The first real thing I remember is waking up at 4.30am this morning. I think I woke up then because of something I was dreaming, but I can't seem to remember now. I decided it wasn't worth trying to get back to sleep just for half an hour, and so I got up. I seem hardly unique to wake up feeling stiff and creaky. It seems to go with the age. Sometimes it is worse, but this morning it seemed very average. Later on, after a hot shower, and getting dressed, I wished I could have felt far better, but I have to admit that I didn't feel that bad at all compared to what seems like the average of the previous week or two, or three, or four, or........ If I could just get my eating down to under 1500 calories a day I might even feel rather healthy when I see the doctor in a weeks time. That would be good - the best time to see a doctor is when you are feeling fit and healthy - you are less susceptible to their bullying then !
Tuesday  7th  February 2017
 08:12 GMT
  I can't really recall any strong sunshine yesterday, but at least it was relatively bright day, although not particularly warm. I think the forecast 7° C was probably about right. During the night it clouded over, and there was some rain during the night, but while the ground was wet, and the puddles deep, it didn't rain while I made my way to work.
                          prediction for today's weather
 I thought it worth doing a screenshot of how today's weather has been forecast. I think it was a little cooler than 7° C this morning. In fact I seem to recall my thermometer saying 5.2° C just before I left to walk to the station. I'm sure an earlier forecast had the more sunshine and less sunny intervals, and that it would start to get sunny a bit later in the morning, and stay sunny later in the afternoon. It would have been nice to go home in sunshine, but I guess if the temperature does hit 10° C then I can't complain. I can complain about Friday - a maximum of 2° C and a minimum of 0° C - that's bloody cold, and it will probably get my chest aching big time !

 On the whole I felt quite reasonable yesterday. I had no significant aches or pains apart from an occasional twinge. It seemed to be a good time to try and get an appointment with my doctor. The doctor I usually see was not available, nor were several others at the group practice I got to. They are all off sick - a fine advert for their services !!  Maybe I timed it right because I got through to the surgery first time and soon had an appointment booked. I see a doctor with a suspiciously African name next Wednesday at 5.30pm. I had specifically asked for an appointment after 5pm so I wouldn't have to take any time off work (although I will probably leave work early because it sounds like a good excuse to do so).

 I don't know why, although I suspect it was the product of several things, but I felt fairly good going home from work. It certainly wasn't because I was seeing Angela. I did put out some bait for a meet up, but she had a good reason why she was unavailable, and her reply seemed to suggest that she would have met otherwise. That suggestion of hope felt quite satisfying. Although it wasn't sunny on my way home, it was mostly bright(ish), and that was a positive influence on me. As well as not having any significant aches or pains, I somehow seemed to have a little extra energy, and that made me feel good too.

 All these good things seemed to help make last night rather less dreary and tedious as other nights. I nearly ruined it all by watching the 6pm news on TV, but I managed to turn it off before I became too deeply depressed. The best thing is that I came very close to eating healthily. There are some variables that are hard to define, but I think my entire food consumption was closer to the 1500 calories where I can lose weight to the 2000 calories where I neither gain nor lose weight. Of course all that is based upon partial guestimates, lots of dubious assumptions, and stuff like that, but I think I have learned to feel what is good and bad these days, and yesterday was a good one.

 I was in bed, with the lights off, and feeling very far from full, although not exactly hungry, by 8.30pm last night. I think I was probably asleep 10 minutes later. I took the precaution of taking a couple of Ibuprofen tablets before going to bed. They seemed to provide some protection against what is probably inflammation when I crunch my chest while sleeping. I certainly seemed to sleep quite well last night, and I woke up without feeling too creaky.

 I left home feeling quite good, and the walk to the station seemed mostly effortless again - probably more so this morning. The mad dash across from Waterloo East to Waterloo wasn't quite so easy, but I don't know if it ever was that easy. Maybe it takes a while for the effects of it to come through - perhaps about 17 - 20 minutes. It was certainly the case that, once again, the 10 minute walk from Earlsfield station to work seemed a bit too much like hard work. There could be an alternative explanation for it though. I have upped the dose of Bisoprolol I am taking at the moment.

 Bisoprolol is the drug that actually lowers my blood pressure. One of my doctors tried to get me to take a 10mg dose, but that just made me feel like it was hard work to walk any distance. After a bit of a battle the dose was reduced to 7.5mg, and I could just tolerate that. Last year when I was doing some really good dieting for a couple of months, I found that 2.5mg was quite sufficient to keep my blood pressure down. With my impending appointment with a doctor, I am weaning myself back on a bigger dose so I don't scare the crap out of the doctor when they attempt to measure my blood pressure. It is a shame that it undoes some of the positive feelings I am having !

  In a grand scheme of foolish optimism, I think there is a fantastically small, but finite chance that I might be contacted by Angela today to suggest we meet for a drink after work. I would very much enjoy that, but there could even be a positive aspect to it if it doesn't happen. Unless Angela came back to my place to distract me for a while, a few beers in the pub could easily be enough to disrupt my intention to try and eat as little as I can tonight. It's all swings and roundabouts. If I am not distracted, in the most enjoyable way, by Angela, then I think tonight will probably be a re-run of last night. Some carefully selected dinner, and then read until I feel sleepy.
Monday  6th  February 2017
 08:34 GMT
  It seems that the weather forecasts we are getting now don't seem to be terribly accurate when it comes to the presence of absence of sunshine. No sunshine was forecast for yesterday, but there was some. Admittedly there wasn't much sunshine, hardly any at all in the grand scheme of things, but there was some sunshine ! Having said that, it would hardly be that innacurate to say that yesterday was a rather cool grey day. I'm not sure if the temperature got much higher than 5 or 6° C. During the night the clouds thinned out, and the temperature dropped just low enough for some frost to start appearing on some cars (they being the easiest thing to see it on in the dark as I walked to the station). The good thing about the thinning out of the cloud was that the first light of dawn was easily visible as early as when my train left Waterloo station - about halfway through my journey to work.
Daylight as I arrived at work
 The picture above does show what I wanted it to show. If my camera had not over exposed the sky you would have seen that there were plenty of blue bits of sky visible, but it does show the hint of mist that was another feature this morning. The most recent weather forecast has deleted all earlier mentions of sunshine today, and presumably that is why it is currently sunny outside ! Maybe the sunshine is a little hazy because there is a lot of very high, thin and whispy cloud to see right now. I'm not sure why, but at a different time of year it looks like the beginning of a hot day. Sadly, today won't be a hot day, but all recent updates to the weather forecast seem to agree that by mid to late afternoon it should be 7° C. That is not great, but much worse is to come. Tomorrow may feature some rather cold rain in the morning, and no hint of sunshine all day. Friday could see the temperature barely rise above 0° C all day - I hope that is very wrong !

 I went out twice yesterday. Once was to the corner shop that is just 2 minutes walk away. That seemed to feel OK so I then went out a second time to the Pound Shop. I came away with quite a lot from the Pound shop. I bought three bottles of bleach because they were on a 3 bottles for £2 offer, and I bought four cans of Heinz soups which were 50p a can. Alongside some other miscellaneous stuff I bought a DVD. It was Bill Bailey at The Apollo. I haven't watched the main feature yet, but I did watch two of the "extras" on the DVD, and those two alone were worth the £1 I paid for it.

 The rest of yesterday I spent mostly resting. For a brief moment I did almost fill a bin bag with some stuff I had carefully hoarded in the back room. Most of it was transport stuff, and it is a shame to throw it away because it is history. There were leaflets going back 10 to 15 years that showed new improvement, new trains, engineering works, and even strikes. It probably should have gone to a museum or something, but I know I have to be ruthless in throwing stuff out if I am ever going to get that back room usable as a dining room (or something) again.

 The trouble with laying down so much, as I did over the weekend, is that it allows bits of the body to get creaky. There were a few times when I actually felt slightly odd, but the worst was when I went to bed. At least I think it was, but it could have been when I was just laying on my bed to read earlier on. I made one movement that sent a real stabbing pain through the very top of my chest, practically at neck level. Once again it was probably a legacy of damage that I might, or might not have done by over doing things when I came home from hospital in 2013 with my chest still held together with staples and sticky tape. One interesting thing is that that jolt seems to have left a small lump just to the right of my main operation scar. I always suspected the surgeon had left his wrist watch in there....

 That pain was very strong, but only lasted a moment, and apart from what may be a slight swelling, left no other legacy. That wasn't the case at approx 2am this morning. I was just getting back into bed after having a wee, and as I turned on my side while laying down it felt like the left side of my rib cage took a bite out of the right side. It was literally like the whole left side of my rib cage moved where it shouldn't move. The very sharp pain stopped as soon as I moved into a position where I wasn't in effect, squeezing my chest from both sides. That pain did leave a legacy of a dull ache, and my chest quite sensitive to pressure. It took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and well over an hour to be able to get back to sleep.

 This morning my chest isn't actually hurting most of the time, but it does feel very delicate, and I have had a few twinges when making certain movements on the way to work. It is not being made better by sitting here in my office. It's bloody cold in here this morning, and it is taking a long time for the fan heater to make much of an impact on it - although it is slowly making an improvement. After all the careful resting I did over the weekend it is a pity that I lost a couple of hours sleep last night, and that my chest is so delicate. Maybe this morning is going to be the time when I will attempt to get an appointment with my doctor to see if anything can be done about it - anything more than just painkillers to mask the problem rather than cure it.

 Tonight there could be an infinitesimally microscopic chance that I might meet Angela for a drink after work, but I think I am resigned to going straight home where I will struggle to not eat too much. Maybe it will be less of a struggle than I anticipate. Yesterday, and even the day before, I managed to eat rather more carefully than I would have expected for the circumstances. I can't think of everything I ate yesterday, but most of it was the result of being careful. The two cans of minted lamb and vegetable soup I had for my evening meal only came to 468 calories together, and they were quite filling. For lunch I had a cheese salad, and if I had cut down on the amount of cheese, omitted the olives, and used less than half a gallon of salad cream on it, it might have even been healthy. The worst offender must have been the packet of beetroot crisps I had for breakfast. I was reminded of them when I went to the toilet this morning - purple poo (but you didn't want to know about that).

 One oddity of life is Windows 7 - or Windows 7 on my work PC. They say that Windows 7 is better than Windows XP, but I can never remember my old work PC doing anything weird when it used to run Windows XP. My new work PC does some weird stuff every now and then - and generally speaking it only does these weird things when first turned on when my office is freezing cold. this morning, for some bizzare reason, it decided it couldn't connect me to the network, and so logged me in as a temporary user. A reboot cured that. The clue that it was having another brainstorm was that after entering my password the next screen said "preparing desktop" - a screen that is usually only seen after a fresh installation of Windows 7, or when a new user uses it for the first time.
                          your desktop 
Sunday  5th  February 2017
 09:54 GMT
  I don't recall Friday being particularly windy, and so it didn't feel all that cold when I left work to go home. I can't recall if it rained during the day. Maybe it did, but it was dry when I left work, and I didn't notice any rain for the rest of the evening. So that forecast was wrong ! I didn't really pay much attention to the forecast for yesterday, and so I can't really say if it matched reality. The reality was that it was a cooler day then the previous days, but there was some sunshine around the middle of the day. That was nice, and for reasons I may explain later, it came at a good time.
weather forecast for
                          5th Feb 2017
 This is the forecast for today. It's not going to be awful, but it does little to raise the spirits. Staying dry is useful, but I would have liked to see just a little sunshine. It seems I'll have to wait until tomorrow for that. The downside is that tomorrow is going to start very cool - almost cool enough for a frost. Tuesday could be a little warmer, but it's looking like we are heading back into another mini-ice age by the end of the week. That wouldn't be surprising. February has always been a popular month for snow !

 As work came to a close on Friday I was feeling rather low. Some of it may have been a direct physical effect of Thursday night's beer and stupid dinner. Some of it may have been self guilt about getting carried away when ordering and eating said dinner. Some of it may have been the result of days with no sunshine. A goodly portion of it was uncertainty about Friday night.

 Friday night featured a gig in aid of Angela's "boyfriend's" birthday. I was invited, and expected to go, and as such I did feel that I ought to go. Just being there might, or might not have earned me some "brownie points" that might have been good (or not), and taking some nice photos would earn me some thanks from various people. Of course the trouble was that it would hurt to see her enjoying herself with him instead of me.

 My troubles were solved, or maybe substituted for new ones when I got a message from my friend Kevin. He said he would be in the Wetherspoon pub in about 20 minutes if I fancied joining him for a quick pint. My train had just left London Bridge when the message came through, and I estimated it would take me about 20 minutes to get to the pub. So I agreed to the idea, and it turns out my estimate was as accurate as Kevin's. I don't know whether it actually was 20 minutes or not, but I arrived at the pub at exactly the same time as Kevin.

 Now the sad thing was that I didn't fancy any of the ales that the pub had on - although I could have been tempted by a couple that were marked "available soon". That was a bit sad for a Wetherspoons pub ! I could have, and should have fallen back on Guinness, but I was feeling too impatient to wait while one was slowly poured. So I opted for Stella Artois - maybe a fatal mistake.
drinking in the
 A "quick drink" with Kevin is never quick, and on this occasion it was extended by the appearance of someone I haven't seen in absolute ages - Iain. I don't know how many pint I drank on Friday night. At one time I thought it might have been six, but that seems too many now...on the other hand........ It was certainly enough to get me drunk enough to buy a big bag of grilled chicken wings and some "fries" on the way home. Oh well, at least they were grilled, and theoretically slightly healthier than fried chicken. Plus you don't get that much meat on a chicken wing.

 As far as I can recall, it was 8.45pm when I left the pub. So by the time I had bought my food, and eaten it, it was bedtime. I think I was in bed soon after eating, and I can imagine that I fell asleep really quickly. It was all a good diversion from worrying about when I should have been doing, and wanted to try and do - going to that birthday celebration gig.

 The next morning I felt pretty foul, and on top of that I had to face apologising to Angela. I finally got around to doing it, and I think my apology, and the reason why I did what I did was accepted. That was one weight off my mind, but I still felt pretty miserable. Some of it was just hangover, but I was also feeling very tired, and under the weather. I tried a bit of "occupational therapy", otherwise known as washing some shirts, and that did help a bit.

 I contemplated going out for a walk, but I felt too tired even to just go and do some shopping. In fact I deliberately decided I wouldn't go to Aldi (or Tesco etc.) at all this weekend because I didn't want to be tempted to eat too much. That did actually work yesterday, and maybe it will today. For what was, in reality, a very boring Saturday, I ate remarkably little.

 I passed quite a lot of time just laying on my bed reading. The one thing I wanted to do was to snooze a lot, but most of the time I just couldn't seem to fall asleep. The good thing (or was it a bad thing ?) was that I made some good progress reading my current book - 550 pages of quite small print - Time Enough For Love by Robert Heinlein. After a lot of reading, and a lot of relaxing, I was starting to feel quite good by early evening.

 In theory I could have gone to one of a couple of gigs last night. One of the featured Angela's daughter Miranda in a side project of hers, and I did seriously consider going, but it wasn't well advertised, and I can't recall being asked if I would like to go. It might, or might not have been good to go to it, but I decided I didn't want any more beer, and it would better for me to continue to relax, and recover my strength. So I stayed in, read some more, and sort of enjoyed it.

 I think I slept OK last night. I woke up earlier than needed or desired, but I got up for a while to take my medications, and to potter around on the internet. Then I went back to bed, and had one of those strange times when it seems you haven't slept, but a lot of time has passed. It was almost 9am (or was it later ?) when I finally decided to get up properly. Since then I have done little more than washed my hair and showered (two things I couldn't be bothered to do yesterday).

 I don't feel particularly inspired by the grey weather to go out and do anything today, but I will pop out to the shops for a few odds and ends - but no food shopping. I expect I'll do some more resting today, but I can foresee that getting a bit boring, and maybe not so needed as yesterday. I think I might try to do a bit more tidying up in the back room today, and/or I might do some computer stuff. I keep looking at my ancient "Bondi Blue" iMac, and thinking I ought to get that museum piece working again sometime. It is far too slow to do much practical work on these days, but it can display simple web pages, or play a bit of music. I think it just needs a new hard disk in it, and I have a spare that would be OK for it. I think there is a good 10% chance I might do something with it today.
Friday  3rd  February 2017
 08:46 GMT
  I saw 10° C on my thermometer when I got home yesterday, and yet it didn't feel that warm to me. It must have been the wind. Overall it was a very grey day with some showers in the late morning/early afternoon. I think there was one very brief interval when the sun came out, or almost came out, but it wasn't bright for long enough to count. This morning it was a little cooler than yesterday morning, and yet it didn't feel so cold. maybe it was just me, or maybe it's all down to the strength of the wind. It is supposed to be about 8° C at the moment, and it is fairly bright with a few patches of blue sky visible now and then. By midday it should be 10° C, and it is supposed to be sunny. That would be wonderful except that it won't last. By the time I'm on my way home the temperature will be back down to 8° C, the sky will be grey, and it will probably be pouring with rain !  The weekend doesn't look too great. The maximum temperature may be only 7° C, and it will be lightly overcast. That wouldn't be that terrible if it wasn't going to be very windy. The wind will probably make it feel very chilly !

  I didn't feel too bad at work yesterday in all respects except one. The bad bit was that I felt very sleepy again. I think it's all in the mind. It was far from a struggle, but getting to the pub after work seemed progressively harder the closer I got to it. After three pints of medium strength beer I felt suitably refreshed, and walking back to the station seemed to take very little effort, and I seemed to have the enough energy that walking down to the kebab shop, instead of walking straight home, seemed easy enough. It might have even been enjoyable if it was a bit warmer, and far earlier in the day.

  The kebab shop is also the fish and chip shop, and my original intention was to have fish and chips for my dinner, but when I first walked in there I couldn't see any ready cooked fish. So I changed my mind about the fish and went for a large donner kebab (that was actually a very large donner), and no chips. That took no time to prepare, and I was soon back on my way home with almost a spring in my step.

 Once I was home I wolfed down my kebab with great gusto, and watched a bit of TV. By 8pm, and feeling bloated, I started thinking about bed. I am pretty certain I had my teeth brushed, the lights turned out, and I was fast asleep before 9pm. It might have even been 8.30pm. It seemed like I slept very well. I think I remember getting up for a wee once, and my only firm memory of reality was waking up just 15 minutes before 5am when my alarm was set to wake me.

 I could still taste the kebab when I burped in the morning, and maybe my gut felt a little more distended than usual, but basically I felt fairly OK this morning. Maybe that was in incorrect assumption brought about early morning fantasy. It turns out that I still feel very tired. I feel sleepy tired, mentally tired, spiritually tired, and metaphysically tired. A decent vet would take me behind the stables and do an act of kindness, but here I am at work counting down the seconds until I can go home again.

 I don't know what to do when I get home apart from eat. I feel I ought to try and get by on just a few cans of of soup tonight, but I expect I'll have something more substantial. I think I am supposed to be going to a gig tonight, but I doubt I'll have the energy to go, and I don't think I have the enthusiasm to go. The venue, The Catford And Cyphers Cricket Club, is easy to get to. If it was warm and dry it would be a nice walk, but if I did go I would probably get a bus. The thing that bemuses me most is the fact that it is more than a gig. It is also Angela's "boyfriend's" (aka my rival for her affection) birthday celebration. Angela would like me to go, but I have my suspicions it is more my camera than me that she wants there. On the other hand, when she is not seeming to ignore me, she can be genuinely affectionate. I really don't know what to do. To not go could be seen as a deliberate snub that would not earn me any "brownie points" even if, as seems likely, unless, as is quite possible, the fatigue is all in my head, and I feel too fatigued to go. Sometime life, like that last sentence, is just so bloody complicated, and doesn't make any sense - also like that last sentence !
Thursday  2nd  February 2017
 08:04 GMT
  During the course of yesterday morning there were more showers after the light one which left me a little bit damp in places as I got to work, but the afternoon, and probably the evening were dry. Unfortunately it stayed very dull and miserable while there was light to see by, and, I am pretty sure, beyond that too. The good thing, although it was rather marginal, was that it was mild - if you call 8° C mild. During the night the temperature rose slightly - as the forecast predicted it would, and it was almost 9° C as I came into work. Now the sad thing is that the afternoon being 12° C that appeared in early forecasts has been downgraded to just 11° C, but I guess that is still a sort of treat. The other good news is that there will be a lot less rain than originally forecast, and if the gods are really smiling then we won't get any rain. If the one solitary little patch of blue sky I can see can find the sun we might even have a brief sunny period. On the other hand....the forecast has changed again ! Apparently it will now rain between 11am and 3pm - starting and finishing with light rain, but with torrential rain in the middle.  Tomorrow may only be 10° C at best, but some sunny intervals are foreecast, as well as some very wet intervals !

 You never really notice it until it's well under way - in this case it was my nose slowly drying up as the day progressed. The effect increased once I got out into the fresh air after work, and I only seemed to need to blow my nose a few times on the whole journey home. I didn't seem to feel that bad at all at work yesterday, although I did seem to feel very sleepy from time to time. Apart from that I was unusually free of aches and pains.

 It is probably a sign of something that cannot be mentioned (mostly because I don't care to analyse it enough to start loking up names for it) that the single reason I rushed home, the only thing I was looking forward to, the only thing that gave me a reason to live, was to have dinner. I suppose I also ought to add sleep to that, but essentially that is all my life consists of some many days - sleep - go to work - do some work (as little as I can get away with) - go home - eat dinner - go to sleep.

 Last night it was remarkably like that. I got home, prepared some dinner, and tried to watch the news while I ate it, but the news was too depressing. Once I had eaten (predictably too much) I lay on my bed reading, but I found my eyes closing on me. So I brushed my teeth, and got into bed. Ten minutes later I was fast asleep - and that was probably no later than 7.30pm, and may have been earlier !

 I woke up a few times to have a pee, but essentially I slept right through until my alarm woke me at 5am. I wonder just how much more sleep I might have got if my alarm had not woken me ? An hour, two hours, theree hours ????? I guess that I must have built up a big sleep deficit while my snotty nose kept me from sleeping properly, and it must have taken a lot of energy to fight off that cold.

 This morning I feel both good and bad. I felt passably good physically, but rather depressed when I first woke up. I don't recall having a depressing dream, and in fact I am sure I had a very positive dream about something that now eludes me. It did feel good walking to the station, but only in the sense that it felt satisfying to have felt it to be a fairly easy walk. Now the train are back to normal we had our usual long stop at Lewisham station, and presumably the driver over compensated for that by "putting his foot down" and we arrived at Waterloo East early. Early by the timetable, and that mad eit possible to rush like a mad thing to catch the 06:57 train at Waterloo station.

 That dash is hard work, and I can feel it straining my body, but on the other hand I do seem to recover from it very quickly once I am sitting down on the train - or do I ? It feels like that my breathing and heart rate has returned to normal within 30 seconds or so, but specifically today, and maybe to some extent on other days, I felt like I had no energy to walk to work when I exited Earlsfield station some 15 - 18 minutes later.

 Of course I did walk to work depsite every step feeling like it was my last. I think it was all in the head though. It's a 9 minute walk from the station to work, and I was no more tired or knackered at the last minute than I was when I took the first step. I think it was just a reluctance to go to work. It wasn't helped by it being dark and gloomy (and rather wet despite it not raining). I shall do my best to ignore this feeling about work because there is no actual current reason to hate work, and I know it is just a seasonal thing made worse because I don't seem to have any distractions at the moment. As far as I am concerned the future is looking very gloomy.

 I am not even particularly looking forward to a Thursday night drink. I will go out of a sense of duty (or something stupid like that), and because tonight it is another session in The Shortlands Tavern - a pub that I have no great affection for, but at least it is easy to get to after work, and easy to get home from. Oh well, in another 12 hours, and possibly/probably before, I will be in bed, and hopefully asleep.
Wednesday  1st  February 2017
 08:08 GMT
  One problem of staying indoors for most of the day is that the outside weather is mostly ignorable. I am very certain that there was no sign of any sunshine yesterday, but I can't remember if there were periods when the cloud cover was particularly thick, or particularly light. All I remember is that it was grey outside. I also remember that it was quite mild compared to the sometimes bloody freezing days we've had recently.  Most the day was probably around 8° C, but the temperature did rise very late at night. I was expecting it to be 10° C this morning, and it was only a tiny bit less than that. By the time I go home  from work it should be 11° C. There has been some rain this morning, but the latest forecast says the afternoon will stay dry. Unfortunately it is going to be another grey day - maybe very dark grey for some of the afternoon. Tomorrow is going to be very similar to today, but with one added feature - it's going to rain - a lot ! - and it may well be very heavy rain !!

 It was nice having the day off yesterday even if I was feeling ill. The guts ache, and loose bowels, which was the trigger to take the day off, ended up as a bit of a false alarm. The discomfort that made me turn around, and go back home when I was no more than about 4ft from home, was the last discomfort, but by then I had made my mind up. It was probably a good thing considering how wet and drippy my nose was. Having said that, the one time I did go out, the fresh air partly dried out my nose, and I felt almost, but not quite all OK.

 No matter how much you know that your perception of yourself and the wider world is being influenced by your own brain, it is almost impossible to ignore it. When I went out yesterday morning it felt like hard work. Instead of a brisk stroll with head held high, it felt like a stopping slog to get to the pawn shop. There was nothing of any great interest in there except for a Hi Def Sony camcorder, but I decided that I didn't really need it even if it was very cheap (£130 if I recall correctly).

 Having looked in the pawn shop I made my way to Aldi. That was approximately heading back towards home, and the walking felt ever so slightly easier. I didn't go mad in Aldi, and I only filled up one bag of stuff, and of course I had three 2l bottles of own brand sugar free cola in my rucksack. The one bag of shopping was quite a heavy bag because it had half a dozen cans of soup in it amongst other stuff. Between the bag and my rucksack, I had a fair load to get home, but because I was going home it was easy. I could have almost skipped and jumped on the way back. Of course I didn't do either, but once again, walking home with a heavy load was easier than walking away from home with no load at all. It's all in the head, and I can't seem to fight it !

 One of the things I did yesterday was to get the living room nice and cosy in case I had any entertaining to do. I used the new halogen heater to do it, and it worked better than I though - although the fan heater does a quicker job at the expense of a higher power consumption. While they were on, and pale grey daylight was streaming limping through the windows, I took a couple of snaps to show just how stupidly bright those heating bars are !
                                  heater brighter than a searchlight -
                                  almost !
The first picture taken with my Olympus X42 camera. I had to use flash or the background would be barely visible.
bright halogen heater
Second picture taken with my Nikon L29 camera (also with flash turned on). This camera still disappoints me. My other two Nikon cameras, the big DSLR and the little pocket sized 6300 are very good, but the L29 seems a bit crappy. Fortunately both pictures show how bright that halogen heater is.  You could read by it with ease !

 At 2pm I had a second shower and I washed my hair in anticipation of meeting Angela. At approx 3pm I got a message from here saying she didn't feel well enough to go out. The had apparently been awake for most of the previous night, and was feeling off kilter. Well, it was a perfectly valid excuse, and I had secondary sources to verify it was all true, but it was still a very big disappointment for me. I have no idea when I will see her again. It could be tonight (unlikely), or it could be Friday if I have the energy (or inclination) to go to a gig, or it could be ............

 I hadn't slept all that well the night before either. My stuffy nose made it hard to get to sleep, and occasionally would contribute to waking up in the night. However I did manage to take a few naps during the day, and I wasn't too worried about getting to bed too early last night. Nevertheless, I think I was asleep not that long after 9pm, and although I woke up several times during the night, it seemed like I slept reasonably well last night - or is that what I am supposed to think compared to what I expected to happen.

 This morning I am still a bit snotty, but once out in the fresh air my nose stopped dripping. It's less dry now I am sitting down at work, but it seems better behaved than yesterday. I guess I am on the mend. The rest of me, with the exception of my legs, feels to be in reasonable good order. My chest seems well behaved again. It's only my legs that felt a bit stiff this morning. I think they have loosened up now I've given them a good bit of exercise. On the whole I should feel pretty good today, and yet for some reason I don't. I suspect the missing ingredient is sunshine.
wet and soggy Earlsfield
There was definitely a lack of sunshine this morning. I took this picture about 15 - 20 minutes before sunrise, but it should probably have been mostly daylight by then. Instead it is all dark, murky and WET !

 I have no idea what I am doing tonight. The chances are that it will be another tedious evening with nothing to look forward to but bed, but bed is always good ! I suppose there is a chance that I might get a massage from Angela suggesting we have another go at meeting tonight, but the idea of that happening is so wildly optimistic that it's better not to entertain such notions. I think I'll stick to dinner followed by bed. It's far more reliable !