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My Diary/Blog For the Month of October 2017

Tuesday 31st October  2017
 10:46 GMT

  It was almost a very bright and sunny day yesterday. If it wasn't for a few duller spells it would have been a bright sunny day. The air temperature was not very high, probably pretty close to the forecast 9 to 11° C, but there was little wind, and it did feel lovely and warm sitting in the sunshine. Sadly, the weather has taken a turn for the worst today.
I was
                  hoping it might be brighter
 I was hoping that today would be a bit brighter. Earlier forecasts said it would be, but the latest forecast has been changed to reflect the fact that it is rather dull outside. Without sunshine it is going to feel like a cold day. Well I never, the forecast has changed again. Maybe there could be some sunny spells after all. Despite being very dull it did look like there was the potential for the sun to find away through the clouds while I was walking back from the station with a paper.
blue sky visible
                        through the clouds
 Tomorrow should be a whole degree warmer than today, 14° C, but it is forecast to be a very dull day - except at 4pm when a sunny spell is predicted just as the sun sets !

  The highlight of yesterday was seeing Angela in the park at lunchtime. I guess I must lead a very sad life when the only thing I seem to live for is 25 minutes in the company of the woman I love, but who doesn't love me. Today I am counting down the minutes until I see Angela again. If it stays this dull outside I may get a message to meet her in the pub. That will be nice.

 I didn't really do anything of any great note yesterday after seeing Angela. One reason was because my chest was really playing up. There were several times when I wondered if it was just the usual "wonky ribs", or if it was my heart complaining about something. I don't think it is my heart, but I do wonder if there is an added dimension to this - maybe something along the lines of a viral infection or something.

 It would have been so easy to go to bed extra early last night. I was feeling rather tired, but the chest pains were keeping me alert. There was also the fact that it got dark so early. That made me want to go to bed as early as 7pm because it had been dark for a few hours, but on the other hand I knew I had to try and fight the instinct to sleep as soon as it is dark...well, sort of.

 Going to bed early while I was feeling rotten would probably have been a waste of time, or it may have been initially. I went to bed at about 10pm, and I am unsure when I went to sleep. I suspect it was a lot quicker than I might imagine. I was asleep until about 1.30am. When I woke up I found I had been sweating heavily. My pillow was very damp feeling, as was the bottom sheet where it had been in contact with my chest and belly.

 My bedroom was not particularly warm last night, and so I am unsure why I should have sweated so much. The next time I woke up, maybe 90 minutes later, I seemed to have been sweating more. When I woke up this morning I felt strange - strange in as much as I didn't feel as bad as I have done the last few mornings. That is not to say I felt particularly good. It did remind me a bit of when a cold breaks during the night - lots of feverish sweating in the night, but many of the symptoms gone in the morning.

 I don't think I've had a cold, but some sort of viral infection could be responsible for some of how I have been feeling's all a bit vague though. The first test of how I feel was when I walked to the station to pick up a copy of The Metro. I didn't feel like rushing there, but even so, I was still feeling slightly short of breath when I got there. I was not happy about that, but on the other hand it didn't feel any worse than many occasions when I was going to work. The bigger stress test is that once I've got the paper I turn around and walk back again. I probably walked even slower on the return journey, but it was still a lot faster than all the dawdling kids going to school with their mums.

 I arrived home feeling like I had been walking hard for 12 minutes, and I think I have to blame that on my weight. The fact that my trousers still seem to fit as usual, and my belt is still done up to the usual notch does not distract me to the idea I feel heavier, and sometimes bloated. Trying to do anything about it is really hard, and doubly so when the weather is cold, and double doubly so when you are tired of life, and food is about the only pleasure left to you.

 This morning I've had a rummage through the fridge. I have grubbed enough stuff together to make a feta cheese salad. That is now prepared and in the fridge ready to eat - probably after I come back from seeing Angela. I have also prepared, and 90% cooked the scariest meal in the world ! It is sprout curry ! It is no more than sprouts cooked in stock with half a jar of green Thai curry mix. In theory it will be very low in calories, high in fibre, and very filling. It will also probably make my guts explode !

 If I could just eat the salad and the curry today it might be a good start to loosing a bit of weight. The only trouble is that I am not sure if I can just stick to those two meals. Boredom could be the real killer here. All I can do, is to do my best. Tomorrow I need to go and get some shopping. If I shop well I can continue the low calorie stuff, but the temptations for other stuff can be huge !
Monday 30th October  2017
 08:33 GMT

  Yesterday morning was very dull, but the afternoon was nice and bright. The only trouble was that it was no sooner bright and sunny when the sun set. The days are getting seriously short now, and the change to GMT makes the afternoons very short. I think the temperature was similar to the forecast. I reckon it hardly deviated from 12 - 13° C through the whole day.
bright, but cold
A very cold morning

 This morning started a lot cooler than the forecast said it should be. My thermometers may have given slightly different readings, but the 3.9° C pictured on the left was about typical at 7.26am. Hopefully it will warm up a bit during the day. The forecast says it should be a nice bright day, and as I write this the sun is shining. Apparently it may only warm the day up to 11° C, but if the wind is light enough it may not feel too bad outside. I think I'll wear a coat when I go out though.

  The summary for tomorrow, as shown in the screenshot - a low of 9° C, and high of 14° C with light cloud is (hopefully) misleading. At the moment the actual day is shown as being quite bright with many sunny intervals. The temperature range is probably right though.

 Yesterday was a typical Sunday. It was boring and uninspiring ! I sometimes feel that my main activity yesterday, photo editing, drains the psyche in a similar way to exercise draining energy. There were quite a few things I could have done yesterday if only I could have been bothered. Maybe chief among them was to go to the Chain gig in West Wickham. It started at the sensible hour of 6.30pm, and finished at 9.30pm, but I hardly noticed 6.30pm approaching - which is sort of strange considering I believed myself to be bored.

 The thing that threw me most of all was it getting dark so quickly. Night had fully fallen by 5pm, and by 7pm I was thinking it must be bedtime. I didn't actually go to bed then. I did a bit more photo editing, and I watched some TV. Once I had had my fill of TV I retired to my bed with a book I am reading. After that things get a bit hazy because I was engrossed in the book, but I think it may have been sometime around 10pm when I put the book down, and went to sleep.

 I slept in two parts last night. It must have been around 2.30am when I woke up. It is hard to describe how I felt when I woke up. It felt like I was in pain, but I wasn't really. I just ached here and there is fairly familiar ways. I couldn't get back to sleep like that, and so I stayed up for about 90 minutes before going back to bed. My sleep was a bit lumpy after that, and I think I was dreaming a lot. One dream included Marion. She was the first woman I ever managed to "chat up". My memory is extremely hazy, but I might have thought about her before going to bed, or it was my subconcious doing the work while I slept. The reason for her memory surfacing was that today is her birthday. So happy birthday Marion wherever in the world you are.

 This morning I have only tested my body while washing my hair and taking a shower, but most of it seems in working condition, and firing on at least 4 of it's 8 cylinders. Showering was quite interesting. While in the 99p shop yesterday (going to the 99p shop was one thing I did yesterday that I forgot to mention) I bought a back brush to replace the limescale encrusted one I haven't used in 25 years ! The new brush seems to work quite well, or maybe even very well. It sort of felt good to scrub not only my back, but a few other areas where a good scrubbing would seem beneficial. I wasn't expecting the end result to be my skin feeling smoother and shinier (can skin feel shinier ?) but that seemed the end result.

 There are a couple of things I'll be doing today, One is to go and get a paper from the station, and the other is what I was impatiently waiting for the whole weekend - meeting Angela in the park. There could be an unlikely chance that she will contact me to say it is too cold in the park, and that we will meet in the pub, but I think that while it is dry and sunny it will be in the park regardless of temperature. Every time I think of it I conclude that it must be a form of madness that just 20 minutes with Angela makes my day. It is a reason for living, and there are very few of them.

 Maybe I'll do other stuff today, but I have no idea what. I'll have to reveal what, if anything, I do later today tomorrow. In the mean time a few pictures from Red Post Hill's gig last Saturday night. It is hard to choose just a few pictures. Do I select the highest quality photographs, or the photographs featuring the most interesting bits - or a bit of both. I have no idea so I'll fall back on almost random....
fog machine
It is highly unusual for any band to use a fog machine in any small pub venue, and I am sure it is the first time one has been used in The Black Cat. It is an interesting effect, but the fog took a long time to dissipate !
selective lighting
I don't know what they are, but there are probably 4 of them !
three lead guitars !
Not often you see three lead guitars being played at the same time.
Sunday 29th October  2017
 11:04 GMT

  Apart from the first few hours of the morning, yesterday was dull, dull and dull ! For a couple of hours it was 15° C, but the rest of the day was rather cool - not that 15° C is any more than the very lowest possible temperature that could be described as almost warm - and then only when the wind drops and the air become still. Nevertheless it seemed just mild enough to go to The Black Cat, just 6 minutes walk away, without a coat.
sometimes bright, but always rather cool
 The clocks have changed, and we are now on Greenwich Mean Time. This year the change means little too me because I don't have to go to work. Sunset tomorrow is at 16:37, and that is about the time I would typically just be arriving home. Give it another week and I would be arriving home in darkness, and it would see that the day was fully over. It is still a fight to believe that anything can happen after sunset, but some days I seem to be getting there.

 Anyhow, today is going to be rather cool according to the forecast. I'm not convinced that the day started at 15° C. I think it was closer to 12° C, but I guess even that is not bad for this time of year. The trouble is that the forecast says the temperature will fall during the day, and not even rise a tiny bit when, after a lot of dull and sometime very gloomy skies, the sun breaks through this afternoon. The forecast for tomorrow is both better and worse. Tomorrow at 6am it may only be 6° C, but it should be bright day with a fair amount of sunshine. There is a good chance that it will be joyfully sunny when I meet Angela in the park tomorrow, but sadly it might only be a rather chilly 10° C. In my most pessimistic thoughts I fear we may not see it warmer than about 14° C until next spring now. My more optimistic thoughts remind me that in the middle of the day, new years eve 2015, it was warm enough to walk without a coat under brilliant blue skies. Pictures of that day here -

 I was suffering from a bad night's sleep, and my wonky chest yesterday. It made me inclined to do very little, although that is not the same as nothing at all. It took a long time to psych myself up to do it, but I washed some t-shirts and stuff. It always feels odd how doing laundry by hand, working hard enough to raise a good sweat, and straining assorted muscles as I wring stuff out, can actually make my chest feel better. It did it yesterday, and I feel sure I am still reaping the benefits today.

 The main thing yesterday was going out to a gig in the evening. I'm not sure if I would have raised the enthusiasm if it had meant much travelling, but last night's venue was The Black Cat, and that is just 6 minutes walk away. The band were Red Post Hill. They are a strange band. They often tackle songs that are beyond their capabilities, and that could be because no one knows their capabilities. Last night I came up with a new theory. It is that they are actually two bands cut-n-shut together. Both are good in their own right, but don't seem to work together well.
Red Post Hill
  Despite some of their weaknesses I had a good time, and even my friend and neighbour Michael, who loves to moan about stuff, musicians in particular, had a good time ! I took loads of pictures, and maybe I'll have a few to show tomorrow. There was only one little problem yesterday - except it was more like an anti-problem. I rather fancied a takeaway after the gig, but I walked Michael back to where our paths diverge to our own homes, and that meant not going past a takeaway. It was a good thing really because I had drunk quite a lot of Guinness, and I could have bought quite a big meal if I had the chance !

 What I actually ate was an alleged "calorie controlled" meal that I zapped in the microwave. I think it was quite nice under the excess of really burning chilli sauce I poured on it. Whether that had any bearing on what happened later is anyone's guess. It was all a bit complicated with the clocks changing from BST to GMT, and doubly complicated at 2, 3 or 4am (who knows ?). I have no idea how much sleep, and probably rather good sleep, I got before I woke up in the early hours of this morning.

 It seemed like a fairly normal thing - time for a wee - but it was more than normal. While I was heading to the bathroom I thought it might be a good idea to sit down on the toilet - and it was ! I was not in any discomfort at all, but as soon as I let my muscles relax I sort of exploded ! I needed two more visits at 10 minute intervals after that before I felt comfortable to go back to bed.

 I have no idea how much sleep I got after that, but it was probably more than it seemed. The big clue is that at one moment it was pitch dark outside, and the next moment it was bright daylight. That could only have happened if I was soundly asleep for at least an hour. It just didn't feel like I had slept for more than a few minutes. Having finally got up, and assessed myself, I found that I was mostly comfortable with no significant aches or pains - just the usual background aches ! 
bumble bee in the
 Before I could have a shower this morning I had a little job to do. It was during my third visit to the toilet in the early hours of the morning that I heard a rather loud, deep buzzing. I couldn't see what was making the noise, but from the sound of it I knew it was something big. I was rather happy to finish my business and get out of the bathroom. This morning I found the owner of that deep buzzing noise. It was a big hairy bumble bee, and it was sitting in my bath. My first reaction was to take a picture, and my second was to grab a glass and a beer mat. Using the glass and beer mat I scooped it up and tipped it out of the bathroom window. I hope it had a soft landing.

 Two things could amuse me today. The first is actually more an annoyance than an amusement. it is to go through the pictures I took last night, and select and edit the best. What could be an amusement is a late afternoon gig today. Chain are playing at The Wheatsheaf pub in West Wickham at 6.30pm today. If the trains are running, and I think they are, it is a relatively straightforward journey to get there - train to West Wickham, and then a few stops on the bus along the high street. I think it is a Halloween themed gig, and I am not really into Halloween this year (or should I say I am less into Halloween than ever before this year). I might go, or I might not. I'll make a decision much nearer the time.
Saturday 28th October  2017
 10:42 BST

  There was a lot of sunshine yesterday, but it was a rather cool day - except indoors where the sun streaming through my front windows kept the front rooms nice and warm. I actually had my bedroom window open for most of the afternoon !
apart from the first part of
                  the morning, a miserable grey day
a cold start to the
 It it nice and sunny at the moment, and it has been for the last couple of hours, but now there are signs that the clouds are starting to shut the sun off. The rest of the day is forecast to be quite dull and miserable, but at least it should stay dry. The other thing about this morning was just how cold it was. I took the photo on the left at 8.45am, and it shows 6.5° C, but an hour or so earlier it was saying 5.7° C, and I would not be surprised if it might have been lower still before that. It can't be long now until we wake up to a frost (the morning of 6th November always seemed like the first frosty morning in family legend).

 Today could actually be a whole degree warmer than yesterday - 15° C - and the thickening cloud will keep some of the heat in. Tomorrow morning is forecast to start at 14° C, but rather unusually the temperature will drop during the day. By the time the sun is forecast to come out at 2pm it will be down to just 12° C - and it will continue to drop even with the sun shining. By midnight it might be just 8° C, and by 6am on Monday morning just 6° C.

  I had two plans for yesterday, and neither came to fruition. The first plan was to stay in and rest, but also to feel exhilarated by the bright warm sunshine pouring through my front room windows. I suppose bits of that plan did happen, but my idea of doing intensive resting was rather spoiled by my internet firewall playing up again. The initial diagnosis was that the hard disk in it had failed. It is a 14 year old hard disk, and so that idea was entirely feasible, but it wasn't correct. After a lot of mucking about I have concluded that it is the motherboard in the PC that does service as a firewall, that is failing. I've bodged it to work for the moment, but I am going to have to build a new firewall box as soon as possible. I am considering using an old laptop for the job.

 My other plan for yesterday was to go to a gig last night. As evening approached I found myself in the wrong mood to go out. Some of that wrong mood was triggered by a few aches and pains - probably as a result of laying on my back for too long instead of doing exercise, and possibly by having to adopt a very poor stance while working on my firewall box. I had to lean over lots of stuff to work on it at arms length. I think that made for a few aches and pains that my have come to the fore much later.

 So I stayed in reading, watching TV, and boozing. I'm not sure why, but I suddenly had this desire to drink some Ouzo. Maybe it was because Angela told me that they sell it in Sainsbury's. Buying from there is easier than going to every mini mart/convenience store/off licence in Catford....or maybe it's not because there is no Sainsbury's in Catford !

 When I finally went to bed last night I felt very uncomfortable for two reasons. Maybe the Ouzo accounted for one reason. I had a sort of undefined mild, but annoying, belly ache. The bigger problem was a flare up of my wonky chest. It could have been triggered, or maybe made worse by the way I was working on my firewall box earlier, but whatever the underlying trigger, it was decidedly uncomfortable. When I turned onto my right side my ribs went "crunch", and when I turned on my left there was a different sort of crunch. The actual crunches were painless at the time, but left a legacy of aching. If I just lay on my back some of the aching went away, but every time I breathed in or out my ribs would pop or grate together (or something that sounds quite unpleasant).

 The short version of this story is that I had a lousy night. It didn't feel like I got any sleep at all, although I know I did - I would glance at the clock and realise half an hour, or even a full hour had passed with no memory of that time passing. I got up really early this morning feeling totally lousy, but after a couple of hours I went back to bed. Once again I was hardly aware that I slept, but I was aware that a chunk of time had gone missing without me noticing.

 I've had a shower and washed my hair, and I've been sitting here for quite some time as my hair dries, and I type these words. I don't actually feel too bad at the moment, but I reckon that as soon as I have finished writing I will lay on my bed, and try to distract my mind by reading. If I am lucky I will be able to have a nice long snooze. While I ought to be building a new internet firewall box, I don't feel inclined to start that just yet, and in fact I don't feel inclined to do anything in particular until tonight.

 Tonight I am definitely going out. There is no need to be mucking about on buses and trains because tonight's gig is in The Black Cat, and I can crawl there if necessary ! Tonight's gig is from Red Post Hill. They are not brilliant musicians, but they are very entertaining. I think my friend and neighbour Michael will be going too, and so I won't be on my own. I don't know why, but I wouldn't be surprised to see Angela in there - perhaps only briefly. Logic says there is no way that she will be going anywhere but to The British Oak in Blackheath where her daughters band, The Life Of Brian will be doing a Halloween gig. The band includes Paul, Angela's beau, and of course she will want to be there for both him and her daughter. So the idea that she will pop into the Black Cat is ludicrous, but an itch at the back of my mind gives it a one in a million chance that she will.
fungi in my back
 Another reminder of Autumn. I've never seen fungi like this in my own back garden before, but now I have. The biggest heads are 3 or 4 inches in diameter. It is growing on the decaying stump of a Buddleia bush. I have no idea if these fungi are edible, mildly poisonous, or completely deadly, so I think I will leave them alone even if it does look like something has nibbled on them.
Friday 27th October  2017
 10:28 BST

  Yesterday was dull and damp. There was some light, misty rain around lunchtime, and more in the evening. Some puddles suggested that I might have been unaware of some heavier rain. The only saving grace was that the temperature was still just about clinging to what could be described as moderate. At lunchtime I was quite comfortable walking without a coat - even in the light rain - although that rain was so light that it barely got me damp.
nice and
                  sunny, but rather cool
 It was supposed to be 10° C at 9am, but by my reckoning it was barely 9° C (one of my thermometers said 8.7° C). However it is nice and bright, and sooner or later all the sunshine should take the temperature up to 14° C - not really t-short temperature unless you keep moving - as I might do later. It might not happen tonight, but we seem to have some rather chilly mornings in store for us. It can't be that long now until we get our first frost. We should escape that tomorrow, but while it might be a degree less cool than today, it is forecast to be rather dull and uninspiring it is now forecast to have some sunny spells ! I wonder what reality will bring ?

  Yesterday was a rather good day. It was another day where I was quite active, and I got a fair amount of fresh air, Sadly there was no sunshine to top up my tan. I did wonder how well my body would work after my very hilly walk in Brighton the day before, but it seems it was still in fair working order - possibly equivalent to a 20 year old car that just scrapes through it's MOT.

 My first bit of exercise was to go and get some shopping from Aldi. I've got a bit bored with stewed stuff so in addition to some vegetables and diced, skinless chicken, I bought some "calorie controlled" ready meals too. It is possible I missed a shower while in Aldi, but it was dry enough when I walked back home. If only I had been wearing more comfortable shoes it might have been an almost pleasant walk.

 My next venture into the fresh air was to go and meet Angela for a quick Friday lunchtime drink. I know it wasn't actually a Friday, but Angela has today off work, and it was like a Friday to her. I decided to walk through the park to get to the pub where we were meeting. I now wish I had taken a better camera with me - one with at least x10 zoom. The camera in my pocket was my tiny little Sony DSC-W350, and while it has some nice features, and is as light as a feather, it's x4 zoom lens is not terribly good. In fact it may be worse than that. I sometimes think that at full zoom the image is degraded more than if I enlarged and cropped the picture using my photo editing software. There was one special picture where this is very relevant.
ratty on the river
 It is so hard to see, but inside the red ring is a rat "messing about on the river". Any of my bigger cameras would have allowed me to zoom in and capture the rat close to full frame, and then it could be seen in all it's glory. Instead it is just a grey smudge amongst the carpet of leaves.
the kitchen garden
The last time I passed the garden at the rear of St Mary's church in Ladywell the garden was locked. Yesterday it was open, and I could go in a take a closer look at what was going on. Until sometime earlier this year it was just part of an old grave yard with a couple of yew trees and a scattering of ancient graves among the grass.

 I just spent ages looking for a couple of snaps of how the garden used to look. To my surprise I took the pictures in 2010 ! I haven't had time to edit the pictures to a suitable size. So you can have the joy of full size, full definition images that will open in new tabs/screen by clicking there two links - SDC10247.jpg and SDC10248.jpg.
dead bodies on the
                            left, and maize in the middle
Dead bodies on the left, and maize (corn on the cob)(probably) in the middle of the picture.
comfy looking seat
One day I would like to sit here in the sun with Angela during her lunchbreak. It looks like it would be so peaceful, and the curved back makes me think it would be more intimate in some way. It was far too damp to sit outside yesterday, and as previously arranged, no matter what the weather, we met, and sat in the pub together.

 Whether it was in anticipation of the booze, or not, Angela was in a very warm, receptive mood - and it became warmer when I surprised her with a birthday present. It was in a big box that made it look far more impressive than it was, but the big box was just to hide the outline of a litre bottle of Vodka and 40 Silk Cut Purple plus a birthday card. I told her I would let Paul buy her the diamonds and pearls, and my present was more practical.  We had a wonderful chat while Angela had two single vodkas, and I had three pints of Guinness (I got to the pub earlier than Angela, and had time to drink a pint, and do all bar one clue in the crossword before Angela arrived).

 After about half an hour it was time to go, and with a kiss on the cheek I rushed home to have a quick bite to eat before a nice lie down. It seemed the next couple of hours just flew by, and it was soon time to go out to get the bus to Bromley for my Thursday night drink with the boys. I expect it was the three pints of Guinness earlier, but I didn't feel the need for any Fullers ESB last night. It is usually one of my favourites, and I like to finish off the evening with one even if I don't have one earlier.

 After three pints I left to go home again. I didn't have to wait long for a bus. The first bus was a 320 to Catford Bridge. However, just before Catford bus garage we were all kicked off the bus because......well, possibly the bus driver wanted to go to the toilet in the garage, or maybe he just wanted his dinner, or maybe he was just an annoying arsehole ! Fortunately there was a 208 bus following us, and while that would be no good for someone who wanted to go to Catford Bridge, it was OK for me. When I got on the bus the bus driver called me back after I had touched in with my 60+ Oystercard. He wanted to check the card because he didn't think I looked over 60 years old !

 Once I was home I put my pre-cooked dinner in the microwave for a 10 minute zapping. It was an experimental dinner that featured "black Kale" as it's guest mystery ingredient. I was expecting it to be quite unpleasant, but it wasn't bad....although maybe not quite good enough to repeat the experiment. Like many dinners following a similar recipe, it contained a lot of stock, and I drunk most of it. It had the predicted effect.....sort of.

 Past experience has shown that a lot of hot gravy can sometimes trigger off explosive bowels - or it does to me. The only strange thing is that yesterday morning I did several poos of an excellent text book consistency. I assumed that I should have been fairly empty, but that hot chicken stock blasted through me to  a power flush, and found plenty more to shirt. It actually happened in three sittings - large, medium and small. I felt much thinner after that !

 I felt fine and sober, but I guess I still had a lot of alcohol in my system. That plus forcibly emptied bowels, allowed me to get another good nights sleep. It was only interrupted by a rather interesting dream. In this dream there was a way of dropping a subminiature microphone and video camera into an old photo, and getting a short recording of what was happening when the original photo was taken. I think it was a sort of sci-fi/fantasy analogue of seeing an old picture and thinking of the happy times associated with that photo (assuming it was of a happy time).

 I woke up at about 7.30am this morning, and that was fairly late for me. I think I felt reasonably good, and I was contemplating going out somewhere once the sun had warmed the great outside up a bit. I feel it is maybe getting a bit late now to go anywhere ambitious, but maybe I'll still take a wander in the park or somewhere. It was while contemplating all this that I got a phone call. It was only just gone 8am, and I was surprised to hear it was Angela.

 She had originally said she wouldn't open her present until Sunday, her birthday, but curiosity got the better of her. She just had to tell me how pleased she was with my present, but she was even more pleased with the birthday card I had enclosed with the present(s). I really wish I had taken a snap of if so I could remember exactly what it said. I was worried that maybe the sentiment in it was a little too strong, but apparently it wasn't, and Angela was so pleased with it that she was almost reduced to tears - happy tears ! That made me feel very happy, although I don't think it gives me any more hope for the future - the future of Angela and myself.

 I am thinking it might actually be nice to stay in today. As I sit here I am positive it is a lot hotter behind my window glass than it is outside. Maybe I ought to enjoy just that. It will also give me a chance to rest before going out this evening. There is a gig on at The Partridge (where I went last night in Bromley), and I think it might be worth going for a bit. I fear it will get very busy later in the evening, but the first hour or so may be OK.
Thursday 26th October  2017
 08:28 BST

  It is easy to remember what the weather was like on Tuesday evening - it was raining, and I got wet damp ! Yesterday was rather different. It was gloriously sunny in the middle of the day, and it was quite warm - probably 18° C in London again, and maybe only a degree or two cooler near the south coast.
dull, but
                  still almost warm
  At the moment it is only supposed to be 10° C, but the consensus of three thermometers here is that it is between 12 and 13° C. It is certainly dull though, and possibly more dull than the forecast suggests. If the forecast is correct it could get even duller later on. That could be deeply depressing, but a little light may come into my life at lunchtime. Here's what the small print says about today :- "A generally cloudy day, after any overnight fog lifts, with outbreaks of light rain or drizzle at times. Cloud may thin for some in the afternoon, especially in the south, giving brief brighter or sunny spells." Those dark clouds could well produce some rain or drizzle, but it would be rather nice of the forecasters to actually show some rain drops on the chart if they think it will rain ! Tomorrow is currently shown to be rather cool, but it may be sunny all day long !

  It's been a busy couple of days. On Tuesday I met Angela in the park, and it was a very warm meeting. I feel sure that if she hadn't given in to Paul's chat up line (or whatever) she would be going out with me again, but she will be faithful to Paul unfortunately for me. Oh well, at least she is happy (even if I am very miserable about it). We chatted for about 20 - 25 minutes before she had to go back to work, but before we parted we made plans for today. She had a day off yesterday, and so I didn't see her, but today we are meeting for a very quick drink at lunchtime.

 I had mentioned that I was thinking about it, and on Tuesday night I put that thought into action, and went to the open mic night in The Halfway House pub near Sevenoaks station. It seemed a very long way to go, and the travelling time felt even longer because I was travelling after dark, and there was no passing scenery to distract me. The train I was thinking of getting was delayed, but so was the one before it, and I got that one. The timing worked out quite well because I arrived at the pub about 5 minutes before it all started.
Lisa Copley starting
                        the open mic session
 The session was hosted by Lisa Copley (pictured above).  She started off by singing karaoke style to a backing track, but then came a series of acoustic guitar players. Several of them made me think that they were local farmers, and one of them even smelled a bit "agricultural". It was interesting to see and experience it once, but it wasn't really my thing. As 9.30pm approached it seemed like I had seen everyone play once, and I decided to get the 9.30pm train back to Catford. Unfortunately, contrary to the forecast (both for Catford and Sevenoaks) it was raining when I left. To make matters worse it had seemed like a warm(ish) night, and I hadn't brought a coat with me. Fortunately it was only very light rain, and it didn't seem cold.

 I had some naughty food when I got home. After that I stayed up for a bit before going to bed earlier than I had imagined I might. I think I was in bed, and maybe even asleep by 11pm. I seem to be going through a phase where I am getting very little trouble from my chest, and that makes sleep easier, and I think I slept through most of the night again. It would be nice to say I woke up yesterday morning feeling nice and fresh, but of course that would be fantasy....however, I didn't feel that bad.

 It was forecast to be a brilliant sunny day yesterday, and although it wasn't forecast to be that warm, it still seemed like the weather for frolicking in the sunshine. My initial thought was that I would just spend a few hours almost taking random trains or tubes, and taking pictures of where I ended up, but while on the train heading for Charing Cross I decided that what I really wanted to do was to go to the seaside. I quickly evolved a plan to try out a route I had never tried before - London Bridge to Brighton. I am not a great fan of Brighton, but at least it has a pier and the remains of a pier to photograph.
It is a fairly fast run to Brighton from London Bridge, and the train only stops at 4 or 5 stations along the way. The entire journey takes about an hour, although about 45 minutes can be added to that for the time taken to find the ticket off, buy tickets, and then wait an awful long time for the next departure - there is only one train an hour in the middle of the day ! The train was one of Thameslink's new class 700 trains, and it was 12 cars long - it's quite a walk from one end to the other. As shown on the screenshot on the left, some of the journey is done at 80 mph, and I suspect we may have hit 90 mph from time to time. (I took the screenshot on the return journey). Using my 60+ Oystercard for free travel as far as "Croydon Stations", and my Senior Railcard for a third off discount, meant that the return fare was just £10.10.
The route I took in Brighton

 My walk was recorded at only 2.56 miles, but that was horizontal miles ! Brighton is extremely hilly. The long walk from the station to the sea front is mostly downhill, and I was sure that it would be a bugger to have to walk back up again.

 I hatched a plan that I would take a zig zag route back to the station. By going a small way up the hill, and then walking on the level for a bit, it would spread the load, and it would allow me to see a little more of Brighton than just the main road.

 It was a great idea with just one terrible flaw ! I was unfamiliar with the area, and the map showed no contour lines. I ended up getting so high that I had to walk down a very steep hill to finally get to the station to start heading for home !

 I guess I had two real objectives for my visit to Brighton, and they were to photograph the pier and the remains of the other pier.

Brighton east pier
I made the mistake of turning right when I reached the front after walking down from the station, and so missed the east pier. In my defense I could plead that I couldn't see the pier at first because of hoardings up that hide the "sea front improvements" that are going on. I had to take the above picture of the east pier using the zoom lens from further along the coast. The one thing I am still unclear about is whether it is possible to go on the pier for just a simple walk, or whether the whole pier is an amusement park that demands something in excess of £10 for entry.
the burnt remains of the west pier at
This is the sad remains of the west pier. I have no idea how many years ago it was that it burnt down - 30, 40 ??? - It does seem strange that a prosperous looking city (yes, Brighton is a city - as ludicrous as that may seem) cannot find the cash to renovate the west pier. Even impoverished Hastings managed to rebuild their pier !

 It was hard sweaty work gradually climbing higher and higher to get back to the station. Despite is being a terrible mistake, it did feel like some sort of accomplishment to finish threading my way through the back roads to come out much higher than the station, and have to walk downhill to get there.
steep hill !
 I think this picture gives a good idea of how steep the hill was that I had to go down to get to the station. I finally arrived at the station with my t-shirt saturated with sweat. I had about 20 minutes to kill before my train back to London Bridge. During that time I had a look around for any photo opportunities, and I also had a look around for a bottle of just ordinary water. The trouble with most retailers on railway premises is that their prices can be horrendous. To my great surprise it was Marks And Spencer who sold the cheapest water. It was 80p for a half litre bottle, and that was about half the price that WH Smiths wanted to charge !

 On the way back to London I am sure I felt a mild tingle from my arms. There hadn't been a great deal of sunshine in Brighton - we seemed to lose the best of the sunshine when was crossed the south downs - but it seemed there might have been just enough to top up my tan. As we headed back to London I considered the idea of getting off the train at East Croydon, and getting a tram back to Elmers End, and a train back to Catford from Elmers End.

 When I considered how long the various travel options might take I concluded it was probably quicker to go via London Bridge - it wasn't, but that was my fault for getting lost ! If I had taken the most direct route between platform 11, the platform my train from Brighton arrived at, to platform 7 where the next train to Catford Bridge was due to depart from, I would have only had a few minutes wait before I was on the train to Catford Bridge. Unfortunately, one wrong turning and my circuitous route to platform 7 meant that I missed the train by about 15 seconds ! I then had to wait 20 minutes for the next train.

 It felt good to get home and to have some breakfast ! I had fasted during the day to make walking up those hills easier, and I was rather hungry when I got home. I ended up eating all sorts of things - rather too much to be honest. One such thing I shouldn't have even bought, let alone eaten, was a Tesco ready made "bubble and squeak". If it had been made to a proper recipe ot would have been quite bad enough, but it was 98% mashed potato with only occasional hints of onion or cabbage. By my reckoning it should have been at least 35% cabbage, and maybe more.

 Anyhow, having stuffed myself, I went to bed to read for a while. It turned out to be for more than "a while" because I decided to continue reading to the end of the book. In practice that only took an extra half hour, and I think I was probably fast asleep by 11pm. Once again, I think I slept right through until early morning - 4.26am to be precise. I think that is the time the first train of the morning rattles down the line towards Hayes (Kent) to from the first service to London. The weird thing is, is that I can't really hear the trains here, but somehow my body seems to detect that train - maybe only when I have had a fairly decent night's sleep first.

 Only two things of note are happening today. At lunchtime I shall meet Angela for a very quick drink, and give her a birthday present. I doubt she will be expecting that ! I have a very good idea that she will enjoy what she finds in the parcel, although the birthday card may express some sentiments that she finds too strong....maybe. The other thing of note is that being Thursday I will be joining the Thursday drinkers for a few pints at about 5pm. Tonight's venue is the very dangerous Partridge in Bromley - dangerous because they sell the very delicious, and rather strong, Fuller's ESB !!!
Tuesday 24th October  2017
 08:26 BST

  Apart from one brief hint of fine misty rain it was a dry day yesterday - in my reality ! Unfortunately there was also no sunshine either ! The forecast temperature range was probably about right. It was rather cool in the morning, but a change of as little as 5° seemed to take the temperature into the comfortable range. That top temperature was 16° C.
a warmer day
                  than recently
  The forecast suggest today is going to be a very dull one. At the moment, when I look out my window at a miserable grey sky, I think they have the forecast right. The only positive thing is that it if forecast to feel warm today. I've already been out this morning, and at 15° C it felt pleasant enough without a coat. By this afternoon it should hit 18° C, and while that may be poor by summer standards, it should feel quite warm at this time of the year. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be dry, and the temperature range should be similar to today. The big difference is that the sun may just about break through enough to give some sunny intervals from mid afternoon.

  Work began on my roof yesterday. The pushy builder kept the pressure up right until the last moment - and I kept the pressure on him. He gave in more than me, and we reached an agreement for quite a bit more to be done for considerably less money than originally quoted. I'm not sure that it was quality work, but it comes with a 7 year (7 ???) guarantee. Considering that all the work was done in just one day - a lot of it by just one man - I think that even after heavy discounting they made a good profit on it. All that is left to do now is for the scaffolding to be taken down, and that should happen this morning.
black horse drawn
                        hearse with white horses
 At lunchtime I went out to meet Angela in the park for a chat. On the way there were a few unusual sights to be seen. There is a road just before Lewisham Hospital where the local funeral directors wait for the appointed time to pick up dead bodies from the morgue, and occasionally it is by horse drawn hearse. It was a week or two ago that I snapped a white hearse, but yesterday it was a more traditional black hearse. It seemed odd that it was being pulled by a pair of white horses.
van on fire
 I was just too late to capture the initial conflagration, but there was still plenty of smoke and steam as the fire brigade put out a fire under the bonnet of a Tesco delivery van. Judging by the smell it was an electrical fault - possibly chafed wires causing a wiring loom to burn up - but it spread much further and seemed to even shatter the windscreen.

 I got to the park quite early, and I had a good 20 minutes wait before Angela turned up. We had a nice chat, and she told me a little more about her relationship with Paul. Contrary to what I had been told earlier, perhaps 12 months or more ago, when my relationship with Angela was a lot more intimate, Angela's previous affair with Paul didn't end up as a complete disaster. I fear that this renewal of their relationship could be a result of Angela being on the rebound after John's death, and once again it will go wrong and she will be hurt again. If I had some confidence that it would turn out happy ever after for Angela I would do my best to ignore and forget her, but I feel like I need to hang around, ready to pick up the pieces if things do go wrong. I may not have said it in those words, but that is what I told Angela yesterday. I actually said that I continued to love her when she sidelined me for John, and I shall continue to love her now she is going out with Paul.
The lovely Angela
 I don't know why, but I thought I might be told off in some way for saying I still loved her, but she took it in her stride, and I think she appreciated it. I think she is even looking forward to seeing me again this lunchtime. I know I am definitely looking forward to seeing Angela. Just a mere 20 minutes in her presence makes me feel good in a way that is hard to describe. It is as if it makes some sort of sense of this world, and the effect can last a long time.

 After seeing Angela I hurried home to have some very late breakfast. I really wanted to catch up on some sleep, but with a builder on my roof I just couldn't relax despite feeling desperately tired after a poor night's sleep. I spent a lot of the time just reading. Every now and then my eyes would start to close and I would put the book down and try to sleep, but seconds later I would hear the builder do something and bring me back to alertness.

 By the time the builder had finished, and it all went quiet, I had got my second wind and didn't feel like sleeping. Besides which, it was time to start preparing my dinner. It was to be diced lamb with sprouts and leeks cooked in stock - a stew by any other name. It was very tasty, but the lamb, which I had bought in Aldi, didn't seem so tender as the slightly more expensive diced lamb from Tesco. I am wondering if it is worth paying the extra for better quality.

 I would have expected to have gone to bed extra early last night, but it was 11pm before I turned out the lights. I was probably asleep within 10 minutes. It seems highly unlikely, but I can't seem to remember anything from then until I woke up at about 5.20am this morning. I can't remember the last time I slept right through the night like that. It wasn't enough sleep though. So after getting up for a while I went back to bed and got about another hours sleep.

 This morning I have been to the station to get a copy of The Metro, and on the way back I went to Tesco to buy a few bits and pieces. Amongst those bits and pieces were a couple of sandwiches for later on, and one strange sort of sandwich/roll that I've eaten for breakfast. It was a bit like a bagel, but it didn't have a hole, and it was filled with pastrami and sauerkraut. It was quite pleasant, but best of all it was reduced from £2.35 to just 75p. I would definitely buy more if I saw them for 75p !

 I now have one definite plan for today - seeing Angela at lunchtime - and one possible plan for tonight. I noticed there is an open mic session at a pub quite near Sevenoaks station tonight. It allegedly starts fairly early - 7.30pm. Sevenoaks is a long way to go - about 40 minutes on the train - but it is just one single train from Catford station. Google maps reckon that from the station to the pub should take less than 10 minutes on foot, and that the walk should be fairly flat. Using my 60+ Oystercard to cover travel as far as Swanley, and then a Senior Railcard discounted ticket from there, should only only cost me around £2 return. The only downside is that I don't like travelling in the dark - it's boring when there is no view - but I think there is a fair chance that I'll go, but I can't stay late. The last two through trains are at 10pm and 10.30pm, and I would aim for the second to last at 10pm - just in case !
Monday 23rd October  2017
 07:08 BST

  Yesterday was a very cool day. I don't think the temperature managed to get any higher than the forecast 13° C. On the plus side, it was dry, and there was some sunshine.
rain expected at
  The trouble with today is that rain is expected at a possibly inconvenient time. On the other hand, maybe it might end up as being convenient. Today has started off rather cold. The forecast reckons it should have been 11° C at 6am. I reckon it was just under 10° C ! Maybe the 16° C forecast for late afternoon will feel sort of warm-ish. Tomorrow is forecast to start with some light rain, but only for an hour or two. The rest of the day could be dry, but the chances of seeing any sunshine seem close to zero. The only positive thing is that it could get up to 18° C.

  I seemed to spend a lot of yesterday editing photos, but in the evening I mostly relaxed with a book. I am currently reading the second book in Ben Bova's New Earth trilogy. I am not so sure it is as good as the first book. What I have read so far is all set on Earth, and features what seems like Ben Bova's favourite themes - power mad businessmen and politicians, kidnappings, and concealment in disused, or used military or government bases.

 I ended up reading until quite late last night. It was probably to distract my mind from thinking about today's verbal battle with the builder who wants to do more work than I am prepared to pay for. Thinking about that kept me awake for a lot of last night, but I did think up a strategy to bolster my argument with him. I don't know when it will be, but presumably soon after it is fully light is when he will turn up with his workers.

 This morning I got up a lot earlier than I would have liked to considering how badly I slept last night, but curiously enough I didn't feel too bad. I quickly washed and dressed, and I went to the station to pick up a copy of The Metro. I arrived at the station just a little later than I used to when going to work. I used to get the 06:33 Charing Cross train. I was there, albeit on the wrong platform, in time to see the 06:39 Cannon Street train.

 In theory my day will probably go like this - at some point this morning I will have a "discussion" with the builder. Just after midday I will go out to meet Angela. It will probably be raining and so I may wait for her outside the hospital, and we may end up in the local pub for 20 - 25 minutes. That will be nice. This afternoon I would ideally like to have a good snooze, but with builders clattering around on the roof I expect that will be impossible. The only good thing is that they should finish for the day quite early when they lose the light - although I guess that would probably be around their normal finishing time anyway - say, 5pm.
this train is not in
                        service......but it is
 A picture I had forgotten was on my phone. I took this picture on my way to Longfield on Saturday night. It was on the first leg of my journey from Catford to Bromley South station. It is not the first time I have encountered a train saying it is not in service while it obviously is. I think Thameslink's new class 700 trains have some software bugs that need a good ironing out !
Sunday 22nd October  2017
 17:20 BST

  If I recall correctly, and I may not (!), there was a little less sun than expected yesterday, and fortunately also a little less rain too. The wind was a little gusty around the middle of the day, but it didn't seem exceptional, and hardly warranted the name "Storm Brian" that was the subjesc of the severe weather warning for yesterday. Apart from the temperature being typically autumnal, it didn't seem to be so bad a day yesterday.
a very cool day
  I guess I could stretch my imagination to say that today hasn't been so bad a day, but I don't think I will. It was definitely very cool this morning - barely above 9° C, and even with some pleasant sunny intervals earlier, the temperature struggled to reach the forecast 13° C. In fact I am not sure if it did reach 13° C. The highest I noticed was a tad over 12° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be a couple of degrees warmer, but it comes at the price of more cloud, no sunshine, and rain during the morning. The afternoon may be dry.

  One of the worst things about yesterday was arguing with the builder about what work he will be doing for me. He is ever trying to make it a bigger job, and while some of his "suggestions" do have valid reasons, he seems unable to grasp that I am working to a strict budget. I am not looking forward to tomorrow when he will no doubt start again. I have a written contract where we have agreed work to be done, and an agreed price. That is all the work I can afford to have done, and he will get no more !

 Despite the aggravation of the builder, or maybe because of it, I found the energy to go out last night. Of course having bought my rail tickets in the morning it would have meant wasting £2.95 if I didn't go out and use them. Before I went out I took some painkillers, and had a quick puff of my rarely used asthma inhaler. That meant I had a mostly comfortable journey all the way to The Railway Tavern pub in Longfield. It's a long way to Longfield !

 I think Chain were rather stunned to see me arrive at the pub, and even though I was wearing a Neil Young t-shirt, I was still rewarded with a big hug, and a pint of Guinness, by Jo ! Apparently Jo does not like Neil Young, and would have preferred me to wear my John Foggety t-shirt (I will next time !). I could only stay for the first set, but it was very enjoyable. Unfortunately the lighting, although quite bright, was unable to be used to best advantage, and that made photography difficult. It was often the case that Jo's face was lit brightly enough to cause the photo to be effectively over-exposed while the rest of her was in near darkness. It made trying to use my wide angle lens particularly troublesome.

Whole band - and all badly focussed

 With a little trickery I managed to pull some decent, and some semi-decent, picture out of my photo editor. One odd thing is how my pictures often get a bit better after a pint or two of Guinness. In the relatively short time I was at the gig, not quite 2 hours, I drank 3 pints of Guinness, and they went down really well ! Eventually it was time to leave, and the bit I definitely wasn't looking forward to.

 To get back to the station from the pub means a walk uphill. It is not a steep hill, but it seems to go on forever...or at least it used to. Last night it might not have seemed so far, but it was still hard work, and I felt exhausted and almost out of breath at the top. Of course the thing that makes it worse is that the top isn't actually the top. The top is actually the top of the footbridge you have to cross on the station to get to the right platform to head back into London.

 I actually allowed too much time to walk from the pub to the station. I was most surprised to get to the station just in time to see the 10:21pm train leaving. I thought I would miss it by at least a few minutes, and maybe more. The actual train I got was the 10:38pm. The theoretical problem with that train is that it arrives at Bromley South just 2 minutes before the next train to Catford, and that give very little leeway for delays, and for crossing the footbridge from platform 3 to platform 3. Last night everything went to plan, and changing trains went very smoothly.

 When I arrived home I was quite surprised that the entire journey home had taken just about one hour door-to-door. The actual time spent on the trains was about 26 minutes. It didn't include time wasted at a takeaway because I came straight home from the station - I had taken the precaution of leaving a sandwich and a small cauliflower cheese with oat topping pie in the fridge ready to munch on when I got home. It is feasible that both may have been more healthy than something from the fried chicken shop - but maybe only just !

 I nearly read for a while before attempting to get to sleep, but once I was in bed I decided to try to go straight to sleep - and I did. In an ideal world I would have slept right through to about 9am this morning, but I was up and wake at about 3am. It was probably at least half an hour, and may even have been an hour before I got back to sleep again. With insomnia like that it is probably no wonder that Angela kicked me out of her bed for ever almost a year ago now.

 After about 6am my sleep became ever more intermittent, and I think it was close to 9am when I decided to give up trying to sleep. Since then I have done nothing significant beyond reading, eating and photo editing. It has been a very lazy day that might have seemed to go quite quickly - although it is hard to be subjective after the act. All the photo editing is now done, and I will probably spend a lot of the rest of the evening reading, although maybe I'll find something distracting on TV.

 Tomorrow, there will be the verbal duelling with the builder, and then at lunchtime I hope to me Angela. It might be raining, and we might end up in a pub for a very quick drink. It will be the first time I will have seen or spoken to Angela since she admitted "being in a relationship" on a well known social media web site. I am still wondering why she can't actually publicly admit who it is that she is in a relationship with !
Saturday 21st October  2017
 11:32 BST

  Yesterday was very gloomy until mid afternoon, and despite there being some sunshine in the last few hours before sunset, it feels like the whle day should be written off as gloomy. (There is a non-weather related reason as well). Yesterday was also rather cool, but not too bad.
rain !
  Today's weather is a bit schizophrenic ! Sometimes it is wet, and sometimes sunny - and sometimes it is both ! At least one of the light showers, specifically the one around 11am, was actually a very heavy shower, but it was a very brief heavy shower ! The sunshine is going to make today a degree or two warmer than yesterday, but tomorrow, a generally more dull day will mean the temperature will revert to a more typical temperature for late October - 12 - 13° C.

  There was a lot wrong with yesterday, and it all combined together to give me quite a miserable and depressing day. The weather was one thing, some aches and pains were another source of depression, but the worst thing was that Angela finally posted on social media that she was !In a relationship". Of course the weird thing was that she didn't actually say who it was with ! I am pretty certain it is not with me, and I am very certain it is with Paul.

 It came as quite a shock that she admitted it publicly, and maybe it was also a shock that she felt so confident about their relationship that she was prepared to admit it. The last time she went out with Paul it was a complete disaster, or so I was lead to believe during some of the initimate talks we used to have a year ago.

 Oh well, it has it's plus side. The money that I had originally put aside to take Angela on holiday (or even holidays - plural) is now going to be spent getting the pointing sorted out above the roof line. Some of it has been needed to be done for quite some time now. Of course there is always the hope that this revived relationship might end as a disaster too, and then I might have a second chance with Angela. Our lunchtime meetings have been getting warmer and warmer with lots of little positive signs. It may not the height of passion, but being complimented on my t-shirt, and having stray hairs picked off it is a little warmer than just friendship !

 Trying to think of positives like that is just torturing myself, and I feel it is actually causing some physical health problems. My chest was aching a fair bit yesterday, and on top of that I think what is probably a stomach ulcer is flaring up again after being quite dormant for months and months and months. All the things conspired together to dampen my enthusiasm to do anything....except a lot of reading.

 I was going to go out last night to a gig in Beckenham. I thought it would be a safe one to go to - i.e. no chance of Angela and Paul turning up - and I thought it was likely that Fran would be there. Fran would have given me a hug and a kiss, as she does to many people, and that would have cheered me up a lot. Unfortunately my chest and gut ache were enough to put me off going there was one other silly problem.

 For some mad reason I decided to reboot my PC and select my old Windows XP installation in the boot menu. I wanted to just do a few updates. It turned out to be a longer process than I expected. Any Windows installation is a good time waster, and one that needs so many things updated can waste a lot of time. There was also a strange problem in that for some reason the clock on Windows XP was showing what must have been GMT instead of BST. So I thought it was almost 9pm when I finished. Being so late meant that it would have hardly been worth going out. Of course, having decided I definitely wouldn't be going out I rebooted back to Linux, and the true time was revealed - almost 8pm. At that time it could still have been worth going out, but I had already decided not to.

 I watched a bit of TV, and did a lot of reading before going to bed. The great thing about reading is that it can transport your mind away from the nastiness of reality into a fantasy place that is far happier. I think it was about 11pm when I decided to put the book down and go to sleep. Like many nights recently it was a two part sleep. At about 2.30am I was wide awake for nearly an hour. Rather than fight it I decided to turn my bed side light on and start reading again. Eventually I felt like sleeping again, and I slept until about 7am this morning.

 This morning I was determined to feel better, and I did - sort of. The ache from my guts was very much like hunger, and I managed to ignore it. My chest felt a bit creaky, but I decided that a walk might help, and I think it did. It took some willpower to get out walking, but once I got moving I felt reasonably OK. I decided I would just walk to Catford station and buy a ticket for tonight.

 If I can raise the energy and enthusiasm I will be going to Chain's gig at The Railway Tavern in Longfield. It is outside the Oystercard zones, and the reason I bought a return ticket in advance is because it seems the only way to buy a ticket that starts from the boundary of Oyster validity plus Senior railcard discount, is to buy it from a manned ticket office. Now I have spent the grand sum of £2.95 I really ought to make an extra effort to go out tonight !

greyhounds on Catford
Butterflies on Catford Bridge

 A couple of pictures taken on my walk back from the station. I've been meaning to take some snaps of these painting on Catford Bridge for several weeks now. The top picture of the greyhounds strongly reminds me of the old animated neon sign that used to be above the entrance of the Greyhound stadium. The lower pictures shows about half the colourful butterflies that adorn the bridge - possibly as part of the Catford "art trail".

 I wasn't at home long before I went out again to Aldi. On my way back from the station the sky had been, or at least seemed to be, completely clear and blue. As I walked to Aldi a few clouds appeared, and I felt a few spots of rain as I got there. When I was inside I think some more substantial rain fell. It stayed dry again until I was literally just standing in my front porch, and then it poured down.
rain !!!
 Now I have little to do except washing a few t-shirts until it is time to go out. I hope I can find the energy and enthusiasm to get to Longfield to see Chain. I believe that the management is changing at the pub, and it could be the last time that anyone plays there ever again. Some souvenir pictures would be rather good !
Friday 20th October  2017
 09:21 BST

  The forecast for yesterday didn't show it, but there was some drizzle during the morning. It would have been of little consequence except it made the benches in the park wet. It also rained at 4.30pm as I was walking to the station to go for my Thursday drink. It started raining again well after I got home again, and I think it continued to rain through the night. Most of the day was rather grey, and sometimes it was very grey. About the only good thing was that a temperature of 17° C wasn't that bad - but it was rather marginal !
like yesterday but greyer and cooler !
 It is a few degrees cooler this morning - just 13° C, and unfortunately it is not going to get more than a single degree warmer ! On top of that it is, and will continue to be horribly dull and grey, dark grey, all morning, but maybe we will get a respite from that for a few hours late this afternoon. It's not actually shown on the forecast, although it could be in the small print, but I think it is likely to be a bit drizzly for most of this morning. Tomorrow is going to be a tiny bit warmer (or less cool) thanks to the gale force winds that are predicted. It is also going to be wet as well !

  By comparison to some recent days, I was quite busy yesterday. Washing a fitted sheet and a couple of pillowcases took a bit of time and energy, but I did more. I wanted some new shampoo yesterday, and in particular I wanted some Alberto Balsam strawberry shampoo and some strawberry conditioners. It is very nice stuff, and so strawberry like that it is almost tempting to taste it, or drizzle it on ice cream. I am pretty certain it would taste disgusting, and so of course I have never tried it ! I have enough for about three more washes, and I am getting desperate.

 First of all I went to Savers. They had no shampoos that tempted me, let alone the one I wanted, but they did have some Original Source hibiscus and pomegranate shower gel. It is pleasant stuff, so I grabbed a couple of bottles while I had the chance. Next I went to the Pound shop. That was where I had bought my original bottles of strawberry shampoo. They didn't have any, but they did have "sun kissed raspberry" conditioner. I had a hunch about that so I bought a bottle.

 The next shop I went in was Superdrug. They didn't have the shampoo or conditioner, but they did have a couple of flavours of Original Source shower gels that I had not tried before. Unfortunately they were priced at £2.95 a bottle, and I am used to buying them from the Pound shop (or even the 99p shop) so I didn't buy them. What I did buy was some Superdrug own label raspberry and macadamia shampoo and matching conditioner. I used some this morning, and it seems quite pleasant.

 My final port of call was the other Pound shop on the high street. My earlier hunch was right - they didn't have any "sun kissed raspberry" conditioner, but they did have the matching shampoo. Having bought the conditioner from the first Pound shop I then had a matched pair. It's a silly way to buy shampoo and conditioner, but it worked.

  My tour of the shops took longer than I imagined, and once I got my shopping home I had no time to waste before rushing out to meet Angela in the park during her lunch break. I managed to get there before her, but only just. The seat we usually sit at was all soggy, and I had to dry it off. Having done so I sat down and prepared to wait - possibly for up to half an hour if needed. Angela never quite knows when her lunch break will be - it depends on what work she is doing at the time. As I sat there I spied someone in the distance that could have been her - but wasn't.
looking across the
This is the view across the crater in the middle of the park. It is not visible in this picture, but on the far side is a bench, and someone, who turned out to be not Angela was sitting on it. Rather than walk directly up to what was most probably a stranger, I did a complete circumnavigation of the park. I guess it took 5 or 6 minutes. When I got back to where I started I found Angela sitting on the bench waiting for me.
Angela waiting for me
 It is probably my imagination, a sort of clutching at straws, but it feels like my lunch time meeting with Angela are getting better and better. There is still a barrier, but it is very slowly breaking down, bit by bit. Angela actually went as far as suggesting that if it is raining we should go for a quick drink in the nearest pub, and there is a good possibility that we will do it anyway next Thursday (it could have been today, but she has the day off, and she also has next Friday off too - so it will be next Thursday). One curious thing is that she volunteered the information that last night she would be having dinner with her daughter, her son-in-law and Paul. She said it in a most apologetic way, and in my wild imagination, in a way that suggested she wasn't 100% looking forward to it.

 I won't be seeing Angela again until Monday (unless I go to a gig where she will be), but I think I feel happy enough after seeing her for the moment. Once we said goodbye I rushed back home and had some lunch. I wanted to eat as early as possible to give some time to digest it before going out for my Thursday evening drink. I decided I would eat a Tesco "Healthy Living" chicken curry. I wish I hadn't because it was horrible. The rice was horrible, the orange goo that was supposed to pass as curry sauce was horrible, and even the few small lumps of chicken seemed dry and almost tasteless. What taste they did have was sort of unpleasant !

 At just before 4.30pm, after some rest, I went out to get the 16:47 train from Catford station. It was on time, and had I wanted to share a seat with someone, there was enough room to sit down - but the journey to Shortlands is only 9 minutes, and I opted to stand all the way there.
my train to
 My train, class 700, number 700032, arriving at Catford station.

 When I got to the pub I found there were two beers that interested me, and just for a change I decided to have a half pint of each to select the best. The best turned out to be from The Tonbridge Brewery, and I two more pints of it. After my usual three pints I said my goodbyes,a nd headed back to the station to catch the 19:02 train - which was typically late, but only by a minute on this occasion. One of the things I noticed as I walked back to the station was a confirmation of an earlier idea I had. I did all my rushing about in the morning in a pair of cheap, slip on, thin soled canvas shoes, and walking was easy. In the evening I put on a pair of Converse trainers. They are slightly more comfortable to wear, and slightly more waterproof. Unfortunately, for some reason, walking in them felt like walking through glue.
Converse -
                                comfortable, but sluggish to walk in
 I took the picture above standing under a lamp standard on the platform at Shortlands station - hence the shadow of my hands operating the camera. Walking home from the station seemed like hard work, and particularly so when walking up over the road bridge above Catford Bridge station. Maybe I was trying to walk too fast, but I was feeling hungry, and looking forward to tucking into the diced lamb and broccoli that I had precooked before I went out.

 It was a nice dinner, but did leave me wanting more - particularly when I was a bit bored watching TV. Maybe it left a nice warm spot to help me to sleep though. I was asleep by or before 10pm, and for about 4 hours I slept quite well. I then got up for about half an hour. A little bit of that time was spent on the toilet, but most was just trying to get back in the right state of mind to sleep again.

 My second 4 hours in bed was quite lumpy. I woke up quite a few times, and I had at least one semi-nasty dream. I dreamed that I had started work again. Amongst the difficulties were that I had no idea what the job actually was, and I didn't really know my way home ! Eventually I got up far too early, and started reading news on the internet. Eventually I had a shower and washed my hair. I also made a start washing the duvet cover I took off my bed a couple of days ago. I have no idea when I'll finish washing it - it ought to be today, but it wouldn't be the first time I have left something soaking for 24 hours.

 I am not seeing Angela today, and I don't think I am going out this evening. I did have an idea that I might just go out jumping on random trains for a few hours, and see where it takes me, but it looks so horrible outside I am not sure I want to do that now. I actually feel like having a snooze as I type this, and maybe that is what I will do. Today could be potentially boring if I don't get in the right frame of mind.
Thursday 19th October  2017
 09:19 BST

  Yesterday morning was pretty damp ! It gave a real autumn feel to the weather. Most of the rain was fairly light, but it went on a lot longer than forecast. The forecast I showed as a screenshot yesterday said it would only rain until 8am, but in reality there was drizzle right up to midday. It had only just stopped when I went out for my lunchtime walk. By 1pm the sun was desperately trying to come out for an hour or so. Sometimes it got bright enough to cast a feint shadow, but then the sun gave up, and the rest of the day was dull and uninspiring. The afternoon was probably only 15 or 16° C, but it felt very humid and sticky to me.
                  least most of the day will be dry
 Today should be mostly dry until 9pm, and it could be a degree or two warmer than yesterday, but it is still going to be dull and uninspiring. At the moment the road outside looks all wet, and while today should be "mostly dry" it is obvious that there are some unscheduled exceptions ! Tomorrow looks to be grey and definitely cool. Nothing to look forward to there ! The weather warning in this screenshot refers to Saturday ;-
strong winds

  Before I went out yesterday I did some laundry. That got me nice and hot. Then I had a hot shower, and that got me hotter still. To make matters worse I wore my waterproof coat, and I always get hot ans sticky under that coat. I sometimes wonder why I wear it - unless it is a particularly cold day I get just as wet from sweat in it as I would if I just went out without a coat. Hmmm, maybe that it a big exaggeration on most occasions, but yesterday, when it wasn't raining, it was definitely damper inside my coat compared to the outside !

 I think it may have been the weather as much as anything else, but I felt mildly asthmatic, and didn't fancy a long walk yesterday. I went straight to Lewisham Park to meet Angela. For once I got my timing about right. I walked once around the park, which takes less than 10 minutes, and completed the circuit a minute or two after Angela arrived. We had a nice chat for about 25 minutes, and I showed her a few sights in the park.
a fine crop of fungi
My guess is that there is the remains of a tree stump under the grass, and that is what this dense crop of fungi are growing on. I don't think I have ever seen anything so dense before.
shaggy parasol fungus
Angela was particularly taken with this (I think) Shaggy Parasol fungus. It looks a lot less sinister than the yellow fungi in the previous picture.
Angela sitting in the park
Here's Angela sitting in the park. The fungus in the previous picture is a few feet behind the bench she is sitting on.

 My meetings with Angela are getting more cordial, and natural feeling, but sadly I see nothing to make me think that our relationship is heading in the direction I would like. Sometimes it feels like she is fighting her own feelings, and I don't know why......or maybe I do. It all rather depends on the exact relationship she has with Paul. I have not a solitary piece of evidence to even hint at it, but I think he is more a temporary convenience rather than a lover. If that is the case then it is all part of the longer term grieving after John died. If that is the case then maybe there is future hope, but it feels like I am running out of years fast !

 After my meeting in the park I hurried home feeling rather hungry. I didn't want to eat much, and yet it was a shame I didn't. What I actually had was a large Conference pear, and a couple of Satsumas. I then had a lie down and did some reading. I think I would like to have done something different, but after a day or two respite, my chest was really aching yesterday. I think it was the weather. There were a couple of times during the day when I made a sort of twisting movement and was rewarded with a stabbing pain. It left my chest feeling very tender - so tender that just the weight of my duvet made it ache when I went to bed last night.

 I was intending to go out to an open mic in Sidcup last night, but two things conspired against that. There was my chest for one thing. Some pain killers would have probably kept the worst of it at bay, but there was also the problem of eating a proper dinner too late in the day. I cooked up a fairly simple chicken, mushroom and leek dinner, and just for a change I cooked it in the minimum amount of stock. Even without a lot of stock it left me feeling rather full - not actually bloated, but enough to make me want to lay down and digest it.

 Laying down is what I did a lot of last night, although I also watched a bit of TV. By 10pm I was in bed reading, but I could barely keep my eyes open. By 10.30pm, or maybe even before that, I was fast asleep. I took the precaution of taking a couple of Paracetamol tablets before I went to bed, and while my chest was quite sore when I first got into bed, I think they helped keep me comfortable during some of the night. I seemed to sleep well again last night.

 Even after a good sleep I can't say I am raring to go this morning. Once I have written this I'll take a shower, and I think I'll wash my hair. One of the things I forgot to mention that I did yesterday was to change my bed linen, and so I'll get started on washing the old smelly stuff before I go out at lunchtime to see Angela again. When I get home again I really must have a more substantial lunch so I don't have to eat later - much later ! Once again it is Thursday, and I'll be going out to meet the Thursday night drinkers in The Shortlands Tavern. Once I've had three pints in there I can come home and have some dinner before going to bed.
a wonderful
                            display of autum colours
One more picture to end on. I took this walking through Ladywell Fields, on my way to Lewisham Park. I thought the autumn colours really stood out in this snap.
Wednesday 18th October  2017
 08:57 BST

  It was bright with sunny spells yesterday morning, but overall, yesterday was grey and cold. Not terribly cold, but cold enough to get uncomfortable while sitting in the park in just a short sleeved shirt (plus trousers, underpants and shoes !). The temperature was as forecast, about 16° C, but there was enough wind to add a lot of chill.
A grim sort of day
 The forecast for today keeps changing, and those changes are when it might, or might not rain. The idea that it is going to be a cold, grey and very miserable day seems to be a constant. The most recent update shows there could be some light showers between 11am and midday - which is bad. It also shows that more of the afternoon will be 16° C - which is sort of good. The current prediction for tomorrow is that it will be a dry day until about 10pm. It will also be an overcast day, but maybe, if we are lucky, if we send our entreaties to the right Gods, it will only be a lightly overcast day. It should be as much as a couple of degrees warmer than today.

another walk 
  My morning walk is shown on the left. I walked just over two and a half miles, and mostly it felt OK. The statistics for the walk show I only managed it at 1.59 mph, but that is not quite correct. I forgot to pause the app I was using to track my walk while I sat in Lewisham Park chatting with Angela. The reality was that on the longest continuous stretch, between home and Ladywell station, I averaged 3.5 mph. That surprised me a lot ! I thought my typical walking pace, over a distance, was around 3 mph - and that was back in the days when I actually felt a lot fitter !

 Most of the walk was semi pleasant in as much as I didn't feel too cool. It was even more pleasant at the start of the walk because it was sunny. By the time I got to Ladywell the sky had become stubbornly grey, and sometimes seemed quite threatening.

 I got to Lewisham Park about half an hour before Angela did, and it was decidedly chilly as I sat doing a crossword in The Metro newspaper I had picked up at Ladywell station. Eventually Angela turned up, and I felt much warmer in her presence. I don't think she expected me to be there, and seemed grateful that I was. She even thanked me in a message later in the day. That was encouraging, although I am unsure exactly what it means - if anything !

old tiles showing the
                        old name of a pub
pub being turned into flats

 On my way to Lewisham Park I passed by the pub that I last knew as The Ravensbourne Arms. It has been closed for well over 6 months now, and possibly even a year. Until recently it was surrounded by a temporary fence and scaffolding, but that has been taken down now. The entire building was destined to become flats, and presumably the upper floor has been converted, but it is not obvious that the ground floor will become more flats. I presume the frontage is not going to be altered that much if they are taking the trouble to chip off the old brown glazed tiles rather than just smashing the brickwork down. As shown in the top picture, one tiny little piece of heritage remains from it's days as a pub - it's original name - The Coach And Horses.

 When I got home after my walk my top priority was to have some breakfast (at 1pm). It was fortunate that I had a couple of sandwiches in the fridge that were available for instant eating - and I did ! Yesterday morning I didn't know what I would be doing after lunch, but the answer came by way of a phone call from my friend Jodie. She suggested we meet for a drink in the local Wetherspoons, and added some bait in the form of the information that they had another "beer festival" on.

 That call came while I was waiting in the park for Angela, and at that point I was unsure whether to accept because there was the possibility to go to an open mic night in Forest Hill. Funnily enough, when I mentioned that open mic to Angela she was half interested in going herself, and I came away with the idea that she was half thinking of joining me there rather than anyone else. That was probably pure fantasy on my part, but it was a mute point because she concluded that it was not an easy journey for her despite it being relatively close, and that she couldn't stay up late because of work in the morning.
17 year old t-shirt
Knowing that Angela was not going made my decision about the beer festival a bit easier. I decided I would meet Jodie for a few beer, and dug out a 17 year old t-shirt to wear to the pub. It's pictured on the left. Jodie commented that it seemed to be in very good condition for such an old t-shirt. The reason for that is simple - it is really too small for me. It was far too tight 17 years ago, and it is far too tight now. That must mean something !

 The only problem with the beer festival is that the pub only seemed to have two special beers on alongside their usual offering. I tried on, Sambrook's "Battersea Rye", and although my mouth eventually became accustomed to it, it was still pretty horrible. For my next two pints I reverted to drinking Guinness, although when I was buying my second Guinness I noticed that a new beer had just come on, and the bar maid offered me a taste of it. It seemed rather nice, and had I stayed for a fourth pint it would have been that beer.

 After three pints I was quite keen to get home, and fortunately Jodie was ready to leave too. I felt very mildly drunk as I walked home, and I also felt very hungry. There were several things I could have eaten when I got home, but they all needed a fair bit of preparation, and unless it was a salad, there would also be cooking involved two. It was a stupid idea while I survive on my savings during my retirement, but I decided to order a takeaway.

 I wanted a takeaway that was as close to healthy as possible, and that suggested a chicken shish kebab, but I dug a bit deeper and came across "Big Fat Gourmet" of Lewisham. To my surprise they offered a few meal that they described as being for diabetics. Basically they were burgers without buns, and with extra salad. The only odd thing is that they came with a portion of sweet potato mash. I'm not sure that was a healthy option, and only ate half of it when my order arrived. I actually opted for two different "burgers". Both came with the same selection of salad that was dressed in what may have been a very dilute balsamic vinegar with a little olive oil - although not enough to be overtly oily.

 The chicken "burger" was just a slab of grilled skinless chicken breast. It was rather nice, although predictably a little dry - all that salad helped to keep things moist. The fish burger was like a big square fish finger, and while it was very tasty, it seemed to be rather small, and not good value for money. It was money that was the problem with the takeaway. It was ideal as a healthy meal, possibly one of the healthiest offering I have ever come across from a takeaway, but it did seem rather expensive for what it was, and for that reason I hesitate about ordering from there again - but I probably will !

 It didn't seem unreasonable to go to bed at 10pm last night, and it was obviously a good decision because I was asleep very quickly once I turned out the lights. My chest has been playing up a lot less over the last couple of days, and that helped me to get another good night's sleep. I got up once or twice in the night, but I managed to contrive to wake up quite slowly at 7am this morning - at least I think I did, although I have no idea how. What ever my method of waking up actually was, I got up without that feeling that I was about to die for a change. That was a pleasant change.

 I can't say I feel particularly wonderful this morning, but I don't feel that bad either. I reckon I will have enough energy to go out for another walk around lunchtime, but it is going to be a shorter walk than yesterday. Today I shall be going directly to the park to try and meet Angela - even if it means wearing a raincoat ! With rain in mind, I might try and find out when Angela is likely to leave work at lunchtime. Maybe she won't go to the park if it is raining, but she will still want to leave the hospital grounds so she can have a ciggie. Maybe I'll end up holding her umbrella for her.

 If I can't see Angela at lunch time I might have another go at trying to get her to meet for a quick drink on her way home from work. I expect she use the excuse of tiredness, but maybe my luck will change. In theory I don't want to drink too much if we do go for a quick drink because I want to go to the MT Pockets open mic session in Sidcup least I think I do, but the idea of travelling in the cold and dark to get there is not that appealing.
Tuesday 17th October  2017
 09:44 BST

  The weather was very weird yesterday. The forecast got the temperature right, and in a way it also got it right about the sunshine, but there was one thing the forecasters hadn't foreseen. The remnants of hurricane Orphelia did their worst to Ireland, but the strong winds had much further reach, and managed to pick up a lot of dust and smoke from forest fires in Portugal. What started as a bright sunny day soon turned into something like a scene from Mars. The dust and smoke in the upper atmosphere turned the sun red, and the sky a sort of dirty yellow. At 3pm the sun had been completely blotted out, and we were left with a sort of dim red/yellow/orange twilight. It was most spooky ! Pictures taken on a few of my cameras were unable to really capture it with any fidelity, but a couple give a sort of idea of what it was like.
as seen by mobile phone
This is what my mobile phone camera saw...although the redness of the sun is a bit, but not much, exaggerated. That camera does tend to over saturate colours it likes, and there is no control over how much it does it.
what the sun looked like
This is a more faithful image of what the sun looked like as seen by my Canon camera.
Today's weather should be more conventional !
A fairly
                  pleasant sort of day
 Today should be fairly pleasant, although it is going to feel cool compared to yesterday. The small print does suggest there is a very low risk of a shower late afternoon or evening. A the moment the sun is dazzling bright to look at, but the sky still seems hazy. I presume there is still a lot of dust in the upper atmosphere. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be very dull, but it may still hit 17° C. The downside is that the clouds that will make it so dull are very likely to leak, and while heavy rain may not be forecast, there could still be a fair amount of rain tomorrow.

  The big thing yesterday morning was having both my electricity and gas meters changed for so called "smart" meters. These meters should radio back their own meter readings to the gas and electricity companies. That could be handy because my electricity meter was probably only read about once every 3 years, and I have built up quite a lot of credit on my account. Once I get more accurate reading I will attempt to reduce that credit down to a reasonable level - but still leave enough to cater for any unexpected usage.

 Having the gas meter changed was only a very minor inconvenience. The meter is outside the house, and I didn't need to do any clearing up out there. The loss of gas for ~20 minutes was of no consequence - although it could have been if the pilot light in my water heater had refused to light ! Changing the electricity meter had more consequences. I have already moaned about having to empty the under stairs cupboard, and take it as read that I have moaned about filling it back up once the job had been done.

 Having to shut down all my computers, including my server and firewall, meant that this website was off line for some time - an extended time because my firewall refused to start up again. It was only 6 months ago (or something like that) when I had to replace the power supply in that firewall PC, and in the intervening time the new power supply (which was actually some ancient old power supply that I probably found in a skip, or something like that) also failed. It was OK while it was running, but as soon as it was powered down it was unable to start again.

 If I was still at work, with all the facilities there, I could repair it without too much trouble (just a matter of replacing all the capacitors in it). I didn't have another power supply that would fit in the case because it is a non standard size. I had to hastily take out the power supply from a spare PC, and balance it on top of the case to get the firewall up and running again. I wonder how long it will stay like that before I do a proper repair ?

 By the time I had re-filled the under stairs cupboard, and got my firewall working again, I was feeling very hot and sticky - and the temperature hadn't hit it's peak by then. It was still before midday, and I might still have decided to go out to frolic in the sunshine, but then the sunshine started disappearing. I decided that I would go out, but only to Tesco, and it was a very weird experience. Before I went to Tesco I took some pictures of the sun. As in the pictures I have shown, it was very red looking, but it was still shining.

 After getting some shopping in Tesco I came out to a very weird sight. The sun was completely covered by the dust clouds (maybe some real cloud too), and the world looked very strange. It was a sort of reddish twilight, and the effect was made even more apparent when stepping out from a brightly lit supermarket.

 I did nothing of note except cooking, eating, and reading for the rest of the day. Some of that reading was from my computer screen, but in the late evening it was from the printed page. It seems I read the whole of one of the books I recently bought in just two long evenings. It was the book "Transhuman" by Ben Bova. It's a story that is very superficially sci-fi about an ageing molecular biologist attempting to cure his granddaughter of brain cancer using experimental therapies.

 I finished reading the book at about 11pm, as far as I can remember. I fell asleep very soon after. I woke up once or twice in the night, but essentially I slept right through to 7am this morning. It must have been one of my better night sleeps recently. I think I feel fairly good this morning - at least good enough to go for a bit of a walk soon. I think I'll be walking to Ladywell station to pick up a copy of The Metro, and then I'll go on to meet Angela in the park - or at least I hope to meet Angela.

 After that I will come home, and have some lunch. It is after lunch that my plans get very hazy. I think I may go to an open mic session in Forest Hill tonight, although I have a feeling that I might not enjoy it. What I will do after lunch, and before I go out, if I go out to Forest Hill, remains a total mystery to me !

 There is a little video I have been meaning to show. It was taken a couple of week ago while I was waiting for a bus that never came to get from Greenwich to Bromley. There is a low wall by the bus stop in Greenwich, and someone had dumped the remains of what I think was an old sandwich on it. It was looking soggy and unpleasant, but not to everything. This is what I saw.

Monday 16th October  2017
 08:40 BST

  Once again it was a fairly warm day yesterday. The temperature was forecast to peak at 19° C for a very short time, and I think it did, although much of the day was 16 - 18° C. It was dry, and there was some sunshine - possibly slightly more than forecast.
The hottest
                  day this autumn ?
 Today is most likely going to be the hottest day this autumn. It has been a bit of a cloudy start to the day, but we are promised sunshine later. This screenshot of the forecast shows several hours of 21° C, but on the TV last night the forecaster suggested even 23° C might be possible - maybe just in central London where it is often a degree or so warmer than the suburbs. Sadly, tomorrow is going to be a lot cooler, although the morning might be quite sunny.

  I seemed to do little beyond prepare food, eat food, read and snooze yesterday. During the evening I watched some TV, but by 9pm I had had enough of TV and decided I would read in bed. I started reading one of the new books I had got from Amazon - "Transhuman" by Ben Bova - and I read quite a lot of it ! I am unsure what time I finally put the book down, and turned the lights out, but I think it might have been after midnight !

 Staying awake too late was not what I intended for reasons I'll come to soon. Once I decided to go to sleep it happened quite quickly (at least I think it did). It was little more than 2 hours later when I woke up feeling rather cool because I had fallen asleep with most of my duvet pushed to one side. It took a long time to get back to sleep again, but eventually I managed it. I ended up sleeping a lot later than I intended.

 I woke up from a dream that I think I was really enjoying, and wanted to share. The only trouble was as soon as I saw the time I panicked to get up and get washed and dressed. In doing so I completely forgot anything about the dream apart from the idea that it was a good one. The reason why I was in a mad rush to get washed and dressed was that at some point this morning, from as early as 8am, I am expecting an engineer to change my electricity meter.

 I managed to get myself ready fast enough to have time to rush to the station, and back home again clutching this morning's copy of The Metro. That fast paced walk certainly got the blood stirring ! I don't feel too bad now, and while my chest is very easily aggravated, my worst medical ailment at the moment is what appears to be a zip growing on the end of my nose. I don't think it is visible yet, but it sure is bloody painful !

 The next thing I have to do is to wait, and maybe wait as late as midday. That rather spoils my plans to go out frolicking in the warm sunshine today. I did have visions of going to the seaside today, but unless the engineer gets here very quickly, and does the changeover job very quickly, there seems little hope of going too far today.

 When the engineer finally arrived I will lose all power for maybe an hour, although hopefully less. That means my web site will be off line until the power is restored, and hopefully all my computers start up properly again.
Sunday 15th October  2017
 13:16 BST

  It was quite warm yesterday (19° C), and there was some occasional sunshine at the two ends of the day, but at the warmest part of the day it was horribly overcast ! I guess it was, on the whole, quite a good day when I compare it to a year ago. Just 12 months ago the typical temperature was 12 - 14° C, and there was some rain. It was lucky I had Angela to keep me warm then.
a nice day
 It has been nice for most of the morning, and it looks like the afternoon is going to be nice too. I am unsure of the exact current temperature, but I wouldn't dispute the forecast 18° C. In a couple of hours it could be 19° C ! It is going to be a mild night, and tomorrow is going to be unusually warm, but maybe not as sunny as older forecasts reckoned. One feature tomorrow is liable to be wind. There are the remnants of a hurricane heading towards Ireland, and we will get some overspill of it's remaining strong winds.

  I felt rather tired and uninspired after my sleepless night yesterday, but I did manage to do a couple of things. I went out to Tesco and bought more salad ingredients. I also bought some more diced meats and assorted vegetables for stews. Going to Tesco actually felt good. It woke me up a but, and got the blood circulating.

 It left me feeling good enough to tackle a very important job - after I had rested for a short while. That job was to finish clearing out the understairs cupboard ready for the new electricity meter to fitted tomorrow morning. In theory it wasn't a big job because I had done most of the heavy stuff last week. So maybe it was some of the bending down to pick stuff up, and strange twisting movements as I hoovered in awkward corners that seemed to leave me with an assortment of aches and pains. One of my shoulders (and for some strange reason I can't remember which one it was) was particularly painful.

 A couple of paracetamol tablets calmed the worst of the pain, but I was still feeling tired and aching as evening approached. I was already wondering if I wanted to go to Chain's gig in Greenwich earlier in the day, and when I factored in the discomfort I was in, I decided that it would be better if I stayed in last night, and that is what I did.

 I made no attempt at a particularly early night, but at 10pm I knew the time was ripe to go to sleep. I think I was probably surprised that I fell asleep quite easily (although I don't actually know I was surprised because I was asleep !). At about 2.30am I woke up for the traditional pee. I couldn't get straight back to sleep after that, but I think it was a lot sooner than it seemed. I next woke at around 5am, but on that occasion I turned over and went back to sleep. I slept quite lightly from then on, but I didn't wake up properly until it was light outside.

 It seemed to be quite a successful sleep, and when I got up I didn't feel terrible - merely as bad as usual. So far today I have done an awful lot of nothing - where nothing can include reading stuff off the internet. I've have had a shower, but I didn't wash my hair - and it needs washing desperately ! Finally I have been to the corner shop to pick up another two books from Amazon. I now have the complete "New Earth" trilogy from Ben Bova, plus one other book to read. That should keep me amused for a while.

 Next on my list of things to do is to construct a salad for my Sunday lunch. After I have eaten that I have no idea what I shall do. I suppose I could spend a little while preparing a stew for dinner tonight, but that is about the only definite prediction I can make. I ought to go out in the sunshine, but I find it incredibly hard to motivate myself to go out any time later than mid morning. I guess I am just weird that way.
Saturday 14th October  2017
 11:26 BST

  Yesterday may have been close to warm (18° C), but it was mostly a very dull grey, miserable day - but not entirely ! I think it was around 4pm, when really thick dirty clouds were forecast, that the sun came out. It wasn't out for long, but it was a most pleasant surprise. One thing all that nasty cloud did was to keep a bit of heat in, and so it didn't get particularly cold last night (16° C) - that might have been good, or it might have been bad as I shall explain soon.
a fair day
 Today is a bit of a mixed bag. It seemed fairly bright earlier this morning, although there was no sunshine. Eventually the sun started to break through, and as the forecast predicted, it is now nice and sunny. It is also quite mild outside, and it is supposed to warm up a little bit more to a rather pleasant 19° C. Unfortunately it seems that the clouds will get very heavy again, but maybe the forecast for sunny intervals between 4 and 5pm will come true. The good thing is that it should be dry tonight - very handy because I want to go out this evening. The really sad thing is that forecast for warm and sunny days on Sunday and Monday seems to be failing, and while it may be unusually warm on Monday, it is now looking like it will be quite dull.

Angela ready to go out to a gig I did not
                      want to go to
 Yesterday afternoon was yet another period of time that seemed to fly. I wasn't doing anything of note, and I would have guess that time would have dragged by, but it seemed to go by in a flash. Maybe it would have gone by more slowly if I had been looking forward to going out in the evening. It could have actually happened. Not only was Angela looking stunning in a picture she posted to social media (that I copied and reproduce on the left), and making me wonder if I made the right decision not to go to the gig she was going to, but making that decision blinded me to the fact there was another gig on in Bromley that I could have gone to.

 In the end I stayed in and watched some TV. There was another episode of the "rebooted" Porridge on last night, and maybe I am warming to it a bit. Despite the distraction of TV, some reading, and a few large whiskies, I couldn't help thinking about Angela. In particular I was thinking back to last year. Just 12 months ago it would have been me she would be taking home after the gig, and it was about 12 months ago that I was starting to get the hang of actually sleeping with her - as in being asleep ! I had gone from barely sleeping at all to 3 hours or more. If she hadn't transferred most of her affections to John, I doubt it would have been long before I would be able to sleep the whole night with her, and feel even more like a human being.

 These thoughts kept spinning around in my mind, and I just could not get to sleep last night. It didn't help that thrashing around in bed, trying to find that ultimate comfortable position for sleep really stirred up my chest, and before long my chest was so sore that it was stopping my sleeping as well. It is ironic that last night was another night where I got no more than about 3 hours sleep. A year ago getting 3 hours sleep seemed like a triumph. Last night it felt like a disaster. The most ironic thing is that I am not 100% certain that Paul actually went to the gig - at least there seems to be no record of it on anyone's postings on social media.

 I felt pretty dreadful when I woke from my 3 hours of sleep, and it took a long time to get my body in gear. Since then I have washed a towel, and maybe my chest feels a bit better for the exercise involved in hand washing a medium sized bath towel. I have also been to the corner shop to pick up a parcel from Amazon. That parcel was both good news and bad news.
two more books to
 The good news is that the original estimated date for deliver was from late November to mid December. So it was rather good news that they came today. The bad news might be, although I haven't checked my theory, that these two books are the second and third part of a trilogy. I ordered all three parts so I could read them in order. A little while before I started writing this I received an email from Amazon to say the third book was estimated to arrive on Monday.

 Today I have two definite things to do, and I am not sure if I am looking forward to either. It is most important that I finish clearing out the under stairs cupboard today, or tomorrow at the very latest. The man with my new smart electricity meter will be installing it on Monday morning, and while I've got the biggest stuff out, there is still clutter in there, and all the mouse droppings, and cobwebs need a good hoovering. I'm not looking forward to doing it while feeling tired. I would far prefer to by laying on my bed, reading and dozing off - preferably for hours at a time.

 It is because of that tiredness that I am also not terribly keen to go to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Mitre in Greenwich tonight. It is an early start (8pm), and that is a good thing. Maybe it is also a good thing that I now have a reputation from leaving the place quite early when it starts to get too busy with drunken dancers. Hmm, that reminds of something else it would be handy to do - go out and buy a couple of sandwiches, or perhaps something else, to try and stop me buying a takeaway on my way home from the gig.
Friday 13th October  2017
 10:53 BST

  I don't think there was any more sun than the most pessimistic version of the weather forecast offered for yesterday, but it was still a fairly pleasant day....or maybe I was just in a better mood. Being 17° C mid afternoon, and only cooling down very slowly in the evening helped too.
 The forecast for today is a bit disappointing. The sunny spells failed to materialise this morning, and we have several hours of thick dark cloud to look forward to this afternoon. Maybe the only saving grace will be that it should be 18° C for most of the afternoon, although I think I would gladly swap that for 12° C with blue skies and sunshine. Tomorrow is forecast to be another degree warmer, but with only a few minutes of sunshine forecast for about 6pm. The very worst thing is that the promises of sunshine for Sunday and Monday seem to be evaporating, although the warmth, possibly as high as 23° C is still forecast.

  Yesterday was quite a good day that was only spoilt by my health. My "twisted rib"/"soft tissue damage" was causing a lot of discomfort around my chest, and I also felt strangely bloated. The latter was particularly noticeable when I was walking. It left me feeling slightly breathless without actually being breathless. That sounds a contradiction, but I can't think of a simple explanation. One contributory problem is that I think I didn't want to breathe too deeply because of my chest aching. So I was taking smaller breaths more frequently...or something like that.

 I mentioned my first little walk yesterday. It was when I walked to the station to pick up a copy of the Metro. Later on in the morning I walked to Aldi and back to buy some shopping. I think that walking with 6 litres of diet cola in my rucksack actually braces my back and gives a better stature that makes my chest pains less. I suppose that is rather surprising considering that the genesis of my chest pains was damage done to my chest while carrying a similar load of shopping (rucksack plus a bag in each hand) 5 days after coming out of hospital where I had major chest surgery - a quad heart bypass operation.

 My next walk was just after midday when I went to the park to meet Angela. As I explained yesterday, it was my intention to leave Angela alone since there was plenty of evidence to show she was going out with another man. What changed that was a couple of things she posted on social media that strongly suggested she was not happy about something. When I finally found her in the park she denied she was unhappy, but she did thank me for thinking of her, and that made me happy. We only had about 15 minutes together before she had to get back to work, but as we said goodbye she thanked me again for coming to see me. It could have been a very good act, but I think it was genuine.

 Unlike walking back with a load of shopping from Aldi, walking to the park, admittedly rather faster, stirred up my chest, and with the slightly bloated feeling I had, it made me feel quite uncomfortable. I'm not so sure that it didn't trigger off a few extra pains too - pains which could possibly indicate worse problems ! Maybe I walked back from the park a little slower, or maybe seeing Angela had released some tension, but I didn't feel nearly as bad when I got home.
michaelmas daisys
When I got home I considered the michaelmas daisys growing in my front garden. They grow every year with no help from me, but this year it seemed like the flower heads were much bigger than usual.

 Once I got in I had a couple of sandwiches I had bought in the morning, and then I had a rest. a few hours later I had a bizarre snack of ready cooked poppadoms with peppered smoked mackerel pate. As I stared eating it I had some regrets. Not because it was a big snack, but I was concerned the fishiness would repeat on me and spoil the beer that I would be having a little later.

 Later on I left in plenty of time to take a walk to Catford station to get a train to Shortlands. Even when I was going on 7 or 8 mile walks, I always thought the very worst bit was walking to Catford station. Walking as far as Catford Bridge station has always been mildly taxing no matter what my state of health or age, but to get to Catford station you have to walk up and over the road bridge that crosses the railway going to Catford Bridge station. Once you have crossed the peak it's all downhill again until you have to climb the three flights of steps to get up to the platform. Having arrived there, practically out of breath, I then have to walk almost the entire length of the platform to get on the train at the right place to be opposite the way out at Shortlands station. Just to make things even worse, my train was running almost 10 minutes late !

 Just for a change there was a nice beer at The Shortlands Tavern. It was from the Bexley Brewery, and it was a pleasant enough IPA style beer that I stayed with for my three pints. There was also some good banter in the pub last night. I left in time to catch the 7.02pm train, and it was only running 1 minute late ! In theory the sun had set almost an hour before I got to the station, but there was still some light on the western horizon.
the last of
                        yesterday's light

 I took the picture above on my mobile phone. The original was quite grainy, and I tried some noise reduction, but it just converted the noise to a sort of granular looking noise. I think the problem is that my phone applies too much sharpening to every picture, and it can't be turned off as far as I can see.

 It was fully dark when I got home, but that was not the reason I did a fairly fast walk from the station to home. The alcohol helped lubricate my chest, and that made the walk more comfortable, although another effect of the beer was that it made for some mild discomfort lower down, and it was good to get home to use the toilet ! My original intention, once I had had a pee, was to eat a couple more sandwiches, but for some reason I had more will power. It may have even been bolstered by a sense of curiosity. I had this burning desire, at least I think it was a burning desire, to see what sprouts and cashew nuts might taste like. I've never managed to cook them properly before, but I love ready made sprouts and chestnuts. Tesco used to stock frozen bags of them around xmas time, but sadly they no longer seem to.
sprouts and cashew
 Last night I finally found what sprouts and cashew nuts taste like, and it was a bit of a disappointment ! ...........

13:37 BST

 .......continued after a long break that included a good 20 minutes of walking and some lunch.

 The problem with my sprouts and cashew nuts was that the strong flavour of the sprouts overpowered the delicate flavour of the cashew nuts. Just for completeness, the only other two ingredients were chicken stock (made from stock cubes) and some chilli infused olive oil. I think the latter just gave a nice glaze to the sprouts, but nothing more. My next experiment might be sprouts with butter beans, but I'll use up the rest of the current bag of sprouts in a lamb stew.

 My original intention was that the sprouts and cashew nuts were going to be the only thing I ate after getting home from the pub, but after a while I became peckish again (I was probably just bored watching TV). I dealt with that hunger by having a couple of apples. They were not the nasty, hard green, sour apples that are allegedly good for you, but a couple of nice, semi-sweet, Fuji apples.

 I think it was about 10pm when I went to sleep - unless that was when I went to bed - in which case it might have been 11pm when I fell asleep. I seemed to sleep perfectly OK until 3am in the morning. I woke up feeling uncomfortable, but I couldn't really work out why. My chest was sore, but there was something more. It turned out to be the bloated feeling I was experiencing during the day coming to an end. Initially I went to the toilet for a wee - not unusual for me at 3am, particularly after drinking beer - but I quickly realised I wanted more than a wee ! I am sure that it was impossible that the sprouts could have transited my system in such a short time, but the effect was similar - most spectacularly the second time when I had to dash to the toilet at full speed. I did have one more, much briefer visit, before I was comfortable enough to go back to bed. I amused myself on the internet, reading news stories, during the 20 minutes or so that I was awake (and not sitting on the toilet).

 I managed to get another 3 or 4 hours of seemingly good sleep once I managed to fall asleep again. The only strange thing is that I seemed to have a dream that was all about some pictures I had taken of New Zealand. What made it doubly strange was that in the dream I knew I had not been to New Zealand, and didn't know how I had managed to take these pictures. I woke up feeling rather confused about that, but otherwise I felt sort of OK.

 It was one of those morning when time seemed to race by. I had a shower, and washed my hair, and as my hair dried I started to write this. Suddenly midday was approaching and I wanted to go out and see Angela in the park during her dinner break. Sadly it was was (and still is) rather dull and overcast, but it was almost warm at about 18° C, If the sun had been out the same temperature would have felt much warmer !

 When I got to the park I found that Angela was already there, but I guess we sat and chatted for almost 20 minutes before she had to get back to work. I do enjoy these brief lunchtime chats with Angela, and I have come to the conclusion I should not stop doing them (except when it is raining) even if I actively avoid Angela at certain times. Such a time will be this evening. Miranda, her daughter will be singing in Beckenham tonight, and in different circumstances I would be happy to go along, but Angela has confirmed that she will be there with Paul, and so I said I would not be going.

 I don't know what I'll be doing tonight. One possibility is that I might go and sit in the pub with a crossword for an hour, and have a few pints of Guinness, but I think that is unlikely. I reckon that reading, snoozing, eating and maybe some TV is a more likely scenario for tonight. Well , all are enjoyable, and so why not ?
Thursday 12th October  2017
 08:09 BST

  The curious thing about yesterday's weather was that every time that rain was forecast the sun came out instead ! Maybe there was a light splash of rain at some point in the morning, and maybe another sometime after dark, but generally it seemed like a dry day with some sunny spells. Unfortunately, despite those sunny intervals, there was very little blue sky visible. The temperature probably peaked at 17° C, as forecast, and the rest of the day was only a degree or two cooler.
                  might be warm and sunny - or not
 The sun is still very low on the horizon, but it is looking bright over to the east. Whether that will translate to a sunny morning is anyone's guess. The forecast has already changed twice since I took the screenshot above. Each iteration shifts the time and amount of sunny periods around. The very latest update says we will lose the sunshine after midday, and that at 2pm there could be a short period of very heavy cloud, but apparently it should stay dry. It was rather cool this morning - I reckon 10° C - but it should be up to 16 - 17° C this afternoon. Tomorrow may not include much sunshine, but it marks the start of a spell of warm weather. Sunday is still forecast to be very sunny, and on Monday the temperature is now predicted to reach 21° C !

 There is one thing I did yesterday that I failed to mention - and I don't know why ! In the morning I got the hoover out and hoovered around my bedroom. It looks a bit nicer now - not that anyone is likely to see it. The reason why I wonder why I didn't mention it was because in doing it I managed to pull a muscle in my back. Having said that, it was only painful for a short while, and I guess the pain was gone and forgotten by the time I started writing.

 I definitely didn't feel good yesterday. I can only describe as being light the lightest possible dose of 'flu possible. It obviously wasn't 'flu, but the tiredness was a bit like 'flu, and the aches and pains were like 'flu, but at a tenth of the strength, or less. Everything sort of hurt, but only just, and maybe it was the cumulative effect of all the little mild aches that added together to be an annoyance.

 It was obviously a case of "Sods law" that it was not until the evening that most of the symptoms lifted. By that time I had already decided I would definitely not be going out, and I am sure it would have been tempting fate to do so. It was actually annoying that one symptom, tiredness, went away in the evening. It meant that any attempt at an early night would be useless. I watched some TV, and then read until 11pm before I attempted to get to sleep. I did get to sleep soon after that.

 This morning I feel like I only got half the sleep I wanted. The problem was that my chest felt really tender this morning, and I couldn't roll on my side and fall asleep again. So I got up, washed, and took a brisk walk to the station to pick up a copy of the Metro, and stretch my legs. As I walked I could feel my ribcage moving around, and the occasional feeling of something rubbing against something. That didn't seem to make my chest feel more tender, and I experienced no more extra discomfort. The brisk walk certainly raised my heart beat, but the fact that it did not alter the discomfort from my chest I am assuming means that my heart is running OK. Had I died I would have had to assume differently.
platform 1 at Catford
                        Bridge station - 7.20am
Platform 1 of Catford Bridge station at 07:20am this morning. Sunrise was just a few minutes earlier, and it is still rather dim. The picture was a little too fuzzy because of the low light, and the departure display in the middle of the screen is almost unreadable even in the full sized original. It is saying it is 07:20, and the 07:32 Charing Cross service is cancelled "for operational reasons".
Catford Bridge station by dawns early
The main entrance of Catford Bridge station, and the lighting is still more powerful than the early daylight.

 Today I am going to do something I didn't think I would be doing - possibly ever again. Angela has posted some stuff on social media which, if I still read my Angela correctly, suggests she is not happy. So I am going to try and meet her in the park at lunchtime to see if she needs cheering up. Maybe it will just serve to annoy her in some way, but annoyance is a positive thing, and positive things are good.

 Much later this afternoon, at 5pm, it is Thursday night drinking with the Thursday club. Tonight we are back to meeting in The Shortlands Tavern. I guess it is not such a bad place, and there is always a chance that they might have a nice beer on. One thing I must do this morning is to get a bit of shopping - including a couple of sandwiches to eat when I come back from the pub !
Wednesday 11th October  2017
 13:45 BST

  It wasn't shown on the forecast (although it may have been in the small print), but there was some rain yesterday. It was very late in the evening, and generally speaking it was extremely light rain. The rest of the day was just sort of dull....and grey.....and uninspiring. The only good thing was that it was another mild day.
rather a yucky
                  sort of day
 Today looks as if it could be a lot worse than yesterday - in so much that rain was and is forecast. I think that maybe some rain did fall earlier - just enough to spot the pavement. Whether the rain forecast for 9pm will be any worse remains to be seen. As I wrote this I should be in the middle of a period of sunny spells, but I am sure I haven't seen any yet. It is very much like yesterday - it's grey, dull and uninspiring, but mild. However, in the last few hours the forecast has been updated, and it now says that it will rain any minute now (for convenience the 5 second sunny spell while I was writing that is best ignored). Rain is now also forecast between 6pm and 9pm. Tomorrow may see a similar range of temperature, and it might be brighter. No rain is currently forecast for tomorrow. I expect it will snow on Sunday despite the unbridled optimism of the forecasters. In the screenshot I took this morning the long range forecast for Sunday was sunshine and 19° C. It is now showing as 20° C !!!

  I deliberately conserved my energy yesterday afternoon, or to put it another way, I was exceedingly lazy prior to going out in the evening. I can't recall achieving anything at all during the afternoon. I managed more, although only photography, in the even when I went to "Stretchy's Open Mic" in The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley. It was a pleasant evening that was only marred by a vague feeling of being unwell by about 10pm.
Stretchy opening the
This is Stretchy (Martin "Stretch" Sickel) opening the session.
A special arty shot of Stretch
I thought this arty shot came out well. I slightly lightened the centre of the picture, and slightly dimmed the rest of the picture. I should have included a link to a bigger version that shows it to best effect.
the man with no face
This picture includes a pixelated face. It's owner was most insistent that his face no appear on "social media". At first I thought it might be that he was on the run from the police, or a dole scrounger, but apparently it is because he has grand aspirations to become a famous singer, and regards his face as special and copyright....or something like that. That seems an unlikely way to become famous to me, but I am more than happy to ignore him.

  It's hard to explain just how I felt ill last night. In some ways I still feel the same today, but even now it is difficult to explain. Last night I suddenly began to feel very weary, and just thinking about that has me yawning as I write this. I also had what must have been an assortment of very mild pains that overlapped to give a very mild ache all down the front of my torso. It was like a bit of guts ache and a few chest aches all merged into one.  I assume it is something lethal, but I didn't die during the night, and I haven't died today.

 Some of it can be easily explained as just being a continuation of my periodic bouts of "muscular-skeletal" pain - aka my "twisted ribs". Last night was one of a series of nights when turning over in bed has resulted in quite a "crunch" sound/feeling from inside my chest. It never hurts at the time, but it does seem to leave a legacy of aches the next day. One problem that is hard to avoid is that once it starts it makes laying in bed uncomfortable - so I toss and turn more - and that, in turn, just keeps the problem going. Tonight I must remember to take some painkillers before I go to bed and see if I can break the cycle.

 Today I am still feeling a bit like I did in the pub before I left there at just after 10pm last night. It rather puts me off going out tonight. Maybe I would go if it was a place I am familiar with, but the gig that I am curious about is in New Cross, and I think the only means of getting there would be a bus (although two trains might be a possibility - I may look into that idea). I don't fancy using a bus route I am unfamiliar with to a venue I have never been in before - and going there by myself !

 This afternoon I fancy a very long snooze. I doubt that will happen, but I might get 10 mintes here and there. Rather than go out, I think I may well stay in, try to eat sensibly, and get an early night. There is opportunity for booze and being sociable tomorrow night. Maybe that will have to do for now.
Tuesday 10th October  2017
 13:00 BST

  Yesterday was most definitely grey, but it wasn't cold, and what rain there was, was very brief and very light. That was my personal observation - it might have been different elsewhere, or even when I wasn't looking (or in a railway tunnel !). The forecast reckoned the top temperature would be 17° C for maybe an hour at 4pm, and 16° C for the rest of the afternoon and early evening, and that felt about right.
another day that fails to excite the senses
 Today fails to excite any or my senses. It has been grey all morning, and it looks as if it will be grey for the rest of the day. Like yesterday, it is possible there could be a light, isolated shower, but it seems likely to be dry. About the only positive thing you can say is that it won't be cold - it should be a tiny bit less cool than yesterday, and it was comfortable enough to go all the way to north London, and back home again in the the mid evening in just a t-shirt. Tomorrow is going to be as grey as today and yesterday, and the temperature range will be similar, but some light rain is forecast from about 6pm for several hours.

  Yesterday was a busy day. During the morning I went to the 99p shop to get some cleaning stuff, and a few other odds and ends. I was feeling semi-good as I went there and maybe more so coming home again. That meant that I was walking a little faster than was wise considering my elevated blood glucose levels - the result of eating ice cream on Sunday. At least I presume my blood glucose was high because I felt quite sweaty when I got home.

 I didn't have all that long to cool down again until I rushed off to meet Angela in the park opposite the hospital where she works. It didn't help that I left it a bit late, but I managed to get as far as the hospital just before 1pm. The only trouble was that Angela had gone to lunch earlier than last Thursday, and I bumped into her going back to work. My rushing around was almost wasted, but I did get to ask her of she knew what she was doing going out with Paul Gunn (drummer with Life Of Brian) again. The last time she tried going out with him it was apparently a disaster, but it seems she is confident that it will be OK this time.

 So I wished her every happiness, in what was actually a rather terminal sort of way, and went back home. I have concluded that it is probably a good idea not to pursue Angel any more. It was not an easy decision to make, and several things could weaken my resolve - the most obvious is if Angela decides to contact me in a friendly sort of way. I suspect she will want to avoid doing it, but if things go terribly wrong with her liaisons with Paul, she might want me to cheer her up.

 A little later yesterday afternoon I set out on an adventure to north London. I had arranged to meet my friend Aleemah at a pub a few hundred feet from West Hampstead tube station on the Jubilee line. It was a chance to catch up on gossip after not seeing her for the best part of a year (she told me it was almost exactly a year since I last saw her). My original intention was to get a Thameslink train direct from Catford station to West Hampstead Thameslink station (there are 3 different "West Hampstead" station within several hundred yards of each other on the same main road). Unfortunately a broken rail caused mega disruption of trains through West Hampstead, and made that route unviable.

 An alternative route was to get a train to London Bridge station from Catford Bridge station, and then get the Jubilee line from there. That is what I actually did, but I wish I hadn't ! Although the rebuilding of London Bridge (National Rail) station is nearing completion, there is still a fair amount of work to do, and that includes opening up the direct path to the tube station. At the moment it is a very circuitous route. I would have done far better to stay on the train to Waterloo East, and done the far shorter walk to Southwark Jubilee line station (it is essentially underneath Waterloo East station).

 I arrived at West Hampstead tube station on the train following the train that Aleemah had travelled on. With only a few minutes between them, I spotted Aleemah still on the platform checking her mobile phone. We exited the station together, and I quickly spotted the pub I had suggested. It was to the left instead of to the right of the station, which confused me, but it was literally 1 minute walk away. It was a pub that gives a small discount (typically 30p) off a pint of real ale on production of a CAMRA membership card. I had a suspicion it would before I asked about it. The only trouble was that I decided to drink Guinness, and I know that does not count for any discount.

 I had three pints of Guinness while I was there, and the reason why I stuck with Guinness is that I think I pee less when I drink it compared to drinking ales. During that three pints I had a good chat with Aleemah, and we caught up with each others doings over the year. Then it was time to go. Aleemah got back on the Jubilee line - her usual route home after work - but I decided to take a chance on a Thameslink train. Doing that could have been a complete disaster, but in fact it turned out OK in the end.

 When I got to West Hampstead (Thameslink) station I found that the next through train to Catford was almost an hour away - and that was assuming it actually ran, and ran something close to time. I decided the best thing was to get on the first train that arrived, and go to Blackfriars station. That first train was only a few minutes wait. Once on it I reviewed my options. There were four possibilities when I got to Blackfriars. One was to get a District line tube train to Cannon Street station, but a quick check showed I would never get there in time to get the last direct train to Catford Bridge. A second possibility was to get the District line in the other direction to Embankment station, and then slog it up the hill to Charing Cross station for a direct train to Catford Bridge.
 The third option was to wait and hope a Thameslink train to Catford would eventually arrive. The fourth option was to do something else - walk or get a bus to ?????? I chose the third option, and although it was a bit of a panic, it worked out quite well. Using the National Rail app on my phone I kept an eye on departures from Blackfriars. Suddenly a Sevenoaks service (that call at Catford station) appeared out of nowhere ! The only problem was that it was due to depart as the train I was on arrived, but fortunately that was not so. The train that mysteriously appeared was actually a train that was destined to go to Bedford, but was terminated early into the terminal platforms at Blackfriars. It actually arrived as my train was departing - and it was still saying Bedford on the front as it pulled into platform 3 - which is a terminal platform.

 The platforms at Blackfriars are incredibly long- easily long enough for a 12 coach train, and possibly even a 16 coach train if such trains existed. Getting from the middle of platform 1 to the middle of platform 3, via the stairs, is a major dash. I actually made it with plenty of time to spare. We actually departed about 10 minutes later than the scheduled time. It is possible, if not probable that it might have been quicker to go home via the Jubilee line. I think that had I changed changed from National Rain to The Jubilee line at Waterloo East/Southwark it would have actually been quicker than getting the direct train from Catford to West Hampstead (had it run).

 After the excesses of Sunday, I made a point of eating as little as possible before going out yesterday, and in fact all I had eaten was a small handful of flavoured peanuts (the type that have a crispy, almost batter like, shell of flavoured "stuff" around them. After a lot of rushing around, and three pints of Guinness swilling around in me, I was more than ready for some dinner when I got home. Fortunately I had pre-prepared my dinner, and it just needed blasting in the microwave for 10 minutes. It was quite simply diced skinless chicken and spinach cooked in a rather greasy gravy. The grease came from some Aldi "Quixo" branded gravy granules. and although it gave a nice thick texture to the gravy, otherwise spoiled what should have been a very low fat dinner.

 I think I was fast asleep in bed by, and possibly before 10pm last night. I slept solidly until I woke up at 3am feeling completely wide awake. I probably spent 40 - 45 minutes on the internet reading news and stuff before I got back into bed.I seemed to lay there for ages thinking I would never get to sleep, but then the next thing I knew was that it was daylight outside - almost 8am ! Since then I have done almost nothing, and I find it amazing how much time has passed while doing almost nothing. Maybe I'll do nothing for some time yet, but tonight I want to go to "Stretchy's Open Mic" at The Bricklayers Arms pub on the far side of Bromley.

 One thing I didn't show yesterday was a small video clip of Dan Murphy doing his "party piece" at The Swan And Mitre pub in Bromley on Saturday night.

Monday 9th October  2017
 09:49 BST

  I really regret not writing anything yesterday because it was a great day to take the piss out of the weather forecast. The forecast showed an overcast, cloudy day all day, but for the most part the morning was gloriously sunny, and the afternoon was not very dull. All that sunshine did not do a lot for the temperature. It was mild, and walking around without a coat would have been mostly comfortable, but nothing to get excited about.
rather grey
   That brings us to today. The forecast for today looks almost identical to the forecast for yesterday, but today it does describe what it looks like outside my window. It is grey, grey, grey, but there is some brightness over to the east. Maybe it's time to check the small print.
almost what the pictograms tell us ~ sort
 So we might see some sunshine, but maybe we won't. Some showers are possible, but maybe it won't rain. Well I guess that is some added information that the simple diagram doesn't show. Tomorrow is described like this - "A rather breezy day, with a mixture of variable cloud and sunny spells. Whilst a few outbreaks of rain are possible, most places should stay dry.", although the simple diagram just shows light grey clouds from dawn to dusk and beyond.

 It's been a busy weekend, and no more so than Saturday evening. I think I had some sort of brainstorm when I decided I could go to all three important gigs. I actually did this, and apart from the long journey between Greenwich and Bromley, it was mostly enjoyable. First of all I went to Greenwich to see 30 - 40 minutes of Life Of Brian.
Life Of Brian at
                            The Mitre - picture 1
Life Of Brian at The Mitre - picture

 The gig was more poorly lit than usual, and that made photography very difficult, and I wasn't happy with most of the pictures I took, but that wasn't the worst thing. When I left I walked to the bus stop, and joined several other who were waiting for a bus. We waited, and waited and more and more people joined in waiting and waiting and waiting. Eventually someone noticed a sign on the bus stop. It wasn't exactly gloriously obvious. It's message was that roadworks meant that no buses were serving that stop at the weekend, and that they were all diverted away from it. I had to dash for the Docklands Light Rail to get to Lewisham where I could get a bus to Bromley. It was all a bit exhausting !

MT Pockets at
                                The Swan And Mitre

 When I finally git to Bromley I went into The Swan And Mitre to see M.T. Pockets. Compared to The Mitre in Greenwich is was fairly bright in there, but the light was very yellowish, and that presented it's own problems. The pub was well attended, but it didn't seem to cramped, and I think I look forward to seeing more gigs in there. After about 45 minutes I left there, and walked just a few hundred yards up the road to The Partridge to see Chain.

Jo lit
                                    with bright purple light
Rob Todd doing a guest spot
                                    at Chain's gig

 Chain now bring a small lighting bar with them to their gigs, but generally only Jo is lit up - very brightly in the top picture. The bottom picture of Rob Todd doing a guest spot was fortunately lit by someone's mobile phone as they videoed him. Without that light it was very dark at that end of "the stage".

 The good thing about going to The Swan And Mitre was getting a big cuddly hug from Fran, and the good thing about going to The Partridge was getting another big cuddly hug from Fran ! Fran is just one of those people who can't resist hugging people ! The bad thing about going to The Mitre in Greenwich is that I don't think Angela was that glad to see me there. She was a bit friendly, but seemed quite distracted. It was probably because she wanted to give Paul Gunn, the drummer form Life Of Brian, a rather more friendly greeting. I have very strong circumstantial evidence that the two of them are going out together again. I hope Angela knows what she is doing because the last time they tried going out, it all ended in tears, and almost split the band up.

 The bad thing about The Partridge is that the place was heaving with people. It made circulating in there, even to buy a drink, very difficult, and it made photography almost impossible. I think the gig would have gone on until midnight, but I slinked away at about 11.30pm. I didn't have to wait long for a bus, and 20 minutes later (or something like that) I was back in Catford. I had drunk at least 5 pints of Guinness over the course of the evening, but for once it didn't dent my resolve not to get a takeaway, but just have a snack of some sandwiches I had bought from Aldi earlier in the day.

 I think I had a reasonable night's sleep on Saturday night/ Sunday morning, and as far as I can recall I felt reasonably OK in the morning. There was several things I might have done, particularly with the morning being so sunny, but all I really ended up doing all day was photo editing. I wasn't at it the whole day. I would do an hour or so, and then take a break, and then get back to it later. During those breaks I would either rest my eyes, check other stuff on the internet, or eat. My eating was actually fairly sparse, but I ruined it all when I decided that what I really wanted was some ice cream. The ice cream I ate was the small tub I had hidden at the back of the freezer just a few days earlier. The annoying thing was that while it was nice, it wasn't wonderful enough to justify that deluge of sugar and calories !

 I seemed to get plenty of sleep last night, although it was interrupted by many dreams. I know I did get up once in the night for 10 - 20 minutes, but I can't seem to remember any other time. This morning I feel sort of OK. Maybe even slightly better than OK in one respect. The toothache I was suffering as a (probable) result of being a bit too violent using a toothpick, seems to be almost gone this morning. Time will tell, but this is the outcome I was hoping for as the (presumed) gum damage is healing.

 Today I have two significant things on my agenda. At approx 1pm, assuming it isn't raining, I will be meeting Angela in the park during her lunch break. I feel I will be asking her if she knows what she is doing with Paul. I doubt that will go down well, but sometimes you just have to be nosy (or is it another form of caring ?). Later this afternoon I am going to make a rare journey to north London to meet my old friend Aleemah for a quick drink in West Hampstead. The only downside is that it will mean coming home in the middle of the heaviest part of the rush hour. If I come home via the Thameslink route, which could be a direct train from West Hampstead to Catford station, it could well be a very cramped train from about Blackfriars onwards.
Saturday 7th October  2017
 14:53 BST

  It was lovely and sunny yesterday, but by and large, I wasted it. I meant to go out, but couldn't quite raise the enthusiasm. Oh well, it was nice to have the sun shining through the front room windows. Maybe the deal breaker was that it was rather cool in the morning, and 15° C in the afternoon was on the edge ! Even so, it was a tragedy to waste the day considering what was to come today.

grim autumnal weather
  Yesterday ended up completely different to how I thought I had planned it, although things went perfectly to plan earlier on. The earlier plan was to rest and get ready to go out in the evening. I can do resting really easily, and I accomplished it with flying colours. The big thing that went wrong in the evening is that I never got a reply to the test message I sent to Angela. It was a simple query asking if she would be going to The Swan in West Wickham to see The Belles playing there. It seemed an innocent enough query, but, as I said, Angela did not reply. It seems likely she disconnected from the connected world from about mid afternoon until gone midnight, and has been suspiciously quiet ever since. I could easily believe she is with a rival. Oh well, maybe I'll have her to myself on Monday if it is sunny enough to meet her in the park at lunchtime.

 I waited, and waited, and waited for a response from Angela, and the more I waited the more my desire to go out faded away. By 7.30pm, when I should have been close to hitting the road I was very relaxed at home, and was eating the dinner I might have had when I got home from the gig (if I didn't buy a takeaway - which to be honest was more likely). So I put my feet up with another glass of whisky (an earlier one or two had seriously contributed to my more relaxed feeling), and relaxed even more.

 After a bit I turned on the TV and found several things to watch. There were two programmes of particular note. The first was being shown on The Horror channel (which shows less blood, guts and gore than it might sound). It was an early, black and white episode of "Lost In Space". I used to watch it when I was a kid, and even at that tender age I could never understand why they didn't just chuck the meddlesome, bad, and sometimes plain evil, Dr Zachary Smith out of the airlock. Now I am older I realise that without him there would be no series. I don't think I ever saw the final episode of the series, and assuming it was allowed to come to a natural end, rather than just cut off in it's prime by the American TV network who was the paymaster, I really hope that the awful Dr Smith came to a terrible end !

 The other programme I watched was interesting, but I haven't made up my mind if it was good. It was the reboot (as they say) of that old TV favourite "Porridge". In this new series "Fletch" is actually Norman Stanley Fletchers son (or grandson). It is clever that the actor who portrays him has picked up many of the original's mannerisms. My only beef with that is he comes across more as an Essex jack the lad, rather than a warm old cockney. A clever twist, and one that does seem to work is that the new "Fletch" is a young man, and he shares a cell with a very old school, old man. That reverses the original role of the cell mate "Godber" being the young man to Fletcher's older man. I will grant that it is very cleverly written, and updates the story to the current world, but I am not sure if I can warm to it or not. If I get the chance I'll watch next weeks episode and see how it goes.

 I drank a fair bit of Irish whiskey last night, and that evidently helped me to get quite a good night's sleep. I think I was definitely fast asleep by 11pm, and it could have been earlier. The only problem was that I felt hot when I got in bed, and fell asleep with no heating on, and with the duvet mostly shoved to one side. At 3am I woke up feeling most definitely cold. For some reason I found I needed to more than pee when I went to the toilet. On top of that I noticed that my phone was flashing. I had an almost unwanted message on it - it certainly wasn't a long over due reply from Angela (I have a suspicion she once set a silent notification on her phone to my text messages, and she hasn't changed it since). I was probably awake for 20 - 30 minutes before I got back to sleep.

 The really annoying thing about that message on my phone was that as soon as I noticed the phone flashing I instantly forgot all details about a wonderful dream I was having before I woke up - at least I think it was wonderful, but I can't remember a thing about it - only that I had it. Once I got back to sleep again I must have slept solidly for at least another 3 hours. I woke up sometime after 6am, and this time I do remember something about the last dream. I dreamed I was going to a gig with my friend Jodie. I used to go to gig with her in the 1990s, and one place we frequented was The Underworld at Camden.

 The dream I remember was set around a similar venue. On one side was a normal pub, and the "auditorium" was around the back. The main event in the dream was trying to buy a beer from the bar that was outside, and round the corner from passage that lead to the auditorium. I only got as far as that bar so I never got to see the stage. The trouble with that bar is that they didn't seem to serve any beer - not even any lager. I am unsure what it was they did sell. It seems I was at that bar trying to buy a drink for ever - and indeed it was 90% of the amount of dream I can remember.

 I had a very slow morning this morning, and I don't know where all the time went. I know I got a bit more sleep, and I read an assortment of news items on the internet. I also had a fairly long phone call from a friend who thinks I am the source of all knowledge ! He has recently discovered an old cine camera, plus some cine film, among the effects of his late uncle. Even though I have never owned, or even physically touched a Super-8 cine camera, I managed to answer many of his questions by applying common sense (and maybe a base appreciation of the photographic process).

whisky !

 It was just gone midday when I decided it was time to have a shower, put some clothes on, and draw the curtains ! Maybe I might have been faster if I had noticed any sunshine outside. The only thing I've done of note since then is to go to Tesco.

 I wanted some more fresh lettuce for more salads, but I also had a strange urge to have some liver and bacon. I actually ended up buying rather more than those things on my shopping list. I bought two packets of Birds Eye fish fingers because they were 50p off. I noted that quite a few ice creams were half price, and bought a big tub of "Cornish clotted cream" ice cream. I've hidden that at the back of the freezer, and I shall try and forget about it.

 The other bargain was Haig Club whisky - as pictured left. I have to confess it was a combination of the pretty smoky blue bottle, and the £3.50 off that conspired to make me buy it. I've tried a small glass of it (neat), and it is not bad. It is not smoky, a whisky taste I am not keen on, but I can taste other stuff. It suddenly occurs to me that maybe I am beginning to never a "nose" or "palate" for whisky, and can start to talk bollocks like wine tasters. Well I can taste "old saddles", or "decaying ferrets" in it, but I definitely can taste a hint of a floral taste. Other than that it tastes like a quite smooth whisky !

 I fear I am going to do almost bugger all for the rest of the afternoon, but finally, after yesterday feeling like it, it is Saturday, and that somehow makes it all OK. Tonight I really ought to go out. There are three gigs I would like to go to. I could go to see The Life Of Brian in Greenwich. That could have the advantage, or disadvantage of Angela being there. It could be OK, or even good if I knew for definite that she was there essentially on her own, and not cuddling another man. There are things my eyes should never see.

 On the other hand, if I go to Bromley I can spend some time in The Swan And Mitre watching M.T. Pockets, and some time a few minutes up the road in The Partridge watching Chain. Angela, if she remembers our conversation in the park on Thursday, thinks I am going to Bromley, and indeed that is most likely. There is a third possibility. I could go to Greenwich and see how warm my reception is. The gig in Greenwich should start at 8pm, a good half hour before The Swan and Mitre in Bromley, and a full hour before Chain start in The Partridge. If Angela was there early enough, and gave me a warm enough reception, I could stay there, and if not I could go on the Bromley after taking a few snaps. The only problem with that plan is that there is no direct bus between Greenwich and Bromley, and I would have to change buses in Catford (going by train would be terribly complicated, and is not even worth considering).
Friday 6th October  2017
 13:00 BST

  Once the morning rain was out of the way, yesterday turned into a very nice day ! It was good that the morning rain did not last long because at least some of it was very vicious ! The sun came out at abouit the forecast time of 10am, and while it was initially sunny periods, those periods got longer and longer, and from about midday only an occasional cloud would quickly pass in front of the sun. If it had been 25° C it would have been like a summers day. In reality it was only about 16° C, but that was still shirtsleeve weather. It was even OK in a t-shirt after dark at about 8pm.

  Today is even sunnier than yesterday, although it is noticeably cooler. Early morning seemed particularly cool. My thermometers reckoned it was only about 8.5° C at 6am this morning. As I write this the sun is pouring into my room, and it feels quite warm in here as a consequence. It is certainly warm enough outside for a sunny walk in the park without having to wear a coat.  Tomorrow it all goes horribly wrong. The morning might be a degree or two less cool, and the afternoon temperature could be every bit as warm as today, but it is going to be grey, grey, grey, and possibly black ! Not a single ray of sunshine is currently forecast to shine on Catford tomorrow !
Another walk in another park

 Yesterday was a good day....a very good day ! Thanks to the warm feeling sunshine I was inspired to go out for some fresh air, a bit of photography.....and some stalking !

 My destination was to be Lewisham Park, and while I had ideas of possibly going beyond there, I didn't, in fact, go any further than that. I could claim it as a two park walk because I did go home through some of Ladywell Fields, but that was a matter of convenience more than anything.

 A while before I set out I sent a text message to Angela asking if she would mind if I met her in the park where she generally goes for her lunchtime ciggie when she is at work. I urged her to say no if it would inconvenience her, and I also asked what would be the best time if she was OK with it. I didn't get a reply, and that worried me, but I knew roughly when she would be in there if she went there, and went anyway.

Lewisham Park
Just to set the scene, here's one of the entrances to Lewisham Park. As can be seen, there is a fine collection of autumn leaves blowing around on the ground.
Squirrel with bread
It too a bit of patience, but I managed to snap this picture of a squirrel with a slice of bread.

 I wandered around for quite some time before I finally spotted Angela, and even then I was not sure it was her because she was sitting down with her back to me. After circling around I confirmed it was her, and walked to where she was sitting. She didn't seem surprised to see me, but I was still wary as to whether I was intruding. Fortunately she told me to sit down with her, and we had a lovely chat in the sunshine. To me it felt like time had melted away, and that I was back to where I was with Angela some 14 months ago (or just before we ended up getting seriously intimate with each other). Angela seemed remarkably relaxed about it too, and seemed to enjoy our meeting almost as much as I did. She even posed for me !
The first picture looked a little tense, but the second was relaxed and natural.
Angela with the sun on the left of

 The only problem with those photos, and as a so called photographer I should have realised it, was that the sun was brightly lighting her face on one side, but was leaving the other side in too much shadow. A light shadow would have been OK, and indeed it might have been good to give a slight hint of a 3D effect, but I wasn't happy with a deep shadow. I am beginning to feel confident that there will be other opportunities for better pictures.

 We seemed to stay in the park for quite a long time, and I suspect Angela was late back from lunch. If so, then it was because she was enjoying out meeting too much. I walked with her back to the hospital where I was surprised with another bit of affection. At the gate where she goes in we said goodbye and waved, but after taking two steps Angela came back and offered a quick hug. I am almost beginning to believe that I no longer have to fear walking on broken eggs shells when dealing with Angela*.
 * "Walking on broken egg shells" - is that a real phrase that means what I think it means, or is it just some sort of word salad I have vomited from my brain ? Also, "dealing with Angela" - dealing sounds awful, but I couldn't think of a better word, and still can't !

 I got back home feeling really rather good, and the day was not yet over. The thing I did was to have some lunch. It was a rather small, and rather simple chicken salad using some flavoured, but hopefully low fat skinless chicken. It filled a small hole, but only a small one ! The next thing I did was to quickly check the pictures I had taken of Angela had come out OK. Once I had seen them I was happy to relax.

 I did some reading, had a snooze, and then got ready to go out again for my early Thursday evening drink. That involved the only bad bit of the day. When I got to the bus stop I found that I must have just missed a 320 bus, and then next would not be for 20 minutes ! Eek !! So I carried on walking to the closest 208 bus stop. When I git there the Countdown display said it would be a 10 minute wait. Well that was better than 20 minutes, but the only problem was that 10 minutes later it was still saying the next 208 was in 10 minutes time ! That was no better than waiting for the 320. However, it seems that the 320 was also delayed too for reasons unknown. Eventually a 208 turned up with the 320 only about a minute behind. I arrived at the pub a good half hour later than I should have. Fortunately I had made the right decision to get the 208. Had I waited for the 320 I would have been 15 seconds later !

 I think I have gone off real ales. I can't say I really enjoyed any of the ales I had in the Wetherspoons pub. I had 4 pints last night - 3 of one brew, and a single pint of one other. The single pint tasted almost nasty, but the three pints were "pleasant" without being exciting. At least I enjoyed the banter while I was in the pub. Four pints after only eating a light salad got me feeling close to being drunk. It was certainly enough to scrap my will power, and send me into a takeaway for some more substantial food !

 One of the few meaningful things I did when I got in was to send Angela a special photo I had saved for her. It was one of several snaps I had taken of roses in the park. Most of them were looking worse for wear as the season ends, but one rose looked nice, and I decided that Angela should see it first. She only gave a brief reply to my picture message. It was simply "xxxx".
a rose for
 I don't know if I can say I slept well last night or not. I guess not considering I did get up for about 15 minutes in the night to check something on the internet, but otherwise I slept OK. I woke up this morning earlier than I would have wanted to, but I felt almost good. Yesterday's sunshine, and maybe the lifting of some psychological pressure (or some such) undoubtedly helped to lessen some of the usual aches and pains. About the only significant pain I had (and have) is a most worrisome one. It is a form of toothache. If I am lucky it is weher I have damaged the gum by overenthusiastic use of a tooth pick. I have done that before on many occasion, but I fear this feels a bit different. The only good thing is that the pain seems to be from some sort of inflammation, and if I keep everything clear of that bit of gum, which is almost impossible when eating, I am in no pain. It's been a long time since I went to the dentist, and I fear that it won't be a long time until I am forced to go again !

 I guess I am taking things easy today - at least I don't seem to have done anything of any great significance today. Maybe if I pace myself I'll have the energy and enthusiasm to go to a gig in West Wickham tonight. It is The Belles playing in The Swan, and it is not one of my favourite pubs. I think Angela will be going too. It will be interesting to see how we interact if we are both there. Provided she is not seeing anyone else it could be nice there. It was from that very pub that we first shared a cab home together. That would be the preferred outcome tonight, but if she is with anyone else then I will probably end up slinking away once I feel I have taken enough pictures.
Thursday 5th October  2017
 09:04 BST

  This is what I said yesterday about the day before - "Despite the sunny morning, and a few sunny intervals in the afternoon, it was noticeably cooler yesterday - no more than 15° C. That was a shame because otherwise it was a pleasant looking day. I guess it was only to be expected as we head towards winter. The shortest day of the year is still a long way off, but the days already seem very short compared with the heady days of summer." - I can't think of any way of improving on that for yesterday's weather !

soggy start, but sunny later
  This screenshot of today's weather forecast was taken at 6am. Since then the forecast has changed a bit. The main change that I can see is that some periods of sunshine have been downgraded to "sunny intervals". The maximum temperature of 16° C hasn't changed. One thing that was wrong with the forecast above, that may have been corrected in an intermediate version of the forecast that I didn't see, concerns the rain in the morning. What was shown as light showers (single drip of rain) were in reality very heavy showers ! It is a rather windy day today, and those commuting in the morning rain could have had the rain blowing straight into their face, or even up their trouser legs !! Tomorrow could see a very chilly start, but it is predicted to be a sunny morning and there may be some sunshine in the very early afternoon. The best temperature is forecast to be just 14° C - Brrrrr !

  As I reported yesterday, my Virgin Media broadband internet connection failed again yesterday, but like the last time, it came back all by itself a few hours later. It was not the end of the world, but it was still most annoying !

 Yesterday was mostly a boring and disappointing day, but it did end on a high note ! I don't seem to be making great use of all my time now I am retired, but at least I spent some time clearing out the under stairs cupboard yesterday. I was a bit disappointed that once again Tesco only had the previous day's Evening Standard when I went out for my Guinness and crossword session. In practice it didn't matter - it was still a fresh crossword to tackle, and the news these days is generally depressing and most of it best ignored.

 I think I managed all but one or two of the easy crossword answers - I feel I should have been able to complete it. I was more happy about the cryptic crossword. I don't think I managed to get even half the answers, but I think I got more than last time, and I think I am beginning to get attuned to the style of that crossword. I need more practice, and I think that in time I'll get at least close to finish that crossword.

 I was disappointed once again that Angela was too tired to join me in the pub after work, but I was not surprised about it. I have to confess I had dark thoughts about being ignored, but on reflection I think Angela was quite genuine about being tired. She would normally have gone to the Whitestar open mic last night, but I am sure she stayed in, and may have even gone to bed early. I'm not sure why I did it, but last night, at about 8.45pm, I sent Angela a (head and shoulders) selfie of me laying on my bed with a caption saying I had brushed my teeth, and would soon be in bed. I expected it to be ignored, but to my great surprise I received a picture back in return of Angela wrapped in her dressing gown with a beautiful smile on her face. It quite made my day, and gave me hope for the future. I can't seem to help it. I still love her so much it hurts.

 Despite the earlier two pints of Guinness, a rather nice, but excessive dinner, Angela's picture, and a large whisky, I found that sleep did not come easy yesterday. I think I'll blame it on the changing seasons. My bedroom was definitely at a certain temperature that was delicately balanced between too warm and too cold. It was too cool to sleep without the duvet, and too warm to sleep with it - and of course the pillows and mattress had developed new lumps that weren't there an hour earlier ! Instead of being fast asleep by 10pm it was probably gone midnight when I finally fell asleep.

 I'm not sure if I got a good sleep or not in the end. I certainly had a few long periods of sleep, but I also went through several periods of very light sleep when I kept waking up. I first got up at 5am, and at that time it is still pitch dark outside. After a while I thought it was silly to be up so early. So I went back to bed. After a few false starts I obviously must have fallen into a deeper sleep, and it was fully daylight when I next woke up - not proper daylight because it was overcast and pissing down with rain outside !

 I think that now I have recovered from sleep, showering, and washing my hair, I feel fairly OK - not particularly dynamic, but OK-ish ! I have no idea how I will fill in most of the hours of today, but there are a few things I am most likely to do. Unless the world turns upside down before than, I will almost certainly be going for my early even Thursday drink with the lads. Tonight we are in the Greyhound in Bromley - armed with out Wetherspoons 50p off CAMRA vouchers. I think I may go to Aldi today. It's dangerous to do so because of all the temptations, but not having any interesting food in the house lead me to order a naughty takeaway again last night. It's nice to do that now and then, but I can't afford the cost or the calorie overload to do it too often. The final thing that I am sure I will do is to ask Angela if I can join her for her lunchtime ciggie in the park for 10 minutes. Maybe I'll get a bit of exercise in the park after all if she says yes.
Wednesday 4th October  2017
 14:07 BST

  Despite the sunny morning, and a few sunny intervals in the afternoon, it was noticeably cooler yesterday - no more than 15° C. That was a shame because otherwise it was a pleasant looking day. I guess it was only to be expected as we head towards winter. The shortest day of the year is still a long way off, but the days already seem very short compared with the heady days of summer.

cool and dull
  I can only describe today as cool and dull. There was some nice sunshine for a few hours this morning, and if the forecast bears some resemblance to reality, there could be a final glow of sunshine just before the sun sets. Like yesterday it is feeling cool - even indoors, and I have the heater on low while I am not being particularly active. Tomorrow should be brighter, and a tiny bit warmer, although I think the forecast on TV did warn that a fairly stiff breeze would make it feel much cooler than the thermometer says it is.

  The interesting thing about today is that my Virgin Media broadband internet connection has failed again. It did this a few days ago, but came back after a few hours. I am crossing my fingers that it will come back again today without having to go through the palaver of having to report it as a fault.

 Most of my plans for yesterday came to nothing. I just could not bring myself to do the clearing and cleaning of the understairs cupboard. I'm not really sure why I didn't. It was just one of those things that didn't happen. One thing I did do, and in a strange way it was semi enjoyable, was to go out to The Black Cat pub to drink a couple of pints of Guinness while attempting The Evening Standard crosswords. There was a slight hitch in this in so much as the latest Evening Standard hadn't arrived at Tesco, but because I really only wanted to do the crosswords, the previous day's edition was OK.

 Maybe it was the Guinness, or maybe it was just the compiler, but I found the Evening Standard's cryptic crossword to be a lot easier than The Metro's. That is not to say it was so easy that I managed to finish it - far from it, but I managed in excess of a third of all the clues. I hope to do far better with more practice - it's been ages since I've done any crosswords, let alone cryptic crosswords, but once upon a time, and I am talking mid 1970s, I was pretty good at The Telegraph cryptic crossword. It is often a case of having to get into the mindset of the complier, and that can take some time.

 The only disappointment about that exercise was that I wasn't joined by Angela, although I wasn't really expecting it. She claimed, with some justification, that she was just too tired after a full day at work. I have some sympathy for that. I remember my first day back at work after a three year absence from work (rather longer than her 10 months), and that first day was really gruelling. I came home and virtually went to bed without having any dinner. Of course I also had to endure  an hour and a quarter commute to work, and the same coming home. By comparison, Angela can walk to work in about 25 minutes if she doesn't bother with a bus.

 After just two pints of Guinness I was keen to have some dinner. I had pre-prepared a sort of chicken stew - and it was very nice - and it was very relaxing ! As soon as I started eating it I knew I was never going to get out again to go to the open mic night at The Railway Telegraph pub in Forest Hill. Whether I missed anything good will remain a mystery, and that is sort of annoying, but at least there was nothing, or no one, I particularly wanted to see. Maybe I'll get to the next one.

 I ended up passing much of the evening just reading, and the fact that I didn't put the book down until way past when I thought I would be going to sleep, suggests it was a most enjoyable experience - which of course it was ! I think it was close to 11pm when I tried to go to sleep, and not long after when I was asleep. I slept with few interruptions until just gone 6am this morning. I woke up feeling like I was close to death - as usual - but gradually my body restored all it's waking functions, and apart from a stiff right shoulder, I felt like I would get through the day without serious death.

 Today is one of those days when many hours have passed, and it is difficult to account for them. I know the major thing I did today didn't take up many hours. In fact I am nt sure it even took a complete hour. I finally got around to tackling that dreaded under stairs cupboard. I have thrown out a big extra strong bin bag of stuff - probably a lot of it should have gone in the rubbish, but there is nowhere else for it to go. My back room now has a pile of ancient computers cluttering it up. Disposing of them will be a job for the future. In the meantime the cupboard, although not clear, and certainly not clean, won't take much work to get it so.

 At about half past 4 today I will reprise my crossword antics in the pub. I'm going out half an hour later in the hope that there will be the latest edition of The Evening Standard in Tesco, but if not I will be OK if they still have a copy of yesterday's edition. Once again I will tell Angela of my intention, and give her the choice of joining me or not. I am not expecting her to do so because I feel I am being politely avoided, but maybe my luck will change.

 There is an open mic session on in The Partridge in Bromley tonight (at least I think there is - until my internet connection starts working again it is difficult to check). I am not sure of I want to try and go to it or not. It is always very dark in there, and that takes some of the fun out of photography, and the last time I went there I had to contend with Angela cuddling another man - after she herself persuaded me to go there in the first place ! Maybe I'd like to stay in again tonight and cook (or even order) a nice, and possibly even healthy dinner.
Tuesday 3rd October  2017
 10:01 BST

  It was fairly nice yesterday. There was a fair amount of sunshine and big patches of blue sky yesterday morning, although the afternoon was a bit duller. As far as I am aware, the rain that was forecast for 6pm never happened. It might have been nicer if it was a bit warmer, but it was perfectly comfortable in a t-shirt while on the move, and out of the wind. In most places the wind was of no consequence, but right at the top of Blythe Hill it did feel quite powerful !

even more sunshine
                    than yesterday
  Even more sunshine is forecast for today, but it is going to be a fair bit cooler. At 7am this morning, the thermometer outside my back door was saying just 8.5° C ! That is pretty chilly, and it still feel rather cold even after several hours of nice sunshine. By the end of the day it is going to get quite cloudy, and those clouds should stop it getting so cold at night. Tomorrow morning should start a few degrees less cool than this morning, but it is going to be a rather cool, and rather grey day. At the moment I am pinning my hopes on a few minutes of sunshine currently forecast for 6pm tomorrow.

  After all the fresh air yesterday morning I didn't feel inclined to do much more yesterday, and yet I had some laundry to do. It felt like hard work, and aggravated one of my serial maladies - my wonky chest ! I can't quite remember which night it was, but I recently "unhinged" one or more of my "twisted ribs" while thrashing around in bed...or just turning over a bit too enthusiastically. I was hoping that my walk would let all the loose bits settle back into place (or whatever it is that usually happens). On that occasion it didn't work, and I suffered several pains while actually walking.

 If past experience hadn't shown that these pains don't kill me they could be most worrying. Instead they are just very inconvenient - doubly so when the pain suddenly switches off in one place, and appears in another place. It's usually a diagonal movement - either from a sharp stabbing pain above my left man boob, to a sharp stabbing pain below my right man boob. One day, when the pain is annoying enough at the right time, I'll have another go at getting my doctor to take some sort of interest in it. For now I just endure it.

 Doing my laundry completely by hand sometimes click the loose bit(s) back into place, but yesterday it just seemed to make things worse. Most of the time there was no constant pain, but a certain movement would cause some sort of pain. The bit problem with that is that it is hard to predict what movement will cause pain, and sometimes the movement would be almost unavoidable. Twisting around to look over my shoulder for oncoming traffic when walking is one known movement that can trigger a lot of (usually) short lived discomfort.

 One of the most annoying aspects about this problem is not actually the pain, but something rather different. It happens almost exclusively when lying in bed, because that is when I am hyper aware of it. It is this - when laying on my back I can hear clicking, rubbing, and grating sounds from within my chest whenever I breathe in (or out, or both). It is surprising it doesn't hurt because it really seems to sound like bone rubbing against bone !

 While my chest goes through another session of being annoying there is good news from another quarter. I recently mentioned that I had a sore bottom. It was, as far as I can judge, a late after effect of the antibiotics I was on 3 or 4 weeks ago. I have never experienced anything like it before, but I am now happy to announce that the problem is nearly fully healed, and for the last day or two I have been close to fully comfortable. I still have to be a bit careful, but for the moment everything at that end seems benign.

 One thing about last night was that it was very boring. Maybe it was boring because I was feeling tired. I'm not sure why I should have been so tired, but for convenience I'll blame it on the fresh air and exercise. By 8.30pm I was already thinking about bed, and I'm sure it wasn't many minutes after 9pm that I was fast asleep. I slept solidly for 3 hours, and then after a break of 10 - 15 minutes I slept solidly until sometime between 4 and 5am. From then on I slept lightly until I semi got up just after 6am.

 This morning it was my intention to go and frolic in the sunshine again, but that doesn't seem to have happened, and I am not sure why. There doesn't seem to be any physical reason why I shouldn't be out enjoying this pleasant bit of autumn sunshine, but I just don't feel like doing anything physical this morning. Maybe it is because I know I really have to pull my finger out very soon, and clear out the understairs cupboard. On the 16th the man from the electricity company will be coming to change the electricity meter, and the working area needs to be clean and free for him.

 Clearing out and cleaning the under stairs cupboard should be my plan for today, and I see no reason why I shouldn't make some progress in doing just that, but I am looking forward to other possible entertainment. Some extreme optimism beyond being rational, makes me hope that I might meet Angela for a drink after she finishes work. The likelihood that it will really happen is negligible, but where would we be without hope.....maybe happier ! Another possibility for tonight is an open mic session in The Railway Telegraph pub in Forest Hill. It is easy to get to - I could even walk it if needed - and so I ought to at least sample it. I fear it won't be quite to my liking for reasons I can't really explain...or even think of right now, but we'll see.
another view from the
                        top of Blythe Hill Fields
Another view from Blythe Hill Fields I took yesterday. This is a wider angle version of one of the view I showed yesterday, and includes The Shard on the left of the horizon.
Monday 2nd October  2017
 16:01 BST

  I think my eyes tried to avoid looking outside yesterday. That is the only explanation I can think of for not being able to remember anything about the weather yesterday, and that can only mean one thing - it was awful weather ! Not freezing cold, or torrential rain, but deep depressing gloom...with an occasional bit of light rain mixed in maybe. The forecast said 17° C almost all day, and I wouldn't dispute that.

not bad
  It is possible that this morning's weather was slightly better than the forecast predicted. Maybe the sky never completely cleared of cloud, but there were a couple of sunny periods that had good strong sunshine. It's a bit later than forecast, but we have now reached the time when the clouds have won for the day, and while it is not exactly gloomy, it is rather dull out now. Maybe there will be a splash of rain later. The wind has been a bit stronger today, and in exposed places it has felt a bit cooler than 17° C would suggest. Tomorrow should see some even stronger sunshine until mid afternoon when it will become overcast again. Unfortunately only 16 ° C is expected.

  I didn't really do anything of note yesterday, although I did repair my shower hose in the morning, and I did go to Tesco later in the morning, but other than that I sort of idled all through the day. Maybe I needed to or something. One thing that seems counter intuitive is that after doing nothing all day, I slept unusually well last night. More about that in a minute because I've just had a flashback, and I realise I was so bored that I did do a few useful things after all.

 I did some cooking - two lots in fact. I cooked a chicken and mushroom and vegetable stew for my dinner last night. It was nice and tasty, and relatively healthy, but while getting a bag of mixed vegetables out the freezer I noticed a couple of bit of smoked haddock that had been in there for ages. It seemed OK, and so I cooked a very simple smoked haddock and spinach "stew". In theory, if I don't adulterate it with other stuff, it should be extremely healthy. In a very rare move, I cooled it down as fast as I could (putting the bowl in cold water) and I have frozen it. I'll probably eat it in a day or two.

 Maybe my discovery of that fish prompted me to do a bit more clearing up in the kitchen. I keep an overflow selection of assorted beer glasses (and a few other types) in one of the cupboards in the kitchen. Over the years the glasses had become very dull, and some spillages, plus condensed fatty steam, left it all rather unpleasant in there. To my surprise it all cleaned up very easily, although cleaning and polishing the glasses was a slow process. So that was another thing I did on a day when I didn't think I had actually achieved anything. Sometimes I seem to under sell myself.

 Whether all that elbow grease helped me sleep well last night is a great unknown, but I did sleep exceptionally well - I think. I only have the vaguest, the most dreamy memory of waking up once between about 10pm and 4am. After 4am I did wake once or twice, but it was 6am before I seemed to have slept as much as I possibly could.
a trapezoidal walk !
This morning it was nice and sunny, and I didn't have to twist my own arm too much to get me out of the house doing a bit of exercise. On the left is the route I took. It was supposed to be an almost circular route, but it seems to have turned out more like a trapezoid !

 The original route I had in mind was going to be longer than this, and it may have approached 5 miles long. That idea didn't take into account tow factors. The first was that the it was a very hilly route. The one hill I did climb was a real bugger, and it felt like I was over taxing myself. The second factor was that I had chosen to walk in my blue Vans trainers, and they are not comfortable.

 It is a strange discomfort though. Some shoes start off slightly uncomfortable, but get more comfortable as you walk, and then can suddenly get very uncomfortable after many miles. My blue Vans start mildly uncomfortable, and then they slowly become more uncomfortable in imperceivable intervals, but never get agonising. Well, it was a mistake to wear them, and I cut short my imagined route to get home faster - although as I neared home I decided to lengthen it a bit by taking the long way home via the Iceland store.

 view from
                          Blythe Hill Fields
Having climbed all the way from down by the river in Ladywell Fields, to the very top of Blythe Hill Fields, this view was one of the rewards. Shame the air was not clearer.
another great view
This was another view. If I had used a bit less zoom then you could see The Shard as well.

 While I was walking an idea came into my brain from who knows where. It was the idea that I should buy some bread rolls, and make some cheese and onion rolls. There were several places I could get bread rolls, but I chose Iceland because I wanted to check in there for something else - microwaveable chips ! I have to confess I had some Iceland own brand one last night, and while they are not great, they can just about satisfy when you are desperate. I found some similar looking microwaveable chips (or more correctly, "fries" - because they are nothing like real chip shop chips !). They were made by McCain, and came in two varieties - plain and crinkle cut. I bought a pack of each. Hopefully they will sit at the back of the freezer, maybe for years, until that day comes when nothing else will do !

 I had another go at trying to persuade Angela to go for a drink after work today, but she said she couldn't do it today. I suggested I would try again tomorrow, but she didn't respond with a yay or nay. My guess is that she has no intention of meeting me for a drink, but I guess I have to be persistent.

 I don't think I am doing anything at all tonight. Maybe I'll drink some whisky by myself, and get an early night in. The weather for tomorrow morning looks good again, and so I had better try and drag myself out again in the morning. I have no idea what my route will be, but I am wondering if I should go further afield. The truth will be revealed as it happens tomorrow.
Sunday 1st October  2017
 08:25 BST

  No matter how wrong the weather forecast got the start of the day, their first guess at the evening was perfectly correct - it rained ! Earlier in the day there were more sunny intervals, and maybe even sunny periods, than predicted, and as far as I know there were no isolated showers during daylight hours. The temperature forecast seemed about right. It peaked at 16° C for a few hours, but 15° C was more typical.

flat, grey and nasty
  What can one say about today's weather forecast - apart from "I hope it is wrong" ! I don't think it is raining right now, but it must have been until recently because everything is wet and soggy outside. I'm not sure if it can be described as good in any conventional sense of the word, but the best thing about today is that it should be mild - 17° C. Apart from that, unless reality decides to depart from the forecast, it is going to range between grey and nasty grey with unpredictable rain showers. Tomorrow provides some hope for the occasional ray of sunshine, but there may well be more showers, and late evening marks the beginning of colder nights.

  What did I do yesterday ? I guess a fair bit of the afternoon was taken up with going through the pictures I had taken of Chain at The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. The lighting there was much better than for The Life Of Brian at The Elm Tree, but then again no lights at all would be better than that horrible pink glare there. Incidently, I saw some video taken at the Elm Tree last night. I happen to know there were two experts there, and if anyone could reset the lighting controller there, they could, but the videos I saw were dark and pink still. At The Coach And Horses there was almost enough light to use my wide angle lens. A little bit more and I could have taken some good snaps through it.
                          processed wide angle view
This picture was taken through my wide angle lens. This angle was the best lit (although I still had to force the picture to appear a lot brighter), but there was a lot of clutter on the periphery of the picture - so I cut it all out with this circular mask.
Jo Corteen
Using my 28mm f1.8 lens, and I had to be careful that Jo was not over exposed.
Chris lit by red light
Sometimes you just can't get away from red/pink light ! Unfortunately Chris had his back to whiter light, and his front was only lit by side splash from the main lighting bar that was trained on Jo (well she is the prettiest one there !).

 I was going to go out last night. There were some good incentives for doing so, and a couple of draw backs. The prime incentive was to see M.T. Pockets playing. The second incentive was that there was a pint of Guinness waiting for me at the gig, and the third incentive may have been the chance to get hold of a t-shirt - possibly for free. The latter incentive was very vague. I was not sure what band it was for, and I couldn't work out if I was being offered one for free, or if I would have to pay like everyone else. I don't think it was an M.T. Pockets t-shirt, and so my guess would be that I would have to pay for it.

 When I think back there were three draw backs to going out last night. The most important was that I was not feeling that good. My stomach felt a bit funny, and I didn't fancy travelling like that. The other two drawbacks were sort of interlinked. On Saturday, unlike on a weekday, but possibly because of engineering works, there were only 2 trains an hour between Lee and Sidcup stations. If I was unlucky it could have meant a 29 minute wait for a train. I didn't fancy that considering the third draw back - it was pissing with rain all night !

 The really ironic thing was that my weird feeling stomach was actually just hunger pains. When I looked back I realised that all I had eaten all day was a salad, and some biscuits. It was the biscuits that fooled me. They were from a tin of biscuits bought from the 99p shop - so it wasn't a very big tin of biscuits ! I fancied something different, and all I could spot were those biscuits. In one respect it was good that I decided to eat a few. I found they were very close to going stale, and had lost some of their crispness. So I ate the whole lot !

 I knew that it would harm my blood glucose level, and somehow a rare thing happened - one part of my brain convinced another that I was no longer hungry, and shouldn't eat for the rest of the day. Unfortunately the effect didn't last, and by 8pm I realised I was starving. So I ordered a takeaway. What I really wanted was piri piri chicken, but that by itself was not enough for delivery. So I had to pad the order out. I chose what may have been one of the worst options - a greasy 9" pizza and also some fries.

 I would have eaten the fries with the chicken, but I decided to eat the pizza. You just cannot reheat "fries" (you can reheat proper English chips though), and so I ate the chips too. It was all terribly unhealthy, but it did the business. My funny feeling stomach turned into a normal, although slightly stuffed stomach, and the good thing is that I have piri piri chicken for Sunday dinner !

 Instead of watching a band I watched a couple of episodes of Red Dwarf on Dave last night. I think the second episode finished at 9pm, and that seemed a fair time to switch the TV off, and slowly start heading for bed. I can't actually remember what time I went to bed, but I'm guessing I may have been asleep not much later than 10pm. I know I woke up a couple of times in the night, but the only thing I remember is a few seconds of a dream.

 This short bit of dream had one similarity to the bit of dream I recounted yesterday - the main action was preceded by a sort of memory of some dialogue that put the main scene in context. In this case it was this hazy memory of me asking my friend Jodie what happened to the camera she had sent for repairs ages ago. In this case there was a strong idea that "ages ago" meant so long ago that that camera was almost rather primitive, and it's best resolution was VGA (600x480 pixels) - just like some of the first mobile phone cameras.

 The main action of the dream was me going in through my front door, and finding several jiffy bags on the mat. The fact that there was no way that these jiffy bags would ever fit through my letter box is an anomaly that has to be ignored. Inside one jiffy bag was Jodie's camera. It was a sort of lumpy thing in silver colour plastic. In another bag was a multimeter, just like the one I used to use at work, that had also come back from repair (although in reality it was so cheap that the postage to send it away would be more than it would cost to buy a new one). The third jiffy bag was most intriguing. It had a miniature camera, slightly smaller than a matchbox, that had a lens on it that was bigger than the camera body. The very odd thing was that the lens seemed to be of black germanium glass - the material that the best thermal imaging cameras use for their lenses. I was always hoping there might be an opportunity to acquire a thermal imaging camera from work before I left, but the opportunity never arose.

 I have no idea what I am doing today. It is horribly grey outside, and there is the ever present chance of a shower. I think outdoor activities are unlikely today, although I might go and buy more salad from Tesco. I have actually done two important jobs this morning. The first was to repair the shower hose. Last night, as I was showering in preparation of going out, I was covered in soapy shower gel when the shower hose partly disconnected itself from the tap. This sprayed water everywhere except on me where it was needed ! This morning I repaired it. All it needed was a jubilee clip, and lots of duct tape. To test it I took a shower. So here I am, scrubbed clean, and nowhere to go !