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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2018

Friday 31st August 2018
09:45 BST

  It was nice to get back to an approximation of a late summer's day yesterday. Apart from the cool start it was just about warm, and there was a fair amount of sunshine. That sunshine didn't feel particularly warm when outdoors, but it was rather nice when behind glass. There was a very nice sunset last night. I was on a bus, and there was never a clear view to take a snap of it - which was a shame. 
                      late summer like day
  Last night's red sunset promised today would be a good day, and indeed it has started off cool, but very sunny. With luck there will be plenty more sunshine, but it will only drive the temperature up from a morning low of 13° C to a high of 20° C. That is nice, and was nice yesterday, but I would prefer more. The only fly in the ointment is a 6% chance of rain at 1pm. It is a very low chance, but I've seen it happen before. Tomorrow could be a 2° C warmer version of today. Sadly the weekend is now forecast to be not as warm as earlier forecasts suggested. I can recall an earlier forecast saying Sunday might be 25° C, but no longer, but perhaps there is hope for this Monday coming to be 24° C.

  Like the day before, yesterday was not a very productive day. It's hard to think what I might have done to pass the time until it was time to go out. Perhaps the biggest single thing I did was to finish the book I have been reading for the last week or two (it was a 600+ page book). The book was Ben Bova's "Aftermath" - the final book in the Rock Rats series. The Rock Rats being asteroid miners, and the books series was about a series of wars and piracy, and corporate black ops - pure space opera, but written from a slightly more realistic point of view.

  There were two things I didn't do yesterday. One was to put up the shelves that I keep saying I will do, and the other was to fill the brown wheelie bin to the brim with garden waste. In the normal run of things that bin would be emptied yesterday, but because of the bank holiday the dustmen were running a day late, and I had an extra day to hack and slash more of my garden jungle down.

  The location for the Thursday night drink yesterday was moved to the Wetherspoons pub in Bromley, The Greyhound. It was a little less enjoyable than what has become our regular haunt, The Shortlands Tavern, but our memberships of CAMRA provided us with 50p off a pint vouchers that can only be used in Wetherspoons pubs. One beer we had, which I didn't enjoy, was so cheap with the 50p discount that a round for 6 of us came to under £10 (if I remember correctly).

 One of the things about drinking in Bromley is that I had to get a bus, and the bus takes considerably longer than the train takes to get to Shortlands. If it were downhill, instead of very steeply uphill, it would be quicker to take the train to Shortlands, and then walk into Bromley. I had to leave home at about 3.45pm, and I only got there just on the dot of 4.30pm. For some reason the 4 pints I had seemed to last longer than usual, and it was gone 7pm before I left the pub. I had a short wait for a bus home, perhaps 10 minutes. What I do know is that the bus had only reached Downham when the sun was setting. By the time I got off the bus, and was walking up the road to home, it was almost dark.

  Once I got home I put the kebab I had ordered and received the previous night into the microwave to heat up. I had specifically not ordered and salad with it so I could heat it as it was without having to worry about cooked lettuce leaves ! It was rather delicious after that beer, but even though I also ate the pitta bread, something I rarely do, it didn't seem to fully satisfy. What I needed was a pudding, but a pudding was the last thing I should eat. The next best thing was something more akin to a glorified starter - a very long life, foil sealed tuna salad ready meal. It was basically tuna and rice with some sort of flavouring. It was probably just as well I ate it because it's best before date was only 2 years away !

  I felt quite tired last night, and I think I was in bed by or even before 10pm. It didn't seem to take long to fall asleep, and I slept solidly for about 5 hours. From then on I woke up about every 45 minutes needing a pee. My last hour in bed (or perhaps a bit longer) was spent sort of awake having day dreams. I seemed to be lovely and comfortable, but couldn't get to sleep again - at least not to proper sleep. I would have liked to sleep, but in some ways the day dreams were better because they were more like lucid dreams where you can control the action for maximum enjoyment - and so of those half asleep, half awake day dreams were very enjoyable !

  Today is like many mornings. I don't feel great in any way, shape or form, but I don't feel bad either. Maybe my biggest complaint was about 10 or 15 minutes when I had an itch inside my nose. I don't think it was a germ attacking me, and it was more like an unruly nasal hair tickling where it shouldn't. I think it has stopped now, but I have doubts...

  Today is a mystery. One idea was to meet Sue for a lunchtime drink. I haven't been in contact with her since suggesting it just as a possibility, and so I have no idea if it will or won't happen. Another possibility was to go to a gig with Sue this evening, and then go home with her afterwards, but the flaw in that plan is that there doesn't seem to be any good gigs on tonight. Maybe we will just have an evening in together.

  If we are to meet for a lunchtime drink I ought to pull my finger out and start getting ready soon, but of not I have extra time to do some stuff. One possibility, and it would be useful, is to go shopping in Aldi. I could do some laundry, and I could put up that shelving. In truth I have no idea what I am doing today or tonight.
Thursday 30th August 2018
09:23 BST

  There was something about the feel of the air that seemed nice yesterday. Maybe it was because it was washed clean in the morning, and maybe it was because it was neither hot nor cold. The highest temperature was in the region of 20° C, and it didn't seem to cool down too fast in the evening. The revised forecast to the one I showed as a screenshot yesterday included more sunny periods in the late afternoon, and that did turn out to be the case. It made for a pleasant end to the day.
a cool
                      start but with lots of sunny intervals
  I would say that the temperature was nearer 12° C at 8am this morning (one of my thermometers said 11.6° C), but I guess 13° C is pretty close. The temperature should climb to 20° C again today, and with lots of sunny intervals, it should make for a pleasant sort of day. There appears to be no threat of rain today, or tomorrow. At the moment the forecast is showing tomorrow to be almost a clone of today.

  Yesterday was a very unproductive day. I am struggling to think of anything of note that I did between a walk to the shops, and going out to visit Sue. I definitely did some reading, and I think I had a snooze, but that is about all. My visit to Sue even turned out to be not very productive. We spent a few very nice hours together, but were interrupted by a call from her brother in law. They had some family business to discuss. Sue put him off for a couple of hours, but with the prospect of her chatting on the phone for hours it seemed sensible to go home again.

  It was a very pleasant goodbye, and a sort of pleasant journey home. The best bit was that the timing of the bus was such that it didn't arrive at the station 30 seconds after my train departed. That usually means a near half hour wait for the train. Last night it was only an 18 minute wait ! It couldn't be described as warm when I went home, but neither was it cold. I stuffed my coat in my rucksack, and went home in just a t-shirt, and felt perfectly OK - although I did feel hungry.

  The original plan was to order a takeaway for us when I was at Sue's place, but that didn't happen. It was about 9.20pm when I got home, and I hadn't eaten very much in the day at all. It seemed a fair excuse to order a takeaway. I ordered a large cod and chips, plus some kebab meat and stuff for lunch or dinner today. The latter was mainly to meet the minimum order value for delivery. The shop I ordered from has a menu section that is labelled fish and chips. It would be reasonable to expect that the chips would automatically come with the fish, but no. They have to be ordered separately. I know this from past experience. However, once again my fish came without chips. I think I might have to blacklist that shop !

  I was in bed by midnight, and possibly asleep by then too. If not asleep by then, then soon after. On the whole I slept quite well. While I was concerned that my chest felt tender yesterday morning, it gave no trouble during the day, and was perfectly OK for most of the night. I think it was around 6am, after getting back into bed after having a wee, and then turning on to my side that my chest went ping. It wasn't a strong pain, some can be much worse, but for a while I had to be very careful about how I was laying down to avoid any discomfort.

  I sometimes feel that my entire rib cage is floating free. Just because that is impossible doesn't make it wrong ! Different parts of my chest seem to get different pains. The pains I get on the far right hand side of my rib cage can be very sharp stabbing pains, and they are often induced by making awkward turning movements, or sometime just reach out to something. Another pain is a sort of burning sensation to the north west (from my perspective) of my left man boob. I'm not sure what triggers that, but I think it is another type of movement. Either of those can leave a legacy of several varieties of pains across the chest. Some are a dull ache, and others are like there is something heavy pulling downwards in my chest - it's like the ribs themselves are made of lead.

  On top of that there is a third type of pain that is rare, but I think I may be on the edge of suffering from it again. There is a tendon, at least I think it is a tendon, that seems to run alongside my windpipe from under my chin to a little way down my operation scar. I am sure it is not normally noticeable, but sometimes it can get tight. So tight that if I tilt my head back it feels like a wire cutting into to my skin from the inside, and it can make the top of my operation scar quite sore. The discomfort I felt as I lay down in bed again at 6am was around the top of my operation scar, and that tendon is quite prominent when I tilt my head back a bit.
taut tendon
  It wasn't easy trying to take this photo, and it doesn't show that taut tendon off particularly well, but it does show it. You can see the bulge as it leaves my chin, and joins the white scar from my quad heart bypass operation. I think everyone has a tendon like this, but not as pronounced. As I look at the picture I can see what looks like another tendon that runs parallel to the taut one, and the idea that there are two seems like is also normal. That gives me an idea. Less than a couple of weeks out of hospital back in 2013, and I disobeyed doctors orders, and with my chest still stapled together, I carried far too much shopping back from the supermarket. As I walked something went ping inside me. I thought that maybe I had popped an internal staple that was holding my sternum together. I was assured that was impossible. I am now wondering if somehow I managed disconnect one of the tendons from my neck to the sternum (or some anchoring point). I could imagine that an unbalanced load caused by one tendon not working could cause all sorts of problems.

  I seem to have been yawning a lot as I sit here writing, but apart from that I seem to feel mostly OK.....I think. My chest is not hurting at the very moment, although I do detect a sort of tenderness. Maybe that should limit me in what I do today, although apart from going out for my later Thursday afternoon drink, I have no plans to do anything in particular today. Maybe I might get around to putting up the shelves I've mentioned for the last few days. I could do some hack and slash gardening, and fill the brown wheelie bin, but maybe today is not the ideal day. It is possible that today could be boring !
dumped Ofo bike
  Not many people have heard of Ofo bikes. They are like the Transport For London administered bikes for hire scheme, but Ofo bikes are what is known as dockless. They can be locked and left anywhere. They emit a GPS based tracking signal that can be picked up by a smartphone app to locate them - presumably by the owning company as well as the users. This one seems to have escaped the net. I first noticed it outside Catford station at least a week ago, and maybe two. It looked intact then, but now it has been tossed over the fence, into the bushes, at the side of the steps that lead up to platform 2 at Catford station. It's saddle is missing, and I can see any sign of the electronics package that should be welded to it. Without that electronics package it may never be found, and be condemned to rot there for eternity !
Wednesday 29th August 2018
08:48 BST

  There were more sunny intervals yesterday afternoon than the forecast predicted. In fact the later revisions of the forecast predicted no sunshine at all !  The morning was most definitely gloomy, but at some point in the afternoon, I think it might have been as early as 3pm, the clouds started to break up, and the sun could get through now and then. Mostly it was slightly hazy sunshine, but it was a huge relief after it being so dull. I wonder if the temperature didn't exceed the forecast 20° C, because it felt comfortable enough to leave windows open in the afternoon.
a wet
                      start to the day
  Today has certainly started off wet. We've just had drizzle, and that agrees with the rarely used drizzle icon on the forecast for 8am. The forecast has been revised since I took this screenshot, and it now shows light rain, which looks surprisingly like drizzle, until 10am now. Oddly enough, it might also include some sunny periods - although when I look at the sky that seems like a fantasy. The revised forecast still says the temperature will end up the same as yesterday, 20° C, and that we will have sveral hours of sunny periods starting around 5pm. Tonight the temperature will drop to 12° C by 6am tomorrow morning. So a chilly start, but the temperature might rise to 21° C, and there should be sunny periods throughout the day. With luck the amount of sunshine and the temperature will creep up over the next few days, and on Sunday we might see a return of summer for a day or two.

  My biggest achievement yesterday was to wash a heavy double duvet cover. I finished the process in the afternoon just as the sun was starting to break through, and I felt confident about hanging it outside to start the drying process. If I had done it earlier in the day it might almost have been dry when I brought it in. It was partly dry, and it was easy to finish the drying indoors with it draped over a clothes horse. Apart from a couple of t-shirts, and some underwear, all my laundry is up to date now.

  There was another thing that I came close to doing, and that was to spend a lot of money. I'm not sure what put the idea into my head, but I decided to take a walk to "Cash Busters" to see if they still had the pro Canon camera in the window. If they had I was going to make them an offer for it. I felt there was a chance that I might be able to knock them down to selling it for £500. Maybe I still might be able to if it is still in the shop when the shop re-opens after they guy who runs it finishes his holiday on 3rd September - the shop was closed when I got there, and a note on the shutters said they were closed for almost a fortnight. They may welcome an offer for that camera after not having any income for a couple of week of expensive holidaying !

  My walk was not completely wasted because I visited the Tesco Express nearby. As well as a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, I also bought a litre bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky. I can enjoy that stuff neat - just like I used to like Aldi's "Highland Reserve" until they changed supplier to one that provided a completely different flavour to the original - a very nasty smoky sort of flavour ! While I was at the Tesco Express I used their Tesco cash machine to check the balance of my Tesco savings account. It has earned a bit of interest, and my emergency funds are all safe and sound for now.

  One thing I didn't do yesterday was to put up the shelves that I said I was considering doing. It did get as far as checking I had all that I needed for the shelves. I have enough matching wood for three shelves, and I could use some different wood for a fourth if needed. Apart from that it was a usual sort of evening with some TV, some reading, and some eating. What was a little bit unusual was a long phone call with Sue in the late afternoon to early evening. Most of the long calls happen far later at night.

 I read in bed before going to sleep, but I am unsure when that was, although I think I was asleep before midnight, and it could have been by 11pm. When I went to bed my chest/rib cage was a bit clicky. I could feel/hear clicks and pops as my chest expanded and contracted just from normal breathing. At that point I probably should have taken a couple of paracetamol. It may have helped a few hours later when I woke up with my chest feeling very sore.

Sue at the beach
It was probably caused by the day being warmer. It was warm in my bed, under the winter duvet, when I first went to bed. So I didn't fully cover myself when I went to sleep. At 2am it was cooler, and based upon how I was when I woke up, I had rolled right over onto my side, and I was clutching the duvet like a comfort blanket or something.

 I must have really jarred my chest doing that, and it felt very uncomfortable....well maybe not "very" but sufficiently uncomfortable to spoil my sleep. It definitely doesn't help that the discomfort is similar to just one symptom of a heart attack. You then spend the next hour checking for other symptoms that aren't really there.

 I took a couple of paracetamols, and spent half an hour or something on the internet waiting to feel more comfortable. One of the things I saw was the picture on the left. It was apparently taken exactly three years ago, long before I knew Sue even existed, and taken on the beach somewhere. Apart from the bags under her eyes, I thought it was rather a splendid picture.

 Eventually I got back to sleep, and I slept tolerably well, although my chest was still tender when I woke several hours later. It is perfectly comfortable as I sit here typing, but there are subtle indications that it is still tender, and one wrong stretch could set it off again. The biggest trouble is that it seems impossible to predict just what stretch or movement will be the trigger. Even reaching out to pick up the toothpaste tube has been a trigger in the past.

  It is quite important that I do all I can to lessen the chance of upsetting my chest today. Beyond the obvious reason that it is uncomfortable, there is also the thing that I will be seeing Sue later this afternoon, and I think it is probably going to end up as an allnighter again. She was complaining that her back has been playing up again, and that provides a good excuse to massage her back. That can lead to other things... In this case the massage could be to massage in some Deep Heat to help the discomfort, and that stuff is hardly erotic, but anyways....

  Apart from a walk to the shops to see what other back pain creams and remedies are on the shelves, I have no particular plans for today. I really ought to do another session filling up the brown wheelie bin with garden waste, and reveal yet more of my garden, but with my chest being rather tender I am wondering of that would be sensible. The same could be said about erecting the shelving I want to put up. I may just be bloody lazy until it is time to go out. Later on we may repeat a scene I snapped early on Sunday morning. I confess it was a sneaky shot while Sue was distracted by a message on her phone.
Sue with a slice of
                        pizza in one hand, and her phone in the other
Note the slice of delicious pizza in Sue's hand !
Tuesday 28th August 2018
10:52 BST

  The day before yesterday it was cold, grey and wet. Yesterday it was less cold, but it was still very grey. Oh, and it was dry too. The small increase in temperature to 20° C made a big difference, but it still didn't compensate for the lack of sunshine.
                      depressingly grey day
  Today is going to be almost identical to yesterday. It will be 20° C from early afternoon until 6pm, and at the extremes of the day it is not supposed to fall below 16° C.......Just checked the latest revision of the forecast: All hope of any sunshine has now disappeared, but the temperature may peak at 21° C (which is still no compensation for lack of sunshine). Tomorrow could also see the temperature hit 21° C, and there is currently some hope for a few sunny intervals in the morning, and a few more in the late afternoon. To go any further than tomorrow is nonsensical because it could change completely, but maybe it is worth hoping the forecast might have some credibility. It predicts it will be a degree or two cooler, but there could be sunny intervals popping up all day long.

  Quite a few things happened yesterday, but none make for any great headlines. Yesterday I mentioned that I went out and got some shopping, and how a mysterious yearning for sausages drove me into Iceland where I bought several other things besides sausage. The other things were for later consumption, some for today, for instance, but I did eat the sausages yesterday. As predicted, they were not terrible good. In fact they were decidedly mediocre. I feel they would have been much nicer if cooked in a really hot pan or grill where they would get burnt and crispy. The burning would provide some of the missing flavour. My mini grill just doesn't get hot enough.

  I waited until the sausages were very well cooked through, and the outside was getting mid brown before eating them. So there was no chance they were underdone unless not being blackened is your idea of undercooked, but they still gave me indigestion....or did they ? Well I was certainly burping sausage flavour for a lot of the afternoon, but I think the real stomach ache, and subsequent upset was probably a reduced calorie chicken tikka masala I had 24 hours earlier than some unpleasantness yesterday afternoon. That curry didn't smell or taste off, but it did leave an unpleasant aftertaste that lingered for hours after eating it. I suspect it was the remain of that, that I passed quite explosively later yesterday afternoon.

  Apart from eating, and the unpleasant after effects of eating, I did other stuff yesterday. I hand washed a double fitted sheet and two pillowcases. It seemed too dull outside, and the sky kept looking like it was about to rain, it didn't, but I still decided to dry that stuff indoors. That was the easy bit. Maybe today, or sometime soon, I have a double duvet cover to wash. Now that is going to take some manhandling, and will be impossible to wring out by hand. I'll have to hang that outside at least until it has stopped dripping.

  One thing that the washing prompted me to do was to repair my last working fan. I was going to use it for an artificial breeze to help the washing to dry, but a few seconds after turning it on it made a screeching noise and siezed up. I found it quite surprising how quickly it went from apparently working normal to be siezed. While I fixed it I used a fan heater to provide a blast of hot air to speed up the drying (and to warm the room while I worked in it). It didn't take long to take the fan apart. I removed some fluff, and then applied a few drops of oil to the motor bearings. The effect was as predictable as it was miraculous.

  The motor went from very stiff to spinning like a whirling dervish in seconds (hand whirled - I didn't plug it back in until I had put it all back together again). With hindsight I think that is all the other fan needed - oil. I threw that other fan away because I thought there was a pile of new ones in Tesco. There were a pile of new ones in Tesco, but not when I wanted to buy one ! Oh well, that was a lesson hard learned.
Angela in the rain
  One other task I did yesterday was a bit of photo printing and framing (although by framing I mean putting the photo in a cheap, but nice looking frame from the 99p shop). I mentioned yesterday that I had a photo in mind for framing, and it was the picture above. Angela may now by past history, but I still like this picture that was taken in the rain almost outside Lewisham hospital after one of our lunchtime trysts. I still have much affection for those meeting, and many other times with Angela, but she has chosen a different path that both saddens me because it doesn't involve me, and because she has chosen to be subservient to a narcissistic control freak. I loved the wild and free Angela, and not the one who has to sit quietly at the back and not talk to anyone.

 My evening was a typical evening - I watched some TV, and during the commercial breaks I read stuff off the internet. I also did some reading. One thing I didn't do was to have a formal dinner. I considered the sausage I had for elevenses (or was it lunch ?) to be sufficient for the main meal of the day. Maybe that was a bad idea because I ended up doing a fair bit of snacking instead. Oh well, these things happen. I thought I might have an early night, last night, but when I looked up from the book I was reading I saw it was quarter past midnight. At that point I put the book down, turned out the light, and went to sleep quite quickly.

  Once again I seemed to sleep quite well. I even had some nice dreams. I remember thinking "I must remember this dream", but that is all I remember. I can't remember the dream itself ! Bah !! Once again I had a two part morning. I got up around 7am. Went for a pee. Took my morning pills. Took a screenshot of the weather forecast. Saw that today was going to be horrible and dull, and went back to bed for an hour or two !

  I have no idea what I am doing today....Well I have a few ideas, but I have discounted most, and I am unsure if I can raise the enthusiasm for one idea. One spur of the moment idea was triggered by something I was reminded of when looking on the internet. Thameslink now run trains to Rainham in Kent. No one knows why, but they do. I had a look at the station on Google Maps, and it looks like there could be a pleasant walk if I went there. There is a country park that borders the River Medway just before it joins the River Thames on the eastern side of The Isle Of Sheppy. It has a curious feature - a sort of peninsular that sticks out into the river. It has trees on it, and proper path. I would like to visit that sometime, but I think I prefer to wait until a sunny day.

  If I can raise the enthusiasm I might put up a simple rack of shelves today. I have all the ironwork, the brackets and some wood for shelving. I think the wall I want to hang it on is brick, and so it should be a simple and sturdy job if I do it. I do definitely need another shelf or two for my growing collection of paperbacks ! I'm not sure what else I might do today. I guess I ought to wash the double duvet cover before long, and maybe I might do that today. One other thing I could do, if I could be bothered to go out and get the wood, is to build a frame work to staple an old sheet to. The idea would be to use it as a photographic backdrop. I have no walls I want to paint as a back drop like those I saw when Sue was being professionally photographed, but a sort of screen could solve that. It could even be two sided with a different colour on each side. All I would need then is a model or three !
Jo tuning
   Here's some more of my photography. This picture looks a bit "gritty" since I shrunk it down to fit here, but if you click on this, or the next two pictures, they will open up higher resolution versions in a new window. This is Jo tuning up one of her guitars before the Saturday night Chain gig started.
Rob Todd wearing a t-shirt that seems to
Rob Todd ready to sing guest vocals. His t-shirt looks like it is glowing !
Steve Pitt
Another picture that loses a lot when shrunk down, but the bigger sized version looks almost 3D. This is Steve Pitt who was the bass player for the gig.
Monday 27th August 2018
12:41 BST

  Yesterday managed a hat trick - it was cold, grey and wet. In other words it was a bloody horrible day more fit for November than August ! I don't think I dared look at any of my thermometers, but I doubt they said much different to the forecast 18° C. I guess that wasn't really that cold, but the iron grey skies, and the rain made it seem damn chilly. On top of that I didn't seem to be feeling that good.
                      despicably grey day
  Today is August bank holiday, and rain is the traditional accompaniment to it, but not today. Once or twice it has looked like it might rain, and on one occasion I thought I might have even felt a spot of rain, but as per  the forecast, it remains dry. The other way today breaks the stereotype of a typical August bank holiday is that instead of  a complete blanket of dirty grey clouds there should be dark fluffy clouds with gaps between them. This is so the sunny periods give you a false sense of security before you get caught in an exciting deluge. Today is just going to be boring and depressing grey. It is a minor consolation that it should end up at 20° C for a lot of the afternoon. Apart from the fuel bills it would make little difference if it were 5° cooler. Tomorrow is just going to be a re-run of today, although there might be a possibility of a couple of sunny spells after 6pm.

  Nothing really happened after I finished writing yesterday. I did do a bit more photo editing, and managed to produce a 13 picture photo album from pictures I had taken at the Chain gig on Saturday using my Canon EOS 600D DSLR camera. They were much crisper than the snaps taken on my phone and mini Canon camera, but I was sort of surprised at how many crap, unusable pictures I had taken on it.

  I thought I might be in bed very early last night, but I watched some TV, and did some reading before going to bed. I guess I didn't get to sleep that much earlier than usual. Despite it supposedly being high summer still, I slept under my winter duvet last night, and I didn't feel too warm at any time. I find that unusual, and maybe even strange considering that an hour or so before going to bed I felt very strange. It may just have been the spicy food I had eaten earlier, but I had what can only be described as a hot flush. My chest, arms and face were covered with a thin film of sweat while other bits of me felt quite chilly. It was rather unpleasant, but by the time I went to bed I was feeling sort of "normal".

 It seemed like I slept well under the winter duvet. I don't remember waking up until about 4am when I needed a pee. I actually woke up from a very unusual dream. This dream couldn't have lasted for more than a few seconds, or at least that is all I remember of it. In the dream a lump of wax fell out of my ear. I can't seem to recall just how that happened, and it was more the case that I remember having this lump of wax in my hand that I knew had come from my ear. It was amazingly big - perhaps the size of small to medium Brazil nut - and quite colourful in a monochrome way - many shades of brown.

 After my 4am pee I went back to bed, and slept again quite nicely for several more hours before deciding to get up. Since then I have washed my hair, showered, and got dressed. I have also been to the 99p shop, Iceland, and the corner shop. I went to Iceland because I had this mysterious urge for some sausages. I think I could have chosen better ones, but they will do. I went to the corner shop for a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, and I went to the corner shop for nuts....
little bags of nuts
  These were the nuts I was after. Inside a small box are 5 little bags of nuts. Each bag is OK for a very small snack without risking the temptation of a big bag. Previously I had tried packs of almonds, and packs of hazelnuts. This morning I also found cashews. I bought 2 bags of each kind. I also bough some scented tea lights, and a couple of photo frames while I was in the 99p shop. I think I need to select a few photos from the thousands I have to to print out, and frame. Despite Angela just being history now, I think there is still a great picture I have of her that would look good in a frame.

  My most immediate plans now are to eat some sausages, and then lie on my bed reading...and then possibly snoozing. I have no idea how I'll spend the rest of the day. I think there is a bank holiday gig or two one, but I find little enthusiasm to go out right now.
Sunday 26th August 2018
17:52 BST

  On the whole it was fairly pleasant yesterday. There was a fair bit of sunshine, and although you can't describe 19° C as any more than tepid, it was quite comfortable. The only small problem was that there was an unexpected downpour late in the afternoon - around 5pm or so if I recall correctly (and I am not sure that I do). It was only a passing shower, albeit quite heavy for a short while, and I think the sun came out again soon after. During the evening it cooled down a lot, or so it felt. The forecast said 15° C by midnight, and 14° C afterwards. I guess that was about right, but sometimes it felt cooler.
                      despicably wet and soggy day
  As it is now so late in the day I am able to confirm that the forecast for today was pretty accurate. It was cool and dry until around 11am, and then it poured own. Sometime the rain was heavy, and sometimes light, and occasionally very heavy. Being so grey and miserable has made the top temperature of 18° C feel rather cold. So cold that I have had a heater on in my room - in August !!!!  It seems to have stopped raining now, and while it is in advance of the forecast time, we may have seen the worst of it now. It is supposed to be a dry evening, but there will still be enough cloud to stop the temperature dropping too low overnight. Tomorrow will start less cold than today, and the temperature should rise a whole degree higher than today. It is supposed to be a dry day, and the latest revision does say there might even be an occasional sunny period at some random times in the day.

 I can't think of anything exciting I did, apart from some hand laundry, until I went out in the evening to see Chain playing in The Chatterton Arms last night. It was a good night, and got better. I did some experimental photography at the gig. As well as a set of pictures taken on my big Canon DSLR camera, I took a few snaps on my Nokia 5 mobile phone, and some snaps on my little short pocket sized Canon iXus 285 camera. Those pictures were just passable, and it is nice to know I can take snaps that are better than the huge amounts of poor quality mobile phone snaps that smother social media sites using pocket sized cameras. They ain't great, but they're not bad.....
This picture of Jo, with Derek Brand on the drums, and Steve Pitt on bass behind her, was taken on the little Canon.
Derek Brand
Using the inbuilt flash with some zoom was a precarious idea, but this snap of Derek Brand seems fairly passable in this reduced sized picture. The full sized version looks "iffy" on a big PC monitor.
Chris Mayer
Moving on to my Nokia 5 mobile phone, and the pictures need a lot of enhancement, and still rather soft, but at least it coped with the lighting even if it does look like Chris has blue hair !
Jo again
The lighting on Jo is more friendly, and my mobile phone did take a pretty reasonable snap apart from some motion blur caused by a long shutter time.
  It was after the gig that the best adventures began. I went home with Sue. It was quite late when we left, but at least Sue didn't do her annoying thing and want to hang around in and outside the pub until kicked off the premises. Getting a bus as far as Orpington is easy until well past midnight, and there is a night bus after the day buses finish sometime after midnight. We arrived in Orpington about 10 minutes too late to catch the last R6 bus to Sue's place.

  The only option was to call a cab, and they weren't in a rush to pick us up, although we did end up waiting for a far shorter length of time than predicted. We passed some of the time ordering a couple of pizzas from a shop that stays open until 3am. The name of the shop was Pizza Bulls - which is sort of strange - but they were possibly the best pizzas I have tasted. Maybe the base was slightly too thick, but I couldn't fault the amount of cheese and toppings they used.

  I guess it was something like 1am when we got back to Sue's place. We enjoyed a few slices of pizza each, but neither of us wanted to make a meal of it. In the words of Ian Dury, what happened next "is private, and also very rude" ! After a sleepless night I had another slice of cold pizza for breakfast, and caught the bus to St Mary Cray station just after 9am. Of course that bus is carefully times to miss the Thameslink trains by a few minutes (in either direction), and I had a 28 minute wait for the next train.

  I arrived home all bleary eyed, and ideally I would have gone straight to bed, but I had things to catch up on. Eventually I did go to bed, and I slept for something like 2 hours. I woke up feeling dreadful. I had been under my winter duvet so I felt warm enough until I got out of bed. It felt really chilly outside of bed, and I ended up having an early lunch to warm myself up. I also turned on the 1.2Kw radiant heater to warm my room up. It took quite a while to do so, but eventually I felt warm enough to lay on my bed and read until I fell asleep again - which took about 10 minutes !

 I think I might have slept for another two hours before waking up and getting up again. I felt a lot more human then, and in less discomfort. Since then I have done some photo editing, and little else. Whatever that little else was, it must have taken some time, because it's now gone 7pm, and I don't know where all the time is going. "Little else" is made up of lots of little things I think. I have just worked out with Sue, via text message, that she is going to have an awful journey if she wants to go to a certain gig tonight, and if she does get there she is going to find it almost impossible to get home again without incurring huge cab fees.

  I won't be going to bed for a few hours yet, but I am very much looking forward to it. Tomorrow is another day, and it is possible that I might go to a gig, and maybe I might go with Sue, and maybe I might go home with her afterwards again, but that is tomorrow, and all I really know about tomorrow is that the weather is going to be very gloomy for much of the day....unless the forecast is revised to be more favourable tomorrow morning.
Saturday 25th August 2018
10:28 BST

  Yesterday was almost a nice day. The morning was a bit cool, but nice and sunny. It warmed up a bit in the afternoon, but only to 19° C. By the afternoon the sunshine had given away to sunny interval. At first they were long periods of sunshine, but they became shorter and shorter as more clouds built up in the sky. Sometime, soon after sunset, which was a little after 8pm, it started to rain. Some of the rain was mildly heavy, but mostly it was enhanced drizzle. I have no idea when it stopped, but I do know it was a chilly night.
cool but
                      often sunny
  Today might be like yesterday except for the colder start, and a dry finish. It was very cold in the early hours of this morning. I am unsure just how cold it was, but it felt like it might have dipped below 10° C - and that might have been possible given that the forecast was for 11° C at 8am this morning. The sun is shining as I write this, but I can also see a lot of clouds in the sky. The temperature should rise to 18° C, with 19° C possible for a too brief moment. This doesn't feel like August ! Tomorrow might start bright-ish but by 11am it could be raining, and then it will rain for the rest of the day - and some of that rain could be very heavy. The peculiar thing (assuming the forecast is close to reality) is that the temperature will slowly rise through the day, and will peak as midnight nears. By then it will be a tepid 18° C. Most of the day is going to be a chilly 16° C. Monday, which is August bank holiday might be dry, and mild, but it is currently forecast to be a grey day in the extreme.

  Yesterday was a day of waiting. I waited way beyond the expected time for Patricia's sister to turn up to collect Patricia's new bank card, and her prescription medicine. Her sister flies to Italy today to deliver those items to Patricia, and have a holiday there. I was also waiting for a parcel delivery from Amazon. The last parcel tracking information just said it was out for delivery, and should be with me by 9pm at the latest. Fortunately it turned up by about 2pm, but it felt like the best part of the day was over.

  The Amazon parcel contained a few spare memory cards - three for my main camera(s), and a couple of µSD cards. The latter were faster versions of the one I had in my Nokia 5 mobile phone. Swapping to one of the faster cards has increased the frame rate of the main camera in it when in movie mode - at least a brief test shot seemed to show it had gone up to 20 frames a second from about 13 frames per second. That should make any movies shot on it look a bit smoother. Another item in the order was a spare battery and charger for a little Sony camera that I may be giving to Sue.

  I have two little Sony cameras, neither of which I would rate highly, but Sue seems to have some affection for pocket sized Sony cameras. Unfortunately I only had one charger between the two. Now I have one for each camera, and so if Sue wants one she will be welcome to it. The last part of my Amazon order was a new trouser belt. It is typically the wrong size - and the wrong size in two dimensions ! For some stupid reason I thought that 1.25 inches was the size I prefer. It isn't ! I prefer a 2 inch wide belt. That is not really a big problem, but the length is. It is almost too short to use despite it's alleged length being the same as the current belt on my trouser - and I had to punch an extra hole in that to do it up tighter !

  I did one little important job while waiting in the morning. It was a little bit of gardening. It was in the front garden and so there was no worries about delivery men sneaking up and missing me, and no worries about missing Patricia's sister. For the last 10 (?) years there has been a self seeded sycamore tree growing in my tiny front garden. The first year it grew it looked cute, but of course to continued to grow. By the time I decided it had to go it had put out a root system that made it impossible to pull up. I had to resort to cutting it back. For a few years it grew like a bonsai tree, and of course that looked cute again.

  Gradually the base of the tree, just 5 or 6 above ground grew bigger and knobbly. Yesterday morning I gave it a severe haircut that stripped all the twigs and leaves from it. That just left the big lump at the base. I is a sort of right angle, and I tried to cut the horizontal bit off, but it was much too hard work - particularly because it is practically at ground level. Then I had a brain wave (or was it a brain storm). I decided to use my underused cordless drill to drill a closely spaced line of 3/8th inch holes across it. It wasn't the most precision job because I couldn't see what I was doing through all the sawdust, but by the time I had finished it was like perforated paper. I couldn't tear the lump off, but on another occasion it should be a lot easier to saw it off. I'll then drill loads of holes in the rest of the trunk in the hope it will succomb to rot and die.

  That bit of brutal gardening left a legacy that steered the rest of my day. It really shook up my wonky chest/rib cage, and I frequently felt quite uncomfortable. During the day the worst symptom was often a sort of burning sensation to the north east of the middle of my left man boob. When laying down the ache was a bit more general across my chest. It felt similar in some ways to a heart attack, but long experience of it suggests that I won't die from it.

  Despite the discomfort (pain is probably too strong a word) I still wanted to lay down. The previous night I had been talking with Sue until 2am, and then I got up a lot earlier than usual yesterday morning in case the parcel delivery came early (at the time the track info had not been updated to show it had only gone out for delivery at 9.36am). The lack of sleep, plus the physical effort of gardening, left me feeling quite tired. I probably got a bit of sleep here and there, but it was not enough to make me feel OK.

  It had been my intention to go out in the evening, but time seemed to be racing by, I felt tired, and bits of me ached (mostly my chest, but other bits too after that gardening effort). Not only that but I was not terribly enthused by the idea of going out in the rain. Instead of going out, I went to bed. Initially I read for maybe an hour, but eventually I decided that sleep would be nice. I'm not sure when that was, but it was possibly before 11pm. Initially I slept well, or so it seemed, but at 2 or 3am I had to get up to pee. It was then that my troubles started.

   It was a cold night, and it seemed like my summer duvet was not warm enough. The trouble was that my chest was playing up, and it was uncomfortable to sleep in my preferred position, or with the duvet wrapped around my in the warmest manner. I did get back to sleep, but it was a bit intermittent. At least once I woke up vowing to use my winter duvet if tonight seems as cold. I think it was about 7am when I got up for a while, but I still felt terribly tired. After a while I went back to bed where, to my great surprise, I slept through to just gone 10am !

  I am not sure I feel that wonderful this morning. I'll somehow find the energy or enthusiasm to finish some hand laundry I started yesterday, but beyond that I haven't a clue what I will be doing until this evening. Tonight I definitely want to get out to a Chain gig at The Chatterton Arms on the other side of Bromley. It is even possible that I might see Sue there. It will be cool tonight, but at least it is supposed to stay dry.
Friday 24th August 2018
08:23 BST

  There was some confusion in the various revisions for yesterday's weather forecast about when it would rain. It turned out to be between 10 and 11am, and instead of light rain it featured a short torrential downpour in between some lighter rain. Once that was out of the way it stayed dry, and later on the sun managed to pop out, although there was rather less sunshine that the forecast seemed to hint at. The highest temperature was 22° C, but it soon cooled down once the sun set - which is now getting very noticeably early. It was dark by 8.30pm last night. 
                      and shiny, but not very warm
  The temperature continued to fall through the night, and an hour ago my thermometers said it was just 12° C - 2° lower than the forecast says ! In compensation the sky is blue and the sun is shining. The best of the sunshine will be over as the morning ends, but there should still be sunny intervals for the rest of the day. One good thing in the latest revision to the forecast is that less rain is now forecast for tonight. With luck there will now only be a couple of hours of light rain, and if I time it right I could be inside when it falls. The maximum temperature will only be 19° C, and tonight, with the temperature set to drop to 13° C by 11pm, it will definitely be good to be wearing a coat. Tomorrow will also only reach a maximum of 19° C, but once again there should be plenty of sunshine.

  Yesterday was a busier day than I expected. One thing that happened triggered another thing. The first thing was that the postman delivered a new (replacement) bank card for my friend Patricia, and it needed activating by taking it to a cash machine. Patricia currently resides in Italy, and so armed with her PIN number, I had to go and activate the new card. While I was out I also called into Boots to pick up Patricia's latest prescription. At some point this morning Patricia's sister will drop by to pick up the card and prescription, and courier them to Italy when she flies out for a short holiday with Patricia tomorrow.

  The final part of my extraordinary shopping trip was a rather ordinary visit to Aldi to pick up some shopping for me. I bought a fair number of assorted vegetables as well as some ready meals - at least one of which was not a low calorie ready meal ! It was called beef hash, and is alleged to be what is served in pubs for some unknown reason. It was little more than some cubed potatoes, and a few bits of beef swimming in a thick gravy, but it was quite tasty.

  Once I got home from my extended shopping trip I had some lunch. It was a couple of sandwiches. They weren't good for me, but I felt it prudent to have something solid in my stomach before I went out drinking. Maybe it was a little too solid because it felt a bit like I had trapped wind a bit later. I only had a couple of hours to rest before I was walking to Catford station to get the train to Shortlands. The worst thing was walking back again with four pints of beer swilling around inside me. I initially felt really uncomfortable with pains that were similar in some respects to the angina pains I suffered before my quad heart bypass operation. Fortunately there was one important way in which they differed - they became easier the more I walked. By the time I got home they had almost gone away.

  It was after I got home from the pub (plus 20 minutes cooking time) that I was able to test the beef hash I had bought earlier. It went down nicely, but instead of being satisfying it seemed to make me feel more hungry. Despite feeling so bloated earlier on, I ate all sorts of very naughty snacks last night. I think the fact that it seemed to get dark so early had a bad effect on me. I certainly didn't exactly feel very happy last night, or at least not until I had a late night chat with Sue that lasted until 2am despite attempt to finish it by soon after midnight.

  I didn't get enough sleep last night after going to bed so late, and then getting up unusually early for me these days. I decided I had to be up early today because I am expecting a parcel delivery (or two) from Amazon, plus I am also expecting to see Patricia's sister this morning. The really annoying thing about the parcel delivery is that Amazon's tracking pages only say it will be with me by 9pm tonight. If it is that late I will have wasted all day, and it will I probably won't get out to a gig tonight. I really miss the recently ceased parcel pick up service from the corner shop. That was so convenient, but it seems Amazon were unwilling to pay the prices of the new courier firm who took over from the old courier who used to deliver to the shop. Quite why they can't find another cheaper courier/parcel delivery firm is a mystery.
young thrush, or is it
  I am told that this is a young thrush, but I am not fully convinced about that. It was very conveniently posing on the branch which is on the embankment next to platform 2 of Catford station yesterday afternoon. After allowing me to take a couple of snaps it walked around the branch, and into the undergrowth where I would guess there is a nest.
Thursday 23rd August 2018
10:20 BST

  As far as I can recall, none of the sunshine forecast for yesterday happened. It was a dull and gloomy day all day...or if the sun did manage to peep through the clouds at anytime it was too insignificant to notice. I am pretty sure it was also cooler than the forecast 25° C. I didn't keep a close eye on the temperature all the time, but the highest I noticed on one of my thermometers, perhaps the most optimistic one, was 22° C. The forecast is often wrong in some detail, but it seems yesterday's forecast was for a completely different day.
a wet
                      start to the day
   The forecast has been revised since I took this screenshot at 7am this morning. One significant change is that the chances of rain was increased to 64% at 10am, but the rain symbol was removed from the icon. It is a little after 10am as I write this, and it is pissing down ! That icon should have a double raindrop to indicate heavy rain. The rain should be over by, or soon after midday. By 2pm the sun may make an appearance now and then, and then there should be blues skies and plenty of sunshine from 5pm onwards.....believe it when I see it ! It is possible the temperature may briefly peak at 23° C, but 22° C is a better working value. It is possible that tomorrow could be very sunny, but paradoxically it will be almost cool at just 19° C.  It will also mark the start of some very chilly nights.

  I was originally thinking of going to the seaside yesterday - ideally with Sue - but the grey weather put me off, and Sue is still suffering badly from her tooth abscess and won't go out while she is in pain with a swollen face. (After days of being defiant that she would not see a dentist, she is now considering making enquiries about the possibility of some sort of sedation while being treated).  Instead of going to the seaside I went to Tesco !

vacuum cleaner bill
  Going to Tesco was not as exciting as going to the seaside, and even less so considering I was only going to buy just one item - a new vacuum cleaner. As can be seen in the picture on the left, the full price was just £39, but I exchanged £36 of Tesco Clubcard vouchers, and so only had to pay £3 for it.

  There were two things I didn't like about the new vacuum cleaner. The first was pretty fundamental, and my view is completely unchanged - it is pig ugly ! The second thing is that it is, in compliance with EU regulations, only a 700W device. My old vacuum cleaner, that died from heat stress on one of the hottest days of the year, was 1600W. It was noisy, and gave off a huge amount of heat when running.

 I wrongly assumed that the new machine, consuming under half the power, would have the sucking ability of a 90 year asthmatic chain smoker. I was wrong. It's sucking power is very strong - so strong that I have to be careful not to lift the carpets when using it !
tubes and pipes
  This picture, shot from a bad angle to fit everything in, only gives a hint of how ugly that cleaner is, but it does show some unusual features. My first vacuum cleaner was an Electrolux, and it lasted about 10 years. For some reason I kept the hose and extension pipes (I may have the cleaning head somewhere too). I also had the hose and extension pipes (plus cleaning head) from the recently deceased vacuum cleaner (that lasted about 10 years too). After taking a hacksaw to the old Electrolux hose I was able to join all three hoses together to make a super hose !

  My first test run with the new cleaner was with all three hoses connected, and it was rather good to use it like that. So good that as well as vacuuming some of the living room, including high up near the ceiling where the cobwebs grow, I also gave the hall a quick clean....and then (drumroll please) I cleaned the stairs !!!  I wouldn't be rash enough to say I am going to do more cleaning than before, but it is certainly less of a chore to do it with my super hose.

  Maybe it is the sucking power of this new machine, or maybe it was a reflection of how infrequently I clean the stairs properly, but it didn't take long for the bagless dust container to fill up....or appear to. At this moment I am unsure just how much I can allow it to fill up - it is transparent so you can see just how much crap it is collecting - it is part of it's ugly features. I guess that without having to worry about keeping a stock of empty bags, I can empty it far more frequently than the old machine (whose bags were probably unobtainable now anyway).

  I ended up doing a fair bit of housework yesterday, but I didn't do any more "hoovering". I washed some stuff, and hung it out to dry, and I washed one of the kitchen windows. It was the window that was frequently splashed with bath water while the bath waste pipe was disconnected from the main down pipe. It wasn't just on the outside that it needed washing. Since we have had a separate waste food bin forced upon us I seem to have far more flies in the kitchen, and those flies tend to buzz around the brightest window. As a result the window was sprayed with fly killer a lot. That window (which is actually a pair of panes of glass) is not pristine clean still, but ignoring a few smudges here and there, is now almost sparkling.

   Having a nice clean window might help me catch more glimpses of a fox who frequents the wildly over grown end of my garden. I hope that there is not an earth down there with young foxes in it because I will soon have cleared a path to the bottom of the garden. I have started to make inroads into the jungle already, and this morning the brown wheelie bin was emptied, and sometime in the next 6 days I will forge deeper into that jungle.

  After all my hard work doing domestic chores my thoughts turned to food. I had a few small snacks during the day that I hope were slightly innocent - i.e. nothing with known amounts of sugar and stuff in it. In the early evening I cooked up a chicken and cauliflower stew (also including a small onion, and the last of some runner beans I had). It was rather nice, but there was a problem. One of the stock cubes I used didn't dissolve properly, and when I came to eat it (without realising it) it tasted like a block of salt. My gut reacted very badly to that, and I threw up.

  I have never done anything like that before. Fortunately it was only a mouthful of vomit, and I managed to rush to the toilet to discharge it, and maybe just a little more. At that point I decided to tip the rest of the stew down the toilet too. It affected my mind in a strange way. I knew I had eaten (and retained) a large portion of that stew, and yet it felt like I had hardly eaten anything. An hour or so later I opened a can of offal tubes, more usually known as cheap and nasty hot dog sausages, warmed them up, and ate them while watching some TV.

  I was going to speak to Sue last night, but she was engrossed in a long conversation to her brother-in-law, but she was kind enough to text me to explain that, and again to thank me when I texted back that I would call her today some time. I know of some who would not show me the same courtesy. Not speaking to Sue meant I could have had an early night, but I went to bed with a stomach ache that kept me up for a while. I think it was just trapped wind rather than anything more exotic.

 I'm not sure when I finally fell asleep, but I think it was before midnight. It seemed like I slept well with no interruptions until about 7am this morning. I got up and took my morning medication, and then took a screenshot of the weather forecast for today. When I noticed it was going to rain I pulled on a pair of pants, and went out to bring my washing in. It was still damp when I checked it last night. This morning it was less damp, but still needed hanging on the clothes horse indoors to finish drying. With that done I decided I would get back into bed to warm up under the duvet - which was actually slightly too warm compared to just slightly too cool without. I was quite surprised to find how late it was when I woke up again !

  Today the big thing on the agenda is my late afternoon/early evening drink with the Thursday club. Apart from that I have just a selection of less important things to do. It would be useful to go and buy some vegetable today - possibly from Aldi - but they are not essential yet. One strange thing I have to do sooner or later only presented itself to me 10 minutes ago. It is to go out and activate a new bank card for Patricia. It is a replacement card, and her old PIN should work to activate it. I can earn £10 for doing this - withdrawing that being a suitable way to activate the new card ! Other than that, I could do some more hoovering, although the desire to do so is not very strong !
Wednesday 22nd August 2018
08:49 BST

  Yesterday was the third day in a row where the weather forecast only got the temperature right. During late afternoon the temperature peaked at, or very close to the forecast 24° C. I suppose I should admit that the forecast rainfall was correct as well - there was none. It was the matter of sunshine where the forecast got it all wrong. There was some unscheduled sunshine in the morning, and then following a dull and overcast few hours, the sun started appearing again. Sunny periods were forecast from 5pm until sunset, but it is a difficult task of semantics to say if they were sunny periods or sunny intervals. I would say we got whatever is the longest of the two, and the forecast seemed to imply we would get the shorter or the two.
it should
                      be sunny, but isn't yet
   It seems possible that we are going to have the reverse of the three previous days today. This revision of the forecast shows we should be having sunny spells this morning, but the latest revision now accurately reflects what I can see out of my window - it is dull and gloomy ! The later revision does still offer the hope of sunny intervals from about 2pm until sunset. The 7% chance, which seems negligible, of rain from 6pm to 7pm seems unchanged. It seems it will probably be 25° C by late afternoon, and I have a feeling it is going to be a very sticky 25° C. The current forecast for tomorrow says rain in the morning, and sunshine from late afternoon with just 23° C in the middle.

  Yesterday was a semi-productive day - which was sort of surprising considering I felt like I didn't have much energy. Late in the morning I went shopping in Tesco. Before going in Tesco I detoured via my bank. I had a very important cheque to deposit. It was from the taxman who was refunding excess tax that I paid last year. I'm sure I must have mentioned how impossible it was to work through their web site to get it paid directly into my bank. I had to fall back on their second offer of a cheque in a couple of months if I didn't use that terrible web site. I'm sure it came through quicker than the two months that were suggested. In these days when I am living off my savings and a small pension it was quite a handy !
my cheque or a
                        reasonable facsimile of it
   I know there are security concerns about revealing bank codes and sort numbers, but I think the taxman is big and ugly enough to look after his own bank details !

  On the whole I was quite careful about what I bought when I went in Tesco. I bought some fruit and some lean(ish) meat, but I forgot to buy any extra vegetables. Fortunately I have a small selection here already. I did stray off the path a long way though, and compounded the error by eating all of a 82p block of soft blue cheese I found on the reduced price counter. Well maybe I needed the calcium, and in some strange topsy turvey world I needed the cholesterol, although probably not in this world.

  It was no great strain bringing my bags of shopping home (for added weight I did buy 6 litres of Diet Coke), but once I got home I felt mildly knackered. That made my next choice of activity hard to start. I did rest for at least half an hour, and maybe a whole hour before tackling the garden. I was determined to fill the brown wheelie bin to the brim with twigs and branches, and also now I am starting to enter the area that was once the lawn many years ago, lots of weeds and stuff. I didn't do any sawing up of branches this time, but I did use the loppers to cut up some branches that were over an inch thick. Perhaps the worst bit of the job was having to bend over a lot to pull out weeds and pick stuff up. It left me feeling really exhausted after I finished, but oddly enough not so bad while I was actually doing the job.
Sue at her photoshoot
 As well as my cheque from the taxman turning up in the post yesterday, Sue received an email with details about how to download the five pictures she had bought at the end of her photo shoot a couple of weeks back. I've only seen some lower resolution versions that Sue has posted on social media, and they look both good and bad.

 Sue looks magnificent in the picture on the left. She looks like a real model, but I can criticise the photo itself. In my opinion it is very slightly overexposed. It is possible that it is an artifact of the jpeg compression process, particularly in the lower resolution versions as displayed on social media, but the glare from the light behind sue makes her hair look strange. I must admit I didn't notice it when viewing the high resolution images at the studio.

 One thing I can definitely criticise was the post processing of the pictures. This very picture was used as an example of what we were told they would do at the studio. Even in my much reduced picture you can see an uneven line at the bottom of the picture where the wall meets the floor. The saleswoman specifically pointed that out, and used it as an example of how the photos would be cleaned up before being released. I can see that some sort of blurring has taken place, but I know I could have done a far better job of eliminating that nasty ragged line.

 I was actually practicing my skills as a photo editor in the afternoon as I finished compiling my photo album of Geoff's new open mic session at The Crown And Anchor pub in Bromley. I have shared the pictures with the pub, but I've had no feedback as to whether I earned my free pint of Guinness or not.

  I had a mildly boring evening last night. There was stuff on TV, but none of it really caught my attention, Maybe the best and worst was a repeat of QI on Dave. It started out good, but then got less good when I realised I had seen the second half before. Oh well, it was good to see the first half that it seems I had missed on an earlier showing. There is now an awful lot of crap on the Dave channel, but it still shows stuff that I never used to be able to see when it was shown on the main BBC channels because it was shown past my early bedtime when I was working.

  After so many late nights, typically talking with Sue until the early hours, I wasn't sure getting a slightly early night was going to work, but I seemed to fall asleep soon after my head hit the pillow last night. I wish I knew, or could remember when that was. I think it was around, and even possibly half an hour before 11pm. I seemed to sleep well until 4am when I got up to have a pee. I was soon asleep again, but woke up just after 6am. I took that opportunity to do a few things like take my morning pills, and to take a screenshot of the weather forecast. After that I managed to fall asleep again, but it was a light sleep, and noises from outside my open bedroom window woke me a few times.

 Soon after 8am I decided to get up. I could have slept on if I tried, but I had an idea that I might go to Hastings today for a breath of sea air. It is possible I still might go, but when I originally decided I might go I was relying on it being a cheerful sunny morning - it isn't ! There is one important thing I might do as soon as I am washed and dressed, and that is to go to Tesco to buy a new vacuum cleaner. I noted that they had some extremely ugly looking bagless vacuum cleaners for just £30 when I was in there yesterday, and although the sight of it makes me want to vomit, I guess it would do the job as replacement for my dead vacuum cleaner.
Tuesday 21st August 2018
10:57 BST

  Once again the forecast said the morning would be dull and gloomy, and once again the morning was bright and cheerful. A later revision to the forecast I showed yesterday added some sunny intervals in the late afternoon. We had those, although they didn't seem very spectacular, but still no mention was made of the morning sunshine. The temperature only reached about 24° C, but it was typical English summer heat - a rather humid and sticky sort of heat.
this does
                      not match reality
   This is the third day in a row that the forecast gets the morning wrong. It is lightly overcast now, but earlier on there was big patches of blue sky and some sunny periods. It is almost as if the same forecast is being repeated over and over again without it being updated - even down to the same sunny periods in the last 4 hours before sunset. There is actually one small difference, and that is the forecast does reflect the very mild night we have just had, and the almost warm morning. It is of course possible that it is just me, but it already feels warm and sticky, and I haven't done anything more energetic than typing words ! The forecast changes tomorrow. It will be a degree or two warmer, which could be unpleasant if it is still very humid, and there will be more sunshine.

  In one sense I rested yesterday to get over my adventures of the previous days, and yet I didn't come away from the day empty handed. I did two small sessions of hand laundry. One session was just a double fitted sheet. The other included a couple of nice new pillow cases alongside some other stuff. The new pillowcases are purple, and I knew that the colour would run badly, and so I could only wash them with stuff where it wouldn't matter if they took on a purple tint.

  One other thing I did, besides reading and snoozing, was to cook an experimental lunch of broad beans with bean sprouts. I cooked them, along with a small sliced onion, in chicken stock with chilli, ginger and garlic paste added. The chilli made me sweat, the garlic gave me stink breath, and the ginger caught in my throat, and got me coughing in a way that I haven't coughed since I last smoked 50 cigarettes a day. It was a very delicious lunch !

 Last night there was a brand new open mic session run by Geoff Paice at The Crown And Anchor pub in Bromley, and of course it had to be investigated. The pub is off the beaten track, and I didn't even know it existed before, but it was easy to get to (ignoring the standard tedium of a bus ride into Bromley), and it seemed quite nice. This first night was well attended, and I can imagine subsequent nights will also be well attended. In one respect it was too well attended, but that is only my annoyance at sometimes having to take pictures over people's shoulders. One good thing was that the landlord saw that I was a serious photographer with some decent kit, and asked me to post some pictures to the pubs facebook page. I said yeah, no problem, and earned a free pint of Guinness for it !