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

Friday 31st March  2017
 19:22 BST

  Yesterday was very nice. Very nice indeed ! The weather for the day can probably be described just by the fact that I went to Bromley in the very late afternoon/early evening in just a shirt sleeve shirt, and no coat. I was still perfectly comfortable coming home again at around 9pm ! Had I spent some time outside earlier in the afternoon, I could well have laid the foundation for a tan ! The highest temperature was around 19° C, and maybe even 20° C ! By this morning it was a mere 12° C, and of course in sunshine that is shirtsleeve weather too, but there wasn't any sunshine.  For a lot of the morning it felt like the thick grey cloud I could see from my bedroom window was sucking all the heat away, and I felt quite cool. This afternoon was sunny, and the feeling changed instantly. The temperature had increased t0 15 or 16° C by then. Tomorrow should have some random sunny periods, but a lot of the day will be overcast, and there could be several hours of light rain towards the end of the afternoon. The top temperature will be a disappointing 14° C.

 I was fortunate that my volatile bottom caused no trouble when I went to have the nurse check and replace the dressing on my back. It was a mostly painless visit - both physical and mentally painless. I did have grand plans for the rest of least I think I did. I can't actually remember what they were, and I don't think I carried any of them out !  What I do recall is that I couldn't summon up the enthusiasm to go out in the evening. Going out in the evening is one thing I thought I would be able to do while I am off work. Instead of going out I selected and edited the photos I took last Sunday. It was painful, but for the sake of professionalism, or some old bollocks like that, I did include a few pictures showing Angela side my side with my nemesis John.
The Life Of Brian (band)
 I'm not going to show Angela and John here though. Here's a picture of Paul (on the drums at the rear), Miranda with her tambourine, and Brian on Guitar. Dave, whose hand, and neck of his bass can be seen poking out from behind the speaker on the left, managed to keep himself hidden for almost the entire gig, but I did get a good one of him. I'll get the full set uploaded to Flickr sooner or later. I am sure I have already mentioned how great it was to have bright daylight filtering through to what is usually a very dim part of the pub. It made photography a bit easy ! If I didn't mention it, I have now.

 Yesterday started with another visit to the nurse, and ended with some beers in a pub. Two pubs in fact ! I'm not sure what I did in the middle of those two things. Some of what I did was so routine that it didn't really register. One routine, or what seems to be routine while I have all this spare time while off work, is laundry. Yesterday it was a couple of shirts and a load of pillowcases. The pillowcases were part of the rehabilitation of my spare room. I have a box with a fairly tight lid with bedding for the single bed in there. Most of it hasn't been washed for years and years. I thought a wash just to refresh it would be a good idea. I now have just a couple of single duvet covers to do, and they should be fairly easy. They might even be a job for tomorrow.

 After seeing the nurse I took a medium length walk right around the main roads to take a look at The Catford Bridge Tavern. There had been signs up a week or so ago saying it would open yesterday. When I got there all the scaffolding had been taken down except for some around the back, and all the hoardings were down too. I took a peek through the windows and saw that the bar room was indeed looking like a bar room. There was a brand new new bar, and it had beer dispensers on it. It did look like there was still an awful lot of work to do, but it was complete enough to take away any doubt that it would eventually open.......just maybe not that day.
The Catford Bridge Tavern on
                  the morning before it re-opened
 This was a picture I snapped on my mobile phone yesterday morning. The outside of "The Tavern" has been restored to what it was before (or a reasonable facsimile), but work still goes on outside, and as I would learn later in the evening, work must have been going at a frantic pace inside !

 It was bright, sunny and warm, as good a poor man's summer...sort of, and I decided I didn't need a coat to go into Bromley for the Thursday night drink. We were drinking in The Partridge pub. It is just a tedious 20 - 25 minutes on the bus to get there. As I must have mentioned every time I mention the pub, it is a Fullers pub, and sells the rather excellent HSB and ESB bitters, I dragged out a bit of will power to stick to weaker beer for my first three pints. I decided I wouldn't go totally over the top last night even though I could because I didn't have to go to work in the morning, but I did stay for one extra pint, and that was a pint of ESB !

 While we were drinking Jodie got a Twitter message saying The Catford Bridge Tavern had actually opened. I told Jodie that if, and only if a 320 bus came along, I might venture into the Catford Bridge Tavern just for a very quick look-see. The other bus home, the 208, stays on the main road to Lewisham, and stops nowhere near the pub. Jodie got stupidly excited about that, and managed to persuade me to hang on an extra 5 minutes after a 208 arrived so we could get the 320.

 She said we would just have one quiet drink. After all hardly anyone would no it was open, and it would be mostly deserted ! I must admit I tended to agree with her idea, but when we got there the place was packed. Inside it was bloody noisy. There was some rumbly, bassy music playing that everyone was shouting over, and it was all ear splittingly loud. Somehow we managed to find the last seats in the place and sat down with half a pint of quite nicely served Trumans "Gypsy Queen" bitter, but overall it was a very unpleasant experience. I checked the times of the trains, and when I had found there was a train for Jodie in 10 minutes, I necked back my beer, and said goodbye to her.

 This morning I was back at the nurse to have my dressing changed. Today there was less pus, and the wound appears to be healing well. The wound was re-dressed, and I was just putting my shirt on when the nurse pulled the dirtiest joker out of the pack. She announced that she had to take my blood pressure as well. The very notion of that send my blood pressure soaring. When I saw the head nurse a week ago we came to an arrangement about my blood pressure. She looked at the figures I had collected at home for the doctor towards the end of February, and declared they were looking very good. She entered one of the lower readings as my average blood pressure, and said she would scan my printout, and enter it into my permanent record. Then promised I would be bothered about blood pressure readings for several months or more.

 It came as no surprise that after having this bombshell dropped on my head my blood pressure went up really high. The nurse was so concerned that I don't think she expected me to make it home alive, and made me solemnly sweat that if I felt dizzy, or if I developed a strong headache, or chest pains, I would go straight to A&E to get myself checked out. Of course for me those readings were not exceptional, and had I not felt mortally pissed off about the whole thing, I would have been feeling quite fit and healthy when my blood pressure is that high. When I got home I found why the reading the nurse took was higher than even I expected. I think the one pill that has more effect on my blood pressure than any other, must have slipped through my fingers when I took my handful of pills this morning.

 I took the missing pill as soon as I saw it sitting on my bedside drawers, and while it probably dropped my blood pressure a bit, it did nothing for my mental state. If my doctor or a nurse said I was going to die I would just consider it an interesting turn of events, and apart from maybe considering if it was going to be a painful death, I would have thought no more of it. Being told I have to have my blood pressure taken can lead me into the depths of despair - and so it was. I spent the rest  of the morning laying on my bed, sometimes reading, sometime dozing, and sometime thinking the grey sky I could see through the window looked cold, grey, and soulless, but mostly sulking - a hobby I seems to have honed to perfection !

 This afternoon the sun came out, and I started to do stuff. I did yet more laundry. This time just a couple of recently used shirts, some underwear and a pair of smelly lounge pants. Once I had cooled off from doing that I did some more cleaning in the spare bedroom. The grand breakthrough today was to do the top shelf of the book shelf. It was an incredibly dusty heap of jumbled books, and some old cassettes (video and audio). It is now all nice, clean and tidy. I also did a few other little cleaning jobs while I was in there.

 One thing I only half did was to do a load of washing up that had been sitting in the sink for a while. I did some of it, and I also cleaned the microwave oven. There was a nasty looking puddle in the base of it - and that is despite leaving the door open most of the time so it can dry out by itself. Eventually I used the clean microwave to cook a packet of Tesco faggots that I had found for half price. To be honest I didn't know how they should be cooked. So I sort of boiled them in some beef stock. I think they were cooked OK, but they had a nasty texture. The famous Mr Brains faggots come in a thick onion gravy, and have a course texture. The Tesco faggots had almost a cheese like smooth texture. Maybe it was the way I cooked them, but I didn't like them, and threw half of them away.

 Now I am sitting here, writing this and drinking canned Guinness. I reckon I might have an early night tonight....or maybe I won't. It depends on how long it takes me to finish the book I am reading, and what, if anything, may be on TV tonight. I think I feel a bit bored, a bit uninspired, a bit unloved, a bit.....well, tomorrow is another day, and tomorrow night brings a potentially good gig at The Black Cat. I just have to think of something to fill the hours tomorrow until then.
Wednesday 29th March  2017
 09:24 GMT

  It was a mild night, and although I didn't actually see it, I could hear that it was raining outside the bathroom window around 10pm or so - just as was forecast.  This morning it is overcast, just as expected, but I don't think I was expecting that it would be nearly 13° C right now ! That does agree with the latest forecast for today. The main change to the forecast since yesterday is that it will be uniformly lightly overcast all day instead of periods of it being heavily overcast. The top temperature is shown as being 15° C for most of the afternoon. Tomorrow still looks interesting. Sunny periods during the morning, but becoming overcast by the afternoon, and the temperature hitting 19° C !

 I went to bed just after I finished writing yesterday. Unfortunately I didn't seem to feel sleep once I was on my bed. So I spent an hour, and maybe more, reading. When I finally did go to sleep it was quite lumpy sleep. Once again I would wake up coughing like I did the night before. The good thing is that my night time cough has become less violent, and my stomach and chest muscles, while still quite sore, seem to be recovering slowly.

 The worst aspect about my sleep is that I was having some, or lots (who can tell) unpleasant dreams. They were not nightmares, and not really even fantasy. It was a reflection of what I have to try to do today or tomorrow. I have hard made any progress at all going through the pictures I took at Chain's gig on Saturday, and I haven't even started on the pictures I took of The Life Of Brian on Sunday afternoon.

 It is the latter pictures that bother me. The gig was officially a birthday party for John. John is the 75 year old man with cancer, and a dodgy hip that Angela has somehow fallen in love with while she was claiming to love me. It is probably not to hard to imagine that I am going to really have to grit my teeth to publish and pictures I might have taken (and I think there were a couple) of them together. In the meantime, here's a picture of Chain. It doesn't look too bad when shrunk down to fit on this page, but the full size original, on my 23" monitor looks horrible !
chain @ the black cat

 Very soon now I am off to see the nurse. It could be an exciting adventure this morning because my bottom is as volatile as a politicians promise ! I think I blame the experimental butter bean salad I invented yesterday. It was sort of nice, but maybe I over did the beans a bit. After the nurse I guess I will have to start photo editing.
Tuesday 28th March  2017
 20:15 GMT

  It's been nice today. The temperature managed to rise to 15, or perhaps even 16° C, and there was plenty of lovely sunshine. It's cooling down now, and apparently some rain is due in the night. Tomorrow could still hit 15° C for a while, but it is going to be a very dull day. It should stay dry though. It is Thursday where things get interesting. Of course everything could change by then, but the current forecast says there will be sunny intervals  until early afternoon, but even after they stop the temperature will continue to climb, and it could hit 19° C !!

 It was quite annoying yesterday. I was feeling pretty ill, and I just couldn't bring myself to do much. I seemed to spend much of the day laying on my bed either dozing or reading. I think it is final proof that the universe is run by a malevolent entity. I mean, here I am with a doctors certificate for a fortnight off work, purely so I can get the dressing on my back changed every day, and I can't take advantage of the rest of the day because I have been struck down by man 'flu. These things can't happen by chance, surely ?

 Maybe staying in doing lots of intensive resting was a good idea. I do feel considerably better today, and getting better all the time. This morning I saw the nurse again, and she said that my wound was healing nicely, although it was still producing pus. I am a little surprised that I haven't been prescribed more antibiotics for the pus, but I guess (or hope) they know what they are doing. Having said that, the nurse I am currently seeing was not the slightest bit interested in my "man 'flu" !

 It was after seeing the nurse that things got interesting. I decided that I should have been well enough to go shopping in Aldi. I was - I felt mostly OK going to the surgery, and maybe very slightly better when I came out again (mainly because it seemed even sunnier - it lifts the spirits). So I went into Aldi and selected a few useful things like cans of Guinness, bottles of sugar free cola, some slightly naughty freshly squeezed orange juice (have to be careful with the natural sugar in that), and some Aldi own brand substitute Magnum ice cream bars. The latter of course are extremely naughty, but sometime you need something to cool an over coughed throat - well that was my excuse.

 All this was jolly and fine until I had to carry it all home. All the coughing I have been doing, and particularly the more wetter coughing that started yesterday morning, has left my stomach and chest muscles aching. That, and some back ache, and some ongoing fatigue, made the walk home with my shopping much harder than anticipated. It was a relief to get home, and put my shopping down.

 Although I recovered very quickly after that, it may have put me off doing anything more energetic, but on the other hand I did have one very important thing to do, and that limited my possibilities. That important thing was to keep an ear out for the doorbell to ring. I thought I should be safe doing one little job before I hoped my attendance at the door would be needed. That little job was maybe not that little. It was to wash a couple of work shirts, and several old smelly t-shirts.

 The t-shirts are a legacy of possibly happier times, and certainly from an era when I could comfortably fit in smaller sized t-shirts. I really should have just thrown them away when I discovered them at the back of the wardrobe smelling of dust and old cigarette smoke, but they have historic prints on them, and there is always hope that one day I might be able to wear them again.

 The reason I was keeping an ear on the door bell was that I was expecting a delivery from Amazon. I wasn't expecting until at least Thursday, but I got an email saying it would be delivered today. It finally arrived at approx 1pm. Initially I wondered why the delivery man just thrust it into my hands and ran away again. When I got the parcel indoors I could see that it was damaged. The main thing in the parcel was a new Freeview receiver to replace one that recently failed here. There was also a lead and a couple of adaptors I had ordered.

 The leads and adaptors were undamaged, but the Freeview box was badly damaged. I should have arranged to send it back there and then, but curiosity got the better of me. I opened it up, and as far as I can see, the circuitry inside is undamaged. So I have made a complete and utter mess of gluing the case back together, and once the glue has dried, I will re-assemble it, and hope for the best. If it doesn't work I will buy a new box locally - they are only about £20 - £25. It's a lot of money to just throw down the drain, but sometimes convenience can outweigh cost.

 I've had several interruptions while writing this, and now it is getting near time for bed. On a normal working day it would be time for bed ! I hope I can sleep well tonight, but I suspect it will be like last night. I got plenty of sleep, but in two hour segments. That would be fine right now providing I didn't wake up coughing, and straining my stomach muscles like last night. While I am not coughing, such as right now, I feel pretty good. My nose is not dripping, and nothing hurts. I could believe I am totally well (almost), but once I start coughing it can be very painful ! The funny thing is that it is only now that I am coming to the realisation that since my operation back in 2013 I seem to be using more stomach muscles when coughing than I think I used to before the operation. It is something I would like to discuss with a doctor, or maybe an anatomist, but they don't seem to have time to do anything except prescribe blood pressure pills.
Monday 27th March  2017
 10:27 GMT

  Yesterday was bright sunny, and presumably warm. Actually it was warmish, about 14° C, but for reasons I'll explain later, I wasn't able to appreciate it properly. Today is going to be very similar. It was rather grey and misty at sunrise, and only about 7° C, but the sun is burning off the mist, and the rest of today should be bright and sunny with a high of 15° C. Tomorrow will see a few duller periods, but much of the day should be like today.

 I had barely got 50ft down the road, after getting my dressing changed on Friday, when the curse of visiting the surgery struck. It started off as a dry tickly cough, and apart from an increasing tendency for my nose to run, I still have a tickly cough today. It was not particularly bothersome on Friday, but was quite annoying on Saturday night when I was at the Chain gig in The Black Cat. There was worse to come !

 It had been my intention to do lots more cleaning on Saturday, but I seemed to lose enthusiasm for it - mostly because I was starting to suffer from this cold. I did do some cleaning, and I screwed on a couple of slide bolts on the spare bedroom window. I think they are a more elegant way of stopping the window rattling than a bunch of old train tickets stuffed in the cracks, plus they do add a little more security.

 The big thing on Saturday was the gig in The Black Cat. It is some time since I've seen Chain playing, and while I am familiar with almost everything on their set list, it did sound fresher after not seeing them since last December. It was a most pleasant evening (apart from my cough), and I hope I took some good pictures.

 On any other weekend I would have spent a lot of Sunday selecting and editing the best of the photos I took, but yesterday was special. The Life Of Brian were playing a birthday party gig in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham, and it was an afternoon gig. Getting there would normally be simple, but with half the high street dug up for roadworks, and the buses on diversion, it meant an extra mildly uphill walk to get to the pub from the closest bus stop that was in use.

 It was a nice gig for various reasons, but it did leave me feeling slightly sad. I was also feeling under the weather, and that didn't help either. It was definitely good that there was a fair amount of the bright sunny daylight filtering through to the alcove where the band play. So I am hoping that I have some good pictures - which would be unusual for that place.

 The birthday party was arranged, and paid for by John - my rival for Angela's love. I am sure it was his second birthday celebration this year. Maybe when you are dying of cancer you are allowed a few spare birthday celebrations. It wasn't nice seeing Angela and John together, and while I admit I am incredibly biassed, I didn't think Angela looked that happy whenever he tried to dance with her, or cuddle her.

 I had to grit my teeth and let them get on with it, but eventually I decided to leave earlier than I needed to - although the main reason was because I was starting to feel very ill. I wasn't actually shivery, but I was definitely feeling cold even when standing in the sunshine. I felt particularly chilly when waiting for a bus. I'm not sure what time the 54 bus eventually arrived, but after seeing the online "Countdown" app keep giving different estimates, I gave up and got a bus to Clock House station.

 Maybe that was a good idea - but only by a fluke. I had drunk quite a few pints of Guinness, and I began to feel a bit uncomfortable. I had hoped it would be a 4, or 6, or 8 car train expected, but it was saying it would be a 5 car. A 5 car train would be a class 376 train, and they don't have toilets on them - the other type of train do have toilets, although the chances of them being in working order would have been slim. That left one possibility - to find a very discrete place to pee up the wall. There is one such place on the station, and I was able to relieve the pressure on y bladder.

 I didn't feel good as I walked back from the station, and I got worse during the evening. The first thing I did when I got in was to have some hot soup to warm me up. That helped a lot, but I felt desperately tired. So I lay on my bed intending to pick up the book I am currently reading, but fell asleep instead. I woke up an hour (or maybe 2 hours) later, and I was shivering. It was really unpleasant to go out to the cold bathroom in that state, but I gritted my teeth, and went and prepared myself for bed.

 I can't remember what time it was when I went to bed, but I am guessing it was around 9pm. I didn't exactly go to bed in the conventional way. I turned the heating up full, and just lay on top of my bed. Just before I tried to relax I checked my temperature, and I definitely had a fever !
burning up
 This photo didn't come out quite right, but it is supposed to be showing 38.1° C. An hour or so later and it was up to 38.3° C - definitely fever land ! I have a theory that my temperature may have gone up a lot higher in the night. It felt like I was awake a lot more than might have been real case....or maybe not. I seemed to be having so many weird thoughts through the night, and I couldn't tell if they were dreams or delirium. I think delirium sounds far more dramatic so I am going to insist that at least some of it was delirium !

 I guess it was from about 4am that I started to be more awake than asleep. By 6am it seemed I couldn't get back to sleep again, and so I started getting up. One of the first things I did was to check my temperature. I was feeling far less shivery so I expected it to be lower. I was wrong ! It was 38.7° C, and yet I didn't feel that feverish. Curiously enough, it was at about that point that I started to sweat. Prior to that my body was hot and dry.

 On the whole, I feel pretty bad this morning. I was hoping for some sympathy, and maybe some sort of action when I saw the nurse to get my dressing changed at 9.45am. She did acknowledge that 38.7° C was very high, but no more than that. Sometime I feel I get more wisdom from a bar tender than anyone in the medical profession.

 It would be great to go and frolic in the sunshine today, but obviously I don't feel up to, and worse than that, I have two gigs worth of photos to go through. What I think I am actually going to do next is to lay on my bed, and read a few lines from my book - I'd like to read more, but I reckon my eyelids will be drooping before then !
Saturday 25th March  2017
 10:33 GMT

  After the dull start, yesterday afternoon was bright and cheery. Unfortunately it was still a little cool. At it's best it was 10° C, and how that feels depends on the wind. There was a light breeze yesterday, and that was just enough to make it feel a bit cool - but I still went to the doctors, and Aldi afterwards in just my shirtsleeves.  I knew what the forecast was for today, but it still came as a bit of a shock. The morning started bright and sunny, and it seems most of the day will be bright and sunny too. The forecast for the temperature has been revised upwards a little. We can now (hopefully) look forward to 14° C for a short while this afternoon.

 Tonight the clocks change back to BST, and that leaves everything disorganised....sort of. Sunrise will be at 06:50 tomorrow instead of 05:50 - which is bad, but sunset will not be until 19:23 - which is very good. Even better is that after an extra hour for the sun to rise (according to my body clock), and then a slightly dull morning, the sun will burst through between 10 and 11am, and then it will be sunny right through to sunset. The only slight downer is that it may only reach 12° C.

 On reflection, I must have been fairly busy yesterday. I did a whole smelly pile of washing up for one thing - I had to, I had run out of forks ! Most of what I did was to do with rehabilitating my spare room. It is good when a plan starts to come together. One task was to clean the inside of the windows, and the window frames. In an ideal world those frames could do with a lick of paint, and maybe they will get it, but for the moment they don't look too bad if you don't look too carefully (preferably with the curtains closed in a dimly lit room !).

 One thing that was most pleasing is that I have got every last single thing off the bed. Some of it is piled up at the other end of the room in a semi tidy heap, but I think there is a chance I might even be able to tidy that up at some point. Previous work included cleaning, dusting, re-arranging 3 out of 4 bookshelves, and I think tackling the top one, which is hideously dusty is going to be one of the next jobs to do (and then re-dust the bookshelves below !).
spare bed
 Apart from some of the stains on the wall - a few of which are not stains but where sticky tape has been has pulled a bit of wallpaper off when it has been removed - this is the spare bed in all it's glory. On the wall at the head end is the new reading lamp I put up recently. One other task I completed yesterday was to start washing the duvet covers, pillow cases, and sheets for the bed.
Che Guevara pillow case
Yesterday I washed the Che Guevara pillow case and duvet cover - it's very handy for militant South Americans to sleep under (well Patricia liked it - I think !). I am currently soaking a couple of sheets, and one of my next tasks will be to finish washing them. Later on I will wash a few other bits for that single bed. I must confess I am finding it surprising how much of it, although apparently clean, is tinged with the smell of cigarette smoke.

 At just after 3pm I went out to the surgery for my double appointment there. On the whole it was very satisfactory. I first saw the nurse who dressed my wound. She also looked at the printout of the blood pressure readings I had taken for the doctor towards the end of February. The doctor had not been enthusiastic about them, and chose to concentrate on the higher readings. The nurse chose to look at all the low readings, and thought that my blood pressure was very satisfactory. Unlike the doctor, she arranged to scan my printout, and enter it into my official medical record. I won't be bothered for blood pressure readings for a while now.

 The actual re-dressing of my wound was a little less uncomfortable than the previous day, and that was good. Once that was done I was handed over to the general health practitioner, or whatever he was called, to have my feet prodded with his monofilament fibre. It's to check for nerve damage in diabetic patients. I had no trouble with that, and the rest of my feet were reported to be in generally good condition. Finally it was time to leave, and to pick up my doctors sick certificate on the way out - another good thing !

 At one point I was thinking of going out last night, but I wasn't actually sure where the gig I was going to actually was - not a good situation to be in. So I decided to stay in, and I took advantage of that to order a takeaway. My choice of food was peri-peri chicken. This is usually grilled, and so is rather less unhealthy than fried chicken. As usual, I checked the Food Standards Agency website for the hygiene ratings for the restaurant I had chosen. They scored 5 out of 5, and that is rather good for a takeaway. That lead me to believe that my peri-peri chicken would be really good - it wasn't !

 On the whole it was a disappointing experience. Having to order a bit more than I wanted to meet the minimum price for delivery was no problem, but it was annoying to have to wait 65 to 70 minutes for delivery, or 15 - 20 minutes longer than the estimate. When it arrived I enjoyed the small burger that I had ordered just to get the price up to the minimum, but I was not impressed with the chicken. It seemed very greasy, and maybe a bit too charcoal flavoured. It was as if it had been fried, and then thrown onto some live charcoal to brown it off a bit more, and to give it the right flavour. The long wait increased the guilt I felt about getting a takeaway, and then the greasy chicken made the guilt feel very strong. So much that I only ate a small part of what I ordered. It meant I had potato wedges for breakfast this morning, and I shall have peri-peri chicken for lunch ! I shall put the chicken in my mini oven/grill, and I hope I can drive off some of the grease when I reheat it.

 It is definitely nice not to have to rush to bed, and not have to worry too much about getting up early. I think I sleep better for it, although I don't seem to sleep any longer than usual, and possibly less because I know I can have a snooze during the day if I need it - and I often do. Sleeping better seems to mean a few less aches and pains.......or maybe what I am trying to say is that the worst aches and pains seem to fade very rapidly after getting out of bed, and after that I am relatively pain free - but not totally.

 This morning I've been to see the nurse again - a different nurse. This one is an old fusspot, and was trying to convince me I ought to go to the emergency walk in clinic in New Cross tomorrow to get the dressing changed. I think I prefer the nurse I saw yesterday, and the day before. She thought I would be fine if I missed out Sunday's. Today's nurse also fussed around with the final dressing. I am not sure is she was trying to be artistic in the way it was placed, but I think she had three goes before she was satisfied. On Monday morning I see yet a different nurse. I wonder what she will be like - maybe it will be the one who seemed to mess up dressing the wound on my leg when I came out of hospital (it was where the vein was taken for the graft on my heart).

 On the way back from the surgery I called into Poundland for more cleaning supplies for the back/spare bedroom. Continuing the cleaning in there will be my main priority - probably. This evening my priority will definitely change. Tonight Chain will be playing a gig in The Black Cat. I haven't seen them play for a long time now, and I am rather looking forward to it.
Friday 24th March  2017
 09:27 GMT

  Maybe it was just me, but yesterday seemed to have an almost wintry feel to it. It was frequently dull. and while the daytime temperature may have just about hit 10° C, it seemed damned chilly in the evening. Fortunately, while today has started off very overcast, and with the temperature down near 6° C, the afternoon is forecast to be bright and sunny...and at 11° C, almost warm. Tomorrow may be even sunnier and 13° C, and then while we have to accept that a forecast so far in the future is pure fantasy, next Tuesday could be very sunny, and a definitely warm 16° C !

 There was absolutely no reason why I didn't write anything yesterday, but somehow I just never got around to it. Maybe it was a good idea because I can just stick to recording a few salient points about Wednesday. As I suggested I would, I took a couple of bags of shirts to the Age Concern charity shop, and they seemed very pleased to get them. On my way back I called into Poundstretcher to buy three (3 for £10 !!!) under bed storage boxes.

 I felt a little short of breath when I got back, and I think I know the reason. I have been disturbing a lot of dust during my clean and tidy up of the spare bedroom. Things came to a head when I started to fill the new storage boxes. I had been hoping I could stuff my spare winter duvet in one, but it was too small. I decided to swap out the contents of a bigger box, and use the bigger box for the duvet. All there was in the bigger box was an ancient blanket that had been sitting in that box, with the lid very loose, on top of the wardrobe for countless years. I think I had last used it as a cover for the spare bad, and it was full of cat hair and dander plus loads of cigarette smoke. Handling it really made my throat close up.

I guess it could have been cleaned, but I dumped it straight in the wheelie bin. After that I didn't do much at all. Eventually I felt less asthmatic, but I decided I had had enough of housework for one day. So I settled down to some reading, and eventually went to bed. I wanted to be fresh and alert for my first appointment with the practice nurse yesterday.

 My appointment with the nurse was at midday, and so I had plenty of time to do something. That something turned out to be a bit of exercise. I decided that I would go into Lewisham to do some shopping in Sainsbury's. I've never really explored a big Sainsbury's before, and I was curious what I might find. I was a little disappointed that their range of salads was no better than the little Sainsbury's "Local" near Earlsfield station. I bought four ready made salads - 2 Greek, 1 Italian, and 1 classic. I also bought two 2l bottles of Sainsbury own brand diet cola. It has a slightly odd, but not unpleasant taste.

 I also bought a few other bits and pieces, including a couple of bottles of chilli sauces that I had not seen before. It was a fair bit to carry even with the bottles in my ruck sack, and I didn't fancy getting on a crowded bus like that. So I walked. I guess it was no more than a mile and a half, but carrying that shopping made it seem like hard work. I think I must be really out of shape ! However it was a mostly pleasant walk. I walked back through the park, and stopped to take a couple of snaps of the daffodils as they come to the end of their lives.

more daffodils

 When I got home I was feeling quite hot, and almost once again, very slightly short of breath. I also did not have that much time to change to a clean shirt before going out to the surgery. When I got to the surgery they were running a bit behind schedule, and I think I waited almost 20 minutes (including the 5 or more minutes I was early getting there) before I was called.

 I hadn't dealt with that nurse before, but she seemed pleasant enough, and of course, like most of them, utterly demented ! Before starting on my wound she said I was due a blood pressure reading. This time I threw a tantrum and said NO ! I said I was fed up with every visit starting with my blood pressure. I said it would be stupidly high, just like most times, and I would much prefer it if she would just get on with treating my wound - and she did !

 She commented that it was a deep hole, but it had a nice big opening. The significance of that was that she was going to re-pack it with stuff called Aquacel. Having that done while under the influence of local anaesthetic is of no significance, but I didn't have the benefit of that yesterday, and while it wasn't agony, it wasn't comfortable either ! Maybe it was all worth it in the long run.

 I think the nurse may be a bit pessimistic, or maybe I am too optimistic, but she predicts that the dressing will need to be checked and changed once a day (except Sundays) for the next two weeks ! To support that she has written me a 2 week sick certificate (although I don't pick it up until today when it should be countersigned by a doctor). So I have an official 2 weeks off work to look forward to (and maybe 2 weeks of pain !). The good thing is that I have made appointments for all the days, and they are all early morning appointments. That will give me the rest of the day to do as I wish - and with the potential for warm sunny days approaching, I can think of several things I can do.

 One of the first benefits of no work in the morning is that I could stay out late last night. Slightly deliberately, but mostly by accident, I was very late getting to the regular Thursday night drink with the Thursday night gang. I got to the pub, The Greyhound in Bromley and waited and waited, and waited to be served at the bar. In the end I stormed off and decided that I would take advantage of the pubs warmth, toilet facilities, and anything else that I didn't have to pay for, but I would not buy their bloody beer !

 It wasn't long before the next round was being bought, and I was persuaded to have a pint. It was most satisfying to be able to order a pint of "Bitter And Twisted", one of the guest ales that was on last night. It seemed to match my mood rather well ! The only sad thing was that it was not very nice. Not actually horrible, but I wouldn't have fancied a second pint. I only stayed for the one pint because I had a cunning plan.

 Being able to stay out late meant that I could go on to Geoff's open mic night at The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. It's always a very friendly little gathering with a few photo opportunities - though not many because it is small, cramped and dark ! To my great surprise Angela turned up. Unfortunately she was with John, but unlike at The Black Cat a few weeks ago, she was friendly, and happy. It was nice to see her like that, and it was nice to be greeted with a big hug, and another slightly lesser hug when I left.
Angela at The Coach and
Angela at The Coach And Horses with a nice smile on her lips.

 I guess I left the pub around 10pm after drinking quite a few pints of Guinness. All I had eaten earlier in the day was a couple of the salads I had bought in Sainsbury's earlier. I think that justifies me feeling starving hungry when I got home. There was stuff I could have, and was going to zap in the microwave, but I was in the mood for the really unhealthy - fried chicken and fries - and that is what I had. It was delicious, and I deeply regret it...I think.

 Last night I slept incredibly well until I didn't. My stupid brain woke me up at 5am as usual, and while I may have been able to get a few tens of minutes extra sleep, I've essentially been up since then. I feel basically OK this morning. My wound is comfortable, and since I've been moving around a little, I seem to be mostly free of aches and stiffness. I don't think I feel like rushing around today though.

 At 3.15pm I have my next visit to the nurse. Today will be the last one that isn't in the morning. It seems to be booked for just 5 minutes because at 3.20pm I have been forced to have my annual diabetic foot examination. While it may be useful, it is also very tedious. Basically bits of your foot, particularly the toes, are prodded with a thin fibre. If you can't feel it, it could mean nerve damage caused by lack of blood flow. I know that if I stub my toe it bloody hurts, and if I wear the wrong shoes that chafe the skin, plenty of blood flows from the chafing !

 Once I am free of the nurses, sadistic or otherwise, I am free to do as I please. One possibility is to go to some sort of gig in Sidcup. I am not sure what it is all about, but there will be several bands at the University of Greenwich, Sidcup branch, drama and theatre workshops (or something). That brings with it the promise of good lighting and a proper stage. I ought to go, but for some reason I don't feel terribly enthusiastic about it. I think I'll just play it by ear when the time comes.
Wednesday 22nd March  2017
 08:16 GMT

  Yesterday was just warm enough to go out without a coat - although it was definitely on the limits, and relied on the wind being no more than a light breeze. After a sunny morning, and a sunny afternoon, the temperature settled down to about 10° C until it started to cool off in the evening. By contrast, today threatens to be a pretty awful day. One very small compensation is that thick cloud has kept the temperature up to 8° C this morning, but it is actually forecast to drop to just 6° C by midday. It should start to warm up again after that, but 8° C would seem about the best that today can offer. If that was not bad enough then there is also the grey and black skies to make it worse, and then there is the ultimate sin - rain, and apparently lots of it. It is supposed to start soon. Reach a crescendo soon after midday, and probably stop a few hours after that. As it stop there might be a few short sunny spells, but it doesn't seem likely. Tomorrow may start with a couple of hours of light rain, but from then on it is supposed to be no more than medium overcast with the temperature peaking at 10° C by mid afternoon.

 Yesterday started off bright, sunny, and fresh - just the conditions for a jolly visit to the doctors....or something like that. So I got myself clean and dressed, and headed off to see the doctor. I was seen within minutes of getting there - possibly a couple of minutes before my appointed time. The doctor took a quick look at my cyst, and came to the same conclusion as the nurse the evening before - it was growing, and now very obviously infected.

 The doctor considered the best thing to do was to write a short introductory letter, and send me off to Lewisham Hospital emergency department in the hope they could deal with it quickly. My doctor also printed off a sheaf of notes, basically my whole medical history for the last 3 years, to take to the hospital as well. I could have walked straight to the hospital when I left the surgery, but I had other ideas.

 First of all I went home. There were three reasons for this. Firstly, and most importantly, I thought I would need to use the toilet before going to the hospital - I did, and felt much more comfortable for it. I also wanted to change my shoes for the longer walk to the hospital. I thought the shoes I had originally put on were more comfortable than they turned out to be in actual practice. The third reason was that I felt a sneaky desire to make copies of all the documents I was taking to the hospital.

 Although it was a little cool, it was nice to walk through the park to the hospital in my shirtsleeves in the bright sunshine. When I got to the hospital I had that sinking feeling you get when you realise you are probably in for a long wait, and you haven't brought a book with you. It turned out that I needn't have worried. I don't I waited more than 10 minutes before a nurse called me to check a few details, and to check my blood pressure. Always my bloody blood pressure. What is it with these people !! Anyway, my blood pressure was typically high, although not as high as I expected. Given a bit of time to relax and stuff, I could have got it even lower.

Having had this brief assessment, which didn't include looking at the cyst, I was sent outside to wait to be called by the accident and emergency surgeon. Once again it was probably little more than 10 minutes before I was called into another room by what turned out to be a nurse practitioner. It wasn't in the actual A&E section, and she wasn't actually a surgeon, but it turned out that she was the one who was going to do the actual operation. She was assisted by someone who I thought might be a surgeon, but was actually a nurse. Her main job was to keep the working area free from spilt blood and "stuff".

 Those two were very pleasant, and we kept up a friendly banter through the procedure. After the usual question and answer session it started off with an injection of lignocaine into the cyst as a local anaesthetic. That stuff really stings as it goes in, but it did it's job quite well. Once the area was numb a cut was made across the least I presume that is what happened. I obviously couldn't see what was going on behind my back, but I can guess the bits I was not directly aware of. The slightly gruesome aspect of it was that all the accumulated filling, a waxy like substance infused with blood and pus, had to be scraped out using a tool like a mini ice cream scoop.

 Once or twice it was a little bit more painful than I cared for, but mostly it was just mildly uncomfortable. I would rather not think what it would be like without that anaesthetic !  At the end the nurse practitioner/surgeon said that it had been a very big cyst that was unusually deep. She showed me the instrument she used, and indicated how deep it had to go below the normal surface of the skin. It was a little over an inch ! The last bit of the procedure, apart from applying a final dressing, was to stuff the cavity with a special tape that acts as a wick to soak up anything left behind.

 I wasn't paying that much attention to the time, but I reckon I wasn't in the hospital for much longer than an hour. That's not bad considering how starved of resources the NHS is. I think I was lucky to be there at a quietish time. It was an interesting experience - not exactly enjoyable, but infinitely better than a visit to the dentist for instance. I can't remember if my first thought upon getting out into the sunshine was the desire for a cigarette, or not. I think on this occasion it might, for the first time ever, been "not". Maybe I was distracted by the desire for some lunch.

 It's hard to say when the anaesthetic wore off. I did little of any significance when I got home, but I did lie down and have a good snooze, and that didn't hurt my new wound. In fact it wasn't until I woke up in the night that I felt any discomfort, but then again, I tried not to do anything that might aggravate it while I was awake. I'm unsure how long I snoozed for in the afternoon, but I am wondering if it was in excess of an hour. I seemed to be very sleepy before it, and very alert after it, and that alertness continued past my usual bedtime. I think it was getting on for midnight when I finally fell asleep last night.

 I have no real idea why, but I think I slept rather well last night. Maybe it is because I expected to sleep quite badly with a sore back. I did wake up at about 3.30am with the wound feeling a bit tender, but it seemed easy enough to go back to sleep. Of course it helps that the antibiotics have stopped all but a few remnants of all the chest pains I suffered from, and suffered quite badly during the colder winter days. I still woke up at 5am, and had to go to the toilet as I do on every work day, and most other days too. After doing that, and taking my morning pills, I got back into bed, and I did manage to sleep for a bit more.

 I am unsure if I feel good this morning, or if it is more a case of not feeling bad ! It is a really pity that it is not a warm sunny day today. In theory I could have gone to work today. I don't think commuting would have been too painful, and I would be comfortable at work, but....... I think I made the decision to stay off work today because I should be having the wound checked and re-dressed today, but there were no free appointments with any of the nurse at my GP today. I have got an appointment at midday tomorrow though. So I would definitely be off tomorrow regardless, and somehow it didn't seem worth going back in for one day - particularly when I have such a good excuse to go sick (which will seem a stronger excuse when I tell all the gory details !). One thing I am unsure of is how long the "wick" has to stay in the wound. It is entirely possible that I might need to see the nurse again on Friday. Looks like I am off sick until the weekend !

 Having all these days off work would be good if I had some interesting stuff  to do, or an interesting person to do something with, but I haven't. There is stuff I can and will do, but while the end result may be satisfying, the whole endeavour will not be satisfying. Depending on the state of the rain, one little job for sometime this morning will be to take a couple of carrier bags of shirts to a charity shop. It is part of my project to get the spare room back into shape so that it can be used as more than just a junk room. I think working on that room is going to be my main diversion for today. In support of it I might go out and buy a couple of under-bed storage boxes - probably after I've been in the charity shop (Age Concern if they want men's shirts, if not them, then maybe the Salvation Army shop).

 Other diversions could be to stay out later than usual if I don't have work in the morning. It is possible that there could be an open mic session on tonight. Maybe I might pop along. Maybe I might see Angela today, but probably not.....
Tuesday 21st March  2017
 08:06 GMT

  Yesterday wasn't quite as bad as the forecast suggested it would be. It was still bad with respect to the lack of sunlight, and it would have been nicer if it had been a bit warmer, but the expected rain did not fall. The forecast said that there could be heavy rain, mostly in the afternoon, but all I saw was some occasional very light drizzle.
sunny today
 Today has definitely started a good degree cooler than this forecast predicted (about 2 minutes before it actually happened), but it has the sunshine right. As I sit here typing this my back is being lightly cooked by hot sunshine streaming through the window, while my feet still feel cold ! It is a shame that today could not be a bit warmer, but maybe in reality it might be. I am not looking forward to tomorrow - black clouds, rain and 8° C - horrible, horrible, horrible !

 I had a fairly productive day yesterday. It may be another indication that the antibiotics are doing me good in ways that don't seem to include the cyst on my back. Despite the damp and gloominess, I was feeling the urge, maybe only a mild urge, to press on with a bit of spring cleaning. One added incentive is that I may be putting up a friend of Patricia's for a week or so in Summer. She is another Argentinian, and in the couple of brief times I saw her in 2005 we seemed to get on OK. With the way the world is going, Brexit, The United States of Trumpton, etc. etc. it could be her last chance to visit London for the second time before the world implodes.

 The big task is to try and rehabilitate my spare room. I did manage to find the bed in 2013 so that Patricia could stay overnight after I came out of hospital (I was supposed to have someone here for the first three nights according to the hospital rules, but Patricia only stayed on the second night). Since then even more stuff has been piled up in there. Prior to yesterday I moved a few things around, an threw out the occasional item, but yesterday I started to tackle in a more productive way.....well sort of.

 I think it was getting on for midday when I went out to buy a few things. I wanted a new curtain rod for the curtains, and a reading lamp that I could screw to the wall above the bed. I found these items in Poundstretcher. The reading lamp is the same as I have as a table lamp in my bedroom. A few simple modifications involving drilling a couple of holes make it into a nice wall mounted lamp. The only problem with it is that it uses an Edison Screw lamp, and Poundstretcher don't sell them (at the moment). Fortunately I did have a spare lamp here.

 I have removed the two suitcases, and the large washing bag that Patricia dumped in the spare room years ago (and I have given her instructions to take it all to a charity shop when she visits next month, or the month after). That freed up enough room for me to put up the new curtain rod, and hang the curtains properly for the first time in years. I also fitted the reading lamp. Other stuff involved gritting my teeth and throwing out my old beloved Betamax video recorder, and the crappy not-that-old HP printer that I recently replaced. I have now reached the point where I have no room in the wheelie bin, and if I did I would have great difficulty deciding what other stuff I should throw away.

 Another bit of spring fever that gripped me caused me to sweep the stairs again. That is twice this year - I think. I have also removed the four lengths of 2x2 timber that have been sitting on the stairs for the last 4 years. The stairs still look a bit crappy, but a lot less crappy than they did yesterday morning ! Apart from shifting a few other things around in different bits of the house to make room for stuff that needs to come out of the spare bedroom, that is about the extent of my spring cleaning yesterday.

 The next big thing was to go along to the surgery to see the nurse. Now, if you are able, imagine Kenneth Williams in one of the Carry On doctor films saying "Ooooh, I don't like the look of that !". Well maybe it wasn't quite like that, but that is what it was in essence. The small leakage from my cyst had actually dried up by mid morning, and I didn't really need a dressing on it, but it was still useful to get the nurse to take a look.

Like most medical people she was obsessed with my blood pressure, and of course in the surgery it was high - although it was possibly one of my lower readings there. Eventually she checked the cyst, and could instantly see that it was red and inflamed - which it wasn't supposed to be after nearly a week of antibiotics. She did give it a quick clean, and put a large dressing on in case it decided to explode on me later, but principally she decided that she ought to force through a semi emergency appointment with my GP.

 The appointment was made for 10:40 this morning, and of course this means I have another day off work. As far as my boss is concerned, all the while I am seeing doctors and nurses, it is a good thing, and he is not concerned about my sickness record. It will be interesting to see what the doctor has to say. I suspect that I will get another prescription for a different sort of antibiotic, and that cold be good. I could come out of this feeling rather good ! If nothing else it will feel good to tell the doctor that the current antibiotics seem to have cured the condition which the doctors didn't really believe I suffered from - those clicking, creaking, grinding chest pains !

 Once I have seen the doctor I will be free to pursue other entertainment. It could be tempting to go out and try to enjoy this nice sunny day, but maybe I don't want to go to far. There is a very small chance that I might get to see Angela today. In a brief exchange of messages after I came back from the nurse, she did say that she would like to meet to swap notes, but it could be anytime in the next 3 or 4 weeks rather than today, but we live in hope.

 I may tack an extra bit on the end of this if anything interesting arises when I see the doctor.
Monday 20th March  2017
 08:11 GMT

  The weather wasn't bad yesterday, but neither was it good. It wasn't particularly cold, but for most of the time it was very dull outside. A few sunny spells did cheer things up, but they were usually too brief, and there was not many of them. Today's forecast does not fill me with glee.
duff weather ahead
 The temperature is probably going to feel much like it did yesterday, but today we have the added nastiness of rain, and some of it looks like it could be heavy. There wasn't supposed to be any this early, and yet the road looks quite wet already. Maybe I could try and raise some cheer for the potential sunny intervals in the last hours before sunset, but it is hard work. Very hard work. Tomorrow is going to be bright and sunny, or at least it might be, but it is going to be a rather cool day....and then things get worse.

 Did I mention that I got carried away on Saturday night, and took 527 snaps (mostly by shooting in burst mode) on Saturday night ? It took some time to scour through that lot looking for, what turned out to be, the most presentable 32 pictures. When I say it took quite some time I mean that it occupied most of my day yesterday. In fact if I wasn't eating or sleep I was probably selecting and editing photographs ! You can see the end result here - - but they are not terribly good.

 Yesterday morning I was congratulating myself that my trousers, and trouser belt were starting to feel a bit looser, but I was probably acting a bit premature. I lost track of what I ate yesterday, but I know it was too much - particularly in regard of what I ate ! The problem was that while I was spending hours in front of my PC editing photos I was very prone to snacking, and it was the snacks that ruined everything. Once upon a time I would have just broken out an extra packet of fags instead of snacks, but I can't for another 18 and a bit years !

 It seemed sensible to go to bed early last night, but it quickly became apparent that I was far from sleepy when I got in bed. I thrashed around, trying lots of different sleeping positions until one of them, and I have no idea which, seemed to be relaxing enough for me to fall asleep. All that tossing and turning, and possibly a few repeats of it during the night, may well have contributed to a change in my medical condition this morning.

 In some ways I don't feel too bad this morning. I seem to have a mild headache, and a bit of a stiff neck, but neither is completely distracting. Of greater significance is it seems a small fissure into the cyst on my back has opened up. There were a few small spots of blood on the towel that I have been protecting my pillow with. When I was having a shower I managed to give the cyst a small squeeze using just the tips of two fingers (I can't reach back any further), and more blood came out, but it wasn't much. It could just be an early pre-shock, but I'm sure it is building up to the full volcano like event.

 I decided I wasn't going to go to work with even a small blood stain spreading out on the back of my shirt, and definitely not with the possibility that loads of blood and even more unpleasant stuff could come exploding out at any time - maybe today, maybe tomorrow, or maybe it will hold on until I am finally referred to a surgeon who will lance it properly. So today I am off work sick - except I am not so sick that I can't try and do some useful stuff at home - shirtless. I have managed to get an appointment to see a nurse to get the leak dressed, but I have to wait all the way through until 7.20pm for that to be done. At the same time I will see if there is any move on getting a referral to a surgeon. I wouldn't be sorry if the nurse said come back tomorrow for the dressing to be changed. It might mean another day off work, but I think I can handle that.
Sunday 19th March  2017
 11:15 GMT

 The most significant thing about yesterday's weather was that it was Ok when it was most useful ! Generally speak it was grey. Sometime light grey, and sometime very gloomy grey. Now and then the sun broke through, but the important bit was late evening until late night. It was dry, not too windy, and not that cold. The same theme continues today. There have been some brighter spells, but it is moderately grey now. It should stay dry, and the temperature appears to be aroun 12° C at the moment, but it may rise a degree or two by the afternoon.
weather summary for the week
I can't be bothered to analyse the weather further. So here's the summary for the week ahead.

 Yesterday afternoon was one of those times where nothing really happened, and yet the time seemed to pass quite quickly, and I wasn't bored. I did my shopping trip to Aldi, and once again I seemed to spend rather a lot of money. I guess it was good value for money judging by the weight of the bags I had to lug home. One of the items I bought was responsible for a fair weight.
gin tasting kit
You can click on this picture for an expanded view.
 My friend Patricia is visiting the UK again in May (I think), and it seems she has developed a taste for gin. I have some gin and tonic in stock, but now I can offer her a variety !

 The other thing I did yesterday afternoon was to finish washing a bath towel. Once again I didn't use any proper detergent, and it didn't need much agitation for the water to get quite frothy, but maybe not as bad as when I washed the same towel a fortnight (a week ?) ago. I decided not to just use plain water this time, and I added a bit of Detox to the water - the antibacterial surface cleaner. It is good in that it doesn't froth up, but should kill any lurking bacteria in the towel. After 5 or 6 rinses the water was almost clear, and I did one more rinse with some fabric conditioner added. Now that towel is dry it smells as fresh as a daisy. I'm rather pleased with that.

 For the rest of the afternoon I tried to relax without getting too relaxed. The reason was that I was determined to go out. If I had relaxed too much I might have even fallen asleep, and then not felt like going out at all. I was still undecided exactly where I was going even after going out. My first port of call was The Lord Northbrook pub in Lee. It is an easy pub to get to - easier than I thought. It always has, and always will be an annoyance walking to Catford Bridge, but that is where I caught the 202 bus. I only had to wait a minute for the bus, and then to my surprise I was at the pub less than 15 minutes later !

 The Life Of Brian, who were playing in there, gave me a warm reception, and Miranda finally bought me that pint of Guinness she has been promising me for months ! Apart from the band there was no one else there who I knew, but with my camera to distract me, I felt quite happy there, and instead of carrying out a possible plan B, I stayed to the very end. Plan B was to leave at the end of the first set, and then go on to Charlton to see Lord Algae playing.

 It wasn't all plain sailing last night. I have mixed opinions about the gents toilet in the pub. It was very clean and well appointed, but it had the most horrific muzak blaring out in there. At one point is seemed to be the audio feed from "Somewhere Has Very Little Talent" which was showing silently on a TV screen in the bar area. The singer I heard while in the toilet was so bad that even autotune couldn't keep her in tune ! The other thing about those toilets is that they have an "eco" lighting system. If it detects no one is using them it shuts down the lights. Unfortunately it doesn't watch the inside of the cubicle. After quietly sitting in there for a couple of minutes I was plunged into complete darkness. At a pinch I could have used my phone to light my way, but I was almost ready to leave anyway, and as soon as I opened the cubicle door the lights came back on.

 There was one more worrying problem, and it concerned buses. As 11pm approached the app on my phone showed that that no more buses were due. Fortunately it must have been a glitch in the system because they all re-appeared 10 minutes later. If I was feeling fitter I could have walked home from there easily enough....although maybe not so easily after drinking about 5 pints of Guinness (there are not many dense bushes or trees to hide behind on the way home from there ).

 With the app showing bus times again I was able to time my exit so that I just has a 4 minute wait for the next 202 back to Catford. With the traffic on the South Circular road a bit lighter, it too just 11 minutes to get back to Catford. I was feeling good mentally, and maybe because I had been careful about eating, I felt pretty good physically too, but I did feel hungry. So for the second time this week I had fried chicken for my evening meal.

 Eating fried chick, and fries !! is not a good idea, but it does seem that the occasional days when I have managed to moderate my food, I may have actually lost a little bit of weight. I'm not actually judging that by actual weight, but by the way my trousers do up. Last night I wore one of my studded belts. I didn't think any of them still fitted me, but I had two notches spare on the one I wore last night, and the actual notch I used seemed to be the one that has the most wear from when I last used to use that belt a lot.

 This morning I feel very tired because I got up stupidly early considering how late I went to bed. Hopefully I can catch up on sleep during the day with some snoozes. Other than that, a lot of me feels pretty good (but definitely not perfect). The real big difference is how most of my chest have gone away since taking those antibiotics. I now occasionally feel the odd pain (probably something deadly) that was masked by all the other pains.  It makes stuff like walking more pleasant, and in theory, now the weather is slowly improving, I can start to take more exercise to supplement my occasional days of healthier eating. It seems a good start to try and get to feeling fit and healthy again. I wonder how long I'll be able to keep it up before some disaster strikes ?

 I think I only have one thing on my agenda today, and that is photo editing. I have already made a very small start - just one nasty grainy picture. I hope I can find better shots amoung the huge amount I took last night. Here's the nasty grainy one - selected because I managed to capture the whole band - Roger on bass, Miranda on vocals, Paul on drums, and Brian on guitar.
The Life Of Brian
                          (Brian's on the right)
Saturday 18th March  2017
 11:34 GMT
  My current theory is that weather forecasts cn only see 6 hours into the future ! For instance, yesterday started off bright and sunny just as the forecast predicted, but the sunshine continued into the afternoon, admittedly more in the form of sunny spells, but the forecast said it should be overcast. I can't really comment on the temperature because I seemed to be a bit off colour from late afternoon, and into the evening, but I think it was probably in the 10 - 11° C region.  Today is forecast to be either dull or very dull, but we have had a few short sunny spells, and maybe we will get more. This could be a case of the forecast from a 2 days ago is more accurate than the current forecast. One thing seems highly likely is that the temperature, after starting and finishing at 11° C will flatline at 13° C for the majority of the day. Tomorrow might see 14° C for a few minutes, but most of the day is predicted to be 12 or 13° C, and it is going to be heavily forecast.

 The antibiotics I am taking do now seem to be having a useful effect - on everything except the cyst on my back. That is definitely more inflamed, much more tender to touch, and possibly bigger. I don't think that is the desired effect ! The most noticeable positive effect is that it seems to have relieved most of my chest pains. When idly reading through the info leaflet that came with the tablets I noticed that they could be prescribed for osteosomethingoranother, or in other words, bone inflammation. I was not aware that bones could be inflamed, but the way my chest is behaving itself suggests that something has improved. It is not perfect, but it may still be improving. You have no idea how being free from pain helps improve how you feel all round !

 My day at work was mostly comfortable, and I seemed to have a fair bit of energy when I left work. I didn't time it, but I think I probably shaved at least a few seconds off the walk from work to the station. There was some trouble on the trains from Waterloo East (a broken down train near London Bridge was one excuse I think I heard). It was mainly delaying train to Charing Cross, and so there was a shortage of trains to come out of Charing Cross for services out into Kent (and, of course, Catford Bridge !).

  If I could have got to Waterloo about 4 minutes earlier there would have been a good chance of getting a very delayed earlier train, and so I ran up the escalators just in case it had been delayed any further, but sadly it hadn't, and I missed it by just those 4 minutes. The train before my usual train, the 15:50, was cancelled, as was my usual 16:05. I had to wait for the 16:17 which was actually running on time. It was only about a 15 minute wait, but during that time I came to feel increasingly chilly.

 When I finally arrived at Catford Bridge, about 12 minutes later than usual, I walked home as fast as I could. It was probably a little bit faster than usual, but it seemed more like hard work than pleasure. I think I had run out of energy, but it did warm me up a bit, but I still put the heating on in my bedroom full blast when I got in. I was going to start my dinner with a rarher special salad that I had bought from Tesco last Tuesday. It was one of those hifalutin things with sprouting somethings and weird cheese. Evidently I had kept it in the fridge too long because it was a bit smelly and so I threw it away. (and this morning the bin really stunk when I opened it).

 Instead of salad I had a Lancashire hot pot ready meal with some chilli sauce. That felt nice and warm. After that I had two little pots of bean salad. They cooled me down again. After eating I thought I would lay down and maybe doze off for a bit before getting ready to go out. I think it was something like 90 minutes later, at 8pm, I woke up wondering why it was light. For an instant I thought it was morning, and time to get up to go to work. Then I realised that all the lights were on because it was still evening.

 It was too late to clean myself up (and I had intended to wash my hair as well), get dressed, and be out the door at the same time I had actually woken up ! So I abandonded the idea of going out, and maybe that was sensible because I was feeling really cold by then. So I brushed my teeth in the freezing cold bathroom (that's how it felt to me), and went to bed. Before going to bed I decided to sleep under my winter duvet.

 So I went to bed under my thickest duvet, and with the heater on full blast. The night before I would have felt that to be intolerably uncomfortable, but last night it felt good. I doubt it took more than 5 or 10 minutes before I was fast asleep, and I stayed asleep until 3am. With the hour to 90 minutes of sleep I had before I went to bed, and the 6 hours of sleep when I did go to bed, it is no surprise that I felt very awake when I woke up at 3am.

 I could have tried to go back to sleep, but I doubted if I could. So I spent a couple of hours pottering around the internet - mostly on web sites like - technology news from a sometime cynical viewpoint (specially the comments to various news items). I'm not sure how long after 5am it was, possibly minutes, maybe half an hour or more, before I got back into bed, and eventually fell asleep again for another hour or two.

 This morning I could describe several little aches, but generally I feel pretty good for a change. I could congratulate the antibiotics for doing good stuff, but there is something else that must be contributing to my well being - and it is the bean salad that I ate last night. Do you remember that old schoolboy rhyme........
Beanz, beanz,
Good for the heart,
The more you eat, the more you fart,
The more you fart the better you feel,
Beanz beanz for every meal !

 To celebrate feeling good I have done a few useful things this morning. I've showered and washed my hair, but I guess that is not really newsworthy. Washing three shirts was no big deal. Putting a bath towel into soak is just unfinished business, but donning rubber gloves to wash a weeks worth of fethering washing up felt like a job well done. That, and taking out the festering remains of that very wiffy bean sproutin' salad stuff to the wheelie bin has made the kitchen smell much more pleasant !

 I am not sure what my plans are now except for a shopping trip to (probably) Aldi. Tonight I am torn between going to two different gigs. Actually there is a third one, but I might have a cunning plan that would rule that third one out. The Life Of Brian, who I wanted to see last night in Beckenham, are playing in The Lord Norhbrook pub in Lee. I've never been to any gigs there before, and it could be an interesting experience. I can get the 202 bus from outside Catford Bridge station to get there. So it is an easy,if slightly tedious journey.

 A bit further away, in Charlton Village, Load Algae are playing a gig. A few days ago, before I realised that The Life Of Brian were playing, I thought I might try and go to see Lord Algae. It might even be feasible to see both bands. The 202 bus also goes to The Royal Standard in Blackheath (it's the same stop that I would usually get the 54 to when going to The British Oak). I could change to a 54 there (and possibly other buses) or I could even walk it from there.
to Charlton Village
 On Thursday night I took a couple of picture in the pub, plus a bit of video. First of all here's one picture. It is on Chris (on the left) and Dave (on the right) examining my old Panasonic LZ20 camera. It is a camera that doesn't suit my needs, and so I decided to almost give it away. It was Alan who showed an interest. I said he could have it for the price of a pint, and for the price of another I would bring in the box it came in complete with the accessories, software CD etc. He says he'll give it a test drive, and will pay me a bot more than the price of a pint if he thinks it's useful. In some respect it is quite a good camera, but it falls down in low light (such as many gigs), or when it is used in very bright light because it has no viewfinder, only a LCD display.
Chris and Dave
 Finally, here's a video clip taken aboard one of Thamelink's new class 700 trains.

Friday 17th March  2017
 08:04 GMT
  Once again the forecast was only very approximately correct. The bit it got right was that there was weather ! Maybe it was just how I interpreted the forecast, but it did seem to be brighter than I expected, and I think it probably felt warmer too. I wasn't able to check a thermometer when it seemed to be warmest (or least cool), but I thought it was better than the 11° C forecast. The forecast for today keeps changing almost every hour. I think we may be on the border between two weather systems. The reality is that it was barely above 5° C when I walked to the station this morning. The sky is currently clear, and the sun is shining. The current forecast roughly agrees with this. If it continues to be right we should have sunshine, or sunny spells until midday. After that it will be mildly overcast until 8pm when it will start to rain. This afternoon should be 11° C again. No sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, but it should be 11° C in the morning, and reach 13° C by the afternoon. With luck it will stay dry.

  The curious thing about yesterday was that I sometimes felt much more tired compared to be previous day. I had very little sleep for the previous day, and what seemed like a good long sleep for yesterday. I think the Flucloxicillin antibiotic may be having some strange effects on me. It seems to be making some things better and some things worse. Sometimes I think the cyst on my back is shrinking, and less sore, and at other times I don't. Just to confuse matters, I sometimes think it is getting bigger and is less sore ! The nature of my chest aches seems to have changed since taking the antibiotics. Instead of the grinding, popping, creaking pains I was getting, I now seem to suffer from occasional stabbing, or cramp like pains in very slightly different places. This is both good and bad.

 The last time I was on antibiotics, back in June last year, I was more interested in them curing the high fevers I was getting. The longer term affect did seem to include my chest pains going away - at least I think they did. Their absence, or maybe just lessening, was all part of a package of beneficial side effects that left me feeling so good for a few months. I think I was enjoying feeling so good that I didn't really stop to analyse just what bits had been cured. This time I am paying more attention to what is going on, and so far I feel like something good may be happening, but maybe it is too early to be positive about it. If my cyst is cured it should contribute a lot to my well being.

 Yesterday was boozing night, and although I had a few pains on the journey there, they were merely annoying rather than disruptive. A few pints, or three and a half pints of average strength beer to be exact, seemed to clear up most discomfort, and I felt quite comfortable on the way home. I think it was the previous time that I drank in The Shortlands Tavern that I came home on a brand new class 700 Thameslink train, and last night I also came home on one.

door to 1st class
1st class
                  on a class 700 Thameslink train
I didn't realise until last night that class 700 trains had a 1st class compartment. I don't think I like it. It looks cold and sterile, but at least the seats look like they have at least a quarter of an inch of padding !
The Shortlands Tavern by night, as seen
                  from the railway station
The Shortlands Tavern by night, as seen from the railway station.

 After three and a half pints of beer I developed quite a hunger on the way home. Considering I had not eaten a thing (unless you count a few sugar free mints) for over 24 hours, it was not entirely surprising. It is probably not surprising that I gave in and bought three pieces of fried chicken and a small fries on the way home ! Of course it wasn't a healthy option in terms of vitamins and minerals and stuff, but in terms of calorific value it may not have been so bad considering that is all I ate in 24 hours - and I haven't topped it up with any breakfast this morning.

 I managed to get to bed by 8pm last night, and initially I seemed to sleep well, but I woke up too many time in the night, and usually for very random reasons. One reason was that I seemed to develop a bad itch on my right big toe ! I got up this morning 10 minutes early after spending the previous 20 minutes trying to get back to sleep after waking up for no better reason than I felt uncomfortable. 30 minutes later I almost fell asleep sitting on the toilet ! I think I would very much like to have gone back to bed instead of walking to the station this morning.

 This morning I felt like I wanted to feel better than I actually was. I mean that in the sense that I thought I could, for instance, walk faster than it turned out I could. In some ways, or maybe in exact ways, it felt like the effect of dropping my blood pressure too low (by my reckoning - not the doctors). Maybe I might drop the dosage of the drug that has this effect - Bisprolol. At the moment I am taking 5mg per day, and I can usually just about tolerate 7.5mg if need, but no more - but this was before Indaparmide was added to the arsenal of drugs I am taking. It seems quite effective in reducing my blood pressure - possibly effective enough on it's own. I may have to conduct secret experiments to see what I feel is most useful.

 Tonight I may possibly go out. I don't feel terribly optimistic that I will feel like it when the times comes, but if I do get out it will be to go to The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham to see The Life Of Brian playing there. It is a good venue to use my new wide angle lens. There is one possible fly in the ointment - Angela. If she is there with her "boyfriend" it will be "awkward" for her, but maybe not for me. I'll be there on the personal invite of her daughter - the lead singer of the band ! I think there is a 60% chance that I will just get home from work and then collapse, but maybe I'll make it to the gig. We'll see what happens !
Thursday 16th March  2017
 07:54 GMT
  It was rather splendid yesterday. After the misty start the sun broke through, and it turned into a bright sunny day. The sky was blue, and the sun was warm. It seemed rather better than what the forecast promised. I think my thermometer said it was only the 14° C that was forecast, but it definitely felt a lot warmer than that when actually in the sunshine. Here's a couple of pictures taken at Earlsfield station on my way home from work at approx 3.45pm.

almost viewing into the sun at Earlsfield
looking up the line towards Clapham
                  Junction from Earlsfield station

The top picture was taken almost into the sun. That's why the back of the train is in such deep shadow. The lower picture is the view up the line towards Clapham Junction. The significant things this time are the deep shadows and blue sky.

 Today has started a little murky. There was quite a bit of fog over the river by Vauxhall station, but it was clear everywhere else. It has brightened up a bit, but maybe for not much longer. The forecast predicts dark grey skies for much of the day. It's going to be cool too - just 11° C - but it should stay dry at least until much later tonight. Tomorrow may be a bit brighter, and there might even be some sunshine. A cold start, just 6° C, is forecast, but it might manage 11° C in the afternoon. Soon after dark it may pour with rain !

 As nice as it was going home in the warm sunshine, I still felt pretty dead. Not sleeping the night before left me feeling zombified during the day. On the way home I felt an overwhelming desire for something sweet. Maybe even chocolate ice cream. Of course I knew I shouldn't have either, but I felt I wanted to buy some sort of treat. Rather than go into Tesco, for instance, I just made the very small detour that took me into the Turkish Express Supermarket. I spent quite a lot of money in there, but then again they are quite expensive in there.

 I did indeed buy some chocolate - a small Whispa bar, and it is still untouched in the cupboard at home this morning ! I also bought 3 cans of extra strong lager - also still untouched - some smoked Polish meat - also untouched - and 4 pots of bean and/or lentil salad. I did have one pot of chick pea salad, and one pot of lentil and couscous salad as my treat last night. Of course each had a good sprinkle of Caribbean hot pepper sauce to zap them up a bit ! The other part of my dinner was grilled leek and super bacon (usually known as smoked gammon steak).

 With dinner out the way, all my drugs taken, and a few things checked on the internet (mostly activating my shiny new credit card, and editing the expiry date of it on places like Amazon), I went to bed. It was only 7pm, but it didn't take long to get to sleep. Most amazing is that while I did wake up a few times, and those included a couple of times when I went for a wee, I slept right through until my alarm woke me at 5am. The curious thing was that I didn't realise I was asleep until my alarm woke me. I had gone for a wee at 4am, and after climbing back into bed I didn't think I would fall asleep again. I was wrong !

 This morning I do feel better for all that sleep, and for two pins I would do it again tonight - if I could - which I can't ! It's not all happiness and joy though. The cyst on my back, or maybe I should call it a boil now, is still very sore, and shows no sign of going down yet. On the plus side it does seem that my aching, creaking, popping chest is not so bad as usual. At this point I am unsure if I actually do feel better in other ways, or if it is just the case that I feel I ought to feel better. Maybe I do feel a bit happier after learning that some of my ideas about Angela's situation are probably right. Plus I also heard a few ideas I had not considered before. It's all terribly complicated, and there is no happy ending in sight just yet, but I have had some very sincere sympathy from a useful place, as well as some sincere thanks for what I did manage to do for Angela before she was distracted.
I thought I had got to work
                      earlier than usual, but sadly not
I thought I had got in a few minutes earlier than usual this morning, but sadly not.

 Tonight is boozing night, and while I think I'll just stick to my usual three pints, I look forward to it. We are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern, and providing there are some Southern trains to get me to Victoria station, it is a fairly pleasant 3 train trip to get there, and easy to get home from afterwards. 
Wednesday 15th March  2017
 08:05 GMT
  It didn't feel like yesterday would be all that good. In the morning it was overcast, and that gave the day a cold feel despite the temperature being only a little short of 10° C. The afternoon was a big improvement. Despite what the forecast was suggesting, it did get a lot brighter, and from time to time the sun managed to shine through the clouds enough to give some fuzzy shadows. The temperature soon rose to 14° C, and some reports said it peaked at 16° C in some places. From then on it did feel sort of warm, and it stayed that way deep into the night. This morning it was supposed to be 11° C, but I reckon it was as low as just 8° C. However, if we are lucky there should be a lot of sunshine later, most of it in the afternoon, and that could take the temperature up to a forecast 15° C. At the moment it is rather misty and murky.
Looking north from Catford Bridge station to a
                  misty horizon
 This was the view looking north from the footbridge across Catford Bridge station at about 06:30 this morning. It is quite misty in the distance as the railway passes through the park, and by The River Ravensbourne. As my train approached London Bridge the cloud/mist became so thin that first of all the sun appeared as a pale disk, and then over the next 30 - 40 seconds it became brighter and brighter until it was too bright to look at. As my journey to work proceeded, and I travelled into west London the mist thickened up. Around Clapham Junction it was almost like fog. Tomorrow may start misty too, but instead of clearing it will rise to form thick dark clouds. It should stay dry, and the temperature is forecast to be just 12° C.

 My visit to the doctor was very useful yesterday afternoon. I think I was seen within a few minutes of my appointment time, and that is always good. The doctor read the result of my ultrasound scan, and it said that my cyst was most probably infected rather than just filled with fatty material. She had a quick look at it and it is now obviously bigger, and looking a bit red and angry. As I result I have been prescribed quite a strong course of antibiotics 4 tablets a day of 500mg each.
 I also elected to take the recommended treatment of having the cyst opened and drained. I suggested it could be done at the practices surgery because one doctor does do "minor operations" on the premises. To my surprise my doctor suggested it was too big a procedure to undertake there, but she would consult with the other doctor. It does make me wonder just what they consider minor surgery - trimming a broken finger nail maybe ? The chances are that my cyst will be dealt with at Lewisham hospital - presumably as an out patient. We could do the procedure here at work easily enough, but we don't have any local, or any anaesthetic, and I rather think I would like an anaesthetic when it is done.

 After leaving the doctors I went across the main road to "Cash Busters" to see what they had in their window. It could have been sometime around Xmas that I noticed they had a rather posh looking Sony "Handycam" in the Window, and yesterday I noticed that the price had come down on it, and it was looking rather lonely and unloved. So I bought it ! It has several good things, and two bad things. It is very high resolution - and that is handy. It has the fabled "night vision" option that some perverts believe can see through some outer clothing to reveal the underwear. It uses a compatible battery to my other, lower spec, Sony Handycam. Those are the positive things. The negative things are that it principally records on a mini hard disk which is going to have a very finite life. There does seem to be an option to record onto Sony "Memory Sticks", but they are expensive, and it maybe only still photographs that are stored on them. One other minor annoyance is that it records everything in the file format of a Blu-ray disk - fortunately not in an encrypted form.

 One significant thing that happened last night was that I was acknowledged by Angela just as I thought I wouldn't be. It was Angela who encouraged me to go to the doctor about the cyst on my back. It was when I suggested that it could be harbouring a mild infection that, and that could be the reason why it felt like I was fighting some unknown infection for so long. When she heard that I had been prescribed antibiotics for it she messaged me with a simple one word "Perfect". It was as if to say any more would some how show unfaithfullness to her official lover !

 I had a lousy night last night. It felt, and feels like I was awake for most of the night. There were various reasons for this. If I laid on my back the cyst felt sore and uncomfortable. If I lay on my right my wonky chest felt sore, and if I laid on my right my stomach felt sore. I am pretty sure I was suffering from trapped wind just to help all the discomfort. I think I had probably been asleep for almost 2 hours when I woke up with acid reflux. I could definitely taste acidy salmon and cucumber at the back of my mouth (I had unfortunately eaten some salmon and cucumber sandwiches too late in the evening). So I chewed on a couple of antacid tablets, and eventually got back to sleep again. I doubt I had been asleep for as long as an hour when I woke up from a dream that I was peeing myself in bed. That was a worry, but a dry bed proved it was just a dream, but what an awful dream to have ! I don't know how many hours I thrashed around trying to get comfortable after that, it seemed like hours and hours. I guess my next bit of sleep was my last until my alarm woke me up, and it could have been less than an hour. In fact it may have been less than 30 minutes !

 This morning I have some very mixed feeling. I am obviously acutely aware that I am very tired. My cyst has not begun to shrink yet, and is occasionally painful - sometimes for no obvious reason. Other bits of me randomly ache too. One positive thing is that my legs feel to be in good working order, although if I try to speed up too much it jars some of the loose bits in my chest. All the thrashing around in bed seems to have left a legacy of neck ache. Apart from that I guess I feel fine. I now await the antibiotics to perform some sort of miracles beyond their prescribed remit.

 It feels like it will be good to get the working day over, but on the other hand I don't think I have anything to look forward to tonight - except bed. I just hope I can get a good sleep tonight. Maybe I should load up on whisky and go to bed at 7pm to make up for last night's lost sleep. That would only work if I could actually stay asleep for most of the night, and that does seem unlikely, but I live in hope.

is this the
                  new Ford Tippex ?  
The new Ford
                  Mustang - at least I think it is

I took these pictures at Waterloo station on Monday after work, and then promptly forgot about them, but they are still displaying this car this morning. So I was reminded to show them this morning. This might be the new Ford Mustang, but I reckon it is the new Ford Tippex -
Tuesday 14th March  2017
 11:33 GMT
  Yesterday was very nice. It was sunny all day, and the afternoon was warm......mmmm, maybe only slightly warm, but it certainly wasn't cold. It was certainly the promised 14° C, and may have been a degree, or even possibly two degrees higher in some spots. Definitely a foretaste of better days ahead. Today is not so good. It could be just as warm, but it's gloomy, and gloomy feels cold.
weather forecast for today -
                  pictogram version
This was the pictogram version of the forecast for today as of 5.26pm yesterday.
text version of forecast
This is the text version of the same forecast that I screenshot at the same time. Now admittedly, this text version covers a much bigger area, but the picture version and the text version could be talking about different days ! When I look out the window it is the picture version that matches the reality I can see with my own eyes. The latest forecast is basically the same, but allows the temperature to rise to 14° C by 3pm. Tomorrow might see the return of some sunshine. The forecast says we could get 3 mins of sunshine in the morning, and 5 minutes in the afternoon (of course it doesn't actually quote minutes - that is just my pessimistic guess). The rest of the time will be lightly overcast. It could be warm though - 15° C.

 It was a delight, even after taking some occasional discomfort into my assessment, to come home from work in bright sunshine yesterday. It inspired me to not rush into eating, but to take a little time in preparing a home prepared/cooked dinner. Of course this is an exaggeration - it takes very little time to quarter a leek, spread it over a small baking try, pop on a couple of pork chops, and shove it in the oven. That, I confess, is all I did, but the results were quite tasty. Being "modern" pork it was all fairly fat free (and party tasteless), and I think I only have to stretch the definition a bit to describe it as healthy-ish. Maybe the other two pork chops, served only with mustard, screwed up any healthyness, but I enjoyed them anyway - and none of what I ate last night should have made too much of an impact on my blood glucose level - except for the tomatoes !

 I don't know why I think that last night could have been more boring than any average night, but that is how it felt. Maybe it was because some of the stuff I could have done last night, like washing my hair, and washing a couple of t-shirts, could be done today instead, and indeed that is when I did them. However I did do one important job yesterday that took a bit of time. It could have taken a lot longer if I had done it better.
I failed CSE sewing
 Let me introduce you to the left hand pocket of one of my pairs of black jeans. Carrying my keys, and a few 10p and 20p coins for the toilets on some railways stations, in it caused the material to fray, and I ended up with a hole in it. Not good - specially when coins are involved ! So I cut off the bottom of the pocket, and hand stitched, using my own invented stitch, a new seam along the bottom of it. It's not pretty, and I would probably fail a CSE is sewing, but I think it should be fairly robust. I think what it looks like is blanket stitch, but I have no idea how to do that. What I do know is that it seemed to take a long time to do it......but maybe it was only 20 minutes or less.

 I'm off work today for an appointment at the doctors. That meant that I had no real reason to rush to bed early last night, but no one told my body, and it shut down around 9pm as usual. I did feel tired from time to time during the day yesterday, and so it was not unreasonable to get to bed early, but there is a flaw in that argument. I seemed to sleep well enough apart from some pretty weird dreams about doctors, but there was no reason for me to wake up before I needed to - a lot earlier than I needed to ! I forgot to turn off my alarm for 5am this morning, but it didn't matter because I was awake at about 4.30am - a really stupid idea !

 So far today I have searched through my computer for ages trying to find a video I am sure I have, but all I can find is two versions of a similar sounding song (both Fleetwood Mac songs sung by Jo Corteen of Chain). I have also washed three big t-shirts, and I have given myself a good scrub and washed my hair. Apart from a suitable change of clothing I am now ready to see the doctor - except it is still much too early. I might pop around to Tesco in a minute to use some of that time up.

 Today's appointment with the doctor is mainly to discuss what to do about the cyst on my back. The rough diagnosis from the ultrasound technician is that it is definitely a common or garden sebacious cyst. Today I will find out if it needs treatment, and unfortunately I think, but I hope I am wrong, that what treatment I get, if indeed any, is purely on the whim of my doctor. Considering that in the last week, after being dormant for over 10 years, it has now flared up, and actually feel like it could burst of it's own accord, the treatment could be very simple (as well as very messy). I hope that any treatment includes some antibiotics because I still have the belief that I am continually fighting some mild, but persistent infection somewhere. Oh well, just another 150 minutes* to go and the truth will be revealed.

*Plus or minus 20 minutes !
Monday 13th March  2017
 08:12 GMT
  I Guess, although I hate to admit it, that yesterday's weather was quite close to how it was forecast. In other words, it wasn't a particularly nice day - doubly so when it was all horrible and wet. On the plus side, it wasn't that wet, and the temperature, maybe 12° C, was semi reasonable. In some respects it is the contrast with today that made it so negative.
today's weather
 There is going to be a lot of sunshine today, and 14° C is shirtsleeve weather. Tomorrow is going to see similar temperature, and with luck it will stay dry, but it is probably going to be an offensively overcast sort of day.

 I don't think I did anything significant at all after I finished writing yesterday. It was a rather typical Sunday afternoon and evening - boring, boring, boring ! I did manage to have a short snooze, but woke up feeling very brittle and/or creaky. Finally it was time to go to bed, and having got into bed, disaster struck. Admittedly it was rather a weak disaster, perhaps in the extreme, but it was still a disaster.

 No doubt you are aware of the store of the princess and the pea. If not you can read about it here - In my case it wasn't a pea but the tiniest, most innocent piece of grit you can imagine. It was so small it was difficult to find, but to my right buttock it felt like a jagged piece of broken glass. Having removed it, I managed to get to sleep. In some respects it seemed like I slept OK last night, but it was a definite annoyance when my alarm woke me up. It is possible that without it I may have got another 5 or 10 minutes sleep !

 This morning I feel like I want to feel good, but it seems my body is fighting that idea. My chest definitely felt very crunchy when I made certain movements, but most other bits of me seemed to be working fairly well. The walk to the station seemed easy enough, but I was having difficulty keeping up with the front of the pack as we dashed over the link from Waterloo East to Waterloo mainline station.

 I did a little extra exercise this morning. I wanted to buy a couple of bottles of water on my way to work (no food because I am back to fasting until my evening meals again). The easy place to buy some was Tesco. It's a 30- 40 second walk from Earlsfield station on my way to work. The cheapest water I could see in there was 65p a bottle. So I turned around, walked out of the shop and back to the station, and then around the corner to buy the water from Sainsbury's where it is just 45p per bottle. It must have added at least an extra 90 seconds of walking to my journey to work !

 Now I am at work I don't feel too bad. I would obviously much prefer not to be here on a bright, sunny, and eventually warm day. One extra source of discomfort today is the cyst on my back. After being dormant for most of 10 years (my latest estimate) it is definitely sore now. It is actually feeling like it could possibly burst given a bit of encouragement. It would be handy if it could not do that until tomorrow, perhaps around 2.30pm - so I can attend my appointment with my doctor with blood and pus streaming down my back. It would make for a very unambiguous discussion about it !

 I don't think anything is happening tonight. It would be good to see Angela after work, and not just for my sake. When I saw her on Saturday night she was looking tired and stressed - and old. She needs to take a break and relax for a bit, and I know that she can relax when in my company, but I can't see it happening. So tonight it will be the usual routine. Go home try my best to moderate what, and how much I eat, and partly fail. Then read for a bit before going to bed. Oh well, tomorrow is a new day, and I have no idea what I am going to do on such a dull and gloomy day to pass the time until I go and see my doctor. Sleeping would be nice, and I guess I might manage maybe an hour or so.
Sunday 12th March  2017
 14:40 GMT
  It's a strange thing to say, but I liked yesterday. It wasn't cold, and there was some sunshine. I am not sure how warm it got, but I think it was possibly at least a degree higher than the forecast 15° C, and an extra 2 degrees would not surprise me. As midnight approached it was still 10° C !
weather forecast for today
                  that was wrong !
 This was the forecast for today as imagined by someone very deluded (possibly). You'll note that no sunshine was forecast for today, and yet there was some in the morning. It is looking like I may be slightly deluded myself. When I took this screenshot of the forecast I thought the rain was supposed to start at least a few hours later than 2pm, but on this occasion the forecast was correct, and there was some light rain by 2pm, or a little earlier. The rest of the day is looking unpleasant, although 12° C is reasonable. Tomorrow is looking rather nice - lots of sunshine and 14° C. It will, or at least should be dry as well. What a shame I'll be at work !

 One thing I forgot to mention yesterday is that I've heard that the official results of the ultrasound scan of my cyst have come through. I don't know what the official result is yet, but I expect it is just an approximate measure of how much unpleasantness is lurking in that cyst. I have been invited to make an appointment with a doctor to discuss it, and that appointment is on Tuesday afternoon. I am making the rash assumption that the reason for being asked to make an appointment is that further action is probably indicated. That might be good because after something like 15 years of being mostly dormant, all the prodding it has received seems to have made the cyst slightly bigger, and slightly tender. If I could actually reach it well enough to apply the right pressure I reckon it is ripe enough for me to deal with myself, but with the difficulty of dressing it if I could pop it, it is probably better that it is dealt with at the surgery.

 I thought yesterday would be a good day for drying stuff on the washing line, but it wasn't. For one thing, at this time of year the sun doesn't rise high enough to beam into most of my back garden. There was also a lack of a decent breeze. However it was good enough to give both the towel I mentioned yesterday, and the duvet cover I also washed, a head start drying. I finished the process indoors.

 The other thing I did during the day was to go to Aldi. I spent rather a lot of money in there because I made a point of buying stuff that, if eaten in moderation, should keep my blood glucose level relatively low. That included a few expensive steaks. I had one for lunch with some marrowfat peas. Marrowfat peas seem to contain quite low levels of sugar and fat - more so than other types of tinned peas. I looked everywhere in Aldi for more tins, but couldn't find any. It wasn't until I got home that I noticed that the remaining tin I had came from Tesco. Looks like I will be calling at Tesco, possibly on my way home from work tomorrow, to buy more Marrowfat peas.

 I can't remember how I passed yesterday afternoon without being bored. I must have been doing something important ! I reckon it was probably doing some odd jobs around the house, reading and snoozing. Eventually it was time to go out to The Black Cat to see Lord Algae playing a rather good gig there.
Lord Algae
 It was indeed an enjoyable gig, and made slightly more enjoyable by having some company there. Michael, who lives near the corner shop, managed to get to this gig after missing some previous gigs because of medical problems. A surprise attendee was Angela. She was there with her "boyfriend" John who was looking quite ill - which was no surprise because he is riddled with cancer. Angela was not looking that good either. She seems to have aged since spending so much time with a 75 year old. She did greet me when she arrived, and then spent the rest of the gig ignoring me until she casually threw a good bye over her shoulder as she left with John.

 On the plus side, the new £400 lens for my Canon camera worked as well as I hoped. I did initially try it at the bingo hall a few weeks back, but the horrible lighting there meant that it was not a good test. Last night it was really useful. It's main attribute is that it gives a wide angle view while still letting in a lot of light.  I have spent many hours today selecting and editing the picture I took last night, and many of the pictures I have now uploaded to Flickr use the new lens -

 I guess it was getting on for midnight when I arrived home after the gig. In a deliberate act of defiance I went out without a coat, and although I wouldn't have liked to stand around waiting for buses without a coat on, particularly on the way home, I felt perfectly comfortable for the short walk to the pub and home again. It felt like a rehearsal for summer.

 I had a special treat lined up for when I got home - curry ! I definitely wanted to avoid fried chicken, kebabs, etc. So I selected a couple of small curries that were low in fat and sugars, and didn't come with rice when I was in Aldi. All they needed were a 7 minute zap in the microwave before unadulterated luxury ! Then I went to bed.

 I got up stupidly early this morning, and started editing last nights photos. I sort of wish I hadn't started so early, and had managed a few more hours sleep, but I was restless and didn't feel comfortable. I guess I ought to get that extra sleep tonight. I wasn't really counting, but I must have spent 3 or 4 hours going through those photos. I did take several breaks during the process, and one of those breaks was to wash the bed sheet that matches the duvet cover I washed yesterday (I did the pillowcases earlier in the week). Apart from a few smelly t-shirts, all my washing is up to date now.

 It's only 3.30pm as I type these words, and I think I feel quite weary. Maybe a snooze would be a good idea. It would certainly make this Sunday afternoon go by a bit faster - Sunday afternoons can be a real drag ! I'm yawning just thinking about it !
Saturday 11th March  2017
 10:15 GMT
  It was pretty gloomy yesterday, and if it did get to 12° C, it didn't feel like it. The only positive thing was it didn't rain. It shouldn't rain today either, and it is going to be a superior day in several other ways too.......or is it ? The forecast seems to have changed already.
early forecast for today
Forecast for today at 4.57am.
revised forecast for today
Revised forecast at 10:17am.

 I guess these two forecasts are basically similar, but it does look like the amount of sunshine we are entitled to is going down a bit. At least it looks like we will keep the 15° C temperature, and that is definitely shirt sleeves weather. The main downer is tomorrow. It won't be too cool, but the morning is currently forecast to be very wet, although the afternoon may be dry, but Sunday afternoons are generally completely useless for anything except wishing they would soon be over.

 I can't quite remember how I felt at work yesterday. I know I was still 99% free of the mucus that was the main feature of the cold I had previously. I seem to recall that my chest muscles and bones felt crunchy and sore, and that was something that continued through to this morning. Maybe it will be an annoyance later, but as I sit here I am in no discomfort. Perhaps the significant thing is that apart from a short while after arriving in a warm office, after a moderately fast walk, I was not feeling sweaty.

 After getting home, a journey I tried to do at a reasonably fast pace, I checked my blood glucose level and while it was lower than the previous night, the change did not seem significant enough to account for not sweating. My conclusion is that all the sweatiness two nights ago, and then through quite a lot of the following day, was not caused my high blood glucose. It may have been another aspect of what my doctor thought was a mild viral infection. The weird thing is that it didn't feel like fever. Maybe it is one of those mysteries that will never be solved.

 I did some measurements when I came home from work. Using the "Just Walking" app on my phone I timed, and measure the distance of the three bits of walking I do to get home. These are (door to door) work to Earlsfield station (including walking the entire length of the platform so I can get on the front of the train). From the train at Waterloo station to where I get on the train at Waterloo East, and then from the train at Catford Bridge to my front door. It all adds up to :-

Time = 21 minutes  11 seconds
Average speed = 3.5mph
Distance = 1.2 miles
Energy used = 110 calories
3031 steps

 The most accurate measurement is the time. The distance may not be accurate - it all depends on how the app deals with the loss of the GPS signal under the roof of Waterloo station, and parts of the walkway over to Waterloo East station. It could be that it smooths the corners out when it loses the satellite GPS signal, and that would make the real distance slightly longer, and my average walking speed slightly higher, but that is probably just unfounded optimism. I have absolutely no idea how the amount of steps is calculated. It might rely on the accelerometer in the phone measure the impact of each foot, or it may be based on average stride length. It is probably inaccurate, and can be ignored.

 I used to reckon/guess it took about 20 minutes of walking to come home, but I don't think I have ever measured it with any care before. I am pretty sure that 21 minutes and 11 seconds is a pretty accurate figure if you allow for not stopping the clock until I was actually passing through my front door instead of when I actually arrived at it. So let's call it 21 minutes. If I recall correctly, the NHS says we should all strive to walk at least 20 minutes a day. So I achieve that with a minute to spare - and that is just coming home - I do the same going to work as well. In fact it takes a minute or so longer to go to work because I have to go over the footbridge to the other side of the station to get my train to work ! No wonder I am so fit and healthy - except I am not. No wonder I am so knackered at the end of each work day !

 I hope that my average walking speed is 3.5mph because I think that is very, very slightly faster than what it used to be - although that is based on much longer walks. The longest part of my walk yesterday was work to Earlsfield station. That took 11 of those minutes, and my average speed was 3.28mph. That figure is probably accurate because there should have been no interruptions of the satellite signal. The really peculiar thing is that the walk always seems so slow, and yet that was about the speed I used to achieve when I was at my fittest !

 Of course it didn't last long, but I was quite careful about what I ate when I got home from work. For the second day running I didn't have my usual salad breakfast, and so I was a bit peckish. Nevertheless, I started out with only a slightly souped up (if you'll pardon the pun) bowl of tomato soup. I'll admit it was garnished with some croutons and a sprinkle of grated cheese. That was followed by a grilled steak with just two small onions for some added flavour.  I followed that with some of the sugar free vanilla wafers I've mentioned in the past.

 That was all I intended to eat last night, but things went wrong later. It may have been around 7pm that I became quite edgy. I wanted to go out to a gig, but I felt tired, and couldn't face the aggro of forcing myself to go out. In the confusion, if you can call it that, I attacked a packet of Aldi equivalent pepperami sticks. They were, of course terribly unhealthy. They definitely had lots of fat in them, and for all I know, probably sugar too. Naturally they were very nice because they were so unhealthy.

 By 8.30pm I gave in and went to bed. It was a typical case of getting in bed, and instantly feeling not sleepy having done so. For what was probably minutes I lay there thinking I had made a mistake, and then I fell asleep ! Apart from the stupidity of temporary getting up at 4.20am, I think I slept rather well.....or maybe I didn't because I woke up aching here and there, and also there too, and several other places too ! After an hour, maybe two, I went back to sleep, and probably slept for another hour or so.

 Since getting up for the second time I have washed a towel, and hung it on the washing line - the first time I've used the washing line since sometime last autumn. I have a feeling that towel might dry nicely out there today. While I was outside I swept the path down the side of the house, by the kitchen, as far as where the lawn would start if I had one. I have started washing a duvet cover. I hope to get that out on the line soon after I finish writing here.

 Later on I must wash myself, and then I want to get out in the sunshine. I am contemplating walking all the way to the Saver Centre, aka Sainsbury's, in Lower Sydenham. It is about a 3 mile (or more) round trip, and while I want to go, and don't feel that keen. Maybe I might just go to Aldi. Tonight there is a gig on in The Black Cat, and I definitely want to go to that. I'm not sure if it is a shame, or a good thing, that Angela will be watching her daughter in Greenwich tonight. Not bumping into Angela is probably a good thing. After a lot of practice I only think about her for 22 hours a day now. Eventually I'll get over the heartbreak.
Friday 10th March  2017
 07:55 GMT
  As hoped, yesterday afternoon was nice and sunny, and I think the temperature got up to at least 14° C - just as the forecast promised. Today is not going to be nearly as good. It was only 7° C this morning, and a bit chilly. This morning saw the transition between not-much-cloud and a blanket covering of deeply depressing grey cloud. The only redeeming feature is that it is supposed to get to 12° C this afternoon - although by then the cloud may be closer to black than grey ! Tomorrow might be an almost useable day. It might reach 14° C, and the cloud may be a less offensive light grey, although cloud is all we are supposed to see tomorrow. I think I would sacrifice a couple of degrees to see some sunshine !
                  blue sky and the moon
A picture that looks a bit wishy washy on my work PC, but looked nice and rich on my home PC. This is what the sky looked like when my train called at Ladywell station on my way home from work yesterday. The little circular thing in the centre, near the top of the picture, is the almost full moon. I could have done with a camera with a lot more zoom for a nice picture of it.
sun and shadow
I think this picture shows how sunny it was as I got home from work. It was really cheery !

  I went straight home last night rather than going to the pub. I wanted to check my blood glucose level to see if it was to blame for being so sweaty during the previous night, and for half the morning. It was indeed higher than I like, but with a reading of 7.9 I would judge it to be closer to normal than to the danger zone. I was a lot more careful about what I ate last night, although I was more or less obliged to eat a couple of things that I would have preferred not to. Unfortunately it was a choice of eat them or throw away perfectly good food because it was already on it's use by date.

 From previous experience I am tempted to think that my blood glucose level was not responsible for all the sweating. It certainly wouldn't have helped, but that sweating was far more extensive than ever before. Plus there was the opposite effect of feeling like I had more energy than recent days. It could well be a mix of the psychological and some sort of physical disease. The warmth and the sunshine would have probably made me feel like I had more energy, although the warmth was not warm enough to promote any sweating by itself. It's all a mystery.

 I felt a little bit warm when I first pulled the duvet over me when I went to bed yesterday, but I didn't have a sweaty night last night. Apart from waking up 20 minutes before I needed to, I felt like I slept unusually well last night - and yet now I am wishing I had got even more sleep. I didn't feel all that good when I woke up. I seemed to be a bit stiff and creaky, and it has subsequently got worse. I seem to be back to feeling like I am going down with 'flu again - all sorts of bits of me ache. Various bits of my back ache. My shoulders, elbows and wrists ache to one degree or another, and of course my chest aches. All these aches are more noticeable now I have sat down and relaxed. Some of it must be posture, and I seem to walk with a better posture, but even while walking bits of me ached.
 I do seriously wonder how many of these aches and pains are all in my head. The picture above is of sunrise this morning. It was nice and pretty, and if it had been a sunset it would be uplifting when following the old weather lore :

Red sky at night
Shepherds delight
Red sky in the morning
Shepherds warning.

 Deep down I knew that this colourful sunrise heralded bad weather. It reinforced what the weather forecasts was saying - that it would be a nasty day with grey, greyer, and the greyest skies. That there would be no sunshine today. I do find that very depressing, and doubly so after being given a nice taste of spring yesterday. It feels like all my aches and pains would just melt away if I could only spend some hours under a blazing sun on a 30° C day. In practical terms I don't think that would be a complete cure, but it would certainly help.

 I rather hope I feel better as the day passes because I am hoping that I may be able to must up some energy and enthusiasm to go to a gig tonight. From this end of the day it seems unlikely, but anything is possible in an infinite universe. Of course it doesn't help that the venue I would hope to go to, The Elm Tree (formerly The William IV) in Elmers End, is yet another pub I don't like. If I do manage to make it out it I'll be going to see Chain. It will be the first time I've seen them in ages (or it feels like ages). If I don't make it tonight there is a rather better chance that I'll be going to a gig in The Black Cat tomorrow night.
Thursday 9th March  2017
 08:02 GMT
  There was probably less rain than expected yesterday, but it was still a generally gloomy day. The only good thing was that it was quite mild. I wouldn't be surprised if for a while the temperature slightly exceeded the 12° C that was forecast. The temperature didn't drop much overnight. I reckon it was a smidgen over 10° C, and that was within a smidgen of the 11° C that was forecast. It was a nice bright morning, and there was a lot of blue sky as I came to work. It is cloudy now, but this is as forecast. If the rest of the forecast holds the clouds will have dissipated again by about midday, and the afternoon will be bright and sunny. Maybe that will push the temperature up above the 14° C maximum forecast for today. Unfortunately the cloud will be back tomorrow, and that will mean an overcast day. It should still get to 11° C though.

 My ultrasound scan was OK apart from one annoying thing that I'll rant about in a minute. The technician said her interpretation of the scan was that it was a bog standard sebacious cyst, but the official results will be sent to my doctor in about a week. Then it will be up to my doctor to decide if anything is to be done about it. I think I hope that her decision will be to get it cut open, drained, and the cavity stuffed with cotton wool (or similar) until it has all dried out. Of course this will mean frequent visits to the nurse for the would to be checked and dressed. There are two potential, but only potential, good things about this plan. It may be that the cyst is a reservoir of infection that slowly leaks out, and clearing it up will improve my health. The second thing is that despite it being a very small operation, it could be a very good excuse for a week off work. There is even the possibility of it being more than just an excuse, it might be a necessity.

 The thing that spoiled my scan was that the technician said I couldn't take a picture of the monitor that displayed the scan plus other details. She cited patient confidentiality, and that sounds total bollocks. I was the patient. It was my body being scanned, and it was my cyst. If I want to share it with the world I feel I ought to have that right. She admitted that she allowed women to have snapshots of their bloody babies in the womb. I think they even have a printer to print off a picture of the babies. So if women are allowed to have pictures of things growing inside of them, why can't I ? It makes my blood boil !

 One of the curious things about going to and from the hospital was how I felt. Maybe it was a bit of adrenaline because I was running very close to time, but it seemed a nice pleasant fast stroll to the hospital through the park. When I arrived at the hospital I even had energy left to not actually run, but to go up the stairs to the 1st floor at a lively pace. On the way home I took it slightly easier because I stopped several times to take some pictures (most of which were not very good). By the time I was about 2/3rds of the way home I was feeling like I had been walking for a long way. My legs felt a bit tired and it just seemed like hard work. Maybe it is just another indicator that our health is often masterminded by our mind, and not physical illness and suchlike.
daffodils in the
Some daffodils seen as I walked home through the park.
It's frothy man !
Yesterday I mentioned washing a bath towel without using any detergent, and using just plain hot water. This is how frothy the 4th rinse was. After another 3 rinses it was starting to get clear, and my arms were aching too much to do yet another rinse. I don't know what will happen when I start to use the towel again, but once it was dry it actually smelled quite fresh.

 Maybe my success, at least I think it was success, washing that bath towel lead me on to wash three work shirts and 4 pillowcases. I did this second wash using detergent as usual, but also used some fabric conditioner that I had bought while I was in Aldi. It did seem to make the shirts feel a bit softer, and gave everything a pleasant sort of smell. It is possible that doing all this washing has left a bit of a legacy. I do feel a little stiff today, and maybe my chest feels a bit creakier today. The latter is a bit odd because I thought my chest often felt better after doing some washing - mind you that might be normal washing - towels do need a lot of manhandling !

 Yesterday was a day when I could have potentially eaten lots of naughty stuff. I was off work with the fridge easy to access, and I went shopping in Aldi. It was quite a recipe for disaster, but I almost got away with it. I think the worst treat was some strips of pork belly that I grilled until they were about half sized. That should have got rid of a lot of fat, and it would have done if I had dried them on some kitchen towel, but I didn't. I cooked them before I went to the hospital, and had them almost cold, but still warm enough to glisten with fat, as a treat when I got home again.

 Those pork belly strips were probably not the worst thing. The sardine salad with a very generous amount of grated cheese and mayonnaise may well have been worse. The only other significant thing I had during the day was a triple sandwich pack. None of these things had any overt amounts of sugar in them, and I can't think of anything else I had that might have had any sugar in it. The bread from the sandwiches would, after digestion, provide some blood glucose, but other than that I can't think of anything that would raise my blood glucose level.

 The reason I am interested in my blood glucose level is that I seem  to be having lots of sweaty spells. I felt a bit sweaty when I went to bed last night, and I woke up at 1am with my pillow very damp from sweat. This morning I hadn't been out of bed long before I felt a bit sweaty. having an over hot shower obviously didn't help. I felt sweaty on the train, and even now, sitting at my work desk doing no more than typing, I feel as if I am on the verge of sweating. High blood glucose is a good reason to sweat, but that also has other symptoms. two of the main ones being increased peeing, and lack of energy. Well I don't seem to need to pee, and I seemed to have slightly more energy that usual when coming to work.

 It is looking like this sweating could be cause by something else. I haven't actually checked for fever just like I haven't actually checked my blood glucose because it doesn't seem to feel like either. It could be some new and interesting disease like malaria, or it could be the seasons changing. Maybe I am just coming out of hibernation, and will soon have an irresistible urge to mate.....well it could happen ! Anything could happen in an infinite universe !

 Just in case it is high blood glucose I have decided to go on a 24 hours fast. That means that until about 6pm tonight I will have nothing but water (and maybe the occasional sugar free mint). Depending on how I feel when I get home it may only be a 23 hour fast ! Maybe there is another hint that this is a changing seasons sort of thing - despite such a thing being highly unlikely - I found I didn't have to bully myself to do it. It just seemed like a good idea so I am doing it. Of course it may not have worked if I was at home, but here at work where there is no food available I have to follow the path set with no alternatives. It is the one useful thing about being at work. The only negative thing with this decision to fast is that I'll have to miss out on my Thursday night beers - although I have a feeling that maybe this weeks drink was cancelled for some other reason, although I can't think what that might be.
Wednesday 8th March  2017
 08:46 GMT
  Let's have another look at the forecast for yesterday.......
                  forecast for today you see any hint of sunshine on this chart ? I seem to recall that the small print mentioned that there might even be some light showers. It turned out that the forecast was very wrong. There may not have been dawn to dusk sunshine, but most of those hours probably had at least 20 minutes of sunshine, and some had more than that. It didn't rain either ! When I also take into account that the temperature was close to, if not actually 11° C, I think I can describe yesterday as a nice day.

 The weather for today is definitely not nice, although the latest forecast is not quite as bad as it seemed a few hours ago. It is most definitely raining today - I can see it with my own eyes ! However, if the latest forecast has any credibility, there will be less rain than originally thought. The current rain may stop soon (it may have actually done so), and won't start again until about 2pm (just in time for me to get wet walking to the hospital), but it may only last a few hours, and it may not be that heavy. Even when it is not raining it is going to be a very grey day, but on the plus side it won't be too cold. It was 10° C this morning by my reckoning, and the forecast says it will warm up to 12° C quite quickly. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be sunny, and 14° C !

 early morning across
                  the cemetary
 I took this picture yesterday, and it was to illustrate how the weather was already better than the forecast as my train arrived at Earlsfield station as I made my way to work. I forgot to use it yesterday because by the time I was writing there was bright sunshine peeping over the adjacent building. This picture looks rather weak by comparison. The main feature was the broken up cloud, and the sun trying to peep through the gap between two clouds just to the right of the centre of the picture. Unfortunately my camera has flattened the image, and what looked dazzling to the naked eye looks rather bland in this picture. It wasn't really worth showing it, was it ?

 Apart from the "drained" feeling I had for a short while after arriving at work, I mostly felt OK during the day. That wasn't the case when I left work. During the day, or maybe from late morning, I became aware that my chest was playing up again. In my imagination, but unlikely in reality, my sternum, the bone that runs down the centre of the chest as far as just below the breasts, is cracked or broken, and as I move it clicks, pops, grates, and grinds. That was mildly annoying, but of no consequence until I washed my hands before going home. That movements involved in washing my hands caused something to.........actually I am not sure what happened, but I do know that as I straightened up, after leaning over the handbasin, and drew my arms back to my sides, I had a nasty stabbing pain right in the centre of my chest.

 If I didn't move, and adopted a variety of postures, the stabbing pain stopped, and I just had a mild residual ache. It was just possible, while walking in a straight line on perfectly level ground, to avoid any stabbing pains, but Earlsfield pavements and roads are anything but level, and much twisting and turning in needed to walk to the station. Initially it was rather painful, but by the time I reached the station I realised that the worst of it was over. It was like something had popped back into place, and I was just left with a mild residual ache. I don't think it bothered me for the rest of the way home.

  It was lucky it didn't bother me, and it was lucky that I was mostly feeling OK with no dripping nose, or bad cough, because my journey home was not straightforward.....or maybe it was straightforward, but just by a different route. During the afternoon there was a security alert at London Bridge, and all the trains going through London Bridge were cancelled for several hours. Luckily I had checked the trains before leaving work, and knew about the disruption.

 It was time to put my emergency route into operation. This involves getting a SW Trains train from Earlsfield as usual, but getting off at Clapham Junction to change trains. From Clapham Junction I took the London Overground service to Denmark Hill. From there I could get a very overcrowded Thameslink train to Catford station. After a very unpleasant journey of about 15 minutes, standing next to a stinking pram, I alighted into the fresh air of Catford station. I arrived home not much more than 10 minutes late. If it has to be paid for it is actually a cheaper journey, but I travel home from work for free on my 60+ Oystercard. Even if I did have to pay it is worth the extra 50p (or so) for the more civilised journey via Waterloo and Waterloo East - if the trains are running !
London Overground train
                  arriving at Clapham Junction
The London Overground train I used just arriving at Clapham Junction. It has come all the way from Dalston Junction, and reverses at Clapham Junction to go back there.
Interior shot of London Overground train
This is the interior of the train. Of course it would soon fill up to make the journey less pleasant, and those horrible lengthwise seats make for an even more unpleasant experience.

 Once I got home I set about sorting out some dinner (as usual). My choice for fist course was another not-very-low-calorie Iceland "Slimming World" chicken tikka ready meal. On second thoughts, this one may have been relatively low calorie because it didn't come with any rice - I think. It was certainly low fat. Before it was cooked, and mixed up, it looked like the ingredients were swimming about in water. I followed that up with some Lancashire Hot Pot - another ready meal that was definitely not low in calories - and so was more tasty, and more filling.

 I thought I might try and do something worthwhile last night, but when it came to it I just couldn't be bothered. So I spent quite a bit of the evening just reading. I didn't have to get up for work today so I didn't feel a great rush to get to bed last night, but force of habit had me fast asleep by, or soon after 10pm. As far as I can tell, I slept quite well last night. I woke once or twice in the night, but only briefly, and then I woke up almost on the dot of 5am without the aid of my alarm clock.

 As per any typical morning, I was soon on the toilet, and force of habit had me checking that the trains were running smoothly even though I didn't I don't need one. After a while I decided to go back to bed again. I didn't have much faith that I would actually get back to sleep, but I did, and I am sure I got at least another full hour of sleep. In theory I feel fine this morning, and in a way I do feel almost good - it all depends on what I am doing.

 This is now the third morning when I haven't woken up with a bunged up nose, and sinuses filled with thick congealed green and yellow mucus. I think it is only the second morning when I haven't had to cough and choke up lots of mucus from my windpipe before I can breathe freely. I guess I am over that long lasting cold now....if I disregard the occasional stuffiness, and now quite rare thick cough.

 Today I am off work to go and get the cyst(s) on my back ultrasound scanned at the hospital.
invite for a scanning
 It all happens at 2.20pm, and that leaves me lots of time to use for something useful. One little useful job is to wash a towel, and I have already started it soaking. One thing I have noted in the past is how, when washing towels, the water seems to become more soapy than the amount of detergent I have added. It seems as if the towel accumulates it's own soap, and I guess it might pick up some residual soap when I dry myself after a shower - even though I think I have rinsed it all off. Maybe my own skin and secretions are soapy. Maybe it is impossible to rinse all the washing detergent out of a towel. What I do know is that I put the towel in a tub of plain water, and after some agitation that water had a head on it like a pint of Guinness. I don't think I will add any detergent today !

 There is one other thing I think I'll do apart from towel washing, and that is to go to Aldi and pick up a bit of shopping. Once I have had the scan I might wash a couple of work shirts. I'll fill in the times between with a bit of reading. The scan itself will probably not take long. I've had several before that took ~20 minutes or more, but that was to image the heart. Just looking at a cyst should not take that long - unless there is a lot more to cyst anatomy than I am aware of. Maybe they will find an alien in there ready to burst out and drip acid everywhere ! I wonder if there will be an image on the scanner that will have any meaning that I can get a snap of. I can't believe there will, but maybe..........
Tuesday 7th March  2017
 08:08 GMT
  There was probably a bit more sunshine than I was expecting yesterday. There was even some sunshine while I waited for my train at Waterloo East station on my way home from work. The forecast temperature was 10° C, and I think that was about right. I was hoping for maybe another degree, but like so many hopes, it was another hope dashed on the rock of despair.
                  forecast for today
  Today is supposed to be lightly overcast all day, and at the moment the sky is doing a very good impression of it, but 10 minutes ago we did have a brief glimpse of unscheduled sunshine. With luck there could be more, although the small print of the forecast does suggest that a light shower or two in the morning could also be a possibility. It seemed bone dry hear in Earlsfield, but there were puddles to be seen as I walked from home to the station. I think there was some rain during the night in Catford. Today is supposed to be a degree cooler than yesterday, but it started two degrees warmer. Maybe it is possible that it may hit 11° C today. Tomorrow it is supposed to be warmer, but the forecast also says there will be light rain for much of the day !

 I feel reasonably OK until yesterday afternoon. It was then that I discovered that Angela would not be available to meet me because she was out and about with her "boyfriend". I have to admit that left me feeling rather gloomy. I really ought to give up on Angela, but it seems every time I decide to do it she does something that stops me. Oh well, nothing changes. What it did do was set me up to be really.......actually, I'm not sure what the right word is here. It could be angry, or livid, but, if I can spell it, exasperated sort of fits when thrown in with a bit of despair.

 The cause of all this emotional confusion, and stuff, was a letter I received from my doctors surgery. It was to remind me that my annual diabetic check up was due, and I should call to make an appointment very soon. I am sure I had a diabetic check up only about 6 months ago. I definitely saw the diabetic nurse for more than my 'flu jab - that was done as an after thought while I was there. That is one part of my annoyance. Another is that a diabetic check up after the rigours of getting through winter is very unfair and cruel. The final piece of the jigsaw is that I don't want to be bullied by the nurse while I feel so low - emotionally, and more importantly, physically. Until they stop fussing about my blood pressure to the exclusion of everything else, and start investigating why my blood pressure is, in their opinion, high, we are going to get nowhere. Until they believe that something happened last year that made me feel wonderful I might as well just give up on doctors entirely. When I think back, the only member of the medical profession who did something that has a positive effect on my well being, was the surgeon who performed the bypass surgery on me. Everybody else just wants to give me pills that sometimes make me feel worse. I wish they would quit this obsession with prolonging life at the expense of comfort and happiness.

 One of the problems with being angry, upset, in despair, and some other negative things, was that it made me very hungry. One of the amazing things is that despite that I almost managed to fight the hunger. My two part dinner consisted of an Iceland "Slimming World" ready meal and a steak with some grilled baby tomatoes. I'm not entirely sure why the ready meal should be described as being part of the "Slimming World" range because it was not particularly low in calories or anything else, but I suppose it could have been worse. I suspect my simple steak with tomatoes may have clocked in slightly healthier than that ready meal.

 I decided I wanted that steak because I wanted something I could get my teeth into. It didn't work out quite like that. The steak had been sitting in the bottom of my fridge (not freezer) for some time, and it must have been a couple of weeks beyond it's "best before" date. That probably made it more tender, and by pure chance I must have cooked it to perfection, because it was so tender and juicy. It just melted in the mouth - almost no teeth required.

 Had I stopped eating at that point I would have done OK, but in my agitated state I could not resist some crisps, a chunk of cheese, and even a big handful of peanuts. That lot should not have affected my blood glucose level too drastically, but it's a recipe to put on more weight, and not take any off. As comfort food goes it must have been pretty good because for some reason I didn't fancy any booze last night. By 7pm I was in bed with my book.

 Last night was good in respect of my nose not being blocked and stuff when I lay down on my bed, and I can't recall coughing much either. It had all the ingredients for a good night's sleep, but I don't think I got one. While I only woke up a couple of times in the night, it did seem like I was dreaming non stop. I had all sorts of weird dreams. Some dreams were variants of dreams I frequently have. These usually involve being at home with cats in residence. In these dreams my home is similar to my real home (or when I live at mums place), but usually has some weird feature. In one dream last night both my last two cats were still alive, and there was a third cat who wandered in who I had to chase out.

 Another dream, or maybe a series of dreamlets, had me blowing up huge balloons using a tabletop compressor. The round ones were easy, but a long tubular balloon seemed to be made from crinkly plastic instead of rubber, and I couldn't blow it up properly. I can't even begin to imagine what the psychiatry behind that dream was, but I am sure it can't be as convoluted as the most bizzare dream ever ! That dream was about something that was going to happen, rather than something which did happen. The something was that Jimi Hendrix was going to operate on my testicles. I have absolutely no idea why my testicles would need an operation, and whatever twisted brain cell came up with the idea that Jimi Hendrix would perform the operation probably deserves a medal for imagination beyond the call of duty !

 I'm sure I had some more mundane dreams as well, but I survived all to wake up about 10 minutes before I needed to. It did seem that I am more or less over the cold/"mild viral infection" that I had. My nose only needed one mild blow to clear it, and just a small "ahem" was good enough to clear my throat. In that respect I felt good, but my back seemed to be aching a bit, and so did my chest. Maybe on this occasion it would be more accurate to say my torso ached ! Once I was washed and dressed, and ready to go out, I didn't feel too bad, and the walk to the station, which was almost in daylight, seemed easy enough.

 I got to the station a minute or so early, and that was just early enough to command a good position on the platform. The point I had chosen was directly in front of where the doors would open, and I was first on the train. That gave me the chance to find a good place to sit, and I had a relatively comfortable journey all the way to Waterloo East station. Then it was the mad dash over the link to get my next train from Waterloo station. This morning I had to really rush to get my favoured 06:57 train, and even after rushing as fast as I could I didn't have enough time to get to the front half of the train.

 I have to admit that the last minute, maybe half minute, of that rush was really taxing. It left me feeling tired, and once again I found that I couldn't keep up my normal speed when walking from the station to work. Now I am at work I feel sort of drained. It makes me feel worse that I have an urgent job on that will give me no pleasure, and in fact I think it will be frustration. I've told my boss that if I can't finish this urgent job by the end of the day I will resign. He thinks I am joking, and maybe I am, and maybe I'm not !

 This evening will probably bring little joy, although I can look forward to not going to work tomorrow (I'm off to get my cyst ultrasound scanned tomorrow). Maybe I might wash a towel for a bit of occupational therapy, but mostly I look forward to eating and sleeping with a bit of book reading thrown in as well.
Monday  6th March  2017
 08:23 GMT
  It was supposed to rain yesterday afternoon, and it did, but I can't recall it being that extensive, or heavy. Even so, I rather preferred the sunny spells in the morning. I have a feeling, and it is only a feeling, that the temperature may have exceeded the forecast 8° C. I think it may have hit 10° C for a bit. The converse is certainly true. I was expecting 5° C this morning, but unexpected clear skies allowed the temperature to drop to a rather chilly 3° C.
                  forecast for today
 As the naughty screen cap of the forecast suggests, it is slowly clouding over after some lovely clear skies, and bright morning sunshine. The sun will soon be hidden again, but may put in a brief appearance again this afternoon. If I am really lucky it will hang around long enough to see me home. Tomorrow looks like it could be similar to today, but with no afternoon sunshine, and a degree cooler.

 The last thing I did that I wrote about yesterday was to eat some breakfast. As I let that settle down there was another sunny period, and that invoked a strong desire to get out of the house for a brief walk. So I got myself ready, and when the next sunny period occurred I put my best foot forward and walked towards the shopping centre. In some twisted display of bravado, or merely just a desire to practice for better days, I went out without a coat. The freedom felt delicious, and the occasional bit of sunshine falling on my arms felt good too. The rest of the time it was perilously close to feeling a bit chilly !

 I paid another visit to the Pound Shop, although on this occasion it was the one in Catford Mews rather than the one on the high street. I had decided that it might be a good idea to grab a few more tins of their "2 for a £1" Ambrosia Devon Custard (and also a couple of cans of Ambrosia rice pudding). Of course I ended up buying a bit more than that. I even bought a £1 DVD, although having got it home, and looked it up on the internet, I am not sure that I want to watch it - more American trash ! It turned out to be so uninspiring that I can't remember the name of the movie !

 While I was passing it, I also went into the SAM 99p shop, and managed to buy some crap in there too. Among the items I bought was one I rather wished I hadn't, but curiosity got the better of me. It was a tube of tomato sauce flavoured Pringles. I have to admit they were morish in the extreme, and were a very significant ingredient in what turned out to be a very carbohydrate heavy day. The other major ingredient was a large baked potato with real butter and cheese on it.

 I think the one thing that accounted for a lot of time passed in the afternoon and evening was (re)reading the mislaid Robert Heinlein that I had found in the morning. It starts with "hard science", as I like my Sci Fi to do, but in a strange twist of plot it turns into a story about magic. Generally speaking I don't really read books about magic and fantasy, and I often wonder why they are usually lumped in with Sci Fi. In the case of this book, Waldo And Magic Inc, Heinlein treats the magic as if it were another branch of science - at least that is how I remember the book from whenever I last read it. Last night, when I put the book down I had just read up to the point where the science gives way to magic. The scientific explanation of the magic comes later.

 I fancied a few large whiskys last night, but for some reason I decided against having them. Maybe it was because I was definitely feeling like I was well on the road to recovery from the "mild viral infection" that has plagues me for a couple of weeks. Why that should make me think that demolishing a couple of cans of Guinness, and a can of Special Brew that have been in the fridge for quite a few weeks would be a good idea is a mystery, but as I drank them I realised it was a good idea. Which is to say I enjoyed them !

 One of the good things about last night was that my nose wasn't blocked, and I wasn't coughing - or at least I wasn't coughing until I lay down and turned the lights out. It felt like there was a lump in my throat that needed coughing up, and of course there was - a lump of mucus that must have slid from somewhere where it was less irritating. Eventually I coughed some of it up, and it was enough to allow me to relax and fall asleep. I think I retained some feeling of a constriction in my throat for most of the night, but it didn't seem to bother me.

 What did bother me was when at about 3am I woke up needing a pee....well that didn't actually bother me, but getting back into bed, and then deciding I should have done more than pee while I was in the toilet, did bother me. Of course the ultimate bother was having to get back out of bed and go back to the rather cool toilet to finish what I should have finished on the first visit. What I didn't know then was that I was being given a clue about what was to come later. Once I finally got up, just a few minutes before 5am, I found that my guts were actually in quite a volatile state for some reason, and it took rather more than one visit to the toilet to get them under control !

 Other than gut trouble, I probably feel fairly good this morning. For the second morning running, my sinuses were not heaving under the pressure of a nights accumulated snot, and while I did need to blow my nose a few times, it was not the continuous struggle against thick recalcitrant green mucus that it was every morning last week. There has been a few times when I've had to cough up a sticky ball of mucus, but I haven't been coughing much at all except for just a few minutes ago. It seems my throat is still a bit sensitive, and when I managed to tickle it in some unknown way with a stray bit of lettuce from my breakfast, I ended up having quite a powerful coughing session.

 There were two things I was looking forward to tonight, and one could still happen, although there is a low probability that it will, and the other definitely won't happen. The low probability event could be meeting Angela for a drink after work. The thing that won't happen is looking forward to not going to work tomorrow morning. Until a little while ago I was convinced that the 8th was tomorrow, and I would be taking the day off work so I could go along to the hospital for an ultrasound scan of a cyst on my back. What I suddenly realised is that the 8th is not tomorrow but Wednesday, the day after. Oh well, it will be something to look forward to tomorrow night. All that is possibly left to look forward to tonight is that it will still be light until almost 6pm. I'm sure that should inspire me to do something, but I'm not sure what that something will be yet.
Sunday  5th March  2017
 10:32 GMT
  As forecast, the temperature slowly dropped down to about 5° C during the evening, through the night, and through the small hours of this morning. Since daybreak the temperature has slowly risen again, and we have had the forecast rain and sunshine. If the forecast holds we are due to have a few dry hours now with occasional sunny spells. Then the rain will start again for much of the afternoon. Curiously enough, the sunny spells will also continue at the same time. Sadly, we have now reached about the highest temperature for today - 8° C. At sundown the temperature will only drop a couple of degrees because we are going to be wrapped in a thick blanket of cloud. There may be a few splashes of rain in the night, and maybe one or two brief showers during tomorrow. It's going to be dull, very dull sometimes, but the forecast does make an optimistic guess for a very short period of sunshine in the afternoon. The temperature will probably be 9° C, although it might make 10° C for a few minutes !

 I almost enjoyed my quiet night in last night. It would have been better if there had been something more stimulating on TV to amuse me. Unfortunately there wasn't. One thing that did "amuse" me was a bit of home cookery.......maybe "cookery" is a misnomer as you'll see as I describe the recipe. Several things/events came together to suggest the recipe. The first ingredient in the idea was my past experience of eating the sugar free vanilla wafers while my throat was very tickly. Those wafers are quite dusty, and have played havoc with my tickly throat. In turn that has left me coughing so much that I was almost turning purple.

 The second ingredient came about because of my shopping trip to the Pound Shop yesterday morning. Among their special offers were cans of Ambrosia ready made custard. The cans themselves suggest they normally sell for over £1, but the Pound Shop were selling two for just £1. It seemed a good idea to grab a couple of cans while I was in there. Last night I had the stroke of genius (maybe) to make a simplified pseudo trifle - or to snap the wafers into bite size chunks and eat them with custard. It was great - no tickly throat, and the two combined were delicious. Shame about all the sugar in the custard, but you can't win them all.

 I should still have felt tired last night after all the lost sleep I've hard in the past week, but maybe it was because I didn't have to get up this morning that I felt no urgency to get to bed. That is sort of strange considering I was a bit bored. It was about 11pm when I turned in, and to my great surprise I slept quite well - by comparison with most nights in the last week or two - although I could have wished for even better sleep.

 Maybe it was just the right timing, or maybe it was deciding to stay in and almost act like I was still ill, or maybe it was the custard and vanilla wafers, but this morning, for the first time in ages, I woke up feeling like my head wasn't going to explode from the build up of pressure in my sinuses. They have been full of copious amounts of white, yellow, and green mucus that was often taking in excess of half an hour to blow out my nose on previous days. Not only that, but it didn't take too long to clear the mucus from my airways so I could breathe easily.

 I have to be careful because I've had at least one false alarm before, but this morning it really does feel like I am getting better at last. When I think about it, I have done stuff this morning that I probably would not have done if I felt that bad. I finished washing the pair of jeans I left soaking overnight (plus a pair of lounge pants). I've emptied all the waste bins in the house - there are 5 of them if you include the recycling bin, and the small basket in the bathroom. I've also done all the washing up, and a little bit of random tidying up. The tidying up is not very obvious, but it will help a larger effort in the future.

 The final thing for now was to cook some breakfast. It was a very stripped down mixed grill - a couple of lean burgers, two rashers of bacon, and some baby tomatoes. It wasn't exactly healthy, but it was nice, and if I had full cooking facilities and a bigger set of supplies I could have made it infinitely less healthy in the extreme ! Now I feel like resting for a bit, and I probably will. During my little bit of random tidying up I found a book that I had mislaid. It is another Robert Heinlein book - Waldo And Magic Inc - and I think it is time to re-read it.

 It is possible that the rest of my day could consist of nothing more than reading, and that could be nice, but I am sure I will do more than that. For instance I think I would like a quick whizz around the shops if I can time it right to coincide with a sunny period - a dry and sunny period. I don't know where, how, or with whom, if indeed it is with anyone at all, but a beer might be a nice accompaniment for the day.
Saturday  4th March  2017
 16:21 GMT
  After the wet start to the day, yesterday turned out to be semi-pleasant. There were, as far as I can recall, a couple of brief sunny intervals. Apart from those it was a lightly overcast afternoon, and the temperature probably hit the forecast 11° C, or if it didn't, it still felt very mild. There was some rain during the night (or something made the road wet), and I think there was probably a shower a little after sunrise. Since then it has been a fairly bright day with frequent, although short periods of sunshine. It has been another mild day with the temperature reaching 11° C, and for a short period it may have even touched 12° C. The temperature is slowly dropping now as the sun sinks towards the horizon. (Sunset is at 5.45pm today). The temperature is forecast to drop to 6° C by 5am tomorrow morning - which is rather cool, but not terribly so. The maximum temperature tomorrow is forecast to be 9° C, and we will probably see some sunshine, and also some showers.

 In theory I should have felt terrible yesterday, and in some respects I did, but not as badly as I expected. It wasn't always easy to concentrate after so little sleep, and the ongoing effects of my "mild viral infection" that should have cleared days ago, and as predicted, I can see some terrible typos in what I wrote yesterday. (I'll edit it in a minute, and no one will have to know how demented my brain was !).

 The very strange thing is that I might have done more work yesterday than I did for the other four work days of last week ! Having done that work, and watched the clock slowly limp around to home time, I left thinking I was so weak that I would have to crawl home. It wasn't quite that bad, but I decided I really wanted to get a bus to the station, and I did. The only trouble was that I had to run for the bus, and that sort of negated the point of it all !

 One of the things I was aware of as I made my way to the station was that there were signalling problems in the London Bridge area, and that I could be facing an annoying wait when I got to Waterloo East. It was lucky that I did seem to have some reserves of energy when I got there. It may have helped that I didn't rush to much as I crossed from Waterloo mainline station to Waterloo East station. That's not to say I did it that slowly. When I arrived on platform A my 16:05 train seemed to be indefinitely delayed, and indeed I later learned that it arrived at Catford Bridge almost half an hour late.

 Meanwhile, as I got my breath back I glanced over to platform C. Near the limit of my long distance vision I could read that a Sevenoaks train was due, and that 2 minutes behind that was a very late running Hayes service (via Catford Bridge). So I took a deep breath, and walked back up the slope to the passage across the railway, and then down to platform C. By that time the Sevenoaks train had been and gone, and the Hayes train was imminent.

 I only managed to get half way down the platform before the alleged 10 car train arrived. I rushed as close to the front as I could before getting on. Then I walked down inside the train to get to my favourite position - the front of the third coach from the front. I was sure that the train was formed of 2 + 4 + 4 car units, but it must have been the other way around because I realised I had made my way to the very front of the train instead 3 carriages back so I could get off right by the exit that I use at Catford Bridge. In this case it didn't matter, and maybe it was actually a good idea. Had I used my normal exit I would have missed something.
Catford Tavern's re-opening
                  comes closer
 Leaving by the exit that I did, I had to walk past what was once The Railway Tavern. It is now called The Catford Bridge Tavern. Two years ago there was a rather suspicious fire while it was being redeveloped. Maybe, if it was suspicious, it wasn't good enough to destroy the building properly, and now it is slowly being rebuilt. The good news is that as well as the flats they are building above it, it will still be a pub, and it will be opening again in spring as the sign I photographed confirms. Whether it will be a good pub or a bad pub remains to be seen. It would, of course, be nice if it incorporated an area for live bands to play. It might fare better than The Black Cat. The latter is rather hidden away, but the Tavern being on a main road, with bus stops right outside, almost on top of one station, and the other station being 2 minutes away, should be able to pull the punters in with minimal effort.

 After taking the picture above, I walked right down the road to Iceland (next door to The Black Cat). I didn't seemed to feel so exhausted that I wanted to rush straight home, and I felt a yearning for some of their "Slimming World" ready meals. I seemed to but more in there than intended, and maybe that wasn't a bad idea once I did some dubious mental calculations.

 Some of those "Slimming World" meals are not as good as you might think. One I nearly ate last night, and I will have to eat sooner or later, contained about 650 calories. That wouldn't be too bad if it was going to be one solitary meal, but I wanted more than just that. So I checked a chicken pathia curry I bought. It didn't come with rice, but was still a nice meal just on it's own, and it had something like 550 calories (These calorie amounts are not exact, but the real values are in these sorts of areas). I ended up having two "full fat" curries without additional rice, or anything else, and it was both tasty, and I think I probably consumed less calories and stuff that way. Of course it was still too many calories, but at least I'm sort of trying !

 I was supposed to be so tired last night that I should have gone to bed before 7pm, but that is not the way it turned out. I was was aware that I should be tired, but I never felt that tired. I did try laying on my bed with a book, and I expected to be able to not read more than a single page before falling asleep, but somehow that didn't happen. Eventually curiosity got the better of me, and I made a start editing the photos I took at the bingo hall of Thursday night.
MT Pockets
M.T. Pockets at the Mecca "Mic Night" competition final.
all the contestants at the Mic Night contest
 This second picture is of the 6 contestants (Dan Murphy and Dylan Tidman count as one) at the Mic Night contest run by Mecca Bingo at their Catford bingo hall. Both these pictures, and most of the others I took, are marred by the horrible blue stage lighting, and the predominately blue projected image behind the stage. Another photographer says he is going to render all his pictures as black and white images because of the bad lighting.

 I seemed to spend a couple of hours going through as few as a third of the pictures I took before deciding that maybe I really ought to go to bed. By then my throat was feeling rather dry and tickly. It took a while before I was able to stop coughing and clearing my nose, and finally get to sleep. I was obviously so sleep deprived that once I fell asleep I fell into a deep enough sleep to sleep solidly for the first 3 hours, but after that I woke up quite a few times before finally deciding to give up and get up.

 At least I managed a sort of lay in this morning. I think it was 6.30am when I finally decided to get up, and it was probably only because it was starting to get light by then. When I got up I felt pretty dreadful. My throat felt all bunged up, and the mucus I was trying to cough up seemed really sticky and lumpy. My nose was also very bunged up, and I seemed to be blowing out a never ending supply of really rather unpleasant thick green, yellow and white mucus. Maybe an hour later I was breathing mostly normally.

 I haven't felt very dynamic today, but I have done some useful stuff. I went out to the Pound Shop this morning to buy some stuff, and that stuff included some spare copies of the book I am currently reading. It is superficially about Led Zepplin, but turns out to be mostly about what was going on around them in the musical world as they rose to power, and fell again.  A good few chapters are about early British blues stuff, and I know that Chris Mayer, guitarist from Chain, likes to read about that. So I now have an early Xmas present for him. Angela has expressed an interest in the book. So she can have a copy, and that leaves one spare copy. I'm not sure who would like it, but at just £1 it won't break the bank if no one wants it.

 One physical task that was both hard work, and not hard work, was washing a weeks worth of work shirts and stuff. I was expecting it to be a lot more tiring than it was, but even so, it was still more tiring than it should have been. Once that lot was hung up I put an old pair of jeans in to soak. They are one of my larger pairs, and sometimes they are more comfortable to wear when I am sitting down for long periods (probably growing deep vein thrombosis) at work. The only trouble with the pair I am now soaking in bio detergent is they still have blood stains from all the leaks on my leg where they "borrowed" the vein for my heart bypasses in 2013. It seems weird that my chest healed faster than my leg ! Hopefully some pretreatment with stain remover, and then soaking in bio detergent will at least reduce that old blood staining.

 Several interruptions while writing this means that it is almost 7pm as I write these words. I was hoping I might feel good enough to go to a gig tonight, but it seems I don't. It looks like I'll be having another quiet night in by myself again. Oh well, the last couple have been semi enjoyable, and I see no reason why this one shouldn't be. Maybe staying in and trying to get better is the correct thing to do.
Friday  3rd March  2017
 08:32 GMT
  The best of the sunshine happened while I was indoors yesterday, and somehow that makes it less memorable. I suppose that yesterday was one of the best days we have had lately. It was dry, sometimes sunny, and it wasn't too cold. I think it probably did hit the 11° C that was promised, but the breeze did make it feel a little cooler from time to time. By the evening it was very cloudy, and that kept the temperature up during the night. It was almost 6° C when I walked to the station this morning. Unfortunately it was also raining - and that rain fell several hours before the forecast predicted it would. That rain stopped while I was traveling to work, but there could be another couple of hours worth of light rain starting in 90 minutes or so. This afternoon should be dry, and only lightly overcast with the temperature up near 11° C again. Tomorrow shouldn't see much rain, and once again the temperature should peak at around 11° C.

 I did very little coughing while I was at work yesterday, and what with my nose being mostly dry, it seemed like I may have gotten over my "mild viral infection", but it was not to be. I may have slept better the night before, but I still felt very tired yesterday - maybe so tired that I didn't have the energy to feel too ill in other ways. It came as a huge relief to finish work, and make my way towards Bromley for my Thursday night drink.

  I didn't go straight to the pub because I had a tip off that one of the charity shops in Bromley had some cameras in it's window. So I duly walked several hundred yards down the high street to find the charity shop. When I found it, it  was closed. That was a pity because it did have one camera that I might have been interested in. It was an Olympus Pen camera. I'm pretty sure it was an analogue camera using 35mm film, but maybe not. It might also have been quite cheap, but equally it could have been very expensive. If it was cheap I might have just added it to my collection, and bought a couple of reels of film from the Pound Shop to test it.

 When I got to the pub I went straight for the strongest beer - Fullers ESB. This was because I felt some strong beer would help sooth away some of the aches and pains, and also because I was only staying for two pints. I would have more later. Having drunk my two pints with the lads, I went to catch a bus back to Catford. I guess I was leaving about an hour earlier than usual, and that difference was enough to go from a usually semi lightly loaded bus to one that was jam packed - and it stayed that way all the way to Catford.

 I was going to wash my hair when I got home, but I felt too tired for that. So I had a fairly light dinner - (non cream of) tomato soup with basil, and a small Lancashire Hot Pot ready meal. After eating I lay down, and predictably enough, I fell asleep. I woke up maybe 30 minutes later, and I was just in time to get dressed to go out, grab my camera, and start walking to the Catford bingo hall where M.T. Pockets were in the final of "Mic Night".

 The semi final, a few weeks back, was only randomly organised, and M.T. Pockets did a full 15 minute set. Last night it was all very regimented. Tables were reserved for supporters of each act, and one table was reserved for three judges. There were 8 acts (or was it just 6 that felt like 8 ?), and each act had just 8 minutes to do their stuff. I didn't think M.T. Pockets showed their best. They covered Prince's "Purple Rain". It is a song they usually do towards their usual set, and it usually ends up as a sort of extended jam. Trying to fit all the "twiddly bits" into one short 8 minute session was probably not a good idea.

 They still sounded good though, and rather a lot better than many of their competitors. Inevitably there was one rap act performed by a white man who thinks he is black. I don't care for rap at any time, and I thought his presentation was pretty amateurish. One man sang acapella - that was brave, but it was a crappy song. There was one man who had a very good voice, although I hated what he sung. Nevertheless, I would not have been surprised if he had won. The winner was a woman who couldn't sing to save her life, singing a country and western song. I was quite shocked that someone so bad, in my opinion, could win, but she was the lucky person who took away £500 prize money.

 Once she had been awarded her prize I said my goodbyes, and rush home. I think I arrived home a few minutes after midnight, and after drinking 3 pints of Guinness at the bingo hall, I felt very peckish. Fortunately I had a couple of Tesco tuna and cucumber sandwiches in the fridge, and they made for a nice snack. Of course by that time I was past feeling tired, and it seemed that I would not be able to fall asleep - a feeling that probably lasted no more than 5 minutes once I got in bed.

 I woke at least once for a pee, or twice if you count waking up 10 minutes early. In a fair and humane world I could have turned over, and gone back to sleep after having that second (or third ?) pee, but I had to get up to go to work. Not only that, but once I started to consider it, I realised that my guts were very turbulent. Maybe it was the Guinness, or maybe not, but something got my guts all agitated. Luckily I was able to get comfortable before leaving to walk to the station.

 Upon first getting up, my nose and throat were, unlike my guts, all bunged up, and it took a lot of nose blowing, and coughing to get my airways cleared. Since then I haven't coughed much, and my nose has been mostly dry. The rest of me feels pretty bad. I've had some chest ache as well as some upper and lower back ache, but most of all I feel really, really tired. I dread to think what I am typing now. As my fingers hit the keyboard my eyes start to close, and I have to keep going back to see what rubbish I have typed with my eyes closed. I have corrected some major cockups, but I feel sure there are still going to be some sentences that have some terrible typos.

 It is going to be a challenge to get through work today, and I can't see myself being very productive, or indeed productive in any shape, form or fashion. On the other hand, something may come up that grabs my attention, but if not I will waste the day counting the minute before I can go home (which will only make it seem longer, buy hey ho). Tonight I aspire to do just two things - eat and sleep ! If I get a second wind I may have a look at the pictures I took last night. Maybe I might force myself to do that anyway because half the shots were taken with my new wider angle lens, and I'd  like to see how well it performed.
Thursday  2nd March  2017
 07:51 GMT
  It was nearly the case that I would have had to describe yesterday's weather as atrocious. Fortunately the showers that spoiled the afternoon stopped by the time I went home from work. I'm sure that there were a few sunny periods yesterday, but I can't seem to picture when they were. Maybe yesterday was rather dull. One good thing, although it is scraping the bottom of the barrel, is that the temperature did hit the 9° C that was forecast. There was some hope that the temperature could hit 11° C today, but the most recent forecast is not so optimistic, and now says 10° C. The cloud is supposed to be mostly thin and broken today, and so there should be lots of opportunities for sunny spells (we have already had one, although the sun was so near the horizon that it carried little heat). Sunset tonight is 17:42, and after sunset the temperature will drop to 7° C. That will make a good start for tomorrow, and 11° C is forecast, but sadly it will be a very wet 11° C. Rain is forecast until early afternoon, but it should be dry when I go home from work. Unfortunately it is likely to be very gloomy with almost black clouds overhead !

 Getting through a whole day at work is difficult, and no more so than when you are not feeling well. Recent days have been a real trial, but maybe not yesterday. I still felt very tired and sleepy, and a few bits of me mildly ached, but I was coughing a lot less, and my nose had mostly dried up. I should have felt good, and maybe in some respects I did feel good, but it didn't seem to help the day go any quicker, and I would still have got a bus to the station if I had spotted one coming up the hill. Of course there was no bus to be seen, and as usual I walked to the station.

 I feel sure that walking to the station felt easier than when I was walking in the other direction in the morning. I suspect it will be some time before I can actually enjoy the journey home rather than just enjoy the fact that I am going home. That's on the assumption that I will ever find the sort of health I had for a couple of months last year (thanks to the antibiotics I was prescribed for a chest infection). When I arrived back at Catford Bridge station I found I still had enough energy to go home via Tesco with a very small spring in my step.

 It is possible I tried too hard to only buy healthy(ish) stuff while I was in Tesco. I say this because I fancied a snack later in the evening, and when I looked around I couldn't really see anything that I could call a snack - except for one thing that I will describe a little later. I did buy a few ready meals that are not exactly healthy, although since there has been a policy of reducing salt and sugar in ready meals, they are less unhealthy than they used to be. What I actually had for my dinner was supposed to be healthy, but it was mainly low this and low that because the whole thing was so insubstantial.

 Part one was a jerk chicken with rice and peas. It was allegedly in the region of 436 calories. A real man sized portion, with less watery gravy, would probably be in the region of 4360 calories ! Part two was a South Indian curry with wild rice. Once again it was in the region of 450 calories. If you took away the watery gravy it would have amounted to about 5 mouthfuls of food ! The two parts left me still feeling hungry, and I did eat a few bits of delicious blue cheese to satiate my taste buds.

 It may have been little more than an hour after eating dinner that the craving for a snack became extremely strong. I'm not sure what I would have chosen to satiate that hunger, but whatever it was, I didn't have it. What I did have was some sugar free vanilla wafers. They are very tasty, but those wafers generate a lot of dust, and I had a pretty good idea what would happen if I ate some - and I was right. Fragments of wafer and it's dust stuck to my throat, and got me coughing on an industrial scale again !

 In between coughing up my right testicle, and left big toe, I managed to do some uploading. I uploaded two photo albums to Flickr. The first was pictures taken of The Big Red Bus gig at The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham on 17th Feb. I was fortunate that it wasn't a very busy night, and I was able to get to the front to take a few good pictures. I was aided in my art by the lovely tungsten filament PAR lamps that were lighting up the band. They are not that bright, but my camera loves their warm colours. The second album was The Life Of Brian playing at The Bricklayers Arms, also in Beckenham on 18th Feb. That gig was very crowded, and there was no way I could get any long shots. To make matters worse there was no lighting there at all - well, not stage lighting. Some of the brightest lighting probably came from the bar. These pictures are very grainy. I probably should have converted them all to black and white to hide the grain better. You can find all my Flickr photo albums here -

 I should have gone to bed even earlier than I did - which was 8.30pm - but I was probably trying to let my coughing subside after eating those dusty vanilla wafers. Maybe it worked because it did feel good to be able to lay down without instantly coughing my lungs up. It did seem that I was 90% over my so-called mild viral infection last night. I was coughing a lot less, and even my nose was less bunged up. As a result I probably woke up in the night no more than I might have at any other time, but it probably did take a bit longer to get to sleep again.

 I can't say I got a good night's sleep, last night, but it was far better then the two or three or more previous nights. In consequence, I do feel a bit better this morning. I feel sure that I will still get sleepy when I am bored, or when I am studying something on my PC. I actually feel really sleepy just thinking about this. Most of me, with one exception, feels tolerably OK this morning, and the bits that involve walking on my way to work seemed less taxing than yesterday (although a long way from those halcyon days when they would seem not only easy, but enjoyable too).

 The one exception to the general idea of feeling better was my chest (and perhaps my hands too). My thermometer said it was cold when I left the house this morning, but what it couldn't tell me was that there was a viciously cold wind too, and that froze my hands, and it froze my chest. My operation scars, the big obvious one on the outside, and the many smaller ones inside (that I presume to be there) really played up with that freezing wind blowing on them. It was really unfortunate considering that I haven't been suffering much from my usual chest pains recently.

 Now I am at work, and the room has almost warmed up enough, I feel very sleepy, my chest hurts, and that is about all the most significant negative things. I do have a few less significant aches and pains, but they are the ones that let me know I am still alive. I am not sure how this bodes for the future - it is going to be a rather busy future. It's Thursday, and that means boozing after work. Tonight's venue is The Partridge pub in Bromley. I shall try and limit myself to just 2 pints of medium strength beer while I am there because I need to dash home as early as possible. The reason is that I need to get myself ready to go out again.

 It will be a moment of madness to go out when I should be going to bed, and doubly so when I have to go to work in the morning. The reason for this madness is that M.T. Pockets will be playing in the final of the talent competition being held by Mecca bingo at the Catford Bingo hall. I haven't seen all the competition, but I reckon M.T. Pockets stand a very good chance of winning the competition. There is an album of pictures taken at the semi final here -
Wednesday  1st March  2017
 08:09 GMT
  The last day of February was not a very nice day, and that is despite it being sunny from time to time. It was definitely sunny enough for me to have to pull the blinds down to stop myself being dazzled. That sounds like it should have been a nice day, but it was ultimately too cold and too wet to be called nice. Most of the sunshine was in the first half of the day, but the afternoon was dull and wet. Worst of all, it was raining when I left work to go home ! Today might have a small advantage in that it is not going to be so cold, but I will probably still be rained on when I leave work to go home. Until midday the cloud should be light and broken enough to let a few rays of sunshine in, but it will thicken up after midday.

  If I am very lucky the rain might hold off until 4pm, and I may be able to start my journey home from work in the dry.  Yesterday morning it was cold enough for a hint of frost. This morning it was about 5° C. Later on the temperature should peak at around 9° C before falling back to 5° C. The temperature should then remain stable until it starts to rise towards 11° C by late in the afternoon tomorrow. As well as almost being warm, tomorrow could be sunny too !

 I thought I might feel reasonably OK at work yesterday, but it turned out that I felt rotten. I felt very sleepy - possibly the sleepiest ever ! Every time I started to read stuff on my PC I would fall asleep - and sometimes it was for long enough to have brief dreams ! On top of that I had some quite powerful coughing fits. I had been hoping that my cold was beginning to dry out and go away, but I was wrong, or if not wrong, certainly premature. Sometimes I would get a dry, tickly cough, but more often it would be a wet cough that needed a lot of coughing to expel a nasty bit of mucus that was tickling my windpipe. I am surprised my chest didn't feel rather more sore than it did with all that coughing. One sign that I think is positive, is that I am now blowing out some very green/yellow mucus from the deepest recesses in my nasal/sinus system. Some of it possibly be coming up from my windpipe, but I can't say for certain.

 I didn't feel too bad for half my journey home from work. Unfortunately my train from Waterloo East to Catford Bridge seemed freezing cold, or at least the carriage I was in was. That triggered off some coughing, and generally made me feel bad. By about the halfway point I was craving some hot soup to warm me up, and make me feel less hungry. Of course it was just after that point that I got a message from Jodie to say she was in Catford, and would I like to meet her for a drink. If it had been Angela I would have said yes, but on this occasion I turned the offer down, and headed straight home.

 I did three things last night. The first was to get some hot food in me. I was going to start with soup, but I felt the urge to experiment with something a bit more substantial. So I poured a can of "Ravioli in tomato sauce" into my microwaveable saucepan, and then poured a can of "meat balls in tomato sauce" over that. Before zapping it in the microwave I added a good splash of chilli sauce. The result was pretty poor. It wasn't horrible, but it failed to have any "excitement" about it. I won't be doing that experiment again. Part 2 of my dinner was a Tesco branded version of "Lamb hotpot" - Aldi do one that is basically identical. They are nice and warming, but very small. So I followed that with a can of (not creme of) tomato and basil soup.

 Having eaten I moved on to the next thing I did. That was to test the new camera lens I bought, and that was delivered on Monday. I didn't get a chance to check it while Angela was visiting on Monday. It would seem I have learned a few things about camera lenses since getting my first DSLR camera. The new lens is a 28mm lens, and as expected, the field of view is about double that of my 50mm lens. The aperture only opens to f1.8, and so it lets in a little less light than my 50mm f1.4 lens, but it should still be sensitive enough for all but the very dimmest gigs. It was a rather expensive "toy", but I am sure it would have been ideal at he Life Of Brian gig at The Bricklayers Arms pub a couple of weeks ago - the event that inspired me to look for a new, wider angle, lens.

 This reminds me that I still haven't uploaded the picture from that gig to my pages on Flickr. Maybe that is something for me to do tonight.

 The third thing I did last night was to go to bed, and to go to bed very early ! It was just after 7.30pm when I jumped into bed, and turned the light out. It took a long to get to sleep because everytime I laid down in a comfortable position my nose would feel blocked and stuff, or I would start coughing.....or more frequently, both ! That was the story for the whole night. I may have got a little more sleep than the night before by just about managing to start earlier, but it was pretty crappy sleep. It seemed like I would wake up once an hour, and take 10, 20, 30, and maybe even 40 minutes before being able to fall asleep. My "mild viral infection", according to my doctor, is having some annoying consequences !

 This morning I feel sleepy and week, and my throat and nose are still bunged up with snot and bogies ! I've probably got a mild headache as well. In an ideal world I would not be at work, but we live in a far from ideal world. Getting to work wasn't too bad apart from my legs feeling weak. Walking from home to the station was not hard, but neither was it as easy as it could be. I managed to keep up with the faster commuters as we charged over the link from Waterloo East station to Waterloo mainline station, but I had no energy to go overtaking people. At the end of that I had a small spurt of energy or enthusiasm, and ran for about 40ft to make sure I got in the front of the train on platform 4 at Waterloo. Maybe that little run, or maybe I could call it a sprint, must have been the bit that totally sapped my energy. My walk from the station seemed unusually sedate because i couldn't find it in me to go faster. While it might have felt a lot slower, it only seemed to add an extra 20 - 30 seconds to what is about a 10 minute walk.

 My plans for tonight are like this - I've brought my ruck sack into work so I can go home via Tesco. I am hoping they have some bottles of the reduced price chilli sauce left, but I also want to Diet Coke, and some food items. Hopefully I can stop myself buying some of the foods I would very much like to eat, but shouldn't. One thing I have already mentioned is to upload some pictures to Flickr. I'm sure I have more than one album to upload. After that I can't think of anything better to do than to go to bed. I hope that tonight I will be coughing less, and my nose doesn't get blocked too much so I stand a reasonable chance of getting to sleep early, and staying asleep longer.