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My Diary/Blog For the Month of May 2017

Wednesday 31st May  2017
 08:00 BST

  The forecast for yesterday looked pretty grim, but I don't recall it being that bad. Apart from a short period during early afternoon when I recall being dazzled by some strong sunshine shining through my office window, it was a pretty bland day that didn't have enough features to register on my brain. One whole it wasn't hot or cold, and it wasn't very gloomy of very bright (apart from the short period of sunshine I mentioned). Today may bring more variety, or not.....
a bit warmer than yesterday
  The thing I like about the most recent forecast for today is that it has stopped saying it will rain just as I am going home from work. Having said that, the forecast before the last actually said it would be full bright sunshine for my journey home. This latest forecast suggests tomorrow might be a rather nice day, but that could change for the better or worse anytime in the next 24 hours. I am beginning to feel sure that there is no scientific forecast for Friday. The way it keeps changing suggests the forecasters are just pulling numbers out of a hat. I guess it is a seasonal hat that excludes snow and sleet, but forecasts for anything more than 3 hours ahead can be so removed from reality that a forecast for snow would not really surprise me.

 I was very slightly busy for my first few hours at work yesterday, and I felt mostly OK. Later on I got bored and began to feel terribly tired. As I read stuff off the internet my eyes would start to close, and I am pretty sure I fell asleep for a few seconds once or twice. It made it extra nice to get out into the fresh air and start heading towards home. It was a completely uneventful journey home - neither good nor bad, and just over an hour of my life I will never get back.

 Once I got home I guess my mind was obsessed with the Thai food my neighbour had given me the night before. Somehow I fought the urge to eat it straight away, and I waited until I had changed my clothes, and read my mail before I investigated what I had been given. I had hoped it would be something really exciting, but it was just another chicken and green curry. It was very nice after an addition of some chilli sauce, and I am most grateful for it, but the extreme deliciousness of the spicy beef, or the pork penang must have spoiled me !

 That Thai dinner was most definitely the highlight of my whole evening. I didn't really do anything of interest until I went to bed. I made a determined effort to get to bed early, and I think I may have been asleep by 8.30pm. I got up once in the night for 15 - 20 minutes, and one other time for a few dreamlike minutes. The next thing I knew was that it was 4.59am, and I had mere seconds to dismiss my alarm before it started beeping at me. Given the chance, I would have turned over, and tried to go back to sleep than. I'm not sure if I would have succeded, but it was a mute point because I had to get up to start getting ready for work.

 Like most mornings for some time now, I didn't feel too awful when I got up, although my right hip was noticeably sore when I went to the bathroom. It was almost as if a hot shower (plus washing my hair) seemed to cure it because I don't recall it hurting after that. It seems my latest malady is lower back pain, but for reasons unknown, that only starts up after leaving Earlsfield station, and then fades away either just before, or just after, I get to work. The other odd thing that has been going on a few days now is that my thigh muscles have started aching soon after starting the same 9 - 10 minute walk.

 Now I am at work I feel a bit OK and a bit near death. Well maybe not actually death, but it would be nice to go to sleep and dream away the next 8 hours. It is a sort of paradox that I currently feel too unfit to do what I would really like to be doing, such as long walks in hot sunshine, but not too unfit for work. (Although I'm sure paradox is not that word I'm looking for. It's just that in the absence of a more suitable word to surface from the ripples of my brain, it will just have to do).

 I think two things may happen tonight. The first is that I may finally be able prepare and eat the lettuce overload that was supposed to replace much of the unhealthy things I've been eating recently. The second thing is that I have a few shorts to wash now. It would seem sensible to do them tonight rather than let them build up. Maybe I should consider the same for the washing up. After that I will be able to go to bed, hopefully early, and sleep the sleep of the innocents for a change !
unknown weed
I'm not sure what this weed is. It is similar to a poppy, but I'm sure it's not a poppy. Quite a few of these weeds grow alongside the fence that separates the road from the railway line near Catford Bridge station. I shall be consulting the finest minds I can find (at work) to put a name to it.
Tuesday 30th May  2017
 08:12 BST

  There has been quite an assortment of weather over the last few days. Most notable was quite a noisy thunderstorm on Sunday night/Monday morning. I seem to recall that Sunday was quite a pleasant day with quite a lot of sunshine, but it was a bit humid. Yesterday was highly variable. Sometime the sky would clear, and the sun would come out, but a lot of the time it was rather dull, and there were one or two light showers early in the afternoon. It was a medium warm day.
Today is going to be very average !
  The forecast for today keeps changing. An hour ago there was no rain forecast, and now it warns of a light shower around 9am, and it could be worse. I am sure I just heard a very distant peal of thunder ! It's difficult to guess what today's weather is really going to be like when everything keeps changing. One trend that seems constant is that it will warm up over the next few days, but some forecasts say it will end with a bang and torrential rain on Friday, and this latest forecast says Friday will be sunny instead of rainy.

 I finally remembered what I wanted from either the 99p shop, the Pound shop, or Poundstretcher, and so I put my best forward on Sunday afternoon, and after rummaging around in the 99p shop and Poundstretcher I found some more vanilla flavoured candles/tealights. Maybe it is just me, but I find that many scented candles only give off the most feeble scent, but it seems that vanilla scented candles do give off a very nice aroma - at least some of them do !

 I can't really remember what else I did on Sunday before I got my kit together and headed to The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham to see Chain play an acoustic set. Well it was supposed to be an acoustic set, and indeed both Jo and Chris had hollow body acoustic-like guitars, but Chris did seem to be playing it as if it were an electric guitar. Geoff was playing electric bass, and John was playing congas instead of a drum kit. The overall sound was not really any different to when they they play a normal "electric" set !
4 pictures from Sunday night
 I was originally intending to make each of the pictures above clickable so that you could see a full sized picture, but I forgot to upload the full sized pictures. To help my photography I took along two bright video lights which I perched on top of the PA speakers, and pointed them at the ceiling. On this occasion there was already some lighting, and one of my lights would have been sufficient to light up a dark corner. I've been trying out some new techniques recently, and in particular I have been experimenting with "dodge and burn" - electronically emulating the effect of selectively increasing or decreasing the expose in the darkroom. I used it on the bottom two pictures to darken some of the background to make Geoff and Jo stand out a bit more. It is time consuming, but I am rather pleased with the results.

 I broke a recent tradition and stayed to the end of the gig on Sunday night. It was still mild and dry when I left the pub, and it was pleasant to walk down to the bus stop to catch the bus back to Catford after little more than a 5 minute wait. The thunderstorm that could have meant a very different journey home didn't start until I was safely home and in bed. In fact I think I might have been asleep before it woke me up. I resisted any temptation to buy any form of takeaway food on the way home, although I was tempted. Fortunately, or unfortunately I had some food ready to eat at home, and satiated my gluttony that way.

 Yesterday was not a great day. I wanted to go out and stretch my legs, but the weather seemed too unpredictable, and I had a loads of photos to go through from the night before. They took some time to work through, and more so than usual because I was experimenting with darkroom effects as I continue to teach myself about photography. Maybe it is working because I was told that some of my pictures were on par with what could be expected from a professional photographer.

 The rest of yesterday was really rather boring. It had that same boring feel as a Sunday afternoon, and possibly worse. The main consequence of this is that I ate very badly. I didn't really have any actual meals, but a series of snacks - including some ice cream whose sugar content put it in the lethal category ! Apart from it all being terribly unhealthy, it had another knock on effect. I think it was just after 7pm when there was a knock on the door, and it was my next door neighbour. She had some more Thai food for me. It has been a week or two since I last had some (possibly because on some occasions I have been out when she might have tried to ring my doorbell), and I felt really excited about it. The only problem is that I knew I shouldn't eat any more. However I do very much look forward to eating it tonight !

 I couldn't get to sleep last night. I was in bed by 9pm, but my brain just would not shut up. I was thinking about photography, and imagining doing some proper portrait photography. I was inspired to think about this when I discovered that sort of knew, but only in the sense that she is another Chain fan, a young woman who would seem to be a model. She certainly looks very photogenic (and good looking too). Another thing whirling around in my brain was the thought that some people have interesting faces. Taking pictures of Jo (bottom right picture above) is always a pleasure because she has got a nice face, and she is a woman, but I also find Geoff (bass player, bottom left) also has a wonderful face - more so when you capture certain expressions as he plays. Perhaps after all these years I have discovered art !

 Eventually I got to sleep, but I didn't sleep well at all last night. I woke up several times during the night, and it felt like I had just started sleeping normally when my alarm woke me up - I almost slept through it ! I don't actually feel too bad so far this morning, and provided I can occupy myself during the working day I should be OK. Unfortunately I think I might be a bit bored, and then I will start to feel desperately sleepy. Oh well, for the moment I feel good to be at work. It gets me out of the house for a bit of exercise, and away from the larder. It earns my a bit of money too, but I'd rather be somewhere else, doing something different, with someone....... All I have to do is endure this for another 8 hours and then I can have some Thai food. That's about all I have to look forward to though.
Sunday 28th May  2017
 09:13 BST

  The little splash or rain (composed of some quite big rain drops, but not many of them) was about all the rain there was yesterday - in Catford. Distant thunder strongly suggested that the weather forecast wasn't that wrong on a larger scale. From midmorning onwards it was warm and dry, and usually sunny. It felt like the humidity dropped as the afternoon progressed, but that might just have been the effect of the wind - which was quite gusty from time to time.
An hour or two ago the forecast
                  included much more sunshine
  It's  a shame I didn't take a screenshot of the forecast an hour or so before this forecast. The earlier one included much more sunshine in the afternoon. Now we have to wait to find out how close this prediction is to reality. The forecast still includes "Weather warnings" for torrential rain both for today and tomorrow. It certainly looks like there will be rain in the early hours of tomorrow morning, but the graphics don't suggest it will be heavy, but there will be more of it tomorrow !
iced coconut creamAfter I finished writing I went to Aldi yesterday.  I did seem to buy rather a lot, and unfortunately a lot of it was perishables, and so will have to be eaten soon. Fortunately a lot of them are benign stuff like salad ingredients. One thing that was not so benign was the ice cream pictured on the left.

 It is, apparently, an exclusive to Aldi. The peculiar thing about it is that it contains no milk or milk products. It is based on coconut cream. It certainly worked as ice cream (or "iced dessert" !), and was nice, but maybe I wouldn't go as far as saying it was delicious. One possible positive about it, and maybe why I might invest in more of it in the future, is that it seemed to have rather less sugar than I would have expected for ice cream. I need to do more research before I can be sure of it, but that was my gut feeling. Of course the amount of sugar in it is still high, but maybe not extremely high !

  I was quite damp with sweat by the time I had lugged all my shopping home from Aldi - and it seemed to be harder work than usual. I think the high humidity made breathing more difficult, and yet I wasn't gasping, or short of breath in any way. It just seemed harder work than usual to breathe in a lungful of air. I never had that problem when I smoked !

 After getting home I cooled myself off with some "Chocolate Iced Dessert", and I ate something else as well, but I can't remember what it was. Then I cooled off for a bit before started some more household tasks. One task was to do the washing up - which was getting on for 2 or 3 days overdue. I also washed out the inside of the microwave oven, and washed some parts of the work tops (the parts not hidden under cans of food and stuff !).

 I probably should have taken another long rest after that, but I decided I was going to do some more laundry. This laundry included a medium sized bath towel. After manhandling that in hot soapy water, and wringing it out after the soapy wash, and wringing it out between rinses, plus a final extra powerful wringing out before hanging it up to dry, I was covered in beads of sweat from head to foot ! It took some time to cool off after that.

 One curious thing was that as evening approached I found I didn't feel particularly tired, and I was almost looking forward to going out to see Miranda and Back To The Fray. Before that I was desperately in need of a clean up, and once again it was the hot water and soap treatment, but this time the soap was shower gel, and it wasn't just up to my wrists, but from head to toe because it also included shampoo and conditioner.

 I didn't have that long to cool down after that before I had to get dressed to go out and find a 54 bus. It is definitely so much nicer travelling all the way to the far side of Blackheath when it is still daylight, although the daylight was fading by the time I got off the bus, and walked the slightly arduous walk to the pub. The pub was fairly full, and as usual it was much, much warmer inside than it was outside. By way of contrast, it was starting to feel nice and fresh outside.
Back To The Fray
Back To The Fray with Brian Bath on the left, and Miranda Bell in the centre.

  I think that before the moment I arrived I had an open mind about how long I would stay there, but once inside I decided I would not be staying too long. Apart from the sweaty heat in there I knew that the stupid layout of the place would piss me off, There are long tables that are set up lengthways in front of the stage area, and there is precious little room between the backs of the chairs once they are occupied. Getting from the stage area to the bar is almost impossible with everyone having to shuffle around, and it is impossible to dodge around taking photos.

 On top of that the band were not properly rehearsed. This was not their fault. If I understand it correctly it was a late booking by the pub compounded by the fact that Brian Bath was drafted in late to replace the guitarist, whose name escapes me, who has very recently emigrated. Another reason for only staying for about the first hour of music (or about 90 minutes in total) was that I don't get too excited about some of the songs they cover.

 One thing that wasn't a reason to go early was the presence of Angela. Miranda predicted that she would be coming alone, but of course John had to guard her from all us amorous males ! This time it was different, and Angela has maybe learned from previous mistakes. It seemed to take 5 or 10 minutes before she realised I was there, but when she did she first gave me a big wave, and then came over to give me a small hug and a peck on the cheek...and of course I hugged her back. There was a warmth there that would have made for a very pleasant evening if she had been on her own.

 It was nice to step out into the fresh air, and because it is very, very gently downhill, it was sort of nice to walk down to the bus stop (much nicer than walking up to the pub !). It was also nice to only have about a 3 or 4 minute wait for the bus back to Catford. Maybe it wasn't so nice to actually get on the bus and travel back to Catford, and this was because someone had been eating a kebab on the top deck of the bus, and it was rather smelly up there !

 It's funny how even the terrible stink of someone else's kebab can stir bits of the brain, and implant ideas. I was very determined that I would not buy and fried chicken on the way home as I am so often tempted to do. That didn't seem to stop me getting off the bus and walking straight into the kebab shop. I didn't fancy hanging around while fresh chicken shish was grilled, and so I ordered an ordinary doner kebab with salad. I expect it was just my imagination, but it did seem rather less greasy than I remember typical doner kebabs being.

 After stinking out my house I went to bed. It was sort of early for a gig night, and I think I was fast asleep not that long after 11.30pm. Five hours later I was up again and editing the photos I took last night. I had a lot less to choose from because my time at the pub was a lot less than usual, and it only took a couple of hours to select and process what I judged to be the best ones - about 8 of them. I'll probably get around to uploading them to Flickr sooner or later.

 After doing those photos I went back to bed. It didn't really feel like I slept, or at least not much, but two hours seemed to pass uncannily quickly ! Now I am free to do anything, and I don't know what to do. There are no trains from Catford Bridge today, but I can get to Victoria from Catford station if I wanted to. I had thought that maybe I might take a wander around London for an hour or two, but I don't feel terribly enthusiastic about it. I think there is a better chance that I will go to Poundstretcher if I could remember what it was I was thinking of getting there earlier in the week. I assume they will be open today, but there is a chance they will be closed being as it is a bank holiday weekend.

 There is one thing I'll definitely be doing today, and that is to go along to The Coach And Horses in Beckenham to watch Chain do a "mellow" acoustic(ish) set from about 8pm to 10pm. I'll be taking along the two video lights I bought with that dimly lit venue in mind. When I took just one along to a Back To The Fray gig it made such a difference to my photography. I just balanced the light on one of the PA speakers, and pointed it at the ceiling. It worked surprisingly well. Two of them might work even better. Watch this space !
Chain at The Coach And
Saturday 27th May  2017
 08:52 BST

  Yesterday's weather pretty much followed what was forecast. It was very warm, possibly even hot at times, and it was bright and dry. It all unravels today !
rain, heavy rain !
  It's not even 9am yet, and we have already had a brief period of heavy rain.....although I am not sure if that is the correct way to describe it. For a few minutes some very big, very heavy raindrops fell, but there were only enough of them to just make the pavement damp. Maybe that was just the advance party, or maybe somewhere not too far away was getting a good battering. There was quite a lot of thunder away in the distance, but I didn't see any flashes of lightning.

 It didn't seem like it would rain a couple of hours ago. The sky was mostly blue, and it seemed like the start of a lovely morning. At the moment the sky is very dark and cloudy, and it would come as no surprise if we get the torrential downpour forecast. With luck it will clear up, and be followed by non-stop bright sunshine. It's a shame it will only get to 23° C though.

 You'll note the little warning sign and "Weather warnings issued" on the forecast screen shot. That doesn't kick in until very late on Sunday. Most of Sunday is predicted to be warm and sunny, and then it will start ! For Monday, an English bank holiday, tradition will be followed to extremes. Long periods, if not almost non-stop torrential rain is forecast with the possibility of local flooding. Once we are back at work on Tuesday, normal summer weather will gradually resume !

 One of my work colleagues managed to spoil some of my day at work by being his normal irritating self, and then a small posse of people did their best to really piss me off by asking for a cable to be made up late in the afternoon. They know that I am extremely lazy at work, and no more so on a Friday afternoon. It was particularly galling when they confessed they knew they wanted this cable the morning before. As usual I managed to pull a rabbit out of a hat, and got their bloody cable made up in double quick time with a good half hour to spare before I slowly started to prepare to go home.

 The fish oil I am taking does seem to be doing some good. My right hip joint, while I can still feel it is a bit stiff, and very mildly sore, does seem to have improved a lot. The strange thing is that while it has improved, both my knees and maybe both my ankles seemed a bit still as I made my way home from work. I don't think that were actually sore, but somehow I couldn't reach 100% of the speed I would have preferred to walk at. Having said that, I didn't really notice that any of the walking sections of my journey home took any longer than usual. Maybe my complaint is that I couldn't seem to walk a bit faster than usual - plus I was very reluctant to try and run after the battering my right hip took the last time I ran. So, as usual, I missed the early train by the usual 30 - 60 seconds - a period of time that would actually be quite hard to make up by walking a bit faster, and running for a bit.

 Once I got home I prepared to go back out to the surgery where I had my appointment with the researcher. One annoying thing was that I had to fast for 6 hours beforehand. That in itself was no problem. On work days I only eat once a day anyway, and so would have fasted for more like 21 or 22 hours. The annoyance came from slightly misunderstanding what had been asked of me. I think it was worded, or seemed to imply, that nothing but plain water should pass my lips for 6 hours, and that seemed to rule out brushing my teeth. I do like to give my teeth a good brush before meeting a charming young lady, and last night I was quite paranoid that my breath must have smelt awful - and paranoid for a good reason. I think I have a painless infection around the site of an old extraction that oozes something awful !

 The tests that the researcher did were simple enough. I had to fill two test tubes with my breath through a straw. Then I was given two small drinks. One was dilute citric acid (almost lemon juice), and the other was a solution of urea that contained Carbon13 - an isotope of carbon that can be detected and measured in a gas mass spectrometer. After that there was a wait of 30 minutes before providing another two samples of my breath. In a way that I do not understand, the presence of H. Pylori, the heliobacteria that can cause stomach ulcers or bleeding, would cause a bigger, or faster uptake of Carbon13 than if I didn't have H. Pylori in my gut.

 In that intervening 30 minutes I was ritually humiliated by having my waist and hips measured. I was also weighed, and my height measured - 178cm it would seem (about 5ft 10").......and then, horror of horrors, she wanted to measure my blood pressure. As soon as she said that I felt my heart go into overdrive, my veins narrow, and the pulse in my temples start throbbing. Of course it was ridiculously high, but came down a little bit on a second attempt. The third attempt caught me unawares, and the reading was quite good for sitting in the surgery - it roughly translated into death within 24 hours instead of the death within 24 minutes that the first reading indicated.

 After the second breath samples I was free to go home and have some dinner. I'm not sure how long it will take to analyse the breath samples, but of it is deemed that I have H. Pylori in my gut I will be posted a weeks course of drugs - except a random half of the test subjects will only be sent dummy drugs. There is probably a sure fire way of me checking which I have been sent. The (real) drugs are mostly antibiotics, but contain a substance that is often prescribed to alcoholics. It is supposed to induce severe nausea, or even vomiting when taken with booze. I will be tempted to test this with a very small quantity of booze. If I survive that I may be foolish enough to go for my three pints on a Thursday night. The important thing is that apart from the nausea and vomiting, drinking booze with this substance causes no other harm.

 It was quite hot and humid last night, and I am not sure if it was a good idea to include curry in my evening meal. I was rather hot and sweaty when I went to bed. It seemed a wise idea to put a towel on my pillow, and to not actually get into bed. I slept fairly well on top of the bed, although I did feel the need to close the window a little after midnight when it was a lot cooler outside. I managed to have a lie in this morning. I didn't get up until 5.30am ! Of course I didn't actually do much for quite some time, unlike on a work day when I have to get ready to go out.

 I have done a couple of useful things since then. I have hand washed 6 short sleeve work shirts. That is obviously more than a weeks worth, and that is because it included a couple of short sleeve shirts that I found hiding behind some long sleeved shirts. I found them while going through my old shirts to see if there were any more I could bare to throw away, or like the last lot, take to the charity shop.

 One other task was to sweep the path outside the kitchen. It was littered with debris that had fallen from where next door are having their loft conversion done. Just as I was getting to the end of the sweeping the rain began to fall. As I said nearer the top of the page, it was composed of very big, very heavy raindrops, but not really that many of them. I assumed that was the start of the torrential rain, and now I think it was the torrential rain forecast. The sun has been out for some time now, and the road outside looks dry.

 Maybe it is time for my next task - going to Aldi. Once I've got some shopping I will do the washing up, and that could, but may not be, all my tasks for today done. I may do a small little something here, or a small something there, and one may turn into a bigger task, but otherwise I have little to do until it is time to go out this evening. Tonight I will be going to see Back To The Fray - Miranda Bell as part of an all acoustic trio - at The British Oak pub in Blackheath. I must admit I am not overly enthusiastic about it. While Back To The Fray are good, I'm not sure if an acoustic act can grab my attention for a full evening. Worse than that is that the pub is yet another where photography is difficult. It is dark in there, and the tables and chairs are too closely packed together to make circulating easy. However, I'll do my best.
Friday 26th May  2017
 07:52 BST

  Finally, some great weather. Yesterday was good, and today will be the same but hotter !
Nice today, probably thundery showers tomorrow
  I'm sure there were a couple of straggly clouds that dimmed the sun for a minute or two yesterday, but on the whole it was a gloriously sunny day, and I think it was possibly warmer than the 24° C that was forecast. Today should be a re-run of yesterday, but with the temperature turned up a notch. Tomorrow does not look as good as the full sun symbol on the forecast would seem to suggest. If you were able to click on where it says Saturday you would see that sunshine and rain were forecast from mid morning to mid afternoon. If you then read the small print it would say they could be thundery showers ! I doubt reality will match the forecast, but the first part of tomorrow morning should be lovely, and then from mid afternoon to the early hours of Sunday morning, it should be very nice too. Sunday and Monday are due to follow the general traditions of an English bank holiday weekend, and it will be grey and wet !

 I think I mentioned that we had a company quarterly meeting scheduled for yesterday. Generally speaking it was bad news. The company has not met it's profit targets because we had underestimated the time it would take to get a new product to market. The result of this is that our bonuses are not going to be as big as many hoped, but there will still be some bonus payment. The other bad news is that the company still has not found a new premises that is more suited to our needs. That is a bit of a blow because I was hoping that it would be somewhere that would increase my travelling time, and thus be a good excuse to take the redundancy path to leaving the company. I fear I will just have to go the resignation route - and I am still unsure how to do that having never done it before. (I do know what I have to do, but don't know how I do it).

 The rest of work was fairly neutral, but it still seemed an intrusion into my time - which is a weird complaint considering I have nothing better to do with my time, but it is the principle that counts. I reserve the right to be bored to death in my own time, thank you. It was with something like joy, or maybe the closest to joy except for eating, that I left work and started the long journey to North Bromley to meet for the Thursday night drink. Last night it was a longer journey than usual. It was smooth journey until the train from Waterloo East to Grove Park (and ultimately Sevenoaks) was held at a signal for a long time just before Hither Green station. I think the driver suggested there was a faulty set of points ahead, and even after we got a green signal we had to proceed slowly for a while. We arrived at Grove Park station just in time to see the shuttle train to Bromley North station just disappearing up the track.

 Once upon a time that shuttle service only ran once every half hour. I thought that it was improved to every 20 minutes quite some time ago, but last night we only had a 15 minute wait for the next one. When I finally arrived at the pub I found I was the fourth person to arrive, but only one person had actually got a drink. The pub was The Greyhound, and it is a Wetherspoons pub. In  theory it should be good, but I don't like it. For one thing it seems to take ages to get served in there. They really need more bar staff actually working behind the bar for such a busy pub. It seems like half of them are either collecting glasses or delivering food to tables.

 Last night I discovered a new reason to dislike that pub. For hundreds of years, maybe thousands, or at least in my drinking life time, if a pub runs out of beer on a hand pump, there has been a tradition of turning the label that is clipped to the pump handle around so that everyone can see that pump is out of use. Not in The Greyhound ! They have some brain dead manager who insists that the label is kept displayed. The result is that every time I, and probably many others, go to the bar to ask for a pint of <name of beer> the barman has to apologise that it's not on, and of course this can happen every time you go to the bar. Everyone gets pissed off and upset, and all because a manager is stupid !

 I had my usual three pints last night, and then caught the bus home. Later in the evening, when the road traffic has dies down, and there are no shoppers on the bus, it can sometimes be a fair bit less than a totally horrible journey, I seem to recall actually liking a few minutes of one journey once upon a time, but not last night. The bus was full and tediously slow. I don't actually know how long it is supposed to take. It is probably something like 20 minutes, and could be as little as 15 minutes, but it can feel much longer !

 I was quite happy to get off that bus, and start walking towards home. Once home I had a "Mexican inspired" wrap type thing I had bought from Tesco the day before to amuse my taste buds. I followed that with a corned beef salad. It did contain rather more corned beef than was strictly necessary, but on the plus side I didn't smother it with any form of dressing. The corned beef did have a generous amount of horseradish sauce on it though, but otherwise I just flavoured the greenery with fresh basil leaves. I feel I ought to do more salads like this in the future - perhaps with less corned beef than a whole tin !

 It is possible that I will make something similar tonight, or if I am very lucky I will be treated to some Thai food, but I think that unlikely. The big thing to look forward to tonight, possibly the only thing to look forward to, is yet another visit to the surgery. This one will be a little different. I am taking part in a medical experiment. Apart from answering some questions, I have to give a breath sample that will be analysed for the presence of heliobacteria. If that is detected I will be sent either a course of antibiotics, or a course of sugar pills disguised as antibiotics. Then there will be a follow up breath test.

 Now the funny thing about all this is that it is a well known medical fact that H. Pylori, a heliobacteria (which is what the H stands for) is the cause of most stomach ulcers, and detecting the presence of them by a breath test is also a routine thing. The extra fact in this experiment is that it is for people, like me, who take regular small doses of aspirin to reduce the stickiness of blood cells with the idea that they will form less artery clogging clots. However, it is also a well known medical fact that aspirin can contribute to stomach ulcers. So I am not entirely sure what the point of it all is, Maybe tonight, if I can ask the right questions, I will find out.
Thursday 25th May  2017
 07:55 BST

  Yesterday was certainly very warm - 25° C, and almost 27° C outside my back bedroom window (upstairs and permanently in the shade). The only flaw was a lack of blinding sunshine, well maybe that will be fixed today !
This is more like
  It was, as the forecast suggests, 17° C when I walked to the station under a mostly clear blue sky. Now I am at work I can see nothing but pure blue sky through the rather limited viewpoint of my office window. Tomorrow looks like it could be slightly better, but Saturday, while mostly warm and sunny, does carry a small risk of rain, and possibly a thunderstorm. Sunday also carries the risk of a thunderstorm, or two, or three.....

 There was a brief moment of pure joy yesterday - which was good after a sort of mediocre day at work. There was nothing wrong with being at work yesterday, and maybe a few odd seconds of it here and there might have been pleasant, but nowhere near as pleasant as managing to catch the 15:50 train from Waterloo East. It is the train I have been striving to get for a while now, but usually miss it by less than a minute. I am not sure what went in my favour yesterday, but I caught it with seconds to spare.

 The only downside of catching that train is that I had to run for it. At first my right hip joint only very mildly complained, but with just 10 yards to go it suddenly became extremely painful. The pain went away as soon as I was on the train and no longer running, but it did ache quite a lot just walking on it at a moderate pace. It added another reason to not go to Tesco after I got back to Catford, but I went anyway. I even decided to walk the long way round to see if there were any posters about forthcoming gigs in The Black Cat - there weren't !

 I was mostly selective about what I bought in Tesco, and came away with a lot of salad stuff, but I also bought some chocolate ice cream. I can't remember if I mentioned that some weeks back Tesco had sent me some vouchers to try and persuade me to spend more money than usual. If I spent more than £50 I could get £7 off. Buying extra food would be a stupid thing to do, and so until last night I had ignored those vouchers. Last night I decided the only useful thing to buy to take the total bill to over £50 was whisky  , and so last night I invested in two 1 litre bottles of Scotch !

 I think it was when I was in Tesco that I finalised what I was going to eat last night, and I did, more or less, stick to the plan. I ate the two packs of beef and horseradish sandwiches that I bought from Aldi at the weekend, and were on their "best before" date, and I ate the small tub of chocolate ice cream ! The latter was quite nice for it's simplicity. It was just chocolate flavoured ice cream with no lumps of this that and the other in it. It reminded me of the chocolate flavoured bit of a Walls Neapolitan ice cream block that we once used to buy when I was considerably younger. I'm not sure if they are still available now.

 I couldn't be bothered to turn on the TV last night because I knew it would piss me off, and that didn't leave all that much to do. With all the whisky I had in the house I hatched a plan to get drunk instead, but after one glass of whisky I concluded it was too hot to drink. So at not all that long after 7pm I lay on my bed to read. It wasn't long before I felt like dozing off. Before doing that I got up and brushed my teeth, and so was essentially ready for bed. I can't be quite certain about it, but I think I was possibly asleep by 7.30pm.

 I got up once in the night between 10 and 11pm for a pee, and stayed up long enough to check for any messages on the computer. I think I may have woken up once or twice after that for brief moments, but it wasn't until 4am that I woke up needing a pee again. I didn't expect to get back to sleep after that, but the next thing I knew was my alarm sounding to say it was 5am, and time to get up.

 This morning, particularly after first getting out of bed, my right hip felt very stiff and sore. It had actually felt sore in bed when I lay on my right side, and I suspect it was responsible for waking me up in the night once or twice. Most other bits of me felt passably good, and that included my chest. I thought that this morning I might try a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to ease the pain of my hip joint, and I think they worked better than paracetamol. That suggests much of the pain is from inflammation rather than any other reason, although it doesn't rule out the almost certainty that the cartilage that forms the bearing surfaces of the joint have just about worn through, and will probably need replacing if the NHS ever survives Theresa May's asset stripping.

 Now I am at work I feel mostly OK, and bits of the working day may be relatively benign, although there is one big unknown that could have the power to piss me off even if the practical result of it doesn't affect me. Today we have our quarterly company briefing. It could contain good or bad news. One of the best bits of news could possibly be that at long last the company has found a new premises that will let it expand - if the financial results justify such and expansion. We (or maybe "they") will probably have to move sooner or late because the lease on the current premises runs out soon. It would benefit me greatly if the move was to somewhere that would make my commuting impractical. I would then have to be offered redundancy terms, and while the company would only pay the absolute bare minimum redundancy money, it would be better than the nothing I would get if I resigned in the ordinary way.

 Tonight is boozing night, and after not being able to go for the previous two weeks, I am looking forward to least I think I am. It is the thinking that could be the downfall of it. Tonight's venue is The Greyhound pub in Bromley. It is relatively easy to get to, and easy to get home from (although the likelihood of a very busy, very smelly bus ride rather detracts from the simplicity of it). In theory it is good that it is a Wetherspoons pub. The beer is cheap, and there probably is a fair selection to choose from. The downside is that the pub will be busy, and the bar staff fucking slow and useless !
Wednesday 24th May  2017
 08:28 BST

  The problem with yesterday was the lack of sunshine. It wasn't a total lack, but the afternoon had very little sunshine to match the 20 - 22° C. Unfortunately, today is likely to follow the same pattern.
                  warm, but lacking sunshine
 At the moment it is nice. The temperature might, or might not be 18° C, but it feels comfortable. The sky is blue apart from some whispy or streaky clouds, and it is nice and bright and jolly.......well maybe not jolly. Perhaps I need a new word that means lack of misery. It looks like if I am very lucky there could be some sunshine when I am going home from work. In the longer term it looks like the wildly optimistic forecasts for the end of the week seem to be breaking down. Maybe Saturday will be a few degrees warmer, but it is looking like it could be another mostly overcast day. Probably horribly sticky too !

 I finally got an administrator password for my PC yesterday. I can now use the hardware and software I need to do my job properly. It made for a more pleasant day doing stuff I fancied doing. There is nothing better than resurrecting the dead ! Nobody was making demands on my time yesterday, and I was able to start repairing some circuit boards we use internally. There is no current demand for them, but long experience shows that sooner or later someone will want one in a hurry, and it is better to have a small working stock of them.

 After my last experience of extreme pain when running for a train I thought I wouldn't be trying it again, but my semi-irrational need to be in the front of the train, to be closest to the barriers at Waterloo, overrode that. I ran a shorter distance, and survived it without any great pain (although I could feel some discomfort starting). Maybe the fish oil capsules I am taking are doing some good after all.

 Apart from the very short run along the platform at Earlsfield station, it was an uneventful journey home from work. When I got home I tried a bit harder to eat more carefully. To a limited degree I succeeded, but it awoke a brief but strong desire for a cigarette when I finished eating after eating less that I really wanted to eat. Apart from eating I also finished off the laundry that I had started the evening before. That was about all I did last night.

 I think it was because I was feeling rather tired that I couldn't stomach watching the news on TV, and even Star Trek (the original series) on (I think) The Horror Channel (or was it the drama channel ?) failed to inspire me. At 7.30pm I was laying on my bed reading. At 8.30pm I was in bed and fast asleep. The only trouble with this is that I woke up at 4.30am and couldn't get back to sleep for the last half hour. I don't think I slept all that well in the hours I was asleep.

 This morning a combination of fish oil capsules and a couple of paracetamol made for a mostly comfortable journey into work - and that included another short run of about 50ft so I could leap on the rear doors of the front portion of the train at Waterloo ! I think the walk from Earlsfield station to work was generally OK, but today I broke the journey up a little bit. I first walk the wrong way so I could buy some bottles of drink from Sainsbury's. Then I stopped at Tesco to use their cash machine to check the state of my Tesco Bank savings account.

 I thought it was important to check that account because it has been dormant for almost a year. The only trouble is that the printed "mini statement" was so mini and brief that it was difficult to remember what each transaction was - doubly so since the first of the "last 5" transactions was in April last year. There was one action I didn't recognise, but I seem to have more in the account than I anticipated. So I guess all is well.

 This afternoon I face a dilemma. I could go home via Tesco, and there is good reason to, but it could lead to excess temptation. Tomorrow night is drinking night, and I can't get any shopping then. On Friday night I have to visit the surgery where I am being tested for the presence of heliobacteria on the breath as part of some medical research, and so I can't get any shopping then. To compound the problem, I think I might try and go to a gig later on Friday evening. By Friday, or even tomorrow night, it would be useful to have some more salad stuff in the house to lure me away from less healthy food, and I guess tonight is the only free time I have to get it. I'll be OK provided I close my eyes if I see too much stuff with reduced price stickers on it. It will be all the more dangerous in that I can only think of two things to do tonight - eat and sleep. What a scintillating life I lead !
Tuesday 23rd May  2017
 07:58 BST

  I guess yesterday was a taste of summer. It was bright and sunny, and the temperature hit 22° C. 
shame about the
  Today started off nicely. It was a degree or two less cool than yesterday morning, and it was a nice bright and sunny start, but the clouds are slowly choking off the sunshine. The forecast says it should end up nearly as warm as yesterday, but it is going to be dull - exceptionally so between 1 and 2pm if the chart is to be believed. The next couple of days look like they will be OK-ish, but I'm looking forward to Friday and Saturday. I might even ask for a day's holiday on Friday.

 Yesterday exposed a bit more of the farce that is the IT policy here at work. There are very valid security reasons for not allowing most users to have administrator privileges on a work PC, but some of us who are engaged in more technical work do need them. It doesn't happen everyday, but as part of my work I have to plug in various USB connected devices to program the processors in stuff we make, or to send control signals from a computer simulated control panel. Many of the applications I use can only talk to the traditional first 4 com(munications) ports, but Windows, in it's infinite wisdom, never allocates a USB connected virtual com port to the lowest unused com port. It just keeps adding to an ever growing list of com ports. When I plugged in a test board yesterday I found Windows had allocated it com port 24. To change it to the usual com port I use for these things, com port 3, is easy - if you have administrator privileges - which I don't now !

 Had I somehow managed to change the com port I would face another hurdle. The little piece of software I would then use to re-program the circuit board, and which I really wanted to use yesterday, fails to load because Windows says that needs an administrator password - which I no longer have ! It is possible that other programmers I frequently use won't work either. It feels like all my work PC is good for now is checking my company email, and "surfing the net". I don't really have a problem spending all day reading stuff on the internet, but there are some repairs that others would probably like me to do, and at the moment I can't. I can beg for an administrator password, but I just can't be bothered !

 Apart from the rage of being impotent to use my work PC to actually do the work I am expected to do, I felt moderately OK at work yesterday. That wasn't always the case when going home after work. When I got to Earlsfield station I was too far down the platform to get on the front portion of the train that was pulling in as I got there. So I started to run. Until then my right hip had been merely stiff and a bit achey from time to time, but running made it really hurt ! Fortunately the pain very quickly subsided once I stopped running.

 It made me very wary about running up the escalator at Waterloo, but I did it anyway.  I guess the strain when running up an escalator is put on a different part of the body because it didn't hurt my hip at all. I checked this again a little later.... Before I left work all the trains were running perfectly, but by the time I was half way to Waterloo the app on my phone (National Rail app) was telling me of delays and cancellations through Waterloo East.

 Fortunately I had time to do some research before I got off the train at Waterloo. The departures page for Waterloo East said that my train, the 16:05, was cancelled, but when I clicked on it I noted that it was only cancelled at Charing Cross and Waterloo East, but it was running, on time, from London Bridge platform 8. The first two trains from platform A at Waterloo East would get me to London Bridge in time, and the second one was scheduled to also use platform 8. It should have been as simple as getting off the train at London Bridge, and then waiting on the same platform for my train......

 Unfortunately it wasn't like that. At the last moment the signallers realised they couldn't send the train I was on into platform 8 because it was already occupied by the train I wanted to take me to Catford Bridge. So we arrived at platform 7, and for the first time I had to leave the platform to go down to the circulating area/lower concourse and then go up to platform 8. I didn't realise just how deep that lower concourse is. I didn't use the escalator to go down, but used the stairs. I did use the escalator to go up to platform 8, but it seemed very slow. So I decided to see how far I could run up it. Maybe it was more a very fast walk rather than a run, but it didn't seem to be all that taxing to go up what must have been double the height of the escalators at Waterloo station. It didn't hurt my hip either. I boarded the train with almost 4 minutes to spare.

 While I was on the train I sent Angela a text message. I had heard that she had had to take John, my rival for her love, into A&E because he was coughing up blood. I haven't heard why, but it would not surprise me if his cancer has moved to his lungs now. I imagined that Angela would be hanging around in A&E all day, and might fancy a break. So I reminded her that I live little more than 10 minutes walk from A&E, and that I had cigarettes and vodka if she needed them. She responded that she was actually on her way back to A&E to pick him up again, and added that she felt exhausted. She didn't actually thank me for my offer, but her reply did end with five kisses. I guess that was pretty nice.

 I wanted to finish going through the photos I took on Saturday, and that dampened my spirits a bit. I assumed it would be a chore, but in fact there were only 4 more usable photos I had to "process" - although there were another 4 photos that I tarted up a bit to show how close I came to a great action shot of one of the guitarists leaping in the air. Maybe tonight I'll upload the best ones to Flickr. Apart from the photographs I did one other important thing - I washed a medium sized bath towel. Maybe my arm muscles are growing stronger because it didn't seem to be the struggle that I thought it would be. I also started washing a few random shirts and stuff, but sort of forgot, or ignored them too long, and I'll have to finish that job tonight.

 It almost sounds like I was busy, and yet I felt bored enough to do what there is now ample reason not to do - eat too much. It wasn't a great amount, and some of it like the skinless "Caribbean flavour" skinless chicken was mostly harmless, but I really want to get into the mindset I was in for the months leading up to my heart operation. In an attempt to unclog my arteries I was eating very little indeed. It was working really well in terms of weight loss and general well being, but it couldn't shift decades of choleresterol blocking my arteries quick enough. Now I need to do the same to take the weight off my hip, but I can't find the right state of mind. I think it is because I feel to be in some sort of limbo regarding Angela. It's like I am in cold storage waiting for my rival to die so I can pick up where I left off before he came on the scene.

 So it is another day at work after another poor nights sleep. One reason for losing sleep is that I woke up feeling really chilly around midnight. I had gone to sleep almost uncovered, and the night got colder than I anticipated. I must have been awake almost an hour as I tried to find a comfortable position. This morning I seemed mostly OK. When I first got out of bed, and walked to the toilet, my hip felt a little sore, and so I took a couple of paracetamol. They seemed to work OK, and while I didn't feel like running anywhere, I felt mostly comfortable.

 Tonight feels like it is going to be almost a repeat of last night. Laundry and photography, eating and boredom. 
Monday 22nd May  2017
 08:15 BST

  It was nice yesterday, although it could always have been better. There was lots of sunshine, and even when the sun went in it was still nice and bright. A few degrees warmer would have been nicer, but 19° C was acceptable.
                  afternoon should be warm
 It's looking like today has the potential to end up rather good, but this morning started off cooler than forecast. According to my thermometers it was barely above 10° C when I walked to the station. Since then we have had variable amounts of cloud and sunshine. Most of the cloud has been of the high misty variety that you expect to be "burnt off" by the rising sun, but if anything it seems to have got thicker in the last 20 minutes. The one thing it cannot do is to rain because I haven't brought a coat of any description to work. Tomorrow is forecast to be a bit cloudier than today - assuming that today doesn't end up cloudy itself - and it may be a degree or two cooler, or it may be completely different ! The general outlook still seems to favour warm dry weather for at least until the end of the week.

 Yesterday was Sunday, and like most Sundays it ended up being boring and tedious. In an ideal world I would have gone out to do some photography, probably exploring some parts of inner London, but I could have gone further afield. It would have been interesting, and the exercise and keeping away from the larder would have contributed to being fit and healthy. It would also have left me with yet another pile of photos to process, and I hadn't finished the lot before last when I got up in the morning !

  The only time I stretched my legs was when I went to Aldi. I'm not sure if it was such a good idea going there now. Or to put it another way, I regret buying the strawberry cheesecake because it was bad for me in several ways, although the prime way was the amount of sugar in it. I couldn't quite work out if I was feeling full of food or full of guilt for the rest of the day after demolishing that cheesecake.

 One other thing of note that I ate on Sunday morning, as a sort of late breakfast, was the chimichurri flavoured steak I mentioned buying a week ago. I had high expectations for it, but the reality was disappointing. The steak was not that wonderful, and the chimichurri sauce seemed more oily than savoury. I am glad I had it before I went to Aldi because I was contemplating looking out for another one. I think I'll stick to their plain Aberdeen Angus steaks in future - they are very nice !

 I felt quite tired on Sunday afternoon, but I couldn't seem to fall asleep during several attempts to have a snooze. It made for a more boring Sunday afternoon. Of course I did have plenty to do - I had 280 snaps that I took on Saturday night to go through, but after finishing the Friday night photos in the morning I was starting to feel a certain fatigue endlessly going through photos. By the end of the evening I reckon I had dealt with about three quarters of those snaps. I'll do more this evening.

 Eventually it was time for bed, and once I was in bed I fell asleep fairly quickly. I think it was probably by 9.30pm - ideally it should have been at least an hour earlier, but with the summer solstice now only a month away, it was almost still light when I went to bed. I guess I slept reasonably well, but I had a very novel sort of dream. I was dreaming about a railway carriage. It was an old style carriage, usually referred to as a mk1, or "slam door". Now the weird thing is that I don't think I actually saw it in the dream. Instead of being like a movie, my dream was more like listening to a radio play that evokes images in the mind. The contents of the dream were about this carriage being remotely controlled. At least stuff inside it, including the toilet flush were remote controlled. The carriage itself didn't move.

 This morning I am feel moderately good. Some of that good feeling is in the mind as a result of the forecast for lots of warm sunshine, and some of the good feeling just seems to be how I've been feeling lately. The more I think about it, the more I wonder if it is that good. Various bits ache as usual, but maybe not as much, or that is what I am doing my best to convince myself of. I don't think my chest is fully recovered from the cold and damp last week. It's not too bad, but it has been better.

 Another of the things I bought from Aldi yesterday was some fish oil capsules. In theory they could help to lubricate some stiff joints. The main one I hope they will help is my right hip joint. I only took the second dose this morning, and while my hip doesn't seem too bad, I am hoping it will be even better after a few more daily doses. Maybe that fish oil will help some lower back pain I seem to have this morning. It's not one of my regular aches, but it does pop up from time to time. It's probably the result of all my inactivity yesterday.

 There are a few things I may do tonight. Eating in a more healthy way might be a possibility. I certainly have a few more photos from Saturday night to "process", and if I really feel enthusiastic I have towel to wash. It would feel good to get an early night, but, as I said earlier, with sunset now so late in the evening, it is difficult to get restful until after sunset.
Sunday 21st May  2017
 14:16 BST

  I spent a lot of time editing photos on my PC yesterday, and I wasn't paying too much attention to the weather, but I think it was fairly good, and the rain that was forecast in the early afternoon didn't fall, or if it did it did it quite discretely. It wasn't exactly warm yesterday, but the temperature was high enough to not be chilly. It wasn't as good as today is turning out to be.....
the weather is getting
                  better again
 This weather forecast is proving to be unusually accurate today. As forecast, we lost the sunshine at 2pm, but with luck it will be back at 4pm, and then hit full brightness for the last few hours before sunset. Tomorrow is looking very good, and it would be rather lovely if the forecast stays about right until next Thursday, and ideally beyond then too.

 Yesterday I faced the task of selecting the best photos from Friday night, and do the necessaries to them for public display. I was partly saved from this task because my computer was rather busy backing up my home partition to a brand new 2TB USB hard disk I took delivery of on Friday. It took 8 hours to copy every single one of my files to the back up disk, and that was probably rather longer than I anticipated.  Once the task had finished I had a few hours to go through nearly half the pictures I took.
Chain playing at a
                  retirement party
 Here's one of the pictures. It is of Chain who did two sets during the evening to the great delight of many who were at the party. I didn't finish editing those photos until late this morning, but they are now safely uploaded to a well known social media site.

 I am not sure what it was yesterday, but I felt very tired  yesterday. Not so much "sleepy" tired, but just a sort of "couldn't care" fatigue. I couldn't be bothered to go and do any shopping as I suggested I might, but I did wash a weeks worth or work shirts. Other than that I mostly lolled about either reading on my bed, or trying, but not succeeding in having a nap or three.

 At 7pm I thought I ought to get myself ready to go out to a gig at The Black Cat. It turned out to be a very enjoyable evening - excepting a few things - and it also turned up a very strange peculiarity. More of which later. The band who were playing were Red Post Hill. They are a strange band in as much as they are, or seem to be intentionally very amateurish. They are in it for a laugh as much as any other reason.
Red Post Hill
 Red Post Hill are a 6 piece band with an occasional seventh member. In the centre of the picture above Gary Whelan shares some of the vocals with Malcolm Butler to the right of him. The most amateurish thing they did was to cover Rod Stewarts "Maggie May". While the guitarist seemed to often playing different chords, the two singers tried singing the wrong words at various times, and often out of tune with each other.

 It sounds like it was crap, and technically it was, but they knew it was going wrong, and made light of it. What they may lack in musicianship they make up for in being very good showmen. Some of their stuff was actually very good, but there was one thing that was a crime against humanity ! The band seems to have acquired their very own Yoko Ono. I presume she is one of the bands girlfriends or wives. Sadly she can't sing to save her own life ! The absolute tragedy was that she attempted to sing Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide". When sung properly it is a very, very beautiful song, but last night it was like nails down a blackboard. She was accompanied by the two guitarists semi-emulating acoustic guitar playing, and thankfully they were roughly in tune. I probably know the tune best not from the Fleetwood Mac album, but from Jo Corteen (from Chain). She plays both guitar parts herself while singing in tune !

 Despite pointing out the many flaws, it was actually a very enjoyable evening - it must have been because I stayed to the very end ! It was coming home when another great revelation came to me. For some reason I decided I would wear my purple Van trainers to the gig. One significant reason for this was because for some unknown reason my usual black Converse trainers felt strangely uncomfortable when I came home from the party on Friday night. I tend not to wear my Vans trainers very much because they seem uncomfortable, although I am sure they never used to many years ago. Last night my purple Vans seemed so comfortable that I was hardly aware I had them on !

 When I got home from the pub I could probably have found something better, but I treated myself to a small Aldi own brand lamb curry, and it was exceptionally delicious - probably in way that only late night curry about lots of Guinness can be. I slept OK after that, but once again not for long enough - or at least not for as long as I thought I deserved.  I think it wasn't all that long after 6am, or after about 5 hours sleep, that I started to consider finishing off the photo editing for Friday night's pictures.

 Those pictures are all done, and sent to Denise - whose retirement party it was. Interspersed in the photo editing was a bit of laundry. I washed some odds and ends that included a t-short that was superficially clean, but hadn't been worn for so long that it was still tainted with cigarette smoke. Once all that was hanging up to dry, and with the photos finished, I went and did what I intended to do yesterday - shopping !

 I went to Aldi where I bought all sorts of stuff including a frozen strawberry cheesecake that is going to send my blood glucose level soaring. Luckily most of the other stuff I bought was far more benign - except for more popsicles. I haven't even started on the other alcoholic popsicles yet, but I bought spare packs of both the gin and prosecco flavours. I now have lots of tempting things in the fridge, but I have to try and not eat too many of them, or indeed any of them in case I get given any Thai food tonight. It is a long wait until about 7pm - which is about the time that my neighbour has knocked on my door on previous occasions when she has had left overs from the market stall for me.

 All I have to do now is to try and avoid thinking about food, try to have a snooze or two, and do all the photo editing for last night's pictures. All too soon it will be time to get up in the morning to go to work again !
Saturday 20th May  2017
 08:30 BST

  I was fully expecting it to be pouring with rain when I left work yesterday, but it seems we got the sunshine option. There wasn't much sunshine, but it was definitely bright and dry. Unfortunately it felt a bit on the cool side. Not actually cold, or chilly, but getting close to it.
how today may turn out
 This is how today is predicted to turn out. The first thing that is wrong with this forecast is that it was only a smidgen over 8° C at daybreak, and the temperature is struggling to rise to 11° C even now. However it is nice and bright, and there have been sunny spells ever since sunrise, but maybe not the pure sunshine that the forecast seems to promise. It is going to be a shame if it rains at the start of the afternoon. I hope it stays dry, and I hope we can look forward to more the 16° C today. Tomorrow may be a few degrees warmer, maybe 19° C, and the afternoon may be much sunnier.

 It seems that yesterday was yet another day where I was generally comfortable at work. I even enjoyed a little bit of work, but I did very little of it. A big chunk of my morning went on one of the regular (usually monthly) One-2-One meetings with my line manager. It was scheduled from 10:30am to 11:30am, although many last less than the hour. This was the situation at 10:35am.
alone in a meeting room
 You may notice an absence of anyone. I was there to take the picture, but my line manager was nowhere to be seen. At 10:45 I got bored and went to find him. As usual he had got into a long conversation with someone and had completely forgotten about me. I dragged him away, and our meeting started 20 minutes late. It also finished a whole hour late in a different room because someone else had booked our meeting room from 11:30 when our meeting was supposed to end.

 During that extra long meeting we discussed photography, music, gigs, and as we both share an inheritance of once working for British Telecom, we reminisced about those times too. Work was mentioned, but only briefly. The most significant thing about work was about my future intentions. I told him I do not intend to struggle into work when engineering works at Waterloo or London Bridge effectively wipe out my usual train services for most of August. I said that at the least I would be taking a month of unpaid leave during August, and that I was seriously considering handing in my resignation at the end of June so I could work my period of notice during July. Like a fool he started telling me how essential I was to the business. In theory, if I chose to use it, gives me an incredible amount of power over the company. Maybe I do use it anyway - I sometimes get away with murder - like those occasional days when I come, and get paid for doing absolutely nothing all day because I just can't be bothered. The trouble is that when something is needed, I can be bothered, and generally do an efficient job of it. I just can't be bothered looking around for work if I can put my feet up !

 The cold and the damp recently are taking their toll on me. I wanted to have a lot of energy when I left work to go home yesterday, but I felt stupidly creaky and lacking in energy. So there was no rushing around to try and catch the impossible train. I just strolled over to Waterloo East and quietly waited until my usual 16:05pm train arrived. One reason for wanting to rush was that Patricia was going to pop in for a while once I got home.
testing gin
 I think Patricia arrived at just gone 5pm, and that gave me about 15 minutes to rush around tidying things up, and polishing some glasses. Apart from catching up on 6 months worth of news we tested two of the gins I have been collecting ever since Patricia told me she had discovered gin, and what a lovely summer drink it was. We only tried two out of the 7 miniature bottles of I had, and it was Tanquerray and the Gordons that we tried. That leaves 5 for a future visit. I am not a great gin drinker, and I definitely don't drink it neat like I do whiskey, but with tonic it is a nice drink.

 Soon after 6.30pm I threw Patricia out so I could frantically get ready to go to a retirement party being held within a private club in the grounds of Lewisham Hospital. The place was dangerously near the "hall of doom" - the gym like place where I did one session of cardiac rehabilitation exercises in the care of the nasty cardiac rehabilitation nurse, and her two evil PE instructor henchmen. I only did one session because it seemed far easier to do than commuting, and I was just about to go back to work after my quad heart bypass operation.

 I am not a great one for parties, and doubly so when I knew about 5% of the people there - and the 4 members of Chain made up about half that 5% ! However it was a nice time, and it was a convenient chance to see a Chain gig almost on my doorstep. I am glad it was on my door step too. I left early, at about 10pm if I guess correctly, and walking home really seemed like a horrible slog. One horrible aspect of it was I could not just feel, but hear all the Guinness swilling around in my empty stomach. There was food at the party, and I did have two small triangular sandwiches, and a one cocktail sausage, but that was all since I had eaten the night before. I think I am almost justified in buying some chicken and fries on the way home !

 Once I got home, and could take the weight off my feet, and I could relax, I felt considerably better. I think I was in bed, and fast asleep around midnight. If I recall correctly, I slept non stop until my stupid brain woke me up at 5am, and I didn't manage to get back to sleep again. I think I might need a few power naps today - if I can manage to fall asleep - which I probably can if I start reading and let my mind drift away from reality.

 One of the things I must do soon is to have a wash and get dressed properly. At some point I ought to wash my work shirts and some underwear. I feel like I would like to go to Lidl today. I haven't been there for some time, but I don't know if I can be bothered. I might just go to Tesco for a few bits and pieces, or maybe Iceland could be a novel diversion. Tonight there is a gig on in The Black Cat - at least I think there is - the advertising of it is barely noticeable. Much of my day will actually be taken up by selecting and editing photos I took last night. I was sort of unofficial official photographer last night. So I hope I got some good snaps. I am rather worried about some of the important ones I took - they look a little soft focus because I didn't have the focus area set optimally. Fingers crossed I'll be able to extract some good shots from among the bad.
Friday 19th May  2017
 08:11 BST

  The trouble with yesterday is that the forecast got one very important thing very wrong ! The forecast was right about it being a gloomy day, and it probably got the temperature about right, but it got the timing for the evening rain completely wrong ! It promised us faithfully that it would not rain until 7pm - when I would be safely indoors with no need to go out again. In reality it started raining a little after 3pm, and it was lucky that I had a left a spare rain coat in the rucksack I brought to work some days ago in expectation of an order from amazon arriving. I didn't need a coat in the morning.
today looks
                  pretty grim
 This screenshot starts a bit late to show that I needed a raincoat to come to work. At 6.15am, when I walked to the station, it was just 9° C, and while the rain wasn't heavy, it was most definitely raining. It had stopped by the time I arrived here in Earlsfield, but everything was horribly grey and soggy. It looks as if it is going to be pretty grey all day today. It seems that I might go home in a sunny spell, or I might go home in rain, or probably both ! There could be a lull in the rain in the early evening, but it is going to be a wet night. Tomorrow might be quite sunny apart from a few showers around midday.

 It is surprising how grey skies, and cold wet rain sap my energy. I felt no urge to even make a token effort to catch the early train yesterday (the one I miss 999 out of 1000 times). I just plodded my way home. I still felt a bit drained when I got home, but I had things to do, and did them. The first thing was to have a sandwich to quench my hunger. Then I did my best to wash the white slip on plimsoles I had worn to work in the expectation that it would stay dry, and that they wouldn't get covered in mud from Earlsfields rotten puddle filled pavements.

 The next significant thing was to go out in the rain again to the surgery so Nurse Julia could attend to the dressing over the hole in my back where the large sebacious cyst used to be. Although there is still a small hole with a small cavity behind it, it was Nurse Julia's opinion that it didn't need any further dressings. The hole is perfectly dry, and new skin is slowly filling the cavity. She called in one the doctors for a second opinion, and he agreed with her. I've been told to come in and see someone if the hole starts to get sore, or oozing anything, but it is unlikely. In some ways I'll miss the touch of those healing hands, but in other ways it is good to regain the freedom of not having to plan my life around visits to the surgery.

 Once I got home from the surgery I fed myself with a proper dinner - two Aberdeen Angus beef burgers and some herb enriched new potatoes - and then did very little. On second thoughts I must have done something because I wasn't in bed until 9pm. I think that something was watching a bit of TV, but it wasn't inspiring or memorable. It didn't take long to fall asleep when I got into bed, and it was another night when it seems like I should have had a good sleep. I have the very vaguest recollection of getting up for a pee sometime in the night, but it is so vague that it might have been a dream.

a delayed train
                that wasn't delayed If I recall correctly, I woke up 30 seconds before my alarm sounded. I was just turning over to try and get back to sleep when my alarm sounded, and I had to get out of bed. As soon as I sat up on the side of my bed my left calf muscle started to cramp, but stopped as soon as I stood up.

 I didn't feel all that bad this morning, but the cold and damp, and rain soon dampened my spirits, and sapped my energy. The worst thing is that it has got my chest aching again. It hasn't been that bad - mostly, but it did give every indication that it could be provoked to be much worse if I am not careful.

 One thing that I thought could make it a lot worse would have been hanging around on a cold and damp railway platform waiting for a train that appeared to have broken down. The screenshot on the left shows what should be the 16:34 train from Catford Bridge still stuck at Eden Park station at 06:35 (actual time is shown in the top right of the picture). Back in the land of reality.....I actually took this screenshot while sitting on the train, and the train had almost cleared the end of the platform as we headed towards London.

 A couple of things will be happening tonight, and neither of them seem to be eating ! Assuming there is not some great cockup on the trains, and I get home late, I will be meeting Patricia at 5pm for an hour or two of gossip. After that I am going to a retirement party in a club room that I hope I can find in the grounds of Lewisham hospital. I have been personally invited by the retiree who I am not sure if I know or not. However I do know the band that has been hired to form the entertainment. It's Chain, and while I may not know who or what to photograph, the principle reason why I was invited (or so I suspect), I am quite practiced at photographing Chain !
Thursday 18th May  2017
 08:01 BST

  There can be no doubt about it - yesterday was a horrible day. It was 50 shades of grey, and it rained - a lot. I'm not even sure about the temperature reaching 20° C being a good thing. It was so wet that it just felt hot and sticky. The only tiny good thing about yesterday was that somehow the sun managed to come out once for a few minutes around midday.
better than yesterday, but not that good
 Today is not going to be that wonderful, but it should be a lot better than yesterday. Although the weather chart doesn't show it, the clouds have been fairly broken so far this morning, and the sun has managed to briefly peep through a couple of time already. 18° C is acceptable, but could do better. The less said about the evening the better. It's a shame that the last day of my working week looks like it is going to be horrible and wet again, but there is still plenty of time for that to change, and a new weather chart redrawn in the morning !

 Yesterday was a mixed sort of day. A few bits of it were OK, and if the whole day hadn't been overlaid by depressing grey skies, I might have gone as far as describing a few minutes of the working day as being almost enjoyable. I did do a few small satisfying jobs yesterday, but there was still a lot of boredom or drudgery. I don't remember any significant discomfort of a general nature, but I did find the shoes I was wearing getting uncomfortable as the day wore on. That was a little odd because they are the same shoes I often wear to gig, and I don't recall them being uncomfortable at gigs. I wore then yesterday because they were more suited to puddles - usually in the gents at a well attended gig, but in this case because of Earlsfield's lousy, lumpy pavements !

 The very worst thing about yesterday was getting home from work. As has been the case for the last week or so, I have tried my best to race against the odds to get to platform A, Waterloo East station, in time to catch the 15:50 Hayes (Kent) train which takes me to Catford Bridge station. Once again I was so close, but not close enough. Yesterday afternoon that had implications beyond being disappointing. All I needed was for that train to be running just 90 seconds late, and I would have had no trouble at all.

 The problem was that the train that would form the 16:02 service from Charing Cross station, and arrive at Waterloo East as my usual 16:05 service, was delayed for unknown reasons on it's incoming journey to Charing Cross. The advice was that it would be running about 8 minutes late - or only about 4 minutes before the 16:17 train that was shown (and actually was) on time. Eventually there was an announcement over the Tannoy acknowledging that there was trouble with the 16:05, and that the latest advice was that it would be starting at London Bridge station. We were all advised to go over to platform C for the first train to London Bridge.

 I did this, but when I got there I started checking the timetables on my phone. It appeared, and indeed was the case, that the first train to London Bridge would arrive 2 minutes after the Hayes train had already left from a different platform at London Bridge - a platform that would need a couple of minutes to reach by going down the stairs or escalators (or lift), across the "circulating area" and back up the other side ! There was an unlikely slightest of the slight hope that the train at London Bridge might be held until we had arrived, but of course that didn't happen, and eventually we caught the train that would have been the 16:17 train from Waterloo East. The only downside was that by the time it arrived at London Bridge almost all the seats were taken, and I had to stand all the way back to Catford. On the plus side it did give me a chance to take a few snaps of London Bridge station while it is still being rebuilt.
platform 6 at
                  London Bridge looking south
 This is the view from about two thirds of the way down platform 6 looking south. At the end of the platform there is a temporary fence across the tracks. Only platforms 7, 8 and 9 are currently in use for through services at the moment. My train was from platform 7 - the right hand side of the island platform shared with platform 6.
platform 6 not in use
 I'm not entirely sure of the point of this sign. No trains can access the track served by platform 6, but in a way the platform is in use - it is used as extra space by those waiting on platform 7 when that platform gets a bit too busy and cluttered with commuters. You can see high(ish) resolution versions of these pictures, and three (or 4 ?) others I took last night at the end of my London Bridge photo album on Flickr -

  I eventually arrived home feeling rather damp, and slightly cool because of the damp. With hindsight there were two things I should have put on my mental agenda (and noted here) to do when I got home. One was to do some washing up. I still have a sink full of stinking dishes, and doing that will probably be my number two priority - top priority is another appointment with the nurse - nurse Julia if I recall correctly. The one important thing I did do was to turn down the heater for my shower. Now the weather has warmed up it was getting almost too hot to shower under. This morning it was rather pleasant !

 Some of what I ate yesterday evening was not as bad for me as some of the stuff I have eaten recently, but I still ate more than I should have. It is difficult to control your eating when eating is the only source of enjoyment for the whole day. While I did try and minimise the damage by controlling some of what I ate, I still ate more than I should if I want to try and get a bit fitter for the real summer months. I'm not sure if I could get into some of my favourite shorts at the moment, or if I could they would be comfortable enough.

 I'm clutching at straws here, but it does feel as if something I ate which I don't normally eat was responsible for suffering lots of cramp in the night. Last night I was getting cramp in my feet as well as my calf muscles. After sleeping fairly well for a few hours I had to get up at around midnight to walk around for a bit to stop the cramp. I even spent 15 minutes on my PC. Eventually everything seemed OK, and I went back to bed - where I failed to get to sleep for an unknown time that felt a lot longer than it probably was.

 I laid down in bed, and had a good wiggle until I thought I had found the most comfortable position. As I lay there I thought there was a good chance that I was about to fall asleep. Of course at that very moment a bit of hair, or maybe something imaginary started to tickle my ear. So I had to lift my head off the pillow to give my ear a scratch. Then I settled down again, or did my best to before suddenly realising I needed to pass wind ! With that over I should have been able to get to sleep, but no ! I guess everyone sniffs their own farts, and although it wasn't a head under the duvet case, I am no exception. Maybe I should have put my head under the duvet for a better sniff because sniffing the slight leakage outside the duvet made me aware of my breathing. Now there is nothing worse than trying to consciously regulate your breathing when laying in bed with no distractions around. It is far better to let your autonomous system get on with it by itself. I don't know how many seconds which felt like hours it was that I lay in bed trying to decide if I was breathing too much or two little. In that condition it should always be a pleasant surprise to wake up in the morning neither hyperventilating, or gasping for air - of course you never do, and your autonomous systems never get the praise they deserve.

 Today I feel mostly OK, and I even think I have some moderately interesting work to do today. Providing there are no cock ups on the trains tonight I might even arrive home feeling not that grumpy. If by some unlikely chance I manage to get the 15:50 train I might even be somewhere near that rare state known as happiness. I have two major plans for tonight and no minor ones. Most important is seeing nurse Julia (or is it Jane - always confuse the two), and second most important is to do something with the stinking heap of dishes in the sink !
Wednesday 17th May  2017
 07:55 BST

it was warm last night I didn't think so at first, but yesterday's weather was actually very close to what was forecast. I thought there may have been a bit more sunshine, but looking back at the screenshot I showed yesterday, it probably did show about the right amount of sunshine. The temperature came out almost spot on too. At the time I thought the peak was supposed to be 20° C, but 22° C was forecast, and that is almost exactly what my thermometer was saying (pictured on the left). That was the thermometer outside my back door. The thermometer outside the back bedroom added another 2° C to that figure, and even said it was 24° C in my bedroom. Funnily enough it didn't actually feel that hot in there, although various activities, like walking back from Aldi with heavy shopping, did leave me quite sweaty !
today is
                  going to be horrible
 I'm not sure when it started, whether it was before or after midnight, but there was copious rain during the night, and I was rather lucky that it had stopped while I made my way through all the puddles to come to work. The forecast (above) suggests there should be heavy rain right now, but it is not raining. It is very gloomy though, and it could start to rain at any moment. It might just be me, but it seems incredibly humid right now. Wearing my cheap rain coat, that doesn't let water in, or out, left me feeling very sweaty as I came to work (particularly on the train from Catford Bridge that seemed to have the heating still on). While I might applaud the temperature rising so high today, I think I will describe today's weather as bloody horrible ! Tomorrow looks like it has little to commend, and Friday could be worse. Maybe Friday will bring a ray of hope.

 I didn't feel that wonderful at work yesterday. Various bits of me hurt, I was still a tad upset about the Angela situation, and I felt very tired. During the morning I did manage to do some useful work that distracted me from the worst of my woes, but I was bored in the afternoon. It was a great relief to get out into the fresh air and head for home. Just recently I have been trying to catch an earlier train home. To do so means leaving work as early as I dare, walking to the station as fast as I can, and then trying to cross from Waterloo to Waterloo East stations at breakneck speed !

 Unfortunately there are some limitations on how fast I can go. The biggest hurdle is that I would really need to do a lot of running, and I just don't do running.....well not much, but sometimes I manage a little bit, and I did yesterday. Evidently I was not quite as fatigued as I thought I was. I made it to Earlsfield station in time to catch the train I usually just miss - when it is running a minute or two late. I think it was running to time yesterday, or had been cancelled because I didn't even spot it's tail lights in the distance.

I got this close to the train I
                wanted, but it had already started moving
That probably allowed the train I did get to arrive at Waterloo a few seconds earlier. At Waterloo the escalators were clear and I ran up them from bottom to top. I couldn't walk at top speed after that for a moment or two, but I still seemed to make good time. As I got to about the halfway point of the link between the two stations I spotted my train entering the station, and I feel certain it was slightly early. I had to force myself to run from about 20 yards from the top of the long slope down to the platform, and then headlong down the platform. I arrived on the platform just as the doors were closing. I had just enough time to get my phone out of my pocket to take the picture of the departing train. I could have touched it before it moved, but with the doors already closed I could nothing more than wave it goodbye !

 All that rushing about had very little effect on me apart from one thing, and it was a big effect ! I mentioned yesterday that my right hip is starting to get painful from time to time. It was mildly stiff and painful all the way from work to Waterloo East, but that headlong dash down to the platform really shocked it. So while the run hardly disturbed my rate of breathing, and my legs seems fairly OK, the pain from my hip became a bit annoying - particularly went it didn't really go away when I rested it.

  I think I described three things I would either definitely, or probably do yesterday. Well I am happy to say that I did all three. The first was to go to see nurse Norlin to get the dressing on my back changed. She acknowledged that it is healing well, and has at last said that she doesn't think it needs much treatment now. The other nurses at the practice have suggested that some time time, but Norlin has been stubborn about packing the hole while the skin grows from the inside to the outside, but with the hole being perfectly dry inside, and has been for almost a fortnight now, she thinks that maybe, after two more visits, tomorrow evening and Saturday morning, it will all be done and dusted.

 After seeing Norlin I went around the corner to buy some stuff from Aldi. As usual, I could not resist one little luxury, and it was ice cream. It wasn't supposed to be ice cream though. The boldest part of the label said lime sorbet, and I judged that provided it had real lime juice in it (I think it did), it should have been OK for me. I knew it would contain a lot of sugar, but I can usually eat sorbet in small portions, spread over several days or more. Unfortunately the small print also said that it contained coconut ice cream. Now that was bad, very bad - mainly because the two together were so damn nice that I couldn't put the stuff down !

 Maybe it did have a good effect though - at least I can't think of anything else that may have had this good effect. Carrying lots of heavy shopping back from Aldi left my right hip really sore. This morning I expected it to be just as sore - on recent days it has been very stiff when I first got out of bed - but this morning it is a lot less sore. Something must have caused that, and the ice cream and sorbet mixture was the only unusual thing I have consumed. It's just a shame that it has almost certainly caused other problems that I shall describe in due course.
steak with chimichurri sauce
 Along with lots more heavy canned foods, some salads, and other stuff I frequently buy, I bought the steak pictured above. To explain the significance of it I have to go back about 7 years to when my workplace was down in Wandsworth. Our workshops were on the first floor of a multi occupancy building. On the ground floor was a business called Mercado Argentino who sold mostly food and a few other things imported from Argentina. Among them was a really delicious sauce called ChimiChurri. It was a thin sauce based on vinegar and herbs. I loved it - or I loved one particular make of it. Another make was good, but not wonderful. I doubt these chimichurri beef steaks will be truly wonderful, and an Argentinian would probably laugh at them, but I hope they have a hint of wonder about them.

 The final thing I did last night was to finish washing a double duvet cover. It was hard work - more so after doing it on a full stomach - but I got it done, and let it drip dry on a clothes horse in the bath tub overnight. It was almost dry this morning, and I transferred it to a clothes horse in the living room this morning to finish drying during the day. With that last task done I retired to bed with a book. I read for at least half an hour before turning out the light. I think it may have been as late as 9.30pm before I fell asleep.

 Another strange oddity, that I shall attribute to the lime sorbet and coconut ice cream, was that as far as I can recall, I slept non stop until 4am. Maybe it was just fatigue, but it's more fun to attribute it to the magical qualities of lime sorbet, or coconut ice cream. This morning my hip feels unusually OK. It is not pain free, but the pain is less than a tenth than what it was yesterday. It's not all good news though. I can be almost 100% sure I can blame all the sugar in that ice cream and sorbet for two negative effects. First I don't feel I have much energy this morning. It was a real struggle to motivate myself to try to keep up to speed during the walking segments of coming to work. The second thing is that it has made me very sweaty. This was made worse by wearing my raincoat to work. It doesn't let water in, and it doesn't let water out. It was like a sauna inside it, and trains with the heating on when the outside temperature was 15 or 16° C didn't help ! After being here at work for over an hour now, I have finally cooled off and almost dried out !

 Tonight I am going be honest, I haven't a clue. I think I will try and stick clear of anything with sugar in it, and too many carbohydrates if I can. I know the latter will be impossible tonight because I cooked, and nearly ate, a tray of spicy potato wedges with Mounteray Jack cheese. Heaven knows how many calories it will be, and maybe I would rather not know, but I reckon they will be very nice when washed down with an ice cold can of Guinness !
Tuesday 16th May  2017
 07:32 BST

  The forecast for both the only sunshine for the day, and the only rain for the day, didn't match reality at 10am yesterday. As far as I noticed there was no rain at all yesterday, and I seem to recall there were a few sunny intervals scattered through the day......or did I just imagine that. It was certainly a mild day. It was perfectly comfortable going home from work in my short shirt sleeves, and only a bit cool when coming to work. I think the temperature probably just exceeded the forecast 16° C.
looking like a
                  warm day
 Today is looking like it might be quite nice. Even when the forecast confuses sunshine and rain, blue skies for black skies, the temperature forecast is often about right. So it looks as if it could be quite warm when I go home from work. I'm not sure if I would agree that it is 17° C quite yet, but it does feel like it will get there. At the moment the sky is clearer than the forecast suggests, and maybe the sunshine might be stronger than just some rays peeping out from behind clouds. Tomorrow is looking a bit murky with a fair amount of rain forecast, but maybe I'll get lucky.

 I felt pretty rough yesterday, but a lot of it was all in my head. The brief message I exchange with Angela, where I said I was worried that it was uncharacteristic of her to blank everybody at the pub on Sunday night, did not go down well. I feel like we are no longer even friends any more. That rather hurts. Eventually you come to realise you were flogging a dead horse, hoping that she might remember the intensity of our relationship in the mere months when it was indeed very intense, but of course real life doesn't work that way. The thing that really bothers me is that I am not convinced she is happy going down her chosen path. I am told that her two sons, and her daughter think she is doing the wrong thing, and that she was actually far more happy and relaxed when she was with me. It all makes it harder to bare.

 During the working day I had some acid indigestion, plus some other assorted aches including a headache. Without them I could have almost got some way towards enjoying work yesterday. I did a few things that I like doing, and all done at a relaxed pace, but I enjoyed going home even more ! Once again I left work as early as I dare, and arrived at Waterloo just 30 - 60 seconds late to catch the earlier train back to Catford Bridge. To soak up a bit of time I decided to use one of the cash machines to top my wallet up. I try to spend my money as fast as I can by buying photography stuff and other bits and pieces from, but it does seem my account is slowly growing. I ought to decant some more into Premium Bonds, or alternately I could stop my primary income by quitting work. Now I have no one else to spend my wages on (I had planned on taking a holiday or two this year with Angela until things fell apart), the idea of quitting work seems an ever stronger idea.

 I don't think I felt depressed as such when I got home from work. I think I have been beyond, or sideways from that for quite some time, but I most definitely had a gloomy feeling of despair, and it affected me in almost the usual way, but with a twist. My moods affect my appetite most profoundly, and generally in the worst way. Last night was different in a twisted sort of way. I felt both hungry and not hungry at the same time. I think I didn't want to eat a protein heavy meal like I had on Saturday and Sunday, but I did want some sort of novelty meal just to spice up a very bland feeling evening. The final outcome of all this is that I had a reverse dinner.

 A reverse dinner, a description I have just made up on the spot, is when you start with desert, have something in the middle, and finish with a light salad. My desert starter probably made my blood glucose level shoot up into the danger area, and the sweatiness I feel this morning can no doubt be attributed to it. It consisted of a couple of big chunks of plain Madeira cake with canned mandarin segments in juice (not syrup) poured over it. It was rather nice, but I felt I needed something stronger. So for my middle course I ate as many Twiglets as I could before their sharp ends completely lacerated the roof of my mouth ! Twiglets are good. They contain lots of fibre, and are baked and generally fat free. The yeast extract flavouring contains lots of B vitamins - possibly ! I finished this strange dinner with a fairly small cheese salad.

 I had intended to go to bed quite early last night, but while I was on my bed quite early, it was just after 9pm when I got into bed. I needed to distract my brain before I tried to go to sleep. I managed this fairly well with the aid of quite a few very large whiskies, and immersing myself in some good science fiction by one of my favourite authors - Harry Harrison. The last time I noted on my clock before I fell asleep was 9:04pm. I slept for nearly three and a half hours before I woke up with an acid feeling in my stomach, and I needed a pee. I took some Settlers, had a pee, and then gave the Settlers 15 minutes to settle my stomach. It all seemed to work, and the next thing I remember was my alarm waking me at 5am.

 I know I had a variety of dreams last night, and I would guess some would include some sort of elements of my trouble with Angela, but the only one I remember seemed to be unrelated to anything I can think of. All I can remember of it was being with one or two unnamed people walking down a fenced off pathway between two fields towards the back of what I think was a vicarage. I had with my some butter that could have been mistaken for cheese. It was about the size and shape of a 440ml can of beer, and like cheese it had a rind - yet I knew it was definitely butter. I am not entirely sure why we were heading for what I think was a vicarage, but somehow the idea comes to mind that I wanted to steal some bread to put the butter on. I can't for the life of me think how any of that dream relates to real life, but I guess that's typical of many dreams.

 This morning I feel sort of OK - just the usual aches and pains, although I am a bit concerned about my right hip. It's not affecting my mobility, but after periods of inactivity it is starting to get a bit sore when I start moving again. I think I am slowly passing on from despair to "very philosophical". Maybe this time the traffic lights have been showing different aspects, but I have been down this road enough times to slowly become a bit numb to it.

 Tonight I have a possible three things to do to distract me. The foremost is to see the nurse as part of the never ending dressing changes at 5.30pm tonight. Tonight it is nurse Norlin - the only one who thinks it still needs packing and special dressing - the other nurses feel that a simple plaster, or even nothing would be sufficient. I have left a duvet cover soaking this morning, and tonight I had better try and find the energy to finish the laundry process, and get it hung up to dry. Double duvet covers are quite a challenge to do by hand, but it is at time like this that a good challenge is useful. The other thing I will probably do is to do a bit of shopping in Aldi after I've seen the nurse. I must be careful not to buy anything too naughty though !

 One other thing I got done last night was to upload two photo albums to Flickr. There are the pictures I took on Saturday night at the Chain gig in The Partridge pub, and the pictures I took on Sunday night at The Black Cat featuring The Midnight Flyers (or Midnight Brian, or Miranda's Flyers). These albums, and all my others,can be found here :-
Monday 15th May  2017
 07:43 BST

  I'm scratching my head trying to think what the weather was like on Saturday. As far as I can recall it was more a case of sunny intervals rather than the full on sun that had been forecast for late afternoon/early evening. It was probably better than "mild", but not noticeably warm - unless doing any physical activity. Yesterday was probably closer to warm in the afternoon. I think the temperature reached, and possibly slightly passed the 18° C forecast. It was a mostly bright day with plenty of sunny intervals. Catford remained dry, but I did hear reports of some rain a couple of miles to the south of Catford. Today is going to be horrible !  The best we can hope for is 16° C, and it is going to be a very murky day with occasional showers. If I am lucky, those showers will peter out before I leave work to go home.Tomorrow is going to be warm, and probably unpleasantly humid too. The temperature may reach 20° C, but it will be overcast all day. The really weird part of the forecast is that at 10am it will rain and the sun will come out. That will be the only time the sun will come out, and the only time it will rain. Naturally this is just fantasy, and I fully expect reality to be completely different !

 Saturday was an odd sort of day. I never did go to the surgery to see if I could book some appointments with a nurse, and so I didn't bother going to Aldi afterwards. I did try and phone the surgery, but I left it too late and they were closed. I had better ring them this morning. Apart from finishing washing my work shirts, and hanging them up to dry, I am not entirely sure how I passed the time on Saturday. I think I did lots of little odd jobs.

 One such odd job was to clean the window above my bedroom door. I can't remember the last time I did it, and it was really thickly encrusted with tar, dust, and nicotine. All the scrubbing that needed made my arms ache, but it's done now for the next 20 years ! I also did a bit of tidying and cleaning in my bedroom - but not much !  Somehow the hours passed until it was time to go to The Partridge pub in Bromley to see Chain's gig there.

 The Partridge can be good and bad, and in a way it was both on Saturday night. There is always a good atmosphere in there, and there are plenty of people I know - although many of them on little more than nodding terms. I did meet one new person there. Her name was Kerrie, and she is one of the original "Railway Children" - the name given to the players and fans who used to go to The Railway Tavern pub opposite Bromley North station before it closed down and then re-opened under new management. She was convinced I was a member too, but I never did get to see any of the gigs there. In fact I have only ever been in there once, and that was in it's new incarnation as a (mostly) non music pub.

 When the gig started there was plenty of room for me to dodge around taking photos, but as the evening wore on the place got more and more crowded. At the end of the first set there was little room to circulate easily, and I was beginning to feel quite isolated - made worse by the pubs sound system being quite loud enough to make sensible conversation difficult. So after a while I said a couple of goodbyes, and went home again. Once home I stayed up quite late preparing a couple of photos I had taken earlier. Like many pubs, there is no stage lighting apart from one lighting bar the band brought along. That was set up on one side of the band. That meant Jo, on the left was fairly well side lit, and Chris on the right, was just lost in the glare of the light. I still managed to pull a few good photos out of the gloom, although they did need a lot of noise reduction - and that can leave nasty artifacts that are visible on high resolution pictures. Sooner or later I will upload some medium resolution pictures to Flickr. One thing I have finally done is to upload the best pictures I took of The English Rogues the previous Saturday. You can find them here -

  I spent a long time yesterday going through Saturday night's photos, but I did achieve a few more things. One such thing was to go to Poundstretcher to buy, and lug home, a small four drawer, plastic "chest of drawers" and two mirrors for the spare bedroom. Once the mirrors have been hung, that room is going to look almost domesticated. Ideally it needs painting, but it doesn't look too bad, and I think that if Laura ever makes it to London from Argentina she will be fairly comfortable staying there for a week or two.

 Sunday afternoon wouldn't be Sunday afternoon if it wasn't intensely boring, and yesterday was no exception. It was made worse by the anticipation of going out to an early evening gig in The Black Cat. It wasn't really a gig though. It was actually a rehearsal. The pub is usually quiet on a Sunday night, and they suggested to Miranda that she was free to use it for rehearsals, and that is what she did. No one actually knows the name of the band she was rehearsing with. Superficially they were The Midnight Flyers, and that is actually the name they will perform under, but they have undergone some personnel changes. Their old singer has been replaced by Miranda, and they were joined by Brian on rhythm guitar. Paul, drums for both bands. That makes them half Midnight Flyers and half Life Of Brian. So various new names were bandied about - such as Midnight Brian, or Life Of Midnight.

 The only fly in the ointment last night was Angela. She came along with John, and that was a shame. As far as I am aware she blanked everybody - and there were many people there she knew. That is so unlike her. At one point it looked as if John was holding her down in her seat to stop her getting up and talking to people. Of course he was probably only cuddling her....but was he ? I know my judgement is clouded because I am jealous, but sometimes it still seems like she is in some sort of abusive relationship where she is not allowed to have an freedom to act as she wants.
Midnight Flyers/Midnight Brian/Mirandas
                  Flyers etc
 I only took a small camera (my Canon SX40) to the gig/rehearsal last night, and I had to use flash to take a few snaps. Some came out well, but not this one. Well I suppose it's not too bad, and it does show the whole band. I don't know the names of the bass player and guitarist on the left, but Miranda is out front on the mic, Paul is on drums, and Brian is sitting down with his guitar on the right.

 I thought I slept well last night, and certainly a lot better than I expected (I had a lot on my mind), but I feel rather sleepy this morning. I think I should blame it on the weather. It looks terribly dreary outside my office, and rain drops are hitting the window again. I think I can blame that for the headache I have too. Oh well, it's now less than 7 hours until I can go home again. Several things could happen tonight, but the likelihood of any of them is very small. I could be going to see the nurse if I get an appointment in time. I could get a visit from Patricia. I could get a knock on my door from my neighbour who may have tried to deliver some Thai food to me when I was out at the pub last night. I hope she kept it well chilled if she offers it to me this evening. Other than that, I feel an early night coming on.
Saturday 13th May  2017
 09:15 BST

  The sun was a bit patchy yesterday, but there definitely was some sunshine yesterday afternoon, and possibly in the morning too - but at work the time is a sort of blur. I think I just go into a sort of catatonic state until I notice it's home time ! At home time the temperature had risen to a nice shirtsleeves sort of temperature - very comfortable without feeling warm - perhaps in the region of 18° C - which is what was forecast. Once home I paid very little attention to the weather. I think there may have been some rain at some point in the night, but it was bone dry first thing this morning. It did look grey enough to rain then, but it seems to be getting brighter now,
a very rough guess of what
                  the weather may be like today
 I have a theory that we may see some sunshine before 3pm today, and evoking "Sod's Law", probably less after that time ! Just recently the weather forecasts have contained an element of truth, but it seems to only work using the time honoured theory that the next day is statistically very similar to the day before, and so tomorrow will be similar to today, but maybe, just maybe, slightly better - a degree warmer, and more sunshine.

 Yesterday was not terribly satisfying, but I have to go into extreme pessimism mode to make that statement. I will have to state that if nothing good happened at work then it was a bad day......oh OK, I'll concede that it just wasn't a good day, but I can inject more pessimism into the narrative by moving on to my journey home from work. I left work as early as I thought I could get away with, but despite trying to rush as fast as possible I still only managed to get the same train from Earlsfield that arrives at Waterloo just in time for me to miss an earlier train back to Catford Bridge by 30 seconds - and that is after trying to cross from Waterloo to Waterloo East as fast I could manage !

 So I caught my normal train home, and arrived with plenty of time to prepare myself for my appointment with Nurse Norlin at 6pm. I think I only did one thing that was useful in the time available to me, and that was to swap my PC keyboard for a nice clean one that I had salvaged from the WEEE (waste electrical equipment  e? bin. It feels quite strange typing this on a clean keyboard with clearly marked keys. I realise this is getting away from my pessimistic prose, but I felt that I was getting quite proficient at typing without having to read the keys. I won't say "not looking at the keys" like a touch typist because if I don't look at the physical location of the keys I invariably miss them - or even the whole keyboard !

 My appointment with Nurse Norlin was a disappointment treatment wise. In one other respect it was quite good. A ransomeware attack on the NHS core computers meant that there was no computer system running at the surgery. This seemed to result in a more efficient system ! My arrival was noted on a piece of paper in reception, but all the nurses and doctors had to go out to the waiting area to call their patients in. My nurse was actually taking some paperwork to reception when she spotted me waiting. Once she had dropped off that paperwork she signalled me to follow her, and I was probably seen a good 5 minutes early.

 She was very quick renewing my dressing, and I was back out on the street at about three minutes past my official appointment time of 6pm. That was the good news. The bad news is that she disagreed with Nurse Anne who I saw on Wednesday night. Anne thought that after last night I wouldn't need any more dressings. The wound has been dry for well over a week now, and the hole is slowly closing up, but nurse Norlin insisted that she still needed to pack the hole, before putting on a full dressing again. She wanted me to make appointments for three time next week so she can continue the treatment. It is no bother to go along there after work for a quick 15 minute or less session (often including waiting time), and it is perfectly painless (and has been for the last three or four weeks), but I think I am getting bored with it.

 My next disappointment should not really be classified as such, and if I was feeling in a more optimistic mood could have been described as a delight, but I feel sort of gloomy or depressed lately. At about 7pm there was a ring at my door doorbell. It was the lady next door, and she had some free Thai food for me again. I thanked her profusely, and then went inside to examine what she had brought me. It feels wrong to be disappointed about it, and that in itself is depressing, but it wasn't as good as previous freebies. It was obvious it really was the scraping at the end of the day. The containers were at least two thirds rice (instead of about 50 - 50), and the non rice bit was rather dry. It was still nice, and I am very grateful for it, but I was hoping for something wonderful again.

 I think it could have been as early as 8pm that I was so bored that I lay on my bed to start reading. I didn't seem to read that much before my eyelids started to droop. I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't before 8.30p that I put the book down and fell asleep. It was about 9.30pm when I woke up and decided I ought to brush my teeth before going to bed properly. Including my pre-sleep sleep, I slept in three parts last night, and all of them seemed like good sleep to me. Best of all, and I know this departs from the miserable narrative I am trying to do, I didn't suffer from any cramp last night ! To approximate times I slept from 8.30pm to 9.30pm, and then from 9.45pm to 4am. I got up for a while at 4am, but was back in bed, and fast asleep by at least 6am, and probably earlier. I finally woke and got up at, if I recall correctly, 8.25am.

 There are some things I have to do today, but maybe only one thing I want to do. I have already done all the washing up, and I have put in a weeks worth of work shirts to soak. After I finish writing this I will do all the rinsing, wringing, conditioning, and hanging them up to dry. After that I had better wash myself. Maybe the next thing I ought to do is to go along to the surgery and see if I can book some appointments for next week. I could go straight into Aldi afterwards, although there is not much I need from there, and I am not sure I want to risk the temptation !

 The first thing I want to do today, although not with 100% enthusiasm, is to go along to The Partridge pub in Bromley to watch, and photograph a Chain gig. The Partridge is yet another pub where the layout really annoys me. If I could stop trying to be a photographer, and find a nice single viewpoint where I can see some of the band I would be happy, but I think I am addicted to photography. Worse than that is that my "fans" are addicted to my photography, and will be looking for some nice photos if they see me there. It is feeling like it is going to be one of those gigs where I'll spend an hour or so there, and then go home on my own early.
Friday 12th May  2017
 08:08 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday overestimated the amount of sunshine, and underestimated the temperature. A lot of yesterday was forecast to have either outright sunshine or sunny intervals (maybe sunny spells too). There was a little bit of sunshine, but only a very little ! On the plus side, I think the temperature may have hit 20° C, or 2° C higher than forecasted. Today has got off to a good and bad start. It was 13° C, as forecast, but someone stole the sunshine again.
screenshot of weather forecast on mobile phone
 I took today's screenshot from my mobile phone for a change. I did this because I was sitting on the 07:03 train at Waterloo station waiting for it to depart, and wondering why it was so dull and gloomy.  The pictogram for 07:00 clearly suggests there should be some sort of sunshine, but I think the dark looking cloud for 09:00 would be more apt. It had been raining when I got up this morning, and from the colour of the clouds I feel I was quite lucky to get to work without being rained on. I just hope that the sun does finally break through. Oddly enough, as we approach that first black cloud at 09:00, it does seem like it is brightening up ! Tomorrow and Sunday may be slightly warmer, and slightly more sunny than today, or maybe they won't !

 There's not much to say about work yesterday. I didn't enjoy it, but it wasn't awful. My spirits were very slightly lifted by the idea that there was a very small chance that I might see my friend Patricia last night. Unfortunately that didn't happen, and I'll have to wait until next week sometime before I see her for the first time since late last summer. To make myself available in case she had the time to see me I missed out on my Thursday night drink, and so did several of the others for various reasons. I partly made up for it by opening a couple of cans of Guinness.

 One of only two notable things I did last night was to eat, and I ate a lot ! My basic idea was to eat some fish, ideally oily fish, to see if it helped a few aching joints - principally my right hip. I started off with a tin of herring in a rather bizarre curry and pineapple sauce. I had that with some salad leaves, a couple of small tomatoes, and some croutons. It made for a bizzare, but not too unpleasant snack/starter. It is what I had next that lead me to over do it.

 Hidden in the back of my freezer, and quite possibly well after their use by date, was a bag of "wild Alaskan salmon fillets". I have no idea how long they had been in there but while they seemed in good condition, I thought it wise to use them up. Ideally I would have cooked just a couple and padded the meal out with something like some peas, but I decided I would just dress them with tartare or tomato sauce, and eat them with nothing more. One of the fillets seemed to have a slightly odd taste so I discarded it, but the rest I stuff down, and felt over stuffed for the rest of the evening !

 The other thing of note that I did was to watch the first episode of "The Secret Service". This was a Gerry Anderson series using both puppets and live action that I hadn't even heard of until recently. So I ordered a DVD set of all the 13 episodes made, and started to watch it last night. I have to say it doesn't evoke the same excitement that Thunderbirds, or even Captain Scarlet did, but it wasn't that bad. I do feel I might have to force myself to watch every single episode !

 I think I probably slept a bit better last night, but it was still far from ideal. One good thing, or I hope it is a good thing, is that it seems like the cramps I having been getting in my calf muscles seemed to have peaked the previous night, and I suffered from them less last night. Of course it may have been because I found the cramping seemed to start when I didn't keep my legs straight. On the other hand it is impossible to consciously keep your legs straight when fast asleep, and so I hope that my theory about being past the peak, and it going away again is correct.

 I feel that if I had been able to, I would have got up for an hour or so this morning, and then gone back to bed for, hopefully, at least another full hours sleep - ideally another 2 or 3 hours. Apart from a weary, end of the week, feeling of fatigue, I probably don't feel too bad this morning. I was OK at moving at average commuter speeds, but I didn't really fancy racing anybody on my way into work. My walk from the station to work seemed almost sedate, and yet I don't think it took more than 20 seconds longer ! Make me wonder why I rush sometimes.

 This evening I have what may be my final visit to the nurse to look forward to. I can also look forward to being exceedingly lazy tonight. I am going nowhere, and seeing no on - except possibly, if I am very lucky, my next door neighbour. It is possible that I may get some more free Thai food, but it all hangs on how much they sell at the Greenwich market stall. If there is less sunshine than the forecast suggest there may be, which is entirely possible, it may cut down on the number of tourists in Greenwich, and there will be food aplenty at the end of the day. Maybe I can be a glutton again tonight, or maybe I will save a meals worth for tomorrow, or maybe I will have to do my own cooking on both days.
Thursday 11th May  2017
 07:42 BST

  Recent weather forecasts seem to be closer to reality than they were a few weeks, or maybe even a single week ago. The main difference seems to be in the early morning temperature. Maybe my garden is in a special cold spot or something, but yesterday my thermometers said it was 2° C cooler than the forecast temperature - and it felt it too ! The rest of the forecast seemed about right. There was a lot of sunshine, and the temperature peaked at around 16° C, although a bit of wind took the edge off that 16° C.
looking like it should be a nice day
Just 8 degrees this morning At 6am the forecast predicted 9° C and bright sunshine. It was actually lightly overcast, and as you can see it was only 8.1° C at 6:19am. Half an hour earlier it was just 7.4° C ! There was some sunshine while I was on my to work, but the sky is looking very milky white at the moment - it is supposed to be sunny ! Hopefully reality will catch up with the forecast before I leave work to go home. Hopefully reality will not march off in the other direction and rain on us because I haven't brought a coat to work today. I am rather relying on it being a glorious sunny 19° C when I go home after work.

 Tomorrow is definitely looking bad. It is forecast to start raining at midnight tonight, and it could be raining when I come to work, and when I am going home. The only slight saving grace is that it shouldn't be too cold.

 Yesterday was another day at work that wasn't too bad, but I did feel quite sleepy from time to time. Going home was a bit like the day before - I felt I had to push myself to walk as fast as I prefer, and to run up the escalators. I think I need another weekend to rejuvenate my energy cells urgently ! Once I got home I felt a bit bored. I didn't have any TVs to lug around, I didn't have any mouse dropping to hoover up. If I didn't have to see the nurse I could have had a visitor, and preparing for her would have kept me busy. The visitor would have been Patricia, but it looks like I'll have to wait until next week to see her now.

 The news from the nurse was good. There is still a small hole in my back, but it is dry, and so small that it is not worth packing with AquaCel (the wick like stuff that help draw any seepage from the wound). She thinks that my appointment with a different nurse after work on Friday might be the last time I will have to see any of the nurses - for this session of treatment, although I have no doubt they will soon be wanting to irritate me with some general checkup for something or another. There could be one minor deviation to this idea. If the nurse on Friday decides to put one last dressing, probably just an ordinary waterproof sticking plaster, over the wound, I might need a very quick appointment to just have it peeled off me. I can just about reach the sticking plaster on there now, but I am not sure if I could get enough grip on it to pull it off !

 Once I got home from the surgery I could eat. In theory I should have been eating very lightly. It might have been important because I ordered two new pairs of jeans yesterday, and I am always dubious about the fit. I have two pairs of jeans at home that say they are the same size as pairs that I can wear, but there is no way I can ever do them up without using industrial machinery to help me. One day I might be able to wear them, but it will take months of dieting, maybe years ! Hopefully the new jeans will be OK. They have some elastic in the waist band to overcome "slight discrepancies" !

 Last night I felt in the wrong sort of mood to eat lightly, but I did sort of try to be careful what I ate. The tandoori chicken (that was nothing like tandoori chicken as we know it) was alleged to be a healthy eating meal. It probably was. The chicken was skinless, and hadn't been marinaded in any oil, and it was cooked in a water based tomato and onion (and other stuff) gravy. I ate that with no rice or anything. I also ate a small, but full fat Chicken Tikka Masala. That was probably rather less healthy, but it was smallish, and once again I ate it as it was with no rice. The other thing I ate, mainly because it was just on it's best before date, was a small tub of bean and chilli salad. That will probably give me the farts later, but should have been fairly low in stuff I ought to avoid.

 It wasn't long after eating that I decided I was both bored, and tired. So I went to bed. This was probably about 8.30pm. I was kept awake for about 20 minutes by a series of incoming text messages, but I feel sure I was fast asleep before 9pm.  I think I had a fairly rotten night. Sometimes it felt like I was dreaming the whole night. I had all sorts of dreams. Most were rather unexciting. The only slightly good one was set here at work, and for some reason my old workmate, the young lady from Spain, came into the room topless ! Sadly there was someone standing in front of her, and I only caught a glance at her boobs. Most of my dreams are very disappointing in that subject area !

 This morning I don't feel terrible, but nor do I feel good. I think I feel a bit drained and too tired to moan about all my usual aches and pains. One thing that I will grudgingly admit is good is that I seem to have no bad after effects to all the cramp I had in my calf muscles during the night. I woke up quite a few times with those muscles threatening to go into agonising cramps. On each occasion I managed to get out of bed, and put some weight on my legs before those muscles locked up tight. I do feel a very strong urge to go back to sleep now.

 Tonight would traditionally be boozing night, but I might give it a miss tonight. There is a small chance that I might be able to see Patricia tonight. She is attending a training course today, and if it ends early enough, and if it hasn't exhausted her, she may pop by, but the chances are quite small. If I do see her we will probably indulge in a few gin and tonics, and possibly one of those gin popsicles I mentioned a couple of days ago.
Wednesday 10th May  2017
 08:09 BST

  The forecast for yesterday made no mention of sunshine, and if anything it seemed to suggest the opposite, but the reality was that yesterday afternoon was often quite sunny. It didn't really do much for the temperature though.......or on second thoughts it may have been very slightly better than the 13° C that was forecast.
it's going
                  to be sunny today
 I don't really dare to see if the forecast has changed since I took this screenshot a little after 5am this morning. It probably has changed a bit because I can already see an error. At 6am the forecast said light cloud, and 8° C....
blue sky and just 6 degrees
 As I walked to the station the sky was gin clear blue. The only downside was that it was a bloody chilly 6° C ! With 16° C forecast for this afternoon I could have been tempted to leave my coat at home of it wasn't so damn cold this morning. It's looking like the next few days should see 18° C in the afternoon. Tomorrow is supposed to start off at 12° C, and that doesn't need a coat unless it is grey and overcast, which it might be, and blowing a gale, which is less likely, but still possible. Oh well, summer will be here one day.
feed me to the foxes
I was rather taken with this little news item in The Metro yesterday. Joanna Lumley, who has always seemed as sensible as she is good looking, has stated that when she dies she would like to offer any of her "nice bits" to medicine, and anything left over can be fed to the foxes. That has been pretty much my own thoughts for the last 10 or even 20 years, although I had suggested chopping me up into tins of cat and dog food, but I like the idea of being fox food. I might suggest a small refinement though. Just feed the nice juicy bits to the foxes, and let the magpies and crows fight over the bits left on my bones. (Magpies and crows being the closest we have to vultures around these parts). I think there is something terribly morbid about wanting to hang on to dead bodies, and then spend fortunes on brass brackets on polished teak wood boxes to keep them in. They are dead, and should just be treated as rubbish - particularly so in this day and age where, with careful backups, memories can be kept alive as video, audio or picture files.

  I don't know what is going on. Yesterday was another day at work that I can't find sufficient things to moan about. That's not to say there was anything good about the day. On the whole it was bland. Nothing exciting happened, and nothing bad happened. I didn't feel wonderful, but apart from a few twinges, and a few creaks, I felt basically comfortable. What was a change was that I didn't feel quite so energetic (to a minor degree) when I left work to go home. I still ran up the escalator at Waterloo, but it didn't bring any joy - maybe because I consciously had to push myself to do it.

 When I got home again I felt a bit tired, but not in a sleepy way. It was more in a "bleaurgh, I can't be bothered" sort of way. So I had some food and thought about it, and then I had some more food. Eventually I decided I just had to go and hoover up the mess left where the old TV had been standing before I threw it in next door's skip. I did find that once I started to tackle that I went a bit further than I needed to, and cleaned a bigger area than was strictly necessary. That entailed chucking a few more bits in the skip, but they were considerably smaller than the TV's, and I could have hidden them at the bottom of the wheelie bin under some smelly rubbish if I didn't have access to a skip.

 Once I had cleaned up I went back to my PC and ate a bit more. I seem to make it sound like I ate a lot last night, but in fact in terms of physical quantities I ate quite moderately. Unfortunately some of what I ate I shouldn't have ! The worst was the two mini ice cream and chocolate lollies - lots of fat, and horrendous amounts of sugar. I blame what I ate first for falling into such temptation. That first, and perhaps only true meal was a goats cheese salad. It was fairly small, and if I hadn't splattered it with a generous amount of pesto flavoured mayonnaise it could be called a very low everything healthy meal. I'm sure I must have eaten something else apart from the salad, the lollies, and a very large handful of peanuts, but I can't think what it was. Maybe that was all I ate !

 Despite these occasional, or maybe a bit more than occasional, naughty foods, I think I am very, very, very slowly loosing a bit of weight. I don't think that my gut is overhanging my belt that much recently, and I reckon if I pulled really hard I could do my belt up an extra notch - which I would have to make because it is on it's tightest notch already, and it is beginning to feel very slightly loose. I am contemplating ordering some new jeans today in a smaller size. The jeans I have on today have an elasticated waist band, and I can overlap the the top button and buttonhole by almost 5 inches. I think it might be dangerous to go for jeans 4 inches smaller in case they are less elasticated, but 2 inches should be quite safe, and probably still OK if they are not elasticated at all.

 There is only one thing happening tonight, and that is I have another appointment with the nurse at just after 6.30pm (the slightly strange time of 6.38pm to be exact). I'm not sure what I will do before or after that. Maybe before that I will do some light tidying up in my bedroom, but afterwards I will probably eat dinner, watch some TV, and then go to bed again. Sometimes I can barely stand the excitement in my life !
Tuesday 9th May  2017
 08:31 BST

  It wasn't as bad as the weather forecast predicted yesterday. It may have been a degree warmer, but it was definitely brighter than the forecast suggested. I am sure I can remember a few brief sunny intervals when the forecast reckoned we would be sitting under thick clouds. Maybe today might be similar.....
                  prediction for today
 .....or maybe it won't ! Tomorrow is looking promising with sunny intervals and slightly warmer. If it should be that rare occasion when the prediction actually comes true, Saturday is looking closer to what I would hope this time of year should be like. It could almost be warm enough from Thursday to come to work in the morning with wearing a coat !

 Yesterday was one of those days when work was bland in the extreme. I did just enough work to keep from being too bored, and nothing really annoyed me....much. I guess it was one of the better days, but it was still a great relief to go home again. Going home had the potential to be boring. Maybe more the telling of the tale again rather than actually boring. Once again the walk to the station was boring but not particularly taxing, and once again I ran up the escalator at Waterloo because I could.

 Things were far from boring when I got home ! As my neighbour had told me would happen, there was a nice empty skip outside his house, and I had the opportunity to add a few items - namely two old 19 or 20 inch TV sets. I didn't actually want to dump them while the builders were still there, but I did extract the two TVs from where they have been gathering dust for years, and get them ready to be dumped when I came back from seeing the nurse (and doing some shopping in Aldi while I was at that end of the road).

 Moving the TV that had been residing in my bedroom revealed an not unexpected pile of dust and stuff. There was nothing for it but to get out the hoover, and clean it all up. That left a nice empty space, and I filled it with a couple of those little plastic chest of drawers that had been in the spare bedroom. Where they had been was very (extremely !) dusty, and so that got a good hoovering two. Extracting the old TV from what was once, and might be again sometime in the distant future, my dining room revealed a lot of unpleasantness - old mice droppings. That back room bore the brunt of the mouse infestation I had when the cats were still alive.

 I have this theory that most of the mice I had running around were actually brought in by the cats, and they managed to escape while the cats were torturing them - and the back room is where the cats would first bring them through the window that I would leave open for the cats. I didn't have time to clear the mess up where the TV was, and I will have to do it tonight. There is other stuff in that back room that I could dump in next doors skip, and my neighbour did suggest he didn't mind how much I dumped in it, but I don't want to over do it, plus I fear what I might find behind or under two particular items I might dump !

 Doing hoovering almost straight after getting home from work must be some sort of record for me ! I did feel rather knackered after doing it, and it was lucky I had allowed enough time to wash my face and to cool down before going to get the dressing changed by one of the nurses at the surgery. It was unfortunate that it was the nurse who keeps nagging me about blood pressure. How she can expect to get a true reading when her nagging sends my blood pressure sky high is a mystery to me, and I declined her offer to take my blood pressure again !

 After seeing the nurse I went around the corner to Aldi. There was a couple of things I really wanted, and a couple of things I thought would be handy, and then just general stuff to stock up with. For some reason I seem to be stocking up on a lot of canned goods. Is this one of natures signs that it is going to be a harsh winter ? The couple of things I thought would be handy increased the size of my shopping bill a lot. They were a couple of bottles of the salted caramel flavoured vodka liqueur I mentioned a little while ago. Having tried it with Jodie on Sunday I concluded that it is very, very nice. One or both bottles may have a future existence as  christmas or birthday presents. What I really wanted was these....
boozy ice pops
 I saw mention of these alcoholic popsicles either somewhere on the internet, or in a newspaper a fortnight ago, and decided they would be a good thing to get. They are exclusive to Aldi, until someone else jumps on the bandwagon, but I couldn't find any in Aldi the last time I went there, but last night I found them lurking in a freezer in the middle of the freezers that usually have meat products in them. I haven't tried them yet, and I am waiting for someone to act as a guinea pig first !

 After lugging the shopping back from Aldi I had something to eat, and then I had little time left before it was bedtime. So I watched about half an hours worth of TV and went to bed. Apart from waking for a pee a little after midnight, I slept through to 4.30am when I woke up knowing I would never get back to sleep again for the last half hour. So I got up at 4.30am this morning. That gave me ample time to wash my hair before coming to work.

 This morning I may be feeling the effects of carrying around heavy TVs, and hoovering. I have a few mild aches beyond the usual mild aches, but none seem to be of enough significance to consider Ibuprofen or Paracetamol. The stronger thing I feel is philosophical.  I don't think it is bad enough to warrant the label "depression", but I am sort of wondering about the meaning of life, and stuff like that. 42 is a good answer, and so I am also wondering about the meaning of 42 too.

 Tonight I am..........I suppose I am hoovering up mouse droppings, and tidying up where the old TV was in the back/dining/junk room. Other than that........... I think I will spend the rest of the evening being very bored. Maybe I might indulge in a whisky or two while I am being bored.
Monday 8th May  2017
 07:46 BST

  The weekend weather could have been a lot better, but it wasn't bad. Saturday was mild enough to venture all the way to a windy hilltop in Sevenoaks, and Sunday seemed like it might have been just slightly milder still. Sunday was the sunnier of the two days, but both days were fairly bright regardless of actual sunshine. I think the temperature yesterday peaked at around 16° C, and Saturday was maybe a degree less.
forecast for today
 The forecast for today is not looking good. They got the morning temperature right - it was 8° C on my thermometer - but the amount, or type of cloud may be a little too pessimistic - or at least I hope it is. Until about 5 minutes ago I would not have said the sky was covered in thick cloud. Now I am not so sure ! The highest temperature, 14° C if you believe the summary, or just 13° C if you look at the hour-by-hour temperatures, is a bit disappointing. If any of these future predictions hold good then it's looking like Wednesday and Friday could have some attractions.

 I have had a busy weekend ! I finished off writing on Saturday morning by saying I didn't know if I would go to the shops or finish my laundry first. In the end I opted to go to the shops first, and finish the laundry second. The only thing I bought of note in the shops was some new "Original Source" Hibiscus and Pomegranate shower gel. It smells quite nice ! After I git back from shopping I finished my laundry. Once I had hung it up to dry I relaxed until it was time to go out to see Jo Corteen doing her solo acoustic set on the bandstand from the Vine Gardens Food and Drink Festival.

 I had to be there at 4pm, and I managed to get there a bit early because of two things. The first was that I got an earlier train than expected. The train before the one I intended to get was running 25 minutes late, and I was there on time to catch it. That gained me 5 minutes, and possibly a little more. The other reason was that the long hill that you have to walk up to get from the station to Vine Gardens seemed easier to walk up than on previous occasions. Admittedly I did stop a couple of times to take photos on my way up it, but even so, it still felt like less effort than previous times. Maybe I am fitter than I like to believe. You can see the pictures I took on the way up the hill, the pictures of Jo Corteen and the festival, and some snaps of a cricket match that was going on behind the bandstand, right here -

 As well as all the photography, I also took advantage of the festival to spend far too much money on buying weird stuff - mostly booze and cheese - but I also bought some fancy Scotch Eggs made with rare breed pork and assorted spices. The Thai spiced and satay (peanut) flavoured were probably the best. Some of the stuff was really expensive, and some not too bad. Five assorted cheeses for £10 didn't seem too bad, but £10 for a chunk of Lavender flavoured cheese seemed bad.
blue lavendar
                      pesto Gouda cheese
 This photograph doesn't lie - it is bright blue, or turquoise cheese, and those bits in it are lavender. It might look weird, but it is very nice. It took me some time doing internet searches until I found what it actually is. My first thought was that it was a French cheese, but it turns out it is a Dutch cheese. Specifically it is Gouda cheese flavoured with blue lavender pesto. It seems that have stocked it, but they, or the supplier who sells via amazon are out of stock.

                      flavoured vodkas
miniature bottles of special gin
 Two more expensive products - gift packs of miniature bottles of booze. The top picture is of flavoured vodkas - very weirdly flavoured vodkas. I bought these with Angela in mind - vodka is her drink - but without any realistic prospect of her visiting to try them. The lower picture is of miniatures of special gin. I bought these with Patricia in mind. There is a very real prospect of seeing her at least a couple of times before she goes back to Argentina towards the end of summer, and gin is her current favourite booze. Buying miniatures is always an expensive way to buy booze, but probably a safer prospect than buying full sized bottles of stuff that might be anywhere between bland and horrible.
Jo Corteen
                          in daylight
 This was the real reason for going to Sevenoaks - to take photographs in daylight ! It is unusual to see Jo in daylight. Normally I would see her playing on a dimly lit stage. It's only my own conceit, but I think this picture of her taken with the white background (actually over exposed white cloud) has come out extremely well. I was also very pleased with the way the pictures of the cricketers came out (see the link to Flickr above).

 I was lucky enough to get a lift back to Bickley station (one stop further out than Bromley on the line back to Catford) after the gig. I was also lucky that I only had to wait 10 minutes for the train at Bickley. On the whole it had been a rather splendid afternoon. Once I got home I had enough time to eat two Scotch Eggs, and have a short rest before going out again to The Black Cat to see The English Rogues playing there.

 It was a very enjoyable gig, and the place was not as deserted as I feared it would be. It was not a big crowd, and we probably didn't drink enough beer to fully justify the fee that the band were paid, but everyone had a good time. My experience was enhanced by a new black back drop where the bands play. It made for far better pictures of the band in action. I am told it is not actually finished yet, and it may be even better when it is. Whether that, advertised by the pictures I took, will pull in more people is open to conjecture.

 When I got back home again after the gig, which incidently Angela did not go to, I ate my other two Scotch Eggs, and soon after finishing them I had brushed my teeth, got into bed, and fallen fast asleep. I slept OK, but I would have liked to have slept on past when I actually got up. I think it wasn't that long after 7am that I got up and started looking at all the pictures I had taken. In the afternoon I had taken over 100 snaps. A few were duff, but most needed very little work to make them presentable - mostly just a bit of cropping to centre things up a bit. Then I just chose a selection of the best.

 After I had dealt with them I took a look at the pictures I had taken of The English Rogues. I think the new black background in the Black cat made me a bit shutter happy. I took 583 snaps during the gig ! That was mainly because I had the camera set to take pictures in burst mode, and each "shot" would actually be a fast sequence of 5 or 6 pictures taken in quick succession.  That allows me to choose the instant when the rapidly changing lights give the best effect, or when my subject is in best pose. Of course this does mean I have an awful lot of pictures to wade through and select the best. By the time I gave up on Sunday evening I had gone through as little as a third of them, but I did find a few pictures that seemed really good. Possibly the best I have ever taken at The Black Cat. Maybe tomorrow I'll show a couple here, and provide a link to Flickr for the rest of them.

 I did take a break from selecting/editing pictures during the afternoon. I mentioned to my friend Jodie that I had bought the turquoise cheese, and she insisted on seeing it, and trying it. She not only likes cheese, but turquoise too. In fact to say she likes turquoise is an understatement of a grand order ! So Jodie popped over for a couple of hours, tested the cheese, and we tasted a few vodkas. Then it was back to photo editing, but only for another hour before I got fed up with it.

 One of the things I hoped for last night was some more Thai food from my neighbour, but it seems that peace offering for the disruption caused by having the builders in has now ended, but I have been given a new offer. Today a new skip should arrive to replace the one that their builders have filled to well over capacity. I have been given official permission to take advantage of it, and I will be most pleased to dump a couple of old TVs in it. Other things I will be doing tonight are getting the dressing on my back changed by the nurse at the surgery, and more photo editing. I could easily give up on the latter because I already got a fair selection of pictures for a photo album, but I am sure there are some really good snaps still to be found in the 583 I took on Saturday night !
Saturday 6th May  2017
 09:14 BST

  Yesterday I said that yesterday was brighter than expected, and today I am going to say exactly the same thing, but with a bit of emphasis. Yesterday was a lot brighter than expected ! There were quite a selection of white and fluffy clouds in the sky, but the spaces between them were enough to allow many sunny periods from late morning and through the afternoon. Towards the end of the afternoon the clouds managed to just about cover the sky. It might have approached a slightly warm afternoon had it not been for a stiff breeze. This was more true between the buildings on the estate where I work. On a couple of little walks around the estate the wind was almost howling down those artificial canyons of the estate.
the weatherman's best guess
                  at today's weather
 The screenshot above is the weatherman's best guess at what today's weather will be like. Of course it keeps changing, and no one really knows what it will really be like. They did get the prediction for 12° C about right, and hopefully we will see 16° C later this afternoon, but it would be nice if there was a bit more sunshine with it. Tomorrow is looking a bit duff, but if the forecast for next Wednesday is true it could be very nice. It is a shame that we can't see the weather future any better than we can see the lottery results future. Consider this screenshot taken yesterday.
yesterday's weather
 I took this screenshot at 5pm yesterday. I am not convinced the temperature went down as low as 9° C. It reckoned that the highest temperature today would only be 15° C. Now they say it is going to be 16° C, but how do they arrive at that headline figure in the blue boxes ? The prediction for tomorrow (Sunday) is that the top temperature will be 17° C, but in the hour by hour breakdown the highest temperature is only 15° C. I find that weird, although I suppose there are a few hours between 16:00 and 19:00 when the temperature could suddenly shoot up to 17° C. Of course the revised forecast at 06:15 this morning says that the temperature will struggle up to a maximum of just 15° C tomorrow, and it could well be a very dull, dark grey day !

 The sunshine put me in a better mood yesterday, and that was highly useful because I did have one tangible, although perhaps unwarranted reason to be really annoyed, and hence depressed. I knew it was coming, and had I been feeling happier about work I could have made a good case for it not to have happened, but in accordance with a tightening up on so called "cyber security", all computer users had their administrator rights taken away. There had once been an argument, and it was a valid one, that those of us who need to install software and drivers to support programming of the processors we use in our own products, would retain administrator rights. I assume those in "Dev" (R&D) who actually write original software/firmware have retained their rights, but I just couldn't be bothered to fight for mine. I shall just refuse to install any new software, and lumber those who are possibly paid twice as much as me to do any programming and stuff that I can't do.

 It was nice when the working day was over, and I could get out into the fresh air. I did go out for a short walk a couple of times during the day, but the wind blowing around our industrial estate made it feel rather chilly despite the sunshine. Sometimes I feel that I used to walk to the station a lot faster than I did yesterday, and yet in reality it seems to take about the same time to cover the same distance. Maybe it just feels like a bit more effort is needed to attain the same speed. I guess it is good that I can raise and sustain that effort. It included running up the escalator again at Waterloo (and it was actually a run rather than a walk, albeit not a particularly fast run).

 I caught all my usual train, and so arrived back at Catford Bridge at my usual time, but I didn't go straight home. I went to the corner shop first to pick up a parcel. I can't use it for all Amazon orders, but their "Pass The Parcel" service is proving very useful - although it does cost a bit extra. That extra cost means it is hard to justify it for lower priced items, but I haven't decided what the cut-off should be.

 After bringing my parcel home I had enough time for a small snack, to brush my teeth, wipe a flannel over my face, and put on a clean shirt before going to the surgery to get the dressing changed on my back. That wound is slowly but definitely healing. It was last dressed a whole week earlier, and enough skin had re-grown to make removing the packing a bit harder. On the strength of that the nurse said that I would have to go back to getting the dressing changed three times a week. So I have evening appointments for next Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

 When I got home again I had some dinner and contemplated my plans for the evening. There were three places I could have gone to last night. Two were gigs, and one was a sort of reunion thing with a load of boring people in The Catford Bridge Tavern. I had already decided that I was not interested in that a week or two ago. I would have like to have seen Stone Blind in The Elm Tree in Elmers End. That was a special re-union gig of not boring people doing some very exciting stuff on a grand scale for a pub that was probably packed solid. It would have been easy to get to, but I don't like the way the place gets so packed.

 The third option was to go all the way, and it would either be one extremely long, extremely tedious bus ride, or two shorter extremely tedious bus rides to Locks Bottom to The Olde White Lion pub to see Chain. I definitely wanted to go to that one, but I just couldn't find the energy and enthusiasm to go out again.  Instead of going out I went to bed early, and by early I think I mean I was fast asleep by 8.30pm.

 I did my sleeping in two parts last night. Apart from one visit to the toilet, I slept right through to about 2am. At that point I seemed to be wide awake. With no reason to fight it, like having to go to work in the morning, I stayed awake for a couple of hours looking at stuff on my computer, or reading until I thought that I might be able to sleep again. I was not completely successful. I hoped I might be able to sleep through to maybe 10am, but the reality was that I got up again at about 7.30am. Oh well, that does represent a two and a half hour lie in by my usual standards.

 Today will be action, I jest, but there are a few things I think I will achieve today. I have already washed my hair and showered. I've done a small pile of washing up. I've put rather a lot of clothes in to soak to start the process of washing them. I have done one other thing that is done in the spirit of insane optimism. I have a couple of pairs of slip on, plimsole like shoes that were made in Pakistan rather than Vietnam. The Vietnamese ones are very comfortable, but the almost-but-not-quite-identical ones aren't. They seem slightly longer and slightly narrower. They canvas that the upper is made from also seems a little stiffer and harsh. I wondered what would happen if I used some fabric softener on them.  The most logical answer is nothing, but I can't say that for certain until I've tried it !

 The next things on the agenda this morning is to finish the laundry, and to pop out to the shops (probably the Pound shop). I'm not sure which order I will do those things. A little later I want to go to the Vine Gardens bandstand in Sevenoaks where Jo Corteen is doing another solo set to entertain the crowds at a food and drink festival. Then tonight, out of all the gigs I could go to, the obvious one is The English Rogues playing in The Black Cat. I expect they will be playing to an almost empty pub, and so my presence is definitely required. Plus I have seen quite a lot of Life Of Brian, who are playing in Greenwich tonight, and a change is always good. In theory Angela will be in Greenwich watching her daughter, but I wonder if she will go to The Black Cat instead. In a way I hope she doesn't, and more so if she has her new lover with her. On the other hand, it would be sort of nice to see her if she was on her own.
Friday 5th May  2017
 08:05 BST

  Yesterday was brighter than I expected it to be. The occasional sunny spells faded out soon after 1pm, but we didn't seem to get too much "thick cloud" as predicted by the weather forecast....or maybe we did. I didn't have a convenient ruler to measure it, but we didn't seem to get the deep dark gloomy skies that I would have expected with thick cloud. If I can stretch the optimism a bit more......the wind seemed lighter yesterday, and that made 13° C feel a bit more comfortable. Today might be similar to yesterday. It was 8° C when I walked to the station. That felt a bit chilly, but it was bright and sunny. As I write this there is a lot of broken cloud with plenty of nice areas of blue sky still visible. Maybe this is the "thin cloud" that was forecast. It could almost be pleasant if this continued, but I fear it won't. By 7pm the cloud is supposed to turn to thick cloud, and it may get dark and gloomy. Like yesterday, the maximum temperature is forecast to be 13° C, but it will quickly fall to 10° C as sunset approaches. Tomorrow should be a bit warmer - 15° C - and the cloud should stay thin all day.

 I did little of any significance after playing with my new video lights (that I will use for still photography) until it was time to go out for a beer. Earlier in the afternoon I was not sure if I was very keen on going out, but at the right time my keeness returned. I guess I had eaten a bit too much in the afternoon because I felt a bit bloated when I walked to the station. I guess I didn't feel so bad once I had been moving for some time.

 Perhaps having food inside me was not such a bad thing. I think it may have helped me enjoy my beer a bit more. It was actually a strangely pleasant evening, but I still decided to stick with just 3 pints of beer. Any more would have revived the bloated feeling at the same time as triggering a fierce hunger when I got home. I did have some mild hunger when I got home, but I placated that with an Aldi marinated chicken salad. I also tried a new product from Aldi. It was a smallish container of greenish grit and gravel with a 4 or 5 assorted nuts in it. The grit and gravel included some grains, some sawdust, and I think I spotted some broccoli in it !
The Shortlands
 This was last night's venue - The Shortlands Tavern - right by Shortlands station.
transport home
My train back to Catford arriving at Shortlands station 9 minutes late !
Don't do this !
Safety warning would be a lot safer if you could work out what they were warning about before you had actually done it. I spotted this one above the door to the first class area of the train home. At first I thought it might mean "don't swing on the door like a baboon", but then I thought it warned about not opening the door from the top. A further thought was that it warns against using the top of the door to steady yourself while having to stand because the train is too full to sit down. It might also warn against getting your fingers trapped if you operate the door by pulling/pushing from the top - which sort of seems unlikely. I just hope I can work out what I shouldn't be doing before I accidently do it !
 I got terribly confused when I woke up the first time after going to bed last night. I woke up wanting a pee, but otherwise I felt unusually comfortable - all warm and cosy ! I also felt like I had had a nice long sleep, and that left me very confused when I checked the clock. The digits just didn't seem to look right until I realised I had only been asleep for 2 hours, and it was still only 10.30pm (I think I was in bed and asleep by 8.30pm last night). I had my pee and went back to bed. I seemed to spend ages trying to find that comfortable position. In reality it was probably little more than 5 minutes before I fell asleep again. I then did the same thing again 2 hours later.

 This morning I feel tolerably well - on average. In more specific terms bits of me feel good, and other bits feel bad. I do seem to have a fair amount of energy, and while my legs have a certain amount of stiffness, they also seemed to have plenty of power in them. The trouble is that it is difficult to unleash that power when it feels like I am shaking my chest apart. For instance, even after a very brisk walk from Waterloo East station to my train on Waterloo station, I was able to run almost two carriage lengths to make sure I got on the front portion of the train before the doors closed. Like all the little runs I have done recently, and maybe not so recently, it doesn't feel comfortable to run, but these short runs don't seem to have much in the way of after effects. My breathing, which was deeper anyway after the brisk walking, was barely affected, and nothing but a few funny ribs, or ligaments, or scar tissue in my chest hurt for more than a minute or two. I did start to sweat 10 minutes later.

 Well it's another glorious day at work - NOT ! The good thing is that it is Friday. So once I have endured the day here I can go home to look forward to not being here for a couple of days. I have a few things on tonight. I see the nurse at 5.30pm (I thought it was 6pm until I re-checked - lucky I did !). I hope that I'll be picking up another parcel from the corner tonight. It should be a couple of DVDs ordered from Amazon. It's what come after that, that is a big unknown. If I can find the energy and enthusiasm I want to go to a Chain gig. My record of getting out on a Friday is terrible, and unfortunately the cons outweigh the pros tonight. Chain are playing in a new venue - The Olde White Lion in Locks Bottom. I am very curious to see the venue, but getting there either means a super extra mega tedious bus journey from one end of the 336 bus route to the other end - and it takes a very convoluted route ! Alternatively I can use two buses to get there, and changing buses can be super tedious too ! It doesn't sound like I will get there, but I'll try....
Thursday 4th May  2017
 12:47 BST

  The horrible greyness left me feeling quite depressed yesterday (there were other reasons, and I might mention them later). In theory it shouldn't have felt that cold yesterday, but there was enough wind to make 11° C feel a lot chillier than it actually was. Today is different - sort of !
the weather for the rest of
 This morning has been mostly overcast, but there have been a few glimpses of sunshine. The sun was shining for a few minutes just now, but sooner or later it looks like it might give up. 13° C is a bit warmer than yesterday, and I think there is less wind chill today, although there is still some. The temperature profile tomorrow is currently looking like it will be similar to today. Sadly, it will also be just as overcast, but like today, it should stay dry.

 I felt thoroughly fed up at work yesterday. The dull weather was the big trigger, but other lesser things needled me. Windows 7 (on my work PC) sometimes annoys me for reasons even I don't always know - probably because I have less control over it than I like. Having to use Outlook 365 really annoys me. Half the time it is on the verge of crashing with frequent "not responding" messages, and because it is all done online it can sometimes be very slow to react and update. Then there is my workmate, or co-worker, or the guy who frequently uses my room.

 Worse than that, he often takes over my work bench leaving me no place to do my own work. In some respects that doesn't bother me, but I do get bored sitting around doing nothing - although I wasn't totally doing nothing yesterday. I did a few small jobs for others. Stuff like crimping cables. I can do that sitting at my PC. One of the real irritations of my co-worker is that he insists in doing a lot of stuff himself that I could do better and faster myself. If he stuck to writing software, and similar stuff it would be mostly OK, but whenever he tries to do any soldering he makes a mess of it, and then I am lumbered with sorting out his mess. It would be far better if he just asked me to do it all in the first place. Most other people do, and my good reputation at work is based on doing those odd jobs quickly, accurately, and in many cases better, or prettier than originally imagined.

 Anyway, I didn't resign yesterday, although the thought kept passing through my head. Maybe the next time I am nagged about "Performance Hub" I will think about it strongly again. Performance Hub is a piece of American software (I think it is American - it has that sort of smell about it), and it's purpose is to record stuff like work objectives, and how well they have been achieved. It is also where the results and notes of monthly one-to-ones are recorded. If there is other bollocks to it as well. Ultimately it is used to guide my boss to my end of year appraisal. In turn that guides those further up the food chain to decide on bonuses and/or pay rises. To me it is just a load of intrusive bollocks. I have made my prime objective, and I think it was even accepted into the system - to come to work, to do some work, to go home again !

 It was a great relief to go home yesterday. The dull weather meant that I didn't resume that little bit of hourly exercise I started the day before, and so the first time I stretched my legs was when I was going home. After some initial stiffness I found my legs were working well again. I doubt I broke any records, but my walk to the station was fairly brisk, and once again I did a few short runs on the platform at the station. The first was to run as far down the platform as I could because the front of the train passed me as I waited for the left doors to open. I managed to run all the way from the lift to the second to last carriage before getting on the train.

 I guess the distance I ran was only in the region of 200ft, but I still find even a shirt distance like that a novelty. Once on the train I made my way toward the middle of the train - which is as far as you can go. At Clapham Junction I got off, and far enough to get on the back doors of the third carriage from the front - or just over one carriage length. When we got to Waterloo I walked briskly to the escalator, and because there was no one in front I ran to the top !

 There was no reason to do all this running as I was doing it, but it turned out to be really handy. After crossing the link to Waterloo East, also at a fairly brisk pace, I noticed that the 15:50 train was running 3 minutes late. I had just enough time to rush down the platform to arrive at my favourite boarding spot at exactly the same time as the train got there. It was the first, and only good thing that happened yesterday.

 I had threatened to get very drunk last night but that didn't happen. I had some food....well to be honest I had too much food. I tried to watch a bit of TV, but the news bored me, although I did watch some of a Time Team episode. To be a bit creative I uploaded three photo albums to Flickr. If you click here - - you can find new photo albums of Life Of Brian, Back To The Frey, and 1st Class Stamps, plus all the older albums.

 Once I had uploaded the albums, and captioned some of the pictures, I remembered that I wanted to drink lots of whisky. Unfortunately there was only time for one glass of whisky, and then it was time for bed. I didn't even have time to wash my hair - one of the things I was intending to do last night.

 I think I have given up trying to work out if I slept well or not. I have recently concluded that sometimes when I think I have slept badly I feel OK the next day, and sometimes when I think I have slept well I feel lousy the next day. I only know two things for definite about last night's sleep. The first is that I had some sort of dream that involved changing trains at Ealing Broadway station, and that I had a dinner plate and cutlery with me that needed washing up (it all seemed to make some sort of sense in the dream, but I'm blowed if I can remember what it was). The second thing is that I woke up 20 minutes before I needed to.

 Waking up a bit early was sort of handy because it gave me a bit longer to wash my hair this morning. Ultimately though it was a waste of time. My guts were feeling a little volatile this morning, although not explosively so. My hair was wet. The weather was cold and grey, and I just didn't want to go to work today. So I didn't. I slightly expanded the truth when I called work this morning. It was perfectly true that the hole in my back (where the sebacious cyst was removed) was itching, and at one point it did seem to be very slightly tender when I laid on it this morning, but I didn't seem out an extra appointment with the nurse to get it checked. I am seeing the nurse at 6pm tomorrow for real, and will get it checked than. I expect it will be the same old story - the occasional itchiness is a good thing, and it is caused by the skin re-growing.

 I guess there are three useful things I have done today that I could not have done if I was at work. The first was to sweep the garden path again. When I cleared up the debris that next door's builders had spilled onto it last time it was wet. This morning it was dry and I could sweep the dry dust away. It's currently clean enough to walk on with bare feet - which is pointless unless the weather warms up a lot ! The next thing I did was to go to Aldi. I had intended to go there over the weekend, but never got around to it.

 This morning I probably got a little carried away in Aldi. I only bought a smattering of perishable food to eat now, but I did buy a lot of canned or bottled food. I'm not sure if I am stocking up for WW3, or a harsh winter, but my selection of canned goods is looking fairly good for the moment. Add three 2l bottles of diet cola plus a 1l (or 1,5l ?) bottle of fabric conditioner to the weight of the canned stuff and the other stuff I bought, and it all added up to one heavy rucksack, and two very heavy bags to lug home. I did it not stop at a fair pace, but only just !

 The final useful thing I did was to collect a parcel from the corner shop. I was so pleased how my 160 LED video light worked to brighten up the ceiling above the band, and indirectly the band themselves, at the recent gig in The Coach And Horses that I ordered another two from Amazon. It cost a little extra P&P but it is very handy to have parcels delivered to the corner shop. I guess it was just after 11am when I got an email to say the parcel was ready to pick up - which is far easy than sitting in the front room looking out for a dodgy postman.
160 LED video lights
 These new video light are a little smaller and thinner than my existing one, but still contain 160 white LEDs, and can be powered from a Sony camcorder battery. There is another gig in the Coach And Horses coming up later in the month, on that occasion I can try one lamp on each of the PA speakers, once again pointing at the ceiling. The third, original light, I might try and use to throw a little more light towards the back somehow. I haven't quite figured out how I'll do that, and I'll just have to make it up as I go along.

 The next thing of any significance today should be boozing. Thursday night has come around again, and tonight we should be meeting in The Shortlands Tavern. As I write this I don't feel terribly keen to go. I probably will though. Before than I fancy a lay down, and a snooze !
Wednesday 3rd May  2017
 08:28 BST

  The sun came out late yesterday morning, but it soon became rather patchy by early afternoon. The prediction that it would rain while I was going home was sort of right. I did note the ground was wet when I got back to Catford, and for a few tens of seconds I did feel some misty rain on my face. The forecast for today has barely changed. It's horrible !
                  horrible weather
 When I left home to walk to the station the temperature hadn't even hit 8° C (it was 7.8° C !!). It was overcast, and not too bright, but it just felt like early morning. Unfortunately it never got any brighter, and the weather forecast above, screenshotted a little after 5am, gives little reason to hope for anything else. Tomorrow may be a couple of degrees warmer, and it may not feature rain, but it is forecast to be just as depressingly grey.

 One thing I did yesterday was something I might do again today, and that was to go for a virtual fag break 4 or so times during the working day. I didn't actually smoke a cigarette, but I did rush up and down the fire escape to stretch my legs. I also did a quick walk around our building, or the one opposite. It takes 2 minutes and 35 seconds to go down the fire escape, once around our building, and back up the fire escape. The other building is a bit bigger, and that takes 3 minutes and 7 seconds !

 Maybe it was good exercise, or maybe not, but I feel I should do it more often. After all, when I was going up and down the fire escape 8 times a day when I did smoke, I felt far more fitter than I do now. Yesterdays extra exercise didn't seem to dampen my energy when I went home from work. I felt I kept up quite a good pace when I walked to the station, and I somehow persuaded myself I should run up the platform for a couple of carriage lengths to get on the front portion of the train (so I could walk through to the front carriage).

 When I arrived at Waterloo I found that there were problems with trains from Waterloo East. My 16:05 train was reported as running over 30 minutes late. That was not such a catastrophe because the 16:17 train was running on time. When I got back to Catford I discovered that it had been raining as the forecast predicted, but only a few hundred yards down the road from the station. It was as I was half way to Tesco that I briefly felt some misty rain on my face.

 Please excuse any missed words, misspelled words. or wrong words, as I write this. I keep getting interrupted as I write this.

 When I was in Tesco I bought a couple of ready prepared salad, but beyond that I bought all sorts of stuff that I probably should avoid eating. Prime among those things were a couple of ready prepared, frozen curries (without rice). I probably shouldn't have eaten them because they were horrible. Not actually nasty, but just a crappy recipe with crappy ingredients. Another thing I shouldn't have bought was all the sandwiches. I selected a couple from the proper sandwich display, but then I found a load with reduced price stickers on, on the reduced price display. I now have enough sandwiches to last several days.

 Last night was a rather boring night. I didn't really do anything of interest, and in fact I went to bed at 8.30pm - but to read instead of sleep. It was probably something like 9.30pm when I went to sleep. I'm not sure if I slept that well because I seemed to be dreaming a lot. One dream was really peculiar. I don't think it was set in this country. It concerned a change in the law that made it legal to soak off the label on a bottle. I have no idea why it could have ever been illegal to do so. Somehow I seemed to have a picture I had taken of the first written version of the new law alongside a label being soaked off a beer (or wine) bottle. I cannot, for the life of me, think where the inspiration for the dream came from, or what it's significance was. It was, as I say, peculiar !

 This morning I woke up 15 minutes early, and now I am yawning, but otherwise I feel moderately OK physically. Mentally I feel quite pissed off. I don't like coming to work in the gloom of a very overcast day. It is possibly worse than a day when it is actually raining. At least when it is raining you have something physical to aim your anger at. Once in work I don't like having to use a Windows 7 computer. I really hate having to use Outlook365 for company email. All the silly regulations and stuff really annoy me. I am very bored because there is very little that inspires me here, and even if I was inspired to do something I couldn't because my cellmate workmate co-worker keeps taking over my bench, and leaves it cluttered up. It seemed sort of good to come back to work after my doctors sick note expired, but that only lasted a day and a half. Now I feel very close to resigning.

 Now I feel very close to hitting the bottle when I get home ! Before doing that I have at least one thing I want to do, and that is to wash my hair.....and, of course, to eat. It makes me wonder if it's all worthwhile.
Tuesday 2nd May  2017
 08:00 BST

  After a rather dull day, the little bit of sunshine we had in the early evening was most welcome, and it set a precedent for this morning. This morning started rather cool. The temperature was only around 6 - 7° C by my reckoning, but the sky was fairly clear, and I had a nice sunny journey into work. It's now clouded over, and this seems at odds with the forecast.
                  might be like today's weather
 Hopefully it will brighten up again soon. We'll need every minute of that sunshine of we are to see 16° C today. The really unfortunate thing about this forecast is that in the last few hours the forecasters have added rain to it. At 5am there was no rain to be seen on the page, but now it seems possible that I might even get wet going home. The worst thing is tomorrow. The forecast says there will be thick cloud for all 24 hours of the day. So we can kiss sunshine goodbye, and our only hope is that it doesn't rain.

 The long bank holiday weekend was, on the whole, rather good - except for yesterday afternoon/evening, which was rather boring. I wonder if I will be able to fit two gigs into next weekend ? Having now seen the pictures that I posted yesterday on my work PC (it's always useful/interesting to see my pictures on an alternative monitor), I am quite happy that my editing and enhancements seems to have been quite effective - although larger versions of the same pictures start to show lots of defects. Maybe tonight I will upload a couple of photo albums to Flickr and let the whole world see how bad they really are at full resolution !

 I was so bored late yesterday afternoon that I had to resort to doing the washing up, and sweeping the path outside the kitchen. Although it is nowhere near as bad as it was when next door were having their kitchen extended, the builders doing their loft extension have managed to spill some dust and debris onto my path. No doubt there will be more later on, but for now the path is clean and tidy, I even picked up a bag that I had filled with weeds and stuff late last summer. That bag was only half filled, and it was originally my intention to fill it with more weeds before putting it in the wheelie bin. That never happened, and some time over the winter a fox pooed on it. It is now safely in the wheelie bin inside another bag with the sweepings from yesterday.

 It was very hard to fight the waves of bored hunger yesterday afternoon/evening. I sort of partly managed, but I definitely had a few more snacks than I should have. The final one was a bit of a novelty. I had this terrible urge to eat something, and I looked around the kitchen and spied a tin of pineapple rings in pineapple juice. If they had been in syrup I probably would not have touched them. I hope that when drained they didn't contain too much sugar, and I think I might have got away with it. It is sort of strange how that pineapple seemed to do the trick. I reckon that twice enough a year is enough pineapple for me.

 It certainly didn't seem to interfere with my sleep. It might even have improved my sleep in some mysterious way. It does seem that I slept unusually well last night. It didn't seem to start that way though. I went to bed at the approved time (9pm) rather than when I felt I wanted to. For 5, maybe 10 minutes I lay there thinking I would never get to sleep - then it was around 2am, and I needed a pee. I did that, got back in bed, didn't think I would fall asleep again, and then it was 5 minutes to 5am, and time to get up.

 I feel sort of OK this morning. Nothing much aches, and I have a modicum of energy. Coming to work was just the usual daily annoyance, but was not traumatic. It seems possible that I might feel relatively OK during the working day - at least I might physically. I'm not so sure about mentally. I've already endured two annoyances this morning, and I feel sure there will be more. It make me think about my retirement a lot !

 I only have one likely plan for tonight, and that is to go home via Tesco (because I didn't go to Aldi over the long weekend). That plan could potentially be altered if I get a visitor. If Angela calls me, which seems very unlikely, I could see her after work. There is also a small possibility of seeing Patricia. She arrived back in the country on Sunday. Sooner or later she will visit me, and I look forward to that.
Monday 1st May  2017
 15:07 BST

  Yesterday's weather forecast suggested there would be a lot of rain yesterday evening. It looked like it might rain, sometimes quite heavily, non stop. In reality there were just a handful of showers, and many of them were no worse than a bit of light drizzle. It was made all the less bothersome by it being close to warm when it started, perhaps 16° C, and a not so dreadful 11° C close to midnight. There was also supposed to be quite a lot of rain today - or at least that is how I interpreted the forecast. In reality it has been a very dull day punctuated with some occasional light drizzle. It has ben dry more than it has been wet in my opinion. Unfortunately today has generally been cooler than yesterday - you have to be doing something to think it is not cold. I guess the forecast for 13° C is about right. Having just written that it has been very dull, the sun has just come out as I write these words. It's nice, but I fear it won't last long. There could be several hours of sunshine tomorrow morning, but the afternoon is forecast to be dull. On the plus side to should get up 16° C.

 The forecast said it would rain when I went to Beckenham yesterday evening, and so I wore my hooded waterproof coat. That coat is most definitely waterproof, but it has one strange property. It has a non-linear relationship between it's inner and outer surfaces. Below a certain critical temperature, maybe around 11° C, it provides no warmth at all, and while I am perfectly dry I feel quite chilly in it. Above that critical temperature it feel too hot in it. That was the case last night, and it was made worse by the extra uphill walk from the bus stop because the bus can't go down the high street because of roadworks. I arrived at The Coach And Horses feeling quite sweaty - not the state you want to be in when there are girls to hug and kiss (on the cheek) !

 The occasion was the last performance of Miranda Bell's side project - Back To The Fray (or Frey ?). They are an acoustic trio, and for some songs all three play (amplified) acoustic guitars, and on some songs 2 or all 3 harmonise on vocals. It was all rather good except for maybe a few songs, probably modern ones, that I didn't recognise. There was Guinness to drink, and lots of great people there.
Back To The Fray
 One perennial problem with The Coach And Horses is that it is very, very dim where the bands play. So on this occasion I took along my video light and just rested it on top of one of the PA speakers pointing at the ceiling. I made a huge difference to my photography, and probably enhanced the audiences view as well. I may invest in a second light to put on the other PA speaker at some future gig there, or indeed at other dimly lit venues.
Back To The Fray view 2
 This is Back To The Fray. I don't know the names of the two guitarists, but it is Miranda Bell (Angela's daughter) at the mic in the middle. It was the final performance (with this band) for the guitarist on the left. He is moving away, and Miranda is hoping to find a replacement for future acoustic gigs. There was drunken talk last night that Brian, who plays lead electric guitar with Life Of Brian, and plays it exceedingly well, might pick up his acoustic guitar and fill the vacancy.
1st Class Stamps
 One novelty last night was some extra entertainment while Back To The Fray had their mid evening break. Jason Stampers, seen here on the right of the picture, a good guitarist and singer, decided to introduce his two 9 year old sons to the delights of rock and roll. One plays the mouth organ, and the other plays sax. With Jason leading on guitar, and with some guitar and vocal harmonies from Miranda, they played "Knocking On Heavens Door".  The boys still have some way to go, but did a good job for what was probably their first time before a drunken pub audience !

 It would have been easy enough to get myself home from Beckenham on a bus last night, but there was such a great vibe at the pub that I hung around, and managed to blag a lift back to Catford from Miranda and Ian (Miranda's husband). We also had Brian in the car, and he was drunk enough to be almost at the "you're my best mate" stage ! It was all quite interesting.

 I had a special treat to look forward to when I got home. Delivered just in time, before I went out, my next door neighbour gave me another bag of Thai food to enjoy. I think this very nice gesture is actually a sort of peace offering from next door. A year ago they had a kitchen extension done, and while it mostly didn't worry me, there was a bit of extra noise, dust and disturbance. Now they are getting a loft extension built, and once again there is even more noise - even today on a bank holiday - and a certain amount of dust and disturbance. Anyway, I seem to be getting a couple of free Thai meals  week, and they are all delicious. Some are more delicious than others. Last night I was given two almost identical dishes plus a big container of rice. I had some of it for a late night supper last night, and the rest for a nice big "Sunday dinner" (on a bank holiday Monday).

 I must have done something awful in a previous life, and this morning karma caught up with me. As far as I can recall I was having the best sleep I've had in ages when my alarm went off at 5am as if I had to go to work today. I have managed more sleep since then, but it doesn't feel like much. I ought to try and get to bed early tonight. It's hard to say what I have done with all the hours since 5am. I have selected and "post produced" (a fancy way of saying edited) two photo albums, and I have washed a couple of t-shirts. The rest of the time must have been spent eating. sleeping and reading. Well I did say I was going to have a relaxing day today. In theory I should have gone to Aldi, but I can't be bothered, and in theory I should have gone to the Petts Wood May Fayre to catch the two live acts on the big stage this afternoon. The slightly cool, but definitely damp weather have put me off going out, and I don't know enough about the two bands to entice me out. I have a feeling that I might not even like one of them. So now I relax !