Pages composed using
site map
March 2018
May 2018

April 2018
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun


My Diary/Blog For the Month of April 2018

Monday 30th April 2018
 09:39 BST

  It felt cold yesterday, and it was probably on account of the wind...although the temperature only being 9° C at it's best probably didn't help much. Much of the day was dry, but it did start to rain in the evening, although I'm not sure exactly when it started. Later in the night, or perhaps the early hours of this morning it became quite heavy.
                      rain, rain !
  The weather forecast has been throttled back a lot since yesterday. Gone is most of the threat of non stop torrential rain to be replaced by less severe rain - and it might finish earlier than once thought. There still could be some torrential rain though ! With a maximum temperature of just 8° C, and that only being achieved at the end of the afternoon, it is going to be another cold day. Most of this terrible weather should be fixed tomorrow when there should be plenty of sunny spells, and the temperature should reach 14° C. At the moment it seems like the day after, Wednesday, could be a slightly less cold version of today. From then on we have everything to look forward to.

  Yesterday, being a Sunday, was set to be a boring and tedious day - and a lot of it was ! Not all of it though. My main job was to select and edit photos taken on Saturday night. I got through maybe half of them before I was interrupted by a phone call. My friend Jodie had come to Catford to visit the "last Sunday of the month" food market, and she had bought some beer (plus something that looked like gravel in a tortilla wrap from a vegan food stand), and could she pop in so we could taste the beer ?

 With a small amount of reluctance I said yes. At that point I had just started slowly sipping whisky while I was editing photos, and didn't care to start drinking beer. Of course some company, particularly on a Sunday afternoon, the most soul destroying part of the week, would be welcome....but maybe not from a Twitter addict. You can have any sort of conversation from someone who is glued to her phone 90% of the time. It is the height of rudeness, but it seems normal behaviour from some these days.

 While Jodie ignored me in favour of her phone I upped my whisky intake, and eventually included a few other spirits. By the time Jodie went home I was definitely feeling quite drunk, and the biggest indicator of this was what I ate for dinner. I ended up having 4 slices of thick multigrain toast with a small can of fish (sardine or mackerel) on each slice. They were sort of nice, and it was the reason I had bought the loaf in the first place, but it did leave me feeling a bit fishy. There was one time much later in the evening when I thought that the combined consumption of the booze and fish on toast was going to result in a technicolour yawn !

 I managed to successfully upload and tag the pictures I had finished to a social media web site, but that was about all I did yesterday evening. By 9pm, or maybe it was a bit later, I was reading in bed, and I think it was about 10.30pm when I turned out the light and fell asleep soon after. I thought that despite waking quite a few time I had slept well last night, but as I think about this I can't stop yawning. Maybe I'll be doing a lot of snoozing today !

 One indicator of sleeping lightly was the amount of dreams I seemed to have. There were two I specifically tried to remember, but I can only remember a bit if detail from one of them, plus lots of snapshots without any continuity from several other dreams. The most curious dream was about the London Undeground. I admit I do have a nostalgia about the old days of the Underground when glazed white tiles and dark wood were all the rage ! I find today's new and refurbished stations in all their minimalism to be somewhat boring.

 In this dream it was like the Underground had been flipped over so lines which go north went south, and some that run overground ran underground.  I think I was trying to get a tube to what must have been the Mill Hill branch. In this topsy turvy dream it ran towards the south east instead of the north west (as per the line diagram rather than any true geographical realism), and it was all in deep tube tunnels. At the time I wanted to travel there was a power cut, and we had to wait in a holding area while we waited for the power to be restored. The holding area was like a big circular tank with white glazed tiles (or bricks) and seat made from dark stained wood. From where I was standing I could see the long, currently unlit passageway down to the platforms, and it looked pitch dark down there. I was very tempted to see how far I could walk down it, but I think I woke up before I did.

 This morning I feel sort of stiff, and my brain does feel a bit foggy after burning out a few more brain cells with the onslaught of alcohol yesterday afternoon. I guess none of this matters because I don't feel inclined to even leave the house today in the current weather. Having said that, although the weather seems pretty bad, it does not seem like the Armageddon that earlier forecasts predicted. Maybe it is worse in other areas. Southeastern Trains seem particularly worried at the moment - "
Strong winds and heavy rain is forecast for today, which is likely to cause some disruption to rail services, particularly towards the eastern part of Southeastern's network.If you're travelling today, please make sure you check your journey details before you travel."

 There are several things I need to do today, and unfortunately one of them does actually mean leaving the shelter of my house. Ideally I would want to go to Tesco, and maybe if the rain doesn't seem so terrible I might just do that, but I may end up getting all I need from the corner shop. I definitely want to finish selecting and editing photos from Saturday, and there is one other thing I need to do. This latter thing is hard for me to do because I hate dealing with officialdom, but I think it has to be done. I need to order a brown wheelie bin from the council. The brown bin is specifically for garden waste, and provided you don't overload the bin with great chunks of tree, or put rocks in it, it can be used for any garden waste. It is going to be the only practical way of disposing of the felled tree in my back garden. I can order it online, and there is a fee of £60 to be paid each year I have it....which I suppose is not much, and is probably cheap in comparison to other alternatives. It is supposedly emptied once a week.

 There is one other thing I really must do today, and in fact I ought to be the very first thing I do once I finish writing. It is to have a good shower. I am ashamed to say I didn't wash at all yesterday because I never expect to see a living soul on a Sunday (and in this second week with no contact with Angela, quite a few other days of the week). Once I am washed and clean I can resume photography. I have already done a couple of photos this morning. All exhibit terrible hot spots if I try to make them too bright. Maybe this was one of the occasions when I should have used the RAW format to save the snaps in the camera. RAW files can be more versatile when it comes to exposure correction, but it's too late now. I just need to remember it for next time. Here's one more picture taken on Saturday night featuring all three of the band.
M.T. Pockets on stage
Sunday 29th April 2018
 10:39 BST

  I predicted that yesterday would be worse than the day before, but I am not sure if it was. It was certainly dull and grey, and there were a few very light showers, but somehow it didn't feel that terrible. I think it was because there was very little wind to make it feel colder than it was. The highest temperature was probably the forecast 10° C.
                      autumn weather
  The weather today could easily be compared with late autumn. It is going to be cold and wet today. The latest update to the forecast shows the highest temperature today as just a chilly 8° C. It can only get worse ! Tomorrow is forecast to start at just 5° C, and the temperature may only rise to 6° C at it's highest. Today will be dull and grey with light rain starting to fall by 5 or 6pm. Tomorrow might see non stop rain for the whole 24 hours, and most of it will be very heavy rain. Once tomorrow is out of the way we should return to early spring weather with some sunny intervals and the temperature rising to 13° C.

  Yesterday was a very mixed sort of day. I was great to have slept without coughing, but I still felt sort of tired. I hope that it was just the drowsiness that the anti-histamines I am taking warn you about. If it wasn't actually that they are still a great scapegoat, and will be blamed for anything that is otherwise hard to explain. The worst drowsiness was after I had what was almost my only meal of the day. For some reason that I don't think I can blame on the anti-histamines this time, I had a yearning for boiled potatoes - almost by themselves.

 It just so happened that I have some large baking potatoes left over from a short fad of having baked potatoes. They are starting to sprout now, and although I have tried to keep them out of the light some of them are getting some green patches. I selected two of them that seemed in good condition and not too green, and boiled them with some rosemary. I served them with some sadly almost tasteless grated cheese on top. The taste experience was a bit underwhelming, but they were pleasant enough. The trouble was they seemed to set like concrete in my gut, and I felt almost ill. It was possibly poison from the green bits I hadn't cut off properly (although it was only the potato skin that was greenish). I ate that lunch at about midday, and felt rotten for the rest of the afternoon.

 I did manage one task that I started before feeling rotten, and finished while I did feel rotten. It was washing a double duvet cover. It was quite a hard task to wash one by hand, but as usual I gritted my teeth and got the job done. I left if on a clothes horse dripping away in the bath. This morning it was almost dry, and I have moved it downstairs in front of the fan heater on low to finish drying.

 I wanted to go out in the evening, and yet didn't want to go. This, like sleeping through great chunks of the day, is typical depressive behaviour. It was easy to come up with some great excuses for not going out. Just being cold and damp might have been good enough on it's own, but I was also going to a venue I hadn't visited before - and worst of all it was reported that they had a DJ there for when the band wasn't playing. There was also the thing that while I would know some people there, I don't really know them. So effectively I would be on my own.
stop that bus !
Even after I started out it seemed like I might give up and go home again when I just missed a 54 bus.
7 minute wait for the 54
Fortunately I turned around, looked up, and saw that the next 54 was only 7 minutes away.

 I'm not sure if it was just 7 minutes I had to wait, but it was probably not much longer, and the 54 bus duly turned up. If it had been a clear day instead of a dull grey and drizzly sort of day, the bus ride might even have been slightly pleasant, but despite it still being 5 or 10 minutes before sunset it was still very dark outside the bus. Having finally arrived at the Royal Standard bus stop I had to negotiate a complex road layout, and I still have no idea if I managed to find the quickest route over a series of pedestrian crossings. The problem is that there is a large rectangular roundabout stacked with what I can only described as a non-euclidean "triangularabout" !!

 The pub, as the name of the bus stop suggests, was The Royal Standard. It is quite large, and sort of nice. I noted that their live entertainment veers towards the funky and soul side of things, and so it may have been a bit of a shock to some when they heard Dan Murphy's very guitar driven funk and rock. The thing I feared most was the DJ, but she wasn't too bad. She was easy on the eye, and did start off with some Lynyrd Skynyrd when MT Pockets finished their first set. That was followed by an old Aretha Franklin song, which was an interesting segue, and that was followed b a Queen song. From then on things did go a little downhill, but still within just acceptable limits.
Dan Murphy on
                            guitar and Dylan Tidman on drums
The lighting was "interesting" last night. There was both too much and too little of it. All the lighting started off at floor level, and shined upwards to the ceiling. The reflected light was just enough for my camera if I turned everything up to 11, but if anyone (or anything) was caught in the direct light it was badly overexposed. It was tricky finding a compromise between the two.
Dan Murphy
I haven't gone through all that many of the pictures I took last night, but I am hoping there are some better pictures than the two I've shown here.

 I stayed through the interval instead of running away like I had planned before I realised the DJ wasn't playing complete and utter offensive garbage. However I still felt an urge to not stay too much longer. I suppose it was some sort of punishment that I had just put my camera away when Dan started doing all his party pieces - playing the guitar behind his head, or back. I watched through that feeling annoyed that I wasn't taking pictures of it, and when that song had finished I made my excuses and left (my excuse, which wasn't completely without merit, was the anti-histamines making me feel drowsy).

 Once out in the fresh air, and moving again, I felt sort of fine. I only had a few minutes wait for a 202 bus to take me back to Catford. The 202 and 54 buses take different routes back to Catford, and I am never sure which is the fastest. What I do know is that the 202 drops me off opposite the Favourite Fried Chicken shop - and I have to pass the shop to get home ! I ended up buying two chicken burgers on the way home, and they were delicious when I got there. Soon after eating them I went to bed, and with no coughing to keep me awake, I was soon asleep.

 I slept quite well last night, but I don't feel too wonderful this morning. I have a feeling it won't be too long before I am having my first snooze of the day. A fair bit of my day will be taken up with selecting and processing the pictures I took last night. Other than that there is only one thing I might do, and that is to go to Tesco. I will need to go there sooner or later, but there is no great rush. The reason I might go today is that the weather is forecast to be so awful tomorrow that I may be reluctant to open the curtains, let alone go out in it. If I wanted to live in winter I would move the the north pole ! At the moment I demand summer, and nothing less will do !

 Tomorrow starts week 2 with no contact with Angela. It is rather depressing.
Saturday 28th April 2018
 11:25 BST

  Yesterday was horrible. It was grey and wet as well as not being all that warm. The highest temperature was probably just 13° C, and that only lasted a couple of hours. The lowest temperature was just 8° C, although it felt lower.
                      grey and damp
  In theory today could be worse than yesterday. No sunshine is forecast so it is going to be another very grey day. The highest temperature will be a mere 10° C, and the lowest temperature 9° C. Originally there was going to be some light drizzle between 10 and 11am, but the latest update changes that to light rain at midday. Having just come back from the corner shop I can say that it may not be as bad as it sounds. During the brief time I was out the air seemed very still, and that made it feel much milder than the forecast 9° C. I could feel some moisture on my face, but somehow that just made the day feel very fresh. I wasn't as pissed off as I should have been ! Oh well, plenty of reasons to be pissed off with the weather tomorrow - a wetter version of today - and doubly so on Monday which is still forecast to be torrentially wet !!

  Yesterday was not a terribly exciting day. I had considered going out in the evening, and so I didn't bother to wash and get properly dressed until late afternoon, but because by then I decided I wouldn't be going out I didn't get around to washing and dressing all day long ! I did do two lots of laundry though. I probably could have done it in one batch, but just for once I thought I would keep the light coloured stuff away from the black t-shirts. Doing it in two smaller batches was also an easier, more relaxed way of doing it.

 Apart from one particular thing that I'll explain later, doing that laundry was the other highlight of a day of very few highlights. Maybe the biggest highlight was eating nothing but Chinese takeaway all day. Breakfast was egg fried rice with a bit of added ham. Lunch was chicken chow mein, and dinner was Singapore fried rice. I did have a later supper of a couple of corned beef hash crisp bakes, but they seemed very bland by comparison. Overall it was a very unhealthy eating sort of day....or was it ? The fried rice obviously would soak up a fair but of naughty fat/oil, but somehow it still seemed very dry. The chow mein was possibly the worst meal because that was slightly oily, and all that pasta can't be good for you.

 The great highlight of the day was going to bed. During the day I hardly had to blow my nose, and I hardly coughed at all. As usual I read in bed before attempting to sleep, but as 11pm (or was it 10pm ??) approached I put the book down, turned out the light, and then I turned on to my side. A few nights earlier, and even to a lesser extent the night before, that would have had me coughing my lungs up as mucus slid down my windpipe tickling my throat all the way. Last night that did not happen except once, and then only very briefly at about 3am.

 Potentially I could have had an excellent sleep last night, and generally it wasn't all that bad considering I had drunk 4 cans of Guinness shortly before going to bed. It was inevitable that in this day and age it would mean getting up several times in the night to "drain the excess off". Even with those interruptions to my sleep I still felt like I had had a useful amount of sleep, but more importantly it felt good to think that I appear to finally be over the cold that started a fortnight. It felt so good that after attending to a few things I went back to bed, turned on my side, and managed another half hour sleep before an incoming message woke me.

 That incoming message was to let me know that a parcel from amazon had arrived at the corner shop, and was ready to be picked up. That prompted me to get up, wash my hair, have a shower, and get dressed. With my hair still very damp I went to the corner shop to pick up the parcel. This time it was exactly what I had ordered. There was a little tub of comfrey cream - a sort of vaseline flavoured with comfrey root. A professional masseur  (Fran) assures it is the perfect remedy for things like the sore shoulder I had a couple of weekends ago.

 The other two items in the parcel were Dr Who DVDs. One is a newly released very old story featuring the second Doctor, Patrick Troughton. It has had the full panoply of digital restoration techniques thrown at it to make some very varied quality source material look presentable when stitched together to make a complete set of least that is what I believe. I hope it lives up to my expectations. The other DVD is actually a box set featuring 4 different storylines about the Sontarans - one of the Doctors many foes. I think I'll be getting several Saturday or Sunday morning visits from Aleemah to watch these DVDs with me.

 So far today I have embarked on one major project. I have started to wash a double duvet cover. At the moment it is soaking in detergent. The really hard part, the multiple rinsing, and finally fabric conditioning takes place a bit later. I really have no idea what I will be doing for the rest of the day - but I have a feeling it will involve a lot of varied reading. Tonight I definitely want to get out to a gig, but I only want to go to for a limited period of time. MT Pockets are playing in the Blackheath Royal Standard pub. It is easy to get to, and easier getting home. I can get either a 54 or 202 bus to get there. The only trouble it that they start at completely different bus stops in Catford. On the way home they both start from the same bus stop, and so I just get the first to arrive. The only downside is that this gig will also feature a DJ before and after, and in between sets that the band plays. It could be otherwise, and I could be totally flabbergasted, but in my experience a DJ at a pub plays utter and total shit music, and I won't want to hear any of it. My plan is to get there just as the band are starting, and get the hell out of there at the end of the first set !
Friday 27th April 2018
 10:05 BST

  After a start that defied the forecast by being much more sunny, the day settled down to pretty much follow the forecast. There was a lot of sunny intervals, although there were also a couple of unscheduled light showers. In the middle of the afternoon it was a reasonably mild 15° C, but by 7pm it was only 13° C, and feeling quite cool in the breeze.
wet, wet,
                      wet - and grey and miserable
  This morning started out as forecast with pouring rain. Since then it has been unpleasantly grey with occasional drizzle. Unfortunately it seems how it is now is how it will continue through the rest of the day. The day might reach 13° C for a couple of hours late in the afternoon or early evening, but the rest of the day is going to be even cooler. Unfortunately it seems that tomorrow, and the next few days after that, maybe slightly cooler of the day before, but with extra rain thrown in particularly on next Monday. That looks to be a truly dreadful day. Before then the days will only be bloody horrible !

   My cough is improving at such a slow pace that I have to look back to see that improvement. It doesn't feel much improved in the present...although maybe today is turning out to be an exception. Looking back I can say that my cough was behaving itself much better as yesterday progressed. I do wonder if the reducing pollen levels have been as beneficial as the anti-histamine tablets I am taking. If it is connected to pollen it is hard to see the connection, but it is a bit of novelty for me. Until now my spring time "hay fever" has needed no more than taking an extra tissue with me when going out - and that was only on the very worst days.

 I didn't really do anything of note yesterday until I went out for my late Thursday afternoon/early evening drink. I thought I could get away without wearing a coat at first, but I chickened out when I noticed there had just been a shower before I was going to go out. The venue for the drink was The Red Lion pub in a backstreet near Bromley North Station. It is an annoying pub to get to because all the best bus services from Catford head towards it, but miss it by almost half a mile. There is the 336 bus that stops outside Bromley North station, but that takes a tedious scenic route to get there. It seems to meander around in little circles visiting every tiny road in every estate. Riding on that bus can be incredibly frustrating (and going the full length of the route to Locksbottom, the only single bus way to get to a couple of venues there, is enough to make you want to slash your wrists).

 The best way to get to The Red Lion is to get a train to Bromley North station. It was easy in the days when I was coming home from work, and I decided to part emulate that yesterday. I caught a Cannon Street bound train as far as London Bridge station. It arrived on platform 3, and yesterday was the first time I had been to the newly rebuilt lower numbered platforms at London Bridge. Some things have changed hugely, and somethings not at all. One big difference is that when on a country bound train platform 1 is now on the left of the train instead of on the right. The thing that is still the same is the serpentine shape of the tracks through those low numbered platforms,
platforms 1 and 2 at London Bridge
  The newly rebuilt London Bridge station is modern, fresh, big and airy....and somehow lacks any warmth or personality !

  When I first stepped out of the house I was almost convinced that my chest would give me trouble as I walked to the station. It didn't, and perhaps that was more surprising considering I was outdoors where the pollen count should have been highest. I walked to the station much faster than anticipated, and felt fine when I got there. When I got to London Bridge it felt like I could part run up the escalators, and until I came up behind the man who was 10ft or so in front of me, forcing me to stop, I did half run up the steps - and it felt easy.

 I caught the Sevenoaks train from platform 7 to Grove Park station. Apart from a quick clear of my throat I still hadn't done any real coughing by then, and I was not expecting to feel completely knackered when I had to cross the foot bridge to get to the platform on the other side of the station where the shuttle train to Bromley North departs from. It was only about 15 minutes earlier that I felt OK to try and run up the escalator, and yet at Grove Park it felt like my legs had run out of power. Weird !

 That was not the only weird thing. When I got to platform 1 (I think it is 1) the information displays were saying the previous two trains were delayed, and that maybe the train I wanted was delayed indefinitely as well. There was one solitary announcement to that effect as well. On hearing that many people turned around and headed for the local bus stops. I stood my ground, and check for further info on my phone. One very useful website came to me rescue - -  This website allows you to see the actual movements of the trains as seen by the signalling system. It showed that the train from Bromley North, on its 5 minute journey to Grove Park had left on time, and would presumably be able to leave on time after the driver had changed ends to go back to Bromley North.
train approaching Grove Park
 At about the time I guestimated the train came around the bend and into the platform at Grove Park. At precisely 16:15, exactly as the timetable said it would, my "delayed" train left on time. 5 or 6 minutes later I was walking to the pub at an east, but brisk pace. When I got there I found that Chris was the only one there besides myself. There was some speculation as to who else might arrive. I knew that Jodie was trying to get there. She had chosen an even more complex route than me because she wanted to make sure that I was there first. The reason for that is that despite going there twice before she was convinced that she would get lost on the 5 minute walk to the pub. For the third time I had to go out and rescue her, and guide her to the pub.

 I Think I had 4 pints last night - only one of which I enjoyed. The enjoyable one was Brains SA. Another one was either called, or brewed by Dairygate. In some ways that one was annoying because it tasted nice, but left a terrible dry taste in my mouth. I left the pub at about my normal time. At Shortlands I get the 19:02 train. At Bromley North I got the 19:04 train. Walking to Bromley North station was easy, and the only negative aspect about it was that it was starting to feel a bit chilly in the breeze. I was glad I had decided to wear a coat.

 Once again the platform indicators said my train, and the previous trains were delayed, but once again we left spot on time. At Grove Park I changed to a bus instead of changing trains. For some very weird reason I felt extremely fatigued again at Grove Park station, but the effect seemed to wear off once I was outside the station - although maybe not enough to have tempted me to run for a bus if the need had arisen. There are 4 possible buses I can get back to Catford from Grove Park, and unlike coming from Catford, they all start from the same stop. Within a couple of minutes I was on a 136 bus passing innumerable take away food shops that were flooding the bus with all sorts of enticing aromas.

 I had two possible options for dinner when I got on, but passing all those takeaways twisted my mind. By the time I git home I had convinced myself I needed a Chinese takeaway - and that is precisely what I had. As usual I had to pad the order out to meet the minimum for delivery. I still have enough for a quite reasonable lunch today, and that is after having egg fried rice, with some added ham, for breakfast this morning !

 I went to bed feeling not stuffed, but comfortably full last night. Maybe that helped me feel sleepy, and maybe not snoozing much through the day helped a lot as well. I wasn't coughing much at all, but I didn't dare try and sleep on my side last night. It wasn't always very comfortable, but last night I did sleep fairly well just on my back. When I initially woke up I did feel a bit congested, and coughed up several lumps, as well as blowing all sorts out of my nose. After a while I got back into bed, turned on my side, and coughed - but I didn't cough much, and managed to get to sleep again.

 Now quite a few more hours have passed I feel like I am very, very close to being over the coughing hangover of the previous weekend's head cold. This means I could do stuff today, but I think anything I do is going to be strictly indoors. It looks filthy outside, and I have no desire to wrap up in a raincoat to frolic in the mud and the spray ! There is a slight possibility I might go to a gig tonight, but I have to do more research and think about it. I think I'll do some laundry this morning, but the rest of the day could well be a bit boring.
Thursday 26th April 2018
 11:41 BST

  I was expecting more, and longer sunny spells than how reality turned out to be yesterday. The temperature forecast for yesterday was probably about right with a few hours at 14° C, and the rest of the day 13° C and even less at the extremities. Rain was forecast but it didn't seem to fall at the right times, and it was most definitely early when it rained on me just after midday !
                      sunny spells
  The forecast for today is turning out as vague as the forecast yesterday. The forecast early morning sunniy intervals turned out to mean blue sky and non stop sunshine. Then reality caught up with the forecast. It is currently rather dull, but every so often the sun peeps out from behind a cloud for some minutes. The very latest version of the forecast says there is now an 82% chance of rain any minute now - and it is here, right on schedule - amazing !! By 3pm we should be back to sunny intervals and 15° C. That will suit my purposes nicely. Tomorrow looks like it will be a rather cool washout. The latest forecast now includes and official weather warning for next Sunday evening, and Monday. Torrential rain is expected then, and it might lead to a bit of flash flooding in some places !!

Yesterday was yet another quiet day where nothing that spectacular happened (does it ever ?). I suspect many days will be like this now I am no longer seeing Angela. Although I am not seeing her in person, nor contacting her by text or voice, I still see some of what she is up to via social media. I noted (and screenshot) something she posted yesterday evening.
screenshot of anxiety message
 One thing I know about Angela is that when she starts posting stuff like the above she is not happy - even if she claims differently. It tends to reinforce my delusion that the reason she want me to stop seeing her was that I was making her unhappy because I was making her too happy. She has set herself on a path that she can't get off, and to be reminded of just how happy and carefree she used to be when spending time with me was just too uncomfortable for her.  I think I feel more sorry for Angela than I do for myself. I am now back in my usual position of being alone and isolated, and I am so well practiced at it that it is almost like water off a ducks back. On the other hand it seems Angela has set up with yet another man who will bring her endless grief - just like her first two husbands, and for more understandable and forgiveable reasons, John, the man who died of cancer.  It is a cycle she can't even recognise, let alone break out of.

 There were a couple of useful things I did yesterday. The most important of which was also the quickest - emptying rubbish bin. Particularly those in the kitchen. The food waste container was probably contributing most of the bad smell in the kitchen. One of the problems with the biodegradable bags were supposed to use in the food waste bin is that they seem to be porous. As well as rotting food there was a sort of stinking soup in the bottom of the bin. I have now washed that out with boiling water. Once all the bin bags were out in their correct wheelie bins I did all the washing up. The kitchen smells much better now.

 The second thing of minor significance that I did yesterday was to go to Aldi. It was not a completely happy experience for three reasons. The first reason was that I could not find any ready made shepherds pies in the store. I have no memory of why I felt it was so important to buy a shepherds pie, but in desperation I bought a ready made cottage pie. It was nice enough, but no substitute. The second annoyance was that I wanted to buy some butter, but it seems I had a "senior moment"...albeit a sophisticated one. It seems one side of my brain was paying attention, and stopped my legs right buy the butter, but the other side of my brain had forgotten why I had stopped there !

  The third annoyance was the worst one, but it might have been something different. Much of the morning had been sunny, but the sun went in a few seconds before I started to walk to Aldi. When I had done my shopping, and left Aldi it started to rain, and I didn't have a coat. In fact I just had a short sleeved t-shirt on, and that rain felt very cold on my bare arms ! On the other hand it did feel like a bit of daring-do, defying the rain, and all that it could throw at me. Of course that only worked because I was walking home, and home was just 6 or 7 minutes away. Had I been travelling away from home, or in the middle of nowhere, it would have been reason to feel very miserable !

 There was one reason to definitely not feel miserable yesterday. I had a payslip through from my BT pension. I only get payslips from them if my pension changes by more than £1, and yesterday it did. I seemed to have had a small payrise based on inflation, or Retail Price Index, or some such gobbledygook, but I also had another special rise. My income tax has finally been brought up to date since quitting work last July. At long last my tax allowance is greater than my income, and so my pension is now effectively tax free. From the end of this month my extra pension will be enough for as much as an extra 25 pints of Guinness a month !  It is now feasible to actually live on my pension - but with nothing to spare, and only possible since not smoking, and more currently, not buying countless vodkas for Angela !

 I ate far too much yesterday, and most of it was bad stuff. Just the cottage pie would have been more than enough food for the whole day, but I also bought something I very, very rarely buy - a loaf of bread. It was multigrain bread so it does have some goodness that doesn't even make a scratch in the amount of bad carbohydrate in it. I had this crazy idea that I wanted sardines on toast, and that is exactly what I had for lunch yesterday. It was a very nice meal, and made a change, but it wasn't the ambrosia I was thinking it might be.

 The anti-histamine tablets I am now taking are, I'm sure, doing some sort of good, but they still haven't cured my cough. I was definitely coughing less yesterday, but it is my nose that has reaped the most benefit from those tablets. I think the occasion nose blow is now more habit than need. With less mucus flying around my chest is far less congested, but can still get very tickly. I managed to sleep fairly well last night, but it wasn't great sleep. I had to sleep laying on my back to stop coughing. This morning, after getting up for a pee, and to read an email, I went back to bed and tried to get more sleep. While doing that I had coughed up a few sticky lumps, and thought that was that, but as soon as I turned on my side I started coughing again.

 I have been coughing intermittently a lot again this morning, but it is now a mostly (75% ?) dry cough. I guess that is an improvement, although it is still very annoying. The rest of me feels in fair condition, although I think those tablets give me an occasional headache (the info leaflet with the tablets does mention headaches as a common side effects). I guess it is good news that my blood pressure continues to be very good for me.

 Today there is only one thing on the agenda. It's Thursday, and so it's Thursday evening drinking. Tonight we are drinking in The Red Lion. We haven't been in there since I was working. Getting from work was easy enough. I could get a train slightly earlier than my usual train from Waterloo, and that train would take me to Grove Park. At Grove Park I would get the shuttle train to Bromley North station. The pub is a 5 to 6 minute walk from Bromley North station. Getting home was more inconvenient, There were several possible routes, and all had their annoyances. To get there today I may go the long way round - because I can. I propose getting a train to London Bridge from Catford Bridge, and then getting a train to Grove Park. Then change for Bromley South. I have no idea how I will get home, but a bus from Grove Park back to Catford is a strong possibility.
Wednesday 25th April 2018
 09:37 BST

  There was at least one occasion when the sun peeped out for a few seconds, but overall it was a very dull and overcast day yesterday. It wasn't actually cold at 14° C, but it wasn't warm either.
sunny but
                      cool with a small chance of a shower
  Today will be no warmer than yesterday, but the sunny spells may make it feel more friendly. For a few hours from mid afternoon there could be some showers, but the chances at the moment seem minimal, and perhaps even ignorable. Tomorrow looks like it could be slightly nice. There could be a couple of hours where it is actually 15° C, and there should be sunny spells all day long with no current forecast for any rain - that is reserved for the day after - currently looking like a cold and wet day !

Not a great deal happened yesterday. As I wrote yesterday, I saw the vampires to give a blood sample to be checked for vitamin D deficiency, and noted that on this occasion the needle really stung as it pierced my skin. In the early afternoon I had more medical business. I received a text message from Boots to say that Patricia's prescription was ready to pick up. I didn't think I felt that good when I set out to go to Boots, but once again my legs were working far better than I thought. I'm not so sure about my upper body, but I felt fine when I got home. I might have even felt refreshed if I had thought about it the right way.

  Before I went to Boots I had to go to the toilet. It was lucky I didn't go out directly after that, or on reflection it wasn't luck at all. I had barely got downstairs when I had to rush to the toilet for another farty and splattery session. Curiously enough a similar thing has happened this morning. The only thing to link these two unpleasant things is rocket - the salad leaf. A few odd leaves of it may turn up in ready made salads, but the day before yesterday was the first time I had actually used it in my own salad "recipe". I definitely check the bag and it said "washed and ready to use". Maybe it is just coincidence, or maybe there is something in that weedy looking leaf that my body objects to.

 The one thing I did quite a lot of, and did successfully yesterday was snoozing. Now and then during the day I would have a little cough, but it seems the anti-histamine tablets I am taking have generally dried my nose up, and that has stopped dribbling snot down into my lungs (possibly). So most of yesterday I was feeling sleepy, but otherwise OK. After a boring hour or two watching TV I went to bed early in the evening, and lay on my bed reading. I think it was as 11pm approached I put the book down, closed my eyes as fell asleep for an hour.

 After that hour I think I was woken up by an incoming message to my phone. After checking that I decided to go to bed properly instead of just laying on my bed. I pulled the duvet over me, turned on my side, and straight away it felt like my airways were suddenly full of mucus. It was close to 3am this morning before I managed to settle down without coughing, and get back to sleep. It wasn't easy, but I managed to keep going back to sleep everytime I awoke until I gave up at about 8.30am.

 This morning I feel like I want to do the same as yesterday - snooze as much as possible - and yet I want to resist that and go out and stretch my legs. There are also two important jobs I want to do, although I could do them after I get back from any outing I might do. I desperately need to take the rubbish bags, particularly the food recycling bag out to the bins outside because the kitchen is starting to smell horrible at the moment. Doing the washing up will help too !

 Bearing in mind that it could rain this afternoon (and some heavy looking clouds are drifting across the sun even as I write this), I don't want to go to anywhere too exposed, or to go out for too long. I have this sort of desire to just ride a few tube trains somewhere. It is possible I may do no more than take a walk to Aldi. No doubt I report what, if anything, I achieve tomorrow.
Tuesday 24th April 2018
 09:20 BST

  Much of yesterday wasn't too bad, although it seemed the sunny spells were a bit sparser than the forecast seemed to predict. I am not sure the afternoon high actually reached the forecast 16° C. I wonder if it was closer to 14° C. Perhaps the breeze made it feel cooler than it actually was. The bigger problem was late evening and into the night. The temperature fell into that sort of no man's land where it is neither hot or cold. At midnight it was forecast to be 12° C, and a couple of months ago (or less) that would be considered luxury, but last night I was very tempted to leave a heater running through the night.
cool and
  Today is forecast to be rather cool and sunless. It certainly is cool, although provided I walked briskly I was just about comfortable going out briefly without  a coat. No sunshine at all is forecast for today, but there has been one moment when the sun broke through the clouds this morning, and there have been a couple more times when the sun has almost forced it's way through the clouds. This afternoon there is a 16 to 23% chance of rain. That sounds like there is a good chance that it will stay dry. Later on, from around midnight, that chance goes up to a more credible 34 to 41%. The latest update says there is a 54% chance of rain at 11am this morning ! Tomorrow could see a similar spread of temperature, but there should be some sunny intervals, but also a few showers too.

Yesterday evening was not terribly exciting. I was bored enough to consume more forbidden food, although in this instance there was a sort of valid, but ultimately poor reason. It was to take away the lingering taste of a rather healthy grilled salmon salad I had for dinner. It was much later in the evening when things became interesting. In the past, when Angela and I would have very intimate conversations, she used to tell me that her savior in times of strong stress (which was often while looking after John, the man who died of cancer, but also on more than one occasion while having trouble with her current "sweetheart") she would wash down anti-histamine tablets with vodka to get a good night's sleep.

 Last night I tried the same thing with my anti-histamine tablets. It did and didn't work. It might have just been pure exhaustion, although my cough had actually greatly subsided, but when my head hit the pillow at sometime around 10pm I fell asleep very quickly. Unfortunately the magic didn't last, and I was awake again before 1am. From then on I seemed to wake every 1 or 2 hours, and then spend 5 minutes clearing out my lungs before going back to sleep. It sounds pretty awful, but it was actually a great improvement on the previous few nights (or more).

 This morning I felt, and maybe even feel, pretty lousy. It was remarkably similar to a bad hangover, but I didn't drink that much vodka last night, and vodka rarely gives a bad hangover unless taken in silly amounts. Some of the problem was that I had woken up just before 7.30am, and I wanted to be at the vampires nest just before 8.30pm. So I forced myself to have a hot shower much earlier than I would have liked. Not all that much later I was dressed and ready to go to see the vampires.

 The purpose of this gruesome visit was to give a blood sample to measure my vitamin D level. Once again my plan worked. I got to the blood letting department about 5 minutes before they officially start at 8.30am, and I was walking out the door again by 8.40am. The nice lady vampire I saw was the same one I saw a couple of weeks back to give a blood sample to be checked for all sorts of things related to type 2 diabetes. On that occasion I could barely feel the needle enetr my skin. On this occasion I think she used the blunt square needle !

 This morning I think last night's anti histamine tablet (one per day !) is wearing off already. My nose seems a lot less dry than it was yesterday, and I am coughing a lot. It might still be an improvement on a couple of days ago, but I am expecting miracles. If things don't improve I could be tempted to take another tablet to see what happens. In the meantime I am still getting the drowsy effect. I have no hard and fast plans for today, and the idea of passing some of the time with a snooze seems quite attractive at the moment. Later on I could probably do some useful housework to what ever extent I feel up to it.
Monday 23rd April 2018
 17:47 BST

  Yesterday was the last of the warm days for a while. The morning was nice and sunny, and the afternoon was all sunny spells. The top temperature was 22° C, and it seemed to drop very slowly considering it was a very clear evening. It remained dry despite the small chance of rain forecast for late afternoon.
                      sunshine, but a rather cooler day
  The forecast for today was a bit over generous with the amount of sunshine predicted. From time to time we have had sunny spells, but more of the day has been dull and overcast. At least it has stayed dry ! The temperature has been just high enough to not need a coat provided you walk fast, but I keep think I should put a bit of heat on indoors for a bit more comfort. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a couple of degrees cooler, perhaps just 14° C, and there could be some rain in the morning, and then later in the evening. It looks like it will be a very dark grey day !

  My cold/cough seemed to be behaving itself a bit better yesterday, although it was very, very far from perfect ! As evening approached I thought that maybe I was stable enough to dare to go out. I had a strong desire to go out to the very first session of Stretchy's Open Mic at The Swan And Mitre in Bromley. From now on it will be every second Sunday there while the once a month at The Bricklayers Arms will continue as usual. I didn't feel too bad at first. My cough was intermittent, and not severe, and drinking Guinness help damp down any tickles from my throat. Eventually something had to give, and I had one severe fit of coughing that actually made me feel light headed for a moment. I knew at that point I had to finish my drink, and make tracks home.
Stretchy opening the session
Here's Stretchy starting the session off (with Rob Todd on the cahoun).
Rod Todd and acoustic guitar
Rob Todd had to use an acoustic guitar, and sounded so much better for it.

 One good thing about The Swan And Mitre is that it is very close to the bus stops - both coming and going. I was able to see a bus coming from up the road, and get to the bus stop without having to rush too much for my bus home. It was a tedious journey for some reason. Usually it seems far less tedious going home from Bromley, but the bus was very busy on a Sunday night. When I eventually got home I wanted to avoid eating too much. Ideally I didn't want to eat anything at all, but I compromised on a chunk of Dutch Edam cheese. Some say it has less calories than cheddar, but I don't see how.

 So I ate my chink of cheese like a cartoon mouse, and checked the internet for anything worth looking at - there was nothing. As I seemed to be between coughing, and relaxed, I decided to check my blood pressure. It was lower than I have ever seen it, although well above the danger level. It might explain why I had one or two spells of feeling slightly light headed during the evening. I then went to bed, and as soon as my head hit the pillow (and I turned on my side) my cough started up.

 It took ages to get to sleep, and even when I did get to sleep I woke up many times, and faced the same problem when I tried to get back to sleep again. I actually woke up with the bed damp with sweat - which might equally have been a good or bad sign. It all strengthened my resolve to get an appointment with a doctor. At 9am I put the phone on redial, and 10 minutes later I got through to the surgery. I was offered an appointment with a doctor for 9.15am - which was very handy.

 The doctor I saw was one of the better ones. I can't recall if I have ever seen him before or not. The great thing about him is that he wanted to help instead of lecture. He listened to my chest and said he heard some congestion, but he didn't think there was any infection. Within a few minutes, after I fed him some biased, but true information, he came to the same conclusion that I had come to. That was that I was probably getting over my head cold  a week ago when I was suddenly deluged by an unexpected high pollen count. Maybe he has had some similar complaints from other patients. He suggested anti-histamines to reduce the allergic impact. Being a nice man he said that he may as well prescribe them for me even though they are available over the counter without prescription.
anti histamines
  If it had been the case that I had to pay for my prescriptions it would have been more expensive to get the prescription fulfilled compared to an over the counter sale. Being over 60 my prescriptions are free. The other thing this nice doctor did was to listen seriously to my observation that my unusually (for me) low blood pressure reading seem to be the result of taking vitamin D tablets. I asked if that was the case, might it be due to a vitamin D deficiency, and was there any ramifications to that. He thought it a little unlikely, but said he was more than happy for a blood test to check my vitamin D level. He printed off the form for it, and I'll pop in and see the vampires tomorrow morning to give another armful of blood.

 I took one of the anti-histamine pills as soon as I got home from the pharmacy, and until 5 minutes ago it seemed to be starting to work. One thing these pills do, or can do, is to make you feel drowsy, and I have managed a couple of short snoozes without coughing. I will take another pill tonight, shortly before going to bed - the time I will normally take then in future. I am crossing my fingers that I might get some decent sleep tonight.

 Today was the first day of (possibly) never seeing Angela ever again, but it didn't seem so bad. I thing that realising it was just a summer romance from 2016 made it seem more rational in some irrational way. Not only that but I have had plenty to do today. I have spent quite a bit of time dealing with the photos I took last night for one thing. I also had to run an errand for Patricia. For the third time I went to Boots to see if I could pick up her repeat prescription. This time there was part good news and part bad news.

 The good news is that they now have the repeat prescription OK. The bad news is that they are out of stock of the tablets Patricia wants. They have taken my phone number and will text me when it is ready to be picked up. I doubt it will be more than a day or two. After Boots I went to Poundworld. I wanted to buy medical supplies from there even though I could have got them from Boots (and where they might even have been a few pennies cheaper), but I also wanted some other stuff. I was feeling a bit low this afternoon. Some of it was of course the Angela situation, but the cool dull weather was taking it's toll too. I had terrible naughty desires for forbidden food this afternoon !

 On top of other reasons for feeling bored/depressed, I was feeling sort of claustrophobic (the best word I can think of, but not really correct). I have had a strong desire to go out exploring/walking in the warm sunny weather we have had, but you can't really do that when feeling ill and unfit. I noticed that when I went to Boots the lower part of my body was working really well, but my upper half felt crap ! I hope I can get the top half working properly soon so I can get out into the wild world again soon.
Sunday 22nd April 2018
 13:20 BST

  Yesterday wasn't quite as warm as the day before, but it was briefly 24° C, and that was still pretty good. The big difference was that there was some rain yesterday (or was it this morning ?). I think it might just have started before midnight, but as far as I was concerned, it was safely tucked away in the night. A little earlier in the evening I thought I heard what might have been very distant fireworks, but it was probably a thunderstorm raging many, many miles from here.
the slow
                      slide to more mediocre weather
  The weather continues to deteriorate. It is possible, although maybe unlikely, that it will rain at 4pm today, but mostly it will be sunny with a pleasant, but unexciting high of 22° C. Tomorrow may have sunny intervals, or even sunny periods, but the top temperature will be down to 17° C. The day after may be no cooler, but we will likely be wrapped in thick dark cloud...and then it get's even worse !

  Yesterday was a quiet sort of day. I did two lots of laundry, but that was about the only constructive thing I did. Maybe the most significant thing was that at some unknown time my nose became almost dry. The pollen count was still high yesterday, and so if my nose became almost dry it suggests I had beaten back some sort of bug. It was one of those things that happen without you realising it, and so you cannot put a time on it happening. It was only when I was laying on my bed quietly reading sometime in the late afternoon that I realised I was breathing quite freely through my nose.

 My nose not dripping must have a beneficial effect on my cough, because I am convinced that most of what I cough up is what has dripped down my windpipe from inside my nose. In some respects it has improved my cough, and I think I am coughing less, and coughing less up when I do cough. Of course this can be a difficult time when a cough changes from wet to dry, and sometimes I think I am there now (at other times I don't).

 I wanted to go to see Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms last night, and while I could have forced myself to go out, I didn't feel that I was recovered enough to enjoy it - plus there was the chance of being caught in a thunderstorm coming home again. I do have this irrational guilt about not going - sort of letting Jo and Chris down, but it was probably the wisest decision.

 Instead of going out I made a very unwise decision. I had eaten a big salad at lunchtime, and my intention was to try and not each much more for the rest of the day. That blew out when I decided I had to have a pizza. I have no idea what put that thought in my mind, but I ended up ordering a 12" thin crust pizza and some peri peri chicken. The chicken was to eat today. It turned up remarkably quickly, and I have to confess I enjoyed it immensely !

 I watched about an hour of TV after eating, and then I part retired to bed to do some reading. Sometime between 10 and 11pm I decided it was time to turn the light out, and try for sleep. I had had a couple of decent snoozes during the day, and sleep did not come easy. All the time I had been reading I was breathing through my nose, and not coughing. As soon as I turned on my side to sleep I started coughing. Eventually I got to sleep, but it was a very interrupted sleep. At some time in the night I woke up with my mouth and throat so dry that it felt like it was stuck together and I couldn't breath.

 At sometime after sunrise, when it seemed the sun was almost shining through my curtains, I gave up trying to have the one good period of sleep I thought I needed so much. Since then I have been quite lazy. I thought I would try and work out some plan of action before I started writing, but I couldn't conceive of anything that I thought I would want to do - apart from maybe tonight when I might consider going to the first session of Stretchy's Open Mike at his second venue - The Swan And Mitre in Bromley.

 It is probably no surprise that the thing uppermost in my mind most of the time is that of never seeing Angela again. Eventually it inspired me to look back through my photo archives, and in particular to the short period of time when she was all mine. When in most senses we were "a couple". Perhaps after looking back it I realise it was no more than a summer romance. The sort of thing so many teenage songs of angst have been written about, and just like in those songs it seemed like summer would last forever, and yet looking back it might have been a blink of an eye.

 It was a time that I wished I had taken more and better photos of Angela. I also wish I could put dates on when we first started to meet after work to when she announced we could no longer sleep together because she had fallen in love with a 75 year old man who was dying of cancer. Of course all these dates are contained in these blogs if only I could be bothered to go through them with a fine tooth comb. Maybe I will later, but here are some of the photos I took during what was probably the highlight of my life. Other times have been good, and even very good, but my months with Angela felt like ecstasy.
Angela 6th Aug 2016
13th Aug 2016
13th Aug 2016
                              Aug 2016
25th Aug 2016
                              Aug 2016
                              Aug 2016
                              Sept 2016
                              Sept 2016
                              Oct 2016
29th Oct 2016
                              Oct 2016
Saturday 21st April 2018
 08:29 BST

  It was another hot and sunny day yesterday. Not quite as hot as the day before, but quite close with a maximum of 25° C.
a little
                      cooler than the day before
  Today marks the beginning of the end (in more than one way). The sunshine may be more diffuse today, or it might consist of sunny periods or intervals. The mid to late afternoon temperature could still hit 24° C. It will be after sunset that things could get lively. There seems to be a smallish chance of rain, and it seems it might get heavy enough for a summer thunderstorm around midnight. The temperature continues to drop over the next few days, but the good news is that tomorrow, and next Monday should still be sunny. The greyness that was predicted for Monday now looks like it will happen on Tuesday.

  I experimented with some foul tasting nasal spray yesterday. I had a theory that the reason my cough has lingered so long since the worst of last weekends head cold was over was that I was also suffering from hay fever - although in my case it is likely to be an allergy to some types of tree pollen. Most years I get a very light, generally ignorable hay fever like effect in the spring. Maybe this year, with the pollen forecast (seen at the bottom left of the weather forecast screenshot) going from nothing to very high just as my head cold was finishing may have had a bad effect. I certainly seemed to be producing some very runny snot, and I suspect some of it was running down my throat instead of dripping out my nose. It is that snot that I have possibly been coughing up.

 I think that maybe that nasal spray did the trick for a while. When I walked to Lewisham Park to meet Angela my nose felt dry, and I hardly coughed at all for a couple of hours. It is possible the nasal spray might have also had a negative effect that I experienced later yesterday. While it worked it was very pleasant to sit out in the sun with Angela. We seemed to have a good time, and enjoyed a bucks fizz popsicle each, but it seems there were undercurrents I was not aware of. There are two possible explanations for these undercurrents, and although my preferred one is probably delusion, I am going to cling to it like a drowning man clutching a straw....not that it makes any difference in the long one.

 What may have triggered a message I got a little later was that I mentioned that the stress was taking it's toll on Angela's looks, and that she no longer looked under 50 years old (she is actually 63 years old). I then went on to say that it was a shame she was no longer allowed to spend more time with me. I reminded her how she always used to say that when she came to my place she didn't have a worry in the world, and could be totally relaxed. To partly offset saying that her face was showing more worry lines I complimented her on how her bum still looked so pert and perfectly shaped.

 I didn't detect any negative change in mood while we were in the park, and we discussed the future as far as next Monday. Monday was forecast to be rather dull, and Angela seemed quite keen when I suggested we should meet in the pub. It wasn't until we had walked to within a dozen yards of her workplace that I detected a slight change of mood, a slight coolness, but she still said we would probably meet in the pub on Monday. Less than an hour later I got a text from her.
dumped by text
 The slightly strange thing is that I can't recall saying anything about Paul (aka Lover Boy). Although it was obviously him I was alluding to when I said she was no longer allowed to spend further time with me. For  my own peace of mind I have chosen to imagine a different reason for this. It is my belief that I was proving too tempting, and reminding Angela of how we used have times when she was totally relaxed, and totally happy was a step too far for her. This was particularly pertinent because although she says she is happy with lover boy, there have been plenty of times when she hasn't been, and I have detected some stress in that direction just recently.

 It was my original plan to give up on Angela for the new year, but the reason I didn't was because she definitely wasn't happy with lover boy then, and they came within a gnats whisker of breaking up. It probably is a good idea it has happened now, just 4 months late. It has been something I have been thinking about for some time. Of course that doesn't make it any easier, or less painful, but if I try hard enough I can see it as liberating (although I haven't worked out how yet). It certainly makes it less frustrating taking pictures that I am not allowed to share with a greater audience.
Angela on the phone to her daughter
 One such "forbidden picture" - Angela on the phone to her daughter (possibly discussing me !). All the pictures of Angela I have shown on these pages are forbidden in the wider world, and I can only show them here because of the total, obscurity of my own web pages - very few people know they exist, and almost no one reads them - if indeed anyone at all.
Lewisham Park
 This is another forbidden picture - Angela took a very similar snap and uploaded it to a popular social media web site, and if I had uploaded this one some may have put 2 and 2 together, and realised we were having a secret meeting together in the park.

   I only had one meal yesterday, and hardly any snacks. This is as it should be, and has to be if I am ever to get back into several pairs of trousers. My single meal was quite a simple feta cheese salad. It is my belief that it should have been quite low in calories. I had planned on something a bit more substantial later, but my appetite was taken over by certain events.The effects of that nasal spray had worn off by late in the afternoon, and by early evening I decided it was time for an extra squirt of the stuff. This time it seemed to have a bad effect. It certainly didn't help my coughing, and I made the tragic mistake of trying to swallow my evening pills between two coughs.

 Next time I will know better ! As I tried to swallow those pills with a new cough bubbling up from below, one of the pills got stuck to the roof of my mouth, and made me gag. I came extremely close to losing my earlier lunch. I definitely had to stand over the toilet for a few minutes, and dribbled lots of saliva, but fortunately no lunch came up. Once I had settled down a bit I tried again, and this time those pills went down easily enough - just as they have for almost the last 5 years.

 The other possible negative effect of that nasal spray may have have been to my heart rate. It was only yesterday that I started monitoring my blood pressure again after I decided to see the effect of not taking Bisoprolol, one of my blood pressure control drugs. It has always seemed that this drug has a very small effect on my blood pressure, and that the vitamin D I have been taking seems to have a far greater effect. My morning check showed everything normal (my new normal since taking vitamin D), but at 7.30pm my blood pressure was a bit high. It was still in the bounds of acceptable, but it was my pulse rate that alarmed me. I had never seen it so high before.

 I checked with my blood pressure meter (which also shows my pulse rate) several more times during the evening, and it seemed like my blood pressure was continuing to rise, and my pulse rate stayed unusually high. Much of this was probably stress (and I had sort of had my heart broken earlier in the afternoon). At 10pm I was feeling a bit strange, and decided it might be a good idea to gather a few essential together in case it seemed prudent to wander along to the hospital to get it checked out. I also decided I had better see what the effect would be of taking my daily dose of Bisoprolol again. As I waited I carefully read all the info on the leaflet packed in with those pills, and I noted it didn't mention pulse rate at all. It may have been coincidence, although that seems unlikely, but half an hour later my blood pressure and pulse rate had returned to normal.

 I should have been able to sleep OK by then, but three things intruded. For one thing it was hot and sticky (although it cool off quite a bit in the night). For another I had lots of things on my mind, and lastly my nose was stuffy and I was coughing a lot - mostly when I tried to lay on my side. I don't know how much sleep I got last night. I obviously got some because I remember a dream about amateur rocketry. In this dream some enthusiast had built a two stage rocket that should have been capable of making it into space. That didn't make up for all the sleep I didn't get.

 I don't feel that wonderful this morning. I think I only have three things to do today, and in order of most likely that I will do them, they are - wash a few t-shirts (that are already soaking in detergent). Go to Tesco to buy more salad stuff. I have been recommended to try tarragon in a salad, and so I need to remember to keep an eye out for that. Lastly I would like to go to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Chatterton Arms tonight, and it can sometime be a fairly reasonable pub. It all depend on how many extra bodies are in there to watch football or rugby, or whatever. If it is too crowded with football hooligans it can be a bad experience. I have no idea how I will feel tonight, but I don't seem to be off to a good start. I might also get scared of the prospect of coming home in a thunderstorm. On these warm nights I would prefer not to wear a coat, but I think one will be essential if I do get out tonight.
Friday 20th April 2018
 08:08 BST

  There can be no denying it, it was hot yesterday. The sun pouring down from a clear blue sky took the temperature up to 27° C. I wish I had been able to enjoy it properly.
                      hot sunny day
  It's going to be another hot sunny day today, although not quite as hot as yesterday. There are supposed to be a few clouds in the sky this morning and evening, and the forecasts reckons they will occasionally dim the sun. Today is only expected to reach 25° C. So a little less shock to the system than yesterday was. Tomorrow will probably be similar to today, but each will be 2° cooler than the day before.

  This cough of mine became quite annoying yesterday. I am almost regretting going out on Wednesday night now. Early on Wednesday evening I thought I was just about over the cold that spoiled my weekend, but it seems it was revived with a vengance. Sometimes it wasn't too bad yesterday, but there were times when it was intensely annoying. It was probably a good thing that I didn't see Angela yesterday. She gave me warning that she would be shopping during the lunchbreak yesterday. That was a shame because it would have been nice to carry on where we left off the previous day. On the other hand it would not have been nice to spend the whole time coughing.

 There was also the thing that I hadn't realised earlier - that my right elbow was sun burnt. My skin is starting to tan now, but it was lily white after a sunless winter, and this sudden hot sun came as a surprise to it. I did venture out into the very early afternoon sun to go to Boots to see if there was a repeat prescription waiting there for Patricia. There wasn't, but the pharmacist sent a request through to Patricia's GP to authorise a repeat prescription, and she suggested it could be ready for me to pick up the afternoon.

 It was on my first attempt to go to Boots that the lady in the corner shop shouted out to me, and beckoned me over to the shop. She had an amazon parcel in there for me. It was the one that got lost, and seemingly replaced by one that had nothing to do with me. As I think I must have said before, I contacted amazon about the mix up, and arranged to send that parcel back to amazon. After that things got a bit complicated because I ended up dealing with two different customer assistants. It seemed like one of the refunded a couple of the items that didn't arrive, and the second gave me a refund for other bits. In the meantime they would send me replacements for bit they hadn't refunded me for. At this point I remain very confused about what to expect, and now that confusion is double because I now have the original order thanks to the nice lady in the corner shop. She called amazon while I waited in the shop, and explained that the parcel wasn't on her manifest, and that I hadn't been sent an email to tell me to collect it, but it was clearly for me. Amazon told her she may as well just give it to me, and they can worry about the paperwork later, or not at all. It is possible I am going to end up with a couple of duplicate books out of this.

 I wasn't looking forward to travelling to my Thursday evening drink yesterday. My chest felt so congested that I thought the walk to the station would be very arduous. It wasn't the most pleasant walk, but I did it in about the usual time, and I still had energy and breath left to go up the long stairs to the platform at Catford station. It wasn't until I had walked to the far end of the platform that I felt absolutely knackered. While I was moving I wasn't coughing much, but once I stopped I could hardly stop. It was lucky I had a 5 minute wait for the train or I would have been coughing not stop on the train - although I was still coughing more than I would have liked.

 It took the first two pints of beer to calm my chest and throat down, but having to slightly raise my voice against the usual background hubbub of a pub would often start me coughing again. I did have some sort of fanciful notion that I might only have two pints of beer last night, but in the end I had 4 pints. That added bulk made me definitely wheezy as I walked home from the station. It was a different set of pains, but it reminded me of walking back when I was suffering from angina. The other big difference is that I didn't have to stop to relax for a few tens of seconds like I did when I had angina. It was still rather unpleasant.

 Despite the heat I had a hot dinner when I got in last night. I had eaten very little during the day, and so for dinner I had two calorie controlled ready meals (approx 400 calories each). It wasn't too long after finishing eating that I decided to slowly head for bed. I turned the fan on that has been unused since the end of last summer, and set it on low. Then I lay down in that gentle air flow and started reading. It wasn't all that long after 9pm that I decided to put the book down and try for sleep. For a lot of the night I slept on my back because I seem to cough less like that, and I seemed to manage to get a reasonable amount of sleep.

 I only remember waking once or twice before I noticed it was getting light outside. I didn't seem to sleep much after that. It was barely past sunrise when I was up washing dishes. I am not exactly sure why I decided that would be a good time to do some washing up. Maybe it was just a matter of seizing the moment, and doing what I had put off doing for too long. I have to confess that I had run out of plates, and had almost run out of cutlery by this morning.

 This morning I seem to feel half and half. If anything I feel like I did last Tuesday morning. Bit of me feel quite good, and it feels like the cough is subsiding again. I'm sure it is less chesty, and less congested, although my throat still tickles far too frequently. I intend to try and look after myself today. There are just two things I want to do today, and I can combine them with luck. I hope I am meeting Angela in the park today, and then on my way home I can call into Boots to see if Patricia's prescription has come through, and been made up. I intend to spend the rest of the day resting. With luck it will involve lots of reading and snoozing. Despite one temptation I will not go out tonight. I want to go out tomorrow night, but I intend to stay silent at that gig in case it annoys my throat and chest again !
Thursday 19th April 2018
 10:00 BST

  Yesterday can only be described as excellent. Lots and lots of sunshine, and the temperature reaching 23° C.
                      hotter than yesterday
  Today is going to be excellenter (or better than excellent) than yesterday. There will be even more sunshine, and today the temperature should reach 26 or even 27° C. The only peculiar thing is the rather limited intelligence of my electronic thermometer with barometer and hygrometer says we are due for rain. This could be because it is confused after one of the outdoor sensors seems to have failed. Tomorrow may see the slow decline to more seasonal weather with temperature back to the mid teens in a few more days time - still dry and sunny though !

  The annoying cough that re-started after getting up yesterday morning eventually subsided again, and I was able to enjoy the rest of the afternoon, and on into early evening with no annoying cough (except for the occasional need to clear my throat). I actually felt fairly good when I set out to meet up with Angela. Yesterday we met in Lewisham Park, and so I didn't do my usual walk through Ladywell Fields.
a stand of white daffodils
 I hadn't been in Lewisham Park since last autumn when it became to cool to meet Angela in there. Yesterday it was showing all the signs of spring. I didn't realise just how many spring plants there were in there like these white daffodils.
white bells or snow drops
 I should know if these "white bells" are snowdrops, but it seems I am ignorant in that respect. Anyway, they looked very nice and spring like, but the nicest sight of all sat on the bench next to me.
Angela looking nice and seasonal
 We had a lovely hour in the park under the hot sunshine. I took along a couple of alcoholic frozen popsicles for us to enjoy as we talked about this that and the other. It was one of those meetings where the empathy was really high. Not only did we talk about stuff we had bother experienced in the past, but surprisingly some of the stuff we had shared together in the past. I am sure I heard more than a hint of nostalgia about some of the times we spent together. At the end of Angela's lunchbreak she seemed so happy, and thanked me for a very pleasant break (she usually thanks me, but yesterday I am sure it was a notch or three above just being polite).

 Walking home was far easier without three pints of Guinness swilling around inside me, and I would have made very good time if it wasn't for two things. One thing was my feet felt sore. I think it is time for a change of shoes. The other thing was the faster I walked the closer I got to panting, and that was starting to trigger my cough. Fortunately it was lovely weather to take things a little slower. Once again that odd thing would happen that I used to find when walking to work - the threshold between no effort and a lot of effort seems to be wafer thin. It used to take 9 minutes to walk from the station to work as fast as I could walk, puffing and blowing all the way, and 8.5 minutes by walking at what seemed like a very easy pace. Walking home yesterday seemed to take hardly longer, and yet I took it at an easy pace. Why do I prefer to rush if I gain so little ?

 When I got home I was determined not to eat a full lunch. In fact I ate very little. It was partly because I had a cunning plan. Angela had asked me if Aldi sold salmon steaks or cutlets, and coriander leaf. I said I was sure they did, and at just before 4pm I walked to Aldi to check for myself, and with the hope of bumping in to Angela. Sadly our aths didn't cross, but I suspect that we both had grilled salmon with salad flavoured with coriander. I tried to make the salad look similar to the way Angela prepares her salads (the Greek way, probably). A picture of my salad ended up on a well known social media web site, and it would be funny if Angela's lover boy saw it, and wondered why his dinner looked, or at least had similar ingredients to mine.

 Having had a nice healthy sort of very late lunch/very early dinner I had a nice rest before preparing to go out again. I wanted to go to two different open mic sessions last night, but the Whitestar 2nd anniversary open mic session was the easier to get to, and had one more attraction beyond it being a special anniversary occasion.
Roy Dalley
 For a while now I have had some pain from my right shoulder, and it is definitely made worse when carrying anything heavy - and I had made it worse when carrying 12 litres of drink, plus other stuff home from Aldi earlier on. So I decided not to take my big camera, and to rely on my little Canon iXus 285 pocket sized camera. In some cases I got pictures that were just as good as using my big camera - but the deficiencies were very noticeable on other pictures.
Jason Stamper playing the blues
 At the start of the session there were not that many people there, and it was easy to move around, and there were less people to talk to. That was a significance that would soon rear it's head. Fortunately one person who was there was Fran.
 With hindsight I don't think Fran photographs well under a close, and bright flash, but it was lovely to see her. When she heard that I wasn't carrying my heavy camera case because my shoulder was sore she immediately said that what I needed was to rub in some comfrey cream. Apparently it is like black vaseline - sounds lovely !! - but she swears it works for all sorts of muscle/bone/joint/etc ache. Fran is a masseur by trade, and should know her stuff - and I think she does. As well as the usual hugs and kisses I was treated to an instant 10 second massage of my arms and shoulders as we stood at the bar. It actually felt like it did something good, although I am not sure what, but was certainly enjoyable.

 The only trouble last night was that I had to raise my voice to be heard above the music, and that took it's toll on my throat. I had to leave quite early because my cough was starting to get really annoying. I struck lucky when I left the pub because I only had to wait about a minute for a bus. When I got home I wanted something to eat, but I wanted to keep it to a bare minimum. My choice of a minimum was not a good choice, although it was very small. It was a small pack of sliced chorizo type stuff. It was only a few ounces, but of course it was quite greasy.

 Having had my nibble I went to bed. It was about 11pm by then, and I would have loved to have fallen into a deep sleep, but my cough had really taken a grip again, and I ended up having a lousy night. Even when I did manage to get to sleep I would wake up with a dry mouth, and coughing again. At other times I would wake with one or other leg about to go into cramp. On one occasion it seemed like my left hand, the hand that is still partly numb since my operation in 2013, was starting to get some sort of cramp in it.

 It was not a good night at all, and to make matter worse I got an early morning message from Angela saying she can't seem at lunchtime because she is going to go shopping for food. Personally I would have preferred to get my shopping after work so I didn't have to leave it under my desk all afternoon, and I would have less distance to carry it if I bought it on the way home. Perhaps it is a blessing in disguise even though I was so looking forward to trying to pick up where we left off yesterday.

 It would have been great to sit out in the park in the sunshine with Angela, but as I realised this morning there could be a downside to it. It was while taking a shower under water that is now a little warmer than ideal in this summery weather, that I noticed that there was one bit of my body where that water felt scalding hot. I hadn't noticed it before, but around my right elbow I have some strong sunburn. It is the penalty for strong sunshine coming on so suddenly. Most years I manage to build up my resistance to strong sunlight slowly before the summer. Prior to September 2013 I would top it up in small increments everytime I went out into the yard at work for a smoke.

 Today I have a possible three things on the agenda. One is to rest my throat as much as possible, maybe while catching up on some lost sleep, in the hope this cough subsides again. This afternoon I need to pop around to Boots to see if they have a repeat prescription made up for Patricia. I am not sure what the outcome will be if they have (or haven't), but I am hoping that Patricia will decided to attend the seminar in London on 3rd May, and will visit me to pick up that prescription. The next thing on my agenda will be to go to Shortlands for the Thursday early evening drink. The final thing is to resist eating as much as possible. I am planning a very light salad for lunch, and I'll see how it goes from there.
Wednesday 18th April 2018
 09:03 BST

  It would have been better if there was less cloud, and the sun had stayed out non stop, but yesterday was still pretty impressive. It was definitely warmer than mild, and the sun felt deliciously warm. I think there was a good chance that the temperature did hit the forecast high of 19° C.
like the
                      first day of summer
  Today should be like the first day of summer. Despite the forecast saying there should only have been sunny intervals for the first few hours of daylight it seems there has been continuous sunshine all morning. All being well it should stay this way until sunset according to a newer forecast than the screenshot above. All this sunshine should push the temperature up to 23° C. I'm not sure if that is high enough to be called hot, but it's not far from it. Tomorrow should be hot. The latest forecast predicts 26° C, and that is only 4° less than the lower limits of "scorching" !

  I felt much better yesterday morning, but I still felt the lingering effects of the cold I had been suffering from. I mentioned that my cold might have officially ended with a high fever at a little while after midnight yesterday, and I think I was correct coming to that conclusion. It certainly marked the point when I stopped frequently coughing, and when I had to keep blowing my nose. Unfortunately it left a bit of a legacy that I am, or was still feeling this
morning. Yesterday I felt it as a form of tiredness....or maybe fatigue is a better description.

 It may have been the exhilaration of walking through the park in sunshine, with the smell of fresh mown grass that distracted me from feeling less than good, but I did note that it felt good to get to the pub, and sit down. Once again I got a text message from Angela asking me if I was there, but on this occasion it was more the case that I might have decided to meet her in the park. I didn't think it was quite good enough to sit in the park, but with hindsight it might have been a good idea for a few reasons.

 I had a pleasant, but not terribly exciting drink with Angela. It was a bit shorter than usual because she was running late again. That was fine except for one thing, and that was the timing of it all was such that I ended up having three pints of Guinness instead of the two I was aiming for. The day before I was in quite a bit of discomfort walking home from the pub with three pints of Guinness swilling around inside me at the same time that my lungs felt full of crap as well. Yesterday was not so bad, and in a feat of stupid bravado I even took the slightly longer route home. Instead of turning right when exiting the pub I turned left, and walked through the path at the back of St Marys church to enter the park close to the Ladywell end. It allowed a couple of extra photo opportunities.
little blue flowers in macro mode
Little blue flowers taken in macro mode.
daisy close up
Another close up - this time a daisy.
perfectly posed pigeon
A perfectly posed pigeon.

  I was glad to be able to stop to take some snaps as I walked home. I still felt a bit short of breath if I went too fast, and the legacy of all the coughing I had done was a sore chest. On top of that was fatigue. By the time I got home I was very happy to sit down, but not before I had prepared some lunch in the form of an over dressed ham salad. I will confess I went back to mayonnaise instead of a lighter plain vinegar and oil, and I used far too much of it. After eating that lunch I lay on my bed, and it wasn't long before I was asleep.

 I don't know how long I slept for, but I don't think it was for as long as an hour. After I woke I didn't do anything of note until 8.30pm when I went to bed. I fell  asleep really quickly, and I mostly slept well. I have vague memories of getting up for a pee once or twice, and vague memories of some dreams. It wasn't until 6am that my sleep became very light. I could have got up then, but I seemed to be able to go to sleep again. That happened a couple of times before I decided that it was time I got out of bed.

 This morning is rather nice in one aspect. For the last half hour or more I have been sitting here in perfect comfort with all the windows open.  There has also been an aspect that has not been so nice. I hardly cough yesterday evening, and I didn't seem to cough through the night, but this morning I felt like I was still smoking 59 fags a day. As soon as I started moving around I started coughing up great lumps from seemingly deep in my lungs. Some lumps needed a bit of effort to cough up. As time has passed I am coughing less and less. Hopefully I will completely stop soon, and it would be nice if my lungs felt clear again.

 I was not sure what I would be doing today. I had ideas that I might go for a walk along the coast somewhere, or maybe an inland, country walk. I am not confident I am up to that yet, and so an idea is coming together for a compromise. I think what I might do is go for a walk through a couple of the local parks, and end up in Lewisham Park where I could meet Angela. If that does not completely wear me out I probably ought to change the sheets on my bed...and if that doesn't completely knacker me I could start to wash them. They do need changing and washing. I fear they are getting rather smelly after so many fevered sweaty nights !

 I've just remembered, there is a plan B. That plan has me going to one of two possible open mic nights tonight. I originally wanted to go to the MT Pockets open mic at The Iron Horse in Sidcup, but then I learned that tonight is the 2nd anniversary of the Whitestar open mic at The Partridge in Bromley. Assuming I feel up to going out tonight, there are are two factors that could help me choose between venues. There is the possibility that Angela could turn up in Bromley with lover boy. As yet she has not mentioned the possibility, but it is something to be aware of. I don't want to be in the same place as Angela and lover boy, and doubly so if he is not tethered to his drum kit ! If I get any advanced warning he will be there I will be elsewhere. On the other hand it is likely that Fran would be in Bromley, and a cuddle and kiss from Fran would be ever so welcome. Back in the real world, the chances are I will be knackered and asleep in bed before either gig starts !
Tuesday 17th April 2018
 08:15 BST

  The one thing that spoiled yesterday's weather was the several hours when it was overcast in the middle of the day. The morning, and later afternoon were sunny (sometimes just sunny intervals). Other than that dull period, it was dry, and the temperature was a fairly good 15° C at it's peak.
It should
                      be slightly better than warm today
  Today has not got off to a good start. We should be having sunny spells, but it is rather cloudy, and the best I have seen so far is the cloud looking quite bright where the sun ought to be. I hope the sun breaks through the cloud sooner or later. The latest update to the forecast still says there should be sunny intervals, but maybe it recognises there will be less than thought, and that is going o reduce the top temperature today to just 18° C instead of the original prediction of 19° C. Tomorrow could be a much improved version of today. Instead of "sunny intervals" there should be several hours of non stop strong sunshine, and that could drive the temperature up to 23° C !

  Yesterday morning got a bit complicated, and involved a lot of rushing about. I had a notification that a parcel from amazon was ready to pick up from the corner shop. When I collected it I thought it seems to be very small considering what was supposed to be in it. When I got home I carefully opened it and found it was obviously an order intended for someone else. So I rushed back to the corner shop to seek their advice.
They suggested getting a return code from amazon, and they could then send it back to amazon for me. I contacted amazon and filled in their online forms to get a return code. I then rushed back to the corner shop once again to hand the parcel over for return to amazon.

 After that things got a bit complicated ! Part of the return process includes a request for either replacement of refund. It seems that a couple of things I wanted were refund only.....but maybe not. I was contacted, via email, by two different representatives from amazon, and both mentioned two different amounts of refund. Between the two it almost seems that I will get all my money refunded, and still get replacement items if they have them in stock. I am sure it won't be quite like that. I just have to be patient and see what turns up, and then re-order the same, or equivalent bits for those that don't turn up.

 The situation with Angela continues to be confusing. I decided I would still take a walk through the park yesterday, and I would still go to the pub to have a Guinness and do the crossword. I decided I wouldn't tell Angela I was there, and would see what happens. What actually happened was that she contacted me soon after I started walking to see if I would be in the pub later. I have to confess that rather surprised me, and complicated my plans to start seeing her less and less. It was all made more difficult when she thanked me for being there, and  said how good it was to see me....and that she looked forward to seeing me tomorrow (today). It all conveyed a completely different message to the one on  social media where a photo she posted was captioned "my sweetheart working on my garden" - her "sweetheart" being lover boy !
signs of old age

  I thought this clipping from The Metro seemed quite apt yesterday. I'll ignore the fact that it was really a disguised advert for some Turmeric based "medication" because the underlying idea seems spot on. I was definitely feeling very old and feeble as I walked home from the pub yesterday, but most of the problem was a flare up of the cough and cold that I thought I was getting over.

 I hadn't been too bad in the morning, and I was OK in the pub where I was sitting quietly with a Guinness on hand when my throat started itching. Walking home with three pints swilling around in me often feels a bit like hard work, but when it is difficult to stop coughing, and your eyes start streaming, it is a very difficult walk. I got home feeling breathless, and my chest was hurting from all the coughing.

 I mostly recovered from it very quickly, and maybe 15 - 20 minutes later I had the urge to go out again. I wanted to go to Poundland to buy some Ibuprofen and also some cough mixture. It is possible that Poundland is not the best place to get these things, but there was other stuff I wanted, and I knew I would be tempted to buy even more stuff. I seemed to have a strong desire for something that turned out to be a Cadbury's Caramel Bar. At any other time it would be an incredibly bad choice, but when feeling sick it seemed like the perfect thing to cheer me up. For a few minutes it might have even done so.

 For the remainder of yesterday afternoon I did some eating and resting. Part of resting was laying on my bed reading, and it was while reading that I formulated a plan for the night. I noticed that when laying on my back I was hardly coughing at all. When the time came to go to bed I decided I would attempt to sleep on my back - and I did ! It probably helped that I was feeling extra tired after coughing through most of the previous night. It was a bit like when I came out of hospital in 2013, and I couldn't sleep in any other way because of the line of staples down my chest that were holding my chest together after the operation.

 It wasn't great sleep, sleeping on my back. I probably woke up every hour or two, but getting back to sleep seemed easy enough - except for one time. On that one occasion I think I must have had a fever. I left my nice warm room to go for a pee, and found the bathroom seemed to be freezing cold. It was the sort of cold where you can feel your skin shrinking. Apart from this one occasion it felt no more than "a bit cool" when I went for a pee in the bathroom. It would be nice to think that fever, if indeed it was a fever, marked the end point of my recent cold.

 This morning I think I feel better in some ways. I have coughed up some very sticky mucus from deep in my airways, but I feel no desire to keep on coughing for the moment. My nose feels dry as well, although it has never been particularly bad during the entire duration of this cold. It would certainly be very handy to be free from that cold so I can enjoy some of the almost summer like weather coming up in the next few days (and maybe beyond).

 Today I have to finish some laundry that I started yesterday, and felt too tired to continue with. Once that is done I can have a shower and get myself ready to go out. Today it will only be another quick walk through the park, and then some time in the pub with Angela....or there could be a variation on that. If the sun eventually breaks through we could spend Angela's lunchbreak sitting in the sunshine in Lewisham Park. After lunchtime I don't think I have any plans, or even ideas about what I may do later.
Monday 16th April 2018
 09:46 BST

  Once again yesterday was not quite as bad as the forecast suggested. It wasn't quite as warm, or quite as sunny as the day before though. I am unsure of the exact temperature, but I have a vague recollection of seeing 15° C at one time, and that was two degrees higher than forecast. There was not much in the way of sunshine, but there was some, and the forecast said there should have been none at all. Even when there was no sunshine it was still quite bright with bits of blue sky visible now and then. The bit of the forecast that came closest to correct was the late afternoon rain, but there was far less than the 4 hours of it predicted. As far as I could see there was closer to about 30 minutes of light rain.
                      sunshine is forecast, and there is some !
  The forecast for today has started both right and wrong - maybe. It all depends on how long a "sunny interval" should last. The current sunny interval seems to have lasted well over an hour now, and that feels more like "sunny" ! The latest version of today's forecast is essentially the same as the screenshot above, but add an extra hour of sunny intervals starting at 5pm. It is a shame we might (but maybe we won't) lose the sunshine in the early afternoon when it would have made 15° C feel rather nice. Maybe we have to wait until tomorrow for that when the sunny intervals (or maybe they will be sunny periods) should last through all daylight hours, and the temperature may peak at definitely warm 19° C !

  Yesterday was a Sunday, and that automatically defines it as a "not very good day", but it wasn't quite as simple as that. Some bits of the day were quite good, and some were quite bad. The left over bits of the day were as tedious, and soul crushing as any average Sunday. There were times in the day when my cold became a bit tedious, but at other times it was almost ignorable. The weather wasn't quite so enticing, but once again I went out into the garden with no shirt on to break up/cut up the twigs and branches of the felled tree so I could bag them up for later disposal. While I was out in the fresh air my nose, throat and lungs felt mostly clear, and generally ignorable. I did far less out there than the previous day, but it was still satisfying. I will admit I stopped because I was beginning to feel a bit fatigued.
two new things to try
 I tried three new things yesterday. The first isn't picture here. It was one of the 4 miniature bottles of Piscu (a sort of Peruvian brandy) that Patricia had bought for me during her stopover in Lima on her way from Argentina to London a few weeks ago. I tried to politely describe it as "an acquired taste" when I messaged Patricia. In fact it was rather worse than that. Maybe I could learn to love it, but the first tasting can really only be described as horrible.

 The next experiment/tasting was a failure too. Pictured on the left in the picture above are empenadas bought from Aldi. An empenada is essentially the south American equivalent of a Cornish pastie. They are typically a bit smaller than a Cornish Pastie, but not by much, and they should have a fairly substantial filling. These empenadas from Aldi fail on all accounts. They are very small, and almost empty of any filling. They had just enough filling to stop them tasting of plain pastry - but only just ! Their only redeeming feature is that they don't taste horrible, but they are now on my blacklist.

 The third and final experiment of the day was the bottle of wine pictured to the right in the picture above. Once upon a time, in a moment of madness, I bought three bottles of Pinot Grigio wine when Angela told me she was drinking it at home. It was a mistake on two counts. The first was that she was only drinking it because she had run out of vodka, and the second is that the idea that she would be unlikely to ever visit me at home was already looming. Many months later and the chances of drinking it with Angela seem as good as zero. So it was time to start disposing of it by myself. To my surprise it wasn't horrible. That is not to say it was nice - it wasn't - but it was possible to drink it with wrinkling my nose on every gulp ! I drank the whole of one bottle, and actually felt a bit wobbly afterwards.

 The wobbliness didn't seem to last long, and a few hours later I felt perfectly normal, and without any hint of a hangover. That was probably good because my whole evening was taken up with one very long phone call from my friend Lee. He has his own woman trouble at the moment, and just wanted to talk about anything and everything to take his mind off it. As the call approached 4 hours I had to bring it to a halt, and with hindsight I am glad I did. I think he probably got very drunk later, and wrote lots of complete rubbish on a well known social media website at 4am this morning !

 For most of the day my cold had cause very little bother. At times it almost felt like I was over it. Occasionally I would need to clear my throat, and occasionally I would need to blow my nose, but there were long periods of normality between these occasions. That was not the case when I went to bed. Before going to bed I was starting to yawn, and that was making my eyes waters, and that in turn got my nose lightly blocked. Once I laid down in bed all hell let loose. My cough went into overdrive, and my nose got really blocked.

 Having a slightly drippy nose was not ideal, but it was the cough that really messed up my whole night. Not only was my throat maddeningly tickly, but I was also coughing up a lot of mucus - and it carried on through the night. I was too busy to time it, but I doubt my longest periods of sleep were less than an hour. It continued all the time I was laying down, but since getting out of bed it is no worse than yesterday. In fact if it continues to improve it will be better than yesterday.

 Today I face a huge dilemma, and it is whether to go and see if Angela turns up in the pub at lunchtime, or whether to ignore her. I know deep down that I ought to ignore her. The chances of re-kindling our relationship to anything beyond lunchtime boozing buddies seems to have passed unlikely to as good as zero now. I really ought to let her get on with her life, and I ought to get on with mine. Easy to say, but hard to do. After all there is always the hope that lover boy will suddenly die of something, and so give me another chance with Angela.

 On a practical note, it would be nice to get a bit of fresh air during a walk through the park, and a pint or two of Guinness would be rather nice. There is also the fact that while my nose, throat and chest are sub-optimal, I don't fancy venturing further afield. Later in the week when it should/could be even warmer and sunnier I have some ideas for going further afield. I am contemplating re-visiting Bognor Regis on Thursday. Overall though, I think I'll stay close to home today, and that means I'll be going to the pub at lunchtime. Other than that, I don't think I have any other plans for today.
Sunday 15th April 2018
 09:21 BST

  Rather than delete the weather forecast for yesterday, let's leave it up and contemplate what was supposed to be.
one hour into the forecast and reality and
                      forecast disagree
 Yesterday was forecast to be an overcast day, maybe only a lightly overcast day, but overcast enough to give zero chance of any sunshine. It couldn't have been more wrong ! I did mention that reality and forecast were diverging, but I had no idea just how complete that divergence would be. The whole day was warm and sunny. The forecast 17° C was about spot on, but under blue sky and bright sunshine it felt quite delicious. Maybe there is hope that today's forecast may be wrong.
                      and forecast diverging again ?
  Today's forecast started out wrong when it said there should be mist. As far as I could see it was clear outside at 6am. From 7am to 8am the forecast thicker cloud was actually quite thin cloud, and the cloud is now so thing that we are getting lots of hazy sunshine, and even some pure sunshine. It feels like today could end up similar to yesterday, although maybe not quite as warm. Late this afternoon it could rain, but the chances given for it are so low, around 10%, that it seems likely it will stay dry. Maybe it will even be sunny ! From today onwards, for at least the coming week, we should get, and certainly deserve some nice warm sunny days. If next Thursday really does hit 25° C I will definitely have to find the energy and stuff for a trip to the seaside !

  For a while it seemed like yesterday was going to be a terribly dull and boring day, but that changed on account of the sunshine, plus I didn't feel quite as ill as I thought I would be. The cold I had had definitely moved on to a new phase yesterday. The assorted aching muscles and joints had receded to the point where they were mostly ignorable. What I was mainly left with was a sore throat and cough. Even the sore throat was very mild for a lot of the time, and the cough was very dependent on what I was doing - it was a lot worse when laying on my side, and hardly there when standing up.

 The warmth and sunshine gave me a strong urge to go out into the fresh air, but I didn't feel well enough to go walking anywhere (although with hindsight I could probably have waled quite a distance with little discomfort). What I decided to do seemed like it might be madness, but I could easily stop if it turned out to be so. I decided to start breaking up, and bagging twigs and cut up branches from the felled tree in my back garden. It involved a lot of bending over, but that didn't seem to bother me. I started out with a t-shirt on, but it was warm enough to take off, and it felt rather delicious like that as I toiled away.

 My initial target was to half fill another black bin liner so it could be bundled up tight, and hidden in the bottom of the wheelie bin. After doing that I went on to fill two more bags that I can put in the wheelie bin when it is emptied again next Thursday week (this fortnightly service is a real pain !!!). I didn't even stop there. I also half filled a small but very strong "rubble bag", and a strong bag that is a sort of shoulder bag. I might empty the rubble bag out while walking through some woodland one day. Technically it is fly tipping, but it doesn't seem to me to be the crime of the century to add a few more branches and twigs to the usual collection found on the floor of most woodland. The shoulder bag may end up in a litter bin or skip if I think I'll be passing one.

 I didn't do all this breaking up twigs and branches in one sitting. After doing half of it, or maybe it was less than half, I came inside thinking I had done a good job, and deserved a rest, but maybe an hour later I decided I had rested enough, and was feeling perfectly OK to do some more amateur low level forestry ! After the second lot I was beginning to feel it, and it seemed like a good time to take stock of what I had achieved, and to pack up doing it.

 My breakfast was a little unusual yesterday. My throat was particularly sore in the morning, and I had an idea that a couple of instant noodle pots might help - not actually the noodle but the hot soup/gravy they swim in. They didn't seem to help initially, but maybe they did help long term. I did have a back up plan to freeze my sore and tickly throat with ice cream, and I so looked forward to it that I had a small tub of alleged low calorie ice cream for elevenses ! Once again it didn't seem to make any instant improvement, but it was possibly an hour later when I decided to start gathering twigs and stuff because I was feeling mostly OK.

 By 6pm I hadn't eaten any else after that ice cream and I was getting peckish. I was also beginning to feel tired or weary, and I didn't fancy preparing any food, or even cooking something ready made. The answer was a takeaway, but I wanted something fairly healthy if at all possible. I opted for a meal from The Turkish Kitchen. It is a bit more sophisticated than a kebab shop. For a started I had sliced Turkish sausage that was served on a slice of crusty bread with a small salad. For a main course I had lamb shish that was served on rice. I didn't intend to eat the rice, and so I ordered a large salad to go with it. It was very nice, probably closer to healthy than most takeaways, and rather expensive for what it was.

 For the rest of the evening I watched a bit of TV, and did some reading - both from a book and from the internet. I think it was 11pm when I decided to try for sleep. I felt tired but not sleepy, and I was starting to cough a lot. It didn't seem like sleep would happen, but it did, and much faster than I imagined. I probably slept fairly well last night, although not for as long as I desired. When I woke up, just as it was getting light, my throat felt really raw. I think it was mostly because it was dry. After a while it started to feel OK as I had frequent sips of drink. While my throat (almost) stopped feeling sore, my chest felt quite congested, and I coughed up several lumps of something unpleasant. I am still coughing a lot, and occasionally cough up some mucus. It feels like today could be worse than yesterday. Maybe I need another noodle pot !

 I don't have any plans for today. If I go out at all it will probably just be to the garden for more clearing up. It does seem to be getting very grey again outside, and the breeze coming through my open window seems to have changed to ominously chilly. It doesn't inspire me to greater things, and I think I had better close the may have looked quite promising earlier, but it is now looking quite grim outside.

 At the moment my only plans concern later in the week when it should be warm and sunny. I have been looking back at some old photos originally taking on my old Praktica SLR film camera, and in particular a few snaps taken on a visit to Bognor Regis. On that occasion, perhaps as long ago as 1992, I was weighted down by Jodie. I suspect we went there during her quest to visit every Wetherspoons pub that existed at the time (this was before they expanded outside of SE England). I feel that apart from the tedious journey time, it would be nice to go there again with a digital camera to get some snaps of the railway station, and Bognors little, and rather unimpressive pier.
Bognor Regis railway station
The entrance end of Bognor Regis railway station - a terminus set some way back from the sea front. I can imagine it looks very different now, and not least the trains that serve it. I'm a bit rusty on these things now, but I think the train in the picture is a 4CIG train. It's modern replacement will be a plastic class 375 or similar.
looking toward the far end of Bognor
                        Regis station
 Back in the day when I took this picture there were still 4 platform faces, and some sidings. I rather expect that now there are just two platform faces in use, and most of the siding are under a thick growth of weeds. A return visit id definitely called for, and maybe it will be this coming Thursday. In theory this cold will be well over by then, and I'll be feeling something approximating to slightly fit, and slightly healthy by then !
Saturday 14th April 2018
 08:19 BST

  The weather was not very nice yesterday, although I guess it could have been far worse in many ways. My main complaint was that it was very dull outside. By late afternoon the temperature probably reached 13° C, but without some supporting sunshine it didn't feel anything like war (although I was not in a fit state to judge temperature for reasons I'll soon come to). Today, contrary to the forecast, has started out much better.
one hour
                      into the forecast and reality and forecast
  One hour (and probably less) into this morning's forecast, and reality and the forecast have diverged. I can see great swathes of blue sky to the north and to the south, and bright sunshine can be seen in the corner of my room (the sun is too far round to the east to light up any more than one corner of my room). The first sunshine today is not forecast until 6pm, and that is only supposed to be sunny intervals. Maybe today will be better than the forecast suggests - except for the forecast of 17° C - that is good in it's own right. Tomorrow is shown as 15° C, but closer examination shows that it will probably only be 14° C. The headline icon suggests it will be wet, but rain is currently only forecast for a very short time, and even if it does fall it will probably be very light. Then there is Monday. Monday has been forecast to be potentially very nice for several days now. Let's hope they have that one right !

  I had a few ideas about what I might do yesterday, but none of those ideas included going down with a cold. I had barely finished writing when I started to feel bad. A fanciful theory developed with hindsight suggested some nasty bug/bacteria/virus was probing my defenses causing lots of mild, and short lived discomfort from assorted parts of my body. For about 15 minutes I even had quite a sore left elbow ! A little later in the morning I began to feel quite cold as developed a mild fever. I ended up turning the heater on full for the rest of the morning, and only turned it down to a more usual half power much later in the afternoon.

 To make matters worse, I also seemed to get a stomach ache, but whether that was something else, or part of the disease is open to conjecture. It felt a bit like bloat or trapped wind, but didn't seem to resolve itself in the usual explosive way ! Other bits that ached were my head and my chest. I had several types of headache, although fortunately none were severe. My chest aching was just the usual chest ache I get from time to time as a legacy of my quad heart bypass operation. It has been fairly well behaved recently, and so this was quite an annoyance.

 By early evening, or maybe a bit earlier, the bug seemed to have worked out what it was going to attack. It decided to rip my throat out. At first it was subtle, and I kept it at bay with a few whiskies, but ultimately it got the better of me. For a good 90 minutes it took a back seat while I watched a recently bought DVD - The Best Of Dave Allen. He was a brilliant comedian from the 1970s and/or 1980s, and kept me very amused and distracted from my troubles. One of his trademarks was a glass of whisky by his side that he would occasionally sip from. I think I matched him glass for glass....maybe.

 Once the DVD finished I became far more aware of the discomfort I was in, and if I hadn't already had quite a bit of whisky I would attempted to numb the pain in my throat with more whisky. By late evening my throat was very painful. A very generous measure of Jack Daniels Fire, the cinnamon flavoured bourbon, possibly helped because despite the pain and the coughing it was causing, I managed to get to sleep with little trouble, and I seemed to sleep fairly well.

 I woke up twice in the night if I recall correctly, and on both occasions my throat was really sore, but I still managed to get back to sleep easily enough. This morning my throat has started to settle down, and while it is still quite tickly, it doesn't seem to hurt much now. That is a shame in one respect because it would have been the perfect excuse to have ice cream for lunch (and maybe breakfast too). That ice cream would have been really nice, but it is probably nicer not to be in pain.

 At the moment my throat tickles enough to make me cough frequently, and I am coughing us some mucus. While it is not causing me any great difficulties while sitting upright, that cough was causing a lot of discomfort to my rib cage when lying down on my side. As I write this I am experiencing no pain from it, but I can feel it is very tender, and doesn't need much to set it off.

 I think any plans I might have had for today are on hold. The only significant plan was to pay a short visit to Chain's gig in The Mitre in Greenwich tonight. I think it would be unwise to attempt that even if I do feel a lot better by this evening. I do feel tempted to go out for a walk in the sunshine today, but that is only a spontaneous idea generated by sunshine that may not even last long. On the whole, I feel I'll more likely be staying in the whole day shaking off this bug. It feels like it may only be a 24 hour bug, and I am trying very hard to believe that I am already only suffering from after effects to the main action. Well, sometimes you have to try to put a positive spin on these things !
Friday 13th April 2018
 07:09 BST

  The weather forecast for yesterday only mentioned mist as a feature for early morning, and yet under gloomy skies, the horizon often looked misty. Just before sunset there was a distinct haziness in the distance. Visibility may still have been several miles, but it was definite mist. There was even a few moments when the mist threatened to turn solid. I am sure I felt a few tiny drops of rain hit my face. Another 84 hours of that and I would have been quite wet. The trouble with it being so dull, and sometimes gloomy, is that it distracts from the fact that it was 13, and momentarily 14° C. In bright sunshine that would have been shirt sleeve weather, but yesterday it required a coat outdoors, and the heating on indoors.
                      overcast and cool feeling day
   The most significant feature of today's weather is a high pollen count. Other than that it is going to be a re-run of yesterday, but without the mist. It's a bit cool this morning, just 7° C, but by the afternoon we should see 13° C again. Under the expected thick cloud it will still be a coat wearing day - maybe even my slightly thicker coat. The headline features of tomorrow are a bit misleading, but still offer a tiny bit of hope. The day will start off like today - rather cool and heavily overcast. By mid afternoon the cloud is supposed to break up. At that point the forecasters hedge their bets by predicting rain and/or sunshine. Oh well, it could be slightly warm rain because the temperature could hit 16° C.

  Yesterday passed curiously quickly considering how little I did. A little bit of the morning was spent getting some shopping in Aldi. I bought heaps of salad stuff plus some stuff I rather wish I hadn't bought. There were two things I consider I really wasted my money on. One was some "Louisiana Style" spare ribs. I ate them last night. I have no idea how much they were. They were on special offer, and so probably something like £1.99, but that was still a lot of money for loads of bones and hardly enough meat to make a sandwich swilling around in a curiously tasteless brown
sauce/gravy. I may have overcooked the pork loin medallions with apple and cider sauce. I'm not sure what I was expecting, but what I got was like two little credit card sized (but round) slabs (if you can call something that small a slab) of dense fat free bacon. If I were ever to buy any more, which I won't, I would be tempted to just poach them, and then make a ham sandwich with them.

 I filled in the rest of the hours until I went out for my early evening Thursday drink by snoozing, reading and photo editing. I finally finished working on the best pictures from Tuesday night's open mic session. Using my flash gun resulted in most pictures being bright and sharp, and yet disappointing compared to the more atmospheric results of using just the ambient light. On the plus side, I did get complimented by another photographer who noted that I had got the settings/balance about right to give good flesh tones without any bleaching caused by local over exposure.

 By 4pm I quickly got my act together to leave for Catford station and the 4.33pm train to Sevenoaks that I use to get to Shortlands. It was an unusually pleasant evening in the pub, and it was enhanced by there being a beer on that I found particularly pleasant. It was called Pearl Of Kent by the Whitstable Brewery. It was so good that I broke two of my rules. The first was that of usually trying several of the beers on offer, and the second was to have 4 pints instead of 3. As usual I caught the 7.02pm train back to Catford. Maybe it was the 4 pints of beer I had drunk that induced me to notice a flaw in the space-time continuum....or something like that.
first class and zero class
 The train home is usually fairly quiet, and that means I usually travel in the first class area of the train. The timetable says there is no first class seating on the trains between Sevenoaks and Blackfriars station (and vice versa), but the trains are equipped with very marginally better seats, in an even less marginal better environment that is called first class. Most, but not all of the services continue past Blackfriars, and terminate at Bedford. The northern part of that journey is timetabled to have first class, and people have to pay extra for these seats if they travel north, but not us in in the south.

 All of that is standard and has been going on for years. What was new was noticing the sign on the door while sitting in what I thought was first class, and backed up by what it says on the seat backs. The door is prominently labelled "First Class". It has been my understanding that the label on the door indicates what is to be found inside, or beyond that door. It was saying to me that beyond that door, extending for at least 90% the length of the train, was to be found the first class section. So did I take the picture shown above while sitting in the super first class section, or maybe the zero class area, or what ?

 It was when I got home that I started on my disappointing meat purchases from Aldi. It is obviously a big failure with me that unsatisfactory food is considered no food at all with no regard to how many calories and stuff might be in it. The rib were rubbish, the pork medallions were hugely disappointing, and so I tried out some small microwaveable wraps in a last ditch attempt at enjoying some dinner. They were at the very margins of passable, and just about fulfilled my dinner yearnings, but I won't be buying any more of them.

 There was just one thing of note that I did before I went to bed. As I think I mentioned yesterday, I was disappointed that my doctor took no interest in how my blood pressure reading were suddenly, for the first time ever, nice and low. I had been pondering this for some time, and I came to the conclusion that the only thing that was different was that I have been taking a high dose of vitamin D this winter. That vitamin D had the desired effect in that I felt much less depressed this winter than usual, and that was more remarkable considering I had more reasons to be depressed than usual (my relationship with Angela, or for the other 23 hours of the day, the lack of it).

 I thought that I would take a quick look on the internet to see if there were any reported effects on blood pressure after taking vitamin D. There were - lots of them ! I tried to select a couple of what I hope were more authoritative sources of information, and they all noted that it was an effect that is widely reported. University College London, who are generally regarded as knowing what they are doing, have officially noted a correlation between vitamin D and blood pressure, but admit they haven't actually researched what the mechanism might be, and until they have it is not "official" medicine. I feel tempted to see another doctor (one from the practice whose areas of expertise include blood pressure) to discuss this (and with all subtlety take the piss out of the doctor who didn't even stop to wonder about the change).

 I slept fairly well last night, and this morning it feels like I may even live through the day. Now I have to consider what to do today. I have a sort of yearning to get out and do some railway photography today, although it is a but dull for it. Tonight I am contemplating going out to a gig. It won't be any old gig. It will be a gig where I want to turn up after the band start, and get away from there before they finish their first set. The band is The Life Of Brian, and it is fronted by Angela's daughter Miranda, and backed by Angela's lover boy. I shall try to make sure he is not visible in any pictures I take, but I do want to take some photos of Miranda. There is also the hope that Angela might slip outside, away from the thousand yard stare of lover boy, and where I can approach her to say hello (and possibly even get a light hug too). There is a possibility that Fran may be there too. I will definitely get a good hug and kiss from her - the only way not to would be for me to hide ! - but I wouldn't do that.
Thursday 12th April 2018
 07:59 BST

  The thing about yesterday's weather was that it was so bland that it is hard to pick out any specific details. There was some rain in the morning, but not much. Other than that, it was overcast, dull, and sunless, and it was neither warm or cold. I'm not sure if it reached the forecast 13° C, but it might well have done.
                      dull day
   The most significant feature of today's weather is mist, and that has dissipated now. Earlier on there was a definite haze in the distance. It wasn't anything exciting like thick fog, but at least it added a tiny weeny bit of novelty to yet another dull overcast day. The only other rather underwhelming excitement is that today may hit 14° C, a degree warmer/less cool than yesterday, but maybe only for one solitary hour. On the plus side it should stay dry, and we seem to be getting closer and closer to what looks like it could be excellent weather starting in 5 days time. As a rule I don't trust the forecast much more than an hour in advance, but for the last week the forecasts all seem to agree that the sun will come out on the 16th, and that the temperature will hot 20° C by the 17th. It's such a shame that tomorrow looks as if will be very dull and pissy.

  The two highlights of yesterday were getting the early morning phone call from Angela, and going to the doctor later in the morning. I still think that getting an early morning voice call from Angela is such a rare occurrence that it must mean something. After I came back from the doctor I messaged Angela to tell her the results. After a while she responded to thank me for letting her know about it. She also commented that she had strapped her sore ankle up, and it was helping a lot. There was no mention of the support stocking that lover boy was supposed to fetch for her.

 My visit to the doctor was something of an anti-climax. I'm not sure it warranted the doctors time. All the results from the blood tests I was given were perfectly normal except for one. That was unsurprisingly my blood glucose level (or control). It was higher than ideal, but not high enough to warrant any treatment. All I got was advice to be more careful about my sugar intake, although it was completely accepted that it was mostly a seasonal thing - going through a cold miserable winter with more comfort food, and far less exercise. It was compounded by not commuting to work every day - a prime source of exercise.

 One thing that disappointed me was that the doctor declared my unusually low blood pressure readings as being excellent. As an engineer I would (and I am) curious as to why my blood pressure reading have dropped low enough to hit the target spot after years of being far too high. Something has obviously happened, and while I can think of a few things that are different, I think I would have liked to discuss it further. I wonder if it might have anything to do with the vitamin D tablets I have been taking. If it is those it means they are more effective than all the prescribed pills I take, and that should tell a competent doctor something about the underlying cause of my high blood pressure. Unfortunately my doctor could not even send a prescription to the pharmacy with having to try it three times !

 I came home from the doctor via the pharmacy next door where I picked up a big bag of pills. It wasn't quite midday when I got home, and that says something about my appointment with the doctor. My appointment was for 11:30, and I was seen almost 10 minutes late. After the doctor I spent 5 or more minutes in the pharmacy, and then 5 or 6 minutes walking home. I conclude my time with the doctor was less than 10 minutes.

 There were two things I did first when I got home. One was to message Angela, and the other was to pop a calorie controlled ready meal into the microwave. I was doing these things roughly at the same time, and hence doing two things first - but if you want to be pedantic the first thing I really did was to take my coat off, and the next thing was to open the fridge door. Anyway......

 Having had a low calorie lunch I had my now traditional afternoon snooze. After that I only did two other things. I washed some new flannels I had bought in the 99p shop, and I got started selecting and editing photos I had taken at Stretchy's Open Mic on Tuesday night. I had used my flash gun, and so most pictures were bright, and most pictures were fairly clean, but I couldn't help spending extra time touching them up to make them look a bit more professional. The trouble with using flash, even when bouncing it off the ceiling, is that the photos still come out looking rather flat no matter what you try and do to give them some sparkle. I only managed to get through two thirds of the pictures yesterday, and I have more to do today.

 In the early evening I cooked a rather less calorie controlled meal for dinner. It was a couple of beef grills (like a misshapen hamburger) with grilled onions, cooked tomatoes and some nice, but high in sugar sweetcorn with grilled peppers relish. It was nice and tasty, but gave me bad heartburn through the evening. I carrued on photo editing during the commercial breaks of some TV I was watching in the evening, but by 9pm I had had enough of looking at screens, and turned to reading the printed word on paper before trying to go to sleep.

 Last night was weird in so much as I lay in bed feeling tired, but unable to sleep for an hour until the clock hit midnight, and then I went out like a light. I had a lot of weird dreams including a dream concerning a couple of men who were "friends" in the days when I had a Myspace account (before they completely wrecked the user interface). These two men liked all the crap I used to write, but were quite strange in as much as they never revealed their true faces, and used dolls as proxies for their faces. I feel sure they had a weird doll fetish.

 I have no idea why I started to dream about them, but in the dream I found out that they were actually secret agents, and that was why they had to hide their identities. I also learned that several things they wrote, and some video they uploaded, contained hidden messages. I think I may have found out how to decode it, but try as I might, I could find no trace of anything they had written or uploaded to Myspace 7 or 8 years ago. It was all rather weird, but then again, the best dreams are weird.

 Having initially not been able to get to sleep, and then falling into a deep sleep, except for when I was dreaming, I seemed to sleep right through to almost 5.30am this morning. Like the other night, I have no recollection of getting up in the night, and the size of the pee I had at 5.30am tends to lend support to the idea I slept without waking in the night. After that pee I went back to bed, and fell asleep without realising. As far as I was concerned I couldn't seem to fall asleep again, and so it was a shock when I realised nearly two hours had passed without me realising it (actually it was probably closer to 90 minutes).

 Some of today has the potential to be boring. I don't know yet if Angela will be at work again today, and so I have no idea if I will be meeting her in the pub at lunchtime. It is possible I may go there regardless. The only definite thing apart from photo editing is my usual late Thursday afternoon/early evening drink. We are back at The Shortlands Tavern again tonight. Just remembered, there is one other definite thing I have, or ought to do today, and that is to go to either Tesco or Aldi to buy more salad ingredients. I have completely run out of lettuce, and my tomatoes are running low. I still have plenty of celery though. I can only manage a single stick of that at any one time !
Stretchy's Open Mic
 Another picture from Stretchy's Open Mic last Tuesday night. I can't remember the mans name for this one. Most of the shots I took were like this. With the flash gun there was enough light to use a small zoom lens which even at full zoom gives a wider view than my most sensitive lens.
Rob Todd at the mic
 Rob Todd at the mic (and guitar) with bass guitar support from one of the Sea Monkeys.
 The inimitable Dobbos, aka Mark Dobson, sings one of his great self penned songs.

  There was one sad bit of news yesterday. I had the second of an order of three new pairs of jeans arrive yesterday. Unlike the first pair to arrive, and which I have worn quite comfortably for walks in the park, and to last Tuesday's open mic, this second pair do not fit. It is a close thing though, and hopefully I'll be able to start wearing them once the coming good weather draws me outside for more exercise and less eating. The third pair could arrive today or tomorrow, and if memory serves me well they are stretch jeans, and that in itself might give a bit more leeway if the maker has scrimped on the material as many do - particularly jeans made in very cheap labour countries. It is even possible that in some of these third world countries they lack accurate measuring devices to make jeans and other clothing. It seems unlikely, but that doesn't make it impossible, and would explain some severe deviations from declared sizes from shoes through to hats !
Wednesday 11th April 2018
 07:49 BST

  It wasn't obvious from the forecast, but yesterday was mostly OK. It was generally brighter the forecast suggested, and there was a little bit if sunshine. It felt mild, and it was dry. The temperature probably reached the forecast 15° C.
a dull
                      and wet start to the day
   The first part of today's weather forecast is spot on - it is wet, and it is gloomy ! Maybe the last 4 hours before sunset will see thinner clouds, but the chances of any sun today seem slim to zero ! It is not even going to be as warm as yesterday if the top temperature is only going to be 13° C. Tomorrow might be a slightly warmer, slightly less wet version of today. If any credence can be given to forecasts more than a few hours in advance, it seems we will have to wait until Sunday for some sunshine.
they smell nice until you light them

 Perhaps my greatest achievement yesterday was to wash a pair of jeans by hand. I have to confess that it could have been the first time they were ever washed since I bought them. I don't know when that was, but I think it was before I had my quad heart bypass operation in 2013. The water which came off after the initial wash was distinctly green in colour - which was sort of strange. To my surprise they were easier to hand wash than I thought, but still not a job to take lightly.

 I needed to stock up on tea lights yesterday, and so I took a wander around the 99p shop and Poundstretcher. The 99p shop didn't have any tea lights except for the extended burn time variety. They are a bit much for my oil burners/vapourisers. Even Poundstretcher only had a couple of packs of plain tea lights left. One thing they did have were the novelty tea lights pictured on the left. Branded Chupa Chups, the people usually associated with lollies and other kids sweets, they continue the theme of sweet with these strawberry scented tea lights. They do smell sort of nice until you light them. Then they start to smell more like a fire in a jam factory. I think I will be using them up sparingly.

 At midday I decided at the minimum I would go for a walk in the park. I felt sure that Angela would be off work sick. In fact she wasn't. As I walked in the park I passed a stand (stand ?) of daffodils close to the fence that were fairly dense, and easy to snap using the camera on my phone. I took a picture of them, and sent it to Angela along with wishes that she get better soon. About 5 minutes later I got a response to say that she was at work, and would meet me in the pub a bit later.
brown speckled pigeon
 I actually took this picture while I was on my way to the shops in the morning, rather than in the park. I was a bit late getting my camera out to snap this fellow strutting around, feathers all puffed up, as he chased the ladies, and only just managed to capture him in this pose. I think his other side is his best side. Brown pigeons are not rare, but they are not common either, and this one had a delightfully speckled neck - but mostly on the other side to this picture.
almost pure white daffodil
 It is just starting to fray around the edges, but this almost pure white daffodil was posing so well I had to go for a close up. When you stop and think about it, there is a surprising variety of daffodils in Ladywell Fields. Many are the traditional all yellow, but others are white and gold, yellow and gold, and some are big, and some are small.
trees in blossom outside Lewisham
 I took this picture on the way home. I don't think I have ever noticed that all the trees, or at least most of the trees outside Lewisham Hospital come into bloom with white or pink flowers in the spring. A few minutes before I took this photo the sun had come out, and that blossom looked most impressive in the bright sunshine. Sadly the sunshine did not last long, and when I took this picture it had just gone in. It was still bright though, and a few hints of blue sky can be seen between the clouds.

 I wasn't quite sure how my drink with Angela would go after not seeing her for nearly a week, but it was quite good. Good enough to to be suckered in and to dispel many of the negative thoughts I had the day before. Maybe I detect that there are a few recent stresses in her relationship with lover boy. Sadly they won't last, but it was nice to demonstrate a bit of positivity to her. She didn't mention it, but I think the picture of the flowers, and my get well soon message lifted her spirits.

 She didn't seem to show any external signs of two maladies that were causing her distress. One was a cold which originally manifested itself on Sunday night as a cough. She carelessly let slip that this was possibly caused by stress. Her other malady was a painful ankle. It is an occasional legacy to turning her ankle while trying to ice skate during her schooldays. I wonder how many kids ended up with damaged ankles as a result of trying out ice skating ? On the one single occasion I went ice skating with the school there was no instruction about how to put the boots on, or that leg braces were available. I came out of that place wondering if I would ever walk again. On occasions my right ankle still gets sore, but I have always been able to walk through the pain, and it has never lasted more than a few tens of minutes.

   I did come away with the impression that Angela was truly pleased to see me. There was a certain warmth there even if there was no closeness. The lack of closeness could be explained away by Angela saying she was full of germs - although I never saw her sniffle or cough once. Although she didn't offer herself up for it, she offered zero resistance, and we parted with a hug and a peck on the cheek. I could almost imagine that, far from resistance, she actually gave me a little extra squeeze as we hugged, but it is almost certainly fantasy...or was it ? Even I don't know now.

 When I got home, with just two pints of Guinness swilling inside me, I knocked together a big corned beef salad. Soon after eating that I did what I was trying to avoid, and didn't even think I needed, and had a snooze - quite a long snooze - or two of them ! Finally I had to get up to finish washing my jeans, and get them hung up to dry. From then on it was just a case of marking time until it was time to go out to Stretchy's Open Mic. Last night was strange in that I was late getting out because it was still daylight, For the whole winter it was hard to even contemplate going out because it was dark so early in the evening, or indeed in the late afternoon. Now the clocks have changed, and the seasons are moving on, it seemed like I was waiting for sunset to be my cue to go out.

 I may have started out later than I intended, but the bus was unusually fast, and the open mic session started about half an hour late because too many people were watching footballing on the idiot box. So my later arrival was just about right. There were lots of people I knew there, and yet I still didn't really feel part of the gang. It did feel a bit like it was my job to be there to take photos, and that spoiled it a bit. In fact, apart from the good bits, of which there were several, it was not a great night out. One of the lowlights was a character who I know can play and sing fairly well, turning up drunk, and making a complete hash of his turn at the mic. His guitar playing was all over the place, and his singing was terrible. It could have been funny if it wasn't so sad.

 I think it was about 10.30pm, when I had seen most people, that decided it was time to go home. The last half hour or so tends to be more like a jam session with many people involved, and in some ways it can be the best bit, but it felt like I had run out of steam. I didn't have long to wait for a bus, but the bus seemed to be annoyingly slow as it made its way back to Catford. When I finally arrived back in Catford I shunned all the fried chicken shops, and went straight home where I had a calorie controlled ready meal in the fridge ready to be microwaved into hot and steaming life.

 For some reason, maybe it was the result of only drinking 2 or 3 pints of Guinness, I decided I wouldn't have a hot supper when I got in. All I actually had was a handful of Marmite coating flavoured peanuts. Not long after eating them I gave my teeth a good scrub and went to bed. As far as I can remember I fell asleep really quickly, but after that it all went wrong. I woke up after only about 2 hours sleep thinking it must be time to get up. I think I had a pee and then went back to sleep. Another hour or two later I woke up with cramp in one of my calf muscles. A walk around the bed sorted that out, and I got back to sleep. Perhaps another hour passed before the same thing happened, but this time I had another awful thing happen.

 It is something that is happening more and more often. I think it is as little as 12 - 14 months since it last happened. "It" is a terrible itch on the sole of my foot. It is impossible to scratch, and while rubbing in some moisturiser, or in the case of last night, some Vick's Vaporub (basically smelly Vaseline) helps a tiny bit, it doesn't cure. It just has to be endured. After a while it goes as quickly as it started, and I could get to sleep again. At about 7am I woke up again with cramp in both calf muscles, and I could barely get out of bed without passing through an agony phase. Once I managed to push through that agony, and stand  up, the cramps dissolved almost instantly. Right now I can't even really feel any residual ache.

 This morning I should be feeling really good, but I don't, and that could be good or bad. At 11.30am I have an appointment to see my doctor to discuss the result of my recent blood tests. I have a pretty good idea that my blood glucose level has been running high during the winter, but should be reducing now I have changed to a spring diet. At least on this occasion I will be able to show some nice low blood pressure readings - incredibly low for me on some occasions !

 Seeing a doctor may be just one of two things I will be doing today. The other is selecting and editing photos I took last night. I used my flash gun for all photos last night, and so most of them will requite little work to make them presentable. I won't be seeing Angela today. At just gone half past 7 this morning I had a phone call from Angela to say that her ankle was really giving her grief, and she wouldn't be going into work today. Getting a phone call like that, early in the morning, is like going back to when we were once much, much closer. It tends to reinforce my theory that all is not well with lover boy recently, although that idea was slightly spoiled by her saying that she was going to get him to go and buy, and deliver to her, a support stocking.
The Sea Monkeys
 One of the pictures I took last night. These are The Sea Monkeys with Zoe on acoustic guitar.
Tuesday 10th April 2018
 08:24 BST

  Yesterday was another day that was mostly horrible. It may have been because it wasn't a Sunday that it wasn't as bad as Sunday - in my head. On the other hand it did share most of the attributes of Sunday. It was mostly wet. It was dull and grey, and the temperature was not all it could have been. The forecast said a max of 11° C, but I don't think I noticed my thermometers saying anything higher than 9° C.
                      maybe not as bad as yesterday
   Today should be better than yesterday.  At 5.30am there was quite heavy rain, but that seems to have gone away now, although the sky still looks dull and heavy with rain. Later today the cloud might thin enough to give a bit of brightness, and it looks like there is a possibility of a few minutes of sunshine in the last few hours before sunset. The latest update to today's forecast gets rid of the chance of a spot of rain at 5pm, but otherwise is pretty much the same. The top temperature today could be 15° C, and with clearer skies, and little wind that could feel OK. Sadly there will be no clear skies, and it looks like it will be a little breezy. The very worst casualty is tomorrow. A few days ago it was the day with the greatest hope of being nice. The forecast for it got slowly worse with every update, and now it looks as if it will be a very grey, and very wet day.
  I faced a painful dilemma yesterday - to go and drink with Angela at lunch time, or not to. I fought the idea that I was wasting my time seeing Angela for a long time, but now I seem certain of it. I have to balance that against the undeniable fact that meeting Angela can be a joyful experience no matter how much I am torturing myself. The morning hadn't progressed too fat when the decision was taken away from me.
Angela sent me a text message to say that she wasn't feeling too good, possibly the start of a cold, and she didn't want to go out into the rain at lunchtime. The idea did cross my mind that that was just a convenient excuse not to see me.

 Not going out in the rain seemed like a good idea to me too, but I decided to use some of the extra spare time in my day to go to Aldi again. There wasn't a lot that I wanted, but there were a few things. In particular I wanted to re-stock my fridge with cans of Guinness. They might stay in there untouched for weeks, but it is comforting to know they are there for when I want them. I also bought a few very naughty things. I bought a couple of packs of sandwiches, a block of German mushroom flavoured paté, and some alleged low stuff plain crisps.

 I don't know why, but I had this urge come out of the blue that I wanted to eat the
paté with crisps - and I did despite it probably being a million calories. Few hours passed before I ate the sandwiches too. My evening meal was a more sensible fish salad - loads of green stuff and tomatoes with a small can of drained mackerel plus an even smaller can of anchovies in olive oil. That olive oil, plus a generous sprinkle of balsamic vinegar formed the dressing for the salad. In theory that was a very healthy meal, but it had one drawback. I was still tasting it a couple of hours later. I had to eat a lump of cheese with sun dried tomatoes to help take the taste away.

 One interesting thing I noticed when in Aldi was that they seem to be losing their fast, efficient and friendly East European workers. They seem to be replaced by (possibly) more indigenous worked pulled off the bottom of the dole queue. They are slow, surly, and not even really qualified to tie their own shoelaces. Maybe I should do more shopping in Tesco. At least there is some consistency in there. All the staff seem bloody miserable, but with many of them being installed when the building was put up 40+ years ago, they have mostly learned to be consistent. Sometimes that is consistently slow, but none were slower than Doris. She was blind as a bat, and possibly aged in the region 85 - 120 years old. I haven't seen her for possibly a year now. I expect she was claimed by the great reaper, but I bet she didn't go quickly.

 Yesterday could have been a lot more boring if I hadn't managed to sleep for a lot of the afternoon. I didn't think I was particularly tired, but every time I laid down to do some reading my eyes would start to close. So I would put the book down, and the next thing I knew was that an hour or so had passed. That happened a couple of times. At abut 5pm I decided I really had to do something to take my mind off dinner, and to actually achieve something else* for the day. After a few minutes of painful thinking I concluded that I had an empty wheelie bin, and that I should do a bit more to clean up the fallen tree in my back garden.

* I forgot to mention that I did wash 2 t-shirts and some underpants in the morning - those few items didn't stress me at all, and the job was basically forgettable.

 For some reason I thought the rain had stopped as I went out the back door, but it hadn't. There was a very fine drizzle falling. It was the type of drizzle that soaks you so slowly that you don't realise it is happening. I didn't have a shirt on when I went out, and I was sort of surprised that it felt far less cold than I thought it would be - another misjudgement of the weather ! I spent at least 20 minutes with drizzle falling on my bare back while I broke up, or cut up, small branches and twigs to fit discretely into a black bin bag to hide at the bottom of the wheelie bin. Despite it only ending up as one small bag, it made quite a difference, and cleared an extra yard or so of path.

 I have to confess the evening was fairly boring. I filled in some of the time watching TV, but it does seem that most of the watchable TV is all crammed into a few hours. There are occasional exceptions, but it seems all the TV I want to watch is on between 6 and 8pm, although that can be extended to 9pm if I include the +1 channels showing repeats of stuff the prime version showed an hour earlier. By 9pm I was back to laying on my bed reading. I think I gave up reading at about 11pm. After all the sleep I had had earlier in the afternoon I didn't expect to get to sleep quickly, or at all.

 I was wrong ! I fell asleep easily, and to my great surprise I can't remember anything until I woke up at about 5.30am needing a pee. I can't remember the last time I slept so long without waking. At 5.30am it was teeming with rain, and so as soon as I had had my pee, and also took a screenshot of the latest weather forecast, I jumped back under the duvet, and once again surprised myself by falling asleep for another couple of hours. This morning I can't feel sleepy at all, and yet.....

 I have three things on the agenda for today. One is to wash a pair of jeans. My most comfortable pair get used far too often, and if I am honest they are getting a bit smelly. Fortunately I ordered, and had delivered yesterday, a new pair of jeans that just fell on me when I tried them on. I will give those new jeans their first test drive today. I have high hopes they will be just as comfortable as the jeans they are intended to replace (for a while). The jeans I will be washing may be comfortable to wear, but it is not going to be comfortable hand washing them. They may only get an advanced rinsing !

 I am not expecting Angela to go to the pub this lunchtime, but I feel the need for a walk today - plus I want to test the new jeans in combat - so I am going to take a walk in the park, and go to the pub regardless of whether Angela will be there or not. In one respect it will be better if Angela is not there. Two pints of Guinness while I do the crosswords will be fine, and not spoil my afternoon that much. If Angela is there it is likely to be three pints of Guinness, and that will leave me feeling lethargic all afternoon.

 I don't want to be stricken with lethargy this afternoon because I want to go out tonight. It's a Tuesday, and the right Tuesday in the month for Stretchy's Open Mic in The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley. I am not sure why I am so keen to go because bits of it can be boring, but then again, other bits can be exciting. If nothing else it has two things going for it - it is rarely too crowded, and the lighting, while not great, is almost adequate for "good enough" photography. I must try and avoid a takeaway on the way home. Maybe I was thinking that when I bought a couple of calorie controlled, quick to microwave, ready meals in Aldi yesterday. I could have them ready and steaming within 5 minutes of getting home tonight.
Monday 9th April 2018
 10:03 BST

  The least said about yesterday the better, but I guess I had better relive the horror of it to write that it was grey and wet, and it was wet while being grey. It was that sort of grey that makes you want to slash your wrists. If I were to force myself to say something positive it would be that none of the rain was particularly heavy, but even when no more than light drizzle, it was enough to keep everything wet and cold feeling. Even the high of 12° C lost any positivity when lost in that sea of grey drizzle.
perhaps a
                      small improvement on yesterday...perhaps
  There was rain earlier, but the forecast assures us that the rest of the daylight hours will be dry - that seems slightly at odds with what I can see through my window ! In fact, checking the latest update to the forecast now shows light rain for 11am ! Today might be a very minor improvement over yesterday, but saying so is just being charitable when taking into account it is also going to be one degree cooler than yesterday. Sometimes it feel like the end of the world is coming, and that feeling is reinforced by noting that Wednesday, the only hope for the week, is no longer forecast to be light and sunny, as per the screenshot above, but is now forecast to be dull and gloomy. At least tomorrow is now forecast to be a degree warmer, but just as wet and soggy.
  Yesterday was a typical Sunday. It was long, dull and boring, and the grey skies made it soul destroying, and the persistent drizzle made it seem that life was worthless...and yet I managed to do a few things.
In the morning I washed three t-shirts by hand, and by the end of the day, helped by leaving the heater on low, they were close enough to dry by the evening. I spent rather more time selecting and editing photos taken on Saturday night. I came to a firm conclusion that I should not have fought shy of using my flash gun on Saturday. The Partridge, where G Force were playing is notorious for being very dimly lit. I thought that The Bricklayers Arm was much better lit, although my camera said different. All the photos I took needed a lot of work to clean them up. The worst thing is that with the camera aperture wide open to gather as much light as possible, the focus becomes super critical. Many potentially good shots were spoiled by being out of focus. Some of these shots were salvageable, but most weren't.
what a stare !
 This is one shot that was out of focus, but had to be left in the collection. I have no idea of his name, but this is the (6 string) bass player for Mark In Time. This was one of the first pictures I took, and I was being given the "who the fuck are you" look.
drummer of Mark In Time
 Another photo taken at The Bricklayers Arms. This was the drummer of Mark In Time. The focus was about right, but I still had a lot of work to do to remove a lot of the grainy noise from the picture.
G Force
 The photo above was taken at The Partridge, and is of G Force. This picture would be focussed, and noise free if taken by flash, but it would lack the ambience. A nice dark background gives more solidity to the subjects of the photo, and particularly so with guitarists - or so my biased brain tells me. To flash, or not to flash ? It can be a difficult decision !
relieving the stress of photo editing
 There is actual photo evidence of me working on the picture above this one. I was feeling pretty miserable, and at first I tried a large whisky, but that just didn't seem to work, and I didn't seem to enjoy it. So it became time to dig out my remaining three cans of Guinness to help me get through the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening. The Guinness certainly seemed more enjoyable, and maybe was one of the few enjoyable things of the whole day, but it was still like a sticking plaster for a wound that needed stitches.

 After my Saturday night gluttony I managed to avoid food until almost 2pm yesterday. I had a huge salad then. Most of the ingredients were completely innocent, and apart from the olive oil dressing, the only bad thing (but only slightly bad) was a small pack of pastrami that was probably really meant for sandwiches. Maybe it's only "bad" thing was the salt in it. Much later in the afternoon I had a simple, and mostly harmless dinner. Apart from a bit of olive oil that was mostly meant to coat the microwave proof pan it was cooked in, it was no more than sliced runner beans with poached eggs. The annoying thing was that it was less enjoyable than I predicted it would be.

 During the evening I got glued to the TV watching a load of repeats. I think it was only a repeat of an episode of Have I Got News For You that really grabbed my attention, but by then I was feeling very sleepy. I finished off the evening with a bit of reading, and was in bed just before 11pm. By 11pm itself I was fast asleep. The next thing I remember was waking up a little after 3am from a dream, and needing a pee. The dream had the ludicrous idea that I was going to Manchester for no obvious reason, and that I was changing trains from a local train to a long distance train at a very different Lewisham station.

 After my pee I fell asleep very quickly, and slept through to 7am. I felt sort of annoyed that it wasn't a bit later. I git up and checked my email, read a few things on the internet, and prepared some of the photos I have used above (just shrinking them down to fit on the page). I am unsure of the time, but I think it was close to 8am when I decided to go back to bed. I didn't have any real expectation of sleep, and it was more a sort of defiance of the outside world sort of thing, or maybe just because I could. I was most surprised to wake and find it was nearly 10am !

 I am settling down now, but I felt pretty lousy when I woke up - all three times...or on second thoughts, maybe not the first time at 3am. It is another grey, damp and miserable sort of day (or at least it is as I write this), and I have some difficult decisions to make. The most important decision is whether to go and meet Angela at lunchtime. Somehow it just feels pointless, but on the other hand I have little else to do today. I can find stuff that I could do, but there is nothing I want to do. I guess I'll be putting on my raincoat, and going for a walk then at midday. Maybe Angela will have something positive to say, but mostly I feel like a few pints of Guinness may lift the gloom until the hangover sets in and makes it worse.
Sunday 8th April 2018
 09:39 BST

  Yesterday wasn't bad, but it wasn't particularly good either. The best thing was that the temperature, as measured by my thermometers, seemed to reach 16° C, and that was a degree higher than forecast. Bad things included the temperature being several degrees cooler than forecast in the morning, the lack of any real sunshine*, and the late night drizzle. The weather chart I showed yesterday did suggest light rain for 9pm, but later forecasts said it would be dry. In reality there was intermittent light drizzle from as early as 8.30pm, and it might have even continued through the night.
* I have a vague recollection of some very slightly hazy sunshine that was good enough to cast a feint shadow. The rest of the time it was mostly bright grey.
                      drizzle, light rain, drizzle, drizzle, rain,
                      wetness, drizzle, drizzle, damp underfoot,
                      drizzle, more drizzle
  A single glance at the weather forecast for today, as forecast at 05:55, just screams HORRIBLE ! What started as drizzle last night seems to have carried on through the night, and if it is not drizzling at some time today it will be raining, and on some occasions when it is not raining it will be pouring. Sigh. They say that every cloud has a silver lining, but it is looking pretty tarnished from where I see it, but at least most of the day will be 11 or 12° C, and we won't freeze. It seems most of the coming week will be wet to some degree or another. Maybe Wednesday will offer some grey respite from the rain, but we may have to wait until next Saturday for some sunshine.
  Much of yesterday went by in a sort of blur, and that seems surprising considering I can't seem to remember doing anything of any significance. One thing I did do was a continuation of an experiment I had start the day or two before. Stashed away on a dusty shelf in my bedroom were some fragranced oils that I had bought online at least 3 or 4 years ago. Two of them should have really been really nice, but weren't. They were Patchouli oil and Sandalwood oil. Both seemed to have a smell which was a bit like what I was familiar with, but both were strangely different. It was like comparing Granny Smiths apples with Coxs Orange Pippin apples. They are both apples, but very different.
sandalwood oil and burner
 I think one problem is that the smell is too strong, but in a strangely unexplainable way. That seems counterintuitive considering that the very best Patchouli oil, that made by Spiritual Sky, can be smelled from half a mile away ! Nevertheless, it seems the best way to use these oils is to put in enough drips to give a thin film of oil on water in the top of an oil "burner" (as seen pictured above). It gives off a nice sweet scented steam that smells sort of friendly. I can't recall ever seeing mention of adding the oil to water, but maybe it is well known in other circles. At least now I can finally get value for money from these oils that have been sitting there unused for so long.

 I have to admit I ate some terrible things yesterday. One such transgression was "rainbow coleslaw" eaten with goats cheese and beetroot crisps. The rainbow coleslaw had stuff like red cabbage, orange carrot, and green something to give a bit of colour to the stuff, although most of the colour was hidden under the alleged mayonnaise gloop that it all swam in. I dread to think how many calories and stuff were in that meal/snack (it was sort of a breakfast). Later in the early afternoon I had a far more wholesome salad. It was a very big salad, but you can eat an awful lot of lettuce without raising your blood glucose level by any small amount. I had that salad with some ready cooked and flavoured salmon.

 What ever else I did yesterday was aimed at getting me in the right mood and condition to go out to two gigs in the evening, and that is exactly what I did - but not in a big way ! I first went to The Partridge in Bromley where the gig started typically half an hour later than the poster time. It was G Force, and they sounded pretty good. I particularly liked their cover of Golden Earring's "Radar Love". They didn't slavishly follow the original, but added some twiddly bits that sounded good. I suppose it is possible that a live recording of Golden Earring playing it might have included these same "twiddly bits" as an embellishment, but to me it did sound like Michael Crump had invented them himself.

 I only stayed for about the first half hour of the gig, but by then I thought I had taken a good enough selection of photos to represent the band. With hindsight a few more might have been good because, as usual, the light in The Partridge was far from ideal for photography. G Force did have some nice bright lights with them, but as usual they were far too low down, and pointing at the floor. Ideally they should have been forward from the band, but in such a narrow venue there is nowhere better to put them. I still think they should have been pointed at the ceiling to give a downwash of coloured light.
Michael Crump of G Force
 I'll have some better pictures of last night another time, but this photo of Michael Crump illustrates how potentially bright the lights could have been, and how badly placed they were. His elbow, and the bottom of his guitar are extremely over exposed, while I had to work hard to make his face visible in the gloom. So the band were good, but the lighting, while it had potential, was disappointing to my camera. The other disappointment was that Fran never appeared there. I was looking forward to a kiss and cuddle. It is possible that she might have appeared later, but by 9.30pm I decided to get the bus to The Bricklayers Arm.

 I was probably there, door to door, in less than 15 minutes. I didn't know what to expect, but Mark In Time sounded pretty good. I must admit it was unusual to see so many young faces playing in a band. The bass player, playing a six string bass (!) was dressed as a skater - baggy shorts, skater style trainers, baggy t-shirt, and stupid looking baseball cap. One of the other guitarists was less extremely attired. The other guitarist looked a bit like he could have been one of their dads ! Maybe I'll have some sample pictures of them tomorrow.

 I was there in time to see the last 2 or 3 of the first set, and when they finished that first set I decided to go home again. I did consider popping back in The Partridge again, but once on the bus I just stayed on it back to Catford. After all the salad I had eaten I had a strong urge for something more substantial - and this was despite only drinking two pints of Guinness. Perhaps not seeing Fran was a contributory factor, but I ended up buying a couple of chicken burgers on teh way home. That may not have been too terrible by itself, but I also bought some chicken wings. On the rare(ish) occasions I buy wings I prefer grilled wings because for some false reason I think they are less bad for you, but the chicken shop I used doesn't seem to sell plain grilled wings. My biggest mistake, after buying them in the first place, was to eat them all last night. A minute or two in the microwave, and they would have made a nice snack for today.

 I was in bed by  11pm last night - not bad for a gig night - but I started reading because I didn't feel particularly tired. The only problem was I was reading a particularly good couple of chapters in the book, and it was 1.30am before I realised what the time was. I quickly put the book down, turned out the light, and waited for sleep to come. It felt like a long wait, but I doubt it was. It was one of those occasions where one minute you seem to be awake, and the next minute you are actually waking up.

 When I finally got up this morning I felt pretty lousy. I think I will blame it on the chicken - whether it was that or not. It might help to teach me not to buy fried chicken on the way home from a gig no matter how little I might have eaten earlier in the day. Many hours have passed since then, and some were taken up by a long rambling phone call from my friend Lee. I still don't feel terribly wonderful, but I do feel a lot better than I did a few hours ago.

 There is only three things on the agenda for today. I have a couple of t-shirts to wash. I have another load of photos to go through, and I fancy a few long snoozes. I suppose I can add preparing and eating a meal or two to the list, and if I am really clutching at straws I could add breathing and going to the toilet to make the list look longer. On the whole it is a Sunday, and Sunday afternoons are probably designed to be as dull and depressing as ditchwater !
Saturday 7th April 2018
 12:03 BST

  Yesterday morning felt rather cool, and the sky was too cloudy for any sunny intervals. It was all a bit depressing in some ways. Later on in the morning it started to lighten up. By midday there was some hazy sunshine, and maybe an hour or two after that there was some almost proper sunshine, but it still seemed to be a little diffuse. By this time the temperature had finally reached 15° C, and it was feeling quite mild. The temperature fell very slowly through the night.
maybe not
                      as bad as it looks
  This morning also felt chilly like yesterday, and I think the temperature had dropped to something like 6 or 7° C by just before daybreak. The forecast gave a fairly high chance of rain this morning, but it seems the clouds were too thin for that. On the other hand, the clouds were also too thick to let any of the forecast sunny intervals happen. Right now the temperature has risen to 16° C by my reckoning, and I feel it could go higher. The clouds are between thick and thin - meaning that it is quite bright outside, but the sunshine is too diffuse to cast more than the faintest shadow. The latest forecast update removes the raindrop at 9pm tonight, but otherwise is practically the same as this earlier forecast. Tomorrow will be a couple of degrees cooler, and there is a 30 - 50% chance of rain for almost anytime tomorrow except for the first few hours after sunrise. No sunshine is shown on the chart !
  Once again Angela decided to go shopping in her lunchbreak, and so I had to scratch seeing her at lunchtime off the agenda. I would have liked to see her, but somehow I didn't feel particularly bothered that I couldn't. On the plus side it gave me more time to do my photo editing, and it seems I needed all that time to get the job finally done. I think it was about 6.30pm before I was ready to upload them to a popular social media site (where they accumulated much praise).
Chain at the open mic
 About 75% of the pictures I took were by natural light - of which there was very little ! In the end I gave up struggling and used my flash gun. I used flash on the picture above, and it is noise free and sharp, but the feet level coloured lights don't really add any "colour" to the photo. At my suggestion they will pointed at the ceiling instead of just feet at the next open mic. I hope there will be enough coloured downwash off the ceiling to give enough light for my camera, and of course some nice colour washes.
the lovely Fran snapped using no more
                          light than moonlight
 This picture of the lovely huggable Fran was taken with what must be the equivalent of moonlight, and maybe not even full moonlight ! Her face has cleaned up nicely, but her top still looks very gritty and grainy. I had to use a lot of smoothing to make this picture presentable.
Fran by flashlight
 Fitting the flash gun on the camera, and getting it set correctly made such a huge difference. You can now see that Frans top is green. Incidentally, the lens I was using has foreshortened this picture, and that is what makes it look like Derek is about to grab Frans boob ! In reality it was at least a foot away.
 Sometimes a bit of grain, and a bit of fuzziness can be good - at least so I delude myself. I think this photo of Jo has a very mid 1960s look to it. Her hair style probably would not look out of place in 1968 or 1969, and that adds to the vintage look. In one respect this is actually crappy photography, but I seem to find myself like the result.

   There was one other significant thing I did yesterday apart from photo editing, and that was to go shopping in Tesco. It seemed warm/mild enough to go there without a coat, and particularly so when I was carrying home quite a bit of shopping. I seemed to but an awful lot of salad things, plus stuff to eat with the salad. In fact apart from one sandwich, and two other items, everything I bought could be considered good, wholesome, healthy stuff. I don't think I could actually describe corned beef as good and wholesome, but I will try and eat it in small quantities. The other thing was ice cream.
slightly lower sugar ice cream
  I spotted these tubs of ice cream in the freezer where they sometimes sell off end of stock items at reduced price, and I have to confess I am a sucker for reduced price stuff. I was also a sucker for the claim they had "lower sugar". If you look carefully there is a little superscript 1 after the word sugar. I suspected the worst when I saw that, but didn't check it until I brought these two pictures tubs home. The small print on the side of the tub says it is actually 30% less than "average ice cream" (or similar ice cream, or words to that effect). It still means it does have more sugar that I should consume. On the other hand you have to eat ice cream. It is one of your five-a-summer essential foods, and when you have to eat it, you may as well try and reduce the damage. Apparently that calorie count on the top of the tub is also about 30% less than other average ice creams. So it's all good when taken in moderation...sort of !

   There were possibilities to go out last night, but I didn't really feel like it after concentrating on my photo editing on and off all day. Perhaps there would have been one gig I might have gone to if I could have foreseen the future. The Tony Patience band, a band I have never heard of, were playing in The Beckenham Bricklayers Arms pub, which I don't like as a gig venue because it can get horribly crowded. Had I know two things in advance I might have gone there. I saw someone streaming a video from the venue, and the band didn't seem too bad, and the place didn't seem to be packed. One small plus point is that the pub is at the far end of Beckenham High Street, and is unaffected by the bus diversion that has ruined going to Beckenham for the last year and a bit. What would have been a big draw, if only I had known it, was that it was where Fran had chosen to go. Had I gone I undoubtedly have got more hugs and kisses which would have offset not seeing Angela at lunchtime tenfold.

 Last night, after watching some TV, and reading for a bit, I went to bed at around 11pm if I recall correctly. I think I fell asleep fairly quickly, but it was a light sleep for some reason. Later on I slept better, and I think that in total I probably slept quite well last night. I even managed a small lay in !! When I got up I felt reasonably good, but also quite lazy. Rather than getting washed and dressed, and rushing around, I seemed to get stuck behind my PC screen catching up on technology news from plus a few other websites and stuff.  I hardly had any time to read much on the internet yesterday, and to a lesser extent on the previous couple of days. So I had a huge backlog to catch up on. I still have news stories to read, but I thought it was about time I wrote something here.

 Sooner or later I will wash and maybe get better dressed - I'm currently slouching around in purely indoor clothing, and will probably stay this way after getting washed. I think it is going to be a nice and lazy sort of day. I expect to do a lot more reading, and I may wash a couple of t-shirts, but mostly I will save my energy for tonight. My tentative plan is to go to two gigs tonight. I think I will start in The Partridge where G-Force will be playing (possibly mostly in the dark), and where I think I will be seeing Fran. I seem to be obsessed with Fran lately, but I know there is no future in it. It's just "everyone needs a cuddle now and then" - an idea that Fran definitely agrees with and approves of !

  It might be hard to tear myself away from The Partridge, but I want to go on to the Bromley Bricklayers Arms where Mark In Time are playing. I've had conflicting reports about them ranging from good to about neutral. I don't think anyone had said anything negative about them, but have said they are not interested in them. It could be feasible to spend just half an hour or so at The Bricklayers Arms, and then go back to The Partridge. After all, my bus home from The Bricklayers stops almost outside The Partridge. I'll have to balance how good or bad Mark In Time are, and how much I want another cuddle from that is a difficult one !
Friday 6th April 2018
 07:33 BST

  It was nice and sunny yesterday. The temperature sometimes seemed very slow to rise to it's afternoon high, and a few more degrees would have been nicer, but by 4pm it seemed just about OK to go out for my early evening drink without a coat. As I came home just after 7pm it was starting to feel a bit cool, but still not uncomfortable. The highest temperature was about as  forecast, 11° C.
                      could be actually warm !
  As I write this the sun is still rather low in the sky, and is either hidden by light cloud, or is just too low to be seen above the clutter of buildings towards the east. It could be both, but the quality of the morning make me think of warm days, and according to the forecast, today should be warm. No rain is expected, and by mid afternoon the forecast predicts 15° C, and even 16° C for a while a little later. That is definitely in the realm of t-shirt weather. Another 4° higher and I would be thinking about shorts too ! Sadly it won't last. After today we face another week of wet weather and no sunshine. The only good thing about it is that the temperature should stay in double figures during the day.
  There was a deviation from my rough idea of how yesterday would proceed. The first thing I did was to finish the laundry I mentioned yesterday. I had left quite a few items soaking overnight, and I had to finish it before I could use the shower. The difficult thing was that it included a small sized bath towel, and they
weigh a bloody ton when saturated with water. I thought I would have to do that laundry in two stages, but somehow I got it all washed, rinsed and conditioned before hanging it up to dry.

 It was soon after finishing that laundry that the major diversion in my day happened. I got a text message from Angela to say that she was going into Lewisham to get a bit of shopping as she often does on a dry Thursday.  Maybe I was still satiated from Fran's affections the previous evening, and so not seeing Angela didn't really bother me that much, although I missed walking through the sunny park. Instead of going out I prepared a nice and healthy salad lunch.
salad for lunch
  With hindsight it seems that not walking through the park to see Angela was a good idea. It might possibly have been when I was right in the middle of that walk that I was struck down by the runs. I don't think that it was a stomach bug, or anything like that. I think it was possibly a reaction to the first salad of the season. The salad I had eaten approximately 24 hours earlier was very similar to the one pictured above (that I ate yesterday). Perhaps it was all the fibre and/or the olive oil, but Having gone to the toilet once I had to go again twice in fairly quick succession. I definitely felt a bit slimmer after that ! I wonder if I will be similarly afflicted today after eating a lot more salad yesterday ?

 Apart from eating salad I managed to make a start on selecting and editing photos I had taken at the open mic on Wednesday night. It really was dark in The Partridge, and I had to have everything wide open on my camera. So the images are dull and grainy, but with a lot of work I managed to pull some good but bad snaps out of the gloom.
Whitestar opening the open mic session
  This is an example of what I think is a good bad picture. Technically it is atrocious, but somehow it has a good feel to it. All the pictures I dealt with, and I only managed to go through a tenth of what I had taken, needed a lot of love and care to make them even slightly presentable, and it is going to take some time before I finish going through them. Hopefully I can find time today to finish them before taking even more pictures on Saturday night.
going out without a coat !
 By 4pm it was time to quickly get ready to go out for my Thursday early evening drink. It was so bright and sunny, and my thermometer said it was 11° C, so I thought I would chance going out without a coat, although I did take the precaution of wearing a long sleeved top. On the way to Shortlands it felt comfortable with those long sleeves rolled up, but I think I had them down on the way home. By 7pm, when I was waiting on the very draughty platform of Shortlands station, it was starting to feel a little cool, but it was still by no means uncomfortable. Another win for Spring !

 I just had my usual three pints of ale last night, but that was still enough to give me a certain feeling of hunger. What I craved as I made my way home was something like fish and chips, or a big greasy kebab. I certainly didn't intend to have either of those, and up to the very last minute I stuck with my earlier plan to have one or both calorie controlled ready meals I had waiting for me to pop into the microwave. As I walked the last few hundred feet towards home a new idea crystalised in my brain.

 I remembered part of the takeaway I had eaten last Friday night (I think it was Friday). It came from a Thai and Malay restaurant, and one of the dishes was a salad. Last night I decided I would order two more of those salads, plus a couple of of other dishes to meet the minimum price for delivery. One salad was chicken, and the chicken come seperately from the salad because it is cooked in batter. That does make it a little bit greasy, but it is really quite a small portion. The other salad was mixed seafood, and that must have been very low in calories. The dressing for both salads is little more than lime juice. The only negative thing is the amount of grated carrot. There seemed to be a lot more of it than I remember from last Friday's salad, and I did leave much of that grated carrot behind when I ate those salads. It is my belief, rightly, or probably wrongly, that there is a lot of sugar in carrot, and I prefer to eat it sparingly.

 It took almost an hour after ordering my takeaway before it was delivered. By the time I had finished eating I was starting to think about bed. It was probably an hour or two before I actually went to bed, but as far as I can remember I was back to falling asleep easily, and sleeping fairly well through the night. This morning I think it does feel like I had a decent night's sleep. That doesn't mean that I won't have a good snooze this afternoon if I end up having several pints of Guinness at lunchtime.

 Meeting Angela at lunchtime, and selecting and editing photos, are about the only plans I have for today. Being a Friday night there could be a gig on somewhere that I might be interested in going to, but I can't think of anything offhand. In the meantime, there is still no sign of the promised sunshine, and the quality of light seems to have changed, and it makes me think of rain now. The forecast has been recently updated, and it still says no rain, and to expect lots of sunny intervals. Where are they ? I'm feeling sort of chilly now. Perhaps it's time for a nice hot shower.
Thursday 5th April 2018
 07:59 BST

  The forecast said rain, but then only gave a 30% chance of it happening yesterday. Well that 30% was enough for a brief bit of light rain. The rest of the day seemed dry, and there was even a short period of unscheduled sunshine. The highest temperature was as forecast, 12° C.
lots of
                      sunshine !
  This morning has started off with long sunny intervals. This is as forecast. If the forecast continues to be right there should be full on sunshine from late morning to late afternoon. Then it will be back to sunny intervals until sunset. The only fly in the ointment is that for all the sunshine it will be a degree cooler than yesterday, but 11° C isn't too bad. Tomorrow might be a similar sort of day, but with a high of 15° C it should feel rather good !

  I thought that yesterday was going to be a mostly boring day, but I don't recall it like that. One of the first things I did was to go to the corner shop to pick up a packet of a couple of things I bought from One item was an external hard drive that I wanted to
use to consolidate and archive various files that were scattered on assorted media. Setting up that, and selecting stuff to copy used up some random periods of time. The other thing I bought was an ultra violet light torch. I'm not sure why I wanted it - probably because it was there - although it is useful to check security markings done with invisible ink.

 Just before midday I had a brief visit from Chris. He had a couple of cans of paint for me that were a gift from Andy. Andy had offered them to me at one of our recent Thursday night drinking sessions. He is expecting to sell his house very soon, and was having a clear out, and Chris very generously offered to drop them down to me. Soon after Chris went I set off for my lunchtime walk through the park to meet up with Angela in the pub.
mandarin duck
 One sight in the park was the mandarin duck. I only see it now and again since first spotting it some weeks ago, but he, and his mate seem to have taken up residence in the park now. It wasn't very bright when walking through the park, but it did feel very mild. The pub was very nearly empty when I got there, and as I sat down with my Guinness and crossword puzzle to wait for Angela I think there was only one other person in there. I had a nice, but unspectacular drink with Angela, although there was a bit of extra warmth when she showed me a sneak preview of her wearing a new bikini top she bought for her holiday in June. Plus she did give me a nice smile when I took her picture.
 For a while the sun came out while we were in the pub. That was not expected, and duped us into thinking the rest of the afternoon may have been nice. It wasn't ! When we left the pub it was raining. It wasn't heavy rain, but the wind was blowing it straight into our faces as we walked back to Angela's workplace. It felt unpleasant, but I only felt very slightly damp by the time I arrived back home.

 I decided to be good when I got home and try and eat only a light lunch. It started off as a ready made "simple" salad, but I tipped it out of it's little bowl into a big bowl, and added extra tomatoes, some sliced (de-seeded) chillies, some bell pepper, sliced onion and corned beef. Rather than drown it all in mayonnaise I simply dressed it with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It was nice, and quite satisfying for something with comparatively few calories.

 It was after eating that I went into mostly lazy mode. I laid on my bed to read for a bit, and ended up having a nice snooze. From then onwards I didn't really do much until it was time to go out. I had decided that even though I didn't feel like traveling I would go to the Whitestar open mic at The Partridge in Bromley. It was a good decision. There was some very good music, although there was also some very bad music. One person in particular, who usually does better, completely murdered a couple of songs. Some say he was very drunk. Maybe, but I am not so sure.

 There were lots of lovely people there last night. Some I know by name, and some I don't. Of particular note was Manx Jax, another photographer. She was showing off her brand new camera - a Panasonic Lumix camera which she hoped would work well in the very dim light. In theory, being a much more modern camera than mine, it should have been more sensitive, but I noted it wasn't long before she turned on the inbuilt flash. I too resorted to flash in the end, but I think I managed to get some fairly bright, but grainy pictures by cranking the ISO sensitivity of my camera up to "high". That setting is only available with an unofficial firmware  update to the camera, and it give an ISO rating of 12800. The downside is that it relies heavily on using good noise reduction during post production.

 I was delighted that one other person of special note who was there was the lovely Fran. I have concluded that she does single me out for extra hugs and kisses because I react better to them than other do. She enjoys a cuddle back, and I very much enjoy cuddling her. I would prefer it it was Angela I was hugging and kissing, but lover boy's existence puts the crimp on that. So Fran makes me feel good instead, and apparently I make her feel good too. I look forward to bumping into her again at a gig over the weekend - although I have no idea which ones she may be going to. I think there is possibly a choice of two on Saturday night, and I have no idea about anything on Friday night.

 I left the Partridge a little early last night. I think it was about half an hour before the end. By then I had seen most musicians, and it was getting more and more difficult to get to the front to see them, and photograph them. I was fortunate on two counts. The first was that "Greater Than Gatsby", the place that was emitting a hateful noise last Saturday night, was closed and silent on a Wednesday night. The other good thing was that I only had to wait 6 minutes for a bus, and it was 320. They are usually faster than a 208 for getting me back to Catford.
late supper !
 I could have bought fried chicken and fries on the way home, and if there was a handy place to buy one, a nice big greasy kebab would have gone down well, but I decided to be sensible. Ideally I would have had no supper at all after getting in, but I am not quite ready for that yet (bit maybe later in the summer....). Instead I went for a healthy option for my late supper. It was Butternut squash risotto as pictures above. It was sort of tasty, and sort of satisfying, but not in the same way as a great big greasy kebab would be. On the plus side it was mostly guilt free !

 I don't know if I slept well or not last night. I certainly didn't have any trouble getting to sleep, but my sleep became more and more troubled as morning approached. One strange experience was waking up at sometime between 2am and 3am. I must have been dreaming because I was convinced it was about 7.30am, and it took a moment or two to realise that the reason that it was so dark was because it was still the middle of the night. The other inconvenience was that I woke up three times later in the night because I needed to pee. Prior to that I had hardly peed at all considering I had drunk 3 or 4 pints of Guinness at the pub. I think I woke up three times at hourly intervals to have three very big pees (and on one of those occasions I had a poo too).

 The final time I woke up, and slowly started to get up, I felt like it was really hot, and it was nice to go to the bathroom again where the window had been open all night. Very soon after that I started to feel rather cool. Soon after that I felt like I do now - about right. There are 4 things on the agenda today - or there were 4 things. I have left it too late again to call the surgery to book a routine appointment with my GP to discuss my latest blood test results. Maybe I will try and get through at 1pm, or maybe I won't bother.

 The new first thing on the agenda is to finish some laundry that I left soaking overnight. It was be cold and nasty this morning, but until I do it I can't take a shower and wash my hair. At lunchtime I'll be taking a wander in the sunshine through the park to meet Angela, and have a couple of drinks with her. The final thing will be to go out for my regular Thursday evening drink. Tonight were are in The Shortlands Tavern again. Of course at some point I have a load of pictures I took last night to deal with. Most will require some heavy post production cleaning up, and I have no idea when I might finish them, although I should find a few spare minutes today to make a start on them.
Wednesday 4th April 2018
 07:34 BST

  It was almost feeling warm yesterday, but in practice it could only be called mild. The top temperature may well have been 14° C, but the grey sky, and/or breeze, and/or light drizzle seemed to make it feel cooler. Although the chances of precipitation were low, under 10% for some of the time, the drizzle extended through the morning until gone 1pm. Having said that, it was mostly extremely light drizzle, and fairly intermittent. To add some balance, there was some nice sunshine in the afternoon, and it was a mild night.
a damp
                      sort of day - possibly
  Today has started off with a clearer sky than forecast (but not in the part of the sky where the sun is), and that means the temperature is a couple of degrees lower than the forecast predicted. It is looking like the most important bit of today, the afternoon, is going to be wet, although maybe not that wet. With only a 30% chance of precipitation at worst, it is possible it won't rain at all. With the temperature being 11 or 12° C for most of the day it should feel mild. If only there was some sunshine it would have the potential to feel almost warm. Maybe that will happen tomorrow or Friday. The latter seems the likeliest day, although the temperature prediction for Friday has been slowly slipping in the last few days.

 Yesterday could have been good, or it could have been bad. On the whole it ended up on the bad end of the spectrum. It started off OK. I went shopping in Aldi in the morning, and apart from a very slow moving queue at the checkout, it was a pleasant experience. It could have been better if there was anything new to buy that was exciting, but there wasn't anything there that really grabbed my attention. One minor curiosity was some ready cooked flavoured chicken. More about that soon. I walked there and back in my reddish magenta Dunlop hi-top trainers.
reddish magenta Dunlop hi-top trainers
 I think I have mentioned these trainers once or twice lately. Everything about them was/is nice. I think they look good, and the colour is great, plus they were considerably cheaper than the Converse trainers they are probably modelled on. They great drawback with them is that they are not particularly comfortable. Without socks, which I prefer not to wear these days, the tops of some of my toes get rubbed raw (and bloody) if I walk in them for more than 5 minutes. Socks protect my toes, but still don't make wearing them perfectly comfortable.It may be that they are gradually getting more comfortable after every time I wear them, but it sometimes feels like it s my feet that are wearing in to the shoes, and not the other way round.

 I left them on when I got back from Aldis, and used them to walk through the park when I went to meet Angela in the pub, and obviously had them on when I walked home again. That was a fair amount of walking in them when you add the walk to and from Aldi to the total, and it was a great relief to get them off when I got home again. Having said that, I wasn't in agony when I got home, and while it could have just been my feet starting to feel numb, I think I noticed the discomfort was starting to ease. I now wonder if I ought to wear them today to see if I can finally break them in.

 Angela was late getting to the pub. It seemed like she had doubts I was really there, but once confirmed that I was there it seemed like she must have run all the way to get there. She was quite tactful in describing her long weekend holiday with lover boy. He didn't actually get much of a mention. She concentrated on saying how the weather was nice for one of the days, and despite the cold, how nice the local beach looked. She also sung the praises of lover boys family, and made it sound like she prefers them to him ! Ultimately she did spoil things by saying that they have booked a weeks holiday in Greece during June (I think she said June). That could be a nice birthday present for me - NOT !

 Unfortunately it was still very nice having a drink with Angela, and that makes deciding whether to do the correct thing, giving up on her as a lost cause, ever more difficult. I would have a greater disappointment coming up in a few hours, and this disappointment concerned Patricia. She wanted to try and get to see me late yesterday afternoon, but she had other business that delayed her for too long. Some, but not all the desire to see me was to borrow a small camera from me to take to Italy. She will just have to use the camera in her mobile phone now.

 The first thing I did when I got home from the pub, apart from taking off those Dunlop trainers, was to have a couple of Aldi's finest sandwiches for lunch. They seemed to just disappear inside me when I ate them, and it felt like I could have easily eaten two more ! After having such a lousy night (which I described yesterday) the beer and the sandwiches soon sent me off to sleep. I think I didn't manage to even read a whole page from the book I am reading before my eyes started to close. I think I might have slept for 2 hours, and it certainly felt better than the sleep I had the night before ! The curious thing was that I woke up just seconds before Patricia first contacted me to say she couldn't make it.

 One good thing about Patricia is something that Angela very often fails at, and that was that Patricia first apologised by text message that she wasn't going to make it, and then later, once she was in a better environment to talk, she phoned me. She (and her partner) are off to Italy on a flight at 08:55 this very morning, and won't be back in London for many months...unless...she is offered a well paid interpreting job. Such jobs are often only for one day, but pay well enough to make it worthwhile getting a cheap return flight all the way from Italy. If such a job offer does come up she may well end up staying here for a night or two.

 There is one other reason why she may make a quick visit to London. I noted that late in the evening last night she posted that she was interested in going to a seminar for the professional translators software application Trados. That is being held in The Regents Park Hotel on (if I recall correctly) 3rd May. If she does decide to go to it, it is quite possible that is when I will see her next. Even if I don't see Patricia then, she has promised that she will be spending at least a few more days in London before finally flying back to Argentina for the winter (our winter - it will be summer there).

 I could have been awake and alert if Patricia had been able to visit, but instead I stayed feeling tired and listless. I had given some thought to going to an open mic in Forest Hill last night - it would have been close enough to walk to in the days when I was feeling fit and walking a lot. Instead of that I was constantly thinking about an early night. I had a lazy evening that involved watching some TV, and at about 9pm I got into bed, turned the lights off, lay my head on the pillow, and....nothing ! It was like I was going to have another sleepless night, but it wasn't quite that bad.

 It was close to midnight when I finally fell into a somewhat fitful sleep. I have a vague recollection of waking up several times in the night, and not just for a wee. On at least one of those occasions it took some time to fall asleep again. When I did manage to sleep I had some vivid dreams. One dream was a very rare dream that was set in an approximation of the last place I worked in. The bit of it that I remember was being called to go to a seminar in a room that was a slightly larger version of the kitchen area. I think it concerned how to use some new telephone instruments. In real life the phones at work could do all sorts of things if you knew how to use them, but because I didn't even have a phone near me, I barely knew how to answer a call. I went through the whole dream seminar thinking I would be leaving soon, and so I could just let the information flow into one ear, and out the other.

 The next thing I dreamed about was that I had left work, and was going home via a route that was totally unfamiliar to me. It started by going down Bee Lane - a lane that may or may not exist in reality. This dream Bee Lane was incredibly steep, but fortunately downhill in the direction I was walking. It was more like a footpath than a lane, and it twisted around like a writing snake. At the bottom I came out on a high street that I didn't know, and I tried to use the map application on my phone to find out where I was. I also tried to see if I could recognise any buses. I thought I aw one that said it was going to Brixton. That was undesirable, but I thought it would be nearer to home than I currently was. It was at about that point when I think I woke up.

 I woke up earlier than I would have liked, and I felt lousy enough that I could not force myself to go back to sleep. It was during that early part of the morning that the next bit of bad news arrived. It seems Tesco are stopping their email service. It was my first ever email account, and I started using it in the days of dial up internet, and Windows 95. If only Microsoft's Outlook Express had not used a proprietary format, and made it almost impossible to back up and transfer message to new email applications, I might still have an archive of my first ever email. The earliest I have date back to 2004 with one solitary email from 2003. These days I have a selection of email addresses, but I still use the account for e-commerce, and that is mainly Sooner or later I must go into my amazon account and change the password.

 Today might, or might not be a quiet day. I am definitely going for a drink with Angela at lunchtime. I might go to an open mic in Bromley tonight. Other than that I have a few jobs I could do around the house. The rest of the time I will probably concentrate on being bored !
Tuesday 3rd April 2018
 08:23 BST

  There was a fair amount of rain yesterday, but somehow it seemed to be (mostly) a fairly bright day - bright grey ! There was a bit of a breeze that made it feel cooler than it was, and I'm not sure that it was the forecast 12° C for very long. It was one day where the rain didn't seem to be of any consequence, but maybe that was because I didn't go out yesterday.
nice if
  The most likely time for rain today is now, and the ground is looking damp, but if it is still raining it must be very fine drizzle that is impossible to see through the windows. From mid-morning the clouds should lighten up, and by late afternoon they may have thinned enough to let some sunshine in. With temperature as high as 14° C, it could be close to a nice day. Tomorrow is currently looking a little bit cooler, and maybe more wet, but there are some nice looking days coming up. In the unlikely event that the forecast holds, Friday looks like it could be particularly good.

  One of the first things to say is that I was reading what I wrote yesterday, and I realised that some of my writing was atrocious.
Maybe I was distracted or something, but there is one particular paragraph full of missing, or misspelled words. I think I am going to have to go back and correct yesterday's writing. I don't think I dare look at the day before that for fear of what I might find.

 Yesterday was mostly good, although it did have a poor, but interesting ending. Patricia called me to say she was on her way round to see me rather earlier than I expected. I had just enough time to finish washing my hair, showering, and getting dressed before she was at my front door. It was lovely to see her, and we spend an enjoyable hour or two catching up on news and stuff. It is possible I might see her again this afternoon/early evening, but tomorrow she flies off to Italy where she will spend much of the summer. I think there is a good chance that I'll see her again before she flies south again in October. There is also the possibility of her coming back to London for an occasional interpreting job. If she does she will be on her own, and will stay here for a night or two.

 The first thing I was going to do after Patricia left was to go to Aldi. Patricia had confirmed that they were open when she passed the place on the way here. Maybe it was that it had just started to rain as Patricia was leaving that put me off going to Aldi, or maybe it was the realisation that my cupboard wasn't actually bare, and I was not desperate for extra food. Maybe it was also the case that I wanted to get on with "developing" the photos I had taken the night before at Chain's gig in Beckenham.

 Apart from stopping to cook and eat some lunch and dinner, and an occasional break to give my eyes a rest, selecting and editing those photos kept me busy until 9pm last night. It was not as easy a job as I had hoped. There seemed to be some good light in The Coach And Horses on Sunday night, but I quickly realised it wasn't always in the right places. The biggest problem was that the light was often split at chest height. That meant that sometimes a guitar would be over exposed, and the face under exposed - or vice versa. It was quite a challenge, but I managed to get some good snaps out of it. After presenting most of the snaps I had taken on Saturday night in monochrome, I left yesterday's in colour.
Jo, Steve and Chris
 This picture illustrates the problem well. The white scratch plate on Chris' guitar is really bleached out, and yet his face was almost in darkness. I really had to push the brightness on his face, and that has left him looking a bit pasty faced. This was one of the first pictures I took, and processed, and with hindsight I am not that happy with it.
Jo and Chris
 This picture looks much richer. It was taken a lot later, and by then I had found a reasonable set of settings on the camera. The big problem with this picture now is that it looks a little jagged after being shrunk down to fit on this page.

  After I finished photo editing it was far too late to go out to an open mic session that I had considered going to. So I just mainly relaxed by laying on my bed reading. I think I read until almost midnight when I decided it was high time I went to sleep. That would have been fine except I couldn't get to sleep despite wanting to. It is possible that I may have dozed off for a few minutes here or there, but I don't recall doing so. The first sleep I got was at 3am !

 As I lay in bed lots of thoughts went floating through my mind, and I can probably blame many of thise thoughts for keeping me awake. There were some doom and gloom thoughts about seeing Angela today as a for instance. In amongst all the fantasies and stuff came quite an interesting thought. It was about photography, and while it may not have been completely new, it was more integrated, or logical, or something than previous thoughts on the same subject.

 When I first started doing photography in a more serious way I was doing it almost from an engineering viewpoint. I was drawing on my experience of repairing TVs during job number 2. For that I had to learn to check for proper focus, proper colour balance, and a good range of brightness without dark colours looking black, or bright colours looking bleached and white. I aimed for the same qualities in my photographs. Recently that has changed.

 The changes that have brought this about are learning to use my DSLR camera better in full manual mode, and perhaps more importantly my growing skill at using my preferred photo editing application - The Gimp. It is the latter more than anything else that has revealed a new skill - one that I didn't believe I had a single bone of in my body. All the little tweaks I can now do to some photos seem to add up to doing it as an art rather than a science. It seems very odd to think of myself as an "artist", but it seems I might be one now. This is good, but it is also bad. Bad in as much that my skills seem to be mostly to make a photo look like it should look like rather than how it was taken, and when it looks like what it should look like you can't see the work that was put into it to make it that way. Oh well, occasionally I do add effects for "artistic reasons" that are obviously false, but enhance a picture in an artistic way - possibly !

 This morning I feel lousy. I lost a lot of sleep last night. Even after falling asleep at 3am I was awake again an hour later needing a pee. Fortunately I managed to get back to sleep fairly quickly after that, and had some pretty wild and weird dreams until I heard what I thought was my doorbell at 7am this morning. I think it was part of a dream, but it woke me up, and I even went down to see if anyone had rung my doorbell. There was no one in sight, and I went back to bed via the toilet, but I seemed like I came closer to getting back to sleep while sitting on the toilet.

 Today is going to be "interesting". Once I have washed and dressed I will probably finally go to Aldi to get some shopping. At midday I will take a wander through the park to the pub. I am hoping that it will be warm and dry enough to do that in my shirtsleeves. The ultimate destination of that walk will be to the pub to see Angela. In a way I am dreading it. I fear I will be told tales of what a great time she had in Wales with lover boy over the long bank holiday weekend. If that is so I feel I will have to give strong consideration to stopping seeing Angela. I have been clinging to an all too thin thread of hope for far too long now, and maybe that thread is about to break.

 If that thread does break it will be nice to be distracted by a final visit from Patricia before she flies to Italy with her partner. It is not definite that she will pop round, but if she does it will be mid to late afternoon, and we should be able to relax with a gin & tonic (it was too early for one yesterday). Once Patricia goes I will probably pass the time reading, and hoping I sleep properly, and for long enough tonight. I might be going out tomorrow evening, and not feeling knackered would be a bonus !

 To finish off, here's a video of Rob Todd as a guest of Chain singing Road To Hell. It was taken on my Canon Ixus 285 pocket sized camera, and once again that camera coped well with some quite difficult conditions.

Monday 2nd April 2018
 08:28 BST

   A lot of yesterday was harmless. Some of the morning was bright-ish, and by the afternoon the temperature was almost comfortable. The unforgivable thing was that the late evening rain started early, and got far heavier than expected. It wasn't forecast to start to rain until 11pm, but there was some fine rain as early as 9 to 9.30pm, and by 11pm it was absolutely teeming down ! Oh well, at least I was heading to, and close to home when I got drowned ! Another thing in the rain's defence is that it didn't feel that cold. I think the temperature may have stayed up near the 9° C it reached in the afternoon.
                      warm with the possibility of a bit of sunshine
                      late in the day
 I've just accidentally mislabelled the weather forecast screenshot above. I was looking at tomorrow when I wrote it, but I think I'll let it stand incase the weather goblins read it, and act it out ! There was a lot of rain in the night, but if it is still raining now it must be very light drizzle that is too fine to be seen through my window. It is a shame that there is going to be a fair chance of light rain falling almost anytime today because otherwise 12° C might have been enjoyable. Tomorrow could start with a splash of rain, but the majority of the day is forecast to be dry, and warm - a whole 14° C ! There might even be some sunshine in the last hours before sunset. I hope reality follows, or improves on this forecast !

  Yesterday I described the day before as successful, but I am not sure I can say the same today. Apart from the evening, yesterday seems a bit vague. Probably because nothing of note really happened. I did attempt to go to Aldi, but when I got there I found they were closed. It wasn't a completely wasted journey though. I passed a man whose t-shirt I rather liked. Written across some sort of undecipherable background were the words "Normal people scare me", and somehow that seems so right. I was going to try and get one for myself until my friend Jodie pointed out they have been around for countless years, and are now considered somewhat passé. Maybe that is not a reason to not get one, because the message is still appropriate.

 I'm sure I must have done something yesterday afternoon, but I have no idea what it may have been beyond cooking a couple of big beefburgers, and some peas for my lunch. I guess I did a lot of reading. I also had a short conversation with Patricia over the internet. She has settled down after her long flight, and even done some translation work. Best of all is that she is popping over sometime this morning to see me. That will cheer me up after seeing some depressing photos yesterday. It seems that Angela is probably having a good time in Wales with lover boy. I really don't want to see pictures of him on the beach, and worse !

 It is surely a sign of spring that I found the energy and enthusiasm to go out and see Chain playing again last night. That's two nights in a row. There could even be a possibility of going out again tonight, but I think I'll wait until much later in the day to even consider that option. I had a good and a bad time last night. I'll get the bad out of the way first. With no end in sight, the roadworks in Beckenham High Street continue, and the buses remain on diversion. There is a perfectly good bus stop that is just 30 seconds walk from the pub, but the diverted bus stops at the bottom of the hill at least 7 minutes uphill walk away ! That really annoys me !

 Other bad news was that the pub ran out of Guinness halfway through the evening. I think I git the very last pint, and then just went thirsty for the rest of the night. It was one reason why I left before the end. The other reason was that it felt it was getting a bit late for a Sunday. The final indignity was that it started to rain maybe an hour before I left. Initially it was very light rain that was mostly ignorable, but it was starting to get heavier when I walked to the bus stop to go home. When I got off the the bus, back in Catford, the rain was really rather heavy, and I was getting very wet before I got indoors.

 On the plus side, it was a very enjoyable gig even if it didn't entice me to stay to the very end. There was lots of nice people there, and no one nicer than Fran. She is a darling. She doesn't single me out for her affections, but it is easy to believe/delude myself, that I get a bigger share of her hugs and kisses than other do. On a day where some of the pictures Angela posted on social media really pissed me off, my faith in humanity was sort of restored by Fran's hugs and kisses. It is a shame our paths cross so infrequently, but now I am starting to go to more gigs again we may cross paths more frequently.
the lovely Fran
 I had made a point of not eating anything significant after my lunch yesterday, and so I was feeling quite peckish when I got home after the gig last night. Maybe if Aldi had been open yesterday I might have had something to eat waiting for me when I got in, but the cupboard is starting to look a bit bare. Perhaps that is not entirely true unless I add the coda that it is looking bare of stuff that can easily be pre-cooked and warmed up later. Obviously the obvious happened, despite the rain I went home via the fried chicken shop. Maybe I had sort of earned it yesterday because it did seem more delicious than when I am being purely greedy.

 I would say I slept well last night if it wasn't for the amount of dreaming I seemed to do. I had dreams that were very repetitious. Maybe I was studying the topics from different angles. I wish I could describe the dream that seemed to have the most variants, but while I know what it was about (the search for happiness) I can't describe it in any meaningful way.  The very last dream was a teaser. In this dream the tribute band Led Z, who were excellent the last time I saw them, seemed to be doing a gig at a place I worked in. In theory that should have given me excellent access to everything. Being able to leave my coat at my workbench was certainly a plus point, but the auditorium seemed to be full of jobsworths who wanted to herd everyone around like sheep, and I found it impossible to get near the stage to take pictures. It seemed a lot happier to wake up and get on with today.

 I now have three things on my definite agenda for today, and I could easily add more later. Initially I need a good wash and brush up before Patricia arrives - which I am guessing will probably be towards midday, but could be earlier. Washing and Patricia are two things. The third is to go to the corner shop to pick up a parcel. If I hear from Patricia that she is definitely aiming for late in the morning I might rush out to Aldi before she gets here. Depending on how long she stays I could go to Aldi in the afternoon instead. If by the end of the afternoon I feel bored (despite have a camera full of pictures from last night to deal with) I may go to an open mic session in West Wickham tonight...or I may not.
Sunday 1st April 2018
 09:01 BST

   Yesterday was far less unpleasant than I thought it might be. To a very minor degree it was occasionally approaching the outer limits of nice. The main contribution to this positive feeling was blue sky, and even a little bit of sunshine. The forecast gave no indication that there would be even the merest hint of sunshine. It was obviously a very pleasant surprise when the clouds parted for a while and I could see blue sky, and even more pleasant when the sun managed to peep around the clouds. Somehow it even made 7° C seem mild. There was also some unexpected light rain very late in the evening, but it didn't seem bothersome even though I was out in it.
                      improving temperatures
 After many false starts it seem like today is the day when the weather starts to improve again. Some sunshine would help a lot, but with the temperature forecast to be 9° C for several hours late this afternoon, going on into the early evening, it is only a few degrees away from t-shirt weather - that should be a reality by the end of the week ! At the moment it is possibly a bit brighter than the forecast suggests, but the clouds do seem to be a bit thicker, and a bit greyer than they were half an hour ago. Strangely enough, the latest forecast for today now mentions drizzle, but doesn't give any clue as to when it might fall. The closest to drizzle is "light rain" from 11pm onwards. Tomorrow could see the temperature rise to a mild 12° C, but sadly it is probably going to rain almost all day, and some of it could be very heavy !

  Yesterday was quite a successful least I think it was. Once I had washed my body and hair (plus conditioned my hair) I got dressed and took a short walk to the local shops. It was not warm out there, but somehow it didn't feel particularly cold. I took the opportunity to take the magenta Dunlop hi-top trainers I mentioned yesterday for a slightly longer walk. Wearing them with socks certainly seems to stop them damaging my toes, but I am not sure they were that comfortable...or uncomfortable. I guess they were somewhere in between. I forgot I was wearing them when distracted, but when I stopped to think how comfortable they felt I had to conclude they were mildly uncomfortable. However I think that they could become comfortable I wear them enough to start wearing them out.
White Stripes "Elephant" CD
 The first place I visited on my short walk was The British Heart Foundation charity shop for a rummage through their CDs. I only bought two CDs there this time. One was a duplicate of one that I thought I only once owned as a vinyl version. It turns out that I now have two copies of Fleetwood Mac's Greatest Hits. The other CD was the one pictured above - The White Stripes and "Elephant". I bought it because it has the original version of the song "7 Nation Army" on it - a song very nicely covered by Chain and (I think) The Life Of Brian. In fact those two bands covered it so well that I really didn't like the original version when I heard it for the first time yesterday. I forced myself to listen to the whole CD, and my conclusion is that a couple of songs on it are completely ignorable, and most are not very pleasant.

 After the charity shop I went in the SAM 99p shop where, amongst other things, I stocked up on instant noodle pots. They are roughly 6 times cheaper than the ones I bought from Tesco, and pictured yesterday. Maybe they do need a slight helping hand with some extra flavour (typically a bit of chilli sauce, but chilli sauce can improve a host of foods), but are basically quite nice as they are, and for someone like me, who doesn't drink tea or coffee, they are a source of hot liquid and something like food on a cold day.

 Other stuff I bought from the 99p shop included a couple of spare bottle of bleach, some dry roasted peanuts, a packet of sugar free shortbread biscuits, and a packet of rice crackers. The latter are not quite as low in calories as expected, but probably considerably lower than some snack biscuits. When I got home I ignored all the foodstuffs I had bought, and ate the leftover egg fried rice from my Friday night takeaway. Egg fried rice can be nice just on it's own, but I ate with some "American style" tinned hot dogs. I am not sure why I chose the latter, and I am not even sure why I bought them. They are not nasty as such, but sometimes it is hard to enjoy them.

 I spent much of the afternoon relaxing, and I was probably mentally preparing myself to go out in the evening. I have no idea how "mentally preparing myself" is actually done, nor how it works, but evidently it does because I managed to go out very late, and I mostly enjoyed myself. Chain were playing in The Partridge in Bromley. It is easy, and by the clock, quick to get to, but "by the clock" and my perception of reality can be two very different things. The bus ride there really drags ! To make matters slightly worse I must had recently missed a bus, and I had a 12 minute wait in the cold damp air for the next one.

 Chain were on good form last night. I didn't hear it properly because I was outside in the smoking area cooling off, but they had another go at Jefferson Arirplane's "White Rabbit". It did not sound very smooth when they debuted it at Graces Bar a week ago, but last night it sounded very smooth. The Partridge pub has two annoyances. The first is that it is usually very dim in there, and the second is that the long thin layout means that the band area quickly become crowded (plus there is no room for any usefully placed lighting). I used flash for some photography, but for other pictures I reverted to black and white photography, and I am quite pleased with some of the results.
Jo in black and white
If I recall correctly, the colour version of this picture had Jo's face bright green ! She looks much nicer in black and white. Incidentally, this was the very first picture I took last night, and I was surprised that it was OK. It usually take a few snaps to get "warmed up", and get the feel for the camera setting for the night.
more black and white
Picture number 2 of the evening, and the original of this had Jo lit up with blue light. Once again, converting to black and white gives a more natural looking picture.

 I just missed the start of the gig....or maybe I didn't. It depends on when you define the start. I arrived as the sound check was just finishing. So I missed one song, but they launched straight into the first set as soon as the sound check was complete. I stayed for the whole of that first set, through the interval, and about three songs into the second set before putting my camera away, and heading for the bus stop. With hindsight there was no particular reason for going then. I had concluded that I had taken more than enough pictures, and there was little I could add, but I could have stayed just to listen to the music.

 Also with the benefit of hindsight, I wish I had stayed longer, and probably to the end for just one single reason. The bus stop where I had a 7 minute wait for the bus is opposite some hell hole called Greater Than Gatsby. It is some sort of disco/dance/party establishment, and last night they really had the bass turned up very high. Through closed doors, and across a 30ft wide road, the booming bass was really painful. It was really rattling my fillings. Standing right next to Chain's PA speakers to take photos was a mild discomfort compared to that awful racket as I waited for a bus. Anyone who actually goes in there must be very sick, and certifiably insane if they actually enjoy it !

 Apart from the agony of waiting at the bus stop I almost wish I had waited an extra minute or two to get a 320 bus home. The 208 bus I caught seemed to really dawdle along. We had barely left the outskirts of Bromley before a 320 seemed to speed past, and disappear into the distance. It was almost annoying enough to make me want to buy some chicken and chips on the way home - but I didn't !

 I had something that was less bad by at least a small margin. It was a tube of crisps like Pringles, which have a terrible reputation for containing just about everything you shouldn't eat, but they weren't Pringles. They were a brand I have never heard of that I found in the 99p shop. The diameter of the tube, and the height were about 75% of a standard can of Pringles, and the tube was only about 75% filled. I reckon that eating that tube (like Pringles it is very hard to stop once you start) probably saved me from about half the undesirables found in a tube of Pringles, and was probably a lot better than chicken and fries by a long way.

 I was tempted to stay up a bit and start working on the photos I had taken, but I decided that bed was the place to be. I think the gig probably ended at midnight, and the last drinkers would have been ushered out by quarter past midnight. By then I was almost fast asleep, and 5 minutes later I was fast asleep. To my huge surprise I slept unusually well again. I had only drunk 2 pints of Guinness while out, and I think I only needed a pee once or twice in the night.

 I think it was just after 7am when I partly got up and made a start on the photos. I did feel a bit thick headed, stiff and generally mildly grotty at first, but that is not that unusual these days. The best thing was that being out in the cold night air didn't seem to trigger my chest/rib aches and pains again. After about half an hour of photo editing I went back to bed for half an hour, or maybe a bit more. I'm not sure if I slept or not. I feel sure that I would have noticed the extreme boredom of staring at the ceiling for 45 minutes. The fact that I didn't suggests that some of that time was taken up being asleep.

 Today I have a few plans or ideas. I need to spend a lot more time finishing those photos, but I think I want to fit in a visit to Aldi. It is possible that I might see Patricia today, but that is based on no more than wild optimism.  Tonight Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham, and I am very tempted to go and see then again. If I do I may not stay as long as I did yesterday, but before deciding on that I want to see if there are other options for tonight.