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My Diary/Blog For the Month of July 2017

Friday 28th July  2017
 08:07 BST

  There was a bit of sunshine yesterday, but only a tiny bit. Of more consequence was the rain, although having said that, I did miss the worst of it. When I left work it was nice and sunny, and it was still sunny, or at least bright, when my train entered Victoria station. Little more than 10 minutes later my next train emerged from Victoria station into medium heavy rain. There was some very light rain when I walked from Shortlands station to the pub, and some slightly heavier rain when I walked back from the pub to the station 2 hours later. When I got back to Catford, at approx 6.45pm, there was a hint of wetness in the air, but the sun was trying to shine. It was probably no more than 19° C in the late afternoon/early evening, but it didn't feel cold (and it didn't feel warm either).
less rain than yesterday, but less
                  sunshine too - gloomy !
  Well, the forecast today brings no joy ! It is going to be about the same temperature as yesterday, and there will be less rain, but there will also be less sunshine. In fact it doesn't look like there will be any sunshine at all ! Actually there was some weak sunshine as I walked from home to the station on my way to work this morning. The forecast for tomorrow has the potential for some awful weather. 

 In particular it forecasts heavy to torrential rain from about 3pm until, or beyond very late evening. This is particularly significant because tomorrow is the start of the two day event called Chattfest. It is a small music festival in aid of St Christophers Hospice, and features a selection of local bands playing on an outdoor stage in the huge garden behind The Chatterton Arm pub in Bickley (Bromley). I feel I will be encumbered in a hot and sweaty waterproof coat, and using one of my spare cameras that is known to have survived one soaking already !

 I had my exit interview with HR at work yesterday. I'm trying to think if there is anything significant I can say about it apart from it being another step, another reminder of the reality of quitting work - possibly for life, and possibly not. One thing I was asked, although I can't remember how it was worded, was would I be offended if I was asked if I would come in again on odd days, as a contractor, to help with the occasional emergency. It seems I really do have skills which the company is not confident they can find easy replacements for. I said I would be happy to consider it, and in one respect it would be sort of interesting to try it out.

  My only hesitation is that doing that sort of thing leads to stuff like tax returns and being in the grip of the Inland Revenue. All my life I have been on PAYE, and never had to deal with the taxman, and I have no desire to start now.....although having said that I suppose I will if I want a tax refund after having been taxed as if I had worked a full year. I think my wages so far this year would have been somewhere near the tax threshold, although the small pension I get from the BT pension fund complicates matters. I'm guessing equilibrium won't be reached until next April.

 I didn't enjoy my drink with the "Thursday gang" as much as usual last night, and I can only think of two reasons why - and I am unsure how valid they are. The first was having to travel in the rain. That is probably invalid because the rain caused me very little inconvenience. Maybe I can find two other reasons instead. A simple one was that I didn't enjoy the beer I had. It wasn't nasty or anything like that. It was more the case that I found it very unexciting, and sort of bland. The other reason may also not be true, or can be discounted like the rain. It is that I was thinking that it might be much nicer to go for that drink after being rested at home without having to dash halfway across London after being at work all day. Being able to drink after having something to eat during the day could make for some more daring sessions, although being able to eat earlier in the day brings it's own dangers !

 As I have already mentioned, after a wet time in Shortlands, there was no more than a few misty like remnants of any rain in Catford, and the sun was trying to come out (I could see blue sky to the north of Catford). It allowed, or maybe encouraged me to take a more leisurely walk home - a walk that took my passed the purveyors of chicken burgers - I bought two ! It was intention, particularly after eating two sandwiches for breakfast, to eat no more than those two small chicken burgers last night, but they didn't satisfy.

 I wanted something else. Maybe just something small to finish off with. A quick check in the fridge revealed a packet of two small Tesco "beef pasties". 90 seconds in the microwave and they were hot and ready to eat. People take the piss out of Gingster's Cornish Pasties, and I know those from Cornwall treat them with total derision, but they are still much nicer than those Tesco pasties. The latter were very unappetising. The consisted of a lump of what was most probably "mechanically recovered meat" encased in a sort of stodgy pastry. I'm not sure if they filled the gap I wanted filling, or if they just put me off eating for the rest of the evening.

 One of the things I didn't do last night was to play with my Virgin Superhub 3 (and my own firewall box) to try and get these web pages from my server back on the air. I felt sort of tired yesterday (maybe another reason why I didn't enjoy my after work drink as much as I should have), and after eating I just wanted to go to bed - and essentially that is what I did. I did spend ten minutes reading before turning out the light, but it wasn't long before I was asleep.

 If it wasn't for a period around 3am (I think) that probably felt like it lasted longer than it did, when I woke up and couldn't seem to get back to sleep, I might have said I slept well last night. One other reason for not saying it is that I had to be woken from sleep by my alarm at 5am. If that hadn't gone off I may have slept for another ten minutes, or even a couple of hours. Instead I had to fight my way to sentience, and haul my carcass to the bathroom of shit, shave and haircut* (although I had neither shave or haircut - but I did have shower).

* A favourite phrase I used to hear from older people who had either served in the army, or maybe done National Service.

 This morning I feel both good and bad. Apart from my left ankle which started to ache as soon as I started walking to the station, I don't seem to have any particular aches and pains this morning, but I do feel fatigued. Maybe the latter is all in the mind because feeling fatigued does not seem to have slowed me down when I was coming into work....or perhaps not until the last few minutes of the walk from the station to here. Right now, as I write this, I am feeling more sleepy than fatigued.

 This is my second to last day at work, and I am just as keen as ever to get the working day over - except I am not rushing straight home. I have invited a select few people here at work to join me for a quick drink in a local pub. It's really a matter of manners. I would be quite happy if no one wanted to come and I could just go straight home. There is stuff I want to do tonight, including playing with my Virgin Superhub, but there is nothing that won't wait until tomorrow, and I may well be completely and utterly lazy when I get home. This is 99% a certainty if I end up consuming more than two pints of Guinness beforehand. It might even extend to ordering a takeaway meal - maybe a curry if I have the patience to wait for it to be delivered. It might be quicker to open a can of Aldi own brand hot chicken curry !
Thursday 27th July  2017
 08:43 BST

  It was supposed to rain yesterday, and it did, but I'm sure it rained less than the forecast predicted. It was unfortunate, but essentially inconsequential that there was some light misty rain as I walked from work to the station on my way home. I was originally a bit concerned that the forecast high of 19° C would be chilly, but it was pleasant enough - even when I caught the light sprinkle of rain walking to the station. The main downside yesterday was how gloomy it was most of the time, although I am sure I remember at least one bright period, and possibly a quick glimpse of sunshine.
one of this weeks better days - only 50% lousy
  The forecast for today is in a great state of flux still. I am confident they will generate an accurate forecast for today in the end - probably by next Saturday ! The most recent forecast I have seen is the  screenshot above. It already contains an element of truth. As I write this light cloud is expected, and that is what we have. The cloud is a patchy light grey and white. The idea that the sun may briefly break through at around 11am seems believable. I'm not terribly keen on the temperature only reaching 19° C again (with a mysterious one degree dip at 3pm). It seems very poor for the end of July, but I guess it felt OK yesterday.

 From 4pm the forecasters are hedging their bets by predicting both rain and sunshine. If I am lucky I will walk to the station in sunshine, and the same could happen when I go home from the pub tonight. Alternatively I could get thoroughly drowned on both occasions ! Apart from sunshine at 6am, tomorrow is going to be cold, gloomy and wet ! I think my body was predicting that today's weather might be a bit nicer than yesterday because I started to feel better yesterday (where better = better than awful !).

 I didn't have a wonderful journey home from work, and not just because it started off in very light rain. I was in a bit of a rush but didn't really feel the energy to sustain a mad rush. Of course there was also the factor that the train I often hope to catch, but rarely manage it, was cancelled yesterday. So there was no need to even try to rush.

 The main reason I wanted to get home as soon as possible was because I wanted to play with my internet connection to see if I could get incoming connections, such as to the web server that should be serving this very page right now, to connect. Sadly, after a lot of mucking around, I couldn't get it to work. So once again I am writing this to a memory stick so I can upload it to my server when I get home. Eventually it will be readable as part of the July 2017 page.

 It was on the train coming to work this morning that I had a moment of inspiration as to what is going wrong with my internet connection. As far as I can remember, when I first got the new Virgin "Superhub 3" I only did a few things to install it. I set it to "Modem Mode" - this turns off the Wi Fi access point, and probably* just route all the data through the box transparently to/from the external cable and the internal ethernet. I also changed the default password.

 * It is that "probably" that is the key to this thing. I think it was probably actually in that state when my connection was first restored, but I failed to do one thing, and I failed for one simple reason. I should have rebooted my firewall as soon as the connection was up so it could be fed the new IP address. I didn't do that because I knew my firewall was flaky, and might not start again. I was forced to try a restart last night, and it didn't start again until with much inconvenience I replaced the faulty power supply in it.

 It starts first time now with no hesitation. Tonight, if I am sober, and have the time and inclination, and freedom from other distractions, I will reset the Superhub back to factory default, and try to follow what I think my steps were when I first got the thing - and then I will re-boot my firewall. In theory everything will be back to normal again, and my webpages will be available to the world again.

 My dinner last night was unusual. While I was fiddling with the Superhub I had a couple of snacks, but not just any snacks. They were "salads" from Tesco's "Finest" range. I'm not entirely sure why I bought them - curiosity is the most likely reason. One was a peanut and brocolli "salad" with lentils and some sort of grains. The other was that recent darling of the hipsters, quinoa and bits of lawn clippings (or something like that). Neither were nasty, but neither were the sort of thing that made you want to have it again.

 The main course of my dinner, or my proper dinner, was rather disappointing. It was ready made pasta shells stuff with pork and some sort of fancy Italian ham. The directions said to boil them in water or stock for 9 minutes. I boiled them in chicken stock (made from a couple of chicken Oxo cubes) enhanced with some tomato puree. Once again it wasn't nasty, but it was disappointingly bland - although quite filling.

 The only other thing I did before going to bed was to have two fairly long telephone conversations with Angela. As John's death comes ever closer she is doing her best to be brave, but she needs a lot of love to get through this. Ideally I would have liked to go over to her place and hold her hand through the night, but circumstances, like still having the need to get up at 5am to come to work, would make that difficult.

 I doubt poor Angela did, but I slept quite well last night. I only remember getting up for a wee twice in the night, and the second of those was at 4am this morning. I even managed to get back to sleep properly after that second wee, and I was fast asleep when my alarm went off at 5am. In many ways I felt quite good this morning. The only thing that let it down was a feeling of fatigue that came over me just before I got off the train at Waterloo East. I still feel like I haven't got much energy, but otherwise I feel generally OK so far.

 Tonight is boozing night, although I am going to do my best to not drink too much, and get home early in case Angela wants to see or talk to me. Her daughter will be saying with her tonight, and so the chances of a visit from Angela are unlikely, but I expect we will talk for a bit. I did one unusual thing this morning in advance of this evening's boozing - I bought a couple of sandwiches from the Tesco Express store here in Earlsfield. I must say, they are not terrible generous with their reduced prices there !
reduced price - but
                  not by much !!!
Wednesday 26th July  2017
 08:45 BST

  Yesterday's sunshine was very welcome, although a lot more of it would have been nicer still, but it did manage to warm things up to the forecast 22° C, and that was very nice too. It's a shame it was just an odd blip in a run of bad weather.
back to cold and
  This morning felt, and still feels a lot cooler than 17° C. I reckon it was at least two degrees cooler when I walked to the station this morning, and after being at work for almost 90 minutes I have come to the conclusion that I am freezing. I've just put the heating on, but it takes ages to warm this office up using the puny air conditioner bolted to the wall in here. Sooner or later it is supposed to rain, and then keep raining almost up to the time I go home from work - at least I hope it has finished by then. It is going to feel pretty cool going home in just 19° C, but if it has stopped raining I won't need a coat. Tomorrow may be marked as being 19° C again, but at the moment the hour by hour chart shows the temperature being no higher the 18° C. To make matter worse, or better, there will be both rain and sunshine all afternoon - including when I am going home from work. It is feeling like it was a good idea to resign if this is how the weather is going to treat me. Only another 4 working days to go now !

 I felt a few mild twinges from my chest while at work yesterday. None were of any great significance, but of course all were unwelcome. The very worst twinge I felt was while going home, and specifically as I was making my way along the platform at Waterloo East station. Until then it had been an uneventful journey home. I didn't seem to have quite the energy I had the day before, but it was adequate, and probably about average. I can't remember the exact movement I made when I had the major twinge because it was a most distracting pain - the sort where you wonder if taking a deep breath would be unpleasantly painful. I had been weaving in and out of slow moving people, and I reckon I made an awkward twisting motion. As I did a pain shot across my chest and landed in a small (maybe credit card sized) patch below, and slightly more towards the back, of my right breast.

 There is always the thought "is this IT ?" when something like this happens, but I didn't break my pace, and by the time I had walked the rest of the 40 - 50ft to my favourite spot of the platform, the pain had just about vanished. After that it left more of a tender memory than an actual tender patch....although having said that I did trigger it again in a far more milder way when swinging my shoulder bag over my shoulder. I obviously wasn't too bad though because after arriving back in Catford I walked down to Tesco to buy a few items, and also walked round to the 99p store where I picked up a few more bits and pieces.

 There were two things I wanted to do when I got home. One was to try and configure my Virgin "Superhub 3" to allow access to my web server and stuff from the outside world. the other was to wash my hair. To speed things up I bought a few sandwiches in Tesco so I didn't have to stop to do any cooking. Ultimately I failed both intentions, because I didn't have enough time. If I had remembered the little bit of info that kept tickling my mind, and had done some research (which I have now done this morning) I would have realised that I needed to log into the "Superhub" a different way to find the Advanced Properties that would have allowed me to tinker with the firewall properties and stuff.

 I was ultimately interrupted by a phone call from Angela. She had just left the hospital, and wanted to tell me the latest news about John. I asked if she wanted to pop in on her way home for a quick vodka, and she quickly accepted my offer. So I dropped everything and quickly tried to make myself, and the room a bit more presentable. Ten minutes later, which was half the time she predicted, she was on my door step.

 The news about John is not good. He is still battling pneumonia, and low platelet count. I think Angela said that from today he will just be on palliative care because there is no more effective treatment for him. It seems he really is at death's door now. It may be that with many of the uncertainties gone, Angela is more calm about the situation. There were certainly no tears last night, although obviously she is very sad, and scared about the future. I will be doing all I can to help her get through this next stage and the one after. Fortunately there is still a very strong bond between us, and it is my hope it will get stronger still once John is no longer around.

 I think it was round about 9pm when Angela went home, and that was too late to wash my hair, or play with cables modems. So I started to prepare to go to bed. I was anticipating another good, or fairly good night's sleep, but it was not good at all. I think I woke up twice in the night with cramps in my legs, and on one of those occasions it was really agonising ! My left calf muscles still felt sort of tender when I finally got up this morning.

 I initially woke up at, or just before 4.30am. That was annoying because I didn't feel I would be able to get to sleep just for half an hour until 5am when I aim to get up, but on the other and it did give me a little extra time to wash my hair. I didn't and don't feel great this morning. I feel both sleepy and mildly fatigued. I have already fallen asleep in front of my work PC once this morning, and I found it really hard to rustle up enough energy to put any whiz in my journey to work. I kept up with the leading surge as we crossed from Waterloo East to Waterloo station, but it felt like bloody hard work !

 I have two theories about my lack of energy, maybe even three, although two could be said to be the same thing from. One obvious thing is that I ate a load of crap last night. As well as a couple of sandwiches, which by themselves would be harmless, I had tow utterly evil things. One was Pringles - almost half a big tube of them - and the other was chocolate flavour coconut cream ice cream. The latter was obviously full of sugar, and the former contains every evil known to man - probably ! The other two theories are based on the weather. Apart from some weak sunshine as I travelled to work, it is a miserable, soul sapping, grey day. That is one weather reason to feel crap, or low, or both. The other thing is the return to rain after a nice day yesterday. It is a family tradition that before rain all our joints seize up, and we become stiff and cranky !

 There is always hope, although without much conviction, that I'll be able to get home from work in the dry. Although even if it is dry it will still be under a terrible grey sky. Once I am hope I will upload today's writing to my web server, and then I will have another go at making it available to the whole wide world by fiddling with the Virgin Superhub. Other than that, and inevitably a bit of cooking and eating, I can't think of anything else I want to do...well maybe there is one thing, but it would be far too optimistic to think I could get another visit from Angela on her way home from the hospital. It would be nice if she were to take advantage of me being so close to the hospital because it feel like she goes home far calmer and happier if she has spent time with me. Maybe I am just deluding myself in thinking that, but it does feel really good to think that I can help her.
Tuesday 25th July  2017
 08:12 BST

  Yesterday was cold and grey, but it was dry. That is about all you can say about it unless you compare it with a November's day. The only small departure from the weather forecast was that it didn't rain at 10am....or at least I never noticed it if it did. The forecast said it would be no warmer than 17° C, and that was it. Not chilly, but not warm at all.
trying to be
                  summer again
  Today the weather is forecast to be trying to get back to something closer to what we think of as summer. The fact is I am sure I remember a Xmas day that had better weather. Oh well, at least it should be a great improvement over yesterday, although as I write this there has not been a single hint of sunshine yet. At least the forecast got the 14° C start to the day. I can only hope that it does end up at 22° C by the time I go home from work. When I look out the window I find it hard to believe that the sun will ever break through to give any sunny intervals or sunny spells. I want blue skies, and hot sunshine, and I want it NOW !!! It doesn't look like it will be happening tomorrow. Another gloomy and cold day is forecast, and just to add insult to injury, rain is forecast for most of the afternoon.

 I hardly did a stroke of work at work yesterday, and I have to admit that did make for a long feeling, and boring day, but the good thing was that I mostly felt OK. I don't like to speak too soon, but it still seems that I have passed through another phase of chest aches and pains, and while there is still some residual tenderness, I'll be mostly comfortable until the next time. Yesterday was actually a slightly shorter day than usual.

 I needed to get home by 4pm yesterday to make sure I was in when the Virgin Media technician called to fix my broadband. The verbal agreement I had with their fault receptionist was for after 4.30pm, but all their text message reminders to me kept saying 4pm. So I sneaked out of work at 3pm and headed to the station. I was joined by one of the production staff who always leaves then, and he set quite a fast pace for me to keep up with - and I did ! It seemed like I had to push myself a lot to keep up, but I didn't feel exhausted, or anything like it when I got to the station, and I found I still had the energy to run a couple of carriage lengths to make sure I got on the front portion of the train - and even that didn't feel like it had taxed me much, or indeed at all. I do sometimes wonder just how far I could run when I am going through a rare time of feeling good. For best effect I would probably need someone to set a lazy sort of pace - and a challenge.

 When I arrived at Waterloo I found I had about a 10 minute wait for the 15:35 train from Waterloo East. That meant I didn't have to run up the escalator, but I did run up a bit of it, and I didn't have to rush across the link to Waterloo East, although I partly did that too. The 15:35 train got me back to Catford Bridge at six minutes to four, and by pure coincidence it takes 6 minutes to walk from the station to home. I did my best to rush, but by that time my energy was beginning to wane. I think I still managed to shave 15 - 30 seconds off the time though.

 I needn't have rushed because I don't think the technician turned up until 4.30pm. Maybe he had been given additional instructions that I shouldn't have been there until 4.30pm, and the reason why Virgin's almost spam like text reminders kept saying 4pm was because they are generated by a computer that only deals in whole hours. It didn't take all that long for the technician to find the fault. It was, as I had guessed, outside in the "green box", but I couldn't have guessed what the actual problem was. It seems that box was upgraded last Thursday morning (when I lost my connection), and the (probably) contractors who did it didn't bother to connect all the cables up again. That could have been fixed without a home visit !

 I think it was probably not much later than 5pm when my broadband connection was restored, and I was back on air at full speed again. A quick test with showed that I was getting 47.3Mbps down, and 5.04Mbps up.
speed test results
 The only big problem wasn't really apparent until I got to work this morning (although I did have hints of it last night). I think the technician has altered a setting in the cable modem, and now I can't access any of my internal network from outside - and that includes my web server. Once again I am writing this to a file on a memory stick that I will transfer to my server when I get home. I hope that I can sort out why the modem is seeming to be like a barrier to my incoming connections. If I am very lucky there could be a simple remedy. I took the precaution of saving a back-up of the modems configuration file before the technician arrived, and tonight I will attempt to restore it and hope for the best.

 Apart from catching up on a few web pages and stuff, plus eating some dinner, I didn't seem to do much last night. It seems unlikely that I just passed the rest of the time reading, but maybe that is so. I was on my bed again, rather than in it, and I think I was fast asleep by no later than 9.30pm. I think it is possible that I slept even better than normal last night. I certainly don't feel all that sleepy this morning, and I even typed that without yawning....although maybe I feel one coming on soon ! Once again I feel fairly good this morning. That is not quite the same as feeling good, but it is better than recently, and maybe it feels like something I could build on if it lasts.

 One thing I ought to do while feeling mostly OK is to try harder to reduce my waistline. It has definitely gone down already, but the improvement is not much, and it has taken so long. I think I mentioned I wore a brand new pair of trousers to work, and that they were what was is best described as my classic size - the size I was before I stopped smoking in 2013, but not the size I was heading for before I went into hospital for my quad heart bypass operation. Anyhow, those new trousers seemed perfectly comfortable. Last night I tested quite a few pairs of my old trousers (something I do now and then). Most seemed very wearable again, although I did struggle trying to do up one pair. Maybe that was always a tight pair of jeans, but I can't remember for sure.

 Tonight I dread to think what I'll be eating. I think I only have two things in mind that I want to do tonight. The most important is to try and restore access to this website to the outside world, and the other is to wash my hair. Only one thing could come between those two, and that is if Angela wants to see me to be cheered up - although I am not sure that's fully possible for now. "Her John" seems to be getting very close to death now. He has developed pneumonia again, and that is very often the killer of the old and infirm. He is on a continuous drip of antibiotics with the hope they will do some good, but his blood platelet counts remains low, and has has stopped responding to treatment for that. Some say he has less than a week to live.
Monday 24th July  2017
 08:05 BST

  There was some sunshine yesterday, but not that much. The worst thing was that it was an almost chilly day - at least by comparison to what I remember most July days to have been like in the past - it is supposed to be the middle of summer after all ! To add to the misery there was also some rain, but maybe not that much. Oh well, things can only get worse !
cold enough for
                  autumn !
  You could be forgiven if you thought the above screenshot was a weather forecast for November, but this is how today is supposed to turn out ! Since taking this screenshot at 5am this morning the forecast has improved by a tiny bit. It now says it will be 17° C until 10pm, and it optimistically says the highest temperature today will be 18° C, but without showing which minute of the day this will happen. The 14° C start to the day was about right, but they failed to predict the light rain that accompanied me to the station. Overall it is pretty damn miserable. Tomorrow may be better. More cloud is predicted, but it should be broken enough to allow the occasional sunny spell. It may also reach 22° C in the afternoon. It will still be as chilly in the morning as it was this morning though.

 Yesterday morning I decided to grit my teeth, and take a walk to the station. I wasn't terribly optimistic about it, but as has happened in the past, it cured most of my chest pains. In fact it felt almost exhilarating. I didn't even get that effect where it feels like there is something heavy under the skin above my left breast. The reason for this walk was to get a train going to Beckenham Junction station.
Train from (and too) Catford
                          Bridge in the bay platform of Beckenham
                          Junction station
Waitrose Beckenham opening hours
 The picture above does not look that good. It was taken on my mobile phone camera under a rather grey sky, and I think I may have tried to brighten it up a bit too much...anyhow...It is the train from Catford Bridge parked in the bay platform of Beckenham Junction station. Not only was this a chance to travel over a route that is now only ever used as an occasional diversion for trains that stop at Catford Bridge (an occasional fast train from the coast uses the spur between Beckenham Junction and New Beckenham stations, but doesn't stop there), but it was also supposed to be a great opportunity to have a look in a Waitrose store. I have never shopped in a Waitrose before, and I was sort of curious about what they had that, for instance, Tesco don't have. I had just enough time to leave the station, discover that the store doesn't open until 11am (I was there at 10am), take the picture on the left, and walk back to the station to get the same train back to Catford Bridge station.

 I must admit that while it was essentially a pointless journey, I did sort of enjoy it. The best bit was the sun coming out as I walked from the station to home - one of the few times I was actually aware that the sun had come out on what was mostly a rather overcast day. When I got home again I debated what I should do next, and I gave in to the idea that I might have some breakfast. There were several possibilities for breakfast and the one I chose was fried chicken - except it wasn't fried. I had bought it from Aldi on Saturday, and it was cooked in the oven. The only trouble with it was it seemed sort of bland - neither horrible or yummy.

 I can't quite remember the order of events after I had eaten my breakfast. I think I lay on my bed reading. What I do remember is that while I was laying on my bed I began to feel quite chilly, and ended up turning on my fan heater to warm my room up. I am sure you are supposed to have to do that in July ! Anyway, In some order or another I read, snoozed, and pottered around until I was siezed by an audacious idea. I decided I would sweep the stairs !

 Lugging the vacuum cleaner up and down the stairs, step by step, is a pain in the bottom, and so I used a dustpan and brush. I suspect that was more effective than using the vacuum cleaner anyway, but then I discovered an even more effective way of getting to the worst bits. One of the problems I have in my house is the remnants of cat hair from many years of having cats about the place. That hair can worm it's way into a carpet, and unless you are diligent, and hoover very quickly, which I am not, it gets matted into place. Even that is not so terrible except it help anchor my own lost hairs to the carpet as well. Yesterday I found the best way of cleaning that carper was to put on some semi-heavy duty rubber gloves, and wipe my gloved hands across the surface of the carpet. That pulls out all sort of crap ready to be brushed into the dust pan. Ideally I would have finished the job with the hoover, but my "handiwork", if you'll excuse the pun, had left the stairs looking so much better as it was, and that seemed good enough for the moment.

 One of the things about doing that cleaning was all that left, right brushing really stirred my chest up. I could feel/hear it clicking and popping like mad, but it didn't actually hurt at the time, and I am not sure if it contributed to any later hurting. It is even possible that it helped reduce quite a lot of aches and pains that have been annoying me since before the weekend. There are times when the pattern of aches in my chest could easily be mistaken for heart trouble, and I am beginning to think that maybe some of it could be heart trouble, and yet it is the exact opposite to the Angina and what turned out to be actual heart attacks 4 years ago. My worst aches and pains happen when I am resting rather when active. That is probably going to baffle my doctor when I eventually get to confront him about it. On the other hand it could be a well known set of symptoms for a well informed doctor. The only problem is that all that will probably happen is that I'll get sent home with a packet of paracetamol. I feel sure the ideal treatment is to have my chest cut open again, and my ribs and sternum re-rivetted !

 Cleaning the stair carpet was the last thing of note that I did, and the rest of the afternoon was like a typical Sunday afternoon/evening - boring ! Eventually it was time for bed. Before going to bed I turne the heat up until it was nice and toasty. Then I turned the heat down, and went to bed just before 9pm. The reason for the heat was that I didn't get into bed. I just lay on top of the bed, and like that I was able to fall asleep on my back. I was able to sleep almost all night like that. It saved squeezing my chest by laying on my side, and it seemed that I slept better for it. I do have some doubts about just how well I seemed to have slept though.

 I woke up once or twice in the night, but not for long. What may have been the third time was at, or soon after 4am, and I just couldn't get to sleep properly after that. I felt quite stiff and creaky as I lay there trying to get back to sleep. I think my back was most affected, but for some silly reason I can't decide if it was my lower or upper back that felt worse. My chest didn't feel too good, and I also had what felt a bit like acid indigestion. None of these things were very strong, but combined together they were just too distracting to get back to sleep again....or to stay asleep on the one or two occasions when my eyes might briefly have closed.

 I don't know how I feel this morning. As I have already mentioned, I felt almost energetic when I came to work, and on the whole I felt good, or if not actually good, a huge amount better than I expected to feel. One thing I gave into was buying a roll for breakfast. I did feel a bit peckish, but that was not unusual, and I am usually prepared to ignore hunger pains during teh day at work, but not today. As I sit here I can feel some tenderness, and the occasional twinge from my chest, and maybe I have a little lower back pain. I also feel a bit cool. I just did not want to add hunger pains to everything else. So I've broken a good few months of tradition and had breakfast at work.

 Maybe it is also something to do with the fact that I am wearing one of my new pairs of jeans to work for the first time. I originally bought them in my "standard" size rather than the size I had been wearing to work a lot before I switched to wearing shorts to work. Those shorts were my "standard" size, but were sort of pre-stretched after being worn for many summers, by today's jeans were almost unworn before today. They went on very easily, and they seem quite comfortable. If I had worked at it I should have been able to have done it ten times better, but it seems my efforts to try and lose a bit of weight have worked. Now if only we can get some searing hot days back in August I might possibly be able to get into practice doing some long distance walking, and maybe knock another half inch off my waistline.

 Tonight I have one plan, and one plan only, and that it to be home when the man from Vermin Media comes around to fix my cable internet connection. It is possible that tomorrow I might be able to write this direct to my web server instead of writing it to a memory stick. I will copy the file across to my web server tonight, and add it to the July page. Then, all being well, if the technician does his stuff, this website will be back on the air, and up to date. Oh, and I think I'll eat tonight too !
Sunday 23rd July  2017
 07:33 BST

  I have to say that yesterday was pretty horrible ! Basically it was just grey and miserable - and that was when it wasn't raining - which was even more miserable. It must have been at about 3pm when I reported a very loud, window rattling, thunderclap.  I expected it to be one of a series of peals of thunder, but it seemed to be just the one solitary "kaboom". I don't recall any rain falling after that for the rest of the day, but it was still dull and gloomy. It also started to get chilly.
how it was thought today's
                  weather would be at 3am this morning
  By 3am this morning the temperature was down to 12° C - and possibly lower (it was too cold to go around checking all my thermometers). It was around then that I took a screenshot of the forecast for today. It could, and is turning out a bit different - for instance I have seen no sign of any sunshine yet, and that forecast says there should have been some sunny spells at any time in the last three hours. I can only cross my fingers and hope that the sun does eventually break through, and the the forecast for heavy rain from 3pm onwards is wrong. There might be a chance that tomorrow will be a bit brighter, and possibly warmer too.

 The highlight yesterday was the brief visit by Angela. The rest of the day was not good. I finished doing my laundry, but apart from that I did little else. It was very hard to get motivated when the sky was so horribly grey outside. On top of that I ached. It wasn't a strong ache, well most of the time it wasn't, and it wasn't always in the same place, but the cumulative effect combined with the horrible weather to make me feel pissed off.

 I had hoped that my pessimism about Angela turning up in the evening were wrong, but I was right. I don't think I heard from her for the rest of the day after that late morning visit.  I don't know why she didn't contact me, but I do know she didn't come out because she was being entertained by her son and someone who may be his girlfriend. So I stayed in on my own feeling rather unexcited. I guess I am still too well practiced doing it to actually feel feel mega depressed about it, but it was still no bowl of roses.

 I don't know quite when it was when I went to bed. It was most probably between 10pm and midnight, and I feel that it may have been closer to the former than to the last. I seemed to be sleeping quite well until 3am, and then it all went wrong. I think I got up for a pee, but I definitely woke up. When I tried to go back to sleep I turned to lay on my right side - the most common side for me to go to sleep on. As I lay there I felt three things. One was that it was quite chilly unless I pulled the duvet in around me. The second was that I began to feel a bit too warm after a few minutes like that. The third thing was that I could feel some gentle pressure on one of the tender areas of my chest.

 Rather than aggravate my chest I turned over to my left side. Maybe I turned a little too quickly, or a little too carelessly, but at that point my chest went "prack" (which is a sort of cross between pop and crack with a bias towards pop). It was actually quite painful, and I had to get out of bed to "reset" my chest back into a more comfortable arrangement of ribs, ligaments, muscles, and assort soft tissues. It was while doing this that I checked the weather forecast for today, and took the screenshot of it.

 From then on my chest gave me a lot of aggravation. A lot of it was more a sensation of something just about to happen rather than an actual pain, but I had those too. I won't say it was the most comfortable position, but the most neutral position was laying on my back. For whatever reason, I find it more comfortable to lay on my back without the duvet over me. So after several attempt to get back to sleep under the duvet I went and got a fan heater, and turned that on. It took 15 to 20 minutes to get the room comfortably warm, before I could lay on my back, on top of the duvet, and get some sleep.

 It was not good sleep, but it was some sleep. Maybe it was a bit more sleep than it seemed to be because a lot more time passed than would seem possible if I was awake all the time. It was reminiscent of the first few weeks after I came out of hospital, and I was more or less forced to sleep on my back because my front was being held together with staples. After a few weeks of that I got quite used to sleeping on my back, and I probably managed to get my full 8 hours sleep a night towards the end of that period of time.

 It is debatable I've had as much as three quarters of my beauty sleep yet, and once I've finished writing this I think I'll go back to laying on my bed - initially with a book, but I'm sure that after a page or two I'll fall asleep again - and why not ? It's a Sunday and I have bugger all to do ! I guess I ought to try and find something to do today. I feel a walk would be good for me, but it is difficult to motivate myself when the sky is so grey and horrible. Perhaps the sun may come out later, and that will help.

 One thing I could have done yesterday, and which I have another opportunity to do today, is to catch a train to Beckenham Junction. There are engineering works going on this weekend that are blocking "The Mid Kent Line" to Hayes. In a rare enlightened move they are using the spur that connects New Beckenham station to Beckenham Junction station. There used to be one or two trains in normal passenger service that used that spur during the week, but they haven't appeared in the timetable for quite a few years now, although some longer distance trains are routed non stop between Bromley and Victoria using the spur. So today presents an opportunity for some novel rail travel, and maybe something else. Right by Beckenham Junction station is a large supermarket. I thought it was a Morrisons, but I now believe it is a Waitrose. I have never shopped in either, and so I could take a novel train journey combined with some novel shopping.

 Whether I do those things is unknown. Maybe it is very slightly more likely than doing some hoovering, but in the unlikely even that I end up feeling good I might do that too ! Tomorrow will be my sixth to last day at work, and from then onwards every day could be as tedious and boring as a typical Sunday, or it could be as exciting as some very rare Saturdays. I may have to get some of my kicks by pestering my doctor about these aches and pains, clicks, cracks and grunts from my chest superstructure - and who knows where that may lead !
Saturday 22nd July  2017
 14:42 BST

  I think yesterday went pretty much as forecast. There were some periods of blue sky and good sunshine, but cloudy with sunny intervals was more the recipe for most of the day. The forecast said it would be 21° C for most of the afternoon until almost sunset, and that sounds about right. It was better than mild, but maybe not quite warm. At 10pm, or maybe half an hour earlier, it started to rain just as the forecast said it would !
A thoroughly
                  miserable day
  Today could easily be described as bloody miserable ! The overnight rain more paused than stopped by about 7am. There was a suitable window in the rain for me to walk to Aldi, and then back again without getting wet, but there was evidence that suggested there was a shower while I was inside shopping. It didn't really start to rain again until just after 11am, but since then, contrary to what the forecast said, there has been lots of showers - and some of them have been quite heavy. It was raining quite heavily just before I started writing this, but it now just light drizzle. According to the forecast it wasn't supposed to start raining again after the morning rain until 5pm. Well, they got that one very wrong. Lets hope the forecast for some sunny intervals at 8pm is very wrong - so wrong that the sunny intervals are actually sunny periods, and that they start an hour or two (or three) earlier, and the sky is perfectly clear by sunset.

 Maybe that is just so much wishful thinking, but it could happen ! Tomorrow looks like it will be almost as unpleasant as today, but if we are very lucky there will be a few sunny intervals to break up the gloomy skies and occasional rain. Consulting my mobile phone, I see the latest forecast for tomorrow says that it will only rain between 4 and 5pm tomorrow, and that there is a fair chance of sunny spells any time else.

 I am still without a working broadband connection, and that pisses me off a lot. Yesterday morning I reported it to Vermin Media, and the man did say that he had a few other reports from the local area. This suggests to me that there is a fault on the equipment in the local "green box", and as such a precautionary visit from a technician yesterday afternoon or this morning might have fixed it for all of us, but it is looking like I will have to wait until I get a technician around between 4.30pm and 7pm on Monday before I have any hope of getting a working broadband connection. In the meantime I am paying £2.99 for 500MB of data a day using my "3" broadband USB dongle.

 Another unscheduled bit of weather was the massive thunderclap that just shook the house !

 When I got home from work I felt really quite drained yesterday. That was not good considering I wanted to go out to see Miranda fronting Back To The Fray in Beckenham that evening. Much of the reason for feeling drained was a lack of good sleep recently. That was caused by two problem that continued to annoy me during the day. There was the aftermath of the day of constipation I had on Thursday for one thing. As I mentioned yesterday morning, that passed (three times !) yesterday morning, but I still had some sort of tenderness in the gut area - a problem that only faded away sometime in the early hours of this morning.

 The other problem, on reflection, does seem to be modulated by the weather, and it is the ongoing saga of my "twisted rib", although that is hardly an adequate way to describe it. Rather than a persistent pain it seems to be a persistent tenderness recently, and it is easy to provoke it to some fairly sharp pains. The worst tend to be very short lived, and happen when I make certain movements. The problem there is that it seems impossible to predict what those movements are. It is almost like, and quite possibly is, determined where I "parked" the components of the chest superstructure last time. Some of those pains, maybe most of the worst ones, could be the result of something out of place being popped back into place. The short version is that I have experienced a lot of random pain for the last few days or more.

 It felt good to get home from work yesterday, and it felt good to eat even though it started off with some naughty snack like stuff. It culminated in a couple of Aldi curry ready meals (the type which are quite small, and don't come with rice). After eating I decided I would lay on my bed and read for a bit before getting up to wash and get ready to go out. Within 5 minutes I was fast asleep, and it seems like I was probably sleeping quite well.

 I don't know how long I had been sleeping, but it felt like a long time - maybe almost 2 hours. It also felt like if I hadn't received a phone call i would have carried on sleeping until late in the evening - which would actually have suited me OK. The phone call was from my friend Jodie. She was at Heathrow Airport, and demanding to know why the X26 (I think) bus wasn't running. Had my internet been up and running I could have checked, but I suggested that because she was at an airport, a MAJOR transport hub, there had to be an inspector or information desk that could tell her more than I could. I have no idea why she couldn't see anyone official to ask, but she did phone Transport For London, and they advised her of an alternative route home (which actually sounded quicker than the bus she wanted). The final outcome was that she got on a bus for one of the alternative routes home, and while she was boarding she asked the driver if he knew why there were no X26s running. He said there were, and it has just pulled up behind him. It seems Jodie was panicking because the bus was running a few minutes late !

 Being woken up, and being asked silly questions did nothing for my mood. In fact I felt really quite miserable - a fact not aided by being able to get hold of Angela. I had made an offer to Angela when I spoke to her previously, that if she felt too miserable to go to her daughters gig in Beckenham, I would stay in, and she could come here and we would cheer each other up.  Unfortunately she was too miserable to even consider the outside world, and it transpired she had a very, very miserable evening in by herself.

 I didn't feel that well, my guts seemed to be a bit tender, and my chest was not feeling good, but I hauled myself under the shower, and finally went out to Beckenham to see Miranda and Back To The Fray. It is a measure of how rotten I felt that I couldn't even bring myself to take my camera ! (although I did slip a small camera in my pocket - just in case). My journey to Beckenham got off to a good start. I had to wait no more than a minute or two for the bus, but when the bus got to Catford Bus Garage we stopped for a good 10 minutes while we changed drivers.

 When I finally arrived in Beckenham I faced that short, but incredibly irritating walk up the hill because the buses are still on diversion, and probably will be for months and months yet. I arrived at the pub feeling really yuck - some of it physical, and a lot of it mental. I decided I would have one pint of Guinness, and then re-evaluate how I felt. I think I concluded my next action before I had even finished the pint. I didn't feel great, and I couldn't concentrate on trying to work out what people were trying to say to me against all the normal background noise of a pub in one ear, and the band playing in the other ear. So I finished my pint and declared I was going home again. Just to complete a terrible evening I missed a bus home by about a minute and had to wait 14 minutes for the next.

 I did my best, as much as you can do your best, to get a good night's sleep last night, and I think I was partly successful until maybe 4am. After that my sleep became a bit lumpy, but I did manage to pass the 5am barrier by about 70 minutes. It still hasn't stopped me feeling sleepy today though, and I have had several good naps. I feel I'll be having even more later ! Generally speaking I have felt pretty crappy today. I judge most of it to be weather related. Those grey heavy clouds crush the soul as much as the body, but there have been moments of lightness.

 I had a few mild twinges, and maybe I wasn't wearing the most comfortable shoes, but the time I probably felt physically better than any other time was when I was walking to and from Aldi - even when carrying quite a bit of shopping that included three 2l bottles of pop in my rucksack. Another moment of lightness, and lightness of the soul this time, was when Angela phoned to say she was just leaving the hospital, and could she pop in for a bit. When she got here I fed her a small sandwich and a few king sized cherries while we talked. She apologised for ignoring me last night, and then got a load of feeling off her chest about how she feels about John. He is still in hospital, and although she doesn't like to think about it, realises that the chance for any meaningful recovery is getting very, very slim now.

 Angela only stayed for maybe 45 minutes, but there is small possibility that I might see her again tonight. On past experience it will be a very slim chance in the extreme. If she can make her mind up before she really sinks into the depths of despair she will come and spend the evening with me rather than be alone. This time I emphasised that it would not be just for her, but it would cheer up my mostly miserable state a lot if I had some company tonight. She acknowledged that at the time, but whether she will pay it any heed later is in the lap of the Gods.

 Just like being at work, sitting here in an office chair and typing on my PC, is giving me a sort of pain across the chest. It's like a crease that needs straightening out, and that is exactly what I am about to do. Prior to sitting down here I was washing a weeks worth of t-shirts, but I thought I would take a break once I got to the last bit of the procedure - soaking them in fabric conditioner. Now I needed to wring them out, and hang them up to dry. After that I can have another snooze, but maybe, just maybe I might give the stairs a brush in case Angela does come over this evening. If I had just a tiny bit of certainty about it I might even hoover the living room carpet too, but I don't like to get too enthusiastic about these things !
Friday 21st July  2017
 08:35 BST

 The forecast for yesterday said the coldest part of the day would be at 1pm. It sounded unlikely, but it turned out to be right. Prior to that there were several moderately heavy falls of rain, but from 1pm the clouds thinned right out, and we had sunny periods all afternoon, and maybe a few less in the evening. 
back to pleasant, but slightly
                  disappointing weather
  Today should be a pleasant enough day, but 21° C seems a bit poor for July. A bit more sunshine would be nicer too. I'm also not too happy with the forecast rain starting at 10pm, and getting heavy by 11pm - potentially just as I am going home from a gig ! Tomorrow is going to be a bit cooler, but there should be some sunny periods in the morning, and start of the afternoon, but rain, in variable quantities is forecast from about 4pm onwards. That could hamper my plans to go out...on the other hand it could benefit my alternative plans.

 There was one thing that spoiled my day at work yesterday, and it also spoiled my evening, and my night ! It was the discomfort of constipation. It wasn't painful in any meaningful use of the word, but it was not pleasant. Other than that, my day at work was generally boring - mainly because I hardly did anything all day ! So it was nice to get out into the occasional, and not all that warm sunshine, and make my way to The Partridge pub in Bromley for my Thursday night drink.

 Unfortunately it wasn't such a great experience in The Partridge. There were seven of us drinking together, and we sat together at two tables in what could be called the back room of the pub. It must have been at about 5.30pm that one of the staff asked us to move from those tables because they were reserved for a dinner party. Apparently there was a small, obscured by other drinkers, notice outside the room to say it was reserved, but none of us noticed it. As far as we could recall they always used to put "Reserved" notices on each table where they were very obvious. There were no other tables big enough to accommodate us all so we thanked them for their service, and trooped down the road to the Wetherspoons pub.

 Things didn't improve there - in one particular respect. All the others decided to drink Abbot ale, and to simplify matters I went for that as well even though I don't particularly like it. On this occasion I found it even more unpleasant than the last time, and it left a nasty sour taste in my mouth. That was my third pint, and after that I left to go home. Life didn't even improve there either !

 The first thing I wanted to do when I got home was to eat. Fortunately I had accidently bought a couple of spare chicken burgers on my way there. I ate those with great relish, but they didn't seem enough after fasting for 24 hours. A quick look in the fridge revealed a couple of beef and horseradish sandwiches that were 2 days past their sell by date. A careful inspection suggested they were still in edible condition, although one bit of one did have a slightly odd taste. I ate both of them, and together with the constipation I ended up feeling quite uncomfortable.

 What was worse was that I didn't make a phone call until after I had eaten. That phone call was to Angela to see how she was, and to find out if there was any news about John. I caught her just as she was on her way home from the hospital. She was very upset because it does seem that John is now getting close to the end of his life. If I had called Angela earlier, or if Angela had called me, she could have popped in on her way back from the hospital for a hug and shoulder to cry on. Unfortunately she assumed I would still be out drinking, and didn't want to disturb me, and I stopped to eat first. So we just chatted over the phone, and I think I managed to lift her spirits a bit.

 I was able to go to bed by 9pm, and that was good, but maybe a bit wasted. I can't remember if I fell asleep quickly or not. What I do know is that I had a fairly uncomfortable night, and that at 1am (I think) I was taking indigestion tablets to help settle things down. It was a combination of feeling stuffed at the top, and stuffed at the bottom. I am not really sure why I was constipated, but everything was normal this morning - three times !! I feel fine now in that respect.

 I say everything was normal this morning, but in one very special respect it wasn't. There I was at about 5.30am quietly (well mostly quietly !!) doing my business when I heard the phone ringing in my bedroom. I knew who it would be, and I assumed it would be bad news. So I finished as quickly as possible and rushed back to my bedroom to call Angela back. It wasn't bad news, and in a way it was good news, but only for me. Angela had had a bad night, and just wanted to talk to someone. I have told her many times in this troubled past that she is welcome to phone me any time she needs to, and at 5.30 this morning she needed to. It made me feel happy to help her.

 This morning I am writing this in unusual circumstances. My internet connection has failed. It failed at about 11am yesterday. As I write this my website is off the air, and so I'll save this on a memory stick, and upload it to my server when I get home from work. Whether my connection will be fixed by then is currently an unknown. I am sure that Vermin Media's engineers will demand access even though I am 99.68% certain the fault is outside, and most probably in the green cabinet down the road. Maybe it won't get fixed until sometime on Saturday - if I am lucky.

 Tonight I am hoping to find the energy to go and see Back To The Fray, with Miranda on vocals, at The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. I'm pretty certain I will find the energy because I want to see Angela as much as the band. There is an alternative plan if Angela is feeling too down in the dumps to face a gig. I have offered to stay in, and she can come and join me for a night in with some booze, and maybe some food too.
Thursday 20th July  2017
 07:58 BST

We seem to be in the middle of some curious weather that the forecasters seem to be struggling to understand, and make predictions. Yesterday was typical of this weirdness. Much of the forecast captured the spirit of the day. There was quite a bit of sunshine, and possibly more than was forecast, but at around 11am, when the forecast suggested the sun should be at it's strongest and most shinyness, it rained ! Admittedly it was not a lot of rain. Just a brief shower, but for about an hour either side of it, the sky was quite grey, and there was no sign of any sunshine. I think the temperature forecast was about right. Then we move on today, and it is a very weird one, and in fact it seems to describe yesterday better !
weird weather
The forecast for today already contains some errors. It makes no mention of a few very light falls of rain between 6 and 8am, and then says there could be a little bit of sunshine even as I write this. Well to give the forecasters their due, I did see a bit of blue sky as I walked from the station to work in some intermittent extremely light rain. That bit of blue sky was about as big as a 50p coin - and there was just the one bit in the whole sky ! The temperature should be going through a mini peak right now, but it is hard to detect a one degree rise without a handy thermometer. What is exceptionally weird is that in a couple of hours the temperature is supposed to drop by enough to almost feel chilly, and it is supposed be coolest at 1pm - just at the time of the day when it should be hottest (or not far from it). After that we should return to a pale imitation of summer. Tomorrow could see the weather gearing up for a cold and wet weekend !

 Work was tolerably OK yesterday. The bigger annoyance was Angela not contacting me after saying she would keep me updated about John's progress. I have no idea if he is in hospital dying, or has been released. I did have some hopes that maybe I might even get a call from Angela about meeting up after work, but I know she had a good reason for not doing that - she was supervising the clear up of the tree that fell down in her back garden. I think I'll try calling her today to see what the news is.

 Going home from work was uneventful, and thus mildly boring. On my way home I called into the corner shop to pick up a package from Amazon. It was the new power supply/charger for the laptop I was recently given. I am happy to say that it all worked first time. The only problem now is that I don't think the battery monitoring software is working correctly. I may have to make the laptop dual boot so I can occasionally run windows on it purely to check on the state of the battery now and then.

 Yesterday evening was one of those evenings when I needed to smoke a cigarette or ten. It was all to do with eating. I started off with a salad with a generous amount of grated cheese for my dinner. It seemed to be sort of filling, but I wanted more. So I had a punnet of strawberries - which weren't all that nice. I think they had been force ripened or something, and didn't taste very strawberry-like. I could probably have replaced that whole punnet with one cigarette, and several more could have replaced all the other crap I ate ! Not smoking makes trying to lose weight incredibly difficult !

 About the only thing of note that I did last night was to finish going through the pictures I took of Life Of Brian's gig at The Bricklayers Arms last Saturday night. Most of them were very poor, and it took some effort to "beautify" them.

Brian Bath
Miranda Bell
Miranda Bell

 I think I got 8 or 9 usable pictures out of all the pictures I took. Here's just three of them. The first two are sort of "arty" rather than natural looking. It was all a bit experimental, but I think I have just about managed to convert a couple of rubbish shots into something usable. The third picture needed a bit of work, but I tried to keep it close to natural looking. Clicking on the pictures should open them up full sized in another browser window/tab.

 With so few pictures to do I finished not all that long after 6pm (maybe closer to 7pm, but I wasn't really paying attention to the time). I didn't really have anything else to do (or what I wanted to do), and so I treated myself to laying down and reading for a while. It turned out to only be for a very short while. I don't think I read more than a page or two before I felt sleepy. So I put the book down and promptly fell asleep. I was asleep for at least an hour, and maybe two hours ! There wasn't much to do after that except check a few things on the internet, brush my teeth, and go to bed.

 To my great surprise I fell asleep easily, and possibly before 9pm. I am also surprised that I seemed to sleep really well last night (by comparison with far worse nights !). I am really astonished that, while writing and thinking about sleep, I can't stop yawning ! I guess I do feel relatively OK this morning. My chest seems to have calmed down a bit, and maybe I am just entering a phase where it will be OK for a week or two. My left ankle is still playing up. The strange thing about that ankle is that it started about as bad as it has ever got, and a couple of weeks later it is more or less exactly the same - not terribly painful, but just really quite annoying and distracting. I could almost have enjoyed walking in the fine misty rain this morning of it had not been for my ankle distracting me.

 Work could be really boring today. I have run out of stuff to do, and I don't intend to go looking for extra work. I'm sure that sooner or later someone will dump something on my desk. Once the working day is over it's Thursday night boozing time. Tonight we are meeting in The Partridge pub in Bromley. It's very convenient for a bus home, and a choice of two routes. The only downside is the buses usually being very busy when I tend to leave to go home again. If I get the 320 bus home, the one that stops by Catford Bridge station, I could be very tempted to buy a couple of chicken burgers on my way home. Failing that I reckon I'll be heating up a couple of curry ready meals !
Wednesday 19th July  2017
 07:43 BST

Yesterday was another basically nice day. It could have been nicer, but it was acceptable apart from a tendency to be a bit humid. The rain that was forecast for 9pm never happened, but it did rain in the night - quite a lot !

  It was around 2am that I woke up thinking I probably needed a pee. I did, but I don't think it was that which woke me up. It was probably more to do with the bright flashes and peals of thunder from a thunderstorm. I don't think it passed overhead, but it was not that far away. My first thought was that I would never get back to sleep while the thunderstorm raged, and I got up for 15 minutes. Than I felt tired. So I got back on my bed (it felt rather to hot and humid to get in it), and I estimate that what felt like another 15 minutes was less than 5 minutes before I was fast asleep again. 
an acceptable day
 I guess today could be quite similar to yesterday. It will be mostly bright with many spells of sunshine, but this is what the experts say about it - " A dry start, with some sunshine. A hot, humid day follows, with light winds. Slightly less hot, but still humid, across some southern coastal counties, as cloud spreads in from the English Channel. Risk of isolated thunderstorms in the northwest."....and for tonight - "A dry start to the night with clearer spells. However it will stay humid. Some heavy and perhaps thundery showers are then possible in the west around dawn.", I'm not sure I like the idea of it being humid. It was feeling rather sticky on my way into work, and it will no doubt feel worse once the days warms up more. Tomorrow will be less bright, and cooler too. There might even be some rain mid morning, but the afternoon could stay dry.

 I was hoping I might see Angela after work yesterday, and I later learned that I nearly did, but she had a prior engagement. Yesterday it was a most unusual one. A small, but old tree, and one that I am guessing had been pruned to be very lopsided, maybe to stop it overhanging a neighbours garden, had fallen down. Apparently it had shown signs of cracking for some time now. So poor old Angela had to make a start on clearing it. All she could do was to expend a lot of energy lopping off the small branches. I believe one of her sons will be attempting to cut some of the bigger bits up, but ultimately she will have to get in a tree surgeon to finish chopping it up, and then remove all the debris.

 While I wanted to make myself available to Angela as soon as possible in case she called, I still decided I wanted to go around Poundland to pick up a few bits and pieces. I am sure it was Poundland where I bought a nice long ice cube tray with silicon rubber moulds. I wanted another, but I have yet to find another anywhere. I certainly didn't find one in the shop in Catford Mews. I found they were having a major re-arrangement/refit in there, and while they were just about open for business, half the shelves were completely empty. I gave up there and went to the shop along the high street, and bought a bag full of stuff from there - including some very naughty stuff like Turkish Delight !

 When I finally got home I had a two part dinner. Part one was a cheese salad, and part two was one of my vegetable stews that I had flavoured with some cheap ham trimmings. It was basically the same as the the dinner I had made for the previous day. For yesterday's version I decided it needed more flavouring, and I flavoured the stock with some English mustard. I had never tried that before, but it seemed to work fairly well. I also added a bit of Tesco "Value" green pesto that has been hanging around in the kitchen for years now. The stew was a bit tastier last night, but I think I can probably improve on it if I make something similar again (which is quite likely because it is the sort of cheap meal I will eating more frequently in my retirement).

 Once I had eaten I got down to the serious business of photo editing. I started off by finishing the photo album of Chain playing in The Partridge pub in Bromley on Saturday night. I know a couple of photographers who admit that photography in that venue can be really challenging, and those that try often revert to black and white photography because it is a bit more forgiving to difficult lighting conditions. It was never intended, but I seem to have become a bit of an expert at low light photography, although it wasn't all low light there. Some of the direct light was very bright, and that lead to some extreme contrast levels. In the end I think I am quite pleased with how my pictures came out - not that many did. I think I ended up with 8 or 9 good pictures. Here's just 6 of them in thumbnail form - click to expand them to full size.

Dave Etheridge and his illuminated
Jo Corteen
                            and the golden guitar !!
                            Etheridge and his groovy drums
Jo Corteen
Jo Corteen
Steve Pitt and Chris

  After finishing the Chain photos I started on the photos I took of Life Of Brian in The Bricklayers Arms pub - also on Saturday night. It was crowded and sweaty in there, and once again the light was no good. I didn't get very far through the photos I took, but I know I made one fundamental mistake when taking the first photos. I had the white balance set for natural light instead of indoor tungsten lighting. That meant everyone illuminated from one angle had red faces, and anyone caught by the glare of the stage lights looked really pale and nasty. The big problem in that venue is that the band play tucked in a little corner, and there is nowhere to place and additional lighting to good effect. So editing those photos, or at least the first four I did, needed a lot of work and some advanced creativity....and when I say advanced I probably mean experimental, or insane creativity ! Hopefully I took some better photos later on, and unless I am distracted by, for instance Angela, a highly pleasant distraction, I hope to process enough tonight to make a reasonable photo album.

 I decided it was time for bed by 8.30pm last night. By 9pm I had brushed my teeth, and I was on my bed ready to try and go to sleep. It felt hot and sticky last night, and so I didn't attempt to get into bed. Just before I tried to go to sleep I sent a text message to Angela to ask if John had been released form hospital. She very quickly responded to say no, and that he was still undergoing treatment. It sounded like she needed a voice call so I phoned her, and she was very grateful for a nice chat. When we finished the call I fell asleep quite quickly - only to be woken up by the thunderstorm at 2am !

 I seem to have already described how I see my evening panning out. Making myself available in case Angela wants to visit (she says that if John is not released from hospital today a visit is very likely because she will need cheering up) will be my first priority, but other than that it will be like last night - eating and photography !
Tuesday 18th July  2017
 07:54 BST

  The forecast said yesterday would be a nice day, and it was ! The sun was out nearly all the time, and it was almost warm enough to tickle the lower reaches of hot. It also felt fresher too - in a warm sort of way.
not as good as
  Today may have it's moments, but it is not going to be nearly as good as yesterday. There seems to be a few small carcks in the clouds where the sun could peep out for a few minutes, but much of today will be overcast. What is not shown in this picture is why there is a weather warning out for today and tomorrow. That warning says - "Thundery showers are expected to push north across southern parts of the UK through Tuesday evening, perhaps turning more widespread towards midnight.Although many places won't see these showers, there is a chance of localised flooding of homes, businesses and susceptible roads. Frequent lightning may be an additional hazard with potential disruption to power networks. Similarly, but very locally, hail may cause impacts. ". It is actually looking like tomorrow may be the worse day because of one unfortunate bit of timing - rain is forecast for when I will be travelling home from work. The forecast for that time is only for light rain, and maybe I'll get away with going home in shirtsleeves without getting too wet, and maybe not even wet at all.

 I had a reasonable day at work yesterday, but I was still as keen as mustard for the day to finish so I could go home. I did have hopes that I might have been able to see Angela after work, but that turned out to be impossible. It seems that John has suffered another problem, and she spent a lot of the day in A&E with him. I did offer to "feed and water" her if she was coming back from A&E by herself (I live little more than 10 minutes walk from the hospital), but the timing was not right. I later learned that John had been kept in overnight. It sounds quite serious this time - more than just a cold gone rogue because his chemotherapy interferes with his immune system. The only tiny bit of information I was told was low platelet count, although I don't know who made that diagnosis. If it is so then my best guess is that his spleen and bone marrow has stopped producing red blood cells. That sounds very serious to me. It's feeling like time to prepare to give a lot of love to Angela who is going to be devastated if this is the beginnings of the end.

 When I got home from work I had one of my experimental, theoretically fairly healthy, dinners. It was a mix of vegetables cooked in stock flavoured with a generous amount of "ham trimmings". The latter being a fairly cheap deal that appears in Aldi, and probably other places, from time to time. I was tempted to say it was rather nice, but it wasn't really. It seemed to be rather bland for some reason - and that was a shame for one particular reason. There was quite a lot of stock in it, and by drinking all that stock it made it feel like it was a far bigger, more filling portion, but that wasn't enough to satisfy me.

 My dissatisfaction was made worse by eating some cherries for "afters". I don't know if it was because they were from Tesco instead of Aldi, or if it was just me, but they didn't seem as nice as the last cherries I ate. The only thing that finally satisfied me was some cheese and sugar free biscuits. Some of my dissatisfaction may have been because I had an intermittent mild stomach ache that had been going on from an hour or two before I left work. It felt like trapped wind, and it seems it was.

 One of the odd effects of eating one of my (mostly) vegetable stews with a lot of stock is that stock, possibly because it is warm, can really stir up my digestive system. Within half an hour of eating dinner I felt some ominous rumblings, and perhaps another half hour after that had me dashing to the toilet. It is lucky I was near a toilet because I had little warning that things were about to happen, and happen unbelievably fast. It was all over in 2 seconds flat, but took two flushes to clear the pan ! I felt a lot better after that !

 Apart from a little cooking and eating, I only did two other things of significance last night. The first was to finish washing, and fabric conditioning, a thick, heavyweight double duvet cover. I had started it late the day before, and didn't have the energy to complete it (all washed and wrung out by hand !!). I put the duvet cover on a clothes horse to drip into the bath for a couple of hours before moving it into the spare bedroom with the window open. This morning it was bone dry.

 The other significant thing was to start work on selecting and editing pictures I had taken of Chain on Saturday night. I had my doubts about them because the lighting was very harsh, and indeed some pictures were very over exposed in places, and under exposed elsewhere. However I found with a bit of effort a few could be made to look very presentable. One of them even looked really good in my humble opinion. I meant to upload a couple to my server to show here today, but I didn't get around to it. Maybe tonight I'll have an even bigger selection to choose from when I carry on selecting and editing some more of the pictures.

 There was one bit of good news from last night. The power supply for the laptop I was recently given started working again. I guess letting it cool down for 24 hours helped. I have a very good idea what the fault is, and I could probably repair it if I could crack open the welded shut case. If I was keen I probably would do it, but I think that for an easy life I will just stick to the new power supply I ordered, and which is forecast to be delivered tomorrow.

 Tonight I can look forward to another dinner that will be similar to the one I had last night. I prepared and cooked it last night, but I think I'll zap this one up with some herbs and spices....or anything else that comes to mind before I eat it. Then I'll try and get stuck in editing photos until it's time for bed. Hopefully I'll get an update from Angela about how John is doing, and if he is still in hospital there could be a chance of a visit from her on her way home if she is visiting him in the afternoon. Other than that it is just bed and counting down the days until I don't have to get up at 5am to come all this way to work. By my reckoning I'll only have to do it another 10 times !!
Monday 17th July  2017
 08:03 BST

  One bit of weather that happened after I wrote yesterday was rain ! It wasn't in the forecast, and to be completely accurate it actually happened in the very early hours of today. I can't recall the actual time, but I think it was probably around 1am when I needed to get out of bed to go for a pee. Once I was in the bathroom I could hear what sounded like rain, and when I looked out of the window it was indeed rain. It was rather strange considering that the clouds seemed to be breaking up as the sun set last night, and the blue sky this morning.
                  weather - 5am forecast
  Today looks like it is going to be a very good day. The screenshot above was of the 4am update. To my great surprise it hadn't changed when I checked it again just before 8am. The only things I would dispute are that I reckon it was closer to 15° C at 5am, and I think that at 7am there was hardly a cloud in the sky...although I guess even some cloud could be counted as some cloud ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a degree or two cooler, and there will be a lot less sunshine...but still some sunshine ! As midnight approaches and tomorrow transitions into Wednesday, there could be a lot of rain that continues into Wednesday morning.....or something completely different will happen in reality.

 I didn't feel too good when I got up yesterday morning. It was nothing specific - just a feeling of having overdone it the day before. If I had had a lot more booze on Saturday night I would have blamed it on a hangover, because it was a bit hangover-like. Of course it wasn't helped by waking up, and getting up far too early. I probably should have gone back to bed and slept for several or more hours instead of going back to bed and not really sleeping all that much.

 It certainly dampened my enthusiasm to do much. I had planned on trying to lure Angela out for a walk in the park. There were two reasons why I didn't. The first was that I just didn't feel like walking all the way to where I met her the previous Sunday. The second was that she had seemed quite happy on Saturday night, and had several family members with her. I reasoned, rightly or wrongly, that she would be busy cooking breakfast and attending to other obligations, and wouldn't have any time to spare for least not the amount of time that I would have hoped she could have spent with me.

 Instead of going for a walk into the park I went to Aldi. That turned out to be a longer walk than intended, and would certainly have been long enough to get me to the place I might have met Angela. The reason was that I forgot that Aldi doesn't open until 11am on a Sunday morning. I got there almost 25 minutes early ! So I took a slow walk down the high street, and then circled back past Tesco, and through the back streets. I still had a 6 or 7 minute wait until Aldi opened.

 That walk was not particularly enjoyable because I was re-testing some shoes, and my re-test showed they were just as uncomfortable as the last two times. The shoes were supposed to be my favourite slip on shoes, but while almost identical to the ones I like there was one major difference. The shoes I like were/are made in China. The shoes I wore yesterday morning carried the same makers name but were made in Pakistan. For some reason they are very slightly narrower, but the worst thing is that the soles are made from a rather stiff grey material. The comfortable versions have a much more flexible yellow-ish colour sole material.

 It was a great relief to finally get home with my shopping - and it wasn't just because my feet and ankles were aching, but also because it was, or seemed to be, quite hot and humid out. I think the effect was made worse by the autumnal look to the sky. It actually seemed to have all the right ingredients for a powerful thunderstorm to break out, but not even a drop of rain fell. Meanwhile, I was feeling so hot that I devoured a small tub of raspberry sorbet and chocolate ice cream, and ruined my blood glucose level for the rest of the day.....maybe.

 With the photos of three gigs waiting in my camera I had to discipline myself to settle down and do the more tedious part of photography. I guess it depends on what sort of mood you are in when it comes to describing the experience. Sometimes, like yesterday when I was feeling tired, and bits of me ached, it is a bit of a slog, and sometimes it can be exciting. Overall, but perhaps more when the task is over, it is very rewarding - maybe more so when you are still discovering ways of improving the look of photos and practice the little tweaks that enhance your personal style.

 In the end I only managed to produce a photo album from the pictures I had taken of The Dirty Perks at The Black Cat pub. (I included two of the pictures yesterday). One reason for it taking so long is that one of the tweaks I was doing to the pictures was painting out some of the annoying features in the background. The pub has painted the wall black behind where the bands play, and that makes for a great backdrop, or would do if it wasn't for the old lamps that aren't used during gigs. They look out of place, and so they have to go along with a few other anomalous bits and pieces !

 There was one other thing I started to do, but I just didn't have the energy to finish yesterday. That was to hand wash a thick double duvet cover. I started doing it a bit late in the day, and that didn't help. I got as far as one wash, and two rinses before abandoning the task. This morning, just before and just after my shower I gave it two more semi-rinses (just squeezing out much of the water while it was still in the tub, rather than taking it right out and wringing it out). Tonight I will give it one more rinse, and then finish of with some fabric conditioner before hanging it up to drip dry. If I do it early enough I might hang it out in the sunshine for a couple of hours.

 It wasn't until bedtime was approaching that I began to feel better. That was a stupid time to start feeling good and all alert. One of the final things I did was to spend a while testing the laptop that my friend Lee had given me. I had put in a brand new solid state hard drive, increased the memory to 1.5GB, and installed Linux Mint 18.02 (XFCE version) on it. Initially it had seemed quite sluggish, but on Saturday, before going out to the gigs, I did some research that lead me to alter a few settings in the boot menu, and it seemed to cure all the problems. Last night I thought I would spend half an hour or so to put it through it's paces. Half an hour was all I got to play with it because it came up with a low battery warning - while it was connected to the charger. It seems the charger has probably died (although there is a far more sinister possibility). I expected a replacement to be hideously expensive, but it seems they can be quite cheap. I found one on Amazon that didn't look to be quite so cheap and nasty as several others, and ordered one. I can't remember the exact price, but it was under £15.

 This morning, after a passable sleep, I don't feel too bad. I have a few aches from random places in my chest, and I feel hungry ! I also feel like it would be very nice to go back to bed after writing this. Unfortunately I am at work and can't go back to bed until I get home again tonight. My hunger will have to wait until I get home too. I have a ham and vegetable stew (sort of) waiting in the microwave for another 5 minutes of zapping that will be the main, and possibly only course for my dinner.

 It is possible, although maybe not likely that I might be lucky enough to meet Angela after work for a quick drink, or maybe even a longer visit. A longer visit would be very nice even if it stops me making any progress getting the next photo album from Saturday night's pictures prepared. It would be nice to get those photos done, but my main  priorities have to be eating and getting that double duvet cover conditioned, and hung up to dry !

 Just another 11 working days to go before I have all the time in the world ! 
Sunday 16th July  2017
 18:14 BST

  The forecast for yesterday looked worse than what I seem to remember of reality. I don't recall any particular sunshine, but I also don't remember it being as gloomy as predicted for some of the day. I guess it was 21° C at it's warmest. Maybe it was a lack of wind that sometimes made me think it might be a little warmer than that. I was certainly still shirt sleeve weather at midnight !
the remains of
                  the weather
  I was sure I took a screenshot of the forecast for today, but apparently not ! The screenshot above shows the remainder of the forecast for today. It almost looks right, but it seems to be brightening up rather than getting cloudier at the moment...although the forecast doesn't predict thick cloud for a few hours yet. Today has been mostly overcast, and from time to time it looked like it might rain, but it has stayed dry. The only dampness has been sweat. It seems to be really humid today, and to make things even more sweaty it seems to have been warmer than forecast. At one point this afternoon I noticed my thermometers saying it was 26° C. My upstairs thermometer was saying it was closer to 28° C ! It's 18:28 and the sun has just come out ! The current forecast for tomorrow, which will probably change by tomorrow morning, and then several times after that, suggests that tomorrow will be warm, dry, and mostly sunny !

 I finished writing yesterday saying I had to make a decision about which of three possible gigs to go to. I phoned Angela and she said that she would like me to go to The Life Of Brian gig at The Bricklayers pub in Beckenham. So I decided that what I would do was to call into The Black Cat and get some snaps of The Dirty Perks before going on to Beckenham to see Angela. It wasn't quite that simple though. While showering, prior to going out, I started to feel increasingly uncomfortable with what I thought was trapped wind - but it was more than that. Two visits to the toilet seemed to sort it out, but I had my doubts ! It turned out I was OK after that.
The Dirty Perks
 When I finally got to the pub, half an hour later than I intended, The Dirty Perks were sounding good, but playing to a very small audience. There were a few people down in the bar area, and just three people in front of the band. I really don't know why the Black Cat is cursed with so few people wanting to go there.
The Dirty Perks
 I hadn't been there more than a few minutes when I was joined by Chris Power - an ex-Lewisham council employer who is an occasional member of the Thursday night drinking club, and frequent gig goes. He had the same plan as me - to have one pint in The Black Cat, and then go to Beckenham. It was handy that he had a car, and offered me a lift to Beckenham. That saved me a bit of time.

 When I got to The Life Of Brian gig I found the pub predictably full as usual, and also as usual a bit too packed. I also found that Angela had been accompanied by her son - the one I don't really get on with, but we ignored our differences last night. It was rather difficult to socialise in the noise and crowds, and I mainly concentrated on my photography. I have only checked a few pictures I took of the band, and they don't seem to be very good.

 I hope that with a bit of luck there will be some that are presentable with a bit of work in the "electronic darkroom". In my quest for the perfect photo I have been trying to emulate another photographer I know, but I have never quite matched the look of his snaps. It was only this afternoon that I realised I seemed to have developed my own style, and it is one that seems to be liked rather a lot amongst the bands I see. So that is a good thing, and obviously the proper thing to do.

 I don't know it it is an actual curfew, but the live music tends to end at about 10:45pm at The Bricklayers pub, and that gave me a mad, and possibly Guinness fuelled idea. With Angela in good hands (her son, daughter and the rest of the band etc) I shouted my goodbyes at about 10:30pm, and went out to the nearby bus stop. It was little more than 15 minutes later that I was at my third gig of the evening - Chain at The Partridge in Bromley which doesn't close until midnight (or 1am ?).

 Photography in The Partridge, particularly towards the end of the evening when it can get very crowded, can be a challenge, and trying to get some usable photos from the snaps I took could be another big challenge. I stayed until the end of the gig, although I had put my camera away maybe half an hour earlier, and I think I got the bus home at nearly half past midnight. I thought I had stretched the limits a lot, but when I was getting off the bus in Catford I found my friend Kevin on the lower deck of the bus. He, together with a couple of mates, had got on at the previous stop opposite the Wetherspoons pub. That pub closes at midnight, and they were heading to the Wetherspoons in Lewisham which doesn't close until 1am.

 While they carried on to Lewisham I went to the fried chicken shop and treated myself to another couple of chicken burgers. They do seem to be a good compromise between going hungry and eating a greasy pile of fried chicken and "fries". It was soon after coming out of the chicken shop that my stamina failed me. I was doing fine until I started walking down my own road. I've never felt the road to be so long before. It was very nice to finally get back home, eat my burgers and go to bed. I think I fell asleep soon after my head hit the pillow, and although I think I woke up once with cramp - although when I think about it now, it could have been a dream. What wasn't a dream was that I woke up stupidly early - a little after 6pm - which isn't so stupid as 5am !

To be continued.......
Saturday 15th July  2017
 15:52 BST

  Yesterday was, as predicted, rather dull, but also as predicted, the last hours of daylight were blessed with some weak sunshine peeping over the distant trees and houses. While it felt a bit cool going to work in shorts and t-shirt, it felt perfectly comfortable from the afternoon onwards.
a mixed bag of
  Today's forecast got things essentially right, but not at the right times ! The screenshot above was taken at just gone 9am. It reckoned that there might be a few rays of sun in between some showers between 10 and 1am, but it didn't happen like that. It was basically just dull and dry. There was a sprinkle of rain sometime after midday, and then again at around 2pm. Neither was of any significance in the grand scheme of things, but it would have slowed down the drying of a couple of towels on the washing line ! Tomorrow may be a degree or two warmer, but the day is forecast to be dominated by thick dark cloud. No rainfall is shown on the chart, but the small print suggests it could rain at any time....or not at all.

 I don't think there was anything particular to say about work yesterday. It was neither good nor bad, although of course it was great when it was over. Actually there was one bad thing about it....I ended up leaving a few minutes late because I got carried away reading something completely non work related on the internet. In consequence I was too late getting to the station to get the train that arrives seconds too late at Waterloo for me to have slight chance of getting the earlier train from Waterloo East. I just got my normal train.

 I decided to go home via Tesco when I got back to Catford. I had made up my mind that I would definitely be going to see The Life Of Brian gig in West Wickham in the evening. To save me the bother of cooking I bought a couple of sandwiches for dinner. It also had the advantage that it made for a smallish meal, and wouldn't leave me feeling too bloated to travel and enjoy the evening. I also bought a spare sandwich in case I had a late night visitor...

 I guess I was pretty tired because after eating my sandwiches, and checking my email and stuff, I lay on my bed to relax for a bit, and promptly fell asleep. I must have been asleep for almost 2 hours, and that didn't leave me much time to get ready to go out. I think that the band had been playing for almost half an hour before I got there. I was very happy to see Angela there - on her own - and she was very happy to see me.
Angela looking very perky
 This rather grainy picture doesn't show Angela greeting me. She is actually dancing as she came back in the bar after stepping outside for a cigarette. It was a rather good gig, and I managed to get some nice photos. I've been a bit "artistic", or at least a feeble equivalent to it, on many of the photos below. I seem to have got the knack of painting what I regarded as intrusions into the picture - the odd out of focus head, or bright lights in the background. Just like I did last time, I am presenting the pictures as clickable thumbnails. Click on the small picture and (if I get the web page voodoo right) it will open a new browser window/tab with a much bigger, sharper picture.
Miranda Bell
Miranda Bell
Paul Gunn
Miranda Bell
Brian Bath
Miranda Bell
Brian Bath
Acheini, Angela and Fran dancing
Angela raising her hands to salute her

 The last two picture both feature Angela dancing alongside Achieni (another musician who plays locally with her own band), and Fran. It makes it look like Angela was very happy, and while sufficiently distracted by the music she was, but at the end of the gig she was a lot less happy. She suggested we share a cab home, and wanted a lot of cuddling on the way home. I think if she didn't have to check up on John, who is going through another bad patch because of his chemotherapy drugs, and make sure he was OK, she would have come home with me for more cuddling, but at alas, duty called, and the cab dropped her off at her home first before taking me the rest of the way home. I felt really bad that she was so upset when she got home.

 It must have been 1am when I got to bed, but I still woke up stupidly early. It was actually 5am, when I get for work every (work) day, but it wasn't long after. To make matters worse I felt too alert to consider going back to bed. So after the usual morning visit to the toilet I pottered about for an hour or two. I really don't know how long it was, and I don't know how long I slept for when I next woke up. All I remember was getting back into bed, and thinking I would never get back to sleep, and the next thing I knew was that it was just after 9am !

 Since then I have done four different jobs. The smallest was some washing up, and the largest was probably washing 2 medium sized bath towels. That was followed by washing a weeks worth of shirts and stuff. The longest job, although the one using the least physical energy, was selecting and "processing" last nights photos. I did more than I have shown here - almost double this amount, but the ones I am showing here are either the best or most interesting...or something like that. Oh yes, I did do one other very small job - I heated up some garden peas, and grilled a couple of burgers for my dinner....maybe I can count eating dinner another job....or maybe not.

 I now face a tricky decision. The Life Of Brian are playing in Beckenham tonight. I don't really need to see them again, but I would like to see Angela again, and I think she would like to see me. It seems obvious to go to Beckenham, but The Dirty Perks, who are quite a good band, are playing in The Black Cat , and I ought to go there to support live music in my local pub. Just to really complicate things, I think Chain are playing in The Partridge in Bromley tonight. That could be a good gig, and I know they would love me to be there (with my camera). It's very tricky, and I don't know what to do. One possibility is to spend half my evening at one venue, and the other at a different venue. I think I will have to phone Angela and see if she really would like me to go with her tonight - to The Life Of Brian.
Friday 14th July  2017
 07:44 BST

  Yesterday turned out better than the forecast seemed to suggest. The significant improvement was that there were some occasional periods of sunshine right through the afternoon. I think the forecast temperature ended up correct at 21° C after it being a degree or two lower than forecast at the start of the day. Today looks like it could be very dull.
mostly, if not
                  wholly dull
  Once again I reckon it was cooler than forecast this morning. My thermometers said it was just 15° C at 6am, and it certainly felt rather cool as I came into work. It seems the best we can hope for is just 20° C after a sunless morning and afternoon. I wonder how noticeable the sunny periods will be that are forecast for just before sunset ? Tomorrow may be a degree less cool, but at the moment no sunshine is forecast for any time tomorrow. Hopefully this will not turn out to be true, or I will have to trade in this July for another as this July is obviously faulty.

 The surprising thing about yesterday is that I didn't feel terrible after my very short sleep the night before. There were one or two times when I almost fell asleep in front of my PC at work, but just missing out on 20 minutes sleep, and even on rare occasions, not missing out on any sleep at all, can still cause that ! It depends on how bored I am. I was a bit bored yesterday, and I'll probably be more bored today after finishing the little project that was using some of my time recently.

 Eventually it was time to leave work, and being a Thursday, head to the pub to meet up with the Thursday night club. The journey to The Shortlands Tavern (last night's venue for the third Thursday in a row) is now so routine that in some ways it is a nicer journey than my journey to home. It must just be the novelty of it because it involves standing up on the first two train - but that is only because I only go one stop on each train. The third train is a longer ride, maybe 20 minutes, but there always seems to be plenty of seats on it.

 It was my intention to only have three pints last night, but in the end I only had two pints, and I am not sure why. Maybe everyone was drinking more slowly last night. I could have stayed a bit later for a third pint but I was sort of keen to get home so I could have an early night, and I had also promised to escort Jodie as far as Catford Bridge station (which I have to walk past anyway) because she wanted to get to Charing Cross station to meet up with other friends. I am surprised that Jodie didn't realise that Catford and Catford Bridge stations are little more than 30 seconds walk apart !

 Having escorted Jodie as far as Catford Bridge station I headed for home - the very slightly long way round. I was feeling peckish, or as I would like to think, bloody hungry, and I didn't want to have to wait while I cooked some dinner when I got in. So almost inevitably I ended up going to the chicken shop, but this time I didn't have greasy fried chicken and chips. Just for a change I bought a couple of chicken burgers. In theory they could have been usefully healthier than fried chicken and chips (or fries!). They were quite small, or at least that was my impression of them, and it felt more like I was having a snack rather than dinner - so much so that I also ate a large handful of peanuts shortly before going to bed.

 I'm not sure when I fell asleep last night, but it could have been before 8.30pm. All I know is that I was asleep soon after my head hit the pillow. My sleep was slightly spoiled by waking up a couple of times with cramps in one or other of my feet and/or calf muscles. It took a few minutes to get comfortable, and then almost no time to get back to sleep again. I reckon I got my full 8 hours of beauty sleep last night.

 I'm not sure I feel any better for a seemingly good night's sleep, and after not eating much yesterday, but maybe I can put a lot of the blame on the horrible murky weather. It almost feels like it could rain at any moment despite no rain actually being forecast. My main complaints are the usual ones - foot and chest (sounds like some sort of disease !). Once again the pain across the top of my left foot makes walking rather less pleasant, but it's not bad enough to slow me down. My chest feels particularly delicate this morning, although on reflection it does feel more like a potential problem rather than an actual one. It certainly has a sort of sensitive feeling about it, and yet I've only had a few pains here and there.

 Well, once this working day is over I will only have another 11 working days to do, but before that there is this evening and the weekend. The forecast weather for the weekend does not inspire me to want to go out in the daytime, but there is a gig on in The Black Cat tomorrow night. There is also a gig on tonight that I want to try and find the energy to get to. It's a Life Of Brian gig at The Swan in West Wickham. I was never keen to go to that pub because the ceiling of the bar where bands play was covered in stinking football shirts, and there were football posters on the walls. I believe they have no all gone, and the place may be more civilised. I may only go there for a short while, but I would like to chat with Miranda about her mum, as well as see (and photograph) the band.
Thursday 13th July  2017
 08:10 BST

  I had an idea that yesterday might turn out well, and it did......although maybe only to the extent beloved by certain teachers when marking end of term reports, and not having any strong feelings - "satisfactory". It was dry, and not cold, and there was some sunshine earlier in the day than forecast, but it was in the form of "sunny intervals".  I don't think I would dispute the forecast temperature of 21° C - not cool, not hot, rather neutral in fact.
another rather
                  neutral day
  Today's weather is forecast to be rather neutral too. My thermometer said it was just 12° C at about 6am. It seems unlikely that the temperature would have risen by 3° C to reach 15° C as forecast for 8am today, and while it is, and has been bright, it is not as sunny as forecast. I suspect that there will be a completely jumbled mix of overcast, sunshine, and sunny intervals at random times throughout the day today. There was certainly an earlier forecast that showed some sunny intervals at about 6pm, but that has disappeared from the forecast that I screenshot above. Tomorrow maybe a degree cooler, but otherwise it is probably going to be like today - which seems like it will be like yesterday !

 I did my best to keep myself busy at work yesterday, and that helped the day go by more pleasantly. The only bad thing was that someone decided to speak to me just as I was packing up to go home. It was only for a few minutes, but it meant I got a slightly later train at Earlsfield station, and that arrived at Waterloo about a minute after the 15:50 train from Waterloo East station would have left for (ultimately) Hayes (Kent), and calling at Catford Bridge. I say would have left because it turned out it was cancelled anyway. Strangely enough, the next train, the 16:05, the train I normally get, didn't seem to be that much more busy considering the train before didn't run.

 When I arrived home I had a vague idea that maybe I might chance going out later for a short visit to Simon Whitestar's open mic session in The Partridge pub in Bromley. I wanted to see Miranda to have a quick chat about her mum, and I knew she would be there. I thought that maybe I might just stay there until about 9.30pm before rushing home to get my beauty sleep. With hindsight it is a shame that I didn't do that for reasons I'll explain soon.

 The first order of the day was to cook and eat some dinner. I had some fairly strong hunger pains earlier in the afternoon, and of course that is, or should be a good sign. It is a sign that my body should have started surviving on my fat least that would be the case if I had designed my own body. I cooked up quite a simple dinner. It was no much more than pasta cooked in stock with tomato puree and some herbs, and what started off as a lot of spinach. Of course during cooking the spinach just broke down to a small ball of pulp.

 I ate it with a very generous sprinkle of grated cheddar, and it was fairly nice. It would have been better if I had added a bit more stock because the pasta soaked up nearly all the liquid. I made quite a lot of it because there was something like one and a half portions of pasta left in the bag, and I just tipped it all in regardless. I almost forced myself to eat it all, but decided I wouldn't, and I sealed it up so that I can use it to "seed" tonights dinner (I think I'll just add more stock and half a cauliflower).

 Having eaten I decided to have a lay down, and maybe a quick snooze before going out to Bromley, but it wasn't long before curiosity overcame me. I wanted a quick look, just a quick look at the laptop Lee had given me the day before. That started a chain of events that lead to me going to bed after midnight ! I would have been far better off spending a couple of hours at the open mic session instead ! At the end of the laptop session I had fitted a new solid state hard disk, and installed the latest Linux Mint on it (18.2 - Rosa). At the moment there are two unresolved issues that I need to try and sort out. The first is to get the function key that turns on the inbuilt WiFi to work, and the second is to try and get some control over the processor speed.

 Like most laptops, this laptop uses a processor that can be slowed down to save on battery power when it's not doing much. If what is being reported is correct, and the sluggish performance suggests it is correct, the processor is permanently throttled back to half it's potential speed. The Wifi problem is mildly annoying, but not a deal breaker - at a pinch I can plug in an external WiFi adapter, but the slow processor, and sluggish performance is definitely annoying. Oh well, I'll worry about that at the weekend when I'll probably have more time.

 Having gone to bed so ridiculously late it is no surprise that I slept rather well for the four and a half hours I had before I had to get up again. I didn't feel too bad when I got up, and I didn't feel too bad while I was travelling to work, and I didn't feel too bad when I got to work, but now I am writing about it I can't stop yawning. Today is going to be an interesting day. Now that the wet weather has passed, my right knew hasn't ached again for the last two days, and even the pains across my left foot seem to have improved today. They were there very soon after I started walking to the station, but they never seemed to get particularly bad, but they also didn't go away either !

 The one thing that has been, or continues to be bothersome is my chest. I've had a few distinct pains, usually brought on by some movement (looking over my shoulder to check for traffic when crossing the road was one such movement on my way in to work). While it is not giving me constant pain, it does feel so easy to provoke lately, and then there is the unpleasant, but not actually painful, grating, clicking and popping noises that are probably more felt than heard when I make any movement that stretches or jiggles my chest.

 There is one temporary cure for most of the low level discomforts, and that cure is booze ! Today is Thursday and it's boozing night. Today we are meeting at The Shortlands Tavern again. It's not that wonderful, but the travelling is generally easy. I think I will be sticking to my guns and just having 3 pints tonight before rushing home for some dinner, and bed. I think I will really be looking forward to my bed by then - obviously I will because I am looking forward to it even now !

 Here's a few odds and ends. Most of the maggots had gone from my wheelie bin when I got home last night. A few "white marks" suggested that some birds had made a feast of them. The few that had escaped seemed to have been dried out and cooked by the bright sun that was out when I arrived home. The weather forecast has just changed again. There might be slightly more sunshine today, but it is going to rain at 6pm ! Including today, I have just 13 working days left before I am a free man !
Wednesday 12th July  2017
 08:29 BST

  Much rain was forecast for yesterday, and eventually it did fall - but most of it fell after about 6pm, and continued through the night. There was a splash or two of rain around lunchtime, but it was dry when I left work to go home, and I didn't bother to wear a coat (maybe I was lucky). I didn't check the temperature when I got home, but I don't think it was as low as the forecast 17° C, although by 8pm I decided to close my bedroom window because it was definitely beginning to feel quite chilly in there. No sign of it yet, but today might turn out OK.
there's hope for some sunshine this afternoon
  It was still raining when I got up this morning at 5am, but it had stopped by the time I left home to walk to the station. So once again I cheated fate and came to work without a coat (and wearing shorts !). While waiting at the station there was a brief sprinkle of very light rain, but it didn't amount to anything. In theory that was the last of the rain today, and by the time I go home from work there would seem to be a chance of seeing a bit of sunshine. Tomorrow should start bright, but as the morning ends it will become overcast. The temperature is supposed to rise an extra degree tomorrow - 22° C.

 Getting home dry after work seemed like a nice achievement yesterday, although the grey sky dampened my spirits a bit, but to counterbalance that I had a brief visit from Patricia. She was mainly picking up some mail, but we had a Gin and Tonic and a chat before she went home again. She has (sort of) promised that she will visit again during the day once I have retired, and she will finally go through her old suitcases to select what we'll take to a charity shop, and what she might take home with her. That will be useful for one of the little amusements I have in mind for after my retirement - re-decorating some rooms - the less crap I have in the way, the easier it will be !

 After Patricia went home I had a brief visit from Lee. He gave me an old laptop - one that may be more modern than any laptop I currently own. In return I dumped some stuff on him to take away. That's a bit more stuff gone, although it was only a few small items, but every little helps. As yet I haven't investigated the laptop, and all I know is that it is made my HP, and it has an AMD Sempron sticker on it. I guess that dates it a bit, but although he Sempron processors are not that fast, if it will take at least a gigabyte of RAM it should be quite usable with Linux Mint on it.

 With two visitors last night I had to wait some time before I could have my dinner. I did manage to have a couple of snacks beforehand though. One was a little tub of mixed bean salad - so expect flatulence any time now ! The other was described as "Rainbow salad" - and I am not sure why. It wasn't particularly colourful, and that is not surprising seeing as the bulk of it was quinoa and pearl barley. On reflection it was probably pretty unhealthy for me, but at least my proper dinner was very healthy - I think ! It was little more than diced skinless chicken with broccoli cooked in stock with tomato puree and some herbs - low fat, low carbohydrates, low sugar, but high on flavour !

 I was going to prepare, and cook my dinner for tonight after eating last night, but I seemed to have used  up my day's ration of energy....or something. One thing I did do before going to bed with a book was to try out some of my pairs of trousers. It sometimes feels like I have lost a tiny bit of weight, and it does seem that my gut is flatter than it was, and maybe the truth of the matter is revealed by the way that I could now wear almost every single pair of trousers I own. 6 months, or maybe longer ago, there were several pairs I really struggled to do up, and even one or two pairs I couldn't do up. Last night I didn't have to struggle to do up any pair I tried. I'm not saying they would be comfortable to wear, particularly for long session like being at work where I am sitting down most of the time, but I think even the worst would be good enough to walk around in for a few hours, and even for a short visit to a pub or gig. Progress is hideously slow, but it is progress, although at the current rate of improvement it would take 10 years to get into the smallest pairs of jeans I have ever owned in my adult life. I keep them as a souvenir from approx 1982 when I somehow managed to lose a huge amount of weight.

 Last night was another night when I apparently slept quite well until 3am. If I didn't have to go to work I would have got up then for a couple of hours, and then tried for more sleep later. This morning I just spent the next 2 hours trying to get back to sleep - and I did, but so lightly it was difficult to tell daydreams from real dreams. It is possible I don't need that extra sleep. I was busy at work yesterday, and didn't feel nearly as tired as I frequently do. On the other hand I was very ready for bed as early as 8pm last night !

 After some warm humid days, and overnight rain, I saw something I have never seen before. My wheelie bin crawling with maggots ! It was a rather unpleasant sight. There were more inside the bin, and I reckon they were hatched from eggs laid in the small bits of meat and sinew still attached to the peri peri chicken bones that I had put in the bin on Sunday.
maggots on a wheelie bin
  I didn't really know what to do about the maggots. I guess I could have brushed them off, but I only noticed them when I left to go to the station, and I didn't have any spare time to waste. Maybe some birds will eat them, and maybe some will perish if they are still exposed on that black surface when (and if) the sun comes out. If they survive I guess I am going to have a front garden full of bluebottles later !

 I had hoped that I might have been able to plant the right seeds to see Angela after work today, but she never called me like she said she would. I doubt the would be available tonight anyway. That leaves me to work out my own amusements. I could brush the stair carpets, but the chances of doing that are very slim indeed. I could wash a smelly towel, and I reckon there is a 50% chance of doing that. What is quite likely is replacing the hard disk in the new laptop with a spare, and installing Linux Mint on it. That could keep me amused for an hour or two.
Tuesday 11th July  2017
 07:50 BST

  It was quite pleasant yesterday. There was less sunshine than recently, but I think there was probably more than forecast. I think it may have been just a little warmer than forecast too - perhaps 25° C against the forecast 24° C.
rain, rain and
                  and rain
  It is definitely going to rain today - I can tell by the return of the pain in my right knee ! It was a rather dull, and none too warm journey into work today, and it is not going to get much warmer if the forecast is to be believed. 18° C may have seemed like luxury in early spring, but it seems almost chilly now ! It seems almost certain I'll be going home from work in the rain, and that rain is forecast to keep falling right through the night, and into tomorrow morning while I am travelling to work. It is possible that the clouds will finally break up once I am at work, and there will be sunny periods for the rest of the day....or not !

 I felt a bit odd at work yesterday. My chest continued to bother me (and still does). I had various aches come and go around my chest, but maybe the most interesting was a medium strength pain that blossomed when I reached out to pick something up at the back of my work bench. It was quite high up towards my left collar bone, and for a short while it felt like there was a lump there. Once the pain subsided, which was a minute or two later, the lump seemed to fade away too. It really gave the impression of a foreign object under my skin. For the last 3 years (almost 4 !) I have joked about the surgeon losing his wristwatch in my chest cavity, but while a wristwatch is absurd, maybe there really is something left over from my heart surgery in there somewhere. Of course the far more likely scenario is that it is just the damage I did when I tried to carry far too much (by a factor of 10) when the wound had only just started healing. I probably ripped some tissue or something - and I did hear/feel it rip when it happened  back in 2013 !

 One of the things I decided up while at work was to go to Lidls after work - and I wish I hadn't now ! My journey back to Catford was uneventful, and I went straight from Catford Bridge station down to Lidls. Things started to go wrong as soon as I got there. It appears they don't have any small trolleys now. All they have are huge great trolleys that are so deep it is hard to reach the bottom. On the whole this was a stupid idea because yet another re-arrangement inside not only disorientates you, but appears to have made the aisles narrower ! It made it seem very busy in there, and it was difficult to pass people in the aisles. To make matters worse they have now added transverse shelves across the end of the aisles. They make it even more congested in the middle of the shop, and completely block the area where you queue for the checkouts.

 So my shopping trolly was far too big for my needs, the aisles are too narrow to pass anyone without extreme care, it was a headache finding stuff now the layout has changed, and then there were the queues at the checkout ! The space used for two or more of the original checkouts have been replaced by self thievery checkouts, and that area was such a scrum that I doubt it can be policed. Only two of the original checkouts were manned, and one of those was shown as closed - although it was still being used. I got stuck in a long slow moving queue for my £20's worth of goods, and I wasn't very happy at all. To really rub salt into the wound, they didn't have the one item that made me want to go there instead of any of the other supermarkets. That one item was Red Sun shower gel. I suspect it is a seasonal item. To my nose it has a wonderful summery smell, and so I think it is only sold in winter !

 I stomped off home after finally getting out of Lidl, and I was very glad to get home. I quickly tucked into a Lidl ready made salad that, like Tesco salads, needed reinforcing with extra tomatoes, and a generous amount of grated cheese....and, chilli sauce ! I guess that was my starter. My main course was a chicken and leek "steam meal" from Aldi. It had been in my freezer for quite some time, but I needed extra space in there for ice cube trays and stuff. So I took it out, and then had to use it up pretty quickly once it defrosted. The only problem with it is that the packaging hints that it might be low calorie/fat/sugar, but I don't think it was. I had that with extra chilli sauce too.

 I didn't really do much apart from eating last night. I did do a bit of reading, but by 8.30pm I decided it was probably time for bed. I didn't actually fall asleep straight away, but it probably wasn't long after 9pm when I did fall asleep. I think I got up for a wee once in the night, but the first significant time I woke up was at 3am, and it was because I was feeling cold. I was just using a duvet cover rather than an actual duvet for a cover in this warmer weather (or what was warmer weather until last night !), and I was hardly under it when I woke up. So I pulled over me, and then felt too warm, but I did get back to sleep. It didn't last long, and I think I was awake again by 4.30am, and maybe even a bit before then.

 This morning I don't feel completely terrible, but I feel bad enough that I look forward to not coming to work on days like today. My chest still seems loose and wobbly, and I had another jolt, albeit a far milder one, when I reached down to pick up the shower nozzle while washing my hair over the bath. My chest didn't really play up as I came to work, although there were plenty of times when it felt like my rib cage was loose, and the bolts needed tightening up. One more recent malady was back - the pain across the top of my left foot (right where it joins the leg). It was a bit different this morning in that I was aware of it being mildly sore soon after I started walking to the station, but it never got any worse....or any better. This morning I had one extra malady, and I am sure it is weather related. It seems to be a family trait to get painful knees in damp weather, and this morning my right knee was rather sore, although nowhere bad enough to slow me down.

 Including today I have just 15 more days of work to do before I retire. I will be most happy when today is over...although today may not be nearly as bad as yesterday. Today I have a pleasant little job to do, and that will help the day pass much quicker. I should be able to string it out for tomorrow too ! Tonight, soon after getting home, I should have the pleasure of Patricia's company for an hour or two. She has some post to pick up, and I expect we will have a G&T together despite it likely being very far removed from a summers day ! As soon as Patricia goes I will be able to dig in to some dinner I cooked last night. It is nothing more than skinless diced chicken and broccoli cooked in stock with tomato puree and some herbs and stuff. If it tastes as good as it smelled while cooking it is going to be delicious !
Monday 10th July  2017
 07:50 BST

  It wasn't always sunny, but there was probably more sun than cloud yesterday, and it was rather pleasant apart from it being a bit too humid at times (or that is how it felt). Today seems fresher.
it's a bit
                  fresher today
  The temperature is forecast to be a bit lower today, and in fact I think it was closer to 17° C when I walked to the station. The day has been mostly bright and sunny so far, but the forecast reckons it will be overcast this afternoon, but there is worse to come. With the unlikely chance that the forecasters have got their sums right, tomorrow could be almost cold and wet (although still probably luxuriously so compared to a true cold, wet and miserable day in something like February). It would be rather splendid if the weather could get back to high summer for the weekend !

 On reflection, I had one of the best Sundays for a long time yesterday. Of course the key to it was seeing Angela in the morning. I can't help but dwell on a few things she said quite innocently that strongly suggest there is still a strong bond between that will outlive her time with John, my rival for her love. Maybe one of the most telling was when she said "what are we going to do about these stairs" while remarking that my stairs were rather dusty - which I have to admit was very true. It was made to look far worse by strong sunlight coming through the windows of the front door, and shining across the top of the stair treads.

 In the afternoon, after Angela had gone home, I tried my best to relax, but for some reason I couldn't despite feeling quite drained. Maybe, on reflection, I did relax a bit, but what I really wanted to do was to have a snooze. I wonder if I did fall asleep at one point. I definitely had my eyes closed for quite some time, but it didn't feel like I was asleep. One good thing was that I didn't eat much yesterday - at least not by a normal Sunday's standards.

 In theory I should have fallen asleep as soon as I got into bed. It seemed  to cool down quite fast as sunset approached, and a nice breeze developed to help it seem fresher. Despite that I found it hard to feel comfortable when I got to bed. It was one of those nights where you wriggle around to find the most comfortable position, and having found it the tip of your nose starts to itch. I don't really know when I finally fell asleep, but I estimate it was around 11pm. Having got to sleep I probably slept better than I imagine. I think my imagination says that some now forgotten dreams were real life, and so I couldn't have been asleep.

 Maybe the best indicator that I got more sleep than it feels like is that it felt like my alarm had interrupted reality when it woke me. This morning I really don't know if I feel good, bad or indifferent. Initially I felt fairly good apart from some stiffness when I first got out of bed. It wasn't until I started walking to the station that I began to feel less than good, although I am really judging it by how I felt on Sunday morning, and this morning was probably no worse than any other work day morning - and possibly just slightly, by a teeny weeny bit, better than average.

 Yesterday morning I walked as fast as I could sustain to meet Angela. I didn't actually time it, but I think it was a solid 20 minutes of fast(ish) walking. During that time I never noticed my left ankle giving and pain at all, and while I had some twinges from bits of my chest, there was nothing that inclined me to go slower. This morning I was only half way to the station, after maybe 4 minutes of walking, when my left ankle began to feel a bit sore, and I began to feel a small patch on my chest, between my left breast and collarbone (I think) get sore. None of these things developed to be particularly intrusive on my way to work, but nevertheless I would rather not have them.

 I observed one peculiarity about my chest last night. I was laying on my back, on my bed, and that sometimes stretches the top of my chest. That stretching can be, and was mildly uncomfortable. I have never noticed it before, and I am not totally convinced it was there before, but last night I could feel a series of lumps down my operation scar. They are obviously the site of sutures or where bits of me (possibly including my breast bone ?) were stapled together. I find it interesting that I have never noticed them before. It is another thing to mention when I have another go at harrassing my doctor about these chest pains - it is one of my projects to do after I am retired.

 I have a few ideas of what I could be doing tonight, but nothing you could call a plan by even the loosest of definitions. I have a desire to get more sugar free cola, and that could be as simple as going to the corner shop, or if I have an unusual amount of energy I could go further afield - possibly as far as Lidl. I haven't been to Lidl in a while, and I get curious.... I still have a double duvet cover to wash, but I don't think I'll be wanting to do anything that energetic tonight. It would be nice to see Angela again, and maybe buy her some dinner, but I think it is too optimistic to think along those lines. The one thing I really hope I can do tonight is to get to sleep early, and to stay asleep for as much of the night as possible.At the end of today I will have just 15 working days left to endure !
Sunday 9th July  2017
 15:17 BST

  I think yesterday was a bit sunnier than forecast. It was possibly warmer too. I think the temperature may have hit 27° C, although I may have been deceived by the humidity being high enough to make it a rather sticky, sweaty sort of day. It was still very nice though !
                  cloudy times, but quite sunny
  Today has also been rather sticky, although in this case it might have been because I have done a few things that tend to raise a sweat. On the whole it has been a rather nice day. Sometimes the cloud has built up enough to block out the sun, but most of the time it has been bright and dry. Maybe it is getting a bit humid now, and although not forecast, there is that sort of air that sometimes ends up as a thunderstorm. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be just a little bit cooler -  23° C - but there should still be plenty of sunshine......or maybe torrential rain. Showers are currently forecast for a few hours in the middle of the day, but if they stick to the right timing I will be going home from work in the dry, and probably in sunshine too.

 It has been an eventful 24 hours ! After I finished writing yesterday I had a lie down, but I didn't relax for long. I got up and had a shower before going to Aldi. I was quite selective about what I bought in there, and bought few luxuries. One such luxury was lime sorbet and coconut ice cream (the type made from coconut cream instead of milk). It was rather too nice, and because of all the bad things in it (all nice things have bad things in them like sugar and fats) it became a significant part of my total food intake yesterday.

 Even including a few luxuries my bill was quite low for a shopping trip to Aldi. I seem to be getting the hang of this again. It would have been even lower if I hadn't bought a couple of slightly expensive items. One was a silicon rubber ice stick (not cube) tray, and another was a set of "freezer to microwave" containers. I think the latter will be useful for when I cook dinner in advance - often the night before. One thing I did save money on was something I definitely didn't want to save money on - sugar free cola - because they didn't have my favourite type in. I bought one bottle of their alternative type instead of three, and now I hope it is not as bad as I think it is.

 After Aldi I had some dinner. It was half the peri peri chicken I had ordered on Friday night. Out of all the stuff I ordered on Friday, the peri peri chicken was definitely the best. I followed that by one spoonful of lime sorbet and coconut cream ice cream, and then another, followed by another.......until there was none left !!  I had another lie down after that. Once I had cooled off I finished the second lot of laundry I had started. That included some heavy stuff like a pair of shorts, and a long sleeve hooded top. I can't remember the last time I wore that top, and it was very musty/smoky. In theory it should be very useful in the winter.

 I'm not sure I ever cooled down after that, but eventually I had a second shower, and washed my hair in preparation to going out to see The Life Of Brian in Greenwich. I was looking forward to seeing the band, and I was looking forward to seeing Angela there. However when I got there Miranda told me that she doubted that Angela would be coming out because she was off colour. The gig started soon after I got there and I took some pictures and drunk a pint of Guinness. Once I had finished my pint I stepped outside to phone Angela to see what was wrong. She was very unhappy, and couldn't face going out. I told her that I would go straight home, and that she she could come to my place to tell me all about it, and she half heartedly agreed that she would. So I packed up my camera, had a brief word with Miranda between songs, and rushed home.

 Unfortunately Angela let herself and me down. She had actually got herself too drunk to go out anywhere. So I had a partly wasted evening, but it did give me a chance to look over the pictures I had taken, and do something with the better ones. I think I rather surprised myself that in a very short period of time (20 minutes ?) I had taken a fairly good set of pictures. These are the best 6 in thumbnail(ish) size. You can click on the pictures for a higher resolution version in a new browser tab or window (they are mostly 1280 pixels wide).

Life Of Brian
Life Of Brian

 Having played with the pictures, and eaten a couple of beef and horseradish sandwiches, originally meant for Angela, I went to bed. I don't really know when that was, but I think it was before midnight, and I think I may have even been asleep before midnight. For some reason it all seems so long ago, but I think I slept quite well apart from waking up much earlier than I would have wanted to. I woke up feeling a bit crap, but it didn't stop me making washing the bed lined my first priority.

 Washing 5 pillow cases, a double fitted sheet, plus a small table cloth and a bar towel seemed like hard work. So After the second rinse I decided to have some breakfast. It was the second half of the peri peri chicken. It might have been a bit of strange breakfast, but it was very nice ! While I was letting that digest I received a text message from Angela saying that she still felt very low - but no more.

 At that point I dropped everything and made plans that she would find hard to ignore. I called her to say that I was walking to the park near where she lives, and that I would meet her there to have a chat. Once I got there she cheered up a bit, and it took very little persuasion to get her to take a walk towards Catford, and more by chance than anything, to the burger stand outside Wickes where all the local builders go for their breakfast.

 For what I think was the first time in my life I bought someone a cup of tea. Those who know my utter hatred and dread of tea will realise this was a momentous occasion, and worth recording ! I also bought Angela a greasy cheeseburger - which she greatly enjoyed despite saying she wasn't hungry 15 minutes earlier ! After eating and drinking we came back to my home. A few hours later she went home feeling very much happier. It's now me who is feeling drained, but it was all worth it. I don't know if you can call something a good deed when it is so enjoyable to do, but I sort of did my good deed for the day.

 Since then I have finished washing the pillows, sheet and stuff, and hung it up to dry. I've also had a very small snack. Now I feel like something more, After that I need to rest, and maybe snooze if I can, ready for another inglorious day at work. Just 3 week and one day to go !
Saturday 8th July  2017
 10:12 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday was very wrong. Reality diverged from forecast at midday when it was supposed to cloud over. It is true that some clouds appeared, and maybe the sun was shadowed on a few short occasions, but to all intents and purposes it stayed sunny until sunset. So much sun raised the temperature to 28° C, and I wouldn't be surprised if there weren't a few times when it was 29° C !
cloudy morning, and maybe afternoon too
  It definitely feels fresher this morning. There is even enough breeze to make a sweaty body feel chilly - sadly that breeze is not penetrating the house, and my bedroom (for instance) is still feeling rather warm. The forecast reckons we will have some sunny intervals (or sunny periods) today, but there will be a lot of light grey cloud in the sky. 25° C should feel a bit cooler than yesterday, and maybe more so if the wind/breeze continues to blow.

 A few minutes after I started writing this the forecast was updated. It seems that the sky should clear enough soon for some strong sunshine, although what I can see with my unaided eye suggests otherwise. Apparently the wind is only 4 or 5mph instead of what I would guess is double that. The maximum temperature today is still forecast to be 25° C, and it will be humid. It seems there is also a chance of a rogue shower at any time today - that fits in with the clouds I can see right now. Here's what the official forecast says about tomorrow - "Rather cloudy at times in the morning but some warm sunny spells into the afternoon with a chance of isolated heavy showers developing. Still a humid feel."

 I don't think I did a stroke of work yesterday, and that made for a rather boring day. On the whole I felt OK, but I still had a feeling that it would be very easy for my chest to start hurting, but I can't recall it actually did hurt for more than maybe an odd twinge here and there. I did feel very tired during the day, and that wasn't helped by feeling bored. Once I got moving to go home I felt much better, although it wasn't all joy.

 All the production staff were sent home a bit early yesterday because the production area was baking hot. By contrast, my office was actually feeling almost cold ! Nevertheless, they went home, and I decided that I might as well sneak out a little bit early - but only about 5 minutes early. That meant I arrived at Waterloo with a full five minutes to rush over to Waterloo East to try and catch the 15:50 train. It would have been a minor rush to do it instead of a major rush at any other time, but last night it was pointless - the 15:50 train was cancelled. To rub salt into the wound, the 16:05 train, the train I usually go home on was running 6 minutes late !

 When I got home I decided that I didn't want to cook yet another pasta based dish. My new plan was to have a quick snack and then order a takeaway. I had recently had a menu pushed through my letter box for a new "Asian" restaurant (or new to me) that had some novelties and variations on some more common dishes. I think they may have been more Sri Lankan than Indian. Some of their stuff seemed less expensive than what I expected. So I ordered a selection of stuff - enough for last night, and possibly a small dinner today as well.

 I have since ripped up that menu, and I don't think I'll be ordering any more from them. The first annoyance is that I had a lot of trouble communicating with the man on their telephone number, and much of the order, and my address had to spelt out phonetically. He still didn't get it right ! The even bigger annoyance was that the order took 2 hours to arrive - and I was feeling starving by the time it arrived. A lesser annoyance is that I didn't really enjoy the food that much. Maybe it was because it was too different to what I had been expecting, although one or two bits seemed almost unpleasant. I ended up eating far less than I could have, but maybe that was a good thing. I still have a whole peri peri chicken to do something with today.

 Despite my dinner being much later than I wanted, I was still in, or rather on my bed very soon after 9pm. It wasn't all that later that I was asleep. It was still so hot and sweaty in my bedroom, something not helped by eating spicy food, that I went to sleep with the fan playing over my face and upper body. I'm sure it doesn't do my chest any good, but at least it kept my pillow from being drenched in sweat. I woke several times in the night, and one of those times I was awake long enough to check some things on my PC. I would hazard a guess that it was from about 4am that I was feeling very slightly cool, and wondering if I should cover a bit of me up. I didn't, and although I wasn't sleeping that deeply, I didn't really wake up until almost 6.30am - which is quite late for me.

 Since than I have have washed a weeks worth of shirts and some assorted bits like handkerchiefs and underpants. That was quite hot work, and an hour later I have only just about stopped sweating. I've also put in a few other bits and pieces to soak before doing a proper wash job on them later. The next think I ought to do is to wash myself, but I might have a lay down and do a bit of reading first. Later on I will go to Aldi to do my weeks shopping - or most of it.  Once I am back from Aldi I reckon I'll have some lunch. I have a few other tasks I may do today. One is to change the bed linen. I suspect it is getting very smelly and sweaty.

 The main thing on the menu is to go out tonight. The Life Of Brian are playing in The Mitre Hotel in Greenwich, and although I don't like that place when it gets late, it is usually OK early on. Of course I may well stay until the end because I am almost certain Angela will be there - and probably on her own. There might even be a chance to share a cab home with her !
Friday 7th July  2017
 08:04 BST

  It was hot yesterday - 28° C ! Contrary to the weather forecast, there was less cloud about, and it didn't rain at all.
                  cloudy but still very warm
  It is supposed to be a little bit cooler today, just 26° C, but I have a feeling it will be very humid. That's going to make for a very sticky day, and if the forecast is correct, there will be no sunshine to dry us off. Tomorrow could see even less sunshine, and it will be a bit cooler. It could also rain.

 I didn't feel too good at work yesterday. Apart from feeling sleepy and fatigued, I was also having trouble with my chest. It has been playing up for a few days to one extent or another. The most obvious thing was strange crack and pops (or by now, quite familiar cracks and pops) when making certain movements. What pain there had been was generally confined to small patches probably not much bigger than a credit card, and just below the left breast being the most common place. Yesterday I had been sitting in my office for over an hour, and it was still early morning and quite cool in there. I don't know if the coolness had any bearing on it, but I had a very nasty pain after standing up and walking a few paces. It was a very sharp pain straight across the chest - just like a heart attack. It lasted no more than a second or two. The weird thing is that after that, the pain that had not been particularly troubling moved to the other side of my chest, and sat just under my right breast.

 For the rest of the day my chest felt quite fragile, although for most of the time it wasn't actually painful. The really odd thing is that this morning I still get the same cracks and pops when making certain movements (putting my hands behind my head to put on a hair band causes all sorts of interesting effects), but on the occasions when I've had a bit of pain it is back on the left hand side, but above my left breast !  It is highly possible that I am going through a bad patch at the moment because I have had to sleep with the fan blowing over the top of my body, and my chest has probably been a bit chilled from time to time.

 I wondered how I would feel when worked ended, and I made my way via three trains to Shortlands for my Thursday night drink. I was expecting more pain from my chest, but while I thought it was in a delicate state, I had almost no discomfort from it at all. If anything I was feeling slightly worse for wear from partial dehydration. I had been drinking some water at work, but by the time I got to The Shortlands Tavern my first pint of beer felt like it didn't touch the sides as it went down.

 Maybe I was more dehydrated than I thought or even believed possible because I drank four and a half pints of "Dartford Wobbler", and didn't need a wee until a fair time after I got home. It was a most pleasant drinking session, and on an empty stomach I ended up fairly drunk - not that I felt it at the time. Once I got home I warmed up the dinner I had prepared, and cooked the night before, and happily tucked into it. It might have been a semi healthy meal until I put far too much cheese on the pasta and vegetables. The problem was the booze made me too impatient thinly slice or grate the cheese, and I just cut it into thick slabs, and they melted into a thick cheesy crust on top. It was very tasty though !

 I went to bed very soon after eating dinner - or at least I think I did. I have a vague recollection that I just wanted to lay down with the fan blowing over me to cool me off after eating the hot meal. Having laid down I quickly fell asleep, and so started my night's sleep. I have a feeling I might not even have brushed my teeth last night - although my mouth didn't seem sour this morning. Despite falling asleep so quickly, and probably fairly early, I don't think I slept that well last night. I'm sure I woke up several times in the night, and didn't get back to sleep that quickly afterwards. I remember on one occasion I turned over to sleep on my left side because that doesn't normally make my chest hurt, but on this occasion something went crunch, and I quickly turned onto my other side.

 I seemed to run out of sleep by about 4.25 this morning, and I started the slow process of getting up. I felt pretty awful. A proportion of it can be blamed on a hangover, but only a proportion. On top of that my chest felt very delicate. It hasn't needed much to provoke the odd stab of pain from somewhere in my chest this morning, but I am well practised in that. What is causing me more bother is a general feeling of yuckiness. I feel terribly fatigued, although it is just a feeling, and hasn't really slowed me down. I also have a very mild headache (hangover again), and I have a sort of very mild ache centred on my gut, but reaching out as far as my sides, neck and groin. The cumulative effect of all these mild things is one such thing that had driven my resignation from work and retirement. It is one of those mornings where I would loved to have gone back to bed again, but I couldn't because I needed to come to work.

 So I am sitting here at work feeling pretty horrible, and hoping for the working day to pass by and end as quickly as possible. I have little to look forward to tonight as such, but anything could happen. A visit from Angela would be very nice, but while it is not an infinite impossibility, it is an infinite improbability. I think a far more likely scenario is that I will get my kicks from washing some work shirts - assuming I don't feel too bad tonight. I remembered to leave all the curtains drawn at the front of the house this morning. That will keep what little sunshine there is today out, and hopefully my bedroom will feel less like a sauna tonight. Tomorrow is another day. I know it is (or should) end with a gig in Greenwich, but I have no idea how it will start....although I do need to go to Aldi. So maybe a bit of shopping will be how it starts.
Thursday 6th July  2017
 08:13 BST

  It was just like summer yesterday ! The sun was out most of the time, and the sky was mostly blue. It was warm too. The late afternoon temperature was as forecast - 27° C. It is a shame that the forecast for today seems to be a shambles !
it's going to rain
                  today, but none really knows when, or how heavy it
                  will be
  This  is the latest forecast for today, but it keeps changing faster than I can keep up with it. Last night the forecasters were convinced it would be raining as I came to work. They even suggested the rain could be so heavy that it would be accompanied by a bit of thunder and lightning ! That rain has now been moved back to start at midday, and only light rain is forecast. The next big unknown is when it might, or might not rain again later in the afternoon, and early evening. The current idea is that I will leave work in the dry, and quite possibly in strong sunshine, but I will get rather damp when I leave the pub after my Thursday night drink. As I write this, as close to 8am as makes no difference, the cloud is just getting thick enough to only leave some small patches of blue visible, but until now it has been sunny - and that wasn't in the forecast. Tomorrow will definitely be very warm, and it might be sunny, or it might be rainy. Who knows ?

 Yesterday's bright sunshine energised me a lot. I didn't feel good or bad while I was at work (apart from the odd twinge), but I did feel good going home. The best indicator of it was at Waterloo station when I was, in effect, half way home. I knew I didn't have a cats chance in hell of catching the early train, and so there was no need to rush, but I still ran up the escalator just for the pure thrill of doing it. Maybe "run" is a slight exaggeration, but I am not sure what the word is that comes between walk and run in this context. It was faster than walking, but not quite running.......trotting perhaps ?

 My energy ran out when I got home. Perhaps I had over used it. As a result I didn't feel inclined to find anything particular tasks to do. Perhaps the only "task" was to prepare tonight's dinner while waiting for last night's dinner to heat up in the microwave (and cool down again a bit too). Last night's dinner was yet another pasta based dish, but this one didn't use any meat. It was mostly pasta and cauliflower in a thick(ish) tomato and stock sauce with a heap of grated mature cheddar on it. Tonight's dinner is another without meat, but I have thrown in some olives and garlic puree plus a lot of broccoli. Once again, I'll top it with grated mature cheddar. I have already decided on the ingredients for tomorrow night's dinner - pasta with tuna and spinach.

 After eating dinner I couldn't think of anything I wanted to do, and it was too hot to do anything physical I lie ! I did do one little task last night, and it was a very little task ! I changed the light bulb in the bathroom. The original had failed the night before, but I didn't want to change it in the dark, and it was bright enough in the bathroom yesterday morning when I got up. The bulb I had to change was a 7W "cool white" LED bulb. "Cool white" did seem to be a pretty good match to daylight, but the bulb I replaced it with was a 5W "ordinary white" LED bulb, and it gives off a very yellowish sort of light by comparison to daylight - very similar to a 60W tungsten filament lamp that was designed for 250V, but is running on 230V.

 I had got so close to the end of the book I have been reading that I ended up reading until I finished it. It possibly was not a wise decision. Ideally I would have had an early night last night to try and catch up on some lost sleep, but last night I think it was approaching 11pm when I had finished the book, and turned the light off. I was asleep pretty quickly after that, but I still woke up about 3 hours later. I had been sleeping with the fan on, but I still woke up with my pillow damp with sweat. Maybe that is what woke me up. I seemed to have trouble getting to sleep after that, but I suspect I was only awake for around 15 minutes, and it could even have been as little as 10 minutes. It felt more like 30 - 40 minutes at the time !

 This morning I feel good and bad - perhaps biassed towards the bad. It wasn't until I started walking to the station that I felt like it was a bit of a struggle. I didn't seem to have any energy, and my legs felt stiff, and my shoes, the same shoes I wore yesterday without complaint, seemed very uncomfortable. To make matters worse, my left ankle, although initially just feeling a bit stiff, was getting rather uncomfortable as I approached work. Since sitting at my desk it is completely painless again.

 It's Thursday, and after I get through today I will have just 17 more working days to get through before I retire. Not only that, but it's drinking night ! Tonight we are back in The Shortlands Tavern. Whether I get there in sunshine or rain is a mystery that will only be resolved once I leave work. Similar doubt hangs over my journey home from the pub. I have brought in a ruck sack, and in that ruck sack I have a waterproof coat. I hope I don't need it this afternoon because it can get quite hot and sweaty in that coat even in cool weather. I can imagine getting lightly poached if I have to wear it when the temperature is up around the forecast 28° C. In fact I may just accept getting wet in that heat. It might even be nice !
Wednesday 5th July  2017
 07:45 BST

  Yesterday was not quite as dull as I feared, but I can't recall any sunshine until early evening. Like several beforehand, it was a nice summer evening. I think the temperature was about what the forecast said - 23° C. Today will be warmer !
hot and sunny
  This morning has started off shiny and bright, and as forecast, about 17° C. If the forecast hold we can look forward to unbroken sunshine all day, and by the time I get home from work the temperature will be approaching a very warm 27° C. Tomorrow looks like it will be mostly innocent apart from the temperature reaching 28° C, but note the exclamation mark in the white triangle. Apparently there will be little, if any sunshine, but the possibility of some very heavy rain with a bit of thunder and lightning just for laughs !  They could even intrude into the start of Friday.

 There's not really much to say about work yesterday. I sometimes felt tired, and sometimes felt very tired, but generally speaking I felt comfortable - physically. Mentally, I was probably trying to calculate how many seconds needed to pass before I could go home. Going home from work was pretty standard. I made some effort to catch the early train, but yesterday the odds were against me, and I missed it by about 59 seconds. I suppose that is an improvement on the average where I usually miss it by a full minute !

 When I got home I didn't want to tuck into my dinner straight away, and so I ruined everything by have a little snack, Perhaps it was half an hour later that I gave in, or the suspense became too much for me, and I zapped my pre-cooked pasta surprise in the microwave. Instead of meatballs I added pancetta. Yesterday I joked it was a posh name for Italian bacon....well apparently it is bacon ! As well as some tomatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and stock, I added some bayleaves for some added flavour. Sadly, it was not as nice as I hoped. That's not to say it wasn't a bit nice, but I was hoping for something amazing !

 I don't know whether it was the disappointment, or what it was, but I felt a strong urge to eat more after I had eaten my pasta. There were several things I could have had, but I opted for a punnet of Piccolo cherries. It may have been a bad choice. The way I am sweating this morning suggests my blood glucose is running a bit high. Having said that, I am more damp than dripping, and I have been rushing around on an almost warm morning.

 I finished yesterday with "Maybe something interesting might happen when I get there....or not. ". I was referring to the evening, and to my amazement, at a few minutes past 6pm, which seemed like when the evening arrived, I got a phone call. It was from Angela, and she wasn't very happy. It can't be easy caring for a man who is getting near the end of his life, and whose cancer treatments can cause all sorts of mood changes. I suggested that Angela might want to pop over and have a chat, and she did. Although some bits of it were obviously serious, at other times it was a very enjoyable evening. Once again I came very close to having my old girlfriend back for a few hours.

 It was well past 9pm when Angela went home again - smiling I am happy to say - and theoretically past my bedtime. I think it was approaching 11pm when I fell asleep. I was hoping for another good sleep last night, but it didn't happen. I don't know if it was the cherries I ate, but after waking up, and going for a pee, I felt most uncomfortable when I got back in bed. It felt like trapped wind, but there was no evidence that it was trapped wind (and still isn't). I suspect I was awake for less time than it felt like, but even so, I feel like I will be having an early night tonight - if I can sleep in the heat !

 Oddly enough, I don't actually feel too bad this morning. My left foot  was a bit painful on the way to work. It wasn't quite bad enough to slow me up at it's worst, but it was close to it. I wonder what it is. One suggestion is that it is a micro fracture of some bone in the ankle, but I still can't recall any impact that could have fractured anything. My favourite possibility is that it is some sort of rheumatism, but another possibility came to mind - gout. I know people who suffer from gout, and their symptoms seem rather more severe than mine - including swelling, which I am not suffering from. Unless it is possible to have mild gout, then I guess I can rule gout out. Maybe it will get better when I stop commuting at the end of the month.
naked knees !
 The thing about today is that it is going to be hot. So it was a no-brainer to put my shorts on, and expose my naked kneecaps at work today ! Apart from having cools knees, I have no reason to think today is going to be any better or worse than the average day at work, and so I can't wait for it to be over so I can head for home again. I have nothing particular to look forward to tonight, although there could be a very small chance of seeing Angela again, but I can only imagine it is going to be a very small chance.
Tuesday 4th July  2017
 07:52 BST

  It was supposed to rain at 8am yesterday - it didn't (although it did rain at 5am). The next time it might have rained was midday when thick cloud was forecast - it didn't. From 2pm the cloud was supposed to be breaking up enough for some sunshine to break through - it didn't ! At 2.53pm this was the view through my office window.
raindrops on window pane
 I know it's a small picture, but note the raindrops on the window glass. Fortunately the clouds did break up after this unscheduled shower, and by the time I left work to go home it was nice and sunny. The cloud continued to evaporate away, and with the temperature around 23° C, it made for a very pleasant evening - just right for sitting in a pub beer garden with a glass of fine ale in hand. Unfortunately I stayed in, and didn't get to enjoy it at it's fullest.
hot weather on its
  This morning has started off bright and shiny, but maybe a degree cooler than forecasted. It seems a shame, and also a bit unlikely, that very soon  it will cloud over, and we will have a dull overcast day. It makes me feel that it could feel quite humid when I am going home from work. If any credence can be given to tomorrow's forecast then it looks like it could be rather nice. Even Thursday may not be the wet disaster that it could be.

 Work passed by fairly harmlessly yesterday. I frequently found myself counting the days until I am free of this place, and yet nothing really happened yesterday that I could complain about. I was still very much looking forward to going home though. At 3pm I was wondering if I was going to have to put my coat on, but the sun had come out when I started to walk to the station. As I walked I had this crazy notion that I was somehow feeling a tiny bit fitter than I had last week, or was it last month. Anyway, not only was the sun out, it was shining on me too ! Some earlier signalling problems meant the 15:50 train, the one I usually miss by as little as 30 seconds despite "bustin a gut", was running a mere 3 minutes late. That was all I needed ! I rushed up the escalator, and walked as fast as I could across the link from Waterloo to Waterloo East station, and arrived at my usual position, three quarters of the way along the platform, with minutes to spare.

 That earlier train additionally calls at Lewisham station, and so I only arrived back at Catford Bridge 10  minutes early instead of 15 minutes, but it still felt good. Once I got indoors I put on my non existent chefs hat, and started cooking.......or in other words I started bunging stuff in a microwaveable casserole dish. Last night's dinner was a repeat of the pasta meal I made on Saturday, and had for breakfast on Sunday morning. One small change is that the half empty bag of pasta said best before 2012 on it ! It tasted fine though.
pasta with meat
 This is a picture of the finished meal.Six meat balls, some tomatoes, coarsely chopped chilli, broccoli, and spirally twisted pasta (which probably has an Italian name, but I can't be bothered with that). It was very tasty, and also quite filling, but nit bloating - I feel fairly empty this morning. Today's dinner will be another pasta dish, and I know exactly what's in it because I made it last night, and I just have to reheat it when I get home. Tonight's pasta will have Panacetta (a posh italian name for chopped bacon !) instead of meatballs, and includes some cauliflower as well as broccoli, but omits the chillies. I've run out of chillies so I added some hot chilli sauce instead !

 I am hoping tonight's dinner will be just as tasty, and possibly more so than last night's dinner. I'm also hoping that despite the high carbohydrate content, these pasta dinners will help me lose a bit of weight. It's a fine balance, but provided I can discipline my brain, they are filling enough to deter me from eating too many, and possibly no snacks at all. I have to stop the idea that it is a depressing idea that all you can see in the photo would be the only thing I eat all day.

 There didn't seem to be much to amuse me last night (except for washing my hair, and of course, eating !), and so I was in bed reading semi-early. I think it was just gone 9pm when I put my book down, and turned out the light. I can't seem to remember anything after that until I woke up at 4am. That was an unusual amount of seemingly solid sleep for me - and it seems to have made a difference despite not being able to get back to sleep again (although I might have managed an odd 10 minutes once or twice).

 While I could wish to feel a hundred times better, I actually felt slightly good this morning. The morning being bright and sunny helped that a lot. Of course it didn't last. It wasn't long before my left foot was aching across the top as I walked to the station. I don't know if I am just getting used to it, but it didn't seem quite so bad this morning. My chest seems to have settled down enough that it didn't cause much discomfort until I rushed down the stairs at Earlsfield station, and started walking to work. I think I may have jarred it a bit, but it was mostly just one small area of pain below my right man boob.

 Well, now I am at work, and I can't wait to go home again ! With little to look forward to, or maybe only dinner to look forward to, I am not sure what the rush is to get home, but I still can't wait to get home. Maybe something interesting might happen when I get there....or not.
Monday 3rd July  2017
 08:00 BST

  It was rather nice yesterday. After a cool but bright start, it turned into a warm sunny afternoon. The sunshine and warmth continued almost up to sunset. I think I noticed it was 23° C at it's warmest. This morning is a bit different.
today's weather
 What this screenshot doesn't show is that there was some light rain falling when I got up, and while I was getting ready to go to work. Fortunately it had stopped when I had to walk to the station. As I write this the forecasts says there should be sunshine and rain. Maybe there will be a sprinkling of rain before the hour is out, but I can see a lot of blue sky, and the sun is shining. I took a chance and didn't bring a coat to work because it is looking like this afternoon could be almost as nice as yesterday afternoon. Tomorrow could be a degree warmer, but the forecast says there is little chance of seeing any sunshine.

 I felt like I had been quite productive yesterday. There were the two spells I spent in the garden doing a bit of tidying up, and there was the time I spent selecting and editing photographs of The Curfew's gig in The Black Cat on Saturday night. The crowning piece - maybe - was washing two pairs of jeans. I mentioned I had put them into soak after leaving them on the washing line in sunshine and rain for something like 3 weeks. When I went back to them after I had finished writing, and eating some dinner yesterday, I found there was a nasty, oily looking, film on the water. I have no idea what dye they use on Chinese made black jeans (I think they were made in China), but it is pretty disgusting. Many rinses later and the water was coming off merely pale grey - it started off black ! I then soaked them in some fairly strong smelling fabric conditioner, wrung them out, and hung them up to dry. This morning they are almost dry, and they still carry a slight smell of sooty chimneys ! I think that will wear off fairly quickly once I can wear them - which might mean losing half an inch around my waist !

 It was only a couple of weeks ago that I renewed my TV licence for the year. Since doing that I suddenly realise I have hardly watched any TV at all, and certainly none during the weekend. Who would have thought I would be too busy to watch TV.....or maybe it is that there seems so little on TV these days that there seems little reason to turn it on. Of course having a thick paperback Sci Fi book to read helps mop up many of those stray minutes when I could be tempted to see if there was anything worth watching on TV. It is sort of lucky that The Metro and Evening Standard, both free newspapers, help me keep up to date with what is happening in the outside world. On the other hand, I'm not sure I want to know what is happening in the outside world !

 I think I mentioned how strange I was feeling yesterday. I felt tired, ill and aching with no energy until I did something that needed some energy, and found that I had loads of it - and felt good doing that energy intensive task. That feeling seemed to continue into the time when I wanted to sleep. I felt rotten once I laid down in bed. Laying on my back, which I never really feel comfortable doing seemed more comfortable than laying on either side. Much of the trouble can be blamed on my "wonky ribs" and other "muscular-skeletal" failings of my chest. In consequence I had a lousy night.

 This morning I feel like I missed a lot of sleep, and my chest is.......well it's not actually sore most of the time, but it is clicking and popping a lot whenever I make certain movement - and those movement can include the sort of movements you might make when walking. I think that without the two paracetamol tablets I took this morning I may have been in some discomfort during the walking bits of coming to work. That might also include the pains I was reporting across the top of my left foot last week. I had forgotten about them until I was about 3 or 4 minutes away from work. At that point the top of my left foot started to ache again.

 I have 21 working days to get through before my retirement. I expect today will be like many of them - seeming to be too long and boring, but there are now less than 8 hours to go before I can make my way home for the evening. I don't think I have any plans for this evening, but I am wondering if there could be a microscopic chance of meeting Angela for a quick drink after work. Nothing has been arranged or even hinted at, but I feel there is a microscopically small chance that it could happen if I seed a few ideas.
Sunday 2nd July  2017
 16:48 BST

  I'm finding it hard to remember how much sunshine there was yesterday, and I am thinking there was not enough of it to really register on my brain. Maybe there was the odd sunny spell, perhaps in the late afternoon, bus I was too busy doing nothing to notice. I think the temperature did hit the forecast 22° C, but even that didn't really register as being anything exciting - and that in itself suggests there wasn't any bright sunshine to drive it into my brain. In the early hours of the morning there was rain. Whether it was at the forecast time is unknown. I only knew it had rained by some puddles I noticed this morning.

 Today has definitely been sunny, although there have been some duller periods. The sunshine has made 22° C really feel like 22° C, and with enough sunshine 22° C feels nice and warm. That is in contrast to this morning when I was actually feeling quite chilly. The temperature was around 14° C this morning. Tomorrow may start a bit cool, perhaps about 16° C, and it's going to be overcast all morning, but it should get nice and sunny later in the afternoon, and that should push the temperature up to 23° C for my journey home from work. I'll look forward to that !

I'm now trying to remember what I did yesterday. Bits of the day seem a blur, and this could be because I was doing some intensive relaxation - including reading and snoozing ! It wasn't total relaxation though. I did do some significant things that included doing laundry, going to the supermarket, and cooking. Yes, cooking, real cooking !

 One of the things I will have to do, or at least ought to do, is to reduce my grocery bills when I finish work and try my hand at retirement. I had a little practice run at it yesterday. I bought a fair few more fresh ingredients than usual (barring times when I have come home with heaped pile of salad stuff). I'm not sure it decreased my average shopping bill that much because I also didn't buy any form of booze either.

 I haven't checked the figures properly to find if it is still correct, but last time I was desperately short of money, 12 years ago now, I relied on making cheap dinners using pasta. I never used to like pasta that much, but I did learn that it was quite versatile, and quite filling. The other weird thing that flies directly in the face of my theories about carbohydrate consumption, is that during the time I was eating a lot of pasta I seemed to be losing weight - and it wasn't as if I was eating small meals !

 The thing with pasta is that if you are not an Italian it is best to throw away the rule book, and invent your own recipes. One of the good things (among heaps of bad things) of living on your own is that you can experiment, and you only have to satisfy your own taste buds. That is how I came to like (but not love) pasta. Yesterday I dug out a packet of pasta that was probably well past it's use by date, and I cooked a very simple meal. I was quite surprised how quickly it cooked in the microwave too. It consisted of the ancient pasta, 6 small meatballs, some beef stock cubes, a couple of chillies, and some broccoli.

 Once cooked it smelled very nice, but I couldn't eat it then because it would leave me feeling too stodgy to go to The Black Cat to watch The Curfew playing there. They played an excellent two sets, and I was very entertained. I was also entertained by Richard, the staff member who looks after the bands, and works behind the scenes at the pub, bought me two pints of Guinness for supporting the place - and it still needs a lot of support.
The Curfew
 It was sad that there were very few people there last night, but we all clapped as loudly as possible, and tried to make the band feel at home. I find it hard to believe that the demographics of the town are such that there is no support for rock gigs, but that seems to be the sad truth. One person notable for he absence was Angela. She really wanted to go but it seems that John (my rival for her love) is going through a very bad patch again. Apparently he is on big doses of assorted antibiotics to fight an infection (maybe more than one). Once again it seems like his struggle is coming to an end, but he somehow keeps managing to pull through.

 I think it must have been near midnight when I got home from the pub, and I was feeling a bit peckish after not eating since early afternoon. I could have eaten my "pasta surprise", but I fancied something simpler. While I was in Aldi I had bought a couple of packs of sandwiches, and I ate those before going to bed. Ready made sandwiches are a luxury that I will have to buy sparingly in the future, and I was aware of this when I bought them, but I bought them on the off chance that Angela might go to the gig, and come back here to order a taxi home. I know that sometimes she likes a sandwich after a gig. Sadly she didn't make it, but it is best to be prepared.

 While I slept I slept OK, but of course I stupidly woke up at 5am as usual ! Even more stupidly I found myself in the stupid position of one half of my brain complaining it was tired and wanted to go back to sleep, and the other half wanting to get up and do something. I resisted the temptation to follow instinct and go to work, but I still spent a fair time checking stuff on the internet etc. I felt quite chilly this morning, and that seemed to keep me awake even when I did got back to bed. Eventually a few hours passed, and it really did seem like it might be time to get up.

 Sunday morning is one morning where I am very easily tempted to eat breakfast, and this morning was no exception. There were many things I could have had for breakfast, but I went for the weird one - pasta with meatballs. It was very nice, but I found it a bit too filling - which is a weird sensation for me - and I ended up throwing some of the pasta away (but I made sure I ate the meatballs and broccoli.

 Today I have felt very strange. I have felt pretty rotten while doing very little, but almost, maybe with a caveat or two, really good when doing something involving manual labour. One of my main "jobs" today was going through the photos I took last night. I partly alternated that with laying on my bed reading and occasionally taking a short nap. Every time I got off my bed I felt sort of rotten, and I really don't know how I inspired myself to undertake a few tasks.

 Some of the motivation was to get out into the sunshine, and to get some fresh air. The first odd task I did was to sweep the garden path....or the bit of it from the kitchen door, and by the house until it gets to where the garden should be if it wasn't rather overgrown. Not only did I sweep the path clear of all the last debris from next doors builders, but I also decided to clean the outside of the downstairs windows at the back of the house.

 I felt quite good for doing that. Later on I did another outside task. It stated with brining in two pairs of jeans that have been on the line in the rain and sunshine for the last three weeks or more. They are black jeans that seems to have been made black by keeping them in a smoky chimney for weeks. When new they have a terribly nauseating tarry smell. I think I may have driven off the worst of that smell now, and they are currently soaking in detergent for a good wash later.

 While I was outside bringing those jeans in I decided I might as well try and fill up the extra strong rubbish bag I had putting the sweepings from the garden path is. So I did some gardening (although it could be a loose meaning of the word). I pulled up some weeds, and cut some brambles up. I managed to stuff them in the bag along with some assorted bits of stone and old masonry that were once part of a sort of rockery. I didn't exactly clear a big area - 2 square feet ? - but it's start, and maybe I might try and do some real gardening in my retirement.

  Now it is time to have some dinner, and then to relax before trying to get a full 8 hours sleep before getting up at 5am for another day at work. Just 4 weeks to go (roughly) !!!
Saturday 1st July  2017
 10:41 BST

  Halfway through the year, and the weather still doesn't seem very much like summer. Maybe I am expecting too much. There was a lot more sunshine yesterday than was forecast, but the forecast temperature, 21° C, was about right...although maybe it might have just touched 22° C.
it's currently duller than
                  this says it should be
  This what today is supposed to be like. Well maybe it won't actually happen until the clock hits 11am, but there has been no sign of any rays from the sun yet. All I can see through the window as I write this is unbroken greyness across the sky. It is a light-ish grey, but it is still grey ! I could almost believe that the rain that was forecast, but never fell, for the early hours of the morning could fall later today. Maybe the sun will break through, but  I have a feeling that it won't be until this afternoon. Right now I have grave doubts about the veracity of the weather forecast, but if the forecast for tomorrow contains a grain of truth it could be a fairly sunny day with the temperature hitting 22° C.

 I felt rather apprehensive about work yesterday, and I am not totally sure why. I was expecting some sort of fallout from my resignation email, and of course there was some, but it was neither too nice or nasty - both of which would be irritating. My line manager said he knew I had been thinking about it for some time now, and hadn't made my decision lightly. He acknowledged that it will be difficult to replace me, but wished me well. My previous manager, who has now gone one step up the pyramid to be head of department, but is still sort of my ultimate manager, merely acknowledged my email and wished me well. The head of HR came and had a chat with me, but at that point hadn't actually checked my contract to see if I really only needed to give one months notice, although she thought that would be the case for someone who joined the company when I did. Her only suggestion was that I should take a days holiday on what would be my last day - a Monday - but I think I want to stick with my plan, and ask for my remaining holiday allowance, probably around 8 or 9 days, to be bought off me rather than used up.

 Yesterday was the day of the official company picnic. It had been planned for an earlier date, but that date was found to clash with the trade show IFSEC that the company attends every year. I am unsure of the original date, but I am sure it would have been during the spell of hot sunny weather we had not so long ago. It was originally planned to take place in the park behind work, but then when it looked like it would be dull, or perhaps even rain, it was going to be moved indoors, but when the sun came out, albeit not too strongly, it was moved back to the park. There were also supposed to be some "team building exercises" as well as the food that the company provided.

 The silly thing is that it was scheduled to happen at 3pm. Some people go home at 3pm, and some, like me, go home soon after. In reality we were invited to go to the park at about 3.30pm, but many people carried on working. Although by the companies definition I wasn't actually working, I carried on with what I was doing until a few minutes after three. I then headed to the park but seemed to end up at the railway station.

 Somehow the timing came together with no prior planning, and I found myself on the 3.35pm train from Waterloo East station. I was home a few minutes after 4pm. The entire journey home, door to door, had taken almost exactly 1 hour, and that is probably about the shortest it can ever be (without resorting to helicopters or something). Being home so early caused a bit of a dilemma. I was hungry, but it was too early for dinner. So I thought I would have a snack.

 The only trouble with my snack is that it was big enough for many people to consider it a full meal. It consisted of a can of baked beans with sausages with some left over cheese and a good sprinkle of hot chilli sauce. I ate it using tortilla chips as a scoop. Well that cured my growling stomach, but then I had to have what I considered by proper dinner a lot later than usual. That gave me the opportunity to indulge in a takeaway - an indulgence that will have to be far rarer when my only income will just be my small pension from my first employer.

 I didn't want just any old takeaway, and I fancied something novel. A quick look on the door mat revealed a menu for Japanese food. So I ordered a couple of Bento boxes from them, plus some spring rolls as a side order. It was predictably expensive, and also predictably small portions (the reason I ordered so much). I guess it was nice enough, and made an interesting change, but I felt quite underwhelmed by it. I think I'll tick that off my bucket list, and go back to Indian, Chinese, or  Turkish (kebabs) food.

 I had a lot of time on my hands last night - not only from getting home early, but also because there was no pressure to be in bed by 9pm to try and get my 8 hours sleep. I wasn't terribly enthusiastic about it, but it gave me a chance to go through the pictures I took last Saturday, and to see if I could do anything with them. I don't think more than a couple would stand the scrutiny of appearing on Flickr. So I saved the ones I had selected at medium resolution, and then selected 6 of the best to show right here. In a small departure to how I usually present my pictures here, I am showing them as big thumbnails. You can click on them for a full screen view.

Dave the
                            bass player
Dave the bass player
Life Of
                            Brian Band
The Life Of Brian band under
the glare of pink stage lights.
Miranda Bell
Brian Bath
Brian from a different angle
                            Bell in black and white
Miranda in black and white

 I did my best to try and get faces looking less like beetroots and more like human, but you can see plenty of evidence of that strong pinkish purple stage lighting that never changed throughout the whole evening. The band themselves did have their own lights, and for a lot of the time they were showing green - the perfect compliment to that pinkish purple light - but it was really only Brian, who was nearest the green light, who could take advantage of it. In many cases the only thing that really worked was to convert the picture to black and white, but it seemed a shame to lose all colour.

 It was rather late when I went to bed past night - almost midnight, or at least after 11pm. I seemed to sleep well, but still woke up at 5am feeling horrible. (Hmmm, I think "horrible" is closer to reality than the "terrible" I might have been tempted to use.) The good thing about today, is what my reality will be like once I have finished with work, and that is I can use my secret sauce for feeling better. Actually I am not sure if that makes any sense.

 What I mean is that this morning, with it not being a work day, I could get up at 5am and do some stuff before going back to bed. The stuff I did this morning was to take my morning medicines, check my computer for messages, go to the toilet (twice) and put some shirts in to soak. I also read a couple of technical news items off the internet too. Then I went back to bed. At first I didn't think I would fall asleep, and then it was 9am !

 Since getting up again I have washed the four work shirts, and two t-shirts that I had put in to soak earlier on. They are all wrung out, and hanging up to dry now. I have also done a little mild cleaning in the bathroom. Other than that, I haven't done much apart from writing stuff here, and designing a brand new page for July. Next on the agenda will probably be to clean myself up, put on some outdoor clothes, and do some shopping.

 When I have recovered from that I ought to do some housework in my bedroom - ideally some hoovering - but it is probably not a very high priority, and maybe the front room should take precedence. I will be going to a gig tonight, obviously with my camera, but not the one I originally wanted to go to. Chain are playing in The Olde Whyte Lion pub in Locks Bottom. It would either mean going on one bus for a hellishly long ride, or getting two buses for a still long, but not hellishly long ride. Fortunately, or maybe it is unfortunately, The Curfew have come to me rescue. They are playing in The Black Cat tonight - and that is just a 5 or 6 minute walk away ! There is also some hope that Angela might be there, and even a possibility that she will be on her own. If she is then I might have a very happy evening !