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

Tuesday 31st January 2017
 08:46 GMT
  Yesterday was definitely very dull, but at least it stayed dry, and while it was far from warm, it was at least not obnoxiously cold  - just rather cool, or somewhere in the region of 5 or 6° C. I thought that today was going to be warmer, and to a very limited degree it will be - most of the afternoon could be 8° C. Unfortunately it is going to be another very dull, very grey day, and today it will rain. There was some fine misty rain when I almost went to work (more of which later), and later there are some lusty showers forecast for late afternoon, and into the evening, During the evening the temperature will rise, and by 11pm it might hit 10° C. Tomorrow may actually be a slightly warm day with temperatures peaking at 11° C in the afternoon. There is even a chance of the briefest of brief glimpses of sunshine, but if you blink and miss it, it will seem to just be yet another miserable grey day - with light rain for most of the morning to add to the misery.

 While I was lacking in aches and pains yesterday, I did start to suffer in another way. At first I thought it was a little bit of mild hay fever. There is something, probably tree pollen, that causes a mild reaction up my nose in spring, but in this case it seems I was going down with a cold. Apart from an increasing use of tissues, and my nose starting to feel mildly sore, the rest of me continues to feel quite good compared with much that this winter has thrown at me.

 Once I was out in the fresh air, going home, my nose felt a lot better, and I doubt I would have used more than two tissues to get me home. Once I got indoors again my use of tissues increased again, and it didn't get any better when I had some dinner. In fact it probably got worse when I had some hot steamy food. I'm not sure how I changed my mind from having a can of soup to having a far more substantial can of Cassoulet - very thick French bean soup/stew with some chunks of meat in it.

 I followed that Cassoulet with a rather substantial cheese and ham salad. I think I had something after that, but apart from some snack, I can't remember what it might have been, but I do remember that it was very shortly after that, that I got a message I wasn't expecting. It was from Angela, and she was asking me if I would like to meet for a drink after work today ! Naturally I said yes. Quite what inspired this is a mystery. I thought I had been blanked after Saturday night. Maybe Angela (hi Angela) read what I wrote yesterday. Who knows ?

 I felt far less gloomy last night, but I still had to contend with my nose dripping, or if it wasn't actually dripping it was still feeling all bunged up. It wasn't quite so bad when I was laying down, and so I was in bed, and fast asleep by, or before 9pm. I did have a bit of difficulty getting to sleep thanks to my stuffy nose, but somehow I managed it.

 I slept for about three hours when I woke up. As far as I can recall, it wasn't because I needed a wee, although I did go for one, but it was more because it felt like my nose was going to explode. I couldn't seem to get comfortable again, and so I did two things. I turned my heater up to maximum, and I spent at least half an hour on the internet before going back to bed again.

 After a while I fell asleep again, but from then on I kept waking up to blow my nose. The last time was at about 4.45am, and it seems incredible that I managed to get back to sleep for just 15 minutes before I was due to get up, but I did. I guess I was just tired from all the missed sleep earlier in the night.

 It was that missed sleep, plus my nose still dripping, that inspired me to go sick today, but that wasn't the real reason....or was it. The reason why, and what I told work, was that I had "the runs" this morning - or in other words my guts felt very unsettled even after several visits to the toilet. I might have managed to get to work if it had been just one of those ailments, but three all together.....

 Before I gave up on going to work I did get as far as showering, dressing, putting my coat on, and stepping out the door. The fresh, but rather damp air felt good up my nose, but my guts still felt a bit uncomfortable. So I turned around and came back in again. Since then I have expelled a very smelly trump (or fart as we used to call them) but nothing else. Of course my nose continued, and continues to drip.

 I guess it was by about 06:34am, the same time as I would be getting on my train, that I was laying on my bed with a tissue in hand, occasionally blowing my nose, and thinking I would never get to sleep. The next thing I knew as that it was 8.30am. It seems I needed and got some extra sleep after all. I guess I feel mostly OK now provided I try and ignore that I have a cold. Mostly it is just my drippy/stuffy nose, but maybe there is an underlying feeling of mild fatigue that is telling me I ought to take advantage of this day off to do some extreme resting.

 I expect I will devote a lot of time to resting, but there is still stuff I want/need to do. Prime among that is to get to The Black Cat at 4.30pm to meet Angela. It would be rather good if my nose could dry up by then, and maybe it could if I am lucky. In the meantime I want to go out and get a bit of shopping. I want to lug a few bottles of sugar free cola home, and probably the cheapest place to get them will be Aldi and their own brand sugar free cola. While I am in there I will undoubtedly buy more stuff. Before I go there I think I'll take a peek in the pawn shop to see if they have anything interesting in going cheap.

 That seems to be enough for one day, but I expect I'll do something more that I might report tomorrow. Maybe I'll do some housework. One thing I did on Sunday night that I forgot to mention, was to test the halogen heater that I bought from Poundstretcher. One good thing about is that it is silent. One bad thing is that it is only 1.2kW, and while that is enough to keep a warm room warm, it struggles to warm up the room when it is cold. I think it is going to see more use later on when it is only the nights when it is cool. The one thing I don't like about it is how bright it is. It runs it's halogen tubes at quite a bright orange heat. I expected a more gentle red. I don't think I like it being so bright. Instead of it being a nice "feature" it is actually a distraction that is bright enough to read by !
Monday 30th January 2017
 08:00 GMT
  Yesterday evening's rain did cool things down a bit, but not much. It was still around 7° C when I went to bed, and the temperature hardly changed through the rest of the night. The most recent forecast suggests it's not going to change much today either. The afternoon should see 8° C, but that is all. With luck it will stay dry, but it's going to be an extremely dull day. There was no hint of the rising sun earlier, and even now, 18 minutes after sunrise, the sky is the colour of lead - and the forecast reckons the cloud will be thicker and darker later on !  Tomorrow brings little cheer. It's going to be another terribly dull day. It is supposed to start at 6° C, which is sort of reasonable, and then it will climb to 9° C. At around 6pm it is supposed to reach a maximum of 10° C, but it will then start to pour with rain - you just can't win !

 There was one other important little job I did that I forgot to mention yesterday. It was to sew up a hole in my jeans pocket. I think I possibly lost 30p in small change through that hole. I guess that in practice it didn't really take long to do that sewing, but it felt like it did. I think I lack the patience for sewing - plus I am not very good at it. When I say not very good I mean that the results look a bit messy. All my stitching is uneven, and it probably doesn't follow any recognised pattern. On the other hand, I feel fairly sure that it was a strong repair that will last for ages.

 I'm padding this out to make it look like yesterday wasn't a totally boring, soul destroying day - that came later, and built up to catatonia inducing boredom in the evening. Earlier on I passed some time testing the pedicure tool/rasp that I bought in the 99p shop (plus a spare). It was quite hard work, and I think it would be easier to have called in a farrier, but I managed to rasp off enough dead/hard skin to almost drop a shoe size ! This morning I realised that I still have more work to do on my left foot. It is a tricky job when you can't actually see what you're working on, and have to do it by touch. The other thing is that I am not sure when you are supposed to stop rasping away - presumably when it hurts or you draw blood.

 Sunday afternoons are always tedious, and Sunday evenings can often be worse. Yesterday was a particularly good example of both at moderately extreme levels. During the evening I felt very pissed off, and there were multiple reasons for it. Angela's continuing silence was one reason, but most of my despair originated from TV. For one thing there seemed to be no entertainment on that I could stomach watching, and for a second thing there was the news. I don't know why I bothered to watch the news. It depresses me at the best of times, but lately it just seems that the world is really going to hell in a handcart. I am sure there are parallels in the rise of Donald Trump to the rise of Adolf Hitler. Maybe the rise of Theresa May parallels whoever ended up heading the Stasi in East Germany. Sometimes it almost seems sane that the Chinese want to cut off their citizens from what is going on in the outside world.

 The good thing about Sunday nights is that Monday follows. I know many people who really hate Monday mornings, but I like them. After mostly resting over the weekend I generally feel quite good on Monday mornings, and this one is no exception......actually, maybe it is a slight exception. With the temperature 7° above zero I don't ache much - and that includes my chest. I can't say it was a joyous thing travelling to work, but it was no worse than the average of the last 10 year. Being at work brings no great joy, or no joy at all, but it is something to do, and at least it earns me another day's pay. I can put that money towards my one way ticket to Mars to get off this shitty planet.

 There is only one thing I am 99% sure about tonight, and that is that I won't be meeting Angela for a drink, or anything else. I think I'll just go home and mope a bit - hopefully not too much or it will overwhelm my attempt to not eat too much. It seems that despite multiple failures, my attempts to eat more carefully recently have been working. When I went shopping yesterday I was comfortable in one of my smaller sized jeans. After being able to wear then again after losing something like 10kg at the end of last summer, they became too tight again after the excesses of autumn and winter, and now they are wearable again - but only just !
Sunday 29th January 2017
 15:52 GMT
  The thing about yesterday was that it was almost, but not quite warm for a while. After sunset it cooled off, but not drastically, and it was in the region of 5° C at sunrise this morning. Since then the weather has been quite variable. This morning it was bright(ish), and for a short while, maybe just before midday, the sun tried to come out. After that it became quite dull, and we've had some showers. The rain has cooled things down a little bit. Earlier on it seemed to be trying to reach 10° C, but now the temperature has fallen a couple of degrees. The weird thing is that the temperature is forecast to rise again, and the forecast seems pretty sure that from midnight until about 4am tomorrow morning, it will be 10° C ! Tomorrow was forecast to be almost warm, with afternoon temperature of 10° C, or maybe a little more, but the latest forecast says it will be just 7 or 8° C for most of the day, and it will be very dull and overcast.

 Yesterday was a fairly productive sort of day. I felt good enough to do a bit more hand laundry before going out to the gig, and I tackled washing a long sleeve shirt, and a medium sized bath towel. The shirt was easy, but towels always need a lot of manhandling. They seem to take ever to rinse out, and after each rinse I have to wring them out. It is hard, but strangely satisfying work. The best thing is that it did not hurt my chest, or anything else for that matter.

 I had some bad news last night, or to be precise I had no news, and that was bad. I sent Angela a message asking if she was going to last night's gig in The Black Cat, and she didn't bother to respond. It was obvious to me that she had decided she would go to see her daughter's gig in Longfield despite the long journey, and she was too embarrassed (or something similar) to tell me. Now she is going to be all coy and shy because she knows how much she will have hurt me. Why she thought that not telling me would hurt me less than telling me what I was half expecting anyway is a mystery to me.

 It wasn't only Angela who didn't turn up for the gig. My neighbour from up the road, and round the corner, didn't go either. I can't recall that he said he would go, but like me, he does like to support music in "our local". Maybe he had something else on, on maybe he wasn't feeling too good. Maybe he (and Angela) made the right decision not to go because The Carlottas are in need of a good singer. Their previous singer, Andy, could certainly belt the songs out at the top of his lungs, but he lacked finesse. Their new singer sounds like he is singing on the football terraces ...
The Carlottas
I don't know any of their names, but here's one look at The Carlottas....
The Carlottas's another look.

 I felt two things last, make that three. Firstly I felt like I didn't like being on my own. Secondly, I felt that I was not terribly excited about the band - mainly because of the singer. I stayed until they were one or two songs into their second set, and then I felt I had taken enough photos. So I went home early. Well, it was not a great start to another year of gigs in The Black Cat, but there should be better times ahead.
Black Cat bitter
One new thing on the scene is the pubs very own beer - except I was let into a secret - it's actually Courage Best bitter - not a favourite of mine, and so I only drank Guinness.

 I had deliberately avoided eating too late in the afternoon yesterday, and apart from the trials of resisting the temptation to eat, I did feel better for it - no bloating, and plenty of room for beer ! To avoid the temptation of the takeaway shops I  cooked some supper before I went out that just needed heating up when I got home. I can't remember what it was called, but I bought it in Aldi in the morning. It was essentially just dice sized cubes of potato that were roasted with some garlic and herb butter. I added a sprinkling of cheese, and it was very nice.

 I felt a bit annoyed about last night, and so I didn't attempt to go to bed straight away. I read for little more than 15 minutes before my eyes felt very droopy. I reckon that was before 11pm - late for me, early for a Saturday night. As far as I can recall, I seemed to sleep quite well. By about 5.30am I woke up feeling like it was time to get up. So I took my medicines, and spent a bit of time reading stuff on the internet. Then I went back to bed, and somehow something like 2 hours passed without me realising I must have been asleep for most of it.

 Since then I've been fairly productive. I've done all the washing up, and I've scrubbed down the kitchen work surface (which really shook my chest up), and I cleaned my mini oven. Then I went out shopping. This time it was to the 99p shop where I bought the usual crap. I can't even remember why I went in there, but that didn't seem to stop me coming away with stuff like sugar free biscuits, and some  rasp like tools for grinding off dead skin on the feet.

 After the 99p shop I went into Poundstretcher. There were two things I wanted from there. One was some fancy mouthwash, and the other was a halogen heater. I haven't tried the heater yet, but I think some nice glowing firebars would have a better ambience in the living room than a fan heater. At the moment I am using the fan heater because I have done more laundry, and it is very good at drying laundry. I've washed 4 pillowcases, and a sheet. Maybe next weekend I'll tackle the matching duvet cover, but that is a big job !

 The other thing I've done is to do all the selection and editing of the photos I took last night. I think I have now done everything I intended or imagined I might do today, and the best thing is that this less cold weather has meant that walking to the shops, or doing laundry has not given me any chest twinges at all. Hopefully I'll have a good night, and a good day at work tomorrow. Al I have to do now is to cook some dinner !
Saturday 28th January 2017
 16:45 GMT
  I'm not sure if the temperature did hit 7° C as the forecast suggested it would yesterday, but it was noticeably milder than the preceeding days. It's a shame that most of the day was rather dull, overcast and grey, although I am sure I remember just a little bit of sunshine. Today has been very different. Instead of a frost it was about 5° C this morning. Instead of mist or fog there was some rain, but it didn't last that long, and it was perfectly dry by 11am, and possibly as early as 10am. Then the sun came out, and we had a nice bright sunny afternoon. The outside air temperature rose to as much as 9° C, my bedroom was almost feeling hot with no additional heating to the sun pouring through the window, and the thermometer on the back bedroom windowsill was saying 11° C - that's almost warm !

 All good things come to an end, and with the sun setting it is now cooling off - and there have been a couple more showers. By 5am tomorrow the temperature will have dropped to 5° C. It is forecast to be a grey day with some showers in the late morning, and then more persistent rain later in the afternoon. While all this is going on the temperature will slowly rise, and by 8pm it may have risen to 9° C. Monday morning is forecast to start at 9° C - which is rather good, but it is going to be a miserably dull day.  Fortunately it is forecast to be a dry day, and that means I can wear a light coat - which should be more than comfortable if the late afternoon temperature hits the predicted 11° C.  Tuesday could hit 12° C, but by then the forecast could be completely different - hopefully the only change will be a lot less rain !

 I finally got my office reasonably warm at work yesterday. It made me feel rather sleepy, but also a lot more comfortable. My main source of complaint, my chest, still felt tender, but was not really bothersome. I'm not sure if it gave me any extra energy on the way home from work or not. Walking to the station did not feel like a heroic feat, but was mildly taxing as it usually is. I tried, and partly succeeded in getting to Waterloo station a little earlier. The reason for this was that I noted there were some delays on some trains. If the 15:50 train, the train I very rarely ever manage to catch, had been just 3 minutes late, like the 16:05 train was initially reported to be, I would have caught it. In the end the 16:05 train was barely a minute late, and I was soon on my way back to Catford Bridge - and this time there were no signal failures to hold me up.

 In the last hour before sunset it brightened up a bit, and that allowed me a good view of small part of the works to rebuild the tracks after the freight train mashed them up last Tuesday when it derailed. There was not a great deal to see, but at least there was something to see for the first time this week.

 If it had been a tiny bit warmer I might have not have had to do my coat off when I got off the train at Catford Bridge. Not having my coat done us does feel more comfortable, but more significantly the action of doing my coat up caused my "floating rib" (or something) to go "ping" in a most painful manner. The pain quickly tailed off from an initially rather high for a second a two, to practically nothing after a few minutes. It was typical of some of the twinges I get.

 That sharp pain didn't alter my plan to walk down to Poundstretcher to buy a new fan heater to replace the one that mysteriously failed the other day. In fact I bought two for £12.99 each, and the second I'll keep as a spare - which could be quite useful because the fan heater I was using in my bedroom has an intermittent fault on it that I can't find. It is like the fan siezes up when it is cold, but in fact the fan is quite free to rotate. I think there is a poor connection in it somewhere, and I also think it could be tricky to find. So I have thrown that heater away as well.

 When I got home I followed through on my plan (at least I think it was a plan) to have some cans of soup. I started with a can of healthy eating vegetable and lentil soup (just 78 calories - probably for half a can !). I followed that with some tomato soup, and I followed that with a can of Bombay Potatoes. The latter has been hanging around on my shelves for some time because, as I re-discovered, it is not very nice. A little while later I had some roasted winter vegetables with some cheese on them.

 In theory, and probably in practice that was quite a lot, and yet it didn't feel that substantial. I haven't a clue how many calories it all added up to, and how it might have raised my blood glucose level. I guess the fact that a lot of it all was just liquid was why I almost felt like I could have been capable of going out if I had to. There were a couple of gigs I could have gone to, but I fancied an early night - and I almost had one - I think.

 I was reading before I turned the lights out, and I am not sure what time that was. I think I possibly fell asleep close to 9pm, but I can't swear by it. What I am very sure about is that it being a fairly mild night I ended up feeling too hot and had to turn the heat down in my bedroom at sometime in the very early hours of the morning. That was a bit of a change to the previous few nights when I couldn't seem to get my bedroom warm enough. Apart from getting up to turn the heater down I think I slept well, and I even had a lay in ! I didn't wake up until almost a quarter to 6am !

 I haven't done a lot today, but I have done some stuff. I've been to Aldi, and tested out a new pair of shoes at the same time. I seemed to buy quite a lot in Aldi, and I am going to have to be careful how I eat it. It included another 6 cans of soup, and there is no rush to eat them. I probably bought too many ready meals, and it is going to be tempting to eat those too quickly. The shoes I was testing seemed OK. My initial thought was that they were a bit tight in places, but they didn't do any damage, and weren't particularly uncomfortable. I think I'll give them a few more local trips before I wear then to work one day.

 The other thing I did today was quite significant. I washed some work shirts. I wasn't quite sure how much my chest might complain doing that. It has been very delicate recently, but a day and a bit of keeping in the warm has had the desired effect, and if anything my chest feels better for the exercise. I also spent 30 minutes clearing up another bit of the back room. Once again I gritted my teeth, and threw out some old computer stuff that I've been carefully hoarding. I also made a discovery....well not exactly a discovery so much as a confirmation of a theory from some time ago. Some of the muckiest bit of carpet, the bits that are hardest to hoover, are because there is a lot of matted hair in the carpet - and it must be my hair. I'm not sure how I've managed to lose so much hair in the back room, but I pulled a couple of little clumps of it off the carpet, and now the carpet looks less crap (it's still pretty crap though, and maybe I might replace it if I carry on my rehabilitation of that back room to it's full extent).

 The next thing today is to go to a gig. Tonight should be good on several levels. The gig is in The Black Cat, and a 6 minute walk in the relatively mild air is not going to hurt me like the sub-zero air last Saturday. I think Angela is going, and that will be a huge plus point. Even if she doesn't go I think Micheal will be there, and I'll have some company. Other than that, I fear the pub will be almost empty - which will be a terrible shame because the gig is in aid of a bowel cancer charity. I must remember to take along a bag of loose change to dump in their collecting bin - it's a good way of getting rid of all those pesky small coins !
Friday 27th January 2017
 08:23 GMT
  The thing about yesterday was that it was cold and grey, and miserable, and bloody horrible. The temperature barely made it to 2° C, and I'm not totally convinced it even made that. It was freezing in my office, and the pale grey light that filtered through the window was deeply depressing. By 7 or 8pm the temperature had turned negative. This morning was, by my reckoning, minus 2.4° C, and the frost was so thick and sparkly that one one occasion I had to do a double take to check that what I had seen wasn't snow. (It was initially a very brief glance up a side road to check for traffic before I crossed it. There was something about the way the light caught the tops of the parked cars that made it look like snow until I looked more carefully.) Today is also going to be rather grey, but the forecast says the temperature should hit 7° C - that is not warm, but it's a lot better than just 1° C ! There is rain forecast for tomorrow morning, but there could be some sunshine late in the afternoon. The best thing is that it should be 8° C for much of the afternoon. Once again that is not that great, but it will probably be the closest to warm we have had in ages. Sunday might even by 9° C !

 I felt bloody horrible at work yesterday. I just could not seem to get my office warm. Even the production area outside my office, which has a trillion kilowatt gas fired heater, was not that warm. These cold days leave their mark, and in my case that mark was an aching chest. Every single scar, every single bone, every single bit of ligament, and probably lots of other body parts ached. It was a relief to leave work. Initially some fast walking helped warm me up, and then some warm trains helped warm me too. Eventually, where eventually means about 50 minutes in this case, I ended up in a warm(ish) pub, drinking soothing beer. By the time I left, and went out into the cold again, I was feeling fairly good, but it didn't take long to cool off again - particularly when I had the dubious pleasure of testing out one of Thameslink's brand new class 700 trains. They are "open plan" inside, and that means if the heating fails in one carriage it is cold in all, and last night it was bloody freezing on that train !
interior of class 700 train
Interior of class 700 train. Like an inner city tram, or "metro" train, there are no doors between carriages, and it is just one long passenger space. That probably explains why it was so cold and draughty last night.
class 700
                          passenger information display
One positive thing is the new displays. They are bright and clear, and although I didn't see any additional information, I believe they can display more than just destinations.
class 700
                          Thameslink train interior
Another view along the train from a lower perspective.
class 700 toilet
While they are new and undamaged, the toilets are quite nice. Of course they won't stay that way......
                          wash area of the class 700 train toilets
Maybe I was surprised to see toilets fitted to what seems like a souped up tram. This is the hand washing area. Once again, it has had very little use, and so it is clean, tidy, and presumably in good working order.

  There were only four of us who made it to last night's drink, and I thought it would be friendly to try and stay just a bit longer than usual. That decision was part bolstered by it being a simple, and fairly quick journey home, but no matter how quick it was, after sitting on that freezing train, my chest was starting to complain by the time I got off. A brisk walk helped, but it couldn't help to steer me away from the fried chicken shop for some instant gratification by way of hot food - admittedly only instant after I got home rather than when I bought it.

 When I got home I found the heater that I had left running on low in the living room had failed. So it was very chilly when I arrived home. I swapped over the fan heater in the living room, and left that running overnight on low. I put the fan heater on full in my bedroom, but it seemed to take ages to take the chill off the room, and even after running all through the night it didn't seem all that warm in my bedroom.

 I went to bed soon after eating my chicken and chips, and that may have been a bad idea. Initially I slept really well, but at about 1.30am I woke up feeling horrible. For a start I felt cold even under the duvet. Not seriously cold, but more like I wished it was a few degrees warmer. I seemed to be suffering from indigestion, and I seemed to need to go to the toilet - although I didn't realise the extent of it until I was actually sitting on the toilet in my cold bathroom.

 After a while I seemed to feel OK apart from a strong desire to sleep, but every time I laid down in bed my chest would complain. It was one set of pains if I lay on one side, and some different pains if I lay on the other side. They were mild, but annoying pains, and they were of a nature that did raise speculation about whether they were all to do with my scar tissue, and other damage done by the surgeons, or by me later on when I was still healing, or if some of them were something more serious. I still don't know, but I am still alive this morning.

 I think it was gone 3am when I got to sleep again, and I presume I was sleeping well because I was woke by my alarm sounding. This morning my chest feels delicate, and is easy to provoke - doubly so if I am in cold air. The trouble is, I am in cold air again at work. The heater was left on overnight - at least I think it was, but it is bloody cold in here again. It is too cold to work on anything delicate, and my boss is badgering me to work on something delicate. I have strong doubts I will do a lot less today than he is hoping for, but the forecast is currently predicting that Monday will be warmer, maybe even lapping against the roots of actual warm. So maybe I can try and be a bit more productive on Monday.

 As is often the case, there is a gig or two that I could theoretically go to tonight, but I doubt I will feel like going out once I get home. I suspect I will fill myself up with hot soup, and then start reading until it is time for bed. I also suspect that bedtime will come early tonight. If, as the forecast thinks it will, it is raining tomorrow morning, then there would be no point in getting up, but I find it very difficult to get extra sleep in the morning, and it is easier going to sleep earlier in the evening. The way I feel right now is that I could be fast asleep by about 5.30pm ! I very much doubt I will go to bed that early, but I wouldn't rule out going to bed at 7.30pm. I also wouldn't rule out sleeping in two shifts. If I do go to bed extra early I may well get up for a few hours in the night before going back to bed. I don't know how that happens, but it does.
Thursday 26th January 2017
 08:12 GMT
  If only there had been some sunshine, yesterday might not have been such a bad day. It wasn't an awful day, but the greyness did tend to outweigh the small increase in temperature compared to the day before, and very much compared to what is forecast for today. For some reason I forgot to either look at my thermometer, or make a mental note of what I saw if I did look at it when I got home from work yesterday. All I can say is that it didn't feel quite as cold as I went home. The temperature didn't fall all that low during the night. My thermometer said it was minus 0.4° C when I walked to the station. That should have been cold enough for frost, but it seems the wind was strong enough to stop any frost forming (and it made it feel even colder). The good news is that the latest weather forecast says today is not going to be as bad as the earlier forecasts said it would be. Instead of only being 1° C this afternoon, it is now thought that it will be 2° C ! Not only that, but we might see a bit of sunshine in the last couple of hours before sunset. Some light snow was forecast for the early hours of tomorrow, but that is not shown in the latest forecast. Also, tomorrow is now thought to be a little brighter, but not actually sunny, and it could get to 7° C - almost warm by comparison to today !

 It seemed feasible to go home via my usual route after work yesterday. It might have worked too if Southeastern had not gone for a hat trick. Not only was there the blockage at Lewisham after the freight train derailed (which caused far more damage to the track than was first thought), but there was a train on fire* at Kidbrooke, and a signalling failure in the New Cross area !

* From picture I saw it was probably caused by something inflammable, probably newspaper, getting caught around the power pickup shoe, and setting fire to the wooden shoe beam. Lots of smoke and flames, but probably no serious damage apart from soot.

 When I arrived at Waterloo East station the situation was like this; The 15:50 service to Hayes (Kent) was not expected until 16:39. The 16:05 service was expect to arrive at 16:32 - earlier than the train before it was supposed to arrive - weird ! That would have involved a bit of a tedious wait, but as I arrived on the platform so did a Gravesend bound train that was going to stop at Lewisham. It would be super tedious, but I could get a bus from Lewisham.

 Now the funny thing about the Gravesend train was that it's route was changed twice. The first time was probably to do with the blocked lines at Lewisham, and secondly because of the train on fire at Kidbrooke. Things got very stupid. The platform indicators insisted the train would stop at Lewisham, and the platform announcements insisted the train was going to be routed through Lewisham. Unfortunately it seemed that every time there was a platform announcement the driver would trigger an onboard announcement that contradicted it. This confused many people, and they kept getting on and off the train. This blocked the doors so the driver couldn't shut the doors, and that meant the train couldn't move.

 Some people were getting quite cross, and British Transport Police were called in to calm a few people down. Meanwhile, I was checking the National Rail app on my phone. Initially it showed the train was going to take a third route possibility, but after 5 minutes it changed to agree with the platform indicators. It also showed that the 16:17 Hayes train, the one I would get if I missed my usual 16:05 train, had actually left Charing Cross station on time, and was heading our way. So I got off the Gravesend train, and walked down the platform to where I usually get on the train going home.

 All that had to happen was to get the Gravesend train moving, and out of the way. I'm not sure if it was being held at signal, or if the driver had thrown a strop, but it looked like the doors could be closed, and it could have moved - but it didn't. After a few more minutes a barely audible announcement came over the Tannoy to say that the Hayes train would now arrive on platform C (I was on platform A). After a mad dash I was on the train, and we were ready to leave - and we did, and only a minute or two late.

 We didn't get far before we started crawling from signal to signal. We were caught in the backlog of the signal failure near New Cross. Eventually we passed that, and it was full steam ahead for the rest of the journey. If it had not been for that signal failure I might have only been 12 minute late getting home, but I think it was closer to 40 minutes. That was annoying, but I have to admit it was mild compared to some stories I've heard.

 It was dark when I got home, and while I wasn't particularly cold, I was still cold. Worse still was that it seemed to take ages to warm my room up. These were all recipes to breakdown my will power with regard to eating. It wasn't a complete disaster, but I did end up eating more than I would have liked to. One positive aspect was that I finally got around to washing my hair last night, and another positive thing was that I had a brief, but cordial message exchange with Angela last night. It included what my over optimistic mind thought were many positive words. It does feel like I am in her good books again, but that is probably no reason for optimism for the future.

 I probably should have gone to bed at 8pm last night, but I left it until my usual time of 9pm. I think I fell asleep almost instantly. I have one vague, dreamlike, memory of waking up, and possibly going for a pee, but the only definite memory is of waking up at 4.45am. That was close enough to 5am, and so I got up. Once the creaky feelings went away I was left feeling that my chest was very delicate, while not actually hurting most of the time. Silly things, like putting my shirt on, would cause brief twinges of pain - that was a bit more sensitive than I am happy with.....well I am not happy with any of the pains and twinges from my chest, but I accept that some will happen, but a twinge from just putting my shirt on was a bit much !

 I caught my usual 06:34 train towards Waterloo East this morning. It arrived on time, and this was probably because it wasn't packed. This means people can get on and off easily, and the train didn't have extended waits at stations as people battled their way on and off the train. This was the case at Catford Bridge, and also at Ladywell station. We may well have left Ladywell station as much as a minute earlier than usual. Once again we were diverted away from Lewisham - where big delays always happen. In theory we should have been 5, 6 or even 7 minutes early when we got held at a signal to re-join the main line. We waited at that signal for between one and two minutes, but I am sure no more than that. We were also held outside London Bridge for little more than 30 seconds.

 We stopped at London Bridge for what felt like the usual time, but it was obvious by then that we would arrive at Waterloo East a good three or four minutes later than usual before the trouble at Lewisham started. It meant that there was no way, I, or even an athletic sprinter, could get across the link to catch the 06:57 train that I usually manage to get to take me to Earlsfield. I missed it by almost three minutes, but that did allow me plenty of time to catch the next one - the 07:03. I don't know why I rushed, and in doing so, I really upset my chest. As I walked down the platform as fast as I could, it seemed like my whole chest was shaking from side to side, and as it did so it would pop, creak, grate and groan. I am surprised I wasn't in considerable pain once I got on the train, but all I was left with was a mild ache that mostly dissipated as I sat on the train.

 Now I am here at work I feel bloody chilly, but the heater is gradually warming the room. The chill is causing a few aches here and there, but I think that once I am warm I will feel OK. I guess eating cold salad for breakfast is doing me no favours heat wise, but at just 264 calories for these two bowls, it's got to be the healthy option.
just 264 calories for two bowls of
 In theory, and maybe in practice once spring starts to spring, I should only eat the Italian salad. It has almost half the calories of the Greek salad. These two lots of salad are all that will sustain me today until I can get some beer in me. It's Thursday, and drinking night again ! Tonight we are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern - relatively easy to get to after work, and reasonably easy to get home from afterwards. With so little substantial food in me I will only have three pints, and then I'll rush home looking forward to some hot food. I reckon I ought to try and make the first course just some soup - perhaps two cans. That, if I can bring myself to do it should take the edge off my hunger - I hope ! 
Wednesday 25th January 2017
 08:45 GMT
  If the temperature had been just a little higher it might have been a nice day yesterday. It was certainly bright and sunny, but a disappointing 3° C at about sunset. Maybe it might have been higher a little earlier, but only by a solitary degree if it was. During the night the temperature fell to just below zero, but it became too cloudy for the temperature to drop any lower. My thermometer was reading minus 0.9° C as walked to the station. Compared to some recent mornings it should have only been a mild frost, but this morning seemed very frosty - particularly on the pavement of the road leading to work. I had to be very careful to avoid going apex over base walking along there. The penalty for the temperature only just dropping below zero this morning, and for the afternoon being potentially plus 6° C, is a generous covering of cloud. It is going to be a very murky day today. Tomorrow should see a bit of sunshine, but it is going to be an exceptionally cold day. The temperature may only rise to just 3° C for a brief time in the afternoon, and for most of the daylight hours it will be just 2° C.

 On reflection, if I ignore some of the hardships of it, my journey into work yesterday was quite exciting. Combine that with the pleasant evening I had with Angela the night before, and I was feeling quite good mentally even if I had a few physical aches yesterday. It was still a relief to leave work and go home of course, and that would be another adventure on the trains.
delayed trains at
It wasn't a great start when I got to Earlsfield station. The first two trains were indefinitely delayed, but it was only a 6 minute wait for the third train, and I got to Clapham Junction in plenty of time to catch a London Overground train.
Denmark Hill railway station
I had a seat all the way on the London Overground. It was an uncomfortable seat, but they are all uncomfortable on class 378 London Overground trains ! It takes just 13 minutes to get to Denmark Hill station from Clapham Junction.
My train to Catford
At Denmark Hill there was a 10 - 11 minute wait for a train to Catford. It was a refurbished class 319 Thameslink train.
crowds on my right....
It was a pretty full train that I got on. People had "moved right down inside the train" but the doorways were still rather full. With my back pressed firmly against the door by the people in front of me, I managed to get this snap of the standing people through the glass draught shield on my right.....
.....crowds to the left of me
....and here's the view through the glass draught shield on my left. It is fortunate that it is only 4 stops from Denmark Hill station to Catford station, and it wasn't much more than 10 minutes later I could get off into the fresh air (sort of) of Catford, and start walking home passed an almost, but not fully deserted Catford Bridge station.

  The reason that Catford Bridge was not totally deserted was that train had started to run to and from it - with a train about every two hours, or something ridiculous like that. Meanwhile, my journey via "the scenic route" got my to Catford about 10 minutes later than my usual route. With only 2 trains an hour to Catford station it seems unlikely I could get an earlier train, but some day I'll try and get out of work a few minutes earlier, and see if it is possible to through the system with less waiting for trains so I can get a train half an hour earlier at Denmark Hill.

 I felt quite tired when I could finally relax at home. That meant I didn't get around to washing my hair last night, and it is feeling a bit yucky this morning. I was also less strict about what I ate. I had the best of intentions, and I started off with a simple can of tomato soup. If I hadn't added some spare corned beef, and some chunks of cheese, it might have been a nice low calorie starter. I shouldn't have eaten part two. It was because part 3 needed 40 minutes of cooking. I didn't dare look at the calorie and other nutritional values on the side of the can, but the can of Bolognese sauce that I ate as a soup was probably pretty terrible - and I made it worse with a generous helping of crumbled parmesan cheese. Part three was "chicken supreme". I expected it to be swimming in garlic butter, but it was actually quite dry. I may have got away with that one !

 I spent quite a lot of the evening talking to a friend - mostly about trains and stuff. He waffled on and on until I had to force a stop five minutes before my bedtime. If I had brushed my teeth, jumped straight into bed, and turned the lights off as soon as I was in bed, I might have fallen asleep not too long after 9pm, as I should have done, but I wanted to finish the book I have been reading. It was 10pm before I turned out the lights, and it didn't take long before I was fast asleep.

 It was almost certainly the result of missing a lot of sleep the night before, but last night I did seem to sleep nearly all night for a change. I do remember a mildly scary, but exciting, and weird dream - or some of it. It was a science fiction dream. I don't seem to have too many of them. One weird, but not rare aspect of the dream was how my viewpoint would sometime change from directly viewing the action, to watching myself performing the action. The dream was about me and an unidentified friend being on a planet that was like the moon, but had an atmosphere. Apart from one later bit, which definitely had shrubs, it was all barren rocks and sand. Hidden/camouflaged in the rocks and sands were all sorts of dangerous animals. I nearly said monsters, but most, if not all, were not really big enough to be monsters, although they did have sharp claws and fangs and poison barbs ! I suppose the entire dream was actually us just us walking across this moon/planet trying to avoid being eaten !

 This morning I woke up feeling a bit stiff, but with nothing to seriously complain about. That is basically the state of my journey to work too. I wasn't perfectly comfortable, but no ache or pain was much of an inconvenience. The trains were almost back to normal this morning. The only difference is that we had to take the route that avoids Lewisham. That should have made for a quicker journey. Lewisham is always an extended stop as quite a few people struggle to get off the train there, and usually a few less struggle to push their way aboard still crowded train. That takes time, and occasionally we are held at signal there to allow a Victoria train to cross in front of us. With Lewisham bypassed, no stopping at signals on the way, or the train apparently going slower than usual, you might expect that we would have arrived at Waterloo East earlier than usual, but no. We actually arrived a minutes later than usual - plus an extra 6 minutes because the train had left Hayes (Kent) station, where it starts from 6 minutes late. Most drivers would have put their foot down to try and make up that 6 minutes, but our driver seemed to do the reverse for some unknown reason.

 Tonight I shall.......well, I definitely want to wash my hair tonight. I can't think of anything else apart from that, and the usual battle to try and eat a lot more moderately than I would tend to have on a cold, grey winters day.  I don't know why, but I keep think I might end up seeing Angela tonight. I'm sure it must be wishful thinking rather than premonition, and it is totally unlikely. The good thing is that I won't be too disappointed if something that isn't supposed to happen doesn't happen.
Tuesday 24th January 2017
 09:27 GMT
  By comparison to the previous few days, yesterday was a bit murky. There was some sunshine in the afternoon, but the morning was grey even after the hour or so of fog lifted. On the plus side, it was very slightly less chilly, and I am sure the temperature did hit at least 4° C as forecast. The temperature did not drop as low during the night as it has done recently, and this morning I only saw minus 0.5° C on my thermometer. It's looking like it will be a bright, and mostly sunny sort of day. Towards the end of the afternoon the temperature may reach 6° C - still chilly, but less terribly so. By mid evening a mist will form, and that will turn into fog by morning. Tomorrow is forecast to be very dull, and the temperature struggle to reach 4° C.

 It was with great joy that I left work to go and meet Angela in The Black Cat yesterday. The only trouble was that the trains were playing up again (although not nearly as bad as this morning - see later !), and I was almost 15 minutes late getting to the pub. Angela was as pleased to see me as I was pleased to see her. We had two drinks in there, and then we went back to my place for a sandwich, another drink, and a cuddle.

 It was at my place that she confirmed what I had already guessed. While she still loves me, and loves me a lot, she has fallen in love with the 75 year old man who has survived recent treatment for cancer, and has now mostly recovered from a hip replacement operation. I can understand her motivation - sort of, although that does not make it any easier to bear. It is going to make it hard work for me to go to the same gigs as them. For all that, I feel that there is a good chance that we will still have occasional private times together. Last night we had a very private time together, and she was quite reluctant to get out of my bed to go home.

 As wonderful as it was to see Angela yesterday, it was also depressing. I'm sure it is depressing for her too. Although she is currently biassed away from me, she still feels a strong attraction to me. Meanwhile I have to be either realistic, or maybe pessimistic. At the moment my dream of a holiday this year seems to have crash and burnt, and there was other stuff I hoped to do with Angela, which will probably never happen. The obvious answer is to get a replacement, but not only don't I want to, but I don't think there is anyone else who is the same age, with the same experiences, and is as beautiful as Angela !

 There was one other good thing about last night - I didn't eat much. It was the second day running that I had managed to curb my appetite, although last night was a special case. When we got home we both had a pack of Aldi beef and horseradish sandwiches. After Angela went home I had a Liver And Bacon ready meal, and apart from a handful of nuts, that was all I ate yesterday evening (although I did have a double ready made salad for breakfast). This morning I think I feel better for it, and this morning I needed to feel better.

 I didn't sleep well last night. I slept OK initially, but from about 3am I couldn't seem to shut my brain up. Obviously I was thinking about Angela a lot. It was mostly negative, pessimistic thoughts, but curiously enough I actually felt a smidgen of optimism after I got up. It helped that I didn't feel too creaky when I got up. I'll probably feel desperately tired later on, but right now I feel good - but only in comparison to the average of the last couple of months. If I compare it to how I felt last July/August, for instance, I feel pretty crap ! It is a good thing I did feel relatively good because I needed lots of stamina to get to work. The reason is that the trains were really up the creak this morning.

 There had been a derailment of a very long freight train near Lewisham earlier this morning, and my guess is that it is so long that it is straddling several set of points causing loads more signals to fail to danger. When my usual train was due to depart at 06:33 the station was blocked by the train before the one before mine. It was sitting in the station empty and going nowhere. Fortunately I always check the internet to see how the trains are performing before travelling, and I knew what to expect. The only option I could see was to get a train from Catford station.

 Of course I wasn't the only one to realise that option. I walked to Catford station to catch the 06:54 train, and so did loads of others.Most of the trains from Catford at that time in the morning are fairly full before they get there, and get very full on any normal day. On a day like today the train was bulging at the seams when we finally pulled away from the station about 5 minutes late. At Crofton Park station more people tried to get on - and somehow succeeded ! I went as far as Peckham Rye where I changed trains to a London Overground service to Clapham Junction. Normally I would change at Denmark Hill where I think the change is easier, but I wasn't sure I would get a second chance to get to the doors again !
Catford station
                          before dawn
Catford station with just the merest hint of pink sky in the east at 06:50.
Peckham Rye station
Like at Catford station, the platform was too crowded to take a meaningful picture of my fellow travellers, but I did take this snap of the a station sign on the Thameslink platforms.
The eastern sky just starting to light
The eastern part of the sky was just starting to get light while waiting for the London Overground train.
One of those rare Southern trains
Looking more towards the north, the sky is still fairly dark, but in the middle of this snap is one of those rare Southern trains - or they were rare until the current series of strikes ended.

 At Clapham Junction, with my right knee starting to complain after standing up for so long, I made my way over the long overbridge to platform 11 where the trains to Earlsfield stop. Once I got moving the pain in my right knee faded away, and the walk from Earlsfield station to work was mostly OK. It seemed like it had been a very long journey, but I was amazed to find that having caught a train almost half an hour later than usual in Catford, I was only half an hour late getting to work. I might try the route again some morning when it is all a little less frantic - maybe even tomorrow, and perhaps I aim for the 06:22 train if I feel I am ready to go out a bit earlier.

 I think I will almost certainly be using that route in reverse to get home. The last estimates I saw suggested that the freight train would not be moved until much later today, and that disruption would continue until the end of the day. I hope that the trains are back to normal tomorrow morning, or it's going to be another horrible journey !

 I think I would like to wash my hair tonight, but other than that I have no plans to do anything. I will try to eat as healthily as I can manage, and that will depend on how happy I feel. I'm not sure how how happy I will be. I guess there's always hope, but I think it will be slim pickings from now on.
Monday 23rd January 2017
 08:21 GMT
  It was nice and sunny again yesterday, but it was still a very cold day. At the back of my house, outside the kitchen, where the sun never reaches in winter (and hardly in spring) it wasn't all that much above freezing. Maybe just a whole degree above. During the night the temperature fell, and at 6am this morning I was reading minus 3° C. Oh well, that was 1.5° higher than the morning before ! The main feature for this morning was supposed to be mist and fog. I never saw anything worse than a light haze on my way into work, but an hour after getting here it is indeed getting very foggy. The fog is supposed to lift again in a few hours, and from midday there is supposed to be the chance of a few sunny intervals, but it is going to be mostly grey today. The top temperature may just hit 4° C, but at sunset it will start to drop ready for tomorrow to be very similar to today - although if we are very lucky there might be a few more sunny spells.

 For a lot of yesterday I felt pretty bad, and I am not totally sure why. So I kept myself warm, and did little more than read and listen to music. The music I was listening to was by Man - the prog rock group from Wales in the 1970s. I recently bought the box set called The Original Album Series. I rather enjoyed it - even the couple of albums I had never heard before.  The book I have been reading, and almost finished last night, is Time For The Stars by Robert A. Heinlein.

 By late afternoon I was starting to feel much better, and a couple of Ibuprofen tablets improved things more. A little later and a very large whisky and I felt perfectly normal (which is good, but not as good as normal used to be). I had a further boost to how I felt when somehow, and I can't quite remember what the trigger was, I had a conversation, via text messaging, with Angela. It now seems almost certain that I will be seeing her for at least a quick drink tonight, and if the increasing warmth in our messages is anything to go by it may be more than just a quick drink. However there is still a small element of doubt, and it is possible that something might arise that will stop the meeting.

 I went to bed feeling fairly happy last night, but maybe not quite as early as I should have. I can blame that on not wanting to put my book down as the storyline starts to reach the climax. It was possibly after 10pm before I got to sleep, but I did seem to sleep quite well. My sleep ended with a typical weird dream. The dream seemed to start with my walking up a short, and not very steep hill. As the dream continued it seemed that I wanted to borrow a bucket of water to wash a train carriage I had bought. I chose a house seemingly at random, and knocked on the door asking if I could borrow a bucket filled with water. The resident, a very attractive young housewife said I could, and invited me in. There were several people inside the house including a grandmother who was hand making ice cream, and a young lad who was preparing to wash a dog. I seemed to hang around a long time without being given my bucket of water, and in the end I decided I should intrude no longer, and said I was leaving. As we approached the front door the young housewife said something which implied that we actually knew each other in some mysterious way, but I can't remember what it was she said.

 I woke up about 15 minutes before I needed to, and decided to get up anyway. I felt typically stiff and creaky, but otherwise fairly comfortable. It was while I was showering that I had a few twinges from my chest, and I was expecting more trouble from it - particularly once I was out in the freezing air. I took a couple of Ibuprofen, and they either did the business, or my chest was not as bad as I thought. I also took another precaution....

 This is where things get weird again. I thought it prudent to leave a minute early to walk to the station so I wouldn't have to rush so much. So I took it easy walking to the station, and arrived there 2 minutes early. It was as if I had walked there faster rather than slower. I guess I just misjudged the time or something. I was actually quite lucky with the trains this morning. My train was late leaving the depot, and they diverted it to join the line at New Beckenham station. That meant it did not call at 4 fairly busy station before it arrived in Catford. For once it was not jam packed inside. The other bit of luck was at Waterloo. There was, and probably still is, a broken rain between Wimbledon and Earlsfield. That meant South West Trains had a lot of trouble getting trains to Waterloo this morning. My usual train was possibly one of the first to leave this morning, and it left on time. It was rather full, and I ended up standing all the way to Earlsfield, but it wasn't too bad.

 At Earlsfield I decided to take it easy walking to work, and although I didn't seem to do it quicker this time, it didn't seem to take any longer either. I was feeling moderately OK when I arrived at work, but I've gone slightly downhill since. The reason is that it is bloody cold in here. The heaters were left on full power over the weekend, but those heaters are just air con units working in reverse, and are very ineffective once the outside air drops below 5 degrees, or thereabouts. I have had to out my emergency pullover on, but my hands are still freezing, and I seem to have started coughing every now and then. Oh well, only 8 hours to go, and there is a good chance I will feel the warmth of seeing Angela.
Frosty cars this
This car was conveniently under a street lamp when I walked to the station. Look how frosty it was !
Garret Lane, towards Wandsworth,
                          looking hazy rather than misty
This is Garret Lane, looking towards Wandsworth, and just around the corner from work. It was supposed to be foggy, but it's hardly even misty. There is little more than some haze around the brighter lights. An hour later fog did descend, but it seems to have lifted again now. I wonder what the weather will throw at us next ?
Sunday 22nd January 2017
 13:35 GMT
Even colder !  The weather continues on it's relentless path of sunshine and frost. Yesterday was all bright and sunny, and yet the outside air temperature probably didn't get much above a couple of degrees in the shade. By 8pm it was down to minus 2° C, and falling.

 By 8am this morning it had hit a new low - minus 4.5° C ! That is bloody cold for London even in January. Once again the sky is blue, and the sun is shining brightly. My bedroom, with the combined efforts of my fan heater, and the sun pouring through the windows, is now very comfortably warm. Just outside my bedroom window I have a wired thermometer connected to a display just inside the window. With the sensor partly shielded from the wind by the window frame and stuff, and in direct sunlight, it is a rather nice 25° C. Stand 2 feet away and apart from it being a 12ft drop, it is only 0.5° C !

 Tomorrow morning it is going to be cold - very cold, but maybe not quite as cold as this morning. The forecast also says there will be a freezing fog that will persist until mid morning. From then on it will be mostly cloudy, and the temperature should eventually peak at just 4° C. Tomorrow is not going to be nice.

  I did little of any significance yesterday afternoon except eat. That is only significant because of the timing rather than the quantity and quality of what I ate. I intended to take care of what I ate to reduce some of the consequences, but mildly failed in some areas, a failed quite badly in one particular area. The big failure was actually a misunderstanding. I had what looked to be mostly salad, but it wasn't. It was not only chicken and bacon and salad, but pasta, and grated carrot in some quite thick dressing. It was very nice, and also, unfortunately rather filling.

 At any other time it may not have mattered that it seemed so filling, but last night it did. I was very determined to go out last night. I hadn't been to a gig since new year's eve, and I hadn't seen Angela for even longer. The only trouble was that I had fallen out of practice of going out after dark, and I didn't feel all that good. I had to force myself to go, but instead of feeling better once I got moving, I felt worse.

 The frigid air was making me almost asthmatic, and was hurting my chest. That was despite wearing a very warm coat, one I often get a bit sweaty in. The only way to stop it would have been not to breathe ! On top of that, the chicken and bacon and pasta and stuff seemed to still be sitting very heavy on my stomach. I swear I could feel it, plus anything I had drunk in the previous hour or so, swilling around in my stomach as I walked up the road.

 I had hoped that once I had got to the pub, warmed up, drunk a pint of Guinness, and the band had started, I would feel better. Maybe I would have, but there were two further problems. The pub was ram packed full, and the band, The Life Of Brian, weren't going to start until nearly 9.30pm - 45 minutes or more after I arrived there. Oh, and Angela hadn't turned up by then.

 It was difficult to move around in the pub, and it was made worse by wearing a heavy coat and carrying my camera bag. I felt very large and cumbersome like that. It was also difficult to find a good vantage point where I could get some good photos. On top of everything else I was feeling something akin to mild claustrophobia. Once I had finished my pint of Guinness I did my best to hold on for a few minutes, but in the end I decided to go home without even seeing the band start.

 The annoying thing was that if I hadn't held on for those couple of minutes I would have caught a train almost instantly. Instead I had to wave the train goodbye while I was only a few tens of feet away from it. Fortunately the trains were still running four per hour, and I didn't have that long to wait for the next one. On the other hand, that extra 15 minutes of breathing in the icy air (possibly getting on for minus 3° C by then) really did my chest in. It hurt, and I felt really breathless when I got back to Catford , and was walking to home. Maybe breathless is not the right word. I probably wasn't breathing in any more air, but it just felt hard work to breathe in the air that I did.

 I didn't totally waste my time while I waited at Elmers End station. I didn't get out my big camera, but I did take some snaps with my new (secondhand) Fuji XP71 camera. Apart from a tendency to over expose bright areas, it does seem to work very well under night conditions. It's turned out to be quite a good buy.
Catford Bridge
                          station on a quiet Saturday evening
The first picture is actually of Catford Bridge station taken on my way to Elmers End.
Elmers End station
This was Elmers End station at 21:12 while I waited for the 21:24 service to New Cross (the services to Canon Street station were terminating at New Cross because of engineering works).
Elmers End looking in the direction of
Looking towards the Hayes end of the station.
A tram at Elmers End station
While I waited a tram pulled in. Once the driver changed ends it would form the next service to West Croydon.
destination sign on the side of a
Destination sign on the side of the tram. It would change to West Croydon once the driver had changed ends, and got ready to depart.

 I felt pretty horrible when I got home. It was the same going there except I had an extra pint of Guinness sloshing around in my gut. On top of that I had missed seeing Angela, and missed seeing the band playing. So I was wheezy, cold, in pain, and feeling pretty miserable. I didn't feel like going straight to bed, and while I would have liked to have had something like a bowl of hot soup to warm me up, I didn't dare add anything more than the occasion sip of water to swill around in my gut.

 Later on I received a message from Angela, one of very few recently that she has actually instigated herself, saying that she was gutted that she had missed me. That felt encouraging, and on the basis of that I suggested that maybe we could meet after work tomorrow. She couldn't give me a definite yes, but it seems quite possible that it will happen.

 I turned out the light, and was probably fast asleep before 11pm. I woke up a couple of times in the night, and froze my bits off going to the toilet. I can't remember what times it was, but I decided I had to put my heater on full power for the rest of the night. It wasn't surprising considering that we hit a new low of minus 4.5° C this morning. Since then I've had the heater on full power until finally the bright sunshine started doing it's work to keep the room warm.

 I think I woke up too early this morning. Either that or it's the two bowls of tomato soup I had a bit earlier that are making me feel very sleepy now. Some sleep my be good if I can get any. I don't feel all that good right now, and I am not sure why. In some respects it feels a bit like 'flu, but I don't think it is. I suspect that I may have another artery or two furred up, but who knows ? Hopefully I'll feel OK tomorrow morning to go to work, although I am dreading going to work in that freezing fog, but if I don't go to work I can't meet Angela after work - if she is available.
Saturday 21st January 2017
 11:13 GMT
The coldest
                          day of January so far.....  Once again the highest temperature I noticed yesterday seemed to fall short of the forecast temperature. The last forecast I saw said it might reach 5° C, but I doubt it even hit 3° C. I only glanced at the thermometer when I got home from work, and I'm sure it said 2° C - and that was only 5 or 10 minutes after sunset. On the plus side, it was a nice sunny day, and the sun did help heat my office a tiny bit.

 I took the photo of my weather station at, as it says itself, 07:56 this morning, and it was showing a new low. Minus 3.6° C is the lowest I can ever recall seeing on that thermometer. It's worth noting that it is on the north side of the house, and is in permanent shade at this time of year. If you click on the picture it will open a new window/tab that shows a higher resolution version of the picture.

 In the high resolution version it is easier to see the little symbol above the "C" of the -3.6° C. That symbol shows the temperature was still falling. Actually it wasn't at that point, but it had been. I think I was lucky to have caught the temperature reading at it's very lowest.

It's also easier to see the little snowflakes falling from the cloud at the top left of the display. The inbuilt forecasting software reckons that it is going to snow. That seems unlikely while bright sunshine is pouring through my front room windows. The BBC forecast agrees with what I can see - it is going to be another sunny day, but it is also going to be another very cold day. The best they can offer is just 3° C at 2pm this afternoon. From then on it's downhill all the way. There will be another thick frost tomorrow morning. It should be another very sunny day, and it is supposed to be very slightly warmer too. Maybe 5° C.

 I felt quite sleepy at work yesterday - particularly in the afternoon - and so it was nice to get out into the fresh (but very chilly) air to go home. I had a reasonably comfortable journey home, and doing the entire journey in bright daylight, with a little to spare at the end, was sort of uplifting. It almost didn't matter that Angela had not taken the bait, and I was destined to spend the evening on my own again. In some respects it was my timing that was wrong. I heard that her daughter Miranda was heading her way because she had a gig last night, and of course Angela would have stayed in to greet her. Angela would also have gone to the gig.

 I could have gone to the gig as well, and if didn't have the winter blues I probably would have gone. After feeling sleepy at work I was fixated on the idea that I wanted to get to bed early (I didn't), and I didn't fancy doing a 2 train journey in the dark, and while the temperature was heading for zero degrees (and potentially under it on the way back home). So I stayed in feeling both slightly happy because I knew that Angela had a good reason not to see me, and that leaves hope for the future, but also slightly sad for not forcing myself to go out.

 In such a half good/half bad state of mind it would have been easy to eat far too much, and indeed I did, but for a different reason. On my way home from work I called into Tesco to buy a few bits and pieces. One thing I had a yearning for was for some liver and bacon, and I did buy and eat some. I also ate a can of tomato soup - so far so good, but I did sprinkle on a generous amount of grated cheddar cheese, and that would have bumped up the total calories a bit.

 It's what I ate next that was rather naughty. While in Tesco I noticed some half price packets of cheese and onion rolls (not bread rolls, but rolls like sausage rolls). I could have eaten one or two, but I have this terrible affliction/weakness, and it is one that is partly shared with Angela. It is once I have started a packet (or whatever) I feel compelled to finish it. So I ate all those cheese and onion rolls. It's probably good that they don't make them like I would make them with half a pound of cheddar in each one. They actually contain so little cheese that it is almost hard to taste it. So chomping through the entire packet wasn't quite the calamity it could have been, but still....

 I tried to watch a bit of TV last nice, but the TV was awash with bloody American politics, and I am just not interested. I probably should be because there is a fair chance that their new president will start World War 3, but I find it hard to pay much attention to our own politicians let alone those 3000 miles away. As far as I am concerned we are heading into a dystopian future at a reckless speed, and I think I am happy that I will probably die before life for the proles becomes unbearable.

 I did actually watch a bit of TV. I think I saw most of one old episode of QI, and maybe half an episode of M*A*S*H. Then I got bored and read my book instead. Somehow an awful lot of time passed, and I seem to recall it was around 11pm when I went to sleep. So much for my idea of an early night ! Just for a change I slept quite soundly until I woke up completely unnecessarily at more or less exactly 5am as if it were a work day. I felt OK so I pottered around, mainly on the internet, for a good few hours before going back to sleep.

 So far this morning I have done three things (or four if you include writing this). I have washed my hair, I have washed my body, and I have done a tiny bit of housework. All I meant to do was to brush up some crumbs from under my computer desk, but as I brought the dust pan and brush up the stairs I brushed a few stairs as I passed. It was not as effective as a good hoovering (which my stairs need again) but it wasn't bad, and it was much easier than hoovering - although my back did feel a bit creaky when I got to the top. I probably ought to do it more frequently because it doesn't take a huge effort lugging a big hoover around, and it does make quite a visual improvement.

 My plans for today include doing a bit more housework. I'm not sure where or what yet, but I have an empty wheelie bin at the moment, and I ought to dump some more old rubbish in it. Probably the next thing I will do is to go to Aldi for a proper bit of shopping. Other than that I expect I'll pass a fair amount of time just reading, and then tonight I really do want to make the effort to get to a gig. The Life Of Brian, featuring Angela's daughter Miranda on vocals, are playing in The Elm Tree pub in Elmers End tonight. The pub, formerly known as The William IV, is relatively easy to get to by train, and buses run quite late to get home again.
Friday 20th January 2017
 08:30 GMT
minus three bloody
                        degrees C !!!!  Yesterday was not quite so cold as the day before. It was only bloody cold instead of freezing cold ! I'm unsure of the late afternoon temperature, but it did feel like it might have been the forecast 5° C.

 As expected, the clear sky meant another cold morning, and this morning it was minus 3° C. The rest of today will follow the pattern of the last few days. It is going to be another bright sunny day, but it is still going to be very cold. The best we can expect today is 5° C again. Tomorrow will be very similar except that an occasional cloud will block the sun, and the temperature may only reach 4° C. Sunday may be similar to tomorrow, but Monday could add a nasty element if the forecast comes true. I could be going to work on Monday morning in freezing fog, and that's freezing to the tune of minus 2° C !

 Apart from feeling a little cooler than I might desire, I felt mostly OK at work yesterday. At least I can't recall anything significantly negative about it now. That wasn't the case when I left work. Going out in the cold aggravated my chest. It was only a minor annoyance until I got off the train at Grove Park station. As I got off the train, after having to stand all the way from Waterloo East, I must have twisted around too much, or something like that. For a short while it did feel like my chest was going to split in two. (The thought of it is making my chest hurts right now !) Fortunately it was like when you mildly twist or sprain an ankle. If it is not too bad you can carry on walking, and the pain is soon forgotten.

 The increasing day length, which is quite apparent on these recent sunny days, is having a positive effect on me. Most of my journey from work to The Red Lion in Bromley was done in daylight. At least half of it was done in sunshine, and even the 5 - 6 minute walk from Bromley North station to the pub was done before it had got significantly dark. It made me more enthusiastic to go to the pub. It will be even nicer when I can have my three pints and it is still daylight when I leave the pub. It could almost entice me to stay for a fourth pint !

 After not really seeing or speaking to anybody outside of work for the past couple of weeks it was sort of nice to interact with a few people again. It was also nice to have a few pints of ale. The sad thing was that it was dark when I left the pub and walked to the station. I had times it so that I didn't have to wait long for my train back to Grove Park. Quite a lot of people got off the train when it arrived, but only only a few people got on with me for it's return journey back to Grove Park. (Grove Park to Bromley North is run as a shuttle service with the same train going back and forth all day).

 One characteristic of the Bromley North to Grove Park service is that the line doesn't run through any brightly lit areas. In fact for most of the journey it is pitch black outside. There is nothing so melancholy as being on your own in an almost empty carriage with nothing to do but watch blackness go past the window. It was a relief to get off the train at Grove Park - a relief in one sense, but not in another. I felt tired, and walking up the steps to get out of the station seemed very tiring, but maybe it was just all in the head. When I was outside the station I spotted a bus approaching, and somehow found the energy to run for it - and it was a mildly uphill run ! It was hard work, but not such hard work that I felt any hesitation to go up the stairs to sit on the top deck of the bus. Once I sat down I recovered very fast. It was probably thanks to the beer.

 It was also probably thanks to the beer that the walk from the bus to home was mostly painless, but mostly isn't completely. My chest gave no trouble, or if it did I was too distracted to notice. The thing that was uppermost on my mind, and increasingly so as I got nearer and nearer to home, was how the cold night air was affecting my bladder ! By the time I reached my front door I was ready to bust !! It was one of those times when you fear fumbling with your keys and such, but  I got the keys in the locks first time, and made it up to the toilet without incident.

 I gave a lot of thought about eating while I was on the bus home. This was not surprising considering the countless fried chicken shops, as well as other places that sell takeaway food, that I passed on the way. It would have been so easy to give into temptation and buy some fried chicken and chips to take home, but I resolved not to, and considering how desperate I was to wee when I got home it is probably just as well that I hadn't added any extra delays to my journey.

 Maybe fried chicken and chips would not have been too terrible for me if that was all I had compared with what I actually ate. I had a three course meal. The first course was a can of "Petit Salle" - it's a sort of lentil stew with a few bits of meats and a few bits of vegetable in it - it's actually very nice. Then I had a can of meatballs. I had intended to only have a can of soup, but my hand slipped...... The last thing was the most devastating of all - jam tarts. I have no idea why I even bought them in the first place. They were not particularly nice, and I knew they wouldn't be, but I guess I wasn't thinking straight when I originally bought them. They would have raised my blood glucose level up way too high, and ruined any chance of losing weight this week !

 It is possible that those jam tarts may have had another bad effect too - although I can't think how. I didn't get home until some time after 7pm, and that didn't leave that long to eat my dinner, let it settle, and then go to bed. Evidently I didn't let it settle for nearly long enough. I was in bed, and asleep very soon after 9pm, and I reckon it was probably not long after 9.30pm that I had a really severe attack of acid reflux. I woke up with the reflux just entering my mouth. I really hate that, and I'm glad that it happens only once in a blue moon (I can't actually remember the last time. It must have been years ago). Fortunately I was able to swallow it without trouble, and I chased it down with a swig of antacid (Tesco's own brand version of milk of magnesia).

 From then on I slept OK until, as seems to always the case, about 4am. It was about then that I kept waking up - sometimes because I was cold and had half kicked the duvet off, and sometimes because I don't like the dreams I'm having. One dream was memorable for it's strangeness. I dreamed I was counting a wad of about 10 banknotes. Initially they were £20 notes, but they seemed to morph into, initially £5 notes (that's inflation for you !), and after that things got very silly. One turned into an earlier style of £5 note, and others turned into Euro notes of unknown denomination. The some seemed to be forgeries - initially very good ones, but then some appeared to be only printed on one side. Somewhere towards the end of the dream they had changed from landscape to portrait orientation, and by that time many of them seemed to have an unknown alien script on them (as well as typical bank note geometric swirls and curlicues). It was probably all symbolic of what will happen when we finally pull out of Europe, and our currency goes down the drain.

 This morning my main complaint was my chest (well no news there), but it was actually sore. It just felt sort of delicate. I had a couple of mild twinges while showering - mainly while washing under my armpits ! It seemed sensible to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets this morning, and either my chest was less delicate than I thought, or they worked to keep me mostly free of any great discomfort on my way into work. Perhaps their best affect was to stop any inflammation at the time when I did manage to jolt a bit of pain into my chest as I bounded down the stairs at Earlsfield station after getting off the train there.

 I really don't know what I am doing tonight. I think there was a gig on somewhere that I didn't, and don't expect to have the energy or enthusiasm to go to tonight. There is a truly microscopic, maybe even nanoscopic chance that I might see Angela tonight. It's a crude, and inaccurate way of saying it, but in simple terms I put some bait down yesterday, and it wasn't refused, but neither was it accepted. I fully expect my evening to be like this - buy a few bits from Tesco (I have a mild yearning fir liver and bacon) - eat some of the stuff I buy - watch half an hour of TV - read for an hour or two - go to sleep until tomorrow. It will be pleasant, but far from exciting.
from today's Metro
 In this morning's metro was the little article in the picture above. I guess it is true for many people, but for some of us it is completely wrong. After a cold, dark miserable winter it is about now that the lengthening days are starting to become noticeable. Tonight it will still be full daylight when I get off the train at Catford Bridge, and even if I go home via Tesco it should still be slightly light when I get home. Apart from it being so cold, this is the recipe to start eating less. Maybe I might even manage it tonight, but even if I don't manage any miracle tonight, it still marks a sort of turning point when, if nothing else, the idea become lodged deeper in the brain, and ready to spring into action when conditions are more favourable. As well as the desire to eat so much falling away, the increase in daylight, particularly on sunny days like today, increases the desire to get outdoors, and exercise more. In theory I could be fit and healthy by summertime, and ready to take on 10 mile walks again.....or not !
Thursday 19th January 2017
 08:11 GMT
Half a degree less bloody cold than
                        yesterday !  It was most definitely cold yesterday, and that's despite it being a sunny day. I am not sure what the official figures were, but I recorded minus 3.1° C before I set off to go to work, and 0.9° C when I got home from work. The forecast had promised that the sun would raise the temperature to at least 3° C, but as I made my way home I saw there was still frost on the grass in sheltered areas, and some puddles still had a partial crust of ice.

 During the night the temperature dropped back into minus figures. I think the photo on the left is fairly self explanatory. Taken at 06:04, and the outside temperature was only (only !) minus 2.5° C ! The forecast says today will be nice and sunny again, and the temperature could hit a glorious 6° C by mid afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to be a re-run of today, but with one small change - the temperature is not supposed to dip below zero tomorrow morning, although it could well be exactly zero° C !

 It was not very warm in my office yesterday. The bottom of the two air conditioning units had completely frozen up, and was not contributing any heat to the room at all. It was just comfortable enough to work, but only just. It didn't leave me well prepared for the extra cold conditions when I went home, and my chest felt quite uncomfortable when I got home. As usual, some food was a quick cure......or maybe it was the time taken to prepare the food, and the fan heater on full power that cured me.

 I was thinking of just having a soup based dinner last night - possibly about three cans of soup - but I decided I had perishable stuff to use up. So I zapped up the remaining ready made salad with grated cheese, beef Hula Hoops, and some stuff olives. It was like the one I ate the day before, but sadly, last night's version did not have so much salad cream on it because the bottle ran out before I had squeezed my preferred dose onto the other ingredients. Part two of my dinner was a hot meal. It was ready to roast, roast vegetables with a couple of Aberdeen Angus quarter pounder beefburgers. It could almost be imagined as a healthy meal (but I'm sure it wasn't).

 Generally speaking, I was pretty bored last night, or to put it another way, I felt totally uninspired. I tried watching a bit of TV, but that did nothing for me, and I ended up reading until it was time to go to sleep. Unfortunately the book I am currently reading, Sixth Column by Robert Heinlein, I have read before. It was only very recently that I got a physical copy of the book, but once I started reading I quickly came to the conclusion that I must have read an electronic copy of it - probably a few years back when I used to read downloaded books on my mobile phone. It's still a good read, but knowing the basic plot takes away some of the pleasure. Perhaps a lot of the pleasure, or maybe it just stops you immersing yourself so deep in the story that you can block out the horrible real world for a few hours.

 Despite it not being very warm in my office yesterday, I still managed to feel very sleepy, and in the afternoon my eyes kept closing while I was reading stuff on my PC. That suggested I didn't sleep nearly as well as I thought I had the night before, and that I should do better last night. I think I did. As seems usual now, I woke around 3am, and didn't sleep very deeply after that, but at least I did seem to sleep for most of the two hours before I had to get up at 5am. I'm sure I had a noteworthy dream last night. I'm sure it involved trains or travel, but the details seems to have evaporated now.

 This morning I feel semi OK. My chest feels as delicate as ever in the cold, and I had quite a few twinges on the way to work. The last being as I came down the stairs at Earlsfield station, but the twinges seem to have been quite short lived. hopefully I'll be mostly comfortable during the day. One positive thing that I did feel was probably an illusion because it was a feeling that maybe I was just a microscopic bit thinner this morning - more specifically, my gut didn't seem to bulge as much. It seems unlikely this could be for real considering how much I have actually eaten compared with what I would have preferred to eat. It is most likely the affect of that chick pea dahl I ate the other day. It seemed a long time coming, but it did feel I had been turned inside out when I went to the toilet this morning !

 It would be good if I didn't feel too bad today because I definitely want to try and go to this Thursday evening drink tonight (by some peoples standards - very late afternoon drink). Tonight we are meeting in The Red Lion pub in Bromley. I ought to double check, but I am sure it is the one that is a 5 minute walk away from Bromley North station. It is another pub I don't like, although it is relatively easy to get to from work. It is less easy to get home from. If the timing is right so I don't have to hang around on a cold draughty railway station platform, I can get the train from Bromley North to Grove Park station, and then a bus from there down to Catford. The alternative is to suffer on a bus all the way from Bromley to Catford. I'll see how it all works out at the time. I just hope the pub has some decent strong beer. I feel I need a good beer right now.
Wednesday 18th January 2017
 08:41 GMT
  Yesterday's sunshine helped warm up my office, but it did nothing for the outside air temperature. It was nice going home in sunshine, and it was very nice that it was still light for a short while after I got home, but it was a cold experience. I didn't realise how cold until I checked my outdoor thermometer at home. It read just 0.9° C ! That was a lot colder than I bloody cold !expected it to - I expected it to be 3 or even 4° C. I knew that the temperature would drop overnight, but I don't think I expected to see minus 3.1° C as I was getting ready to walk to the station this morning.

 Today is forecast to be as sunny as yesterday, but it should be less cold than yesterday. The forecast says it should still be 3° C when I get home from work. The only trouble is that it will barely be higher than 3° C at any time today. A few hours before midnight it is supposed to cloud over, and that will improve the temperature tomorrow morning. It may be plus 2° C tomorrow morning, and maybe hit 6° C by late afternoon after a few hours of sunshine.

 The forecast for Friday will undoubtedly change, but it could be the "warmest" day of the week with temperature hitting an amazing 7° C ! Unfortunately it be very grey and will probably rain.

 I didn't feel nearly as good yesterday as I did the day before that. I ached more, and I had less energy. The shoes I was wearing probably didn't help. They were comfortable, but in some weird, unexplainable way they seemed to resist my every step above a certain speed. Trying to sustain my preferred speed seemed like harder work than it should have done. That didn't feel good combined with my chest feeling sore again.

 The aches around my chest scar, and a few other places, are definitely worse when it is cold - and it doesn't matter how warm a coat I am wearing. I was sweating under my coat, and yet my chest felt sore yesterday morning. I didn't think it would be so bad going home when it was supposed to be warmer, but it was probably worse. Once I realised that it was only 0.9° C it became easier to understand why it was aching.

 Just getting indoors was enough to stop the worst of the aches and pains, and eating a bowl of hot soup was such a good cure that it was hard to remember than I had been in any discomfort at all. It felt so good that the other two parts of my three course dinner came out of cans too. After the hot chicken soup (and it was extra hot because I added some fierce chilli sauce), I had a can of chick pea dahl - essentially lightly curried chick peas. (I suspect that some time later, maybe tomorrow morning, when I go to the toilet it will be like machine gun fire !). Part three was a can of not very nice chicken korma. I think it was probably a bit past it's "best before" date, but it didn't seem to do me any harm.

 I know the soup was fairly low in calories, fat and other bad stuff, and I think the chick pea dahl may have been moderately low in the worst things too. It is possible that those two cans came to no more than 600 calories. I dread to think how many were in the can of chicken korma. The only reason for optimism is that it didn't seem to be very oily. In fact I don't recall it being oily at all. If it wasn't loaded with sugar, and it certainly tasted more sour than sweet, it may not have been as bad as I feared.

 No matter how much I tried to resist I couldn't stop myself having a few naughty snacks, and yet I think I can delude myself that my overall food intake for the day was lower than the previous couple of days. I very much doubt it would have been low enough to make me fitter, but maybe it was low enough to give a temporary feeling of not feeling so completely unfit. As a bonus, I didn't feel stuffed or anything when I went to bed.

 I was in bed fairly early yesterday - mainly because I was bored with TV, and I didn't have anything better to do...or at least nothing I wanted to do in the cold and dark (even if it wasn't actually that cold, and completely not dark anywhere indoors). Not feeling like I had overeaten may have helped my sleep, although it didn't stop some of my dreams being very inventive. With hindsight, it seems I probably did sleep unusually well last night. I think I had a little wobble around 4am, but I managed to get back into a sleep that was deep enough to make my alarm sounding a bit of a surprise.

 I'm sure there was something deep and meaningful about my dreams. One involved walking and a choice between walking along a road, or through a forest path. Obviously I chose the forest path, but there was no deep significance to that. That would be my choice at any time. I think I was probably just looking forward to the time when it is much warmer, and when I am hopefully a bit fitter, and I can get out again for some nice long rambles.

 The other dream I remember had an interesting observation in it. It concerned going to a party at the house of an old friend. His previous house, which I visited a few times, and his current house, which I have yet to visit, are deep in the countryside, in the middle of nowhere. In the dream I was driven to his house, and the route seemed mostly familiar, and yet later on, while at his current house, I remarked that I didn't know where his house was.  Now I come to write it down it doesn't seem that interesting, and yet I think it formed the basis for a whole new dream that consisted entirely of a debate about how I could know then route, and yet didn't know where I was. Written that way, it does come across as a metaphor for real life !

 This morning I woke up feeling tolerably OK, and maybe I felt like I had a tiny bit more energy than yesterday morning. Maybe I also think that I came through travelling in minus 3° C with the minimum of adverse affects. At the moment, a couple of hours after getting to work, I don't feel specially bad, but I don't feel all that good either. For one thing it is rather cool in my office. Until the sun rises a bit higher, and pours a bit of heat into here, the air-con/heater units struggle to get the temperature up to shirt sleeve comfort levels.

 I think tonight is liable to be just as boring and tedious as most nights are recently. A combination of no light, no warmth, and no Angela makes for a rather depressing time. Fortunately I have a few books to read to make the evenings pass a little quicker. The trouble with that is it just makes going to work seem sooner, and that is pretty depressing. I had a scheduled one-2-one with my boss this morning, and I told him it was a race to see which would come first - spring or my resignation. He thought I was joking, but I don't think I was. The good news is that he is happy with me. The other good news is that while he is still technically my boss, I now have a new first line manager (or something like that). Having a new fist line manager will make no difference to what I do - at least I don't think it will - but it might make me a little happier because I feel I'll be able to moan and complain more effectively satisfyingly to him.
Tuesday 17th January 2017
 08:31 GMT
  The weather recently has been very simple, and it continues to be very simple. Yesterday was cold and wet, and today will be cold and sunny. Fortunately the rain stopped before I went home yesterday, but it was still very cold. The temperature was almost a constant 5° C yesterday - maybe a degree cooler in the morning, and the temperature did start to fall away during the evening. This morning it was cold enough for a frost on the parked cars. By this afternoon it will have warmed up to a glorious 3° C, or if we are really good it may even reach 4° C. At the moment there is a nice blue sky, and it should stay like this, with plenty of sunshine once the sun has risen a bit further, until later this afternoon when it will get gradually overcast. Tomorrow may be very similar except that the early morning temperature will be a degree or two lower - minus 2° C. Now that is cold !

 I felt remarkably good at work yesterday. Some of the good feeling was because I was doing some interesting work, but mostly it was because I wasn't coughing, my nose wasn't running, and I was generally free from aches and pains. The interesting work was actually work of my own devising. It was partly what could be called training, and mostly me deciding I would prefer to repair some stuff that I dragged out of the waste bin. I now have half a dozen perfectly working motors that are actually obsolete, and will never be used for anything we make to sell, but I have a theory they will end up in something one day.

 It was definitely chilly when I left work to go home, and the waterproof coat I had put on in the morning was not exactly what you would call a warm coat. It seemed a good idea in the pouring rain, but not such a good idea when it wasn't. I was concerned that getting cold would trigger or re-trigger some of my maladies - and in particular my dodgy chest. It didn't do so yesterday, but I am not so sure this morning.

 After all my trouble getting to work yesterday morning I didn't want to be late getting home. So in defiance of all logic, and accepted customs, I left work slightly early instead of late. It did me no good though. I just missed a train at Earlsfield, and had to wait a few minutes for the train I often get anyway. I had been hoping to get to Waterloo East in time to get the 15:50 train that was reported as running about 7 minutes late. I think that if it hadn't ended up being cancelled I would have just missed it by as little as a minute. That train being first late, and then cancelled was most worrying, and my worries were not unfounded. My usual train, then 16:05, was delayed as well, but at least it wasn't cancelled, and it was only about 5 minutes late in the end. I think the driver managed to make up most of the time on the way to Catford Bridge.

 When I got back to Catford I finally remembered why I wanted to Poundland. It was to buy a spare glasses case for the £1 reading glasses I use at work. I still couldn't and can't remember why I had the urge to go to Tesco, and so I didn't go there. I ended up spending a whole £12 in Poundland. Some of that was on buying unholy foodstuffs - but I am glad I did in one specific instance !

 I felt quite hungry when I got home. It was the result of feeling cold (as well as gluttony). The ideal cure would have been a can or two of hot soup, but I had some ready made salads to use up. I also had some 90% cooked "grilled Mediteranean vegetable" and chicken legs. The latter would form part 2 of my dinner. Part 1 was salad, but it was no ordinary salad. It was a salad of my own invention. The core of it was an Aldi "Mediterranean style salad" to which I added a very generous amount of grated Tesco "value" cheddar, some stuffed olives, Heinz salad cream, and then I sprinkled on the contents of a small (25gm ?) bag of beef flavour Hula Hoops. It was very delicious, and the best thing is that I have all the ingredients to duplicate it again tonight !

 Apart from enjoying my super special salad, and the grilled vegetables and chicken, I found last night to be boring and sort of depressing. Fortunately I had two distractions. Firstly I washed and conditioned my hair. When my hair was dry enough to rest it on my pillow I went to bed with a book. The good news is that the three books I had ordered online turned up yesterday, and they should keep me amused for a few boring days and nights. I didn't read for all that long last night because I felt a bit tired.

 I have no idea what time I turned out the light, but it is possible I was asleep just before 9pm. I seemed to sleep quite well until 4am, although I did get up for a wee at least once before then. From 4am it felt more like I was day dreaming instead of normal dreaming. In fact I was doing a bit of both, but it seemed impossible to tell the two apart - apart from when I opened my eyes to check the time. I assume I was awake when I did that. I had loads of very strange dreams. Some I could attribute to past events, or stuff seen on TV, but one was very bizzare. I dreamed that I had a bat living/roosting in my kitchen. It was a strange bat in as much as it was white, and incredibly thin. When I first saw it I saw it clinging to the wall. I tried to open a window to let it fly out, but instead it disappeared into it's nest. It was a most elaborate woven nest made out of something like raffia. I had no idea where it could have got the material from, and how it got it into the kitchen. I also had no idea why I had not noticed it before. Towards the end of that dream I think I woke up, but continued it as a day dream.

 It was as that dream was coming to an end that I became aware that my chest felt very scrunched up where I was almost sleeping on my chest. Upon straightening myself out a bit I thought that I had triggered off my "twisted rib" problem, but apparently not, although I decided I should get up rather than risk making it worse. I think I got up at about 4.40am, or 20 minutes before I had to. I wasn't sure how good I felt. My nose felt very bunged up, but that eventually cleared, and I was just left with a general feeling of somewhere between good and bad - delicate but not actually in pain. That is how I still feel - more or less. I did feel lacking in energy as I came to work, although I did manage to push myself quite hard to reach top speed for the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo. It left me feeling a bit puffed, and gently knackered !

 I want to go in Tesco on the way home, but it is probably just pure gluttony. I already have everything I need for my dinner tonight - plus a selection of snacks that I shouldn't really be eating. My concern is that I might need something for tomorrow night, or the night after. It is, now I remember that today is only Tuesday, the night after that concerns me. That will be Thursday night, and I really ought to make some sort of effort to go drinking with the Thursday night lads again. That will mean I won't be able to get any shopping in that night - unless it is a takeaway, but I would like to avoid that.
Visit Florida - NO
                          WAY !!!!!
 At Waterloo station they were trying to persuade people to go to Florida for some reason. If Donald Trump wasn't so paranoid about "furriners" I would assume they were trying to recruit orange pickers at a dollar a day. I can't believe they want tourists. Not in a country so terrified that anyone born outside the USA must be a terrorist. I have no idea why they were there. Perhaps they were just trying to flog tatty looking palm trees or something/
Monday 16th January 2017
 09:51 GMT
  It was certainly cold yesterday morning, but I don't think it was cold enough for a frost, and it wasn't cold enough for any rain to fall as snow. I can't actually recall if there was much rain, but it was certainly a very grey day - so I didn't go out, and tried to avoid looking out the window ! By early evening the temperature had risen from about 4° C to the forecasted 7° C. During the night the temperature fell back to 4 or 5° C. Maybe it would have gone lower, but what little heat there was, was trapped by thick clouds. Those clouds have been dropping rain on us from before I woke up (I think), and the forecast says they will continue to do so until this afternoon. From about 2pm it should be dry, but it is still going to be very grey, and the temperature will still only be 5° C. During the evening the clouds will thin out, and the temperature may drop low enough for a frost, but on the plus side it should be a bright and sunny day tomorrow. It's just a shame that the highest temperature may only be 4° C.

 The big thing on Saturday was the party in the evening. I mentioned that I felt some reluctance to go to it when I wrote yesterday afternoon. I acted as if I was going to go almost up to the time I would have been leaving to get there, but at the last minute I thought "why am I doing this ?".  There didn't seem to be any point in going there if I didn't expect to enjoy myself, and if I had forced myself to go it would only be because it would be embarrassing to have to say that I just didn't fancy going out. Maybe it was a wrong decision, and I might have enjoyed myself if I had made the effort to get there, but I decided I had to do what felt right to me. That was to have to healthy(ish) dinner I had already cooked for myself, and to get to bed when I felt like it - which was probably hours earlier than many who did go to the party.

 I mentioned that I had made a better long term temporary repair to my bed, and wondered if it would make any difference to my sleep. It seems it did. Yesterday morning I couldn't rule out it wasn't just coincidence, but this morning suggests that it was indeed a real effect, and that reducing a sag of little more than an inch and a bit in the left hand centre of the mattress did make me sleep better. So I got up yesterday morning raring to go. Actually I didn't, but I may have felt less sleepy, and possibly a bit less achey. Unfortunately the greyness outside, and the chill that seemed to be seeping into the house, removed any enthusiasm to do anything at all. It was all rather depressing really.

 In the end there was one significant thing I did do. It turned out to be a rather unpleasant task, but it was one possibility I had considered, and knew just had to be done. It concerned the slow rehabilitation of my back room from being little more than a junk room, to once again a dining room - not that I actually need a dining room (although for a while I thought it might be a good idea when entertaining someone). The recent work has involved being rather more ruthless that I have ever been at throwing out stuff that has been cluttering the top, and underneath the dining table.

 I had already got a lot of stuff out from underneath the dining table, and thrown it away, but I knew I was approaching something potentially unpleasant - and I was right. Once upon a time I had a mouse infestation, and I didn't manage to cure it until I stop putting down poison bait, which the mice seemed to thrive on, and put down old fashioned, traditional mouse traps. I caught a few mice that way, and the signs that I had a mouse problem seemed to go away. It seems likely that one mouse avoided being caught, and it was living under a cardboard box that was right at the back under the dining room table. Yesterday I moved that box to reveal one long dead, mummified mouse, plenty of dropping, and what were probably the husks of maggots that had turned to flies. Fortunately nothing was moving, and everything was dry as a bone. So it was easy to hoover up.

 I didn't do anything significant after that unpleasant job. A few inconsequential jobs were just a bit of housekeeping on my PC - including adding a few more tracks to the 2,332 that I keep in a fold called "psuedo radio". I play them using random play, and with around 145 hours worth of music in that folder I get less repeats than most, if not all radio stations. For a bit more entertainment I watched the film "The Martian". It was quite a good film, although I didn't like the ending. Well, maybe not the ending, but I would have enjoyed it more if our here had a few more triumphs, and less disasters. I guess that the disasters were needed to make it "exciting", but there is more than one way to triumph !

 I was very curious to find out how I would sleep again last night, but I seemed to take ages to get to sleep. I just didn't seem to feel tired when I got into bed - again ! Eventually I got to sleep, and while I woke up several times in the night, I did seem to sleep quite comfortably, and this morning I had the rare treat (?) of having to be woken up by my alarm. I did feel sort of good, and that was to be quite a good idea later. "Sort of good" is not to be confused with actually feeling good in a pain and ache-less way, but I did feel better than what seems to be normal these days.

 I still have a slight tendency to cough now and then, and I still need to blow my nose every now and then, but I think this is about normal for me - particularly in the winter. I thought that the gyrations of having a shower were going to trigger off some chest pain, but apart from a brief twinge or two I seem to be free of chest pain for the moment. This was all good because I needed maximum stamina and stuff this morning.

 There was a bit of a cockup on the railway this morning. Over running engineering works at Hither Green meant that no trains could get to London from the Grove Park depot. The first two (or three ?) Charing Cross trains in the morning, and that includes the one I normally get, were cancelled. The first train to Charing Cross came by some long route, and used the spur from Beckenham Junction to New Beckenham to form a service from New Beckenham to Charing Cross. That train was due at 06:59, but it finally arrived 32 minutes late. In the meantime, a train for Cannon Street arrived, and gave a good idea what my journey might be like !
full up, and the
                          doors haven't even opened yet
This gives an idea of how full that first train to Canon Street was. The doors had just opened, but it's already standing room from one end of the carriage to the other.
move down inside
Some stupid people kept shouting "move down inside !" without appreciating there was nowhere for anyone to move down to. The train was packed solid from end to end !
mind the doors
People continued to try and push their way on board, and stood in the doorways as the driver tried to close the doors. The driver tried three times to close the doors, and only on the third attempt did he manage it so the train could get underway. There was a little confusion as to whether the train I finally got was the one that had come via the spur from Beckenham Junction, or one that had finally made it to Hayes (Kent) before heading back up the line towards Catford Bridge. I was tempted to go for the second train because it was only five minutes behind the train I was on. It possibly would have had the advantage of being less packed, and may have even got to London faster by bypassing Lewisham station - which my train did stop at.
the train I
                              wanted to get, and the train I got from
Here's a couple of screenshots I've stuck together. On the left, taken at 07:32, is a screenshot of my train from Catford Bridge showing had arrived 32 minutes late ! On the right is a screenshot taken at 08:07 showing that even when I got to Waterloo my troubles were not over. The first train I could get was the 08:03, and as you can see it departed 3 minutes late. Compared to what had gone on before it was small fry, but even so.........

 In theory I will be making up the time for being in late at work this morning, and I probably will - a minute here, a minute all adds up ! I had two plans for tonight when I leave work. One was to go into Tesco and buy something terribly important - but I have no idea what it was. The second was to go in Poundland, and once again I haven#t the faintest idea why. Maybe it was an alternative source of whatever it was I might have bought from Tesco. Overall it is probably going to be a very boring is possible that I might have a couple more books being delivered today. If so then I can confidently predict that I will be spending a fair bit of the evening laying on my bed reading !

Saturday 14th January 2017
 15:30 GMT
  Yesterday's weather was closer to the earlier forecast than to the forecast issued in the morning. The earlier forecast, issued the night before, said that at 9am there would be a mixture of sunshine, dark clouds and snow. The later forecast just said it would be a bit grey. In reality it did snow, but it was an hour later at 10am. There was some sunshine yesterday, but it was less than the forecast seemed to suggest. The bit the forecast got right was the temperature. It barely got above 4° C all day, and soon fell away after sunset. It felt like a very cold night, and it seemed difficult keeping my room warm. This morning it was below zero outside (it was over 20° C in my bedroom, but rather less in the bathroom !). Most of the morning was lightly overcast, but this afternoon has seen some sunny spells. It is still a very cold day. The current temperature is only just over 4° C. The temperature is expected to fall to just 1 or 2° C by sunrise tomorrow. Then the temperature is supposed to climb to a whole 7° C. The penalty for that is that it is going to be an exceptionally wet day. Heavy rain is expected from sunrise to beyond sunset ! I wouldn't be surprised if the first rain didn't fall as snow !

 I didn't feel too bad at work yesterday. I would have been happier if I had managed to get my office a bit warmer, but it was mostly OK. My chest didn't seem to give me any trouble once my room was a bit warmer than when I first moaned about it yesterday. I can't seem to remember what it was now, but when I first left work to walk to the station I didn't feel too comfortable....actually I think it was my left ankle that felt a bit stiff, and later on, once it wasn't, it was the sole of my left foot that felt less than comfortable. That latter discomfort was very intermittent, and I think it depended on how cold the road was.

 On the way home I went into Tesco and bought some stuff. I didn't want to do a proper shop because I only had a couple of medium sized bags with me - neither of which I wanted to trust with big bottle of Diet Coke. I did trust them with some cans of soup though, but most of what I bought was a lot lighter. Much of what I bought was semi or completely healthy (until drowned in mayonnaise or worse).

 One item, that made for a bloatworthy end to my dinner, was most definitely not healthy. I regret buying it, and I regret eating it now, but it had a reduced price sticker on it, and I was feeling curious...and, until reality kicked in, nostalgic too. The item was billed as bread and butter pudding. I assumed it would be like the bread and butter pudding my mum used to make. She made it from old, stale bread, crusts and all, along with sultanas, and some spice - probably nutmeg, but it could have been something else.  Tesco's version was made with fresh white bread and loads of egg custard sprinkled with sultanas. It was very nice, but absolutely nothing like I hoped it would be. I shall avoid it in future on three counts - Even at reduced price it was rather expensive, it is not bread and butter pudding as I know it, and lastly, I didn't check but it was obvious it was heaving with calories and sugar. Very nice though !

 I don't think I can blame it all on feeling bloated, although undoubtedly that was a significant thing, but I felt rather rough last night. It was more like a partial relapse of my recent cold. Maybe I was even running a temperature. I hadn't thought of that until just now, but it would explain why I couldn't seem to get my room warm enough. Not only that but my nose got very twitchy again, and I was coughing a lot.

 It didn't bode well for a good nights sleep, but in fact I didn't sleep too badly last night. I can't quite remember when I went to bed, but I think it was before 9pm. I woke too many times in the night, sometimes for a wee, and sometimes not, but as far as I can recall, I was able to get back to sleep fairly quickly. Best of all was that I managed to get back to sleep at times when I would often give up, and get up. It was well past 6am, maybe almost 7am when I finally decided I would get up.

 There wasn't that much I wanted to do this morning, but going to Aldi for some proper shopping was one of two things. It took a fair amount of discipline to get around Aldi without buying naughty stuff. Of course I partly failed as would be expected. My weakness this time was for a couple of little packs of Sushi - one fish, and the other vegetable. I'm not sure how naughty they actually are. All that rice is not that good for me. All the carbohydrate in it turns to sugar under the influence of enzymes in the gut. I suspect that Sushi has a lot of salt in it, but while salt is bad for people with heart conditions, like myself, they still used to give me a couple of sachets of it when I was in hospital - which I dutifully used to leave untouched. My salt consumption is probably quite low compared to some.

Greek style chicken according to the
                        lore of AldiMuch of what I bought was salad and vegetables - very healthy until I ruin them with dressings and/or cheese ! I did buy some solid Parmesan cheese to use instead of Cheddar. I doubt it is a lot healthier, but in theory it is so strong that you use less....maybe ! One bit of meat I bought I bought out of curiosity. It is the "Greek Style" chicken chunks pictured on the left. Having eaten it I am left wondering what is so "Greek style" about it. It has some herbs and garlic flavouring, but the one flavour that stands out is Lemon oil, and that gives hints of Thai food to my warped pallet !

 In theory I have now eaten enough for the day - except for a late night snack. That late night snack, if I can resist eating it a lot sooner, is some roasted winter vegetables. At least that is what is says on the packet, but at least half of it is carrots, and I don't consider carrots to be particularly wintry.

 Before I forget.....the second thing I did today was to wash three work shirts, two t-shirts, and some underwear. I thought I had better add that before anyone thought I was completely lazy today. Today I am only mostly lazy. Actually I did one other potentially important/useful thing. I have repaired my bed - sort of. My bed, being modern (as in less than 35 years old) is a typical cheap and nasty bit of furniture. It is made from cheap wood, wood glue, and staples. Quite a few years ago one of the joints came apart. I did a temporary repair, and it has held together ever since, but one side did say a little in the middle. Today I have made an improved temporary repair. I have added a bigger wedge to support it, and now it shouldn't sag. In theory I will sleep a lot better now, but I bet I won't !

 I don't feel terribly keen to go, but I have an invite to a party tonight. It is a big party being held in a small hall or working man's club (I'm not sure exactly). So it may be less claustrophobic than many parties, and I think it is possible that the private party that Chain will be playing at will be this party. So I ought to try and get there. If I was feeling fit, which I am not, it is within walking distance - less than 2 miles, maybe 1.5 miles. I think I'll probably get a bus, but maybe I'll walk back if I have enough booze. I assume that there will be a proper bar there, but once again I know little about the venue. I can't even picture it despite knowing the road it is on quite well. In theory I will be eating my roasted vegetables after I get home from the party.
Friday 13th January 2017
 08:19 GMT
  There  was an awful lot of weather yesterday ! It was very grey, very, dim, very depressing all day long. Until about 4pm the temperature was in the region of 5° C. After that it quickly fell towards zero. It may have been before midday before the first rain fell. It didn't take long for the rain to become very heavy, although maybe not torrential, but certainly heavy enough to cause some big puddles, and to soak anyone not wearing full waterproofs right through to the skin.
a wet and soggy
                          Waterloo East yesterday
 The extent of the rain is not really obvious in this picture I took at Waterloo East on my way home from work, but believe me, there was plenty of rain to soak not only me, but everyone else in the picture too ! I took the picture around 16:05 while waiting for the slightly delayed 16:05 train (which rather unusually came in on platform C instead of platform A). Half an hour later I was home, and the temperature was dropping fast.

 It wasn't long after 5pm that the temperature had fallen low enough for the rain to turn to sleet. By 6pm the sleet had turned to snow, and not long after that it was settling on any drained surface (tops of cars, fence posts, and even on some parts of the ground). After a couple of attempts to grab a picture of the snow using my pocket sized cameras I got out my big Canon DSLR camera with the F1.8 lens. That took a nice sharp picture of the snow swirling around, and on cars.
snow !
 I think the snow stopped falling by, or very soon after 7pm, but the temperature stayed close to freezing, and some of the snow on the cars survived overnight. It was 0.3° C when I got up this morning. I am surprised it wasn't a lot lower because the sky was very clear, and the full moon looked very big, bright, and sharp in the clear black sky. Today is forecast to be mostly clear and sunny, but the temperature is going to stay very low. 4° C is the highest forecast today, and once the sun has set the temperature will fall away to 0° C or lower. It wasn't always going to be like this......
an earlier forecast
                          for today, Fri 13th Jan 2017
 The curious thing forecast for today was supposed to happen at 09:00. Look very carefully at the little pictogram for the weather at 09:00. It shows black clouds, sunshine, and snow. How diverse is that !! The latest version of the forecast shows it will just be sunny at 09:00, but otherwise the rest of the forecast is similar to this screenshot taken yesterday evening.

 I had a fairly rotten time at work yesterday. For some reason my chest was really playing up. From time to time it did seem as if it might well be something more serious than my usual "twisted rib", but even if it was, and maybe more so if it was, the idea of going home in almost freezing rain seemed like a very bad thing to do. Of course there was no choice but to put my best foot forward, grit my teeth, and step out into the rain when home time came around.

 The rain was very cold, and very wet. It seemed sensible to reduce my exposure to it by getting a bus, but the old rules of fate, or Sods law still applied. Anytime I actually want a bus there are no buses in sight here in Earlsfield. I did wait under the shelter of the bus stop for nearly 15 seconds before giving up and walking the rest of the way to the station. It got me a little wetter, but I was at the station before a bus came in sight. I just missed a train when I got to the station, and I had to wait 3 minutes for the next one. That meant my time would be a bit tight when I got to Waterloo.

 Walking to the station in the pouring rain felt OK, apart from the obvious discomfort of walking in cold rain. I wasn't sure how it would feel rushing across the link from Waterloo to Waterloo East. That can be, and usually is, a bit energetic ! With just about 4 minutes to do it in if I wasn't to miss my train, I couldn't afford to mess about, and walked as fast as I could. Once I got to the other end of the link I realised I could have been a bit more relaxed about it. My train was about 6 minutes late, and just for a change it was going to depart from platform C instead of platform A - a fact I realised before I wasted my energy going down to the wrong platform.

 All that rushing around raised my breathing rate, and probably my heart rate too, but I didn't feel any worse for it. I wondered how I would feel when I got off the nice warm train, and had to walk through the rain to home. Once again I felt wet, but fine. In fact I felt pretty good all evening. It was almost as if I had finally got over my cold. I hadn't, but it felt like it. One of the first things I wanted was some hot food. Yet another large can of Cassolet* was the perfect stuff to line my stomach with hot food. In theory that should have been sufficient for the whole evening, but I fancied more, and had a steak with mushrooms. As usual I have to confess that I had a snack or two as well.

* Cassolet is the spelling on the can (at least I think it is) - Cassoulet is the spelling Wikipedia uses.

 I didn't really do anything of any great significance last night, and I intended to get a nice early night. For some reason that escapes me, I didn't get to bed, and turn out the light until 9pm. It didn't take long to get to sleep, and to my amazement I slept better than I have for ages. I have a couple of dream like memories, which have so little substance that they could almost have really been dreams, of going for a pee in the night, but other than that I slept right through until 4.30am. Maybe that was all the sleep I needed because there was no obvious reason why I should wake up half an hour early.

 I woke up feeling all bunged up again. I only had to blow my nose a couple of times to clear that, but once again I had to do a lot of coughing before it felt like my airways were clear. After that I felt fine until I went for a shower. As I went through the motions of rubbing on shower gel, and then rinsing it off, I managed to make my chest go pop or click, or something....All I know is that all the arm movements got my chest aching, and it has been aching to some extent or another ever since !

 The only time my chest ache was not apparent was while I was rushing around coming to work, but now I have been sitting at my desk for some time my chest is aching just like it did yesterday. I feel it wouldn't be so bad if it wasn't so cool in here. It was nice and warm in here yesterday, but today it is almost, but not quite chilly. At any other time, and more so if I were doing anything requiring more than a modicum of physical effort, it would probably be a comfortable temperature, but it's not for just typing !

 I have no plans for tonight. I may go home via Tesco if the mood grabs me, but I don't really need to just yet - although if I don't I will have to go to Aldi in the morning. I think I will mostly have a quiet night, possibly getting slowly drunk on whisky, and I may, or may not, be in bed nice and early tonight. Tomorrow is another day - probably another boring day - but you never know...
Thursday 12th January 2017
 08:15 GMT
  While it was quite sunny yesterday, the sun did little to raise the temperature - just as the forecast predicted. Oddly enough, it didn't feel quite so cool in Catford compared to here in Earlsfield. In general terms, the afternoon temperature was in the region of 6 - 7° C, or about a degree and a bit lower than the morning. Things get more interesting today !
snow forecast
 The big feature today, and one that has survived several revisions of the forecast, is snow.  At the moment it is about 6° C, and it is very dull. An hour or two after midday will see some rain start to fall. It is forecast to be heavy rain once it gets going properly. The most recent forecast says that at about 5pm (it was 6pm in earlier forecasts) the slightly warm air carrying all the moisture, which it will be dumping on us as rain, will run into some freezing cold air coming the other way. That cold air will turn the rain to snow, and for a couple of hours heavy snow is forecast. After that it will just be cold. Tomorrow may well only be 4° C, at best, but it might be bright and sunny.....or it might snow even more.
a gloomy start to my
                          working day
 I took the above picture at roughly the same time, but a few yards nearer work than the picture I showed yesterday, but essentially it is the same view except for the absence of a nice cheery glow on the eastern horizon. As I write this it is now daylight, but it is a very gloomy, and grey sort of daylight. It's all very depressing.

 I didn't feel all that bad at work yesterday. Even my chest was fairly well behaved (barring the odd twinge). That sort of surprised me. I didn't even feel particularly tired most of the time, and that too was a surprise after the bad night's sleep I got. Although, having said that, there was one particular time when it would have been very tempting to let myself go, and doze off in front of my PC.

 Going home from work wasn't really stressful even when I had to rush a bit to make sure I managed to catch the 16:05 train at Waterloo East. While it wasn't stressful it brought no joy apart from the knowledge I was going home. I must admit that is a generalisation. There were a few seconds, maybe 30 of them, that did bring some enjoyment. As I walked to the station, here in Earlsfield, there is a short bit of road, on an "S" bend where there is a slightly clear view towards the west. I could see some blue sky there, and small crack in some clouds allowed some bright shafts of light to shine through. Somebody, maybe miles away, would have seen on of those shafts of light as sunshine.

 I had my rucksack with me on the way home. I was using it to carry some stuff I had ordered online, and had delivered to work. It included a new pair of jeans that, as I found out later, I can barely get into while I feel so fat and bloated. Had I not been carrying that ruck sack I would have gone home via Tesco to get some shopping. What I did instead was to make a small detour via the corner shop a couple of hundred feet (or yards ?) up the road from where I live. I bought some Diet Coke, and also bought a magazine as well as something that I regretted after trying on those new jeans - a small bar of chocolate.

 It seems like I really do need to pull my finger out and stabilise my weight, or preferably lose some weight. It is not easy to do in the cold gloomy days, and my break up with Angela does not put me in a happy mood ! (I say "break up" because it is easier than trying to explain how we just seemed to drift apart - probably through my lack of action or something). I find it hard to judge whether I ate less or more than, say, the night before. My desire for something instant and hot lead me to open a large can of "Chinese style hot pot" (as if such a thing could ever exist).

 It was basically a thinnish meaty gravy with lots of rice floating about in it, along with a few slivers of vegetables (including those black slimy mushrooms the Chinese use). It was like something you might make using leftovers from a Chinese takeaway, and yet at Aldi, a year or two back, they had hundreds of gallons of the stuff in large cans. I didn't dare check it's nutritional values because I was scared about how much sugar was likely to be in it. The second part of my dinner was some roast Mediterranean vegetables. They would have been far more wholesome if I hadn't melted some extra cheese on them, and then given that a very generous squirt of mayonnaise. Then there was that little chocolate bar, and some assorted nuts. I doubt I lost any weight last night !

 By 7.30pm I was feeling very tired. Too tired to even watch TV. So I brushed my teeth, and went to bed. I thought I might read for a while, but once I was in bed it seemed like I was so tired that I could fall asleep easily - and I did ! Two hours later I woke up feeling half refreshed, and half creaky. I couldn't get to sleep again for a while so I did my reading then for 30 - 40 minutes. I also poured myself a large whisky because it seemed like a good idea. Eventually I got back to sleep, but it was a very lumpy sleep. As well as waking up for a pee once or twice, I also woke up to find my pillow, and the sheet near the pillow saturated with sweat, and I also woke up twice with cramp in my calves.

 Overall it was not a great night's sleep. I'm not sure what the sweating episode was all about. It didn't seem particularly warm in my in my bedroom last night. I could blame it on the extra hot chilli sauce I had on my dinner much earlier, or I could blame it on another bit of fever as I throw off the last bit of this cold I still have in a weakened form. My nose may have mostly dried up, but my cough goes on - although mainly at night. My airways seemed to be partly blocked again this morning, and I had to cough up quite a few lumps of mucus before I could breathe freely, or mostly freely again.

 Now I am at work I feel worse than before I left home. It's a return to a series of aches that could be considered as something like you might have with 'flu, but with some added chest ache too. I also had an interesting pain in my side too. It was probably a kidney, or my liver about to explode. I can't work out where it was exactly because it seems to have gone now. Looking on the bright side, my legs don't hurt where the muscles all cramped up in the night.

 Tonight I should be going for a drink with the Thursday night drinkers, but I probably won't. For one thing, I don't feel terribly sociable right now. The other, and more practical thing is that I can seem to find any pleasure in making my way to Beckenham in the middle of heavy rain, and rain turning to sleet. Coming back in heavy snow would probably be very exciting, but I have bad memories of getting caught in heavy snow when I worked in Beckenham. All the buses came to a halt, and I had to walk half way home from there. I was a lot fitter then, but it was still a huge relief when I finally found a bus moving that could get me to Catford. I doubt I could walk a quarter of the way home in my present condition without dying ! I think, that on balance, I will stick to being unsociable, or miserable as some would say, and go straight home to revel in my solitude.
Wednesday 11th January 2017
 08:22 GMT
  I don't think I can remember any significant sunny spells yesterday. Maybe there was a very short one to validate the forecast, but which escaped my attention. My impression is that it was generally a grey day, but also a mild day. I think the temperature may have flirted with 10° C for a while, but mostly it was 8 - 9° C. The forecast said that this morning would be 10° C, but I reckon it was only 8° C. The temperature is supposed to drop during the day, and it could be a couple of degrees lower by sunset. That's despite it being a fairly bright day with some sunny intervals. I can see quite a lot of blue sky as I write this, and so the idea of sunny spells does not seem unlikely today. Tomorrow may only reach 5° C, and it is going to be very overcast. There is a possibility of snow in the evening tomorrow !
the sun just about
                          to rise over Earlsfield
  I made it into work this morning. Before I went into work I turned around to take one last look at freedom. Like many cameras, and in this case it was my new (secondhand) Fuji XP71, it has made the sky look brighter, and bluer than what my eyes saw. It almost looks like the sun is peeping above the buildings in the distance, but that is just the camera being over exposed by the brightness of the sky where the sun is about to rise. The camera has captured the yellow glare of the streetlights OK.

 I carried on doing some light cleaning up work yesterday. I made a microscopic improvement in the corner of my bedroom, and a useful improvement in my back room (the room that once again, sometime in the future, may be my dining room). I now have two heavy duty bib liners full of junk, and nowhere to put them until the wheelie bin is emptied tomorrow (or Friday). I could have filled a third bag if I had carried on, and that would have totally cleared all the junk from under the dining table except for a CRT computer monitor. I am in two minds whether to dispose of that or not. I am inclined to keep it, but I have no idea where.

 Some of the stuff I threw away probably made my eyes water more than the remnants of my cold. Apart from that, I didn't feel all that bad yesterday, although I didn't feel good enough to get out the house again. It was a case of just doing everything slowly with frequent rests. I almost felt good enough to be careful about what I ate, and indeed I only moderately overate except for...(no, let's forget about that !).

 I went to bed feeling almost normal, and amazingly enough I didn't start to cough until I had been in bed for a good 10 - 15 minutes. In theory I should have been able to fall asleep quite quickly, but it didn't happen. I felt both restless and sleepy at the same time. In the end I had a very poor night's sleep. I woke up frequently - sometimes for a pee, sometimes because I felt too hot, sometimes because I felt too cold, and sometimes because I was having dreams I didn't like. Those dreams were about Angela. I'm not sure what is happening with Angela. I haven't seen her once this year, and we have had very little communication. I think we have drifted apart or something. I should fight it, but I don't feel strong enough to do so, and to be honest it just feels normal to be on my own. Normal, but not what I would prefer.

 When it was time to get up this morning I felt pretty rough. It felt like one of my lungs had a cork in it, and I was coughing for some time before what must have been a partial plug of mucus shifted. After that I could breathe OK, but I still didn't feel that wonderful. Nevertheless, I went through the motions of getting ready for work, and eventually set out to the station.

 I think I would have much preferred going back to bed instead of getting on a packed, hot, and stuffy train, and standing all the way to Waterloo East. It was a relief to get off the train again. Then I had to do the mad dash across the link to Waterloo mainline station. I was a bit apprehensive about that, but it was far easier than I imagined. I don't know if it did any damage that wasn't apparent at the time, but I found the walk from Earlsfield station to work to be quite taxing. It was a relief to get into work, and it was also a relief to find that the heating was still on as I had left it when I finished work last Thursday.

 Now I am sitting down in the warm I feel......not that wonderful. I seem to have a headache for some reason, and I feel tired - both in the sleepy, and weary senses. To add to it all, I seem to need to clear my throat, sometimes quite powerfully, quite frequently. Hopefully that will settle down soon because some of the more powerful coughs really hurt my operation scar and stuff.

 I think it will be very nice when the work day is over, and I can head for home. It will probably be even nicer to actually get home. I have no plans for tonight. I was thinking of getting some shopping on the way home, but I had two Amazon orders waiting for me when I got to work - a pair of jeans, and some spare belts - and carrying them home is enough for me. So tonight I think I'll be living on canned food (maybe not), and doing very, very little !
Tuesday 10th January 2017
 10:55 GMT
  The forecast said it would start to rain at midday yesterday, and to my surprise, it did ! During the morning there were a few brief sunny spells, and if it wasn't for the wind it might have even felt quite mild. Unfortunately the wind was a bit gusty, and made it feel a bit chilly. The afternoon was mostly wet, although I don't think the rain was as heavy as the forecast seemed to suggest it was.  I think the outside temperature was closer to 8° C than the 9° C that was forecast for the morning, but the afternoon temperature probably was around the forecast 10° C. Today has started off grey, but mild. The forecast says there should be some sunny spells, but that looks unlikely at the moment. The current temperature is about 8° C, but it is supposed to rise to 9° C soon. Tomorrow is forecast to be as warm as 11° C, but it will probably be very grey with a small chance of a sprinkle of rain in the morning.

 I felt most determined to go out for a breath of fresh air yesterday. As I mentioned yesterday, I didn't want to go too far in case I felt crap. In the end I decided to take the two new cameras I bought to test them on Catford station. Catford station sees a greater variety of trains going through it than Catford Bridge. The only downside is that, being on an embankment, it is more exposed than Catford Bridge station. I may have spent as much as an hour there, and I felt both good and bad.

 The bad was that it felt a little cooler than I anticipated, and that might, but probably didn't trigger the occasional cough I got. The wind sometimes made my eyes water a bit, and so from time to time I had to blow my nose, but on the whole my nose felt much clearer than it has lately. Even the occasional cough didn't seem to be any big thing. I guess that after an hour I was beginning to feel like a sit down, or even a lie down would have been good, but it was quite a productive hour.
class 319 train
The first train I spotted snapped was this very common class 319 Thameslink train.
Southeastern class 375 train
Heading in the other direction, towards Dover, I think, was this Southeastern trains class 375 train in Southeastern hi-speed livery.
brand new class 700 Thameslink train
If there was one good reason to go out photographing trains yesterday, it was to get this snap. It's not a terribly good snap, but it shows one of Thameslink's brand new, not yet in passenger service, class 700 trains on a test/driver training run. If I understand the plans correctly, these will take over Thameslink services to Sevenoaks, and possibly a new Thameslink service to Dartford too.
class 377 Thameslink service from
                          Sevenoaks approaching Catford
An 8 car Thameslink service from Sevenoaks approaching Catford. The 4 car unit on the front is in Thameslink's latest livery. The rear 4 cars are in old Southern livery with a Thameslink sticker over it !
very late running class 319
Somewhere up the line towards Blackfriars station (or possibly beyond it) there was some trouble that caused some big delays to services going to Sevenoaks. This class 319 train was 38 minutes late - which means it held up the train that was originally due 30 minutes after it. That second train arrived about 10 - 15 minutes late.
Southeastern class 465/9 approaching
                          Catford station from the south
A Southeastern class 465 train approaching Catford station from somewhere in Kent to Victoria.

 All these pictures, and quite a few more, can be seen in high resolution right here -

 At midday it started to rain - just as the forecast predicted - which was astonishing !! Initially it was very light rain, and rather intermittent. I wish I had hung on for just 2 minutes longer on the platform. Just as I left the station a single class 47 diesel loco made it's way through the station. I could have tried to get a snap of it as it crossed the viaduct, but I couldn't get a camera ready in time. Incidentally, the better of the two cameras I tried was the Fuji XP71. That was the more expensive of the pair I bought. I was quite impressed with it's pictures. I was less impressed with the cheaper of the two (just £20 !), the Nikon L29. It seemed to favour longer exposure times through a smaller aperture. That produces a better depth of field at the expense of more motion blur - just what you don't need when photographing anything that moves.

 After I left the station it was only spitting with rain, and even that was only intermittent. So I decided to wander down to the Pound Shop to get some more Eucalyptus and Black Pepper shower gel. I was dubious about it the first time I bought some. I thought it would smell like a sick room, but somehow it seems to have a slightly hippy-ish small about it. They seemed to be running out, and so I bought 3 bottles of it. I hope that first bottle wasn't just a fluke !

 I didn't do much for the rest of the afternoon except photo editing and eating. I probably did other stuff too, but they were the most significant things until the evening when I washed my hair. I was feeling fairly good for much of the time, or I was once I had eaten some hot food. Prior to that my chest was hurting a bit. I decided to wash my hair because I thought that I was well on the way to recovery, and would be well enough to go to work today.

 It all went wrong as soon as I got into bed and laid down. Within minutes I had started coughing, and occasionally it was a throaty cough as well as a dry throat, tickly cough. I guess it was a plus point that initially my nose remained fairly clear, but eventually all that coughing got my nose running again. It didn't feel like I had got any better at all !

 I had gone to bed just a little later than my intended 9pm, but it was gone midnight before I managed to get to sleep. I woke up several time during the course of the night, but the time I woke at around 3am was the most significant. I thought that I might have had a fever the night before, but this morning I most definitely did. I didn't sweat like I did the night before, but I did feel very shivery, and I turned the heating on full to warm myself up.

 That fever was not the best I've had, but like most fever's it seemed to do some good. I slept better after I managed to warm up, and this morning I almost felt good enough to go to work. Maybe I might have done if I didn't wake up two hours too late. I'm sort of glad that I didn't try and be the hero this morning because I am not fully recovered quite yet. For instance, in the last 10 minutes I seem to have got a very dry tickly throat again.

 Other than that, I don't feel too bad, and in one respect I feel sort of good. I actually felt like doing some stuff this morning. I've emptied a few waste bins, and I've done all the washing up. I have also made a little progress cleaning up my back room. I am not sure what inspired me to do it, but that small bit of progress added up to half a bin liner full of junk, and a quite a lot of my old dining table becoming visible, and lightly cleaned. There is still a hell of a lot of clearing up to do in there, and I really ought to be finishing the front room first, but maybe I might do a little more this afternoon - but not much because the wheelie bin is almost full !
Monday 9th January 2017
 07:30 GMT
  It stayed mild and rather damp through the night, and this morning I woke up to it being about 8° C. That was roughly what it was when I went to bed. Like last night it looks very damp outside, but it doesn't seem to raining. Rain is expected after midday as this screenshot shows ....
the expected weather
                          for today
 It doesn't seem like it will be very nice today, although the temperature staying up near 10° C is good. It seems if I am to do anything outside today, I will have to do it before midday. One less obvious good thing is that the weather information shows sunset to be at 16:11. That is still far too early, but at least it shows the days are getting longer. Nearer the solstice, if I recall correctly, sunset was 15:52, and possibly earlier. It is a shame that sunrise takes so long to catch up. It is getting earlier, but only by seconds instead of minutes - or that's what it feels like.

 It was with some trepidation that I went to bed last night. My head felt as if it was full of snot, and my cough was quite annoying - particularly when laying down. It seemed that I would never get to sleep feeling so uncomfortable, but I did, and quite quickly too. I am unsure if it was a good or bad idea, but I left the heating on in my bedroom when I went to bed. It was quite warm in there, and while that made me feel better in many respects, it did feel too warm under the duvet.

 While I was asleep I must have pulled the duvet fully around me. Maybe that was because I had a fever and was feeling cold. I will never know what it was now, but I woke up three (or four ?) hours after getting into bed with my pillow soaked with sweat, and the duvet and sheet cold and wet in some places. The cold and wet obviously didn't feel very nice, but I took it as a good sign. I hope I had slept through a fierce fever because it would have been good at burning up the bugs causing my cold.

 There are some hints that it may have done just that. I still feel pretty crappy this morning, but I am sure I feel less crappy. My nose is still filling up with mucus, and I am still coughing, but it feels like both are becoming less and less intrusive now. If I marshal all my powers of imagination I can just about believe that the rest of my body, with the exception of my chest, is also feeling much better. Paradoxically, my chest actually feels more sore and stiff this morning than it has in the last 36 hours.

 I did give some thought to being a hero and going into work today. There are a couple of reasons why it would have been a good idea, as I mentioned yesterday, but I think allowing a bit more time to get over this cold is a good idea, plus if it turns out that I really do feel a bit better there are things I would like to do that involve not being at work. Admittedly most of those things revolve around testing my body on a short walk - in such a manner that I can quickly come back into the warm if it turns out my body feels crap in the fresh air.

 It does seem to me that I haven't had to blow my nose for at least 5 minutes now. That must be some sort of record. It almost gives me confidence that I am getting better. On the other hand it might just be because I am not laying down in bed. Sooner or later I must go and have a shower, and see how I feel after that.
Sunday 8th January 2017
 19:02 GMT

  It didn't seem like the temperature dropped very far after sunset yesterday. Surprisingly, that is exactly what the forecast predicted would happen. By this morning the temperature was almost 8° C - rather good compared to recent mornings. The forecast said that today might be a little less gloomy than Saturday. That was an understatement. Until the clouds thickened up early in the afternoon, it was nice and sunny from about mid morning. By mid afternoon the temperature outside the back bedroom, a normally unheated room, was 12° C, although at ground level it was probably closer to 10° C. That was the closest we have had to warm for ages. Later in the afternoon there were some showers, and it still looks rather damp outside even now, but the temperature has only fallen a degree or so. The temperature profile for tomorrow is forecast to be quite similar to today. Unfortunately tomorrow looks like it is going to be cloudier, and it may well rain for most of the afternoon. The rain is supposed to stop soon after I get home from work - if I actually go to work tomorrow.

 For a lot of yesterday I felt fairly OK, but this was while I stayed in a warm room doing very little. I did consider the possibility of going out, but in the end it didn't seem like a good idea. I do wonder if fresh air and Guinness may have been better for me. It's possible they would have been, but on the other hand it might have only been a temporary respite from this cold I am suffering from.

 I made sure I got plenty of booze last night to help me sleep, and I think it worked for a while. Rather than my usual whisky, I opened up three cans of extra strength lager - and I have no idea why. It just seemed like a good idea at the time. I thought I might watch some TV, but about the only thing of interest was some episodes of Red Dwarf, and a QI (or two). I think it might have been around 11pm when I turned in.

 Initially I didn't seem to feel sleepy, but it wasn't long before the booze did it's good work, and I slept solidly for at least three hours. I woke up to a medium sized hangover, but also to my throat feeling clogged with mucus, and my nose and sinuses all bunged up. Somehow I got to sleep again quite quickly, and again a few more times until I got up sometime between 6am and 7am.

 I definitely felt worse this morning. For a while I was coughing up a few lumps until my airways were clean. After that I was just back to the occasional tickle at the back of the throat. My nose had also become a lot more bunged up, but it wasn't actually dripping most of the time - just now and then. I still feel similar this evening even down to the occasional brief bit of sneezing.

 I definitely feel worse than yesterday. On top of the more bunged up nose, I also seem to ache more....sort of. The problem is that many of my ailments are not obvious while I am sitting at my PC with the room nice and warm. It's only when doing stuff like going down to the cold kitchen that I am reminded that I sometime feel pretty crappy.

 In some respects it is made worse by the feeling that there is stuff I'd like to do, but either can't, or shouldn't. The couple of hours of sunshine we had, with the temperature very mild, acted as a strong lure to go out even if it was just for a walk around the shops. I probably should have just gone out and see how it felt, but I had a pessimistic feeling that I would probably feel rotten. The again I also thought that fresh air would feel good. In the end I stayed in, and somehow managed to keep myself amused.

 There was one other thing I saw today, in fact not much less that half an hour ago, and it was a You Tube video that gave me such a strong desire to be out and about with my camera. It was a video embedded on another web site about a couple of guys doing something I have wanted to do for 5 or 6 years now. On what looks like a mild spring day they go to visit Swale station on the line between Sittingbourne and Sheerness. I have often wanted to get off the train there to enjoy the sheer desolation of the place. There is little to photograph, but I reckon I would come away with a few snaps. I really have to add this to my "to do" list. In the meantime here's that video.

 If I could be sure of getting a good sleep tonight I would have less qualms about going back to work tomorrow. At least if I do it won't be a cold frosty journey to work - the principal reason why I decided not to go to work on Friday. The only trouble is that I am not expecting to get a good night's sleep. Every time I lay down, my face seems to fill up with unshiftable mucus, and my throat gets very tickly. I guess I would get to sleep in the end, and I guess it would be wise to try and get to sleep as early as I can - which would be soon - if only I actually felt sleepy ! There are two reasons why it is slightly important that I go to work. The first, and perhaps the more important, is that I am having some new clothing, ordered online, being delivered to work, and one parcel has already arrived. The second reason is that I am supposed to be having a one-to-one with my boss. Well, that's going to be very tedious, and it can wait. I'll just have to see how I feel in the morning.
Saturday 7th January 2017
 16:05 GMT

  It was minus 2.4° C yesterday morning. From then on it slowly warmed up - but not by that much ! I would guess that by the afternoon it was somewhere in the region of 4 to 5° C. It was a bright, and often sunny day, but that sun just couldn't warm things up any further. It wasn't until sunset that the temperature rose a little more, and so did the amount of cloud. It was a cloudy night, and it has been a cloudy day. By 7am the temperature was getting on for 7° C, and this afternoon it has been as high as 10° C. If the forecast holds good, the temperature will only drop to 8° C during the night, and apart from for a few hours in the afternoon when it is supposed to be 9° C, it will be more or less constantly 8° C all day tomorrow. It will be like today - overcast, and slightly gloomy, although possibly a little less gloomy than today.

 It is odd that many of my usual aches and pains seemed to take a bit of a back seat to a different problem I was developing on Thursday. That may not be strictly accurate. My chest was actually giving me a lot of discomfort when I when out into the cold after work, but the rest of my body seemed to be in unusually good working order as I very slowly started to fall victim to a cold. The first thing I noticed was that my throat was getting increasingly tickly, and I found myself sipping at my drink ever more often to keep my throat wet.

 As I travelled, via my usual route via Victoria, to Shortlands station, for The Shortlands Tavern, my chest was really giving me some grief, and of course coughing was not making it any better. I had my usual three pints of beer with the lads before making my way home.  I had been doing my best to eat more healthily until Thursday night. When I got off the train at Catford I decided I wanted hot food inside me instantly ! So I bought some chicken and chips. Apart from my developing cough, it was an instant cure for my chest pains, and maybe it even gave some temporary respite from my cough too.

 I don't know why my scar tissue, and other after effects from my heart bypass operation, should be giving me so much grief this winter. I am sure I didn't suffer like this last year. Maybe it wasn't such a cold winter or something. What I do know is that it's not just a case of keeping my chest warm externally, but it needs to be kept warm internally as well. I could stop breathing in the frigid air, but I doubt I would last long without Oxygen, or I can eat hot food to keep the inside warm. That latter way seems best apart from the side effect of the temptation to eat too much. It's why I am buying, and occasionally a lot more soup lately (I don't drink hot brown liquids out of cups like normal people do).

 Once I had eaten, and turned the heating up flat out on Thursday night I felt fine until I went to bed. It seemed as soon as I stopped sipping my drink, and being upright, my breathing started to feel a bit wheezy, and I started to cough a lot more. On top of that, my chest got a bit crunchy. I would turn over to one side, and I would hear a crunch from my bones inside my chest, and crunch again if I turned over to the other side. If I lay on my back my chest would slowly crunch whenever I breathed in (or out, or both ?). It didn't make sleeping very easy !

 I did get to sleep somehow, and while I could have wished for more, and more peaceful sleep, I did get probably enough to get me through the day if needed. Unfortunately there was a thick, minus 2.4° C frost outside, and I just could not face that while still coughing. It was a recipe for a really painful chest. So I called in sick to work, and took it easy.

 As I took it easy I found that my nose was getting increasingly stuffy and twitchy as a head cold came to fruition. A day and a half later and it is like my cough - rather intermittent. One thing I did yesterday that seems counter intuitive was to hand wash some shirts. It was medium hard work, and possibly felt harder because I was under the weather, but the hot steamy atmosphere was good for my nose and throat. I felt better and quite accomplished once it was all hanging up to dry. I also felt quite tired !

 One thing I didn't do yesterday was to spend much time laying on my bed snoozing. It is probably what I wanted to do, but I couldn't seem to relax, and I felt much better spending hours doing stuff on my PC. One task was to rip a load of my CDs so I could add some tracks to my special folder (directory) on my PC called "psuedo radio" it contains approx 2500 assorted music track, and when played in random order simulates a radio station playing nothing but the very best tracks (apart from a few novelty tracks I added for.........for novelty reasons !).

 With today being Saturday I felt little compulsion to try to get to bed early last night. Now that is a little strange considering I was convinced I didn't get enough sleep the night before, but while I thought I should be tired, I actually felt almost restless. Maybe it was the prediction that like the previous night I would find it hard to get comfortable for sleep - and I was right !

 I think it might have even been after midnight when I got to sleep last night, and it was pretty lumpy sleep.......or so I imagined. It did seem like I was awake a lot, but on the other hand quite a lot of time seemed to pass unnoticed. I guess that maybe I did sleep more than I thought I did. One good thing is that it was a lot warmer this morning. I didn't make use of it too early, but eventually I put my coat on and ventured into the great wide world out there.

 My first visit was to "Cash Busters" to look at their cameras. If it was in good working order they had a bargain in there. It was a Nikon D3200 camera body for just £200. I already have one so it didn't interest me, although it would have been great if my camera stopped working - I have a selection of lenses, and wouldn't have to buy one before I could use it. What caught my eye more was a couple of small and cheap(ish) pocket sized cameras. One was a Fuji XP71 camera that has all sorts of bells and whistles such as built in WiFi, as well as being completely waterproof it's much younger brother, the XP10 that I already own.

 The other camera that caught my eye was a Nikon L29. I guess it doesn't have any special features apart from the useful ability to run off a couple of ordinary (high power) AA cells. To simplify matters I bought both of the cameras, and the man in the shop did me a deal - both cameras for just £100 - which is about the very cheapest price I could find for just the Fuji camera on the secondhand market.

 Both cameras work OK in a basic fashion. At some point I will give them a proper test. I think the Fuji will eventually accompany me any time I am forced out on a rainy day. i.e, going to work. One of the interesting things about the Nikon camera was that it came with a 4GB memory card. It was obviously used, but all the pictures had been deleted on it. There are various utilities you can get for a Windows PC to undelete deleted pictures, and it is almost built in to a Linux PC. I recovered in excess of 300 pictures from the memory card, and most of them were filthy pictures, and when I say they were filthy pictures I mean they were probably taken by an environmental health officer. There were pictures of all sorts of rubbish strew about the streets Southwark - decaying food in bags outside food shops, and dumped mattress and other fly tipping. All very interesting, but not worth keeping.

 After I bought the cameras I went shopping in Aldi. Most of what I bought was potentially healthy sort of stuff. I bought lots of salad stuff, fruit and vegetables. I also bought a couple of nice steaks that could be almost healthy - although it is very debatable. If they are too lean they lack taste, but are fairly healthy. If they are too fatty they are very very tasty, but bad for you. Mine are medium fatty, and if I cook them carefully, rendering as much fat as possible while not overcooking them, they will be sort of healthy ! Of course there were a few items that are definitely not the sort of thing I should be eating, like the Cornish-like pasty that I bought, but.....

  While I was out I was quite aware that my breathing was a bit raspy, but on the whole I felt fairly good in the fresh air. The fact that it was closer to tepid than cold helped a lot. I didn't feel stressed about being out, and carrying quite a heavy load of shopping home (not made lighter by including half a dozen cans of soup). In fact I felt so optimistic that I put a towel, and some other washing into some bio detergent to soak. It is still there now, all cold and nasty, and I seem to have lost my enthusiasm to start the rinsing and wringing.

 Until recently I was considering the possibility of going to a gig this evening. Maybe of there had been one in The Bkack Cat I might have gone, but I no longer feel much like travelling. It has only been in the last 20 minutes that it seems my nose is starting to run more. It could be just another intermittent burst of activity from my cold, or it could be building up to a climax. I think I am very likely to stay in and amuse myself this evening.

 The weather forecast for tomorrow does really inspire me, but it should be dry, and not too cold. Maybe I might take a wander somewhere with a selection of cameras, and see what I can take pictures of. For the moment though it's just rest and relaxation - although I am going to have to force myself to do something with the stuff soaking in the mega bucket in the bath !
Thursday 5th January 2017
 08:29 GMT

it's cold this morning !  The sun almost came out yesterday afternoon, but generally speaking it was a rather dull and dreary day - and it was quite cool too. It is possible that the temperature may have peaked at 7° C, as the forecast predicted, but it wasn't really noticeable. The forecast said there was a possibility of rain, but I didn't notice any rain personally. A friend living about 8 miles from here did report some rain falling where he lived during the morning. Maybe I was lucky.

 As I went home from work the sky was very clear, and the moon was looking bright. Unfortunately I didn't have a suitable camera to get a snap of it. Also unfortunately, that clear sky allowed the temperature to drop quite a lot during the night.

 I took the very soft focus snap on the left just before I left home to come to work. If I had waited 20 - 30 seconds for the outside sensor to send an update it would have read minus 1.4° C.

 The forecast for today says we should see a bright sunny day, and indeed the sky is clear blue at the moment. Once the sun climbs a bit higher it should start pouring its rays onto the roof of my office, and it may finally get warm in here. Unfortunately it will little for the outside air. The best we can hope for today is just 4° C. Oh well, it could be worse - I grabbed a screen shot off the TV last night. Tomorrow morning is going to be just as cold as this morning, and probably colder away from the centre of town.
TV screenshot of the
                          weather forecast
 It was warmer, but not actually warm in my office yesterday, and so I didn't feel quite so awful as I did the day before.  There were actually times when I didn't feel bad at all, but every now and then I would get the odd twinge of this, that, or the other. I can't think of an occasion when going home has not come as a big relief, and quite frequently it is a huge relief. Yesterday it was probably a semi huge relief !

 Going home wasn't perfectly straightforward because last night there really were delays on the trains (unlike the morning when the reported delays didn't exist). For a while things looked grim. I didn't really fancy standing around on a draughty railway station platform for a long period of time. To my great relief the vague information we had been offered seemed to be accurate, and while some peoples trains had been cancelled, my train was only about 7 minutes late at Waterloo East, and practically on time when we arrived at Catford Bridge station.

 Getting back on a slightly healthy diet since coming back to work after the Xmas break seems to slightly beneficial. It is almost enough to spur me on to greater endeavours, but "almost" is not quite enough to do it properly. So last night I had good intentions, but precious little will power. I did have a nice healthy salad, but I also had some grilled sausages. If I had left it there it would have been a good effort, but I spoiled things by snacking on some unspeakable things ! I doubt I will be getting any thinner eating what I did yesterday. On the other hand, all the salad and stuff that I have been eating would appear to have a beneficial effect on my colon.

 On reflection there was one other thing I could have done last night, and that was to wash my hair. I didn't do that, but I did do two important things. The first was physically quite important - servicing the fan heater in my bedroom. I had noticed that the fan was running too slowly, and on one occasion had jut about failed to start up causing the heater to trip out. This particular fan heater is a nice easy one to strip down, and provide a drip of 3 in 1 oil to the fan bearings. It is now running as sweet as a nut.

 The other thing I did was sort of important, but not so essential. It was to finally upload the pictures I took of Redriffe playing at The Black Cat's new years eve party. They are a mixed bag. Some look good, and some don't look so good. The only thing I can say in my defence is that they look a darn sight better than some of the smeary mobile phone pictures I see people posting of bands. You can see my picture of Redriffe here - There are many other photo albums to see as well.

 If I recall correctly, I was feeling so good (by comparison) last night that I didn't feel the need to take any painkillers, and I may not have even had any whisky to help me sleep. Maybe that is the answer to why I seemed to sleep better than recently last night. It could also have been because I was just plain knackered. I did wake a few times in the night, but only briefly. I was sure I was awake at 5am when my alarm woke me. That is a very rare thing to happen.

 The dreams I had, or at least the few bits I remember suggest that my sleep was not that good. On the other hand the dreams seemed different, and perhaps more inventive than my usual dreams. That could be a good thing....or a bad thing. One dream seemed to go on a long time, but I think I kept either reinventing it, or adding extra scenes to it. It's hard to tell which, and also hard to tell whether it was a lucid dream, or if I kept waking up during it. It was a science fiction dream. I was on Mars, and drinking with the natives of Mars. They seemed to have a nice drink that was identical to Jaegermeister ! The other dream I had was not exactly sexual, but did involve a lot of bare breasts. I say not sexual because it just seemed a perfectly normal thing for the women in the dream to not have their breasts covered.

 This morning I probably feel better than I have done for some while. That doesn't mean I don't still feel lousy, and various things don't hurt. In fact I did have some new aches this morning. Both my ankles felt sort of mildly weak and mildly creaky. It's rare for both to be like that. The biggest improvement is my chest. It is far from perfect, and every so often I still get a twinge that might be a heart attack, but evidently isn't (or wasn't). Somehow it just seems the pains are milder, and less frequent this morning. It almost feel like 10 hours exposure to hot sunshine would almost cure most of my aches and pains (and it would certainly distract me from eating too much and/or the wrong foods).

 It's Thursday, and tonight I will be joining the Thursday night drinkers for a few pints in The Shortlands Tavern next door to Shortlands station. It's a straightforward journey to get there after work, and straightforward to get home from. The only unknown will be the state of Southern Trains for the part of the journey where I have to use them to get from Clapham Junction to Victoria station. I don't think they are on strike today, but they may be. I do have an alternate route available that is not quite so comfortable if I need to use it.
Wednesday 4th January 2017
 08:47 GMT

  There was a fair amount of sunshine yesterday, but it did nothing to warm my office up. My office remained possibly illegally cold all day ! The outside air temperature was probably little better than 5° C at it's warmest - except maybe sometime after sunset when I think it might have warmed up a by a degree or two before falling to about 4° C when I got up this morning. Later today we could see the temperature as high as 7° C, but there will be very little sunshine today - if indeed there is any at all. There could well be a few light showers this morning, but the forecast says it will be dry this afternoon. By contrast, tomorrow is currently forecast to be dry and sunny, but bloody cold ! The highest temperature is forecast to be just 3° C, and it may well be below zero before sunrise, and after sunset.

 I seemed to be almost shivering for most of the day at work yesterday. My office was well below 10° C when I arrived at work, and it never did get comfortably warm by the time I left to go home. I made sure that I left the heating on when I went home, and it wasn't turned down as low as I usually set it when I go home. This morning it is still cooler than I prefer, but at least I can work in shirtsleeves, and I can pick up my tools without them making my hands go numb with cold today.

 Sitting in the cold all day really made my chest feel painful, and it was actually a relief to do a brisk walk to the station. Initially that made my chest hurt more, but the exertion warmed me up a bit, and maybe got my blood flowing better. My chest still felt tender, but at least it stopped hurting so much. It felt even better when I was on a nice warm train - but I only stayed on the first train for one stop. As my train pulled into Clapham Junction station I spied something purple or maroon sitting by the train shed. It was a superbly clean and shiny class 20 locomotive in London Transport livery.

class 20 Sir John Betjeman
Sir John Betjeman

 This locomotive, recently painted into London Transport livery, is privately owned, and is used for railtours and stuff. It also earns it's keep hauling other stuff. One man I spoke to on the platform had a theory that it had been used to haul some of South West Trains new class 707 trains to Clapham Junction depot. That seemed a feasible idea. There was one of these brand new, and not yet in passenger service, trains visible in the yard.
class 707 EMU in
                              Clapham Junction yard 4th Jan 2017
 I'm not sure what train I had originally caught from Earlsfield station, and I suspect it may have been a slightly earlier one than normal (perhaps the 15:43 instead of the 15:47). I got off that train on platform 10, and went over to platform 7 to take my photographs. Having taken my photographs I am sure I heard an announcement warning that the next train would not stop at platform 7. Evidently no one told the driver and several passengers. The driver stopped, and several passengers got off. I got on. Platform 7 is the platform used for "express" trains, and that train rushed me non stop to Waterloo, and I was there in time to catch my usual train home. In fact I had about 2 minutes to spare !

 It was nice travelling back to Catford while it was still just about light. My current usual train is the 16:05, and coincidently that was the same time as sunset yesterday. It was starting to get dim, but with few clouds around there was still enough glow in the western sky to stop it being completely dark when my train arrived at Catford Bridge. Things can only get better from now on until the summer solstice and the days start getting shorter again. I felt so good that I ignored some residual chest pain, and walked down to the Pound shop. There was nothing I needed urgently from there, but I had promised Angela that I would pick up a box of lens cleaners. It seems I also bought quite a lot of other stuff too !

 One of my purchases was a couple of tins of Heinz oxtail soup. At 50p a tin it is a lot cheaper than buying from Tesco. While I was shivering at work I had decided that a bowl or two of steaming hot soup would be just the thing to warm me up. Of course by the time I got home, after sitting on warm trains, and walking around, I no longer felt shivery, but I thought that some soup might still be nice, and a can of oxtail soup would be extra nice. I also had a can of Tesco own brand cream of chicken soup (with some chilli sauce to zap it up a bit).

 I had the two cans of soup plus a couple of packs of sandwiches, and that was most of what I ate last night. It wasn't quite healthy, low this or low that, but it didn't seem an excessive amount. I felt full enough without any hint of bloat when I went to bed last night. I was in bed sometime after 8pm, and I read for a while before turning out the light. I can't be sure this morning, but I think I may have just got to sleep before 9pm. Of course going to bed so early was wasted because from 3am I didn't sleep terribly well.

 This morning my chest felt very loose - and by that I mean it took very little effort to make it click and pop. It is too much clicking and popping, which might be, but probably isn't, two bones, or two halves of my sternum rubbing together, that leave my chest feeling sore. There is also some soreness that seems to be a legacy of nerves cut during my heart operation almost three and half years ago. That generally affects my left man boob. It can feel weirdly sore sometimes. When I left home I felt relatively OK, but travelling definitely stirred things up, and while it is not hurting as I write this, my chest feels very delicate right now.  I blame most of it on the cold weather - well know for causing old wounds/scar to hurt.

 There was a bit of an oddity about my journey to work. Consider these screenshots..........
is it delayed or
                              not ?
 Consider the screenshot on the left. At the top is a warning saying "This train has been delayed by urgent repairs to the railway", but at most stations it is reported as departing on time, and it is not shown as expected late at Catford Bridge (and it wasn't). I took the second screenshot when I was waiting for my next train, the 06:57, to depart from Waterloo Mainline station. At the top right you can see that I took it at 06:56, and yet it is reporting that my train from Catford Bridge has arrived on time at 07:01 - a full 5 minutes before it had, or was going to ! Time travel at it's finest !! It is very hard to believe that my train had been delayed by urgent repairs to the railway !

 I don't think I have any plans for tonight. It feels unlikely, but there is still a very slight possibility of seeing Angela, although nothing has been arranged, or even mentioned as yet. What I ought to do is to upload those pictures of Redriffe playing on new years eve to Flickr. I should have done it last night, but I was distracted by the pictures I had taken at Clapham Junction. I did upload them, plus one extra, all in high resolution, to Flickr last night. you can see them here -
Tuesday 3rd January 2017
 08:05 GMT

  It was definitely cold yesterday, and yet the sun did carry some warmth - but you had to be behind glass, in a sheltered location, such as my bedroom, to feel it. There was a lot of sunshine yesterday, and yet the outside air temperature didn't really venture much beyond 4° C. Meanwhile, with the sun streaming through my bedroom window, I could turn the heating off in that room, and still stay more or less comfortable. It was a clear night, last night, and by 8pm the temperature was just turning negative. By my reckoning it didn't fall much lower than minus 1° C, but there was a thick frost when I walked to the station this morning. It could take some time for that frost to clear. It may not be quite so sunny as yesterday, but there should be some sunshine for most of the hours of daylight. The latest forecast for today says that today may not be sunny at all - and this is despite the clear sky I can currently see. By 4pm, as the sun sets, the temperature might just hit 5° C, but it will continue to rise. By 5am tomorrow it might be 6° C. Later tomorrow, a slightly dull and overcast day, it might be 7° C. Then the temperature will plummet to zero or below during the night.

  I didn't really do anything of note on Sunday evening. I don't think I even did any exotic cooking. If I recall correctly I just opened a large can of Cassolet - a duck wing, sausage and haricot bean stew - it might, or might not be typical French peasant food. I probably ate something else as well, although one of those large cans of Cassolet is fairly filling. Some time after eating that, and it could have been anywhere from 30 minutes to 5 hours, I went to bed. I just can't remember when, or even how well I slept, although I do remember that I woke up stupidly early, and would have wished for another 3 or 4 hours sleep.

 One thing I did do on Sunday was to upload all the pictures I took on my novelty train ride from Catford bridge to Blackfriars station - a very rare and unusual diversionary route when engineering works block access between Lewisham and London Bridge. Only a small selection of pictures are of "train spotting". The rest are building, river, bird, boat and statue spotting ! You can see them all here in glorious high resolution -

  There were many things I could have done yesterday, but I opted to do just two things of any significance. I considered going out to take pictures of the three or four cattle/horse trough a mile or two down the road towards Bromley, but decided that it was probably time to get some stuff from Tesco instead. I hadn't done any food shopping since before Xmas, and I was getting low on supplies. I bought a couple of bags of stuff, and a lot of it was healthy sort of stuff like salad, and some was emphatically not !

 I did wonder how my chest would feel while walking to Tesco on such a cold morning. Initially it started to hurt here and there, but after a few hundred yards it settled down, and if it hadn't been so cold it might have almost been enjoyable walking. I'm not sure if it would have been so enjoyable to walk for as much as a couple of miles to photograph those cattle troughs though. My chest also behave quite predictably once I got home. It felt fine until I sat down, and it went "click". For a little while after that it was sore again. I am still torn between trying to harass my doctor to see if any cure can be found for this, or to just wait it out for when it is warmer, and I am fitter/slimmer again.

New Years eve ticket for Redriffe at The
                        Black Cat

 I spent many hours yesterday going through all the pictures I took at the new years eve gig at The Black Cat. One curious fact is that my photography seemed to get better as the evening progressed. I can only assume this was due to the beneficial effects of drinking liberal amounts of Guinness !

 There were a few pictures that came out really well, and some that managed to catch the action. Eventually, maybe even tonight, I'll upload all the decent pictures to a new photo album on Flickr. In the meantime, here's one picture of Redriffe in action.

Redriffe at The
                          Black Cat
I did do one extra bit of photography last night.
The Moon on the night of 2nd january
This was the crescent moon last night at about 8pm.

 I was supposed to go to bed early last night, but somehow that didn't happen. It must have been gone 10pm when I finally fell asleep. That wouldn't have been so bad if I had managed to sleep right through until my alarm went off at 5am, but it seemed like I was only sleeping intermittently after 3am this morning. It did give me a chance to have, and remember a fair amount from a dream. I dreamed I was on a train coming back from somewhere far away to the north of London, possibly Birmingham. Why on Earth I would have gone to Birmingham is unexplained.

 Even less explained is why a train from the north would terminate at Waterloo International station ! It was definitely a very nice train I was on. It was very spacious, and seemed to be about 20ft wide ! I only remember the approaches to Waterloo International station (which no longer exists back in the real world). The approach was a bit like a roller coaster the way the tracks ducked and dived under and over assorted obstacles (other railway lines and buildings). When I arrived at Waterloo International I had to go to Waterloo East to get a train back to Catford - just like I have to do when going home from work. In my dream it was quite a long walk to get to the stairs up to the link across to Waterloo East, and those stairs seemed to be in a restaurant.

 I finally woke from the dream as I was going up those stairs. It was probably about 4.40am - 20 minutes before I wanted to get up, but there was no point trying to get back to sleep again at that time. I woke up feeling pretty awful. I had both lower back pain, and assorted clicks, pops, and pain from my chest. A hot shower sorted some of those aches and pains, and I was generally comfortable for most of my journey to work.

 I must confess that I am badly out of practice with rushing around. The mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo Mainline station was really rather taxing this morning, and it was really hard work to keep up to speed. Fortunately it didn't seem to have any bad effects, and although it was nice to sit down again when I got on the 06:57 train from platform 4, I seemed to get my breath back before the doors closed, and the train set off.

 It seems the one thing that does irritate my chest is when I get off the train at Earlsfield, and bound down the long flight of stairs there. It must shake up my chest because it felt sort before I had even exited the station. When I arrived at work it was freezing in my office. There was even ice on the case of the air conditioning unit - inside the office ! I'm not sure how long the heating had been on in the production area, but very little heat from there penetrates my office. A little does, and that might be why the thermometer was reading 10° C when I remembered to check it 10 - 15 minutes after I turned on the useless heating in here. Two and a bit hours later the temperature in here is at least 16° C. By this afternoon it will be quite comfortable - particularly if the latest forecast is wrong, and we do get some sunshine today. Meanwhile my desk, and all my tools are horribly cold to touch.

 Tonight I will.........In all probability I will upload the Redriffe photos to Flickr. There is always the possibility that I will be distracted, but somehow I don't think I will be. I haven't actually spoken to Angela for two days now. There is no reason for this apart from I've been waiting to hear from her, and I expect she has been waiting to hear from me. I must call her today. Maybe she will come and distract me tonight, but I have my doubts.
Sunday 1st January 2017
 16:25 GMT

  What can I say about the weather for the last day of last year ? did have one redeeming factor - it was not freezing cold. It was cold, but not freezing cold ! It was also probably good that it was a dry day, but apart from that, it was a dull grey, thoroughly miserable sort of day.  Today, the first day of the new year, has been grey as well, although there was a short period when the sun almost made it through the clouds. Unlike yesterday when the temperature was flirting with 10° C, today has barely made it to 8° C. In fact I am not sure if it even quite made that. There was some light rain this morning, but there was a window of a couple of hours when it stayed dry. Then, this afternoon, it poured down, and it is raining quite heavily as I type this. The clouds should break up during the night, and as they do the temperature is going to fall away until it is almost, but maybe not quite, freezing. Sunny spells are forecast for tomorrow, but the temperature will only be in the region of 4° C at best, and at 5am the day after, when I have to go back to work, it will be below zero !

 The big thing about yesterday was New Years Eve. For some it is a joyous occasion, and there was a chance that for possibly the first time ever, it could have been for me too. Unfortunately Angela decided she had to see her daughter Miranda fronting "The Miranda Flyers" (at least I think that was the name they adopted) playing a working mans club in Tunbridge Wells. So I was essentially left on my own, except for Michael, in The Black Cat.

 The band Redriffe were playing in The Black Cat. It was their third appearance there. I liked them the first time, but not the second time. I have to admit, that like the governor of the pub suggested, they are a good party band. Of course they have their shortfalls - mainly the singer who occasionally tackles a song that is out of his range. The result is not pleasing on the ear. His singing was made worse through no fault of his own when one of the PA speakers blew up. That did affect the sound quite profoundly !

 The gig was good enough for me to stay to the end - which rather bizarrely was a good 15 minutes before midnight. Midnight was a rather muted air, and that suited me quite well. I came away feeling glad that I had gone, and yet rather underwhelmed. I managed to drink quite a lot of Guinness through the evening, but oddly enough I resisted a post-pub nosh up (as some put it) quite well - but not entirely. I did have a little bowl of peanuts to munch as I tried to get in the right frame of mind to go to bed.

 I think I was in bed slightly before 1am, and I was asleep very soon after. I seemed to sleep quite well until it was time to get up - except it wasn't time to get up ! My brain overruled my body, and decided to get me up in time to go to work - again ! I never really got to sleep again after that. In theory I am going to be in bed very early tonight, and if there was any justice I would sleep right through to midday tomorrow.

 This morning I felt both good and bad. My chest felt better behaved than recently, and yet I still had an assortment of pains. Yet again, the more annoying pains were when I tried to relax - which is partly the reason why I didn't get any extra sleep this morning. I decided that the only answer was to kill or cure. I've been reluctant to go out in the cold air recently, but I didn't seem to suffer walking to and from the pub last night. So I decided I just had to go out today.

 There was one special reason to go out today. For the first time that I am aware of, although I will concede that there are likely to be times I have been unaware of, the trains from Catford Bridge were going to Blackfriars station. The usual diversionary route is to Victoria, and I am not aware of any reason why they couldn't have gone there today. Of course I had to try it.
                          Blackfriars !
 Catching a nice sharp snap of dot-matrix platform displays is always a bit hit and miss, but I struck lucky today. I think, quite by chance, I hit upon the ideal exposure time to avoid flicker and breakup.
On the right, my
                          train to Blackfriars
 I wasn't sure how I would feel walking to the station, or after walking to the station, but apart from a little shortness of breath because I am so out of condition, I was fine. It didn't last, once my train arrived (the one on the left in the picture above), and I slumped down in my seat, my chest started to feel bad. Not terribly bad, but the sort of bad where you worry that if it gets worse you are probably in heart attack country.

 I settled down again while on the train, and when I alighted at Blackfriars station I was feeling close to normal. I didn't walk far when I left the station, but I guess it could have been a casual mile. I wasn't rushing because I kept stopping to take pictures. In some ways it felt quite good. I suspect the temperature was a degree or two higher right inside the city, and that may have helped. I also felt perfectly OK when I re-entered the station, and walked up the two flights of stairs to the platform. I also felt perfectly OK when I got up to platform level, and hung around on the platform taking pictures for a few minutes. Then I got on my train, say down, and bang....well, not really bang, but my chest pains returned again.

 Those pains subsided while I was on the train - adopting a slightly different posture helped despite it being difficult to relate some of the pains to posture. I was fine walking home from the station, but not too long after I got home two pains developed. One was my chest, and the other was my stomach - I think it was a bit hungry. Food was a dilemma. I wanted something nice, but not too unhealthy. I settled on a couple of microwaved baked sweet potatoes with some butter. They don't sound particularly healthy, and probably weren't, but they filled a gap for a while, but didn't completely kill a sense of peckishness.

 I could have cooked up something a bit more exotic, but I wasn't sure what the situation with Angela would be. She did say that she would try and see me today, but she couldn't make a definite promise.  I haven't heard anything from her so I guess I am on my own this evening. Oh well, at least I saw her two days on the trot. Perhaps I'll get to see her tomorrow.

 I think my plans for this evening include cooking up something closer to a real dinner, and getting to bed early if I can. Tomorrow is going to be bright and dry, and I think I ought to try and get out again for at least an hour or two. There are some cattle/horse troughs I still want to photograph, and I ought to do them sooner or later before they, like many other others, disappear from the streets. Before that I have to upload all the pictures I took today to Flickr, and  also select and edit the pictures I took at the new year even gig. If I can find the energy and enthusiasm I could be very busy for a while !