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My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2017

Thursday 30th November  2017
 11:08 GMT

  It was another cold yesterday, but not as cold as today is going to be. As well as being cold it was overcast to varying degrees, and there was enough wind to blow the cold air into all the crevices ! The top temperature yesterday was 6° C, and today we might think that was luxury !
a freezing day !
 Today it is actually freezing...or it was prior to 7am. Since then it has warmed up a microscopic amount, and it is heading for a glorious high of 3° C !!!!! To make things more interesting, it is actually snowing as I write this. There are only a few light flakes floating down, and it is unlikely to get worse.....probably !
spot the snowflakes
 There are snowflakes to be seen in this picture if you look carefully. Those widely scattered tiny white smudges are snow, not dandruff !
snowflake on the
                        wheelie bin
 It is not exactly impressive, but this is a snowflake that has just landed on the wheelie bin. Anyway, to get back to the weather forecast - The highest temperature for today is forecast to be just 3° C. It is supposed to be sunny right now, and not snowing. Maybe it is not worth believing anything else about the forecast for today. Tomorrow might be twice as warm - a whole 6° C - and it is supposed to be a sunny day. Using today as a benchmark, I would not be surprised to see blizzards tomorrow.

  The wind made it feel very chilly as I walked through the park to meet Angela yesterday lunchtime. To make matters worse, the sky was that particular shade of grey that made it look like it might snow. Of course such an idea was ridiculous for a November day....and yet it is (or was) snowing today !

 I had a great lunchtime with Angela, and the only thing wrong with it is that it didn't last longer - a sentiment shared with Angela. Once again I felt we were closer than just friends, but there were still some barriers there. The biggest is that Angela still wants to rush home after work instead of meeting for a drink instead of meeting lunchtime. She does say that she would like to be able to have a meet after work, and although I feel very reluctant to do it, I expect that if I put some very, very light pressure on it she would give in to the idea. Maybe the time for that is getting close.

 I am not seeing Angela today because she has an afternoon appointment with her doctor, and will be working through her lunch break and leaving work early. Tomorrow is back to normal, and I'll see her at lunch time, and all being well, we will be meeting in the evening to go to a gig together. That is slightly theoretical at the moment, but it is very slightly more Angela's idea than mine.

 I only had three pints of Guinness yesterday lunchtime, but it left me feeling quite sleepy when I got back home. After doing a few things I laid on my bed and fell asleep. I woke up again feeling dreadful. For one thing I was freezing cold, and the other thing was a hangover. Many hours later I realised that may not have been the whole story. Eventually I pulled myself together and went out to met Jodie and Mark in the Catford Wetherspoon's.

 Just for a change, they had some interesting beer in there - although only one interesting beer. It was a wheat beer called "White". Under other circumstances I could probably have drunk a lot more, but one pint was enough to cure my hangover, and another pint was enough for enjoyment...and maybe it cured a few other aches and pains too. It was also enough to warp my idea of sensible food eating, or something like that.

 I had prepared a semi healthy stew of mushrooms, smoked lardons, string beans, and some other vegetable that I can't seem to remember now. It should have been very nice, and when I have it later it should still be very nice, but I fancied something else. I ended up ordering a large chicken kebab. I ignored the pitta bread, but joyfully stuffed myself with the skinless grilled chicken, and all the salad.

 I felt perfectly good when I went to bed around 11pm, and I fell asleep very quickly. A few minutes after midnight I woke up feeling bad. The actual cause did not reveal itself until I went to the toilet. I can only believe that the phantom enema man assaulted me in my sleep at midnight (when all strange and evil things happen - or so the story books lead us the believe). Once I started my guts went into convulsions, and with all sort of gurgling sounds from within, I just couldn't stop. Even when I did stop I had to return to the toilet 10 minutes later - and then 10 minutes after that too !

 It was 1am before I felt confident enough to go back to bed. I was soon asleep again, and I slept right through until about 7am when I temporarily got up to send Angela a message to wish her a good morning, best wishes for her doctor visit, and also to thank her for the small exchange of messages she initiated early in the evening last night. It is a long time since I have been called sweetheart, and I am still glowing from it !

 At this point in time, and it has now gone midday, my stomach still feels very slightly tender, but there has been no follow on from the unpleasantness at midnight. I think I feel reasonably good. What I need to do now is to finally get up properly. I've been slouching around all morning, but I need to get washed and dressed now. The only thing on the agenda today is my regular Thursday night drink with the lads. Tonight we are in The Bromley Wetherspoons pub.

 Another thing I might do is to go and buy some wine - something I know very little about. All I know is that Angela was drinking Pinot Grigio wine last night. I suggested I would get a bottle or two in, just in case... Angela didn't suggest it might have been a waste of time and money, and so I assume there will be a future time when we will be drinking it together here (or maybe her place). I very much look forward to that day, although I feel it won't be until sometime in the new year.
Wednesday 29th November  2017
 08:41 GMT

  It was cold yesterday. The temperature peaked at 6° C, but by way of compensation there was quite a lot of sunshine. Outside it was all shivery, and the sun seemed to carry no heat, but the sunshine felt quite warm behind the windows in the front of the house. Today will be even cooler than yesterday, and with no benefit from any sunshine.
another cold day
 My thermometer was actually saying just 1.8° C at 7am this morning ! Today will be cold and grey - not a pleasant prospect. It is probably lucky that no rainfall is expected. That would just add to the misery.....although if it fell this morning, or much later this evening, it could probably fall as pretty snow. Without the inconvenience of commuting now, I think I might welcome snow. No snow is forecast for these parts, but it looks like tomorrow would easily be chilly enough to support snow. A maximum daytime temperature of 3° C is damn chilly !

  Yesterday turned into a bit of a disappointment. I knew that I probably wouldn't be seeing Angela at lunchtime because she planning on doing some shopping in Lewisham during her lunchbreak. I theory I could have walked around the shops with her, but she was doing Xmas shopping, and sometime that can be a bit personal, and I decided not to ask to intrude on her as she did it. Maybe I should have done. I'll mention it to her today.

 I had hoped that yesterday would be the first time in something like 6 months that I would meet Angela for an after work drink, but it wasn't to be. I am not sure of she was claiming to be too tired, or if she had a load of stuff she had bought during her lunchbreak, and just wanted to get it home as soon as possible. I was a bit saddened by that, but I feel confident we will meet after work sooner or later.

 The funny thing about yesterday, although it seems to apply to most days since I retired, is just how little time there was to get bored. Perhaps time slowed down, and became lightly boring, late in the evening, but somehow time just flew by during the day. It is all the more amazing considering how little I achieved. Some time was passed doing some laundry (by hand), and some time was passed cleaning up my old TV ready for my friend Lee to take it away (hopefully) on Friday.

 A little more time was passed doing some cookery. I'll include washing up in the general definition of cookery, but I did spend a short while preparing an evening meal at, or around, midday. It was a simple meal with only three solid ingredients plus some stock. It consisted of one small red onion, a whole, but quite small head of broccoli, and a small pack of smoked bacon. All that stuff was put into a bowl and zapped with microwaves - initially for 17 minutes, and then for 5 minutes later in the day just before I ate it. It was rather nice. It does seem that smoky bacon goes well with several green vegetables - sprouts, broccoli, kale, and probably other green, leafy stuff.
 One of the things about yesterday is that I felt no need to go out, and while that general rule would have been very happily broken if Angela had been available, it did include taking a picture of the western skyline close to sunset. I thought I would take a chance of taking a snap through my less-than-sparkling-clean bedrooms window, and the result above was rather better than I imagined. The picture was taken at 15:26 - or about half an hour before the official time of sunset. It might have been mid-afternoon by some definitions, but to me it signalled the end of the day. It was actually many hours before I actually went to bed (about 6 of them), but it was enough to signal my brain and body to slow down for the rest of the day.
Intruder in my change
 While I didn't actually go out, I did prepare to go out for an after work drink until I got the word from Angela that she was going straight home. Part of that preparation was checking the change in my back pocket prior to putting on my jeans. I found two coins of interest lurking in my back pocket. One was a genuine English 50p, and it was a Miss Tiggywinkle coin from the Brere Rabbit set of coins. I think that Miss Tiggywinkle may be one of the more elusive coins of the set to be seen.

 Getting a quarter dollar coin in your change is an even rarer occurence. I have never seen one before. It is roughly the same size and weight as an English 10p coin. I can imagine that after Brexit, when the English Pound becomes almost worthless, it could be useful to have American Dollars, or indeed any other solid currency. Sadly, I doubt that a Quarter Dollar coin would buy much, but maybe I'll be able to exchange it for a couple of devalued £50 notes in a few years. Of course those £50 notes still won't be enough to buy a loaf of bread, if indeed there is any bread for sale then, but maybe I could get a can of baked beans from the £50 shop.

 I had it in mind that I would probably go to bed early last night, but I didn't feel tired. I think it was getting on for midnight until I went to bed. Even then it took some time to get to sleep. I am trying to think if it is normal, or whether it is a just a recent thing where I suffer from bad insomnia, or appear to, at first. For 15 to 20, or 25, possibly even 30 minutes I thrashed around expecting to be awake half the night, and than I wasn't - I was fast asleep.

 I think my sleep would have been so much better if I hadn't woken up at 5am, and then again at 7am. On both occasions I was awake for maybe 20 minutes before succumbing to sleep again. At 8am I could possibly have managed to go back to sleep, but decided I would get up.  I am now yawning a lot, but enough time has passed for most of the early morning aches and pains to have subsided, and now I should be planning the day.

 I did have in mind going for an early morning walk in the park today. I spent a little while imagining starting off on that walk while it was still dark, and before I had even showered, but that was at 5am, and after a while of feverish imagination I turned over and went back to sleep. I may still go for a walk around the park, going via the station to pick up a copy of The Metro, but I may also come straight home once I have the paper. I'll have to see how I feel on the spur of the moment.

 At lunchtime I will be going to meet Angela for an all too brief lunchtime drink. Sods law suggests that today she will say we are definitely meeting after work for another drink. It would be Sods law because I have already arranged to meet Jodie and Mark for a quick drink in the Wetherspoons at 5pm. Two drinks in one day will be enough for me, and after an hour or so in the Wetherspoons I will return home and do absolutely nothing...sort of.
Tuesday 28th November  2017
 09:04 GMT

  There were distractions that made yesterday not as miserable as the weather was, although having said that, the weather was not wholly miserable yesterday. Sandwiched between early morning, and early evening rain, it was mostly light grey, and the sun did put in a valiant effort to shine a few times. At just 10° C maximum, it was merely a rather cool day...unlike today.
a rather cold day, but maybe with some
 This screenshot of today's weather forecast doesn't show the last couple of hours. They were very much like right now. The dark/heavy cloud shown in the forecast is actually leaking rain, and that 5° C is more like 4° C ! We must have come very close to snow this morning - possibly wet soggy snow, but still snow ! Today is going to stay very cold, but with luck we will see the forecast sunshine from late morning onwards. Tomorrow may be slightly cooler, and without the benefit of any sunshine, while Thursday may be brilliantly bright and sunny, but really cold !

  It may have been cold yesterday, but I did some rushing around that warmed me up a lot. The main rushing around was going to Aldi to buy some groceries. I ended up lugging two fairly heavy bags of stuff home, and yet I didn't spend much in there. I did buy a couple of naughty luxuries - naughty in terms of sugar and calorie content - but much of what I bought was just fresh vegetables. I also bought some tinned stuff, and that added to the weight along with a bottle of laundry detergent.
Angela with new necklace
 Having rushed back from Aldi I had barely 25 minutes to cool down, and change my t-shirt and shoes before rushing out to meet Angela for a lunchtime drink. I rushed to the pub, and got there at least half an hour early, and once again rather hot and sweaty ! Fortunately getting there so early meant I had time to cool off before Angela arrived.

 I was so looking forward to seeing her after not seeing her for a week and a few days, and she was glad to see me. After a few preliminaries she told me about her trip to meet some members of lover boys family. As I guessed from her postings on social media, it didn't go that smoothly. She really enjoyed the walks to explore old Welsh castles and the like, but there were difficulties with her relationship with lover boy to the extent they came home a day early !

 While I hate the idea of Angela being uncomfortable, I had to secretly rejoice that cracks in their relationship were showing. It gives me hope that one day we might resume the love affair we had a year ago, and which was really only interrupted when Angela fell in love with the old man she was caring for until he died of cancer. Something that was not such good news is that Angela has forgiven her lover boy - apparently for the second time - but he is supposed to be on his final warning.

 Despite everything being OK between them for the moment, I still decided to give Angela her consolation prize (or whatever you might call it). It was a cheap, but nice looking necklace, plus sparkly little ear studs,  I had bought in Aldi sometime last week. To my surprise, and great relief, Angela loved it, and put the necklace on straight away. She even posed with it so I could take a rather grainy snap of her in the pub. You can't really see any detail, but you can see she is wearing it in the picture above.

 My little gift earned me a quite passionate hug - or about the closest you can get to passionate when sitting side my side in a pub - and another after walking Angela back to work. I don't know what it is, but I feel so happy when I am in Angela's presence (except when she is hugging lover boy - that makes my skin crawl), and a hug is like a cherry on top !  I walked home feeling rather good, and even stopped to take a picture of the crack of doom !
the crack of doom
 I took the picture while walking through the park after seeing Angela. It was at three minutes to 2pm according to the timestamp in the file name, or still 2 hours before sunset, and yet it looks a bit like a murky sunset. In fact the sun is just above the centre line of the picture, and it is trying hard to shine through a little crack between the clouds. It might have been weak and feeble compared to full sunshine, but it was still bright enough for the camera to reduce it's sensitivity, and make the rest of the picture look very dark.

 I felt rather relaxed when I got home - too relaxed in fact. I was originally going to go to an open mic night at the Railway Tavern in Lower Sydenham, but I had given up on that idea within a few hours of getting home. Had it been summer things would have been very different. The reality of late Autumn is that it was cold and dark outside hours before I would have to leave to get the train to Lower Sydenham. That would be unpleasant, as would the walk to and from Lower Sydenham station. I decided I didn't need any entertainment last night.

 The reality was slightly different. It must have been getting on for 9pm, and I was already very mildly drunk, and thinking about bed, when I got a phone call from my friend Lee. As usual it started out with a technical query about a TV he was repairing, but it moved on, and went off in many tangents during the 3 hours (yes THREE hours) that we were yakking for. Many topics were covered - from TVs to women ! One useful outcome is that if all goes well, Lee will pick up my big, old, and extremely heavy, Sony TV sometime on Friday, and take it to his local council dump to dispose of it for me.

 It was another typical night for me when I finally got into bed this morning. For about 10 minutes it seemed like I couldn't get to sleep, and then suddenly I was fast asleep. I woke up a couple of times in the night, and on at least one of those occasions it was because I was having a struggle to work out if I was feeling too warm under the duvet, or too cold without it. At 8am, curiously enough, 8am almost to the second, I woke up thinking I had woken up in the middle of the night. It wasn't dark outside, but then again it wasn't exactly light either. If I hadn't needed the toilet I would tried turning over and trying for more sleep.

 Once I had been to the toilet I lost my desire for more sleep. Apart from a stiff neck caused by a change of pillow height, I feel mostly OK again. I put that to the test by starting some hand laundry - quite a lot of it this time - and that took the shine off any feeling of being powerful and invincible ! I can't say I am looking forward to rushing around today, but I am looking forward to a possibility.

 It is possible that Angela won't be meeting me for a lunchtime drink today. She may go into Lewisham to do a quick bit of Xmas shopping during her lunchbreak. If she does then she has promised to consider meeting after work for a drink. Even before her "holiday" she did express some enthusiasm to meet after work now and then if she didn't feel too tired. Maybe it will happen this afternoon/evening. (Is 5pm afternoon or evening ? Probably afternoon in summer, and almost night-time at the moment when the days are so short). If I don't go out lunchtime then I ought to try and do some long overdue housework today !
Monday 27th November  2017
 08:37 GMT

  Yesterday was fairly bright, and from time to time there was some glorious sunshine. The only problem was that no matter how hard to sun tried, it could only raise the temperature to a nippy 6° C (although it might have hit 7° C for a few minutes). At least it was dry - if it hadn't been it was possibly cold enough for some wet snow in the morning.
warmer than yesterday,
                  but a wet start, and end, with a gloomy middle
 It was wet this morning, and still is as I write this. Once this morning's rain has stopped it will be dry until just after sunset when the rain will start again. Sandwiched in the middle will just be a load of dull, miserable grey skies. The only positive thing is that most of the day will be 9 or 10° C - not warm, but not too terrible. Tomorrow should see more sunshine, but it looks like it will be a very cold day - although not as cold as Thursday is currently predicted to be !

  I seemed to spend much of yesterday selecting and editing photos I had taken at the Petts Wood Christmas Carnival live music stage. It was a joy to be taking snaps in daylight. That and the (mostly) black backdrop, and the stage lights, made for some nice pictures. I originally thought it was as easy as shooting fish in a barrel compared to taking pictures in a dimly lit pub, but I still rejected about 80% of the pictures I took.
Vince Pross on his
                        stripped down, front of stage, drum kit
Here's Vince Pross from "Vince Lightning & The Thunderboltz" - the second band on the live stage. The lighting was good, but I still couldn't seem to get a picture of Vince without the microphone covering his face !
Al Keval
This is Al Keval from "Keval" - a very noisy reggae/ska band. I found their booming bass line was hurting my ears, and after a few songs I decided to go home. I could still feel the unpleasant booming in my ears as I entered Petts Wood railway station !
Keval on the live stage
I'm not sure what it means, but Keval were the only band who didn't even acknowledge the pictures I showed on social media. The other two bands I took pictures of thanked me a lot.
This is Uncut. I've never even heard of them before, but they were really great. Ideally they should have headlined the event, but they were first on, and for that I am grateful. Had they been on later I may well have missed them if I had had to walk out on Keval.
Vince Lightning And The Thunderboltz
Vince Lightning And The Thunderboltz - they do songs in the rockabilly style, and that is not to my personal taste. They made it worse for me by nearly every song, if not all of them, being covers of well know Xmas pop songs. Of course everyone else loved it, but I hated it !
the front man from Uncut
Another of the mostly successful pictures of Uncut. Sooner or later I will be uploading some of the best (or more interesting) pictures of all three bands to Flickr. I'll post a link to the photo album whenever I get around to uploading the pictures.

 It seemed like it took most of yesterday to do the photo editing, but during the day I also did some reading, and I had a snooze or two, plus I stopped to eat. Yesterday's food was all based around the spare peri-peri chicken left over from my deliberately over ordered takeaway from Friday night. For lunchtime I prepared a sort of stew of cauliflower and peri-peri chicken off the bone. For dinner I had peri peri chicken reheated in the microwave.

 I'll be having more stuff featuring peri-peri chicken today. I had an idea that came to me when considering the annoyance of having to put all food waste into a separate bin - and that includes chicken bones. Rather than throw the bone aways still with slivers of chicken on them, I decided I would make some stock from them before I tossed them in the food waste bin. Maybe it would be more true to say I fortified some ready made stock with them. I shall use that stock, with odd scraps of chicken and skin in it, along with some vegetable to make a tasty stew for sometime today.

 I waited until about 8pm, but to help me relax before bedtime I had several large glasses of booze. They didn't seem to have too much obvious effect on me, but I did seem to fall asleep very quickly when I got into bed around 11pm (or was it midnight ?). I slept quite well, and the surprise in the night was when I woke up wanting to go to the toilet. I was convinced it was around 3am, but when I got back to my bedroom with my eyes properly open, I saw that it was actually 6am ! I haven't actually slept since than, although I wish I had.

 This morning I feel mostly OK, or at least I do now. I felt really creaky when I first got out of bed. I seem to be going through a phase of feeling mostly OK, and I hope it continues for a while yet. Of course it would be even better if this was the middle of summer and I could eat less, and get plenty of exercise, but I am probably doing reasonably well as we rush headlong into winter.

 There are many things I could be doing this morning. The first will be to wash my hair and have a shower. Ideally I will go out once my hair is reasonably dry to buy more vegetables. I have had a slightly meat heavy diet recently, and some extra fresh vegetables might be good. At lunchtime I will be going out in the hope that I'll be meeting Angela for a brief lunchtime drink. I am really missing her, and dying to hear how well her "holiday" went with her lover boy.

 This afternoon I think I will reserve the right to be extremely lazy. If I don't over do it, and end up siezing up completely, I hope to feel good enough to go to the open mic session in The Railway Tavern in Lower Sydenham. I missed the last one (or two ?) and I am curious how it is going after attending the first ever session there.
Sunday 26th November  2017
 09:47 GMT

  It was cold yesterday, very cold ! The forecast said the highest temperature would be just 6° C, and I have no reason to dispute that. There was a thick white frost in the morning, but somehow that was partly compensated by bright sunshine and a clear blue sky.
for a brief instant it may
                  be a degree less cold than yesterday
 Today is almost going to be a re-run of yesterday. Once again the day has started with a thick frost, and since sunrise it has been bright and sunny - all the better to make that frost sparkle ! The sun may last a bit longer than yesterday, and that should see the temperature soar to 7° C - a whole degree less cold than yesterday ! It shouldn't get so cold tonight, and that is on account of gathering clouds. Tomorrow morning is forecast to be very wet, but at least the temperature should rise to 9 or 10° C by mid afternoon. It should be dry by then too....probably.

  The first thing on yesterday's agenda was to go along to the surgery to get my 'flu jab. I didn't get one last year because the "walk in clinic" queue was stretching all the way from the surgery to almost the main road. This year it was planned a bit better. I suspect it was spread out over many more Saturday's with limited invitations sent out for each Saturday. I arrived at the surgery 8 minutes before they opened at 9am, and I got second place in the queue, and to my astonishment I was jabbed and back out on the street by 9.04am !
bright sunshine, frost
                        and a blue sky
This was my view as I walked back from the surgery. The frost covering the roofs of the cars is not terribly obvious, but the blue sky and sunshine is ! The streaks that look like some sort of meteorite bombardment are actually telephone wires !
more blue sky and sunshine - it was
                        barely above freezing !
It's still not obvious, but the light area on top of the car, almost in the centre of the picture, is frost. The temperature when I took this picture was around 2° C - bloody cold !

 With my right arm full of 'flu vaccine I could get on with other stuff, and that was mostly finishing off the selecting and editing of the pictures I took on Friday night in The Black Cat. I was going to select a couple to show here, but I seem to have forgotten to do that. It was probably because I was racing against the clock. I got the main pictures, to be shared with the pub and the band (or it's leader), done just in time so my schedule was clear to go out and take more pictures.

 Yesterday it was the Petts Wood Xmas Carnival. I didn't pay attention to any part of it except the live music stage. To be honest, it wasn't very good, or to be even more honest, I just wasn't in a xmas sort of mood. The first band on, Uncut, were brilliant, and I did enjoy all that they did - even when they slipped the word Christmas into one song. The next band was Vince Lightning And The Thunderbolts. I really like Vince, but I am none too keen on rockabilly - that being the music he and his band play. Fortunately they do it with great finesse, and even if it is not 100% enjoyable it inoffensive - until yesterday. It seemed like every single song was a Xmas song, and it really pissed me off ! Worse was to come. The next band was Keval, and they are a reggae/ska band. I am not keen on that music style, and it was made worse by a typical booming bass line. After a couple of songs I had to leave. Even as I approached the station I could still feel that booming hurting my ears long after the lyrics had faded to a dull mumble.

 The final band who were on would have been after the fireworks. It would have been nice to watch the fireworks, and it would have been nice to discover if my negative thoughts about the final act, Glamstar, were in any way justified - they wear thigh boots that really should only be seen on the two girls from Abba ! What was more nice than any of those potentional niceties was getting home again. There is nothing better than getting in the warm, away from horrible music, and with food and drink available.

 In theory I was going to go out to a gig in the evening. Chain were playing in The Mitre in Greenwich, and while I find the place gets too manic late in the evening, it is an easy venue to get to, and I could have watched Chain's first set. The only trouble was once I got home I didn't want to go out again. I became so convinced about this that I ordered some takeaway food. Something hot and greasy would have really soothed my soul, but I opted for semi-hot and greasy - peri peri chicken that was not skinless when grilled. It was very nice, and I ordered sufficient to have the rest as my Sunday dinner today.

 With my belly feeling full, and after consuming lots of vodka and sugar free cola, I should have been primed for an extra early night. For some reason the exact opposite happened. It was almost 2am before I went to bed, and I think it was 2am before I went to sleep. In theory I should have not woken up/got up before 10am, but I think it was closer to 7am when I got up - and that was after a brief period of being awake at 5am !

 At the moment I only feel tired when I stop to think about it - so obviously feel tired right now because I have to think about it to describe it. Fortunately it is a Sunday, and I am going nowhere, and seeing no one. I might go back to bed after writing this, or I might start selecting and editing photos I took yesterday, or I might...... One thing I ought to avoid doing is sleeping too much during the day. I should then be able to sleep properly tonight.

 I hope I do sleep well tonight because it will make tomorrow come quicker...or feel like it. Tomorrow I should be seeing Angela at lunchtime, and I look forward, maybe with a lot of fear, to finding out Angela's current status with lover boy, and how their "holiday" went. Hopefully I will feel a little better tomorrow. I think I am suffering some reaction to yesterday's 'flu vaccine. It is quite mild, but I do seem to have a few additional aches that are normally associated with 'flu. Oddly enough, I seem to have less, or milder aches of the normal type this morning. The greater surprise is that I don't seem to have a hangover !
click on this picture to view the
                              images on Flickr
Here's some very small thumbnails of the best pictures I took last week when I was walking around Greenwich. Click on the matrix of pictures to go to Flickr for full sized images.
Saturday 25th November  2017
 07:25 GMT

  A few bits of yesterday were pleasant during the few rare appearances of the sun, but the rest of the day was rather dull and cold. The highest temperature was in the region of 9° C, but there was enough wind, or breeze, to make it feel even cooler than that. Today it gets worse !
chilly !
 This morning the cars outside are covered in a thick white frost (that actually started forming as early as 8pm last night). The forecast says it will be a sunny, but very cold morning. By this afternoon the temperature will only have risen to 6° C - still bloody cold - and then at sunset the temperature will fall away again to give more frost. Tomorrow may be a little sunnier, and maybe a degree less chilly, but it is still going to be cold and nasty !

  I didn't really do much yesterday morning until it was almost midday when I went out for a short walk. My primary objective was to see if the posters I had delivered to The Black Cat had been put up - they hasn't ! However I did get to talk to Richard from the pub. He confirmed that Chain are still booked to play there on 2nd December, and he promised he would contact Jo to confirm it - he did. The other thing he did was to bribe me with the promise of a couple of pints of Guinness if I could pop in with my camera in the evening to take some snaps of Dr Elias and his Soul Surgeons who were playing a different sort of gig there. Their music is not really to my taste, but some of it is OK, and so I agreed to go along for half an hour or so.

 Having finished my business in The Black Cat I went into the Pound Shop to pick up a few bits and pieces - some of them naughty like the "festive season", assorted, chocolate coated biscuits. There seemed to be more packaging than biscuits, but the packet still contained thousands more calories and stuff that I shouldn't really have eaten. The other significant thing I bought was a 3D BluRay disk of the movie Patagonia 2 (or was it 3 ?).

 There are several factors that meant I had effectively wasted £1 when I bought that disk. For a start I am not sure I would even like the movie, and I think there might even be a chance that I would actively hate it ! Secondly, I don't have a BluRay player, although I can rip or play some disks on my PC. Thirdly, I don't have a 3D TV to show it on - although there is a 2D version on the same disk. It is just another oddity to add to my collection of optical format disks. I have a few examples of CD Video disk, at least one Video CD disk, several different types of 12" LaserDisk disks plus normal CDs and DVDs.

 I spent much of yesterday afternoon just resting (or being totally lazy). That was unfortunate for one single reason. Some of that rest included dozing off, and it was while doing so that I apparently missed a rather spectacular sunset. I woke up to a message saying it was good, and recommending I got my camera out. By the time I was ready with the camera I had missed sunset, but in the fading light I did manage to get one atmospheric shot.
slightly after sunset
I also managed a shot of the crescent moon near planet lamp post !
the moon near planet lamp post
 At about 8:15pm I set out to walk to The Black Cat (all of 6 minutes walking !). Then with my first free pint of Guinness in hand I started snapping the band. They didn't sound all that be honest they sounded good, but the stuff they were singing didn't really excite me. I stayed for one more free pint before leaving to go home. I did have thoughts of going to The Partridge in Bromley where Life Of Brian were playing, but I couldn't face being in the same room as Angela and her lover. I also considered going to see Big Red Bus in Beckenham, but the everlasting roadworks in Beckenham, and all the buses being diverted, put me off. So I went home, had a bite to eat, and a rather nice sleep.

 This morning I am going to get my 'flu jab at the surgery, and that is in less than an hour as I write this - and I am not even washed and dressed yet. I had better pull my finger out !!!! Later today I may go to take some snaps of the music stage of the Petts Wood Xmas carnival. I might even go to a gig somewhere tonight, but probably not.
Friday 24th November  2017
 09:33 GMT

  Yesterday was definitely sunny, but it was noticeably cooler than the day before - doubly so when the wind was blowing !  Before midday, or thereabouts, the wind was not very strong at all, and at approximately 10am I felt mostly comfortable going to Aldi in just a t-shirt. After midday it was 11° C, a whole degree less cool than it was at 10am, and yet the stronger wind made it feel very chilly. The good thing is that it didn't get significantly cooler in the evening.
                  variable day - most of it bad
 During the early hours of this morning the temperature dropped to just 8° C (according to the forecast - I think the reality may have been a degree or two less). The good thing is that there has been a lot of sunshine this morning, but now, just as sunny periods are forecast, it looks unlikely that the sun will come out again ! Maybe there will be some more sunny periods after 1pm. There doesn't seem to be much wind, although I haven't been outdoors yet to confirm that, but if the air is reasonably still then the top temperature of 9° C shouldn't be too terrible. It is looking like tomorrow could start with a frost, and it will be a much colder day....but with plenty of sunshine.

  I had it in mind that I might have gone out somewhere with my camera in yesterday's sunshine - I didn't. I did go to Aldi in the morning though. I took a chance and was comfortable enough going there without a coat on. I will admit it was cool, but it was just on the edge of comfort. I both bought quite a lot, and not much - it depends on how you look at it. What I didn't do was to buy much food. What I did buy was a huge 18 roll pack of toilet paper. That took up one shopping bag by itself ! I also bought lots of drink - mostly sugar free cola, but also some vodka.

 I did buy some food, but some of it was tinned stuff like a 4 pack of baked beans, and just a few things were perishable and needed to be eaten soon. I did end eating two out of three last night. I was going to do my best not to eat much during the day yesterday so I would not feel uncomfortable when I went out in the evening. That idea partly fell by the wayside early in the morning. I had a couple of packs of sandwiches that I had bought from Tesco a few days earlier, and they were past their use by date when I ate them. It is probably lucky that I did. The last bite of the last sandwich did taste like it had a little spot of mould on it !

 I didn't really do anything for the rest of the morning, and the afternoon until it was time to go out. My destination, like it seems it usually is on a Thursday, was The Shortlands Tavern for the Thursday evening drink. It was probably one of the better Thursday drinks I have had in quite a while. There were two differences to usual. The first was that we sat around an octagonal table. That meant there weren't two different conversations going on at each end of a long table. So it was more inclusive. The second thing was that the pub was having a beer festival that officially didn't start until today, but as the usual beers ran out they were replaced by some of the unusual beers brought in specially for the beer festival.

chocolate beer !!
plum flavoured beer

 The Triple Chocoholic beer was really delicious. I think it tasted more like old fashioned cocoa rather than chocolate, but was probably the better for it. A few pints of it before bed would make for a great, almost traditional, bed time drink ! The Plum Porter didn't seem much like a porter to me, but it did taste very strongly of plums - very much so after the more bitter taste of the Chocoholic beer. It was all good enough to break my usual rule, and stay for 4 pints instead of my traditional 3 pints !

 I felt quite good going home. The alcohol had buffered me against many of my usual aches and pains...maybe they were still there, but I couldn't be bothered with them. I certainly had no qualms about walking the extra distance from Catford station to drop off some posters for Chain's forthcoming gig on 2nd December in The Black Cat pub - assuming they will still honour the date. They have generally given up on Saturday night gigs in there.

 When I got home I had a two part dinner. Part 1 was a "fishermans pie". It was one of the things I had bought from Aldi in the morning. I was curious to see if it was better than the £1 fish pies from Tesco. The Tesco pies, if I didn't mention it before, were OK-ish, but only just, and I will not be buying any more of them in the future. The Aldi fish pie was rather better. Part 2 of my dinner was "California seasoned (skinless) chicken strips". Even after eating them I am not sure what made them "Californian". They did have some sort of seasoning on them, but I have no idea what it was. To make my analysis harder I "polluted" them with hot tomato sauce. They are another thing that I don't think I'll be buying any more of.

 Last night was one of those nights where I thought I was suffering from insomnia again. I seemed tired, but when I got into bed I suddenly felt like I would never get to sleep....and 10 minutes later I was fast asleep. I seemed to sleep quite well, although waking up on the dot of 5am wasn't in my plans. It must have been a memory of having to get up for work resurfacing. After a while I managed to get back to sleep for a few more hours.

 When I got out of bed I felt great, and 60 seconds later I felt typically terrible. I now feel mostly OK, but not exactly raring to go. If I go out, as I intend to, I will have to force myself to do it. I have no idea what I will do or where I will go during the day, but this evening I might well end up at a gig. The Life Of Brian are playing in The Partridge in Bromley. I am tempted to try and sneak in unspotted to get a few pictures of Miranda, Brian and Roger (but not Paul). I expect Angela will be there (it is almost definite), and if I could do it discretely I would like to say hi to her. I wish I knew what Angela's status is regarding her lover boy. It would make life easier, but I probably won't find out until Monday lunchtime. If I don't go to The Partridge I may well go to The Coach And Horses in Beckenham where Big Red Bus are playing. Or I might stay in.
crescent moon over
                            Catford station at 16:40
You'll have to take my word for it, but that white blob towards the top of this picture is a crescent moon shining brightly down onto Catford station. It was at about 16:40 as I waited for the 16:47 train, and although the camera thinks the sky was dark blue, it seemed pretty black and night like to my naked eyeballs !
Thursday 23rd November  2017
 09:02 GMT

  It was less sunny than the weather forecast made me think it would be yesterday. The best of the sunshine seemed to be over before midday - perhaps even 11am. There was some sunshine in the afternoon, but only for some brief occasions, and even then it seemed to be a bit hazy. As usual, the forecast for the temperature seemed about right, although I think it might have hit 15° C for a short time rather than the constant 14° C that was forecast. The forecast did get two other things right - almost. I'm not sure if it rated a weather warning, but the wind did get a bit lively in the afternoon, and into the evening. The other thing the forecast got right, even very right, was the rain. I think it might have started a bit before 9pm, but it took a little while to build up to torrential. I don't think it stopped until sometime like 4am this morning.
occasionally sunny, and a bit cooler
                  than yesterday
 It is a bit unusual, but it was warmer early this morning than it will be for the rest of the day. It should be a bright day with plenty of sunshine forecast for this afternoon. At the moment the sky is covered in streaky cloud, and that has had gaps in it big enough for the occasional sunny interval since 8am, and perhaps before. If the forecast holds good that cloud will start to dissipate soon. We seem to be on a transition now with the temperature gradually falling away. Tomorrow is looking like it was be both rather cool and rather dull ! Saturday may be bright and sunny, but at just 6° C at best, it is going to be a very chilly day !!

  Yesterday did not turn out anything like I thought it would. I had plans to go out into the sunshine with my camera, and snap some trains, and stations, and other bits of architecture somewhere in north London, and eventually meet up with Aleemah for a quick drink before heading home on a crowded rush hour train. What actually happened was that by the time I had washed my hair, and showered, the beautiful blue sky had turned grey, and it looked as of it was about to pour with rain.

 So I didn't contact Aleemah to tell her of my plans, and I didn't go out. I later learned that Aleemah wouldn't have been able to meet me after work because she had to rush straight home for a parcel delivery. Meanwhile, I had to think of alternative things to do to keep me amused through the day. I didn't actually think of anything in particular, but I did a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, and somehow the day passed rather quickly.

 One little job was to scan some documents and email them to my friend Patricia in Argentina. It was actually a letter from a bank to her son. While he is of no fixed address - aka at university - sometimes in Argentina, but also in Paris - I am the official mailing address for his UK based bank. Sometime earlier this year, or maybe late last year, he was rather stupid when dealing with his bank, and now it seems his bank want proof of his identity and address. This is going to be really tricky for him because he is currently in Argentina - I think.

 I don't know how Patricia is going to sort out his banks demands, because it will undoubtably fall on her to do it. One possible way it could be resolved - although a bit unlikely - is for Patricia to present herself at the bank as his representative, and it seems that might be a possibility. As a professional translator and interpreter it is possible that Patricia may be hired by a London legal firm for 10 days to translate some legal documents. They will have to pay for her return air fare if it is to happen, but if it does then I will be seeing Patricia in the not too distant future. She will be coming on her own, and leaving her partner in Argentina. This means she can stay in my spare room while she is here. That will be nice, but it could raise complications.

 One complication is a very minor one, and one is unlikely. The minor complication is that Aleemah might pop over for a Wetherspoons breakfast, and to watch a DVD  on the first Saturday morning of December (the 2nd). It would be inconvenient if that happened to be when Patricia was here because I would lose the chance of maybe accompanying Patricia on her favourite walk along the Southbank - possibly followed by a Wetherspoons breakfast !

 The even more complicated complication revolves around uncertainty with Angela. I have already mentioned that none of the pictures she posted on social media about her "holiday" in Wales featured or mentioned her lover boy. That was strange, as was her changing her profile picture to just her and her daughter. To add to the intrigue she came home yesterday morning. As far as I can recall she was not due back until tomorrow. All I know for certain is that she says she is just as keen to meet me at lunchtime on Monday as I am keen to meet her, and that she has lots to tell me. I am intrigued. My very, very biassed theory is that her lover affair has faltered, and faltered badly. If so, it doesn't imply that she will start seeing me again for more than a secret 25 minute lunchtime drink, but obviously I hope it does.

 I went to bed last night feeling bloated, and it was because I had drunk too much - too much chilled orange squash ! I don't know why, but I love ice cold squash, and gulp it down like some drink beer. Last night I wanted to brush my teeth, and I gulped down the last half pint of chilled orange squash in one go. That left my gut feeling really distended. Of course it didn't help that I had eaten quite a lot a little earlier. I was testing out a cheap fish ready meal from Tesco. It was part of a newly introduced range of ready meals that cost just £1 each. On the whole they are crap, but the cottage pie flavour is quite pleasant. The fish pie I had was ok - just about ! They seem to be small meals, and one by itself doesn't quite feel adequate. So I had two, and on reflection two is just a little bit too much. I would have done better having just one and padding it out with something like a small can of peas. Maybe next time.....

 I was almost convinced that last night would be another night of insomnia, but it wasn't. It did take a while to get to sleep, but I think I was fast asleep by or before 11pm, and once asleep I seemed to sleep OK. I woke up after a couple of hours to drain off some of the orange squash I had been drinking, but it didn't take long to get back to sleep again. I woke up just before 7am feeling pretty awful - or normal as I like to call it these days. From then on it was a mad rush until I double checked and found that my 'flu jab was not going to be this morning, but on Saturday morning - in theory a worse day to get up early.

 My mad panic only lasted about 15 minutes until I re-checked the invite form the surgery again this morning. Now I have to think of new things to do. It is rather cool outside, but the sun is shining, and it feels like it might actually shine all afternoon today. I really ought to get showered and go out with my camera, but I can't go to far. At 5pm I have an appointment in The Shortlands Tavern for some beers with the Thursday night drinkers. There is an unlikely possibility that I might go along to the open mic in Beckenham afterwards, but it depends on what rumours I might hear !
Wednesday 22nd November  2017
 09:48 GMT

  The sun made a couple of very unexpected appearances yesterday, and even though all two of them barely lasted a minute, it was rather nice. It was also rather nice that it was quite dull, although to be honest that was just for one specific time when I was walking back from the hospital with my pupils dilated. I'm sure I can picture the road looking slightly wet at one time, but I can't recall when that was. It might not have been yesterday. Despite the lack of sunshine, it was quite mild yesterday. The forecast said 13° C, and that was about what it was.
strange - the temperature is
                  going to be constant all day
 The strange thing about today is that the temperature is forecast to be a constant 14° C all day. It does actually feel almost warm right now. I won't need a coat at this temperature when (or if) I go out today. There have been sunny spells for a couple of hours now, and while the forecast says they should be on pause for a few hours, it looks they will continue through the day. The weather warning mentioned in the screenshot of today's forecast refers to strong winds. Maybe they will come later, but at the moment there is no more than a light breeze. Tomorrow is forecast to be sunnier than today, but the temperature will start to drop until it is quite cool on Friday.

  When I think back, it seems like I didn't do much yesterday. The secret of my laziness, is that unlike normal people, I tend to concentrate on one important thing. There are occasions when I can string a series of thing to do together, but not when I have so much time on my hands. The important thing yesterday was going to the hospital to get my retinopathy examination. This is the procedure where they put drops in your eyes to dilate the pupils, and then, once the pupils have fully dilated they photograph the retina at the back of the eye - using a very bright flash gun!

dilated pupils
It is a painless procedure, although that flashgun is not pleasant. Once the photos have been taken - 2 of each eye from slightly different angles - the job is done. Only a very small amount of time is allowed for each patient, but there is usually a few minutes spare to ask the technician if they saw anything while taking the pictures. A formal diagnosis is done later, but the unofficial comment was that she didn't see anything obvious. That's is a little unusual, but I'm sure when the official diagnosis comes through it will say they spotted something tiny that is of little consequence, and it will be rechecked at my next appointment - usually in 12 months time.

 Yesterday I was lucky. It was nice and overcast when I walked back home through the park. With my pupils dilated, as in the picture on the left, taken after I got home, it makes everything seem very bright, and on a bright day, as it usually is, it can be an eye watering experience. The glare from even the "black" tarmac of the road can be painful. Yesterday it just made it seem like it wasn't overcast. It made for a pleasant walk !

 I had a treat in store when I got home. I didn't realise it was going to be a treat at first. It was a bit of experimental cooking that turned out a lot better than I imagined. On a recent visit to Tesco I had picked up a half price of chimmichurri pulled pork. Chimmichurri is a popular Argentinian sauce whose major ingredients are vinegar and oregano. Different recipes use a different selection of more herbs and spices. Pulled pork is - taking a guess that is probably painfully close to the truth - cheap nasty cuts of pork that are steamed until they can be mechanicaly pulled apart into almost fibres. The meal I concocted had only three ingredients - curly kale, pulled pork and the chimmichurri sauce. It was surprisingly delicious. It was as if all the flavours balanced each other - the sweet counteracted the sour, and......well, I'm not really sure how to describe it. All I can say is that no matter how nice it was, I will not be buying Tesco's pulled pork at full price, but if I see it at half price again I will also be buying more curly kale !

 Eating that experimental meal as a very late lunch (it was gone 3pm), and some other stuff a bit closer to dinner time, was about the only other things of note I did yesterday. I had a pleasant evening that included a couple of big vodka and colas, and a little bit of TV, and I was in bed at 11pm - and completely unable to fall asleep ! I thought I should be tired, but it was 1am, and maybe a little later before I fell asleep.

 Once I did get to sleep I slept pretty normally. I had some nice dreams that I can remember a tiny bit about. Some dreams that were so insignificant I can't remember anything about them, and I think I might have had a moderately bad dream, but the memory of that is so vague that it may not have even happened. Of two nice dreams, one was erotic, and the other was about a cat. I don't think I'll describe the erotic one, and the cat one I only remember as being pleasant without remembering any details.

 This morning I feel moderately OK, or at least I do now I have been up for a while, and settled down. I still haven't washed and dressed yet, but I have washed a few things - by hand. Next on the agenda is washing my hair, and a shower. After that I am not sure what I am doing, but I feel I want to go out with my camera. One possibility is to end up at West Hampstead to have a drink with Aleemah, although that is probably unlikely because I haven't even suggested it to her yet. Maybe she will be free after work at short notice, but I am not counting on it.

 Other curious news concerns Angela. She has recently posted on social media half a dozen or so pictures of her adventures in Wales with her lover boy. The very peculiar thing is that she has not posted any pictures of him, or even mentioned him when describing her pictures. The closest she came to it was when she captioned a picture of a castle "we like castles". It sounded more like the royal "we" rather than about her lover. The very latest thing is that she has changed her profile picture on social media. Until this morning it was a picture of her and lover boy. Now it is a picture of her and her daughter. I am very tempted to put 2 and 2 together and come up with 5 !  I will probably be disappointed when I see Angela next Monday, but in my fantasies it could be before then, and be good news for advancing our relationship.
Tuesday 21st November  2017
 10:46 GMT

  It was rather grim yesterday. There was not only some rain in the morning, but there were a few brief spells of light drizzle later in the afternoon. At one point, I think it was just before midday, there was just a hint of some very hazy sunshine. I don't think it lasted more than 5 minutes. The rest of the day was either grey or very grey. The one saving grace is that it was 12° C - not really warm, but not bad for this time of year.
Another grey day, but a degree less
                  cool than yesterday
 Today will end up a whole degree less cool than yesterday. 13° C, depending on the strength of the wind, should be entirely comfortable without a coat when I go out later - also assuming it doesn't rain. The pictorial forecast shows no rain, but the small print does warn of possible light drizzle, but no times are given. i.e. the forecasters have no clue as to what today will be like. Another example of that is that there is no mention of the hazy sunshine that has just appeared as I write these words. It is, or was, because it is fading already, just enough brightness to cast a feint shadow.

 The rest of the day will probably be grey, greyer, and very grey. This might be a good thing for reasons I'll explain in a minute - reasons that when combined with sods law, might mean bright sunshine this afternoon ! Tomorrow was going to be sunny according to earlier forecasts. Now all the forecast shows is a couple of sunny intervals late in the afternoon. It looks like Thursday is now going to be the sunniest day of the week,

  On the whole I felt pretty lousy yesterday. Some of the aches I could blame on my exercise and fresh air on Sunday, but not all. At one point I was adding up symptoms to see if they would add up to the start of 'flu, and it did come close to that in some ways. All the greyness, and occasional drizzle, completely stripped me of any inspiration to go out and do any more photography, and instead I spent most of my time either behind my PC or laying on my bed reading (and occasionally dozing off). I think that just served to make me feel even worse.

 I did two things that both helped to make me feel a bit better - one of them considerably so. The first was to do some washing by hand. That was in the morning, and it helped me warm up nicely. Prior to that I was feeling rather cold - although not shivery cold like I had a fever, but it did feel as if I might be heading that way. By the time I had hung the washing up to dry I was feeling hot. That relieved some symptoms, but I still couldn't relax in the way I wanted to.

 While laying on my bed relaxing I came up against a really peculiar effect. It was like having difficulty breathing in one particular way. It was almost as if I couldn't be bothered to breathe. It was the result of becoming aware of my breathing, and the more I thought about it, the harder it became to breath normally. It was, of course, purely in the mind - prior to this event I had been reading a book and paying no attention to how I was breathing. It was only when I decided my eyelids were getting heavy, and that I would let myself fall asleep that I became aware of my breathing, and it dominated all my thoughts.

 Once I managed to distract my mind by reading a bit more I was able to fall asleep. I spent much of the afternoon reading and snoozing, and with occasional visits to my PC. It must have been around 4pm, and not long before the sun set, that I decided I just had to do something more useful. What I did was something I have been planning to do for quite some time....probably almost a year !

 That job was to repair my bed. Once I had taken off the mattress, and stood the bed on it's side I could see exactly what the problem was. One of the posts that the casters are fitted to, and act as spacers between the top and bottom woodwork, had broken free. The reason for this is that it was only held in place by a few wire staples - like a lot of modern mass produced furniture. None of the wood was actually damaged, but before I could effect a repair I had to remove those staples. That was quite a job, and for some of them removal was impossible. I had to cut them off as close to the wood as possible. Once they were out of the way I drilled some holes and used some big wood screws to put it all back together again. In theory it is probably that my repair is stronger than the original design.

 The weird thing is that once I had finished the wood work job I felt rather good. It was hard enough work to bring me out in a sweat, but it seemed like all my aches and pains had gone. Maybe I had a few new aches, but at least I knew what to blame for them. That good feeling lasted well into the evening before some of the aches started to return. A few large vodka and colas settled them down again !

 When it was time to go to bed I was expecting my bed to be extra comfortable after that repair. That was actually stupid optimism. I had made a temporary repair by stuffing a few bits and pieces inside the bed to support the top wood beam. It wasn't a perfect repair, and there was a slight twist in the mattress, but nothing significant. So my bed felt no more comfortable when I first went to bed, and nor did it feel any different when I woke up a few times in the night, but maybe, just maybe, some of my usual aches and pains are a tiny bit less uncomfortable this morning (I am obviously clutching at straws here).

 The morning seems to be evaporating fast now, and apart from washing my hair and taking a shower, I have nothing to show for it. This afternoon, at 2.55pm, I will be having my diabetic eye scan in Lewisham hospital. I expect they'll find the usual small aberration, a tiny blood vessel with a tiny bleed, but if the past has taught us anything, they won't be able to find it again a year or 18 months later in the next scan. Of course I could be unlucky this time.

 My luck often runs out when I have these retina scans, but usually it is because the day of the appointment turns out to be a bright sunny day. The problem is the drops they put in the eye to dilate the pupil. It leaves the eye ultra sensitive to bright light. Sunlight can be agony. The darker the day the better. If my luck fails me today I will come out of the hospital in full sunlight - contrary to the thick dark clouds that are forecast !

 After the scan I will just be resting indoors, and I don't think I have any plans beyond that. There are no gigs or open mics tonight that I am aware of. So I can have a nice lazy evening - like most evenings ! To finish today here are a few more pictures I took on Greenwich on Sunday.
Looking down the
                        Thames towards the Greenwich Penisula
Looking down The Thames towards the Greenwich Peninsula. In the far distance the river turns north, loops around the Millenium Dome, and then goes south again before resuming it's eastwards course towards the English Channel/North Sea.
Greenwich Foot Tunnel
Another snap taken while walking through the Greenwich Foot Tunnel. At this point the tunnel narrows. During World War 2 a German bomb damaged the tunnel, and the emergency repair made the tunnel narrower. It is still like it, with bare (but painted) steel tunnel rings on show.
the Greenwich Foot Tunnel northern
                        portal back lit by the sun
Conventional wisdom for photography is that you should never shoot into the sun unless it is the only possible way to photograph something. Sometimes the rules can be broken, and this shot, with the sun, that is just behind the tree on the left, is lighting up the inside of the dome.
Monday 20th November  2017
 08:08 GMT

  After so many grey days (or mostly grey days) it was good to see the sun again yesterday. The sky was blue. The sun was shining brightly, and it barely got above 7° C. In fact I am not sure it actually reached 7° C. It was very cool outside !
warmer than yesterday, but not a hint
                  of sunshine
 It's going to be a lot warmer today. As the sun rose it was a whole degree warmer than the best yesterday could offer. By this afternoon it is supposed to hit 12° C, but the price to pay for that is greyness - lots of greyness - much of it dark and miserable grey. There is a microscopic chance that there might be a hint of the continued existence of the sun between 10 and 11am, and also at 1pm, but I'm not holding my breath waiting for it. Tomorrow may be a degree warmer, but for the next significant sunshine we will have to wait until Wednesday - when it may even hit 14° C.

  After a few days of staying in, and one day where I only went out once to the local shops, it was nice to get a breath of fresh air, and a bit of exercise yesterday. With the sun shining, and the sky looking very blue, it was hard to resist not going out. As I suggested yesterday, my destination was Greenwich, but it turned out to be a wider area of exploration than I thought.

 I started out getting the 199 bus to Greenwich. That was fairly tedious, but once there I set about exploring Greenwich Market. It was quite busy in there, and I didn't really like it, but I persevered, searching the whole place trying to find the Thai Kitchen where my next door neighbour works (the one who occasionally gives me some of their leftovers). I couldn't find it anywhere. I am sure she said she works there on Fridays and Sundays, but evidently not yesterday. I did see plenty of other stalls selling a wide variety of food and drink.
toffee and vodka
 This stall immediately made me think of Angela. She is very fond of the salted caramel flavoured vodka that Aldi have just started selling again, and I imagine the stuff they sell on this stall is similar - except it is probably at least twice the price of Aldi's offering. I think I shall go back there sometime soon and buy a bottle or two.
 This stall made me think of my friend Patricia from Argentina. Before I met her I had never heard of empanadas. They are basically a south American version of a Cornish Pasty. The ones on this stall are sold as Andean, but top of the menu is one made with Argentinian beef.

 After searching Greenwich Market I went back out into the sunshine, and had a wander around snapping away at several sights. After a few quick snaps of a couple of statues outside the old naval college I took a snap of the starboard side of the Cutty Sark. Until yesterday I had only seen the port side since it was stuffed and mounted on it's hideous glass plinth. The starboard side doesn't really look any different to the port side.

 I then took a few snaps of the river before deciding that one thing I hadn't done in absolute ages was to walk through the foot tunnel. It still seems a very popular walk despite it now being possible to cross under the river by Docklands Light Rail. The two stations, Island Gardens, and Cutty Sark are very close to the foot tunnel portals. Since I last went down the foot tunnel the lifts have been modernised, and the tunnel lighting seems to be high efficiency, probably LED lighting, but the tunnel itself hasn't changed a bit.
Greenwich toot tunnel
 I don't know how long the tunnel is, but it always seems to be quite a walk, and it is made worse because it slopes up as you approach the lifts. I didn't fancy walking back again, and so I opted to take the DLR back to Greenwich. Once I got there I checked the other two little markets to see if The Thai Kitchen was hiding in one of those, but it wasn't. So I waited at the next bus stop for a 199 to take me back home...except I didn't go straight home.

 On the way to Greenwich the bus stops outside Cash Converters between Ladywell and Lewisham. As we sat at the bus stop for half a minute or so, I spotted a couple of cameras in the window of  Cash Converters. I decided to give them a closer look on the way back home. So I git off the bus, crossed the road, and had a good look. One camera that had interested me was a Sony Alpha 100. It is possible it is a fairly nice camera, and it was only £99, but none of my lenses would fit it, and while it may be "nice" in some respects, it's spec is a bit out of date.

 The second camera was far mor interesting, and rather tempting. It was a Canon EOS 5D, and that firmly puts it in the pro category....or it used to. Like the Sony it is rather old, and has two weak spots....although one could actually be a strong point. It is the mk1 version of the camera (the latest is the mk4), and it only has a 12.8mp sensor. That could potentially mean it is lower noise than the 20mp sensors fitted to later versions, but it's maximum ISO rating is just 1600, and that means it is going to be a lot less sensitive than newer cameras. My later research shows I could buy one from Amazon at exactly the same price, and it is probably that the one from Amazon comes with more of the original kit. I feel I ought to save up and buy at least the mk2 version, or preferably the mk3 version. The latter is only around £2000 ! The flaw in this plan is that I don't really have a sensible income I can save up.

 I walked home from Cash Converters - it is approximately a mile walk - and I arrived home feeling knackered. It was thus probably a stupid idea to rest for not much more then 15 minutes before going out again - this time just to Tesco. I fancied something a little more substantial to eat than I had in the fridge. All that fresh air had given me an appetite ! I also had a voucher for £10 off any bill more than £50. It seemed like the perfect time to stock up on booze !

 In terms of food for immediate consumption I bought a few reduced price sandwiches, and a couple of reduced price butter chicken with rice curries. I ate the sandwiches first, and the curry in the evening. I felt pretty weird before I ate the sandwiches, and although it seemed very unlikely, I did wonder if my blood glucose level had fallen unusually low. I went out without having any breakfast, and most things I had eaten the previous day had been low in carbohydrates. Once I had eaten the sandwiches I felt quite different, and in some ways rather worse.

 I few extra things ached, and I felt dreadfully tired. So I lay on my bed, and promptly fell asleep. I woke up perhaps an hour later feeling completely dreadful. Some of the aches were suggestive of some sort of cardiac problem, and others were like some sort of cancer was eating away my insides. I didn't feel much better until I had consumed several very large vodkas in the evening. They certainly helped me get to sleep, and I slept well for 3 or 4 hours before waking up in the night feeling dreadful again. It took something like 45 minutes before I felt OK to go back to sleep.

 This morning I woke up still feeling terrible. It didn't stop me washing a few t-shirts, and doing that made me feel a bit better. Since then I have been sitting down at my PC reading some stuff, and writing this stuff. My stomach started growling and so I took a break for some breakfast. I had a small egg and bacon quiche. It wasn't bad, although I expect it would have been nicer f I had warmed it up.

 Bits of me still ache, and I now can't seem to stop yawning. I think that if I can I will soon be having a snooze. As for the bits that ache.....they do seem to remind me of the aches you get when you go down with 'flu. Even my wrists and fingers ache a bit ! It would be terribly ironic if I am going down with the 'flu - I am probably getting my 'flu jab at the surgery tomorrow.

 Apart from having a snooze I don't know what I am doing today. I would like to go out again today, but the grey weather, and the lack of an idea for a destination are holding me back. Oh well, there are other things I can do. I have a sink fully of washing up to do. I think I need to make that one of my top priority. A lesser priority, although I think it would be a handy thing to do, would be to repair my bed. For the last 6 months, and maybe more, I have added a sort of large wedge to prop up a loose piece of timber. The repair should be as simple as replacing a few wire staples with some honest to goodness wood screws. I've doubly been intending to do this since I bought a new cordless drill last summer !
Sunday 19th November  2017
 09:05 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was very miserable. I don't think it was as wet as the forecast suggested it might be, but it was very grey, and it was rather cool. The forecast predicted the highest temperature as being 8° C, and I am sure it was about right.
a bright but
                  cold morning
 Today is forecast to be one degree cooler than yesterday, and yesterday was cool enough ! At least we have the joy of a sunny morning today, and we just missed out on a frost. The forecast says 4° C. I reckon it was closer to 3° C. The cars out on the road are drenched in condensation, but I don't think there is any frost on them. If reality proceeds like the forecast the sunshine should continue until 2pm, and then some light cloud will block it out. That's a bit of a shame, but it gets dark so early we will only be missing out on a couple of hours. At the moment it is looking like tomorrow will be almost warm, 12° C, but it will probably be mostly grey - both light grey and dark grey, and all shades between. If we are lucky we will see the sun again on Wednesday !

  I didn't feel very inclined to go out on Friday, and yesterday I felt even less inclined to go out. When I checked what gigs were on I found nothing that excited me - at least none that I might have a reasonable chance of getting to. It set the tone for the whole day. It was actually even worse than Friday because I didn't even go out to the shops.

 For the second day running I saw no one, and spoke to no one....and it wasn't that bad. It may well have been practice for today. Sunday's are usually a very isolated day. What I find strange is how quickly some of these days when I am a complete hermit seem to pass. While I had ideas that I would like to be doing something else, I didn't seem to get bored yesterday. I did end up doing one little job involving re-arranging my living room.
new TV
 I can't remember if I mentioned it before, but I was given a 40" LCD TV by my friend Lee recently. It used to belong to his uncle who passed away recently. Before I could use it I had to move my old Sony CRT TV, and that weighs a ton ! Fortunately the stand it is on has wheel, and I was able to wheel it to the other corner of the room where it can wait until I can get it disposed of. I also had to re-arrange a few other things. With that done I could install the TV, on it's smoked glass stand, into the same alcove that the old TV was in.

 The new TV is made my JVC, and it seems to give a pretty good picture, but the sound is quite poor. The sound is fine for speech, and incidental music, but it sounds very thin when real music is played through it's internal speakers. I may investigate the headphone socket to see if it will drive some external speakers directly - some will, some won't. The TV does have plenty of input and output connectors, and you can even plug in an external USB hard drive or memory stick for playback or recording.

 Having moved a lot of stuff around on the spur of the moment (I just suddenly decided to do it) I think I could have planned it a bit better - like when my muscles and joints had been warmed up or something. Several bits of me ached by the time I had finished yesterday evening. I did consider rewarding myself with a nice takeaway in front of the TV, but I had not taken into consideration that there was bugger all on TV for several hours. When I later watched some TV I watched it on my PC in my bedroom.

 I cancelled the idea of having a takeaway in my mind, and went on to consider what I could cook for myself. I didn't fancy any of the ready made, calories controlled meals I had in the fridge, and I couldn't seem to find the patience for preparing vegetables. Then I spotted a can of "stewed" chick peas. They had extra stuff like a little bit of onion and bell pepper in a very oily sauce, and I added to the oil by melting some chunks of Red Leicester cheese on it. It was a bit small for dinner, and quite large for a snack...and it was quite tasty.

 Later on I did end up having a takeaway. There was a knock at my door, and it was the lady from next door. She had some free Thai food for me. It has been ages since she last offered me some, and I received it with great gratitude. It was very nice - more so with some added hot spicy sauce. A little later I watched some TV. There were a few old repeats of QI, a bit of Dad's Army, and finally I watched some of a music programme featuring Dave Gilmore (from Pink Floyd) performing at Pompei. Some of it was excellent, but that was mostly when he was doing Pink Floyd material. Some of his own stuff was less exciting.

 I wasn't really paying much attention to the time, but I think it was around 10pm when I decided I had had enough, and went to bed. I seemed to fall asleep very easily, and I slept solidly for three of four hours. When I woke up in the early hours (I think it was around 2am) I knew I wouldn't get back to sleep again instantly, and so I read some stuff off the internet for maybe 20 minutes. I gradually felt sleepy again, and went back to bed. I then slept for another 3 hours before needing the toilet. Even after that I managed to get back to sleep again. It is difficult to say how well I slept for the last couple of hours because I seemed to be dreaming a lot, and some dreams seemed like I was awake. Maybe I was, but I'll never know for certain.

 This morning I feel no more terrible than most mornings these days. I do feel that I have to stretch my legs today even if it just to take a walk to the shops. I did have a plan to go and see Chain play a late matinee gig in West Wickham (6pm start), but I note that we have no trains again this Sunday, and there is no way I will go on a series of buses !

 It is bloody cold outside, but it is sunny. Maybe I can persuade myself to go out and do some photography. I have in mind going to Greenwich, and particularly Greenwich Market, but I don't know if I will. Even if I do it is still going to be another day of isolation. It is entirely possible I won't see or speak to anyone until Thursday when I go out for my Thursday evening drink. On the other had there may be something to do before then. I think I have a diabetic eye test, and a flu vaccination coming up during the week.
Saturday 18th November  2017
 11:04 GMT

  I know it was cold when I went shopping yesterday morning, and I assume the rest of the day was cold too - at least that was what the forecast predicted, but I never went out again to experience it for myself ! The one positive thing was that the sunshine was stronger than the day before. It is shame it didn't manage to raise the temperature beyond 8° C. At least it stayed dry.
 The forecast for today looks pretty grim ! It will be no warmer than yesterday, and to make it worse there will be no sunshine....except that is not 100% true ! It could have been as much as an hour ago, but we did get some weak sunshine filtering through the clouds. There was just enough to cast a feint shadow. At the moment it is supposed to be raining, but it's not, and the clouds, while thick, are still a medium grey. I expect some rain will fall sooner or later. Tomorrow may see a return to something like yesterday. Some sunshine is forecast, although once again the temperature will be stuck around 8° C.

 It was obviously the fault of the weather....and the short winter days....and not seeing Angela, that left me feeling very uninspired yesterday. I wasn't particularly conscious of it, at least I don't think I was, but I expect the thought of Angela being stuck with lover boy for over a week did little to raise my spirits. Quite the opposite. I just hope that she is enjoying it, and her worse fears, both spoken and implied, don't come to pass.

 Another thing that dampened my spirits was having to force myself to finish going through the pictures I took on Tuesday night. They are all done now, but in the process of selecting and editing them I noticed something that I had never really given much thought to before despite noticing it a few times in the past. It is this - there are some rare individuals whose faces refuse to allow a camera to come to a sharp focus on them. In my more fanciful moments I wonder is they are aliens, or partly living in a different dimension, or something.....
Stretchy's open mic
Everybody is approximately in focus here, although Rob, on the right seems to have forgotten how to smile. This was Stretchy's third and final song as he opened the open mic session. Paul Southpaw on the left is playing a 4 string acoustic bass guitar (you don't see many of those), and Rob, on the right, is playing the cahoun.
Sid D'Hant
Sid D'Hant, and accomplished actor, is best known in musical circles for his flute. I have never seen him play guitar before, and that is because, in his own word, he doesn't know how to play guitar. He claims to just known two chords, but his acting skills made it seem very much like he was playing guitar to me - both visually and audibly !
from open mic to jam session
Officially it is an open mic session, but towards the end it often turns into a jam session with quite a few people playing together. This is good because it is often how bands are formed.

 I did my best not to eat too much yesterday. Of course I failed, but it wasn't a total failure - particularly considering I had been to Aldi, and I could have come back with all sorts of foods to eat. In the morning I had some smoked mackerel. I was going to resist any other proper meals until the evening after that, but I made the fatal mistake of trying an experiment. I realised that I had never tried cooking pasta in the microwave, and I had also never tried some of the ready made pasta sauces that I had stockpiled in the kitchen - if three jars can be called a stockpile.

 I cooked a very simple dish, and learned a few things. The most important thing I learned is that I put too much uncooked pasta in the bowl. The ready made sauce did not completely cover it, and a few bits got singed while being zapped with microwaves. I think that next time I will slightly dilute the sauce - and use less pasta ! It was quite a dense bowl of pasta that I took out the microwave, but apart from the few singed bits of pasta it was actually rather tasty. The only trouble is that it increased my carbohydrate loading to more than I might desire. On the plus side, I didn't add any cheese, and so it may not have been as completely unhealthy as I imagined.

 For my evening meal I consider the idea of smoked haddock, but I didn't fancy stinking out the house in the evening. So I had sprouts and bacon. As far as I know, sprouts do not have any negative conseqiences except for gas and farting, but I think they are very low in calories and that sort of negative stuff. The same cannot be said about the bacon. Like most good bacon (although mine was very average) it was quite fatty. I reduced the amount of fat by not drinking the stock it was all cooked in as I usually would. I don't know if that helped or not.

 There was a gig I might have liked to go to ast night, but when it came down to it I just could not raise the enthusiasm to get ready and go out. It would also have meant putting my sprouts and bacon on hold, and I was quite keen to eat that. So I stayed in and watched a bit of TV. I could have watched more, but when QIXL came on Dave I realised it was a repeat of a Xmas special, and I am already sick of Xmas before it has even started. I checked the programme guide and found the following programme was an ordinary length QI, and it was another special for Children In Need. At that point I uttered some strong curse words, turned off the TV and went to bed. I read for maybe as much as an hour before falling asleep around 10pm.

 I slept both good and bad last night. Everything was fine until I woke up at 1am (or maybe a bit later). I woke up with my chest and stomach hurting as well as a stiff neck and stiff left elbow (or was it the right elbow - it all seem hazy now). I couldn't get back to sleep feeling like that. So I spent a bit of time on the toilet (but achieved little) and then spent 25 minutes reading stuff off the internet. I then went back to bed and slept normally again until just gone 7pm (ignoring at least one very short break in my sleep).

 Since getting up a lot of time has passed, and I can't really account for where it has all gone. I have washed my hair and had a shower. That must have taken a little time. I guess some periods of time can be accounted for by lots of little short jobs. For instance, since 30 seconds ago, today has become National Charging Day. Today is the day to charge up all those batteries that get left in stuff in cupboards and the like. Camcorder batteries are one such example.

 It all started when I picked up one of my camcorders and realised the battery in it was flat. I now have three camcorder batteries on charge plus my electric shaver, and Angela's electric toothbrush. I have made sure the latter is kept clean and in good condition, and charged after she left it here. It might just be wishful thinking, but I think it is possible that she will be wanting to brush her teeth here again.

 I don't know what I am doing for the rest of the day. I have toyed with the idea of going out with my camera, and maybe a camcorder (that's why I cjecked the battery in it), but I never had a specific destination on mind. I just had a vague idea of taking a train and/or tube somwhere. Now I am looking out the window, and the ground is wet from rain, and I have lost all inclination to go out. I'm not sure if there are any gigs that would interest me tonight, but I don't feel very enthusiastic about going to a gig either. I might re-arrange my living room today so I can use the new 40" TV I was recently given, but I don't seem to feel much enthusiasm for that either !
Friday 17th November  2017
 11:01 GMT

  It was mild. It was sunny. It rained....and all of them happened yesterday....but not quite the same way as was forecast. The forecast said there would be a lot of sunshine in the morning, but there was far less, and for a lot of the time it was just hazy sunshine. I'm sure it became grey a lot earlier than the 3pm that was forecast, but the forecast for rain at 4pm was approximately correct - my recollection is that it was closer to 5pm though. It was nice that it was mild.....
                  frosty start, and rather cool middle
 This morning got off to a very cold start. The lowest temperature I spotted on one of my thermometers was just 0.8° C - cold enough for a frost. All the cars outside had a rime of frost on them, and there was even frost on my lower roof (possibly upper roof too, but I can't see that so easily). On the plus side there is a lovely clear blue sky, and unlike yesterday, the sun really is shining - although it took a long time before it had risen high enough in the sky to clear the roofs of nearby houses and other obstructions. It is forecast to raise the temperature to a whole 8° C - i.e. bloody chilly ! Tomorrow is going to see a very similar temperature pattern, but only a few brief sunny spells are forecast. It should be quite a miserable day !

 I didn't see Angela yesterday lunchtime, and so I didn't have anything to drink until later in the day. I missed seeing Angela, but it was probably having a clear head in the afternoon. It allowed me to get started on selecting and editing nearly half the photos I took on Tuesday night. It was good to feel I had done something, but on the other hand I would have loved to see Angela. She wasn't at work yesterday, and was making preparations for her week away with lover boy.

 The sun had already set, and we were losing the light very fast when I went to the station to go for my Thursday evening drink with the lads. I was aiming to get the 16:47 train from Catford station to go to Shortlands station, and I did indeed get it. It was almost on time too. It may have been before 5pm, but as I waited for the train it really felt like night time, and that I should have been travelling in the other direction - towards home and my bed !
night time at Catford
Catford station at (approx) 4.45pm - it was so dark it might have been midnight.

 I didn't feel all that good when I went out. I think I had spent far too much time either sitting down, or laying down. It git my chest feeling quite sore and prone to some really sharp pains when doing things like reaching around to swipe my Oyster card across the reader. When I got to the pub my chest felt quite tender, and yet it also felt better after walking for a bit. It was a case of trying not to make any moves that might provoke it.

 As usual, I had three pints of ale last night, and on this occasion it was a relatively weak ale - just 3.8% abv. It was still enough to relax my chest muscles in a good enough way to act as an analgesic. As I made my way home, my chest felt mostly OK, but I did feel some discomfort from my stomach. It is hard to describe. It had some similarities to bloat, and some similarities to what I imagine an exploded liver (or kidneys or spleen, or some important organ) might feel like if it wasn't too lethal an explosion.

 When I got home I had resisted going via the chicken shop, but I was sorely tempted. The first thing I did was to put a calorie controlled meal into the microwave for a good zapping. It was such a small portion that as soon as it was cooked I put another one in the microwave. Even eating two didn't satisfy me, and later on I nibbled on quite a few almonds (which I believe, probably wrongly, are a fair bit less awful for you than peanuts).

 As well as eating more food than was ideal, I also succumbed to pouring myself several very large vodka and colas before I went to bed. Before I actually went to bed I found one reason why my stomach had been sore earlier - it was bloat. I suspect the calorie controlled meals I had been eating in the last few days might have a lot more fibre in them than I thought. A visit to the toilet made my stomach feel much better, and 20 minutes I was in bed and fast asleep.

 It didn't last that long - at least I don't think it did, but I wasn't really paying attention to the time. It might have been getting on for 2am when I woke up feeling terrible. The core problem was that my stomach was uncomfortable again, and I think I had been thrashing around in bed while I was asleep. My chest felt really sore, and I didn't like laying down because I couldn't get comfortable. I took a couple of paracetamol tablets, and gave them a chance to work before I tried to get back to sleep. While I waited I went for a wee in the toilet. It was after I git back to my bedroom that I started to pass some wind. So I went back to the toilet and in short time my bloated feeling had been replaced by an empty feeling. At last I could get back to bed, and to fall asleep in relative comfort.

 I woke up this morning about two hours earlier than I thought I ought to, but it seemed to be the time my body wanted to get up even if parts of my brain didn't. I felt pretty awful, and it was mostly my chest that was bothering me. It seemed very sensitive, and any slightly odd movement such as stretching an arm out to pick up the back brush from the bottom of the bath, would provoke some annoying pain. Curiously enough, I went to the toilet in what seemed a perfectly normal way this morning - number one and number twos in typical quantities. Where does it all come from ?

 Despite my chest being so sensitive, I decided I would go to Aldi once I was showered and dressed this morning. I wanted another look for the exotic vodkas their Xmas flyer promised - they had them both - and the sprouts with bacon and chestnuts - which still haven't appeared yet. I also wanted some fish. Yesterday I had smoked haddock on peas (with some melted cheese) for brunch, and despite it stinking the whole house out, it was most enjoyable. I haven't had any fish for some time, and I wanted more.

 The strange thing, although there are thousands of precedents for it, is that walking back from Aldi, with a couple of medium heavy bags, and a rucksack with 6 litres of sugar free cola in it, is good for my chest. I think it is the rucksack straps that pull all the ribs and stuff into more comfortable positions. It was still nice to get home again, and to put the weighty stuff down, although the only downside is that I swear I could still smell yesterday's smoked haddock when I came in the front door. (Curiously enough, I don't think I smelled anything when I came home from the pub last night).

 This morning I have had some smocked mackerel, allegedly flavoured with peri peri, for a late-ish breakfast. I was sorely tempted to have some extra stuff with it, although I am not sure what, but I resisted that temptation. Ideally I would be fasting today, but I'll probably being going out this evening, and shouldn't attempt to eat on an empty stomach (mainly because I would be tempted top clean out the entire fried chicken shop on my way home again !). Going out tonight might be the only thing of note that I do today - apart from finishing going through last Tuesday's photos.

 To finish today a short video clip. I shot this on my mobile phones camera while I waited for my train to Shortlands last night. I'm not sure why this train does not stop at Catford, but I see it every time I wait for the 16:47 train to Shortlands station.
Thursday 16th November  2017
 07:51 GMT

  The good thing about yesterday was that it was mild all day - although "mild" does not mean warm ! Other than it being mostly either 11° or 12° C it was a rather sombre grey day - sometimes rather dark grey ! That should change today....
a filthy grey start and then sunshine - hoorah
 At the moment the sky is a filthy grey colour, and it doesn't look like daylight yet despite the sun rising almost an hour ago. If the forecast is to be believed, there will be a miraculous change at 10am. It will be as if someone flicked a switch, and turned the sun on ! Of course it won't actually happen like that, but it is a nice thought to think it could happen. If it's not too windy it will be t-shirt weather from mid-morning until mid-afternoon. I just hope it forgets to rain at 4pm ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be very bright and sunny, but it is going to be a very cold day - just 8° C !!!!

  Yesterday almost turned into a truly wonderful day, but circumstances got in the way of it being fulfilled. On the other hand, the potential for it to be good was very cheering. The day started with me doing very little. I'm a little unclear just how the morning went so fast when I can't remember being occupied by anything that would distract me from the ticking of the clock. Maybe I was reading a lot.

 At lunchtime I went out to meet Angela. While I waited for Angela to arrive I managed to complete all of the quick crossword, and all but two clues of the cryptic crossword in The Metro. I did the quick crossword so quickly that I had barely drunk a third of a pint of Guinness before I completed it. The cryptic crossword took a bit longer !

 I must have been in the pub half an hour before Angela arrived. It was a joy to see her, although it was a slightly more subdued meeting than the day before, but there was nothing negative about it....well not towards me. Angela seemed a bit apprehensive about her weeks holiday with lover boy. It puts me in a bit of a quandary. On the one hand I wouldn't like her to have an unhappy time, but on the other hand it would be good for my cause if it widens any cracks in their relationship. Even better if it broke it !

 After our drink I walked Angela back to work, and we parted after a big hug. I told her I was sad that I would have to wait so long before I could see her again. I wasn't expecting to even hear from her again for almost a week and a half, but that idea was broken about three hours later. If circumstances had been a bit different I might even have seen her in the evening.

 After we said goodbye I walked home. I wasn't comfortable walking because the three pints of Guinness I had drunk left me feeling a bit bloated. It was made worse by gulping down the last half pint so I could leave at the same time as Angela, and walk her back to work. It was a relief to get home. The sensible thing would have been not to eat anything until the bloated feeling had subsided, but I had left a 90% cooked ready meal in the microwave ready to be zapped for 5 minutes and then eaten.

 This particular ready meal was a low calorie chicken and spinach curry meal. I think it achieved it's remarkably low calorie count by being very small ! So small that I decided to cook a second low calorie meal while I ate the first. Eating the two meals didn't seem to make me feel more bloated, but their spiciness, aided by extra chilli sauce, did make me feel very hot and sweaty. I ended up turning the heating off, and laying on my bed to cool off while reading. Unfortunately I fell asleep. It wasn't unexpected, but what was unfortunate is that I woke up shivering, and couldn't wait to turn the heat on again.

 Apart from shivering, I felt really odd when I woke up. Sort of shakey, and something like light headed, but not actually light headed. It was all very strange. Some of the strangeness was probably to do with what was going on in my gut. I don't know exactly what was going on in there, but trapped wind may have been the answer. It was most unusual, but I ended up going to the toilet with a ferocity that is normally associated with food poisoning. The big difference was that it was all over in one sitting - although I didn't believe that could be possible until quite some time had passed, and nothing else happened.

 I think it was around 6pm that I got a message from Angela to say she was restless, and was contemplating going out to a gig/open mic/jam session. I was supposed to be going to Sidcup for the M.T. Pockets open mic session last night, but I didn't feel in the right state for it. I still didn't believe that my guts were in order again, and I felt sweaty and dirty. It wasn't all that long before Angela phoned me that I had been hand washing a small towel and some t-shirts and underwear. The effort of doing that, on top of all the chilli circulating in my bloodstream had got me seating again.

 I was less than enthusiastic about going out, and yet I could have raised the enthusiasm a lot of Angela had been a bit more enthusiastic. I think she was giving me a chance to persuade her to go out together, but she caught me at the wrong time. I could kick myself now for wasting a second opportunity to spend time with her. I am rather curious as to why she wasn't able to see her lover boy....or didn't want to see her lover boy.

 Over the course of the evening we continued to exchange occasional messages even when, as I learned later, she had a visit from her grand daughter-in-law. Before long Angela announced that it would probably be a good idea if she had an early night, and I suggested that when I was working I would usually aim for bed at 9pm even if I then spent a while reading in bed before going to sleep. Angela said that 9pm sounded good, and at 9pm we exchanged our final messages to say good night to each other. Despite only being able to see each other for half an hour at lunchtime, all the events of the last couple of weeks have lead up to the point last night when it did feel so tantalisingly close to resuming the deep intimate relationship we had until about this time last year when Angela was distracted by the need to look after John.

 I slept rather well last night - aided my a few extra big vodka and colas ! I got up around 7am, and by 7.20am I had a message from Angela ! I already felt mostly OK, and hearing from Angela boosted that. I now need to do several things. The first, last, and middling is to try and moderate my food intake a bit better today. I won't be drinking at lunchtime - at least I don't think I will. It is very unlikely, but it would come as no surprise if Angela suggested a quick meet in a pub. I know she is going shopping in Bromley today, and it is possible she will be on her own. So maybe...

 I haven't actually worked out any definite plans for today beyond going to my usual Thursday evening drink. Tonight we are back in The Shortlands Tavern. Until then I have some conflicting ideas. It would be nice to get out in the sunshine today, and I am considering doing something like taking a walk around central London with my camera. On the the other hand I have a load of pictures on my camera that I took on Tuesday night, and I really ought to do something with them. Staying in doing photo selecting and editing would be a good idea for maybe two reasons. If I go out walking with my camera I might feel I have had enough fresh air and reluctant to go out in the evening. It would also make it difficult if I did get a call from Angela. The latter is so unlikely that I feel I shouldn't let it influence me...and yet......
Wednesday 15th November  2017
 07:51 GMT

  There was was every reason why yesterday should have been horrible - it was mostly grey and the temperature never got higher than 10° C - and yet it didn't seem that bad. I even dared venture out without a coat ! At around 6pm there was some light drizzle, but it didn't seem to amount to much, and it was perfectly dry when I went out later.
warmer than
 It is going to be another grey day, but it should be a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday. The only downside is the possibility of drizzle. It was actually quite wet outside at 5am this morning, and I think it was still spitting with rain. It has stopped now, at least I think it has, but the road looks very wet still. Today the temperature should reach 12° C, and stay there until well after sunset. Tomorrow it might hot 13° C, and the day may be a little brighter, but no sunshine is forecast. We have to wait until Friday for sunshine - assuming the forecast that far in advance has any credibility.

  Yesterday was a good day, and for a while there was the possibility of it being an even better day. Unfortunately there were also a few disappointments too. During the morning I went to Aldi to buy three items that were shown as being available on the 14th (yesterday) in their Xmas advertising booklet. Those three items were salted caramel flavoured vodka liqueur, French vodka that seems to be the same as incredibly expensive Grey Goose vodka but is much cheaper, and finally, sprouts with bacon and chestnuts (presumably frozen). Sad to say that I couldn't find any of those things, but I did come away with a couple of bags of stuff to stock up my larder.

 At lunchtime I went out to meet Angela and had an excellent time with her. We ended up talking about stuff that only very close friends would talk about. If it wasn't for her lover boy I would feel we are now as close as we were back in about July 2016, just before we became lovers for sadly too few beautiful months. One thing that could have made yesterday a really excellent day was a suggestion that Angela herself made. That suggestion was that if she had the energy she would like to come along with me to the open mic I went to last night.

 I went home after seeing Angela feeling rather good, and feeling that there could be hope for the future. When I got in I heated up some lunch that I had pre-cooked before I went out. It was a simplified chicken curry. By "simplified" I mean it was just a couple of skinless, boneless, chicken breasts, and some peas, cooked in a ready made Korma curry sauce. I'm sure the recipe/instructions on the jar of curry sauce suggested a far more elaborate mix of stuff, but just those three ingredients made for a very tasty lunch, and one that would have been low fat/sugar/salt if it were not for the sauce itself. I am assuming the sauce had loads of stuff in it that made the entire meal very unhealthy, but I didn't dare look to confirm it.

 I hardly did anything yesterday afternoon except fart a lot. I think I can blame some bean salad I had eaten earlier rather than the chicken curry. I did wonder if I would ever be stable enough to go out in the evening. It would have been a tragedy if Angela had wanted to go with me in that state, but by 7pm I seemed to have vented all the excess, and I had also heard from Angela to say that she had decided to stay in and get an early night.

 The open mic was "Stretchy's Open Mic" in The Bricklayers Arms pub in Bromley - although from my perspective it is through Bromley and out the other side ! It is a tedious bus ride, but most are. Fortunately it was worth enduring because on the whole, I enjoyed being there. There was some good musicianship on display. Sadly there was also some bad.....well, to be fair, it wasn't bad - it's just the material failed to excite me.

 By 10.30pm I decided I had seen enough, and headed for home. I really ought to have stayed longer because the last 30 - 40 minutes are usually a group jam, and can sound really good. I only had a 3 minute wait for a 320 bus home. The 320 is often a very fast bus, and last night was no exception. I would have been home by 11pm, and perhaps a little earlier if it hadn't been for one thing. There was a young woman who got on the bus in Bromley, and started munching on fried chicken for three quarters of the ride home. The smell of that chicken burned it's way into the primitive centres of my brain.

 When I got off the bus I was forced to go to the chicken shop to buy my own chicken. About the only will power I had left was just enough to resist buying any fries to go with the chicken. It was delicious when I ate it when I got home. After I finished eating I started preparing myself for bed. I think I was in bed, and fast asleep before midnight (but maybe on just before midnight). I could have slept quite well if it were not for one little thing.

 That little thing was that the temperature hardly dropped in the night, but I left the heater on in my bedroom. That would have been fine if a frost was expected, but early this morning, perhaps around 2am, I woke up feeling lightly poached. My pillow as damp with sweat, as was a few bits of my duvet. After a while I got back to sleep with little more than one leg under the duvet. Of course I then woke up a few hours later feeling too cold ! I am sure I can feel a few snoozes coming on today to make up for the sleep I lost last night.

 There are just two things on the agenda for today. The most important is meeting Angela at lunchtime. Today will be the last time I see her until she comes back from her "holiday" with lover boy. That should be Monday week (27th). It is going to be a very long wait, and I think we will both miss each other. I'm not even sure we will exchange any messages during the time, but we'll see. The other thing on the agenda is the M.T. Pockets open mic night at The Iron Horse in Sidcup. I missed the last one, and I am very much hoping I'll be in the right mood to go tonight.
the lovely Angela
 Another photo of Angela taken as I walked her back to work. I gave her some warning I would be taking this photo, and so she had time to put a nice smile on her lips. Her folded arms pose looks very defensive - and it was, but only defensive against the cold 9° C air. For some reason it felt far more nippy out when going home from the pub than going to it !
Tuesday 14th November  2017
 07:44 GMT

  There was some wonderful sunshine yesterday morning, and it was still bright during the afternoon, although most, but not all, direct sunlight was obscured by thin clouds in the afternoon. Despite all the sunshine the temperature didn't rise above 7° C.
less cold than yesterday, but a miserable
                  grey day
 This morning has started at the same temperature as yesterday's highest, 7° C, but it is going to be a very different day. For one thing there has already been some drizzle. The screenshot of the forecast for today doesn't show any symbols for rain, but the small print that went with it does say that rain or drizzle could fall at almost any time. The small print also says there could be a sunny interval sometime today ! Generally it looks like it is going to be an ultra grey and miserable day. The only slight comfort, and it barely registers on the perception, is that the afternoon temperature is going to be 10° C - a whole three degrees higher than yesterday ! Tomorrow may be a couple more degrees higher than today, and apparently there is a slim chance of a sunny interval - maybe even two of them !
bright but cloudy
 This is how the Ladywell end of Ladywell Fields looked at midday yesterday. The sun is still bright enough to cast good shadows, but there are enough light fluffy clouds to make the sunshine rather diffuse by then.
A close up of the sign seen in the distance in the upper photo. Once up on a time, or maybe less than ten years ago now, all the park was just mown grass and trees (except for the river banks), but now there is all sorts of "eco diversity", and I think the park looks rather wonderful for it.
backwater filled with
                        old beer cans
 One piece of "eco diversity" is centred around the new stream that was cut through the park. It is fed off the main river, and various "features" have been added. One such feature is backwaters - small ponds that are fed/filled from the river or stream, but have no current flowing through them. They are ideal breeding grounds for many creatures and plant life. The picture above shows just a small part of such a backwater. Over the last year or two it has become partly choked with reeds and other plants, and appears to be mainly home to rusting beer cans. I did hear a rustle, and saw a quick glimpse of grey fur between the reeds. It was either a rat or vole.

 I took the above pictures while walking through the park for the highlight of the day - meeting Angela for a quick drink at lunchtime. Unlike last Thursday and Friday, I went out early yesterday to pick up a copy of The Metro from Catford Bridge station. There was no reason why I still couldn't have got a train from Catford Bridge to Ladywell at midday, but with the sun out it seemed like a nice idea to walk through the park - and it was.

 I hadn't seen, or spoken to Angela since before the weekend, but was picked up where we left off on Friday, and generally the weekend wasn't mentioned. As usual it was wonderful to see Angela, and for 25 minutes I felt very happy. Some of that happiness lingered through the afternoon, but it was spoilt a bit by the knowledge that After tomorrow lunchtime I won't see Angela again until next Monday week (the 27th Nov). She is going away with lover boy to see some of his relatives. Depending how that goes I could end up trying to wean myself off Angela as a lost cause, or I could be trying harder to get back with Angela on a more intimate basis.

 When I got home from the pub I had some lunch. It was a mixed vegetable stew (in beef stock so not really vegetarian). It was nice, and of course it had the predictable effect - albeit mildly. It was that it was a mild effect that possibly made it worse. The effect on my digestive system of a lot of fibrous vegetable with a lot (over a pint I think) of hot spicy stock (it had some chilli in it) was like taking a laxative. Sometimes it is quite an explosive effect, and providing it is all over quickly enough I am usually OK to go out later.

 Yesterday it was only a minor explosive effect, and I was left with my stomach still gurgling with little more happening. Apart from that gurgling I felt basically OK, and I could have chanced going out, but I couldn't raise the enthusiasm. I felt nice and warm and relaxed, and it seemed far too easy to stay in with some booze and a bit of TV - and that is what I did. I think it may have been around 10pm that I didn't think I felt tired, but decided to go to bed with the book I am reading. I think I went from not feeling tired to being fast asleep after reading just a few pages of the book.

 I am definitely going through a phase where my chest is behaving itself. A few things still provoke it, but if I am careful I can get through the day, and the night, without being in pain. Quite how I manage to be careful through the night, when I am asleep, and just how long this current phase will last, is a complete unknown, but it is a nice feeling not to be in pain - and it is nice to be able to sleep quite well.

 This morning I feel mostly OK - certainly not great - but nothing much aches, and my legs feel quite strong even if everything else is hanging by a thread. I think I am going to let the grey miserable day dissuade me from doing anything wonderful or useful except at lunchtime, and maybe this evening. At lunchtime I'll be having a drink with Angela, and this evening I could be going to an open mic session in The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley. I will be careful what I eat after my lunchtime drink, and hopefully my guts won't play up when I want to go out.
the lovely Angela
I took this picture as I walked Angela back to work yesterday. She was fumbling in her bag to find her security pass, and was a bit startled to look up and see me pointing a camera at her. I might contrive to take a better picture if the opportunity arises today, but I think Angela still looks very nice in this picture. Half a second later and the start of her smile would have been a full smile. Shame I didn't manage to capture it.
Monday 13th November  2017
 08:57 GMT

  Once the early morning rain was over, yesterday settled down to be a rather cool, and initially, a rather pale grey day. That changed in the afternoon when we were treated to some nice sunny intervals. It's a shame the highest temperature was more or less the forecast 8° C.
a bright and sunny, but very cold morning
2.4° C - that's cold !

  This morning it is very bright and sunny. There isn't a cloud in the sky, but the penalty for that is that it is very cold this morning. The forecast says 4° C, but two of my thermometers agree that it is just 2.4° C outside. The very best of the sunshine could be over still, but sunny intervals, and even sunny spells, could continue until sunset. It is just a shame that despite all the sunshine, the highest temperature is only going to be a manhood shrivelling 7° C. Tomorrow is going to be grey, and there could be a splash of rain in the afternoon. By sunset the temperature may have risen to 10° C - that is still rather cool, but an improvement over today.

 clear blue sky
Here's one picture showing how blue the sky was when I went to pick up a copy of The Metro at Catford Bridge station.
blue sky and a plane
Here's a bit more of this morning's blue sky - with a plane in it.

 Apart from waking up once or twice to pee, I had a fairly good nights sleep last night. As a plus point, I didn't seem to ache too much when I got up. In an ideal world I would have liked another hour or two of sleep, but maybe I don't need it. I don't feel sleepy at the moment (although I am trying not to think about as I type these words !). Later on in the afternoon I'll probably have a snooze - but only because I probably won't have anything to do that will keep me awake.

 So far this morning I have showered and dressed, and later on undressed again. I've been to the station to pick up a copy of The Metro, and I've bough a few little pots of bean salads. I have also two of the salads - the chick pea salad, and the brown lentil salad. I'm not entirely sure what I'll be doing next. I think there are a few things in the sink that need washing up, and so I'll probably do those. I may also prepare, and mostly cook some sort of meal to eat later. The final little bit of cooking will be done when it is re-heated prior to eating it. I'm not sure what it will be, but I am pretty certain it will have a lot of vegetables in it. In fact it may be all vegetable - possibly including the stock it is cooked in !

 At lunchtime I shall be going to the pub do the crossword in the paper, and to have a drink with Angela. After not seeing Angela since last Friday, and seeing that she has used a horrible photo of her and lover boy as her new profile picture on social media, I don't feel terribly excited about meeting up with Angela. On the other hand I also feel like a crack addict who reckons he can give it up at any time - until he comes face to face with it. I know that seeing Angela is going to give me a temporary lift that will make me feel very buoyant for much of today.

 Tonight my plan is to go to the jam session at The Railway Tavern pub in Lower Sydenham. Maybe the walk from the station, and perhaps even to the  station after the gig, will seem less awful now I am familiar with it. The distance between Lower Sydenham station and the pub came as a bit of a shock last week !
Sunday 12th November  2017
 17:17 GMT

  It was cold and grey yesterday, and that is almost all there is to say about yesterday's weather. I guess I could also put a number on just how cold it was - it was 9 to 10° C cold !
cold and mostly, but not entirely grey
  It was most definitely raining first thing this morning - and possibly for 5 or so hours before then too. Once the rain stopped it stayed mostly, but not exclusively grey. There were a few sunny intervals this afternoon, and I am sure I remember an unscheduled one late this morning too. The most significant thing about today is how cold it has been. I don't think the temperature has gone above 8° C - which was what was forecast. Tomorrow may well start with a frost, but it will be a sunny morning. That is supposed to raise the temperature to just 7° C. The most recent forecast update says we will have to wait until Wednesday to see the temperature rise as high as 12° C.

  I am racking my brains to see if I can think of anything I did yesterday that is worth mentioning. It was one of those days where time seemed to pass really rather quickly. One of the few things I did do, which helped pass the time, was to go for a quick walk around, but not in the shops - except Tesco where I just stepped inside the door to pick up a copy of the previous evening's Evening Standard.

 From Tesco I went to check the outside of The Black Cat pub to see if there was any gig advertised there for the evening - there wasn't. I then went to look in the window of the Age UK charity shop to see if they had anything interesting - they hadn't. From there I went to the Salvation Army shop. Now they did have several interesting cameras inside the display case just inside the door. The only troubles with the Salvation Army shop is that they never clearly display a price on anything. Even when something has a price tag it is usually unreadable unless you have binoculars. They rarely have any important accessories for the stuff they sell - accessories like batteries and chargers. Lastly, the smell inside the shop is really nauseous. It doesn't help that they are next door to a fresh fish shop, but it also a sort of damp and mouldy clothes smell !

 I decided I could be bothered going in to enquire about any cameras they had despite a few bing quite interesting. They had what I believe was an Olympus camera that was a few models newer than my first ever digital camera. That 1.3 mega pixel camera produced some cracking pictures, and I feel sure that the 4.3 mega pixel version they had would be even better. They also had a film camera that came with a case and half a dozen special effects filters. It might have been an interesting buy, but the filters were marked as for 55mm lenses, and most of mine are 58mm lenses. On some bright fresh day I may dare to enter the shop and enquire about it, but I suspect they will be asking a lot of money for it.

 After getting back from my walk around the shops I had a long rest before deciding I would go out to Aldi to buy some stuff that I thought they should have, but didn't. Alongside some ordinary post I had an Aldi catalogue dropped through my letter box by the postman. When I say catalogue I probably mean thick advertising brochure ! However, unlike most advertising, it wasn't wasted. I noted that the salted caramel vodka, and the French vodka that seems to be identical to expensive Grey Goose vodka, are due back on the shelves on the 14th of this month. My silly mistake was to think it was the 14th already. I guess I will have to be patient.

 As I mentioned yesterday, my plans to go the the early part of a gig in Whitstable last night were thwarted by a lack of trains. I decided I most definitely did not want to travel on a rail replacement bus. I had several other options, and almost the most attractive on was to stay in, and indeed that was what I was going to do until I was reminded that Chain were playing in The Partridge in Bromley.

 The alternatives were a reggea gig by Dread Centre - who feature several musicians I know from open mic session. Then there was Acheini playing Motown, pop and classic rock. I didn't really fancy that. The worst option was G-Force. It was the worst option because that is where Angela and Paul were going. Angela said not to be worried about Paul being there, but she doesn't understand how deeply painful it is for me to see them together. When they are in physical contact I actually feel nauseous, and have to exit the venue at top speed.

 My final choice was between staying in, which wouldn't have been too bad, or going to see Chain. Seeing Chain brought it's own special problems. The bus diversions in Bromley were really irritating. It made the walk to and from the bus stops 6 times longer than usual. That may have only equated to a 5 or 6 minute walk, but it was still bloody irritating. The other downsides is that The Partridge is always so dark and crowded. It makes photography hard work !
Jo delicately lit from
                        one side
Pictures of Jo weren't too bad provided it was her side closest to the stage lights.
Steve Pitt and Chris Mayer
Sometimes it was easier to revert to black and white photography - particularly so at the opposite end of the stage (aka performance area) to the stage lights.
Guy Harris
This picture of Guy Harris looks nice and bright, and it is because I used a very slow exposure of 1/30th second. I don't know how Guy managed to keep his head still during that comparatively long exposure - he didn't even know what I was doing - but somehow he kept it still, and his head came out sharp - unlike his left arm.

 I only stayed for the first set. It is a bit of a bad habit I seem to have got myself into. I blame the short days, and how quickly it gets dark now. The 5 or 6 or 7 minute walk to the bus stop was very annoying - although I do wonder if most of the annoyance was in the mind rather than reality. I possibly had to wait 10 minutes for the bus, but once we got moving the bus driver didn't hang around ! We were back in Catford in half the time it took to get to Bromley - or that was what it felt like. My walk from the bus to home was a bit shorter than usual - the nice lady bus driver was more than happy to let me stay on the bus at Catford Bridge and dropped me off halfway between the terminating bus stop, and the bus stand where the route re-starts from. It only saved a couple of minutes, but it was still very good.

 When I got in I had some pre-cooked diced potatoes with herbs and stuff. I had bought it in Aldi earlier in the afternoon, and pre-cooked it so it just needed heating up. It was sort of nice for a supper, and wasn't too big. In theory I should have slept well, and from time to time I did sleep well, but all the time I was fighting a sickening image I had spotted on a social media network. It was of Angela and lover boy slobbering on each other. Ugh !!!

 Today I have done nothing except photo editing, eating, reading and sleeping...and writing this. Tomorrow should bring two bits of excitement. At lunchtime I will be meeting Angela for a quick drink, and in the evening there is another jam night at The Railway Tavern in Lower Sydenham. Hopefully a few more people might go tomorrow or it will quickly get boring, but I'll worry about that tomorrow.
Saturday 11th November  2017
 10:15 GMT

  Apart from the evening when there was some unscheduled light rain, yesterday was a pretty good day for this time of year. It wasn't too cold (11° C), and the morning featured lots of happy sunshine (in the form of sunny intervals). Some of those sunny intervals were even more miraculous considering the sun was peeping out from behind some very heavy looking clouds !
wet, wet wet !
  I don't think it was forecast that it would rain in the night, but that was the only explanation for the puddles this morning - the puddles that were laying there before the "official" rainfall started this morning. The rain has stopped now, but the puddles persist. It looks like it is going to be a cold, grey, miserable day today. I have a feeling that even though no more rain is forecast, there may well be more rain today. Tomorrow should be brighter, but it is going to be very cool !

 Some of yesterday was quite good, the rest of it not good at all....although having said that, maybe a few other bits were good too. Of course the highlight of the day was seeing Angela at lunchtime. Our meeting had high points and low points, and some thing which is both and neither. The good was the continued warmth between us. There is still a barrier, but it is a very thing barrier. The bad was when I knocked over my pint of Guinness. It was obviously a waste of good beer, and it was bad that quite a bit splashed over Angela. Angela took it in good humour and in some ways it was one of those shared experiences that help bind a relationship.

 The good and bad and neither or something was the result of reading between the lines, adding up 2 and 2, and making 5 ! It is probably obvious that I am clutching at straws, and my observations are biassed beyond credibility, but my gut reaction to some imagined clues was that Angela's relationship with Paul was wearing thin. I don't wish on her the heartache of a relationship going wrong, but on the other hand it would be a possible opening for me. At least the idea does give me a reason to live for the moment.
a sunny day in the
 There were other things that made us happy. For Angela it was almost the end of the working week, For both of us it was the bright sunshine. It is unfortunate that the only view I had to take a picture was in exactly the wrong direction. I took this picture of Ladywell Fields just after exiting Ladywell station. The only problem is that it doesn't look sparkling bright. That is because the sun was shining brightly just above the top left of the picture. Ideally it would have been behind me, but that would mean re-arranging the universe - something that is a little beyond my skills.

 I walked Angela back to work, and we parted on a brief hug, and a kiss on the cheek. That is starting to become a regular feature now, and it is because despite other stuff going on in the past and present, we still enjoy each others company - and it is all done with no effort at all. I love Angela. I went home feeling good, but hungry.

 When I got home I had some dinner. It was actually poor choice of recipe even if it was very nice. Essentially it was a vegetable stew. I slightly spoiled it's low everything except fibre nutritional contents by giving it a generous sprinkle of grated mature cheddar cheese. At any other time it would have been great, but me and vegetable stews have a funny relationship. They very often act like a laxative, and yesterday's stew was no different...although it was a very mild effect.
There was a rather glorious sunset last night. Unfortunately it didn't herald a good day today as the old "Red sky at night, shepherds delight" weather lore tells us is should have.

 My stomach "upset" might have been bad because it was so mild. It might have been better to get it all over in one big bang. The reality was that while something did happen, it wasn't much, and I was plagued by a gurgling gut until well after dark. It put me off going out to a gig. I ended up staying in. Unfortunately I felt a bit bored, and that meant I ate and drank more than I should have. One thing that got me back under control was getting a text message from Angela.

 That was most unexpected. It said that she was staying in on her own, and would be having an early night. She thanked me for all I had done...although I am not sure what she meant by that. It was almost as if she was answering someone else, but that is probably unlikely for s second message. I wished Angela a good night, and a nice sleep, and left her to it. This morning I contacted her again to ask if she had slept well, but also to say that I had been left wondering all night if I should have suggested that she go with me to The Lord Algea gig in Greenwich. (If I had a positive goal like that I could have ignored my stomach, and if there had been enough advance notice I could have avoided the cause of it). Angela's response was that if circumstances were different she would have loved to come with me !

 I had a lousy night last night, and it wasn't because I was wondering if I should have asked Angela to go to Greenwich with me. It wasn't even that I had allowed my bedroom to get too hot again like I did a night or two ago. It was a little of both of those, and a whole lot more - where a whole lot was physical discomfort in assorted flavours. Maybe it was the rain (it had started raining by the time I tried to go to sleep), or maybe it was the excess I had eaten and drunk, or maybe it was something I haven't even thought of yet, but I just could not get comfortable.

 I can't recall if my wonky chest caused it, or if my chest became sore and wonky because I was thrashing around a lot, but there was definitely one occasion, quite soon after trying to get to sleep, when I turned over and my chest went "crunch". It was all a very chicken and egg situation - I really can't say which aches came first, but by this morning my chest was very painful, and on top of that bits of my back, and bits of my neck felt very sore too. Some painkillers, and maybe sitting up in my typing chair have largely relieved the symptoms now....alhough I fear it would take very little to resurrect them.

 I don't know what I am doing today. I feel I ought to try and do some housework and clearing up. I don't know how much I will do - if any - but I can't think of anything better to do except reading. Experience suggests that I may pass a lot of today reading. It is the finest form of escapism, and if I am reading a really gripping bit of text the world could burn down around me. I did have some grand plans for tonight. I was 74% determined to go to a gig in Whitstable. It is an early evening (approx 6pm) performance by The Flame Pilots. They are followed by another three bands up until 11pm, but it was The Flame Pilots that I wanted to see - I know Mark "Arkie" Wright the guitarist. Unfortunately.....
Grrrrr - a replacement
                        bus service
 At any other time it is a long, but simple journey to Whitstable. Today that journey involves the terrors of a replacement bus service ! If I wanted a long boring bus ride I would go to Bromley. At least when I go to Bromley I am familiar with the journey, and know where I am, but there is no way I am going to spend an hour on a bus in the middle of nowhere and in the dark ! I wouldn't even do it on a bright sunny day ! So I am not going to Whitstable this evening. It is possible, although not probable that I may actually go to Bromley. Chain are playing in The Partridge, but it is very likely, almost certainly, going to be very dark and very crowded in there - as well as being hot and stuffy. There is a high probability that I'll be staying in on my own tonight, but something may turn up.
Friday 10th November  2017
 09:11 GMT

  The most positive thing about yesterday's weather was that it didn't feel as cold as the thermometer said it should. Maybe it was because there was no wind. Overall it was quite a grey day, but there was an occasional bright spell when it seemed the sun might break through the clouds, but I can't seem to recall it ever managing to do so.
today might be one of the better days recently
  It is looking like today could be a little better than recent days. This morning it is a mild 11° C, and it should stay the same until the temperature starts to dip mid afternoon, although it is only supposed to fall to 8° C by midnight - very cool, but not freezing. Tomorrow could see the glories of 12° C during the morning, but it will be pissing down with rain until the afternoon - when the temperature will very slowly fall away to about 8° C as midnight approaches.
track cleaning
 It might be called the Track Cleaning Train, or the Track Treatment Train, but it went through Catford Bridge station, heading south as I waited for my train going north - just one stop to Ladywell. Having my mobile phone in my hand at the time, and so being able to take a snap without any fumbling around, was the start of several good things yesterday.

 Once again I walked to Catford Bridge station to pick up a copy of The Metro before boarding a train to Ladywell. From there it is about 5 minutes walk to the pub where I was meeting Angela for a lunchtime drink. I was in the pub much earlier than Angela, and I had time to complete the quick crossword, and find a few of the answers to the cryptic crossword before Angela arrived. Once again it was a very happy little drink, but it wasn't long before it was time for Angela to go back to work.

 I walked with Angela as she went back to work, and then continued in the same direction to get home. It was a fairly easy walk, but I was still glad to get in and have a bite to eat - a sort of late breakfast. After eating I lay on my bed - initially to read, but it wasn't long before I dozed off. I have no idea how long I was asleep, but I reckon it could have been an hour before I entered into a state of being between sleep and wakefulness. I was laying on my bed with my eyes closed, but still aware of what was going on around me. That was quite handy because there was a barely heard knock on the door (I must check the batteries in the electronic doorbell !!). It was the postman delivering two more books and a Hawkwind t-shirt.

 Eventually it was time to go out, and I wasn't looking forward to it. For a start I had a hangover from the lunchtime Guinness. It wasn't a painful hangover, but more like a feeling that it would be nice to stay in the warm relaxing ! There was also the problem that the buses through Bromley, which is where I was heading to, were still on diversion. That meant getting off the bus a good 5 minutes walk away from the pub - and similar to go home again.
plaited hair
 The walk this time was not so bad because the buses were stopping at Bromley North station, and for the journey home a temporary bus stop was in use a few hundred yards away from Bromley North station. It may have only been a 5 minute walk (possibly 6), but it was till annoying.

 On the plus side I found that I was walking really well last night. Most of the aches and pains that can make walking unpleasant from time to time were dormant, and even the semi-shortness of breath that has been a feature for a few weeks (or months ?) now seemed to be hardly bothersome.

 There were other good things too. They included some rather nice beer (for a change), and I even had the pleasure of Jo wanting to plait my hair for some unknown reason. I think it was the first time that Jo has joined us on a Thursday night. It was only a short visit, but before she left again she came over to me and asked if I would like my hair plaited. I was rather touched by the offer, and because I knew my hair was nice and clean I said yes please. As well as the pleasure of having my hair fondled, I had the pleasure of being told that my hair was really silky !

 I went home feeling quite good, but also feeling quite hungry. I had deliberately kept my eating light during the day, and with another three pints of beer in me, I was feeling very peckish (and slightly drunk). I had a vegetarian stew prepared and cooked, and waiting to be zapped in the microwave, but my yearning for hot chicken overwhelmed me. So I went home via the chicken shop. It was delightful eating while I relaxed in front of the TV. I think I watched some QI followed by some Red Dwarf. Then I went to bed.

 The only trouble was that I had over heated my bedroom. At first it seemed nice and cozy when I got into bed, and I was soon fast asleep. An hour or two (three ?) I woke up feeling cooked ! The top of my duvet was wet with sweat, as was a bit of my pillow. From then on my sleep was terrible. I had to sleep with the duvet pushed back, but it soon became rather cool sleeping like that. I ended up thrashing around trying to sleep on my left side, and then my right side, and even on my back. After a few cycles of that my chest was really hurting, and that made sleep even more difficult. Eventually I fell asleep properly, and probably slept OK for a few hours. I shall look forward to a long snooze this afternoon !

 It's only after being out of bed for over an hour now that my chest is starting to feel OK. The same is true of my neck. That was feeling awfully stiff when I got up as well. I don't know if it was just the way the light was catching it, or if I just had not noticed it before, but earlier on, when my chest was far more painful, the operation scar down the middle of my chest was looking braider than usual, and the scar tissue was looking unusually white. That may mean something or nothing - I don't really know.

 This lunchtime I will be going to meet Angela for another lunchtime drink. After that I probably ought to do something more constructive than laying on my bed reading and snoozing, but I feel that is exactly what I will be doing. Tonight I should be going out. I have a choice of two venues, and both have their plus points. Lord Algea are playing in a pub in Greenwich - The Morden Arms. I think I might have drunk in there 30 years ago, but I have never seen a band in there, and I wasn't even aware that they had bands in there. Lord Algea play some pretty good music, the pub would be a novelty, and it is easy to get to.

 Lord Algea was my original choice, but then there is the opposition to consider. Chain are playing at The Swan in West Wickham. It is harder to get to, and I don't like the pub (although it has improved a lot since the management changed). I have seen Chain play a couple of times recently, and my original thought was that was enough for the moment, but after Jo's handiwork on my hair I feel inclined to go to see her, and the rest of Chain tonight. I think I may even take along a hair tie.....just in case !
Thursday 9th November  2017
 08:47 GMT

  It has to be said that yesterday's weather was pretty grim even if it was fairly typical for this time of year. It can best be described as cold and grey with an added note to say that the maximum temperature was just 9° C. At lunchtime it was just 8° C, and that was cool enough to get the fingers tingling ! Angela was half convinced it was about to snow !!
                  improved forecast for today
  It is hard to believe that the latest forecast for today is an improvement over how the forecast looked at 5am this morning. This latest forecast claims the rain will be over a bit earlier in the day, and until I looked again, I was going to say that we might get 2 hours of occasional sunny spells. I now see that was wishful thinking, and that we might only get an hours window that might contain some sunny spells. Tomorrow may be very slightly better than today. Saturday looks like it could have mixed blessing - slightly warmer still, and maybe a bit more sunshine, but ultimately a wet day.

  The thing about having a couple of drinks at lunchtime is that it does make me sleepy during the afternoon. That became so difficult in the last 15 years that I usually avoided drinking at lunchtime while at work, but it is no problem now. So yesterday afternoon, after my drink with Angela, I came home, had some lunch, and then I had a snooze. It's difficult to guess how much sleep I got because I was I also spent some time laying on my bed reading. While it is nice to be able to indulge in this laziness at this time of year because I am no longer working, it is a habit that I must try to throw off once spring comes around.

 My evening was lazy too, but strangely enough it didn't feel boring. My daily "fix" of Angela, even if it only lasts for 20 - 25 minutes, still seems quite sufficient to give me a purpose in life/a reason to live. Of course more would be better, and maybe that will happen in the future. There was another reason to feel relaxed and satisfied (possibly happy) in the evening, and that was because I did more experimenting with gin. I tried some bitter lemon with sloe gin. Unfortunately that wasn't really much better than tonic water as a mixer. I also tried the "oriental spiced" gin I bought in Lidl in the morning. Maybe I could detect a slight difference in flavour, but to me it was just more gin - pleasant but no more so than most other gins. Maybe, like whiskey, it is better to try and learn to drink gin neat, but I find it a bit oily for that.
scented candle
 To make the evening more harmonious I lit up a couple of scented candles. I am hoping that maybe Angela might have lit one up too last night. (I gave her a pack of 6 the day before yesterday). The scent they have is called "Harmony" and it would have been a satisfying harmonious coincidence if we were both burning these candles at the same time. My twisted mind might even consider it about the most romantic thing we could do under the present circumstances.

 While drinking gin, and sniffing candles, I watched an interesting programme on TV about the Russian space race. I have a certain affection for Russian space technology. Compared to the brash and gleaming American space hardware, the Russian stuff is almost British - ingenious, and all held together with sealing wax and string !

 After that TV programme I went to bed. I read for a while, but I reckon I was asleep before 11pm. Unlike the night before, I had a passably good sleep, and some interesting dreams. The best dream was effectively an added chapter to the book I am currently reading. The book is "Moonwar" by Ben Bova. It tells the future story of a small colony on the moon, and a war to establish it's independence from Earth. A lot of it is written in very small chapters - sometimes as little as two pages long. My dream could have been a short chapter. I introduced a new character who was, in effect, a double agent. He was supposed to be a news reporter, but his output was misinformation. He would seriously understate what defences the moon colonists had, and overstate where the defences were weak. The hope was that the Earth forces would attack to most strongly defended areas, and ignore parts where there was little or no defenses. I have no idea if it worked because I haven't finished the book yet, and my contribution to is only fantasy inside my head !

 I think I feel sort of OK this morning. I will be testing that idea soon when I go out to the shops - possibly the 99p shop. At lunchtime I will be meeting Angela again. I think we'll have a nice 25 minutes together. I wonder if the idea of meeting for an after work drink will be advanced further. My original suggestion was that maybe Angela could arrange something for after the week she is due to spend in Wales, but I wonder if it might happen before she goes away - maybe sometime next week.

 Tonight I'll be drinking with the Thursday night drinkers. We are due to be drinking in the Bromley Wetherspoon's, but there is an annoying problem. The buses are still on diversion in Bromley (or were due to be), and that means annoying walks to and from the pub. I have been assured that the walks will not be annoying, but I think I know my own walking capabilities better. Maybe it is not a taxing walk, but it can still be very annoying !

A couple more pictures from Monday night.

                            Stamper performing "Knocking On
                            Heaven's Door" - again !
Jason Stamper playing his standard song - Knocking On Heaven's Door
Bob Bonser
Bob Bonser on the drums - he used to be Chain's drummer until he retired .
The landlord of The Railway Tavern
The man who makes the jam session ultimately possible - the landlord of The Railway Tavern.
Wednesday 8th November  2017
 11:19 GMT

  Yesterday was pretty grim ! The temperature was not far off 10° C all day long, and it rained much earlier than forecast. There was unscheduled rain at midday as well as the scheduled rain all evening, and into the early hours of this morning. At one point it did lighten up - from very dull grey to slightly lighter grey ! Today looks worse, although maybe it isn't - yet !
cold and
                  grey like yesterday
  Today is, and will continue to be, cooler than yesterday. On the plus side it might stay dry. It is even possible that the last few hours of daylight might be fairly bright. There is even a thousand to one chance we might see a minute or two of weak, hazy sunshine. Tomorrow will continue the trend, but it could be a degree or two less cool.

  To my surprise yesterday was quite good (if I ignore the weather). I used a novel route to go to the pub at lunchtime. I walked to Catford Bridge station to pick up a copy of The Metro, and then I caught a train to Ladywell. I then walked from Ladywell station to the pub. I decided to stick to my guns, and not contact Angela. I had finished my first pint of Guinness when my phone rang. It was Angela, and she asked if I had just tried to call her. I hadn't, and I think her question was a sort of subterfuge to call me. Anyway, once I said I was in the pub she said she would join me very quickly - and she did. There is more good news, but right now I have to get ready to go out again. I will continue this narrative when I get back from the pub.

 14:30 GMT

 Back from the pub, and also eaten some lunch. The narrative continues....

 Angela was pleased to see me when she arrived in the pub. Over the last week or so of meeting in the pub our meetings are far more natural, far less tense (for me).  I can't remember how it came around in the conversation, but the subject of John Fisher, and how she had cared for him came up. He was the 76 year old with cancer that Angela had fallen in love with. Along with some other compliments I said how proud she should feel for all the care she gave him, and in particular recognising some symptoms that others might not have. Her prompt attention gained John a few extra months of life. Upon telling Angela how proud she should feel she promptly asked for a hug, and to hug me. That hasn't happened for a long time !  It is mostly probably just 80% self delusion, but it does feel like the invisible bond between us is still there. It really felt like we left the pub a lot closer to each other than we have been for the last 6 months.

 I walked home from the pub feeling unusually happy - a complete turnaround to how I felt after my solo Monday lunchtime. What was the same as Monday was that I felt quite peckish when I got home from the pub. I had already precooked a meal that just needed warming up. It could be described as sprout and bacon stew. It's 4 ingredients were sprouts, bacon, onion, and ham stock cubes. I think it was rather nice, although later on it did speed up the regular course of action of my digestive system !

 Having a slightly growly stomach was one reason why I decided not to go out last night. The fact that it was pouring with rain outside might have been as good a reason. I was only curious about the open mic night I could have gone to in Forest Hill, and I had suspicions I wouldn't have enjoyed it much if I had gone.

 Having decided to stay in and keep warm and dry, I wondered what I should have for an evening meal. I could have cooked up more green vegetables, and it would have been the best thing for me, but I wanted something more. So I ordered a takeaway. The core of that takeaway was some grilled chicken. However I didn't eat that last night. As is often the case I had to pad out the order to met the minimum price for delivery. I padded it out with something I have very rarely - pizza.

 I am not a great fan of pizza. It may be because the quality of pizza can vary hugely from restaurant to restaurant, and I can imagine that the choice of topping, plus the type of base, can have a huge bearing on how good it is. The pizza I had last night could almost have been healthy if it hadn't so much oil on it. It must have used very little cheese, and a minimum of other stuff on top. In some ways it was more like a biscuit, and yet somehow it was still enjoyable - as were the fries that also came with the order - but only when dripping with sauce !

 By the time I had eaten I was feeling quite hot. There were other reasons for this. Earlier in the afternoon I started to feel almost shivery cold, and so I turned the heating up full blast. Later on, a couple of whiskies and the chilli sauce I had put on some of the fries added their own form of heat to my body. The result of this is that I had difficulty sleeping when I went to bed. I was reluctant to turn the heat off completely, and yet that was what I eventually did. I still had difficulties sleeping, and I thrashed around so much that I pranged my "twisted rib" and woke up with my chest feeling very tender.

 My chest discomfort was offset a lot by actually being woken up by an incoming text message from Angela. It was a comment about the picture of the Landlord of the pub I was in for Monday night's jam session. Her opinion was that he was of Turkish origin, and that doesn't go down well with someone of Greek origins !

 My chest discomfort was made a lot worse later on. I decided I fancied going to get a bit of Shopping from Lidl. There was only one particular thing I wanted from Lidl, and that was Red Sun shower gel. I am beginning to think it has been discontinued because I haven't seen it on the shelves for for months, if not most of this year. That is annoying enough, but there was worse.

 The trouble with Lidl is that for the last year, and maybe a little longer, that have only offered American sized shopping trollies - about the same size as a London bus ! Putting stuff in the trolley is not too bad, but getting it out again means reaching so deep that I kept straining my chest muscles. By the time I started to walk back home with my shopping my chest was really aching badly. Fortunately my rucksack, and general posture as I try and walk with a straight back, tends to counteract a lot of the aching bits and pieces of my chest superstructure. It still feels like I am about to die from a heart attack !

Screenshot of GPS trace when in
                          Catford LidlThe picture on the left shows the best attempt the app on my mobile phone could make of tracing my path around Lidl's store. It is not a bad attempt, but it is mostly wrong - although the distance walked may be about right. 1.31miles for home to home distance - probably not too bad for a morning walk on a miserable grey day.

 I didn't have a great time after I got home to cool off, and put on a clean t-short before going out to meet Angela for our lunchtime drink. This one was pre-arranged yesterday, and there were no problems. It was very enjoyable for us both, and Angela was reluctant to go back to work. She seemed quite enthusiastic this time when I said that sooner or later she would have to arrange her schedule so that we can have a longer, more relaxed drink after work. In less than a fortnight she is off to spend a week in Wales visiting Paul's relations, and I suggested we should try and meet after work when she is back from that. I would not be surprised if it happened before then. We are definitely meeting for lunch tomorrow. It's just a shame that it is only for about 20 - 25 minutes.

 I just had two pints of Guinness in the pub today, but it was still enough to make me feel very hungry once I got home. Lunch today was some of the grilled, peri-peri chicken I ordered last night - and it was very nice ! I now face the dilemma about what to do with the rest of that chicken. I could incorporate it into a stew along with some vegetables, or I could eat it by itself. I predict I will be doing the latter. Eating, and reading, and maybe some TV is about all I have planned for the rest of today. There is an open mic on in Orpington tonight, but it is a pain to get to, and I think I'll just be staying in.
Tuesday 7th November  2017
 10:46 GMT

  10° C is not very warm, but that was the highest temperature yesterday. The lowest was low enough for a frost ! On the plus side, it was gloriously sunny ! No such luck today.
cold and grey
  The screenshot above is not the latest version of the forecast. It has just been updated, and it contains good news and bad news. The good news is that it should soon be 11° C, and it should stay that way until 1pm. The bad news is that it will probably start to rain at 4pm, and continue to rain until the early hours of tomorrow morning. Some of it could be quite heavy rain. The chances of seeing any sunshine today seem close to zero ! Tomorrow is going to be colder, but after an extremely grey start there could be a few sunny intervals in the last couple of hours before the sun sets.

  Yesterday included a bit of a cock up....although it may have been deliberate without me realising it. At lunchtime I went to the pub to meet Angela, but for some reason I didn't tell her I was in there. Last week we didn't make a definite arrangement to meet there because we couldn't predict the future, but there was a general understanding that we would meet there - at least I thought there was.

 I reckon I was testing Angela, and sadly she failed. She never bothered to contact me to see if I was there or not. As far as I know she went straight to the park by herself. I waited until it was gone 1pm, and obvious that she wasn't coming before texting her to tell her where I had been. Sometime later she replied with a very bland "never mind". That sort of annoyed me, and that, combined with the nausea I experienced seeing a picture of her with her lover boy from the weekend, made me delete her lover from my friends list. I also made quite a few photo albums private. Maybe I am going to try to forget Angela. It is going to be soul ripping hard, but I feel it has to be done. In theory it is going to be analogous to extreme pain, terror and then relief after visiting a dentist for toothache. The only trouble is that I am not going to do it today...well not wholeheartedly.

 I rested for much of yesterday afternoon to ready myself for an evening out. I went to the inaugural jam session at the Railway Tavern pub in Lower Sydenham. It wasn't until I got there that I realised just how far the station is from the pub. When travelling on the train from Catford Bridge it only seems like seconds before you arrive at the station after seeing the pub out of the train window. In reality it is a good 6 or 7 minutes walk - and it is uphill on the way home !

 The pub seems nice and bright and clean, and the drinkers in there seem quite benign. I only knew a few people in there, and there was only one person I really spoke to the whole evening - not that I stayed the whole evening. On this first session there were not that many people there, and it seemed like I had seen most people play  after about 90 minutes. So I finished my third pint of Guinness, and started walking back to the station.

 It did seem like hard work walking up the hill, and I was puffing and blowing when I got to the station. I hadn't bothered to check the times of the trains, and so I was surprised to see a train already waiting at the platform. I was convinced that by the time I had reached the platform it would be closing it's doors, and moving off, but I was wrong. I just had time to open, and get through the doors when the doors closed again, and we were off.

 It officially takes 3 minutes for the train to travel between Lower Sydenham and Catford Bridge, and that wasn't a lot of time to get my breath back - but I did. I don't know if that means anything or not. What was meaningful to me was that walking from the station to home did not feel particularly stressful. I was walking fast with no  pains, and while I was breathing heavily, I was far from gasping. I arrived home feeling something like relaxed.

 The first thing I did was to prepare some food - translated as I zapped a calorie controlled ready meal in the microwave. If I recall correctly, this particular ready meal, described as cottage pie, only had 280 calories in it. Maybe it was actually more, but I remember being surprised at how low it was. That low level was achieved by it having hardly any meat in it, and the mash on top including other root vegetables mashed in with the potato. It was flavoured with (I think) sage, and while it seemed odd, it was quite pleasant.

 I spent maybe an hour watching TV before going to bed (I ate while watching TV). I seemed to fall asleep easily, and I slept well until just gone 5am. It seems that even after not getting up for work at 5am for the last three and a bit months, my body still want to empty the bowels at 5am ! Once I was comfortable I went back to bed, and managed to get another couple of hours of sleep - which surprised me !

 Today I have three things in mind to do. One is to select and edit the pictures I took last night. Another is to go out an pick up a copy of The Metro, probably from Ladywell station, and then go and sit on the pub reading it while drinking Guinness. Maybe I'll be joined by Angela, but I doubt she'll be enquiring where I am again. The third things really depends on the weather. If the rain doesn't seem too awful I might jump on a bus to Forest Hill where there is another open mic/jam session in The Railway Telegraph. I have grave doubts about tonight - I think the style of music may not be to my taste.
jam session at The
                            Railway Tavern, Lower Sydenham
I haven't had time to select a better picture from last night, and so this one will have to do. The guy on the left is the host of the session. Virtually all the stuff that was played during the evening was bluesy, and it sounded pretty good to me !
Monday 6th November  2017
 09:50 GMT

  After the bright sunny start to yesterday, the rest of the day was dull and grim and cold...except for some reason it didn't actually feel that bad. At about 11am, just as the last rays of the sun were supposed to be shining, I went to Aldi in just a t-shirt, and it didn't feel that bad at all.
bright but rather
  Today it is all about the weather. Part of the weather lore that has been handed down from father to son in my family is that the first frost of the autumn happens on the morning after bonfire night. Today is that morning, and indeed, it is, or was, frosty !
temperature outside the kitchen
This was the temperature outside
my kitchen near ground level - 0.7° C
temperature outside the back
Temperature outside
the back bedroom - 2.4° C
The extra cold start was due to the sky being clear, and of course that also means that this morning is bright and sunny. The forecast says it will be bright and sunny all day, although with a high of just 10° C it is going to be a fairly chilly day outside. Indoors, behind window glass, it could be nice and warm. I have turned off all the heating upstairs, and my bedroom is being warmed by the sun quite nicely.
a beautiful, but
                            very chilly day
 This was the view looking north from the high street. The sky is a wonderful blue, and while the eastern side of the road is still in shadow, the sunshine is dazzling. Sadly it is a sight we are unlikely to see tomorrow. It may be a whole degree warmer tomorrow, but it is forecast to be grey and sometimes wet !

 I seemed to spend a lot of yesterday editing the photos I took of Chain last Friday night. I thought they would be easier to edit than the photos I took last Wednesday night because there was a lot more light available. I was wrong ! The big problem with Friday's photos was that the light was often in the wrong place leaving peoples faces in darkness, but their guitar over exposed. Either that, or there was an annoying strong colour cast. A few snaps of people with purple faces can look OK, but if I can I like to show more natural skin tones.
Jo in black and
When colour correction fails it can be good to resort to black and white. I think Jo looks quite good in this photo.
a very grainy picture of the band
Another interesting effect that only works once in a while is to exaggerate the noise in a photo rather than try and smooth it out.
the agony of the guitar player
Some photos just need to be shown no matter how bad they are. I had to include this snap in the collection. It is Chris putting on a typical strained guitar player pose while he plays some intensive guitar for the Jimi Hendrix song "Voodoo Chile".

 I did more than photo edit yesterday. Sometimes I did some cooking and eating. I had two main meals...maybe lunch and dinner. The early one was butter beans and curly kale. It was rather nice. Somehow I seem to like kale now. Maybe I cooked it differently one day in the past and somehow ruined it. My evening meal was a green Thai curry made with turkey mince and chestnut mushrooms. In theory it was fairly fat free, but sadly it seemed to be fairly flavour free too. It was an experiment, and while it was not unpleasant, it failed to excite, and shall not be repeated.

 I don't know how it can happen when my chest is so delicate lately, but it seems I had another fairly good night's sleep last night. I woke up at about the time I hoped for, but it took me a long time to acclimatise with the world ! My plan was to call the surgery at 8am to see if I could get an appointment with a doctor today. I could still have done it, but at 8am I hadn't even showered. It would have been a disaster if I managed to get offered a very early appointment that I would have to turn down because I was still unwashed and undressed.

 Eventually I got myself ready to face the world, and I have been out for a walk. I walked to the station to pick up a paper. Then I walked down to the high street to visit a cash machine. I drew out some money, and checked my balance. I was pleasantly surprised to see that I seem to be managing my money rather better than I imagined. If I can keep this up I should have no problem supporting myself until my state pension is paid. The final thing I did was to go into Poundland. I now feel that there are quite a few things I tend to buy in there that can actually be bought cheaper from, for instance, Aldi, but it is sort of handy having them all under one roof.

 While everybody else is pissed off that the weekend is over, and it's another Monday morning, I feel the opposite. I never really did like Sundays even when I was working 5 days a week. They are generally very boring. Anyway, it's Monday night, and in a few hours I can look forward to the highlight of the day - a drink or three with Angela in the pub at lunchtime !
Sunday 5th November  2017
 09:59 GMT

  It was pretty horrible yesterday. It rained in the morning, and there might have been a splash of rain mid afternoon. Even when it wasn't raining it was depressingly grey. The only positive thing was that it wasn't desperately cold. The morning temperature of 13° C was OK-ish, and the drop to 10° C in the early evening was probably no worse than expected. The trouble was the temperature kept dropping !
A very cold start to the day,
                  but some nice morning sunshine
  Today is going to be cold. By my reckoning it was between 3.7° C and 4.5° C at about 7am - it depends on which thermometer you trust the most. It is safe to take the average and say it was just 4° C this morning. I wasn't sure if it was just heavy condensation or if some cars parked outside had frost on their windscreens. The low temperature is the result of the sky being very clear. That brings with it the joys of sunshine. It seems we will lose the sunshine at midday, and the afternoon is going to be cold and grey. Tomorrow could be quite sunny, but the temperature is going to be about average for early November - 9 or 10° C.

 In one respect I had a sort of productive day yesterday, and in another respect I got drunk ! I didn't feel good yesterday, and that limited my ambitions....although I am not sure I had any beyond photo editing and going out in the evening to another gig. The latter didn't happen - mostly because I had too many Gin and Tonics late in the afternoon.

 It all started when I got depressed about the pictures I took last Wednesday night at the Whitestar open mic session (hosted by Simon Whitestar). I knew it was very dark in the venue, and that many pictures I took would be useless, but I had hoped that quite a few would clean up OK using some of the tools in my photo editing software. Perhaps I few did, but I became despondent about most of them.

 Having a large Gin And Tonic was probably not the best thing to do while in that sort of mood. Having several did little for my photo editing skills ! On the plus side, getting drunk did distract me from some of the aches and pains that were annoying me. By about 6pm, when I should have been thinking about going out, I was too drunk to go out, and drunk enough to not want to go out and be sociable. It was easier to hide in my shell.

 I did actually persevere with those photos, and in the end I did manage to find enough passable snaps to make up a photo album. One thing I did notice through the alcoholic haze was that the pictures looked a lot better when displayed in a smaller display area than full screen on my big monitor. Of course this is obvious, and I knew it all along, but actually being confronted with it was quite a lift.
John Sutcliff the
                        drummer waiting for someone to tune up before
Sometimes (within limits) the quality of the picture is less important than the subject it depicts. In this picture John Sutcliff sits there behind his drums looking bored while waiting for someone to get ready to play.
Paul Southpaw
There is one microphone that always seems better lit than the others, and while there is not a lot of light on it, at least there is enough to take a semi-decent picture of Paul Southpaw.
Jo Corteen
I really had to force this picture to get a usable shot of Jo Corteen. It is a shame that the camera decided to focus about a foot behind her head - the front of the drums are in sharper focus than Jo's head.
lit up by mobile phone !
This guitarist (whose name I don't know) was lit up by someone's mobile phone camera light, and his left side looks quite bright compared to most of the pictures I took.

 I finally finished my photo editing at about 8pm. I checked the TV to see if there was anything on to entertain me, but it all looked very dire. The alternatives were reading - either my book or the computer screen, or eating and drinking. I decided I had drunk quite sufficient for the evening, and stuck to just soft drinks from then on. I definitely felt peckish and ended up nibbling on a block of rock hard Parmesan cheese.

 My diet took quite a hit yesterday, but maybe I actually feel better for it. In the past I have noticed that "rest days" can be actually beneficial. I still tried to avoid too many carbohydrates, but I didn't skimp on protein. I guess it was about 6pm when I knew that I wouldn't be going out, and I decided to have something extra nice to eat. I'm not entirely sure about the calories, fat, sugars, and salt of what I decided to eat, but I think it wasn't that bad. It was a large can of French lentil stew with chunks of duck in it (at least I think it was duck). The duck would make the fat content a bit high - probably - but I have no idea how good or bad lentils are. I do know they are very high in fibre, but my digestive system is mostly OK with high fibre stuff now....mostly OK !

 I didn't sleep for as long as I though I probably ought to, but I think I slept reasonably well last night. This morning I don't seem to have any form of hangover, and a lot of me feels pretty good. Unfortunately that does not include my chest. It is not currently painful, but could so easily be. Many movements cause clicking, popping, and grating sounds from my "twisted ribs" and split sternum. The latter is, I am told, a medical impossibility, but it would account for many of the things I feel.

 The one thing that I am currently unsure about is what it will feel like if I start walking. I could quickly feel partly breathless, or maybe I won't. The closest I've got to doing anything physical is washing my hair and having a good scrub under the shower - plus a vigourous towelling afterwards. It didn't seem taxing, and that might be good news - or it might just be a red herring. Sooner or later I will find out how I really feel. I think I need to go to Aldi to buy a bit of food. It seems I still have a lot of vegetable, although I could use them up quite quickly, but I think I could do with some meat...and some bottles of pop could be very useful too.

 I don't think I have any other plans to go out into the cold today - or do I ? I suppose that if I felt amazingly OK, which seems highly unlikely, I could go to an early evening gig in West Wickham tonight. I can't actually remember who's playing, and so judge how much I want to see them. I'll make a decision nearer the time......No I won't ! I think my mind has been made up for me already. I just checked the trains service from Catford Bridge - "There are no train services at this station on Saturday 4 November and Sunday 5 November because of engineering work.". Boo !!!!
Saturday 4th November  2017
 17:02 GMT

  Yesterday was acceptable until the evening. Much of the day was fairly bright, and sometimes even sunny. The one thing that was not supposed to happen was rain, and yet it did rain in the last few hours of the day. Not heavy rain, but enough to be mildly bothersome.
an unexciting day !
  Today has been a rather unexciting day. This morning featured some light showers, but it was also fairly mild. It is cooling down now, and by tomorrow morning it could be rather cool. There has been no sign of any sunshine today. I think there was a splash of rain around 3pm - which is when it was forecast to fall, but I suspect that there might have been a few more light showers than the forecast predicted. The theme for tomorrow is cold ! There might be a few sunny intervals, or even sunny spells, but the temperature is predicted to stay in single figures - the high may be no more than 9° C !

  I wonder what I actually did yesterday ? It all seems to vague. I know I washed a few shirts and some underwear, and I definitely went out at lunchtime to meet Angela, but I've already reported on that. I guess the main thing was that I went out in the evening. It was quite an epic journey - at least getting to my destination was.

 My destination was Ye Olde Whyte Lion in Locksbottom where Chain were playing. I had a few ways of getting there - all involving long bus rides. It is probably a shame that the first bus to present itself was the 336 bus. It starts in Catford, and the end of it's route is in Locksbottom where the pub is (although I get off one stop before the final stop). It took 53 minutes from getting on the bus to arriving at the bus. You can add to that at least 6 minutes to walk to the bus stop, and 6 minutes waiting for the bus. That conveniently adds up to a door to door travel time of 65 minutes !

 It must be at least 30 years since I last went to the pub, and it has changed (internally) beyond recognition. The layout has changed to make it one single bar, and add restaurant facilities. Sadly that means that Chain were sort of tucked into a corner, and they managed to gather quite a crowd around that corner. It meant that I had to steal myself to do something I dislike - standing in front of people to take better pictures. One good thing is that it wasn't that dark in there.
Dave Etheridge on the
 Of course Dave Etheridge has some of his own illumination from his lit up drums ! I am still going through the pictures I took last night, and I am hoping there will be some good ones among them - unlike the pictures I took at the Whitestar open mic on Wednesday. I have been struggling to try and pull some usable pictures out of the gloom today, and it left me feeling quite depressed. I had to lubricate the process with several very large gin and tonics - which of course left me even more depressed. I am also now too drunk to go out tonight !

 With luck I will have a few of the best pictures from Wednesday night to show tomorrow, and I hope there should be some good pictures of Chain to show off too. Despite it seeming to be very hot in the pub last night, and being a bit crowded, I enjoyed my time there, but I only stayed for the first set. After such a long journey getting there I was keen to start travelling home again.

 Getting home was far, far easier than I imagined. I had checked on bus routes before I even left home, and decided to try one out for my journey home. Once again it all depended on the first bus to present itself at the stop I waited at - a different stop to the one where I would have got the 336 from. The first bus was a 358. It would have made no difference if it had been a 261 - they both go the same direct route to Bromley South. I changed there, and had to wait no more than 2 or 3 minutes for a 320 bus back to Catford.

 I have to smudge the figures slightly here because I have to confess I stopped to buy two chicken burgers on my way home, but roughly speaking it was about 40 minutes door to door going home using the two buses - rather better than 65 minutes on one single bus ! There were actually three great things about going home. The much shorter travelling time was one thing. Having a couple of chicken burgers to eat when I got in was another, but maybe the best was finding a £5 note in the road !

 I slept really quite well after I had eaten my two burgers. I woke up feeling fairly OK, and things have gone downhill since then ! Much of my discomfort has been the result of sitting down in front of my PC. Some of the time I have been reading stuff. Some of the time I have been photo editing, and some of the time I have been writing - like right now. I have also spent time laying on my bed reading, and even occasionally snoozing. All this inactivity seems to have a detrimental affect on me, and it is one of the reason why I am consuming a lot of gin at the moment.

 Some of my physical discomfort may have benign origins, but I am thinking I might be getting close to needing another heart rebore or something.  Some pains do remind me of the discomfort that caused me to dial 999 4 years ago, and yet, having said that, I am not sure I really remember them that well. In fact, on further consideration, those pains 4 years ago were pretty constant and getting worse. My discomfort comes and goes, and is only at a level equivalent to "annoyance" rather than disabling.

 What I feel I should be doing is sticking to my high fibre, low calorie diet religiously....but I am not at the moment. I had the two chicken burgers last night for a start. Today I ate about one of the very worst things in the world, and at the time I couldn't even blame it on the booze...well not much. That calamity was a small time of milk chocolate covered macadamia nuts. It might have even been worth it if I had enjoyed them at an advanced level, but I just shovelled them in like they were going out of fashion !

 Tomorrow I must try harder, but tomorrow is Sunday, and by tradition Sunday's are intensely boring. I expect Angela will be doing something terribly exciting, but I'll just be in a state of brain rot. Oh well, Monday is not far away. Most people live for the weekend, but I live for weekdays !
Friday 3rd November  2017
 15:46 GMT

  It was grey and cold yesterday. That's about all I can say about it except to add that by cold I mean 11° C, and by grey I mean I can't recall any sunshine !
brighter than yesterday - warmer too
  Today has seen some pleasant sunshine, and while it can hardly be said to be warm, it was mild enough to risk going out at lunchtime without a coat. The weather warning  for today concerned mist and fog early this morning. Apparently some places did get it, but I didn't notice any here. Much of the sunshine was rather hazy, but there were some periods of pure sunshine. It was probably a fairly good day for the time of year - or at least it has been so far today. We have now lost the sunshine, and it is looking a bit grey outside. At least it should be a fairly mild night. Tomorrow is forecast to be rather wet, but it should dry up during the first part of the afternoon.

  I missed out on my Thursday evening drink yesterday because of an upset stomach. My stomach did feel a bit uncomfortable while I was out walking to and from the pub at lunchtime, but I didn't associate it with "bad guts". I guess it was fortuitous that everything went pear shaped half an hour before I was going to walk to the station rather than while I was travelling. I made three partly explosive visits to the toilet before I felt comfortable again, but maybe still not comfortable enough to travel.

 Being at home allowed me to conduct several experiments. The first was to try out the Moroccan spice, pulled pork, and stuff, fancy sausages that I had bought half priced from Tesco. I started cooking them in advance of going out last night so I would just have to warm them when I got back from the pub. I didn't get to the pub so I was able to test them quite early in the evening. My judgement was they were not actually horrible, but bloody close to it ! I shan't be buying any more of those sausages in this lifetime !

 The other two things I checked were celery, and some gin. It seems that since getting old, or maybe it was something to do with not smoking for 4 years, I now find that celery is merely unpleasant rather than disgusting. I tested it with some assorted dips, and found that strong garlic mayonnaise made it an acceptable nibble. A lower calorie alternative was ordinary yellow English mustard - although that obviously has to be used sparingly. A few other things were OK, and I feel that I no longer need to shun celery. There is an idea that it takes more energy to eat it than it provides. I find that idea dubious, but it could be close to true, and so with some careful choices of dips it could make a good snack food.

 The final thing to test was gin. I tried three different gins last night. Two of them, the Greenall's and the Topaz Blue, were impossible for me to distinguish when diluted with slimline tonic, but the sloe gin was very distinctive. I don't think that tonic is a suitable mixer for it, and at some future time I think I will try lemonade, or even bitter lemon.

 I slept well last night - or well compared to recent standards. Maybe the gin helped a lot. I think I was asleep by 11pm, and possibly by 10.30pm. I woke up once or twice in the night, but essentially slept right through until it was light this morning. I had a series of dreams that were obviously separate, but of a common theme. They were all about the bureaucracy of resigning from work - things like passwords being deleted, and checking that you are not taking home the companies intellectual property. Maybe they were inspired by the fact that I was looking through a complete backup of my old work PC yesterday to find a certain picture I had taken. In theory I shouldn't have it, but I started doing a complete backup when work had a little virus problem that caused a great deal of trouble to many computers. I was one of the few people whose computers remained sanitary because I installed my preferred anti-virus rather than the crap that was the company standard at the time (McKaffee), and I was paranoid about opening dubious emails. The only trouble I ever had with my work PC was after the company employed a professional company to look after the companies IT needs.

 Today has been one of those days where the time has passed by very quickly, and I have achieved very little. My main achievement has been to way all the way to Ladywell station to pick up a copy of The Metro, and then to walk to The Jolly Farmers pub to drink three pints of Guinness, and to meet Angela.
The Jolly Farmers
 After visiting there most lunchtimes for a fortnight I am now known in there by Emma, and she knows I'll be asking for Guinness - a happy state of affairs. Of course it is not Emma I got to see but Angela. It is a curious relationship we now have. It is accepted that we won't see each other at the weekend because Angela is with Paul, but for 20 - 30 minutes of a weekday lunchtime it is almost like a love affair between us.

 I am finding it increasingly uncomfortable to walk to and from the pub. Mostly it is my chest, or maybe it is wholly my chest, but with a mixture of symptoms, and those symptoms are not constant. Sometimes one ache is more predominant than another. I feel sure I can't blame it all on my "wonky rib", although that is probably predominant. I suspect that I might need another rebore sooner or later. Whether that will help the lack of breath or not is debatable. The lack of breath I experience is actually rather weird. I start breathing moderately hard, without it being bad enough to be gasping, after just a minute or two of walking, but it is not significantly worse after 10 or 12 minutes of fairly fast walking. Sometime I wish I could actually walk slowly, but a single person even 500 yards in front of me means I have to race ! I guess that sooner or later something is going to break.

 Tonight I should be going to a gig, and I don't feel like it. The Guinness I drank earlier has dulled the edge a lot, but there is also the transport woes of getting to the venue. Chain are playing in Ye Old Whyte Lion in Locksbottom. Getting there is easy in theory. It just means enduring a hell of a long bus journey - one end of the 366 route to the other end - about an hour of intensive boredom. I definitely want to go tonight, and I feel I might have to do it in two stages. A bus to take me about two thirds of the way there that avoids all the meandering that the 366 does, and then a second bus for the rest of the journey. Going there is going to be a pain - coming home even more so !
Thursday 2nd November  2017
 10:13 GMT

  There were a few bright spells yesterday, but they weren't exactly sunny spells. At best there were a couple of times when a weak and hazy sun only had enough power to cast a dim fuzzy shadow. Oh well, it was better than nothing. Probably the best thing was that there wasn't much wind, and so 14° C felt quite comfortable - I went out to meet Angela without a coat !
a very dull start to the day - except it isn't
  The forecast for today shows a very dull start to the day - but it is wrong. As I sit here typing, the sun is shining, and behind my window glass it is starting to feel quite warm. As usual, the forecast temperature is about right, and will probably continue to be close to reality for most of the day. So it could be almost nippy in the park at lunchtime, but no one knows if it will be dark and gloomy, or bright and sunny !

  The sprout curry I ate the day before yesterday had a predicable effect on my digestive system, and my guts did feel a bit precarious yesterday morning. On reflection, some of the discomfort was probably as much to do with hunger than anything more sinister. Regardless of the actual cause, the consequence of how I was feeling was that I preferred to sit in the pub, where there is a handy toilet, rather than in the park where there isn't.

 Angela was more than happy to meet in the pub, and I think she said she was going to suggest it herself. Once again I had two pints of Guinness, and Angela had two single vodkas. I earned another "brownie point" yesterday. The day before Angela said that she wanted to go home via the Pound Shop because she wanted some tea lights. It seems that she was in too much of a rush to stop on her way home. So she was more than happy when I pulled a packet of tea lights out of my bag and presented them to her. The gratitude I got was worth a hundred times the 99p I paid for those tea lights.

 I feel my relationship with Angela continues to get stronger, but I am under no delusion that it will ever get as good as it once was - as much as I might hope it could. I feel there is a barrier there that is insurmountable. Of course every now and then something comes along that fires the imagination. One such thing was when Angela said there was a small chance that she would like to have gone out last night if she could find the energy. Had it happened it would almost certainly be a disaster because I am sure she would have Paul in tow, and yet the way she said it made it sound like she would go on her own, and that it would be nice to see me there.

 "There" was the Whitestar open mic at The Partridge pub in Bromley. I spent the afternoon, and the start of the evening actually doing very little except waiting to go out. One thing I did was to eat what could almost have been my only meal of the day. It was beansprouts and leek in dilute red Thai curry sauce (diluted with a lot of stock). It was not quite as tasty as it smelled while cooking, but it was nice enough to eat. It was a very low calorie meal, and most of the calories were probably from the curry sauce - I didn't realise there was sugar in it !

 Getting to and from The Partridge was troublesome because the buses were diverted away from road works ( sewer renewals I believe). It was a good 5 or 6 minute walk from the closest bus stops that the buses were stopping at. Normally it is about a 1 minute walk. Once in the pub I discovered another disaster - no Guinness ! Actually it wasn't a disaster because they do serve some decent beers there, and the discount after showing my CAMRA membership card meant that HSB, a particularly nice beer, was only £3.60 a pint - which is cheaper than Guinness.

 There were loads of people at the open mic session - including a few very unexpected people ! Sadly there was no Fran, and I didn't get a super hug or three from her, but I did get a small hug from Jo. As expected, there was no sign of Angela - not that she would have hugged least I doubt she would. The unexpected people was Kevin and Iain. They were on a pub crawl, and didn't even realise there was anything going on in the Partridge. The really unexpected person was once known as "pissy Pete". He is an ex pirate radio person who I first met in 1973 or 1974. I have absolutely no idea how he managed to turn up at The Partridge. It was interesting to see him, although not unsurprisingly he did want to keep talking about stuff from years ago that I am really not that interested in these days.

 Last night was the first time when it seemed I had derived some benefit from my intensive dieting. I had been feeling a bit bloated and uncomfortable when walking recently, but I seemed to be mostly comfortable when doing the long (by comparison) walks to and from the distant bus stops. When it came to the walk from the bus stop to home I felt I was able to do that slightly faster than of late.

 I rewarded myself with a second meal when I got indoors. It was nothing more than a steak with some hot (spicy) tomato sauce on it. I had bought the steak from Aldi with the intention of maybe eating it at the weekend, but I think I deserved it last night. It was really delicious without a hint of toughness. In fact it was almost melt-in-the-mouth tender ! Rather amzingly, I slept well after that.

 It was a better sleep than I have had for many days, and this morning I felt good - or thought I did. When it came to the actual test - a walk to the station, and then home again via Tesco, I found that I felt fairly crap. To make matters worse, I was really sweating. I guess the beer I drank last night must have raised my blood glucose level rather high. I now have to wait to see how I feel when I go out to meet Angela in an hour or so.
two odd purchases this
 I made two odd purchases in Tesco this morning. The sausages were rather weird and half price. So they had to be tried. I may well try them tonight even though they will ruin my diet ! The celery is, perhaps, the cure for the sausages - although I did plan to buy some before I even knew the sausages existed. There is a theory that it takes more energy to chew and digest celery than the amount of energy it actually contains. The only trouble is that celery is disgusting ! Some people attempt to make it palatable by dipping it in salt. That probably numbs the tongue and taste buds. That amount of salt is allegedly dangerous. So I wondered if dipping it in searingly hot chilli sauce might make celery edible. I intend to try it, and maybe other things too...maybe vinegar.

 I think most of my day is now mapped out now. Lunchtime with Angela, and then early evening with the Thursday drinking club. We are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern again tonight. The rest of my day should theoretically be taken up with going through, selecting, and editing some of the hundreds of photos I took last night. It is a very dark venue and so those pictures are going to take a lot of love and care to get a few of them usable.
gin drinking as a new
 I blame it on Patricia, but I seem to be getting close to embarking on a new hobby - gin drinking !
I bought another bottle of gin this morning, plus more slimline tonic water. The bottle I bought this morning is the Greenall's on the left. The two on the right came from Aldi earlier. I think I might have to wait until Sunday to get started on this new hobby. It might be better for me than drinking neat whisky, or not, but if it helps get me through the tedium of Sunday then it is doing it's job !
Wednesday 1st November  2017
 08:03 GMT

  The last day of October (yesterday) was typically autumnal, but even if was typical it was still disappointing - it was depressingly dull and grey. The only positive thing you can say was that at 13° C it wasn't terribly cold.
a degree less cool than
                  yesterday, and a small c hance of sunshine
  Today might be a degree less cool than yesterday, but much of the day will be as dull as yesterday - but not all ! A few sunny spells are forecast, although with each successive version of the forecast the sunny spells come and go at different times. The sun is trying to shine as I write this, but it's not doing a very good job of it. Here's the official description of the day - "Early mist and fog will slowly clear during Wednesday morning, leaving a dry day with light winds and some bright or sunny spells. Winds will be light.A dry night with clear spells and turning chilly in rural areas. Mist and fog is expected to form in some areas, and this could become dense in places.". I didn't see any mist or fog this morning. So they got the first bit wrong ! Tomorrow could be rather cooler, just 12° C, and much duller, and at times, extremely grey !

  Like the day before, and probably like tomorrow too, yesterday's highlight was seeing Angela at lunchtime. We didn't meet in the park this time. We met in the pub because it seemed cold and miserable outside. It is hard to explain how being in the pub, even before more than a sip of alcohol has been taken, makes for a closer experience. It was notable that Angela herself said she regretted that we couldn't meet after work for a drink because she feels too tired after a full day at work. I don't think that is full real reason, although it is still relevant.

 I only had two pints of Guinness in the pub with Angela. For some reason I seemed to be drinking slower than usual. Another unusual thing is that I decided to stay in the pub when Angela left to finish off my second pint at a more sedate pace, and to do a bit more of the crosswords I was doing (the quick and the cryptic). Normally I would walk her back to work. I can't think why I didn't when I come to think of it. Anyhow, I didn't stay in the pub that long, and walked back through the park.
moorhen or coot
I am undecided if this bird I saw on the river as I walked through the park was a coot or a moorhen, and I feel too lazy to check ! Only one of them has green legs !
flowering shrub
I have no idea what this shrub is, although I feel I ought to know because I once identified it several years ago - assuming it is the same one. All I know for definite is that it has decided to bloom with small, bright yellow flowers. If it is the shrub that I think it is, is produces berries that are edible - and that is quite a good idea considering it is right by the kiddies play area.

 My health is really rather peculiar lately. One aspect is the chest pains that have being going on, on and off, sometimes subtle, sometimes annoyingly strong, for the last 4 years. A few pains do sometimes seem to be somehow different, and that is cause for concern. The other thing that is currently affecting me might be COPD (Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease), or it might not. It does seem that I get short of breath quite easily as the moment, but there could be several reasons for it.

 One reason for being short of breath could be that my aching chest discourages taking deep breaths. Expanding my chest with a deep breath can aggravate my "twisted rib" pains. Another reason could just be because I am overweight. A third reason could just be a mystery. It is mysterious how I was breathing quite heavily after walking for no more than a handful of seconds after leaving the pub, and how it never got worse as I walked for 10 - 12 minutes back to home. It is even more mysterious how having got home I very quickly felt close to OK, but then felt much worse after going upstairs.

 On the assumption that even if it is not the cause, my weight must have a strong bearing on many of my ailments, I managed to take steps to reduce it yesterday. Whether I can do the same today, and tomorrow, and every day until the end of the year, and possibly beyond is, to be truthful, unlikely, but "one day at a time". After I got back from seeing Angela I had a salad. It didn't feel totally appropriate for a cool dismal day, and it wasn't as low calorie as it could have been, but it shouldn't have been too bad.

 I almost resisted the temptation to eat anything else until my evening meal, but I had an opened packet of something evil (high in sugar) that I wanted to finish off rather than waste. Maybe my evening meal might have compensated for that naughty snack because it should have been very low in undesirables, and high in desirables. It has just three ingredients - sprouts, beef stock and green Thai curry paste. It sounds decidedly dodgy, but was actually sort of nice.

 I had a bit of a snooze in the morning, and another snooze in the afternoon. I am sure I wasn't asleep for long in either case, and what sleep I did get must have been very light, and yet it seemed to be enough to give me terrible insomnia last night. I didn't feel tired, and didn't attempt to go to bed until 11pm. It could have been 1am this morning before I fell asleep - but only for about half an hour. I don't know how much sleep I got last night, but I doubt it was more than three hours.

 All that tossing and turning has left my chest feeling very sore this morning, but otherwise I don't feel too bad. Soon after getting up I went to the station to pick up a copy of The Metro. The walk definitely felt different after just one day of eating carefully. My chest didn't feel so bad, and I think I was very slightly less breathless. In some respects I was feeling better after getting home, although it was nice to get home.

 My next job is to go and buy lots of green vegetables from some other stuff. Just after midday I will be going out to meet Angela again - the highlight of my day. I would not be surprised if we met in the pub again considering it might be grey and cool in the park. Yesterday I asked Angela "pub or park", and that may have tempted her to the pub. Today I will let Angela contact me first if she wants to go to the least I think that is what will happen.

 There could be another highlight of the day, today - one that is not to do with eating (which is always a highlight of the day). I think I am going to go to the Whitestar* open mic in The Partridge in Bromley tonight.
* Hosted by Simon Whitestar.
I think it should be safe there tonight. Angela went out last night to see her daughter singing/playing for Life Of Brian at a special Halloween gig, and I doubt she will want to go out again with work in the morning. With Angela not there I assume, or maybe I just hope that Paul won't be there. If he is I'll turn around and go home again. Unfortunately there will be some irritating people there, but I'll try and ignore them.