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My Diary/Blog For the Month of February 2018

Wednesday 28th February 2018
 08:40 GMT
  It wasn't terribly obvious from the forecast when, and indeed if it would snow yesterday, but it did. The temperature stayed at or below zero all day, but the ground was still very slightly above zero, and the early flurries of snow during the morning quickly melted away, but then just before 1pm we had a blizzard, and that finally cooled the ground down, and from then on the snow stayed settled. During the night there was more snow, and the temperature went down and down!
minus 6.2° C - can this be
                  true ?
Minus 6.2° C seems a bit extreme, and rather lower than the forecast predicted.
more snow expected
 I don't know what to make of this weather forecast. The headline says heavy snow showers, and yet the details only give it a 5% chance of any snow falling at, for instance, midday. It seems unlikely we will get any more snow today, but then again, yesterday's forecast hardly mentioned snow and we got an awful lot of it by this morning !
the snow this morning
 As I write this the sun is shining, and the sky is blue. The sun coming through my window feels nice and warm on my back, and I have turned the heating down for now. If the sky doesn't cloud over with thick snow bearing clouds soon the sun will melt away the existing snow.  It seems that there may be a better chance of more snow tomorrow, and maybe on Friday too.

  Yesterday was an exciting sort of day....or maybe it was only several hours of yesterday. The two hand towels I hand washed were dry yesterday morning and I washed another, rather larger towel. That was of no particular excitement, but I thought I would just boast about the little bit of arm muscle building exercise I did. While on the subject though I will mention some new rubber gloves I bought to protect my hands while hand washing stuff - they are purple ! It is rare to see purple rubber gloves, and in fact I have never seen any before. Mine came all the way from China where they seem to have different shaped hands. The palm area seems a perfect fit, but the fingers are hardly long enough, and they are a bit slim.

 Just after midday I set out to walk through the park to get to the pub where I met Angela. There had just been a light flurry of snow before I left, but it hardly settled, and apart from the occasional passing snowflake, my walk was essentially snow free. As I walked I spotted an unfamiliar bird, several of them in fact. They were down on the grass looking for (I guess) worms or insects. A bit of an internet search showed them to be Redwings - which is a bit obvious when you see the red patch under the wing. They came all the way from Scandinavia !
 Soon after I arrived at the pub the snow started falling in earnest, and before long it was a blizzard ! I wondered if Angela would dare walk through it, but she did, and we had a nice drink together. Yesterday was the first time I had seen her since last Friday. She said she had a good weekend and admitted she spent most of it with lover boy. Curiously enough she did make an in joke at his expense. So while she is happy to spend lots of time with him, I think she is still aware that he may not be the ideal partner, and it may end one day.

 I still had half a pint of Guinness when it came time for her to go back to work. So we had a brief hug in the pub and she went out into the blizzard. I didn't rush finishing my Guinness, and spent the time finishing the quick crossword in The Metro. And then it was my turn to go out into the blizzard !
slippery pavements !
 The snow had fallen on wet pavement on the main road, and it was quite slippery as this unknown person demonstrated to me !
looking back at the pub
Here's the view looking back towards the nice warm pub.
a coot standing in icy cold water with
                        snow on it's back in the middle of a blizzard
You might have to take my word for it that this is a picture of a coot. It is standing in the icy cold river with snow on it's back while a blizzard rages around it !
snow on the meadow
The snow was a lot drier in the park, and it made for more sure footed walking as I walked home (the trainers I had on seemed to have a fair amount of grip even in the wet snow). This view is of the artificial stream that meanders across the playing field/meadow.

 As exciting as it was out in the blizzard (which did dwindle away until the snow had all but stopped falling as I walked), it was nice to get home and back in the warm again. My first priority was to get some hot food, and that honour fell on a couple of barbecue beef flavoured instant noodle pots - fortified with a few extras like chilli sauce. Later on I would have a couple of large stuffed mushrooms. They were not very nice, and for some reason I don't think it was because I had let them get too cool before eating them.

 Later still I had some Cyprus style beef sausages with baked beans. Maybe it was just me, but those sausages didn't seem to be that nice either, although in this case it was more to do with the spices in them - they weren't quite to my taste. The reason I mentioned that it could have just been me not liking these flavours is because it transpired I had a bit of a stomach ache. It had started while I was out, but wasn't bothersome until sometime after I got home. I thought it was just a part of my assorted chest pains even though it was a bit lower down than usual.

 It turned out that it was probably trapped wind causing the discomfort, and several explosive visits the the toilet eased most of the discomfort. I think I feel a bit slimmer this morning ! To amuse myself for the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening (and between visits to the toilet) I did the usual reading, snoozing, and watching a bit of TV. I was happy to see that the Freeview channel "Yesterday" has started showing the Michael Palin and Terry Jones series "Ripping Yarns".

 They are surreal comedies first shown on the BBC. Last night they showed three episodes, and maybe tonight they may show three more. I couldn't remember seeing the first episode before, but it was one of the good episodes. The second episode was on a theme that I personally don't like - football ! I declined to watch it, and decided to go to bed instead. I started reading, but quickly decided I would rather be sleeping - and that is what I did !

 Despite it being a fiercely cold night I slept well until just after 4am (although I did have the heater on full blast all night !). I didn't seem to be able to get back to sleep after waking up then, and so I got up for a bit. Maybe it was around 5.30am, perhaps a little later, that I went back to bed. Once again I didn't think I would get back to sleep, but the next thing I knew I was dreaming - and it was a good dream. I have no idea who the lady was in my dream, but what started off as a quick peck on the lips ended up like we were trying to eat each others faces (as some have described it before). It was a shame to wake up again, but at least I had got some extra sleep - I think almost 2 hours of it.

 The only thing on the agenda today is another walk in the park, another pint or three of Guinness, and another clandestine meeting with Angela - assuming she dared go to work in the thick snow ! I may still take a walk in the park, and possibly even go for a Guinness if Angela is not at work. Other than that I have some washing up to do in my freezing cold kitchen, and the rest of the day I will spend keeping warm ! Tomorrow is another month - March !
Tuesday 27th February 2018
 08:15 GMT
Night time temperature
  Maybe there was a little bit more sunshine that the forecast said, or implied there would be, but generally speaking it was a grey day yesterday. It was also a rather cold day...or maybe that is an understatement. The forecast threat of snow came to almost nothing. There was the lightest of light falls in the morning, and that left a blanket of snow that was about a tenth of an inch thick, with holes in it, for a while. By midday it had all melted. I think a few, and by a few I mean about 24, flakes did fall later in the day at some forgotten time. It was the evening when things got serious. By 8pm all my thermometers agreed it had fallen below zero, and as the picture on the left shows, by 8.41pm the temperature had fallen to minus 2.8° C and it probably went lower still, although from time to time it actually went up a degree before coming down again.
a perishing cold day
a very cold morning
 The forecast for today says minus 2° C. I reckon it was minus 4.3° C at 7.40am. That is rather exceptionally cold. I am so glad I don't have to go to work in temperatures like that ! On the plus side there is some nice sunshine at the moment, and behind my bedroom windows it feels nice and warm. It is a shame there is not a lot more of it !

 The rest of today is going to be bitterly cold. The forecast reckons the maximum temperature today will be zero degrees ! As the morning sunshine ends around 9am there is a chance of some light snow, but I doubt it will amount to anything more than a light dusting. Then we endure hours of greyness, but maybe we'll see a sunny interval or two before the sun sets, and the temperature plummets again. It looks like it might get even colder than this morning ! Lots of sunny intervals are forecast for tomorrow, but apart from a few hours when it will be 0° C, most of the day will be below zero !

  Yesterday was a sort of day in limbo. Nothing seemed to happen, and yet I did do a few significant things. In the morning I washed a couple of hand towels. For some reason, maybe it was to help warm me up, I varied my style of hand laundering stuff. What I found myself doing was to lift the soggy wet towels clear of the water before plunging them back in. I don't think this method made them any cleaner, but it was a good sort of "accidental" exercise. I am not one who does exercise per se, but like when I am walking, I will sometimes do a sort of disguised version of exercise. Repeatedly lifting those soggy towels was definitely doing something to some muscles in my arms. It was hard work, and it warmed me up. It didn't seem to have any negative effects.

 Later on, just before midday, I went to Aldi to buy a few bits and pieces. It was probably because it was so cold out that I didn't try and buy the most healthy stuff, although some of it was. Things like the large stuffed mushrooms, a treat for today, are a bit of an unknown. I suspect the cheese and "stuff" filling makes them pretty unhealthy. What was very unhealthy to the extent that I felt sort of horrible after eating them, was the "southern style" chicken legs and thighs. I just wish I could remember than no matter how attractive they may seem, they are pretty horrible, and I should never buy them again.

 To say I did nothing in the afternoon wouldn't be quite correct, although I did feel pretty lazy as I tried to digest those southern fried style baked chicken lumps. Some of what I did was reading and snoozing. The bit that wasn't completely being lazy was to finally go through the pictures I had taken on my big Canon camera of The Belles at The Golden Lion last Saturday night. It was dark in there, and I had to use my flash gun for all the pictures. A few were better, but generally they all had that flat look that a flash gun produces.
The Belles at The
                        Golden Lion
  In the evening I watched a bit of TV, but I spent more time reading on, or in my bed. I had reached the climax of the book, "Venus" by Ben Bova, and decided to press on until the end of the book. I can't remember what time I reached the end of the book. It was either just before, or just after midnight, and I think the latter was more likely.

 Once I turned the lights out I fell asleep very quickly, and although I had to get up once or twice for a pee, I seemed to sleep really well again. As usual, I would have preferred to have had at least an extra hour of good sleep, but I'll have to make that up with an afternoon snooze....or maybe a morning snooze !

 The only thing on the agenda for today is meeting Angela for a lunchtime drink. It is going to be a challenge going out in that frigid air, but it may be exhilarating until it becomes painful. If it were not to meet Angela I would probably not go out at all today - with one small exception. I think I am expecting a small parcel today that I will need to collect from the corner shop. There is a fair chance that most of today could be boring.
Monday 26th February 2018
 07:36 GMT
  Yesterday was yet another day that was brilliantly sunny, and bloody cold. From sun up to sunset the sun shined from a clear blue sky. If the temperature had been 30° C it would have been pure unadulterated luxury, but the temperature just about made it to 4° C, and only a true masochist would have exposed himself, or herself to those lovely rays of sunshine. After dark the temperature fell, and by midnight it must have fallen to at least zero° C.
will it snow, or won't it ?
 My thermometers say it is minus 1.5° C at the moment. Maybe that is why we haven't seen any snow yet. The very latest forecast has amended it's prediction to say there is now a 95% chance of snow at 8am. There is certainly no sign of the sun yet. The sky is just a very heavy looking grey, and so the chance of snow is looking very real. With the temperature having been so low for the last few days there is a good chance that the ground is cold enough for any snow to settle as soon as, or if it falls. It is going to be exceptionally cold today - a maximum of just 1° C !!! Tomorrow, and the next 3 or 4 days may be no better !

  I guess I may be feeling better than expected recently. It might also be true to say I feel better like after an illness. My chest is still very easy to provoke, but it seems I am possibly over one of it's worst phases. Time will tell, but to go to two gigs in one weekend must mean something. Apart from doing some laundry, I didn't really do anything until about 2pm yesterday when I set out to go to the east end to see The Belles playing an afternoon gig in The Manor Arms in Poplar.
The Manor Arms
  I had under estimated the time it would take to get a bus to Lewisham, and then The Docklands Light Railway to All Saints Station (with a very brief change of train at Canary Wharf station). I also thought I had under estimated how far it was from the station to the pub, but like most times, it seemed far closer when walking back to the station over now familiar ground. I arrived a little while after 3pm, and The Belles had already started.
wide angle lens shot
                        of The BellesSimon
                        Whitestar fronting The Belles

 It was a very small, rather cozy pub, and my wide angle lens was essential to be able to get all the band in one shot (top picture). The other photography problem was the amount of backlighting from the window behind the band. I had to really overexpose the photos I took to be able to see the band. There was one other problem for me. It was really difficult trying to thread my body through some of the tight gaps between people and/or chairs, and doubly so without my camera bag sweeping glasses off the tables ! I hate that sort of situation, and so after taking a selection of snaps, and hearing a few songs, I slipped away again to do a bit of sightseeing.
statue of an angel
                            dedicated to some schoolchildren who lost
                            their lives to a German bomber in WW1
 There were many things to see on the short stretch of the East India Dock road between the pub and the DLR station. The most interesting, and rather sad thing was a monument in Poplar Park. I have inset an enlargement of the panel that describes what it was all about. Perhaps the most surprising thing was that it was a disaster that occurred during WW1. I expect most of us think that WW1 was just trench warfare, but evidently not.

 It was certainly nice to come home in bright sunshine, and if it wasn't so cold it would have been quite enjoyable. As I suggested earlier, the walk from the pub to the station seemed shorter than the walk the other way, and it was probably so that I thought the ride on the DLR back towards Lewisham seemed shorter, or quicker. The bus from Lewisham to home was as tedious as ever.

 Although I hadn't travelled that far, or been out for that long, I did start to feel terribly tired as I walked from the bus stop to home, and it was a relief to get indoors. I had kept my coat firmly zipped up as I walked home, and so I didn't feel too chilled (except for my hands), and I had left the heating on so I felt very comfortable indoors. The sunshine had warmed the front of the house as well.

 The feeling of tiredness persisted, and I couldn't be bothered to cook any lunch. The answer was to make up two more pots of instant noodles. I chose the roast chicken flavour. I knew it was pretty bland, and so I zapped them up a bit. I added more chicken flavour to one pot, along with some hot chilli sauce. To the other I added some tomato purée. I may have slightly overdone the amount of hot chilli sauce. It was still nice, but I think the one with added tomato purée was best.

 After eating I rested, but a couple of hours later I began to feel very peckish. I had been wondering if I could get through the day on just 4 pots of instant noodles. Maybe on a different day I could, but not yesterday. I cooked up steak and peas for a 7pm dinner. Once again, after eating I just relaxed. I tried watching a bit of TV, but ended up reading. I could have read for far longer, but at 10pm I decided to put the book down, and try for sleep.

 For 5 minutes I lay there thinking it was a bad idea, and then I was asleep ! I slept well for 4 hours when I needed to get up for a pee. Once again it seemed like I would never get back to sleep, and after as little as five minutes I was fast asleep again. I awoke again 3 hours later - once again needing another pee. By that time I thought I may as well start to get up slowly. So I checked a few things on my PC, and then I went back to bed again and ended up sleeping for another hour. I had finally managed my full 8 hours of beauty sleep !

 This morning I don't feel too bad, and I feel I should try to avoid doing anything that might spoil that. Both fortunately and sadly, I won't be seeing Angela today because she has the day off work. In theory there is no need for me to go out in the cold at all today, but I may still go for a quick spin around Aldi. Other than that, I still have the photos of The Belles from Saturday night to go through, and I ought to get stuck in doing them. I am also getting near the climax of the book I am reading, and it would be easy, although probably detrimental to an assortment of back muscles, to lay on my bed reading for a lot of the day. Maybe I might do some light housework, or maybe not...

 08:45 GMT

Update: In the last 20 minutes or so it has started to snow. There is already one twentieth of an inch of snow, or 37 snowflakes on the roof of some cars. At this rate we will be under several feet of snow by mid May.
Sunday 25th February 2018
 08:56 GMT
  I could have cut and pasted what I wrote about the weather yesterday, and used it today. Once again, yesterday was bloody cold, but there was a lot of sunshine. The forecast might have got it right about the maximum temperature being 5° C, but I am pretty certain that at 11pm it was close to below zero rather than 3° C. And the cold weather continues....
cold and sunny again
 The consensus of my thermometers is that it is currently minus 0.5° C ! That is the first variation to the forecast. The second variation is one that explains the first. It is that the sky is as good as perfectly clear. So instead of sunny intervals we have sunshine, but that lack of cloud let all the heat out last night ! Like yesterday, the sunshine should do a good job of heating up my bedroom and living room, but outside it is going to be painfully cold.....and it gets worse ! Tomorrow, and the following days are going to be even colder, and the forecast still warns of snow falling tomorrow afternoon, and Tuesday !

 This cold weather is playing havoc with my operation scar, and the surrounding bits and pieces. Just 10 minutes exposure can leave me in pain for hours afterwards. While I keep in the warm it is as well behaved as it would be even in summer, or in other words, it mostly only hurts when I make a movement that I try and avoid. It is strange though that even when I keep warm it does seem more sensitive in winter - a complaint I used to hear from older people about their arthritis and stuff when I was younger. It seems they were telling the truth !

 My main exposure to the cold was when I went out to the 99p shop and Poundland yesterday morning. The sun was shining, and so I just put on a coat that I can't do up, but that I knew would keep my arms warm. That was a mistake because my chest got frozen ! The core reason for my mission to initially just the 99p shop was to buy more instant noodle pots. It's just a passing fad, but I seem to find them really nice and also handy at the moment.

 The 99p shop has three different flavours in the same range, and having tried all 3 I conclude that the beef flavour is best. The curry flavour comes second. I expected it to be a bit nasty, but the curry flavour is very weak, and it just give a nice savoury taste. I also bought some Maggi branded instant noodles. They didn't come in a pot. Being a well known brand I expected them to be very good, but sadly the opposite was true. After the 99p shop I found some instant noodles in Poundland. They were also disappointing, but still better than the Maggi noodles.

 The rest of my day was mostly quiet as I tried to recover from my morning bout of chest chilling. Eventually the time came to go out to a gig. If it wasn't for the fact that I was initially going to go with my neighbour Michael, and then going to meet him at the gig, I may not have gone. I felt tired, and my chest hurt. It wasn't the ideal conditions to go out into the freezing night, but I managed it. It did make it slightly easier that the venue, The Golden Lion in Sydenham is easy to get to on the 202 bus.

 It was The Belles who were playing in there last night. I arrived there wondering if I should have gone, but I was glad that I did in the end - even if the end for me was before the gig actually finished. For the first set the pub was rather sparsely filled, and I think it showed in the way The Belles played. It was lacking enthusiasm, and I am sure they held back some of their more popular tunes for later.

 It turned out that holding back their more popular stuff was a good idea because just as the second set started loads of people suddenly arrived. I suspect that had all been at the first set of a different gig somewhere else. Suddenly it became very lively. That was good for the band, but I both liked and disliked it. It became more enjoyable, but also became difficult to take photos. I decided that I had all the photos I needed, and I also decided that I was also feeling a bit tired, and looking forward to going home.

 I was aided in my decision to go by Michael. He had never seen The Belles before, and was rather grumpy that the first set was very bland. He decided that he wanted to go too, and so a couple of songs into the second set we put our coats on and went over the road to the bus stop. I guess it was no more than a 10 minute wait for the bus, but in the cold it felt longer. We were just debating whether to go back inside when of course the bus arrived.
Matt, Simon and
 Taken between sets - Matt Donovan (drummer) and Simon Whitestar (lead guitar and singer) on the sofa. Meanwhile Michael looks on with a scowl on his face.
Jo with her new
                        boyfriend on the right
 One unlikely, but expected visitor was Jo from Chain. On her right is her new boyfriend, and on her left is the bass player from The Belles whose name I can never seem to remember.

 One thing I was looking forward to when I got home, apart from warmth, was some chicken thighs I had roasted with some added flavourings earlier. All they needed were 2 minutes in the microwave to heat. They were delicious. I'm not sure they were more delicious that "southern" fried chicken, but they were definitely very good ! After eating those I brushed my teeth and went to bed.

 I fell asleep very quickly, and amazingly enough I slept well. The only thing I could complain about is that I thought I ought to sleep for about 12 hours, but only slept for 7. By recent standards it was still very good. This morning I woke up with my chest feeling a bit sore but a couple of Ibuprofen tablets have calmed it down. It probably also helped helped that I have I have washed a couple of new small hand towels, and a couple of t-shirts this morning. It is a strange effect, but lifting sodden linen out of a tub in the bath, and then wringing it out, does seem to pull my chest back into place, and reduces some types of discomfort.
wasabi peanuts
 For the rest of today there are only two things I will probably do. One is to open the bag of wasabi flavoured peanuts shown on the left. They were another item I bought in Poundland yesterday.

 On a more practical level I want to go to another Belles gig today. It is a matter of satisfying my curiosity. They are playing in The Manor Arms pub in Poplar. The gig starts at a rather handy 3pm, and ends just as it gets dark at 6pm. It would be nicer if it was still light when I go home, but I guess it will be another month or so before the sun sets some time after 6pm. The pub is theoretically easy to get to. I take a bus to Lewisham (or I could take a train to Lewisham - they are running today, but only as far as New Cross). Then I get a Docklands Light Rail train to All Saints station (with a change of train at West India Quay). From All Saints station the pub is just a short walk - probably slightly less than the walk from home to Catford Bridge station. It is possible, maybe probable that I won't stay there for the whole gig, and I think even an hour there will sate my curiosity about a pub I didn't even know existed.
Saturday 24th February 2018
 10:19 GMT
  There may have been some sunshine, even in the afternoon when there wasn't supposed to be any, but it felt absolutely freezing out ! I suppose that was commensurate with the highest temperature being just 5° C, and that only lasted about 5 minutes. Most of yesterday was between 3 and 4° C.  Today will be briefly warmer.
basically bloody freezing, but not as
                    bad as yesterday or tomorrow
 In basic terms it is going to be another bloody cold day ! On the plus side it is, and should continue to be very sunny today. That sun will warm my bedroom and living rooms up nicely, but outside in the shivery cold air, it will only reach 5° C (I have no idea where the headline 6° C comes from). From today the weather deteriorates. The temperature plunges, and by next Thursday it is possible the temperature will stay in minus figures all day. Snow is possibility for next Monday afternoon, and a greater possibility for the day after. A lot could change in a weeks time, but at the moment the forecast reckons that it will definitely snow next Friday.
  Yesterday had one highlight, and that was seeing Angela at lunchtime. Before I went to see her I called in on my friend and neighbour Michael with some instructions I had found and printed that I hope may help him set up his WiFi printer so he can print from his tablet. I spent 5 or 10 minutes with Michael explaining things before I said I had to rush off to see Angela. I had actually intended to take a wander through the park as I usually do, but at that moment a text message came through from Angela to say work was a bit slack, and she could get to the pub early. At that point I took the direct route which is a little faster, and did a fast walk to the pub.

 I'm not entirely sure why, but Angela was in a very good mood. I hope it was because the sadness of the recent funeral she attended is now worn off. Maybe I hope even more that she was happy because lover boy was ill, and she wasn't expecting to see him last night. That latter hope was probably wrong, and in fact she did see him. I would speculate he got off his death bed because he didn't trust her to go to a gig alone (and if she mentioned that I might meet her there he may have trusted her even less).

 While she was generally in a good mood she did have one negative thing to discuss, and it concerned something that troubles us all - weight gain over winter. It contributed to other things said or implied, or just in body language, that made for one of our more intimate meetings. It was under such circumstances that we discussed the possibility of meeting up at, or possibly even before a gig last night.

  We parted with a friendly hug and kiss on the cheek, and it felt good to be back on so special friendly terms. Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, lover boy got off his death bed to go to the gig with Angela. She texted the possible bad news through to me early in the evening, and as promised, confirmed the bad news at 7.30pm. I was obviously sad to hear that news, but on this occasion it didn't bother me too much. For one thing I didn't expect I would be able to go out with Angela, and for another, I didn't really care for the band who were playing despite reassurances from lots of people that they are really good.

 Most of all was the fact that it was bloody cold out and I have got out of the habit of forcing myself to go out in the evening - doubly so when it's bloody cold. Fortunately there is a very slim possibility of going to a gig with Angela on Sunday afternoon. The Belles are playing in a pub in Poplar, in the east end, and the gig starts at 3pm, and the pub is relatively easy to get to being a 5 minute walk from All Saints DLR station (and the DLR is running this Sunday). I very much doubt that Angela will be free to go out on Sunday afternoon, but she did say it might be possible when I mentioned my doubts.

 When I got back from seeing Angela I found it hard to motivate myself to do anything. I had some lunch, and then relaxed. One thing that was bugging me was my chest. I had taken care to keep my warmest coat done up when I went out yesterday, but I was still suffering from letting my chest freeze when I went out on Thursday night. It made me reluctant to do anything physical except for a lot of washing up - although I couldn't put that off any longer because I had run out of forks !

 Once I heard from Angela that lover boy was going to the gig I had to look for some alternative entertainment, and what I very quickly found was better than even a good gig. It was a special tribute edition of The Old Grey Whistle Test. It was three hours of entertainment of which at least half could be classified as very good, and some bits excellent. Naturally there were some bits that could only be described as poor. If there was anything particularly negative about it, it is that it was three hours long, and finished at midnight.

 Sitting slumped in my typists type chair for three hours while watching TV on my PC was probably not an ideal thing to do. At the end I had a stiff neck, and my chest felt very crunchy (the actual chest - ribs and stuff - rather than my breathing). On top of that, it seemed I had gone past the sleep threshold, and come out on the waking up side !

 It was a complete disaster when I went to bed. Despite occasionally yawning I didn't feel tired, and I couldn't find a comfortable position in which to try and relax. It was gone 2am, perhaps even getting on towards 3am before I got to sleep. Once I did get to sleep I seemed to get a few hours of decent sleep, and I had a few nice dreams - nice, but they did fail to realise their erotic potential ! I reckon I got little more than 4 hours of reasonable sleep last night, and I feel pretty crappy for it.

 There are a few things I really ought to do today, but I reckon I'll have to also do some severe resting if I am going to get out tonight. I hope I can bring myself to get out because it could be a good gig. The Belles are playing in The Golden Lion in Sydenham. It is easy to get to, and if it was a mild evening it would be easy, almost pleasant, to walk home from in emergency - probably less than 3 miles, and maybe nearer two and half miles. I would be reluctant to walk that far with the temperature heading for zero°, but then again I would be even more reluctant to stand still in it !
what an offer
 What a lovely offer from the Co Op. All I have to do is learn to drive, pass the driving test, and buy a car, and I'll be quids in ! How can I possibly resist £50 of food vouchers ! Funnily enough it wasn't hard at all. Remember: Google and Facebook, and the CIA, and Microsoft, and Amazon know everything about you. So I wonder which one decided to lie to the the Co Op that I could drive a car ?
Friday 23rd February 2018
 07:37 GMT
  It was far sunnier than forecast yesterday. The sunny intervals started around midday. They turned into sunny periods, and as sunset approached the sky was completely clear, and the sun at full strength. Of course the downside was that an already rather cold day became very much colder as night fell. The highest temperature was around 5° C, and the lowest felt like well below zero as I walked home from the station last night !
another very cold day
 The sun is doing it's best to shone as I write this, and the forecast says these sunny periods should last until 10am, but I am not so sure about the temperature being 1° C. There is a sparkling frost as I write this, and my thermometers generally agree that the temperature is a gnats whisker below zero (-0.3° C). Later today the temperature may just touch 5° C, and even then it will still feel bloody cold ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be minutely less cold, and also much sunnier than today. The weather warnings refer to next Monday and Tuesday when we might be looking forward to snow !
  My day turned out busier than I thought it would yesterday. I had expected it to be rather boring because I wasn't seeing Angela, but it was far from it.....well maybe not "far", but I had enough to do to keep me amused. Soon after I had washed and dressed I went to Aldi to buy a bit of this and a bit of that, and then I got mugged on the way home !

 As I was passing the corner shop I bumped into my friend and neighbour Michael. For quite a long time now he has been pestering me to see if I can get his tablet to connect to a WiFi enabled printer, and yesterday I agreed to have a look there and then. So we went to his house and I left my shopping bags in his hall. Unfortunately Michael had also been shopping, in Tesco, and his wife thought my shopping was what he had bought and while I was scratching my head about his printer, his wife was putting all my shopping in her fridge and cupboards !

 The problem with Michaels printing is that somehow the printer has to be logged onto his wireless router. For anything with a screen and keyboard that would be easy, but the printer has neither. It has to be done using a "WPS" button on the router. I have not come across one of these before, but I can guess that it probably allows a few seconds when the router is completely unprotected, and something like a printer can quickly log on and exchange credentials. It didn't seem to work for us yesterday, and this morning I think I know why. I think his printer is convinced that it should connect to his son's WiFi point elsewhere in the country.

 My job today (or tomorrow or....) is to download the full user manual because the printer only comes with a very brief installation guide, and to see how to reset the printer, and how then to use this magic WPS button........time passes....... I have now found how to do it, and what we were doing should have worked, but possibly only if we had done a factory reset on the printer so it would forget an old connection.

 Having given up on the printer I went to go home and found all my shopping missing. Having retrieved it from Michael's fridge and cupboards I went home and had some lunch. Lunch was unusual. I tried to fry some eggs in butter in my mini grill and oven. It turned out a bit messy, but the idea worked after a fashion, and I had those fried eggs with some microwaved spam ( a bacon containing variant on spam). After that I had a long rest.

 At 4.30pm I went out into the dazzling sunshine to go Shortlands for the Thursday night drink. The sky may have been bright blue, and the sunshine might have been dazzling, but it felt bloody cold outside. Walking to the station warmed me up a bit, as did getting on a slightly warm train, but the last 5 minute walk from the train to the bar left me feeling cold again. There was some nice beer on last night. It was Greene King's "Scrum Down". As well as drinking I gave my new camera a bit of a test in low light conditions.
Chris Mayer in The
                        Shortlands Tavern
The first picture of Chris came out really well considering how bad the light was, but it suffers from one major flaw. If I had "stop talking and smile" it would have had the horrible motion blur around his mouth and chin.
The Thursday night drinking crew
This was Thursday night's drinking crew - obviously minus the cameraman. It is a shame I didn't turn on the flash for this picture because just right of centre is Dave Peru, and it was his last session with us. Next Thursday he moves to somewhere closer to the middle of the country (I can't remember where).
Shortlands station at night
 I thought this snap came out spectacularly well. The camera managed to keep the name in focus at the same time as the background, and it managed to get the colour balance spot on. I am also quite pleased with the way I framed the picture too.

 It felt bloody cold when I went to the pub in the sunshine, and it felt even colder when I went home after dark. If it had been even just mild, and still just about light, I would have fared much better at resisting the charms of the chicken shop, and I certainly wouldn't have had a portion of fries with the two chicken burgers I bought.

 It was nice to cuddle something warm as I walked home from the chicken shop, but that freezing cold was having a very bad effect on my chest. It was really aching by the time I got home, and only a couple of paracetamol would calm it putting the heater on full ! By 10pm I had turned the heater down, and I was in bed. My chest was still sore, and I had to be careful how I lay in bed, but I was soon asleep.

 I woke up several times in the night to have a pee, and each time I felt cooler and cooler. By 3am it felt very cold and the duvet couldn't keep enough heat in. I had to put the heater on full blast before I could get back to sleep. When I finally got up at just before 7am it did not feel too hot in my bedroom, and in fact it felt just right. I was sort of surprised to learn that it was only zero degrees, and not several below !
 I usually try not to have breakfast, but often I succumb to a nibble on something inappropriate. A few mornings ago I had something a bit more healthy - an apple and a pear, as pictured above. This morning I went off on a wild tangent. I had instant noodles for breakfast ! My reasoning for it went like this.....Other people have a hot drink (tea or coffee) as part of their breakfast, but I don't drink hot drinks - except when disguised as gravy or soup. I reasoned that if I had some instant noodles it would be a hot meal and as I drank the rest of the gravy from the container it would be like a hot drink. I actually had two lots, and I noted that meant I had eaten almost 600 calories - which was surprising !

 Today I should be seeing Angela unless she contacts me to say otherwise. That will be the highlight of the day, and after that I doubt I will do much more. One thing I hope to do is to fill another small rubble bag with some crap from the floor of my over cluttered workshop. Since yesterday I have a nice empty wheelie bin, and I reckon I can hide two of those small rubble bags in the bottom of it under piles of nasty stuff that will deter the dustman looking too closely at what he is tipping in the lorry !
Thursday 22nd February 2018
 08:34 GMT
  The morning sunshine was cheery, but yesterday was mostly a cold, grey and nasty day. The highest forecast temperature was 7° C, but I'm not convinced it got that high. A later revision of the forecast predicted a small chance of rain between 8 and 9pm. I didn't see any fall, but the road did look damp at one point.
cold and grey
 Apart from the possibility of a few sunny periods later this afternoon, today is going to be a pretty miserable day. The maximum temperature is forecast to be 5° C, and that is going to feel chilly, but not as chilly as this morning. I noted one of my outside thermometers registering just 1.5° C at about 7am. It should stay dry today, and that is just as well as the overnight temperature will be low enough to convert any rain to snow. Tomorrow will probably just be a slightly sunnier version of today.
  I didn't feel wildly dynamic yesterday, and the only things of note that I did was to walk through the park to meet Angela, and to actually meet Angela. Walking through the park gave me a chance to test my new camera, and meeting Angela gave me a chance to demonstrate one of it's little tricks.
abandoned trolly on
                        the playing field
 It wasn't wildlife but this abandoned trolley, probably a Wickes trolley that was the subject of my first outdoor picture. It was probably pushed into the middle of the playing field by kids. I suppose the little bastards deserve some sort of applause because it is a very long walk to Wickes from this spot !
high speed coot
 Until yesterday I have always seen coots slowly paddling around, but this one seemed to be in a race. It was actually a tiny bit fast for the slow shutter speed that my camera had selected because of the relatively dim grey light.
a rather cold and damp
                        day for sitting on the grass
 I would have thought that it was a bit of nasty day, all cold and damp, for sitting on the grass, but this woman, sausage roll in one hand, and mobile phone in the other, evidently thought otherwise.

 I have yet to make up my mind as to how good my new camera is. It's colour balance, and brightness/contrast seems OK, and the auto focus seems to give a nice sharp picture. Perhaps my main gripe is that like probably all cameras with an auto settings it slows the shutter down, rather than opening the aperture in low light conditions. A smaller shutter setting does give a better depth of field, but that slow shutter speed makes spoiling a picture with motion blur too easy. Perhaps I should use the "sport" setting when taking snaps of speeding coots !

 It was nice to see Angela again after a break of a whole week, and our meeting was almost warm. I did wonder if some of the warmth between us would return after the funeral of her ex-husband, and it seems I was right. Yesterday was a start, and I hope it will get better. Maybe it is optimistic to hope it will get hot, but we can all dream ! One good thing yesterday was that I don't think Angela mentioned lover boy more than once, and even when she did it was only a passing reference. I was gritting my teeth, waiting for Angela to say how supportive he had been, but it didn't happen. I'm not even 100% sure he was there at the funeral, although he was supposed to be going.
selfie taken with new
                        Canon Ixus camera by remote control
 There were two times when there was some warmth to our strange relationship. Taking this picture was one of them. I was showing off the secret trick of my new camera. It has built in WiFi, and can connect to, and be controlled by my mobile phone. In this instance the camera did an excellent job of taking this picture of the two of us under very poor lighting without using flash.

 The second time there was some warmth, albeit a strange kind of warmth, was when we said goodbye after I had walked Angela back to work. To be honest it was a bit complicated, and maybe it was coldness too. Earlier on I had told Angela how good I had been sleeping lately, and said it was because I hadn't been having a long afternoon snooze after not drinking with her at lunchtime for the previous week. When I said I would see her tomorrow (today) she queried if she should tempt me out to the pub. That sounded rather disappointing, but when I asked if she wanted to drink with me she said yes, and we agreed we would meet the next day as usual. We parted with a kiss on the cheek.

 Last night I got a message from Angela to say that she had decided to go shopping in Lewisham this lunch time, and so we couldn't meet in the pub. I am not sure what to make of that. I want to feel very pessimistic about it, but self delusion means I have to remember that at least she remembered to give me fair warning, and she did say we would/could meet tomorrow lunchtime.

 I only had two pints of Guinness yesterday lunchtime, but it was still enough to make me very peckish, and a fair bit sleepy. I partly satisfied the craving for food with a couple of instant noodle pots, and then I had a snooze. I think it lasted for well over an hour. When I woke up I expected to feel all refreshed and  bounding with energy. I have no idea why I thought that because it has never happened in the past, and it didn't happen yesterday !

 By 6pm I wanted some more substantial food, and that was a bad mistake because I had wanted to go out last night. Eating a hot cottage pie for one reduced my chances of going out in two ways. First of all I don't like walking after a meal, but secondly it made me feel hot. While feeling hot I turned the heater off while I lay on my bed reading. The next thing was that I was waking up after falling asleep, and feeling shivery. At that point I was 90% certain I was never going to get out my front door. The final nail in the coffin was when I checked the weather forecast and it said there was a medium chance of a rain shower while I was travelling.

 Instead of going out I watched an hour or so of TV before retiring to my bed with the book I am reading. All the sleep I had earlier meant that it took some time before I felt ready for sleep, but I reckon I was asleep around 11pm. I woke up a bit earlier than expected, but I think I slept quite well again last night.

 This morning, now I've had a couple of hours to settle down, I seem to feel fairly OK. It is a shame I have nothing to do....well maybe that is not quite true. Before I can shower and get dressed I have to deal with some laundry I left soaking in the giant bucket in the bath. When I have finished that I can shower and get dressed, and then....... I have no idea what I might do today until it is time to go out for my Thursday evening drink with the Thursday drinking club. Maybe I'll take a turn around the park if the sun comes out, or maybe I won't !
Wednesday 21st February 2018
 08:09 GMT
  Yesterday was predicted to be a very dull day, and yet there was one sunny period in the middle of the afternoon, and it lasted at least 10 minutes ! The rest of the day was indeed very dull, and there was some rain too. The maximum temperature was the 9° C that was forecast.
It's getting colder again, but the morning
                    sunshine is nice
 As I write this there is some nice sunshine, although it is slightly hazy. Later on the cloud will thicken, and the sun will dim until we end up with another horrible grey day - at least that is what the forecast tells us. It also tells us that the days are getting colder again. It seems 7° C is the best we can hope for today, and next week looks like it might be bloody chilly ! Tomorrow could be two degrees cooler, but basically very similar to today.
 mum and dad paddling in the sea at
  Yesterday was one of those days when nothing much seemed to happen. I did a bit of this and a bit of that, and somehow the day passed smoothly enough. One thing I did was to go to Tesco in the morning. My choice of what to buy there was heavily inspired by the smell coming out of the primary school kitchens as I walked by them. When I was a kid I swear that school dinners always smelled like boiled cabbage, but the smell from the primary school yesterday was sort of beefy - almost like beef roasting, or steak cooking, but maybe even more like a delicious beef stew. I ended up buying three beef based ready meals in Tesco. It did not help me aspire to eating less ! I did buy a few less contentious things...and a bottle of whisky.

 Another significant thing that I did yesterday was to scan copies of more family photos that my sister sent me. The first one she sent was by email, but the later selection was sent as printed copies by post, and so I had to scan them to get them into electronic form.

 It was my intention to try and restore them to as sharp as possible, but to my dismay I found the tools that work on the grain from digital cameras seemed to make the grain from these "chemical" photos look worse (although it could be artefacts from the copying and re-scanning process that were being brought to the fore. I decided that apart from increasing the contrast on a few of the pictures, it was probably best to leave them alone until I have done some experimentation using other options.

 One of the reasons for requesting these photos from my sister was that I could hardly remember what my mum and dad actually looked like. I did have one picture of my dad, and not a single one of my mum. Out of all the pictures my sister sent it is the one above left that I like best. As soon as I saw it I recognised mum and dad in a way that seemed familiar to me. They are paddling in the sea at Leysdown (Isle Of Sheppy) in 1966, and looking very happy. We had two consecutive holidays at Leysdown, possibly in 1966 and 1967, and they were the last proper holidays I have ever had.
me as an ugly baby
 As a rule I avoid pictures of babies because I find them really horrible to look at, and the baby in this picture is no exception. It is really ugly and it is me ! In the first years of my life I would be in my pram, parked outside my dad's shop if the weather was reasonable, while my mum served behind the counter.  That's mum tending to me, and probably forcing me around to stare at the camera. I don't know who the photographer was. Maybe it was my dad, but I guess I'll never know. Whether sitting/laying outside that shop had any significant effect on me is unknown. What did have an effect was being inside that shop in later years. I became fascinated with what would later be called "electronics". My dad repaired radio and TVs, and the back of the shop held all sorts of wonders.
wedding photo
 I have no idea where or when this photo was taken. It is obviously when mum and dad got married. Dad, and several others are in military uniform, and so it was in the war years. Possibly 1940 ? Looking at this picture I do wonder what my dad saw in my mum. She doesn't seem terribly attractive to me, but then again dad saw her in 3D and colour, and more importantly he would have known her personality.

 It was lucky I had a few little jobs to do to get me through the day because it was one of those days where I wanted to do more, but couldn't be bothered. In particular I wanted to go out to test my new pocket sized camera. It is a Canon Ixus 285 HS, and it seems to be very impressive. It has a handy x12 zoom, and a resolution of 20 megapixels. It also has a few tricks up it's sleeve. The main one being it can link to an Android phone, and an app on the phone can do all sorts of things. Perhaps the most useful thing, even if very rarely used, is the ability to use the phone as a remote display and controller. I can see what the camera is seeing on my phone, and then trigger the shutter from my phone. I often do "crane" shots at gigs where I hold the camera up as high as possible, and aim it by luck to see across the heads of the crowd. Now I will be able to do it with more precision using this new camera. I even think the camera may be able to cope relatively well with low light levels.

 I slept well again last night, although I did wake up at 3 or 4am with the pillow soaked in sweat. That was a bit strange considering I had the heater off, and the room was getting quite cool by then. It is either some terrible medical condition, or it could be the hot chilli sauce I had put on my dinner during the evening !

 This morning I seem to feel as if most of my body is working well enough to get me through the day. I have only two interlinked things on my mind for today. I will finally be going out for a walk through the park where I can hopefully find a few things to snap with my new camera, and the walk will end up in the pub where I will meet the love of my life - Guinness ! I hope I will also be meeting Angela. I am feeling pessimistic about Angela. Now that the funeral of her ex-husband, and father to her children, is over she may be less distracted, but there is also the danger that she will go on about how supportive lover boy was in the run up to the funeral, and the funeral itself. If that is the case then it feel like I will lose all hope, and start to see less and less of Angela. Time will tell.
Tuesday 20th February 2018
 08:54 GMT
  It was certainly very dull yesterday, but fortunately it didn't rain much. The forecast included a little raindrop symbol for every hour, but then admitted there was only about a 25% chance of rain for almost all the day. After 8am, when it did rain, there was just one or two very light showers that I was aware of. While the damp and grey skies were nasty, the temperature was quite benign. The forecast said it would peak at 10° C after 5pm, and I think it reached that before then, and then went on to rise to a gnat's whisker short of 11° C,
a grottier version of
 It looks like today will be a grottier version of yesterday. It will be a few degrees cooler, and just as grey. Once again the chances of rain are very small, but there has been some rain this morning. It doesn't look as if it is raining right now, the time predicted to have the highest chance of rain today, but it certainly looks very damp out there. Tomorrow looks like it will continue the trend - a degree or two cooler, and very grey with a chance of rain.
  I had a fairly productive day yesterday. I felt a bit stiff and creaky, but that didn't stop me doing two things that required a bit of muscle. Maybe " a bit of muscle" is a bit of an exaggeration for one thing, but definitely not the other. The less demanding thing was a walk to and round the SAM 99p shop where, amongst other stuff, I bought a three pack of instant noodle pots. I'm nit sure why I bought them, but the one I tried was nice as noodle pots go.

 The much more demanding thing was to wash a double duvet cover - by hand ! It was certainly hard work, and got me sweating as I pummelled it in, first of hot soapy water, then several changes of clean water to rinse it, and finally fabric conditioner. Between each stage it had to be wrung out, and that was really taxing ! Finally, with my arms about to fall off, I wrung it out as best I could for the final time, and hung it up to dry.

 The rest of what I did yesterday demanded very little physical stamina, but quite a lot of mental effort. It was to prepare my collection of photos of now obsolete class 319 "Thameslink" trains for upload to Flickr. It seemed to take many hours to do little editing tasks to most of the pictures. Some needed straightening up, and others needed a bit of cropping. Some needed a few tweaks to the brightness and/or contrast, and maybe a few needed all those things. In the end I think I managed to get most of the pictures looking fairly smart - even the pictures taken with my first ever digital camera in 2003. They have been uploaded to Flickr, and you can see them here :-
class 319 train in Blackfriars station
Here's a small version of one of the pictures uploaded in full resolution to Flickr
This train is 319008, and it carries a name badge - Cheriton. It was one of two class 319 trains that were specially modified to carry the first passengers through the channel tunnel when it was handed over from the contractors to the railway companies.
class 319 train
                            seen at Catford station
 This train, 319421, is seen on a damp and murky Catford station.

 With all my jobs done I relaxed by watching a bit of TV before retiring to bed to read. By 10pm it seemed like it was time to turn the light out, and get to sleep. I fell asleep with no trouble, and I seemed to sleep well, only waking once as far as I can recall, until about 6am. I managed another hour of intermittent sleep after that, and git up feeling terrible ! Some time has passed since then, and I now feel tolerably OK. Very soon now I will test a few bits of my body when I go to the corner shop to pick up a parcel.

 That parcel is my latest camera. It is a pocket sized camera with built in WiFi and such. It is going to need testing, and I reckon that means going out somewhere with it. Maybe I'll go out and play on the trains for a bit - a dryer, and warmer option than walking in a soggy park. Other than that I have no idea what I will do today. Tomorrow I should be able to look forward to a lunchtime meeting with Angela. At least I think I look forward to it, but I have fears it won't be a good meeting.
Monday 19th February 2018
 07:48 GMT
  The weather forecast seems to be going through a phase of underestimating the amount of sunshine there will be. I remember yesterday as being far more sunny than the forecast seemed to suggest. Despite that, I think that the outside temperature didn't make the 10° C that was forecast. I think it got stuck closer to 7° C. However, that sunshine pouring through the front windows warmed my front facing rooms up nicely. No such luck today !
dull wet and grey
 It may not be a chilly day today, but it is forecast to be very grey and wet. Maybe not that wet though. From midday the chances of rain would seem to fall to just 25%, and so there would seem to be a better chance that it will not rain. It is certainly raining now, and it is certainly dull and grey. I would like to convince myself that it will be a lighter grey when the sun is higher in the sky, but I think that is just blind optimism. The saddest thing is that tomorrow looks like it is going to be very similar to today !
 I faced a dilemma yesterday. I felt I ought to get out into the sunshine, but I didn't. It was partly a failure of nerve, and partly because there was stuff I wanted to do at home, Maybe there was also the call of the peri-peri chicken - ordered as part of my takeaway the previous night to specifically eat yesterday. By the end of the day I think I could say it had been a fairly productive day.

 It all started when I decided to wash the rest of the bed linen of the spare bed. Two sheets and a single fitted sheet didn't seem to come to much, and so I made up a more substantial load by throwing in a couple of t-shirts and some pants. I seemed to feel good enough to hand wash that lot in one sitting (I have recently taken to doing laundry in two or more discrete stages with long pauses between them). By the time I had finished my chest was covered in a light sheen of sweat.

 After hanging up that washing to dry I looked around for a something else to do, and my eyes settled on a sink full of washing up. It actually looked a lot more than it actually was - half of the sink full was just one bowl ! Despite more work using hot water, it was lighter work, and I was able to partly cool down while I did it. The next job raised a tiny bit more sweat, but more significantly it wore me out, and gave me a little back ache. That job was to sweep the path outside the kitchen door. I also cleared some mud that was stopping surface water escaping down the drain, and I even did a minute bit of weeding while I was out there !

 I think I can still feel the effects of that hard work this morning. I definitely felt them yesterday morning - I finished doing this hard work by about midday. Before resting I could not resist eating the first half of the peri-peri chicken. I scooped out half of the dismembered whole chicken and put it on a plate before zapping it in the microwave. It was nice, maybe even slightly very nice, but I've had better peri-peri chicken.

 I came to the conclusion that instead of being grilled it had been deep fried first. It also seemed the peri-peri sauce had not been cooked on, but poured over after cooking. Heating it in the microwave effectively cooked the sauce too, but that sauce was quite odd. I had asked for the chicken to be spicy hot, and yet it seemed to be quite mild as I ate it. It was a little later on that I suddenly broke out in a hot sweat. It happened the first time I ate the chicken for lunch, and then much later when I had the rest of it for dinner.

 I did not eat that healthily yesterday, although the amount I ate was fairly small. The way the peri-peri sauce on the chicken almost blackened when microwaved suggested it might have had a lot of sugar in it...maybe, and the chicken itself seemed more greasy than I would have expected if it had been just grilled. Maybe all that was minor compared to the cheese and biscuits I amused myself with !

 During the afternoon, once I had cooled down, and the chicken had settled down, I made a tiny start on what will be a very long term project - clearing out my workshop. My workshop is a very small rectangular box room. It was laughably described as a possible third bedroom when I originally bought this house. I guess there is room in there was a reduced width single bed, and maybe a small bedside locker, but no more than that !

 I haven't done any serious work in there since the end of the last century (1999 !), and since then it has filled up with clutter. It was already cluttered in the extreme the last times I was using it, but it got even worse to the point where the floor could not be seen. After my work yesterday I tiny, weeny, little bit of lino is now visible. It meant being completely ruthless about what I was throwing away. It may sound like I cleared loads of stuff, but in reality it all fitted into a extra strength rubble bin bag. These are only half the size of the average bin bag. I reckon I could possible secrete two of them in the bottom of the wheelie bin at a time, but with the wheelie bin only being emptied once a fortnight it is going to be a very long time before that room is clear.

 I wasn't counting, but I doubt I spent much more than 20 minutes bagging up stuff in my workshop, and that seemed more than enough. After that I resorted to eating the rest of the peri-peri chicken, reading and boozing. When I eventually went to bed I fell asleep quite quickly. I would like to think that was at 10pm, but for some reason I suspect it may have been closer to midnight.

 I seemed to sleep fairly well, but I had loads of dreams. One dream, or series of dreamlets was most emphatically in full living colour (some have said that dreams are often in black and white for some reason). Before going to bed I read two things that had a similar underlying theme. One was fact, and it was about examining the paints used for Egyptian funerary masks. Much use was made of filters to examine the distribution of different pigments. The other thing I read was fiction (but based on real techniques). It was about using false colour images to enhance pictures taken of the surface of one of Saturn's moons, Titan, to locate a lost lander. My dream(s) strongly featured very bright false colour images, but I can't remember what they were off now. I definitely remember how brightly coloured they were !

 My last dreams before I woke up featured something that pops up in my dreams quite frequently. In these dreams I am back in a place that while not always identical to the real thing, was basically the British Telecommunications training college near Old Street. In this dream it was the end of another training course, and I had difficulty packing all the training material I had accumulated into my rucksack, and I was eager to start going home, but for various reasons I couldn't get away as early as I wanted. When I did start to get away I found it was pouring with rain outside. The rain seemed to have stopped as I walked to a bus stop. I don't know why I thought I would get a bus instead of the tube, and doubly so considering I had no idea what bus to get.

 Those dreams are all behind me now, and I can try and evaluate how I feel - and it is not good. I definitely have a few aches and pains I can attribute to some of the physical stuff I did yesterday. In particular I find my right shoulder has some interesting aches when moved in certain ways. My back is slightly stiff and my chest feels tender. It all suggests I shouldn't attempt any more physical stuff today, and yet there is more that I could do, and laying on my bed would almost certainly make my back feel worse.

 What I ought to do is go for a short walk or two. It is possible that I will do so. If Amazon deliveries to the corner "Pass My Parcel" shop run true to form, I may be receiving my newest camera today - a day earlier than estimated. Once I have worked out how to link it to my phone it deserves a test run. With only a 25% chance of rain this afternoon I might go for a walk around the park. I might even attempt to wash a double duvet cover today. Now that will be very hard work, and will almost certainly hurt tomorrow, but they do say there is no gain without pain. Sounds a bit masochistic to me, but maybe there is sense in it !
Sunday 18th February 2018
 08:49 GMT
  Like the previous day, it was nice and sunny yesterday. There was actually more continuous sunshine than the forecast seemed to suggest there would be. All that sunshine warmed my front room, and bedroom up a treat, and the very light breeze meant that it felt warmer than it actually was outside. It felt close to the forecast 10° C, and yet my thermometers said it didn't get much higher than just 6° C. During the night the temperature fell low enough for a frost.
                    sunshine than yesterday, but the same temperatures
 The forecast says it should have been 4° C at 8am. My thermometers said it was closer to 1° C, and the frost I saw outside suggests my reading was closer to correct. The other anomaly is that the current "sunny spell" has lasted for well over an hour now. That is rather generous for a sunny spell, although Karma bites again - the sun has just dimmed as I write these words ! The general temperature profile is forecast to be the same as the forecast for yesterday with the one exception that it won't get so cool tonight. The temperature will stay up because of thick clouds that will, or may, give rise to (slightly warm) rain tomorrow.
 I still felt rather creaky after my long walk last Thursday, but I was sort of determined to try out my legs, instead of lazing around like I did on Friday. I did have some negative thoughts as I put my coat on, but I needn't have worried. I may not have been able to walk another 5 miles (or maybe I could have), but a walk to the shops seemed mostly effortless. Even my battered feet felt perfectly comfortable in a pair of "new style" slip on shoes - shoes that never seemed as comfortable as the original style despite being very similar.

 One thing that was of concern was my chest. It seemed to have settled down, and mostly it was OK, but there was one instant when I stepped down from a kerb, one foot landed a little bit hard, and I felt a jolt of pain under my left breast. There was another occasion when I slightly twisted around to look at something on a low shelf, and that too generated a brief pain. The good thing was that the walk by itself did not cause any discomfort.

 On the whole, I felt pretty good walking in the sunshine, and my walk ended up a lot longer than I originally intended. I was only heading for Poundland, but I diverted to walk to the main road, and then around to the Age-UK charity shop. I had decided that I would buy the three "heavy metal" CDs I saw in there 6 days earlier. When I got there I couldn't believe it - they had been sold! My extra walk was not wasted though because they did have something I had seen earlier, and thought I might buy.
Siemens ADSL modem and WiFi access point
 It was an Orange badged Siemens ADSL modem with WiFi access point in it. I wasn't 100% sure it could be used as just a WiFi access point, and some of that doubt was based upon the idea that Orange would possibly customise it to make it less versatile, but I was wrong. It came with the official installation guide in the box (and with original power supply block and a spare ethernet lead), but the installation guide made the assumption that it was to be the heart of a brand new installation. I had to do some research about it's configuration before I could integrate it into my local area network. Nobody knows why I need three WiFi access points in my house, least of all me, but it was there. It cost just £7.95,  it was there, and it works very nicely !

 After the charity shop I walked to Poundland where I bought some cleaning stuff, and a few odds and sods. Among those odds and sods was a bottle of "sun kissed raspberry" flavour hair conditioner. Unfortunately they had no matching shampoo. It is sometimes the case that the other Poundland, the one on the high street, sometimes has the shampoo, but not the conditioner (or vice versa), and so the next stop on my walk was to to the other Poundland shop.

 My walk was getting longer and longer, and I still felt good. Sadly the other Poundland shop did not have the matching shampoo this time, and I wasted no more time in there. At that point I could have cut through the side roads to go straight home, and I almost did, but I was feeling good, and I came over all curious. I wondered what they had in the pawnbrokers/shady loan shop, and secondhand good emporium (!). I think I hoped they might have had a cheap VHS video recorder in there, and I was prepared to spend up to £30 to get one.

 Sadly, they only had a combined VHS recorder and DVD player, and they wanted £50 for it. It is possible I might still buy it if I can't fix my VHS player. I hope it will just be a case of untangling a mangled tape, but it could be more serious. What they did have in the shop was some cameras. They have a Canon 7D in, but I feel £500 is too much for the mk1 version. They did have a Canon EOS 1100D and a Nikon D3100. Both were fairly cheap, and would be good for anyone wanting to get into proper DSLR photography, but both were lower spec than the cameras I already have.

 One other camera in there did tempt me. It was a (slightly big) pocket sized camera with built in WiFi. I couldn't recall the model number, but some brief research suggests it could link with a mobile phone to use the phones location information to geotag the photos, and also to allow remote operation from the phone. I was very tempted except for one thing - it was a pink camera !!! I did seek out something similar from Amazon, and found one that was very similar. It was cheaper too ! So I ordered it.

 I have no idea how long my extended walk was, but I doubt it was much less than three quarters of a mile. When I got home I had a little snack, and then I tackled setting up the Siemens WiFi router/ADSL modem. The first difficulty was it's default IP address clashed with my firewall box. After taking it off my network, and plugging it directly into a laptop, I was able to configure it and get it working. I have to say I am currently pretty pleased with how well it works. It seems to have a stronger WiFi signal than my other two WiFi access points, and I have some insane confidence that it will be a bit more reliable than the cheap chines models I currently use. I might even retire them.

 There was one other thing of note that I did yesterday. I (hand) washed the single duvet cover off the bed in the spare room. I have to say that tackling that was a lot easier than the double duvets I usually have to do, but it was still hard work - hard work that just produced a bit of sweat, and no significant aches or pains. I spent the rest of the day, mostly evening by then, relaxing and eating.

 I wanted something nice, but not too contentious, to eat. The answer was to order shish kebabs with salad. I still believe in the theory that grilled, mostly fat free, meat with salad is a sort of healthy meal - but only if you throw away the pitta bread ! The restaurant I ordered from last night made the meal even healthier by not using much meat in their meals ! It was very delicious though, and the peri-peri chicken that I also ordered should make for some nice eating today.
pervy shadow of a camera lens with lens
 By 10pm I was in bed, and I think I was fast asleep. As far as I can recall, I slept solidly until 2am. When I woke up at 2am I noticed that one of my camera lenses, with a "petal" sun hood on it was casting a very rude looking shadow on the wall from the dim light cast by a scented candle I left burning all night. It was actually worse than this still picture. The candle was getting quite low, and the flame was jumping around a bit. As it did so it made the shadow look like it was making thrusting movements !

 Once I had had a pee, and taken a picture of the shadow, I fell asleep again very quickly. I then didn't wake again until 5am (approx). I even managed to get back to sleep after that, but my sleep was quite intermittent. I eventually gave up trying to sleep at about 7am. All in all, I probably had my best sleep in ages last night.

 Today I face a dilemma. I feel I ought to get out into the sunshine before it disappears. On the other hand I feel I ought to do some housework while I feel OK and the sunshine is all cheery. Tomorrow is going to be dull, and probably wet. So I won't want to go out tomorrow, but for the same reason I will also feel disinclined to do any housework. Now I have washed the duvet cover for the spare bed I ought to wash the pillowcases and under sheet. I think that may well be the first thing I do. Maybe after that I might get the hoover out. Perhaps I will spend tomorrow editing some photos - it is one thing I can usually do on a dull gloomy day.
Saturday 17th February 2018
 09:09 GMT
  It was nice and sunny yesterday, although by the afternoon is was more long sunny intervals than non stop sunshine. It warmed the front, south facing side of my house up nicely, but it was only about 9° C outside, and then only for about 4 hours in the afternoon.
a bit like
                    yesterday...sort of
 It was a chilly, but nice bright start to today. From now on, if the forecast matches reality, the sunshine will come more in sunny intervals than non stop sunshine. Perhaps the good news is that the temperature should hit 10° C this afternoon. Tomorrow is forecast to have exactly the same temperature profile, but no sunshine is forecast. It is going to be a very grey day. Monday may also have a similar temperature profile but it will not only be grey, but it will be wet too !

 One little bit of productivity yesterday was to make a simple web page containing a handful of pictures of my "adventures" in Bournemouth the day before yesterday. It is done in the form of very big thumbnails. Click on any picture and a huge, high resolution picture will open in a new tab or window - and they are very big ! Expect a slightly long download time if you try one.

  On the whole, I felt pretty bad yesterday. All sorts of bits ached. The aches from my chest area seemed consistent with the aches I have had in varying strengths for the last 4 years, but they did seem worryingly persistent. The most strange ache was that in my calf muscles. It was strange in that it only really ached as I walked down stairs, and during the morning it could be particularly painful. The rest of my legs didn't really hurt, but they were a bit stiff after my long walk the day before.

 In view of how I felt, I tried to relax as much as possible yesterday, but not totally. I think it was fairly late in the morning when I decided to see what doing some hand laundry would do for my chest aches. In the past all that kneading and slooshing, and other swirly stuff in hot soapy water, followed by the same in several changes of clean water, followed by the rigours of wringing out stuff, all by hand, has actually made my chest aches better. In my imagination all that effort pulls my misaligned ribs, soft tissue, tendons and other bodily tissues, back into their rightful places. I'm not sure if it worked this time or not. There was no quick improvement, but at least it didn't kill me. Perhaps it was just slow acting. Later in the afternoon my chest did begin to feel OK.

 It was my intention to eat almost sparingly yesterday. I started off fine. By 5pm I had only eaten quite light breakfast, but at 5pm I became hungry. That in itself should have been defeatable, but I made the tragic mistake of checking use by dates, and realised I had two Aldi, allegedly semi healthy eating, ready meals that needed using, and using quick ! So they got consumed, and a little later I consumed something worse.

 It all started when I considered what I could do with a baking potato that was starting to get a bit manky, and a large leek that was definitely on it's way out. I cut the nasty bits off both and sliced them up. I then zapped them in the microwave until soft. I then mashed them with some butter and black pepper. I put that mixture in an oven proof dish, and roasted it until the mash was brown on top. The next bit was the worst bit - I added some chunks of cheese and put it back into the oven until the cheese was all bubbly.

 I don't know why I completed that bit of cooking last night. I guess it was curiosity, and of course it was curiosity that made me eat it after I had already quite sufficient, and perhaps more than I would have if I was really serious about getting fit. I can report that such a simple dish was rather delicious, and it was quite filling too.

 There is something vaguely disturbing about the way I felt desperately tired for some of yesterday, but couldn't sleep because I felt too uncomfortable, and yet when most of the discomfort faded away I found I didn't feel tired ! It may have been earlier, but let's say by 10pm I was feeling tired again, and I was feeling mostly comfortable. In those circumstance I fell asleep fairly easily. After about 4 hours of sleep I woke up again. I didn't feel any desperate need for a pee, and so I don't think that was the reason I woke, but I went for a pee anyway.

 It didn't take that long to get back to sleep again, but I probably only slept for a couple of hours before I woke up again. I think it was about then, as I tried to get back to sleep again, that I jarred my chest. When I woke up again, about an hour later, my chest was feeling sore. I did have some doubts about the origins of these aches and pains, but I think I confirmed it as the usual source a bit later after washing my hands. I am not sure why it was specifically then, as I dried my hands, but in doing so I could feel internal movement, accompanied by the usual popping and clicking sounds as I did it.

 This brings us on to today. As I write this, despite it now getting late, I feel like laying on my bed and having a snooze. What I ought to do is to do what I didn't do yesterday - take a shower and wash my hair ! Later on I feel I ought to force myself to go for a walk in the sunshine - even if it a short walk. I don't want to do it because I still feel the after effects of Thursday's long walk on my out of condition body, but I know I have to overcome such fears !
Friday 16th February 2018
 07:35 GMT
  I can't say too much about the weather in Catford yesterday because I wasn't here to see most of it. I assume it was similar to the forecast - frequently sunny, and edging up towards warm at 10° C. The only deviation I suspect, but can't prove is that some puddles seen at Waterloo East station just before 6pm strongly hinted that there had been a shower earlier. Meanwhile, in Bournemouth it was frequently sunny and probably around 9° C, but it was definitely breezy by the sea, and that made it feel a bit cooler. It wasn't bad though - until just as I reached the station for the 3.22pm train home when there was some light rain with a few snowflakes in it !
another mostly sunny day
This morning has started off rather cool, but the promise of some strong sunshine should warm the day up to 9° C by midday. The afternoon may only feature sunny intervals, and before sunset the temperature will start to fall again to give another cold night. The "headline" description of tomorrow's weather makes it look as if it will be much the same as today, but a closer inspection reveals there will only be a limited amount of sunny intervals, and the afternoon will be rather dull. Even the temperature will be a degree or two less.
5 and a bit mile walk
selfie at Bournemouth
 I did it ! I made the very long journey to Bournemouth, and I think I enjoyed being there (but not the journey). I started out from Catford Bridge travelling on my 60+ Oystercard, and so had to get a train after 9.30am. I actually caught the 09:35am. At Waterloo East station I reprised my working days by charging across the link to Waterloo mainline station....although maybe it was a bit less of a "charge" and more of the best I could manage considering how out of condition I felt.

 At the mainline ticket office I bought my return tickets to Bournemouth. The maximum I was expecting to pay was £36.50. That was the price quoted on the National Rail website, and it didn't include and discount by making a tiny bit of the journey on my 60+ Oystercard. To my surprise the price dropped to just £30.30 when that discount was added. That was a lot more discount than I expected !
discounted ticket to
 It's a horribly long journey to Bournemouth - almost 2 hours - and it was worse coming back ! I caught the 10:35 train from Waterloo, and we arrived at Bournemouth slightly late at 12:27. I don't think there is anything good I can say about the journey except that it gave me time to complete both the quick, and the cryptic crosswords in The Metro. I'm not sure if I have even done that before, and I did it within the first hour of that long journey !
first view of the sea
                        at Bournemouth
 Getting to the sea from the station was not straightforward because there were roadworks all over the place that were blocking many pavements. I had take to side roads for some of the time, and that made my walk a bit longer. It was about a mile and a half walk until I got my first sight of the sea (pictured above). I had become a bit impatient and took a temporary shortcut, but it probably lengthened my entire walk. I was originally aiming to arrive at the sea by Boscombe Pier, but I went down what is known as Tofts Zig Zag - a zig zagging path down the cliff face. Going down was fine, but I would not liked to have to walk up it !

 One of the first things that became apparent was that the sea was quite lively in the strong breeze. Despite that breeze it didn't feel too bad walking in the sunshine towards Boscombe Pier. It is quite a lightweight pier compared to many, and there was nothing on it, but there were quite a few surfers in/on/under the waves as they break onto the beach either side of the pier. One side was getting some quite big waves.

 It is about a mile and a half between Boscombe Pier and Bournemouth Pier, and the latter was my next destination. So I turned around and started walking back towards where I had come down from the top of the cliff, and then onwards to Bournemouth Pier. One thing that was rather nice is that all the beaches were covered in sand rather than the shingle that is so common on Kent and Sussex beaches.

 After I had walked about 3 miles I began to feel the strain on my legs. It wasn't too bad - provided I didn't stop. When I did stop, for instance to take some photos, getting started again was not easy. By the time I reached Bournemouth pier I was definitely feeling like it was hard work. That end of the beach, and the per was far more commercial that the Boscombe end, and it was verging on being "tacky".

 More impressive was the surf around the pier. Maybe the breeze had picked up, or it was just the shape of the sea bottom, but some of the waves were quite impressive. Less impressive, with a few exceptions, were the black rubber clad surfers. A few did manage to stand up on their boards, but only for a second or two before falling into the water. I might have taken a few good pictures of this procedure !

 The only trouble with being at Bournemouth Pier is Bath Road. It is the road that leads back to the station, and the trouble with it is, is that it is a semi-steep hill ! Going up that on my tired legs was a bit of an ordeal, and half way up I had to stop and take a breather. I covered up that by packing my camera in it's camera bag as I stood still. Eventually I arrived back at the station by a route that was not obvious of the map on my phone, and which shaved a few minutes off my walk.

 Even back at the pier there seemed to be more clouds in the sky, and during my walk to the station it had got very dull. As I approached the station it began to rain, and mixed in with that rain were a few wet snowflakes ! With absolutely no forward planning I was lucky to get to the station with just 10 minutes to spare before the 15:22 train would slowly whisk me back to London. It was one of the slightly slower trains that stop at Clapham Junction, and to make matters even worse it did an additional stop at Woking.

 We arrived back at Waterloo nearly 10 minutes late at 17:32 after a 2 hour and 10 minute excruciating journey. I felt terribly uncomfortable on the train, and it was made worse as the train became increasingly packed after Southamptom. I wondered if I would even be able to stand up when the train arrived at Waterloo, but I could, and I even made very good time going over the link to Waterloo East.

 If the train into Waterloo hadn't arrived late it is possible I might have just been able to get an earlier train at Waterloo East, but as it was I only had a 10 minute wait until the 17:46 train back to Catford - which because it was so late, was done in the dark. I managed to find just a little bit of energy from somewhere when I walked from the station to home a bit faster than I thought I would be able to manage - although my feet and some assorted leg muscles were still quite sore.

 The first thing on the agenda when I got home was breakfast. As usual, I went out without eating, and I also hardly drank while I was out. I had no more than a couple of mouthfuls from a bottle of water I carried with me. I was rather hungry, and a little thirsty when I got home. Breakfast/dinner was the potato, leak and peas stew I had made, but didn't eat the day before. It went down rather well, but didn't fully satisfy. Maybe an hour later I had a ready made pasta, feta cheese, and sundried tomato "salad". Not long after that I went to bed.

 I managed to get to sleep quite quickly, but it didn't last. I ended up having a rather nasty night. I think, or at least I hope, that in my exhausted state I had turned over in bed in an awkward way, and pranged my chest. After a few hours sleep I woke up with my chest feeling sore on top of my sore feet and legs, plus sore shoulders from carrying my heavy camera bag plus a should bag. Actually it seemed like everything ached !

 It was sometime after 2am, possibly as late as 3am that I took some painkillers, and while they got to work I made a start looking through some of the pictures I took of my Bournemouth walk. Some were good, possibly very good, but other were spoiled by some foolish experimentation with some effects filters. The violet filter did make the sky look extra blue, but only sometimes. At other times it just gave a nasty colour cast. The same was true of a green filter. I hoped it would make the sea look more dynamic, but I don't think a single picture was improved by it, and virtually all were ruined by it (some of them recoverable with some tricky post production editing).

 I went back to be at 5am, and I assume I must have got some sleep because just over 2 hours passed with it seeming that long. I now feel pretty bad. Quite a few bits ache, and some aches are difficult to account for. Some combinations of aches are a bit similar to angina, and some combinations are a bit like a milder version of the aches I had when I had my second heart attack back in 2013. When every ache is considered it seems feasible to write the whole lot off as jsut strain from overdoing it yesterday.

 It seem the best thing I can do today is a lot of resting. Some of that will be photo editing, and hopefully some of it will include a few snoozes. Unfortunately, or perhaps under the circumstancea, fortunately, I will not be seeing Angela today. She let me know that she is taking the day off work today. I don't normally see her at the weekend*, and on Monday she is at a funeral in Essex, and will by staying with her daughter in Romford overnight. I won't be seeing her again until next Wednesday.

* I could potentially see her on Sunday night when her daughter Miranda fronts her other band - Back To The Fray - but lover boy doesn't drum for them, and I definitely won't be going if he is running loose in the pub !
Thursday 15th February 2018
 07:21 GMT
  It was cold and wet yesterday, but I suppose I shouldn't complain too much because there was a little bit of sunshine in the morning, but I think I will complain anyway ! It's worth complaining just on the strength of the light sleety rain that fell on me as I walked to and from the pub at lunchtime - a time when the forecast said there would be dry spell ! Later on there was lots more drizzly rain. I'm sure the forecast for the temperature was all wrong too. At 2pm it should have been 6° C, but the pain in my hands and fingers suggested it was little more than 3° C - that would also explain why there was sleet mixed in with the rain. Another degree lower and it would have been snow !
it should be
                    bright and sunny, and almost warm
 I don't think this morning has started off as mild as the forecast offers. My thermometers say it is closer to 7° C than the 9°C that was forecast. A lot of the sky looks clear right now, but there are some heavy looking clouds up there. Maybe the forecast of sun and showers within the next hour is possible. The rest of the day is hopefully going to be bright and sunny, and the temperature should climb to 10° C - almost starting to feel warm. Tomorrow could be a slightly cooler version of today.

 Today we have reached the point where the sun rises at 07:15 and sets at 17:15 - a full 10 hours of daylight. It is a shame that it is not 7.15am to 7.15pm - a full half day of daylight, but we are getting there slowly.

 Yesterday was what one of my friends refers to as Yucky Day ! Many other people know it as St Valentines day - the day when loved up people become unbearably smug. Perhaps I was sort of lucky that Angela was at least sympathetic to the idea that I was severely pissed off about it. She admitted that the day used to annoy her too. She also admitted, while doing her best not to rub it in, that this year she was actually looking forward to her Valentines dinner with lover boy in some Italian restaurant in Beckenham.

 I almost felt too numb to appreciate it, but when she left the pub, Angela did give me a consolation hug. There are many times when it feels that she can ignore/forget me, but final hug was proof she does care sometimes. On refection is is a shame I didn't enjoy it more. Once I had finished my Guinness I walked home with the grey sky and the rain seeming to match my mood quite well.

 For the rest of the day I didn't feel like doing much at all. I ate, did a bit of reading, and had an afternoon snooze. Then I went to bed, with a book, quite early, and by some miracle I managed to fall asleep by 10pm. One thing I didn't do was to eat too much - at least in terms of physical quantities - but most of what I ate was crap.

 It started off with a nice baked potato when I got home from the pub. I had partly pre-cooked it before I went to the pub, and so it didn't take long to fully cook it when I got in. I smothered it with baked beans and cheese, and I have to admit it was very nice. Oh, and I was also quite generous with the butter on it too. If it hadn't been swimming in butter and melted cheese it might have been halfway towards healthy !

 It was later in the afternoon or very early evening that I ate the very worst crap possible - Pringles ! Not only did I eat a whole tube of the things, but I was also dipping them in humous (three small pots of three different flavours). I decided that was more than enough food for the day, and didn't touch the potato, leek and pea stew I had carefully prepared earlier. It's in a covered container and should be fine to eat as my evening meal tonight.

 On second thoughts there could be a difficulty in having that as my evening meal because I have plans for today. As I sit here not long out of bed I don't quite feel the enthusiasm about my plans for today as I did when making them yesterday. Today is supposed to be bright and sunny, and almost feeling warm (and probably will be when in direct sunshine). It is, theoretically, the perfect day to start some of my favourite exercise - walking - and get in training for some longer walks when the weather is nice and warm, and even hot !

 It is definitely something I have to do to try and keep the doctors off my back about blood pressure and stuff. One reason why my enthusiasm for today is wavering is because I am wondering if I am biting off more than I can chew. My grand plan is to go to Bournemouth today, and try and do a triangular walk that takes in two piers - one rather plain, and the other longer with more crap on it. The only thing is that each leg of the triangle is about 1.5 miles according to Google maps. That adds up to a 4.5 mile walk, and the best I have done on the last 3 or 4 (or 5 ?) months is barely half that. I hope I can manage the full walk !
Wednesday 14th February 2018
 09:40 GMT
  Yesterday was back to being horrible. It was cold and wet, and there was enough breeze to really chill anything exposed like hands and face. The morning was less cold than the afternoon, but only by one degree ! The afternoon temperature was a chilly 4° C, and by 10pm it had dropped to an even chillier 3° C, and it continued to fall.......
very slightly less cold than the day
                    before, but still wet in the afternoon
 As late as 8am this morning it was, by my reckoning, just a gnats whisker above 0° C, and not the 2° C that was forecast. The frost was evidence of the accuracy of that ! What was right was that it has been nice and sunny this morning - although the sun has just gone in as I write these words. The forecast promises that there should be sunny spells until 11am - fingers crossed ! One good thing about this new weather chart, and the only good thing, is that it makes the chances of rain immediately obvious. It is showing raindrops from 2pm onwards, but the probability of it actually raining would seem to be mostly low - again, fingers crossed. The other thing is that the temperature will slowly rise today to 8° C by midnight. This is in line for what has been forecasted for tomorrow for several days now. Tomorrow should be bright with plenty of sunshine, and it is going to be the closest to warm we have had in a fair while - 10° C !

  Only two things of particular note happened yesterday. The first was meeting Angela at lunchtime. The other was seeing the nurse to get my blood pressure checked. Neither was completely satisfactory, but both had a minor positive aspect. There were a few other things about yesterday, but they were the important things.

 My meeting with Angela carried mixed messages. Compared with many, many better meetings, Angela was again very slightly cool. On the positive side she did remember that I had the appointment with the nurse at 2.20pm, and contacted me to say she could meet me a bit earlier than usual to give us a bit longer together before I had to rush off to prepare to see the nurse. At the end she asked me to let her know how I got on at the surgery, but there was no warm hug at the end, or even a peck on the cheek.

 I did let her know how my appointment with the nurse went, but she didn't acknowledge it - which was sort of annoying. One thing I only thought of just this morning is that she is still probably quite pre-occupied with thoughts about the upcoming (next Monday) funeral of her ex-husband, and father of her children. Another funeral, less than a year after that of "her John" must be difficult to take. Maybe next week, with the funeral behind her, she will become very friendly again. Maybe there was an advance hint of that yesterday. She came across as very apologetic that she was going out for a Valentines meal with lover boy tonight, and managed to make it sound like she was not terribly enthusiastic about it. Maybe it will end up in a row tonight. Lover boy has been stable for far too long now. It is about time they had another blow up!

 I walked Angela back to work, and we parted with no hug, and no kiss. Then I rushed back home to change my shoes, and brush my teeth before going along to the surgery. I think the nurse I saw yesterday was possibly new, but she seemed very friendly and helpful. That didn't help my blood pressure. It was very high. I don't know whether to blame it on all the rushing about, the two pints of Guinness, both, or something else more dark and sinister !

 The nurse said the rules were that she had to inform a doctor about how high my blood pressure was, and she did. Fortunately the doctor must have remembered me, and told her not to panic. His instructions were that I should do what I have done on the past, and start taking home readings for a week or two, and then present them to him before the end of March. I am relying on better weather in March to tempt me out for more exercise, and less eating to improve my blood pressure, and also to improve my blood glucose level. It seems I really will have to do it to get the doctor off  my back !

 When I left the surgery I went around the corner to Aldi's to do some shopping. I did my best not to buy anything too controversial, and I almost managed it. So I included more fruit and vegetables, and no bread or biscuits. I did buy a couple of ready meals plus a pack of sandwiches, and some very fatty pork belly strips. It was a shame I didn't buy some apple sauce to go with them.

 I felt incredibly tired when I got home, and the first thing I did was to eat the pack of sandwiches. I then lay down and snoozed for quite some time - although I have no idea just how long "quite some time" really was. Maybe it was an hour, and maybe longer. I then had another rather silly snack - poppadoms dipped in cheese and onion sandwich filler. It was an incredibly unhealthy snack, but what makes it worse was that I didn't really enjoy it at the level that something so naughty deserved to be enjoyed !

 Later on in the evening I had the pork belly strips that I mentioned earlier. I gave them a severe cooking to drive a lot of the fat out, and in a few cases I went too far and those areas felt rather dry. They were very nice, but maybe it was just me, that I didn't find them exquisite this time ! The worst thing is that they left me with a bit of indigestion, and I felt obliged to have a couple of antacid tablets before I went to bed.

 Going to bed was the same story as many times recently. I thought I felt tired, but I could not get to sleep until about midnight - over and hour after I got into bed. Once I did get to sleep I slept well until I woke up earlier than I wanted to. I guess I feel OK this morning. Nothing is notably sore or aching, but I don't think I feel very dynamic. At this time I can't imagine walking through the park to meet up with Angela is going to carry much enjoyment (except actually meeting Angela).

 Meeting Angela is all I have planned for today. Maybe I might do a bit of housework, but I think that my mind is mostly going to be on tomorrow. I really hope the forecast doesn't change about tomorrow after being so positive for the last 3 or 4 days. I have already told Angela I won't see her tomorrow, but as yet I don't really know what and when I'll be doing it. There are lots of bits of London I would like to explore/visit, but I think there is a 50% chance I might end up on the coast - I might even start too early to write anything about here until after I get back....or not.
Tuesday 13th February 2018
 08:27 GMT
  The funny thing about yesterday was that it was supposed to be breezy, but the air actually seemed to be fairly still, and that meant that the sunshine felt warm. The highest predicted temperature was 7° C, and that probably matched reality, but when in direct sunshine it felt warmer than that (except for the hands - they still felt frozen !).
back to rain
 Today we return to grey skies and rain ! On top of that it is going to be a rather cool day. It might be 5° C now (I haven't actually checked to confirm this) but the temperature this afternoon is forecast to be just 4° C. It's all rather depressing really ! At least tomorrow might be a degree or two less cool, but it will probably be just as wet. We have to wait until Thursday for the possibility of some nice weather.

 Yesterday was not a good day for assorted reasons. Some I'll mention in passing, and some reasons are not specific enough to mention. Perhaps the worst thing was that nothing exciting happened....except, perhaps, for one little thing that did raise the spirits until they did what most spirits do - they evaporated away. That little thing was a message from Angela saying she was back at work, and could meet me at lunchtime.

 The walk through the park to meet Angela was both good and bad. It was good in so much as it was nice and sunny - and that sunshine felt hot on the side of me facing the sun. The bad, or perhaps just not so good, is that the park seemed to be boring. There seemed nothing new or different to catch my eye (or camera).

 Seeing Angela was nice enough, and yet it was rather disappointing. It is often the case that on a Monday there is some slight coolness between us, but yesterday it was more noticeable. There didn't seem to be that closeness between us, but it was worse than that. Maybe it was just that coolness that made me more acutely sensitive to what seemed like unusually frequent mentions of lover boy. I can only assume that they are going through an unusual good patch at the moment, and that is why Angela was keeping her distance - even if that distance was often only measure in tenths of an inch.

 I left the pub feeling sad, and also feeling that maybe I ought to put into action what I was going to do at the start of the year = wean myself off Angela. With nicer days coming up I think I may even start to put that into practice soon. This coming Thursday is currently forecast to be a nice day. If the forecast holds it will be mostly sunny and quite mild compared to recent days. The description of the day includes the word "breezy", but if it is no more than a light breeze it could even feel warm-ish.

 I am thinking along the lines of going out exploring on Thursday. I'm not sure how far I want to attempt to walk, or if it will be in town, in the countryside, or by the sea. Possibly in town might be a reasonable start to the season. In preparation for this I have been getting a camera and accessories ready. Much of the more serious outdoor photography has been done on my Nikon DSLR with GPS unit attached, but now I use my Canon 650D for gig work I have decided I ought to use my Canon 1200D for field work. I have a GPS unit for that too (for geotagging the photos), and I dug that out and gave it a charge yesterday.

 Another reason for yesterday being disappointing is that I couldn't find some effects filters I bought for when I get out into the real work. There was a collection of filters that can make the sky look more blue, or the grass look more green, and other similar stuff. I think it is unlikely I have permanently lost those filters, but I couldn't find them anywhere yesterday. I must have put them in a safe place - so safe that even I can't find it !

 Nothing else of any note happened yesterday unless you count plugging in my digital TV dongle, and watching a bit of TV on my PC. I don't think I watched an entire programme because they were all rather boring, or perhaps I just knew the plots too well to be amused by them on their umpteenth repeat. When I shut down the TV, and unplugged the USB dongle, I was going to go to bed, but that was when I started looking for those effects filters. I think it was close on midnight when I went to bed, but I did fall asleep very quickly, and I seemed to sleep quite well.

 This morning my chest is a bit sore, but everything else seems to work reasonably well. My chest hurting could prove useful a bit later if it is still hurting. The forst order of the day is to have a shower and wash my hair. The next thing of any significance is to go out to meet Angela. I hope today's meeting will be a bit warmer, but I fear not. It is what happens next that could be interesting.

 At 2.20pm I have an appointment with the nurse at the surgery. I have been ordered to go in and humiliate myself as she takes my blood pressure. It will be interesting to see what 2 or 3 pints of Guinness does to my blood pressure ! While this ritual humiliation goes on I will try and distract the nurse with tales of my sore chest. It will be easier to do this if my chest is actually sore at the time, and as time passes that seems less likely, although I should not underestimate the effect of cold and damp as I walk to and from the pub.

 Once I escape from the nurse I think I'll go and do a bit of shopping in Aldi (which is conveniently close to the surgery). Once I get my shopping home I can relax, and I will do it with great enthusiasm. The one thing I ought to resist doing is having a big lunch when I finally get home. If I can raise the energy and enthusiasm I would like to go to "Stretchy's Open Mic" in The Bricklayers Arms, in Bromley tonight. It is not terribly important to go, but when I am in the right mood it is a pleasurable experience for a couple of hours.
Monday 12th February 2018
 08:11 GMT
  It is a shame that the wind was so cold yesterday. Without the wind it may have felt almost nice in the bright sunshine. During the morning the "sunny intervals" were so long and frequent that it was as good as just "sunny". Later in the afternoon there were some longer periods when it was dull. Until sunset the temperature was between 5 and 6° C, but at sunset the temperature started to fall far lower than the forecast suggested !
Bright and breezy again
 The forecast said it would be just 0° C first thing this morning, but all my thermometers agree that it was at least minus 1° C, and before I had the chance to check them it may have even been lower. As I write this the sun is out, and the sky is blue. That sun will soon burn off the frost that has given the morning an extra sparkle, but it is only going to warm the day up to 7° C. Maybe it could go higher if the sunshine doesn't turn into just sunny spells this afternoon. Overnight the temperature is forecast to drop until the early hours when it will go up again. Tomorrow could start at 5° C, but it will not go a lot higher, and light rain or drizzle will accompany a lot of the day.
St Dunstans College
 This is Hogwarts St Dunstans College that I visited with Aleemah for the vintage fayre yesterday. As you can see, it was a lovely bright day with a beautiful blue sky. It's a shame that the wind was so biting cold ! Being able to be nosy, and see a little of the inside of the place was more important than the vintage fayre.
courtyard with pond
                        and fountain
 Peeping through one of the windows in the college I spied this little oasis of (potential) peace and quiet. I can't help but thinking it would not have lasted long in my old secondary school. Maybe it is off limits to the boys (and girls), and that is how it survives the sort of pupil that the college seems to take in now in this modern world.
A typical Victorian
                        built school corridor with modern trappings 
 There is something about schools that still feel intimidating and something I can't quite describe. Whatever it is, it is obviously something left over from my own schooldays so many years ago. I suspect it is the feeling of being under the direct control or observation of authority. Intellectually I know there has to be some authority, but that doesn't mean I have to like it. This view of a corridor, with it's shoulder height brown glazed bricks, seems to suggest gloom and hopelessness despite the modern paintings on the walls, and the fact it is nothing like the characterless walls of my old, modern built (and demolished) secondary school. If I stretch my memory back even further, it is probably like the corridors of my primary school.

 The only practical thing I did yesterday afternoon was to finish washing a few t-shirts and two pairs of lounge pants - unless you count cooking some sausages as a practical thing. The sausages were not the 98% beef Cypriot sausages I bought on my way home, but some sausages bought from Aldi that were on their use by date. They were described as "hot pot" flavour pork sausages. As well as sausage meat they had carrots and leeks, and possibly other vegetables in them too. It sounded like a good idea, but in practice they were rubbish. Not actually horrible, but not terribly enjoyable either. I had them with half a can of baked beans.

 When I wasn't washing clothes, or eating sausages, I seemed to spend most of my time either reading or snoozing. The latter was probably a bad idea because I couldn't get to sleep when I went to bed last night. A little of the problem was the temperature of my bedroom. The sunshine during the day had warmed my room up to the point where little heating was required. By the time I went to bed the lowest heat setting on my heater was a tiny bit too much, but without it I thought it would quickly get too cold. In the end I left the heater off until about 2am.

 Eventually I did get into some good deep sleep, but I also had some lighter sleep involving what seemed like long and detailed dreams. I guess my life must be pretty boring because those dreams, where all but the largest details have all faded, were set in old workplaces. I do recall that one very long seeming dream was set in the telephone exchange I used to work in, in Catford.

 This morning I seem to feel reasonably OK. The best thing, although there is no guarantee it will last longer than five minutes, is that I seem to be going through a phase where my chest is mostly behaving itself. I did feel a little crunch as I turned over once during the night, and that was followed by a bit of mild pain, but it didn't last. Maybe going out through a cold and frosty park today will revive all the agonies !

 I am unsure what I'll be doing today. I think I'll probably take a walk through the park, pick up a copy of The Metro, go to the pub to drink a pint of Guinness, and do the crossword while drinking it, but I have no idea if I will be joined by Angela. She has been completely silent since phoning me on Friday to say she was at home sick, and would not be coming to the pub. I think the funeral of her kids dad may be taking place today, and if so she definitely won't be there. It would be sort of nice if she remembered to warn me if she will not be there - before I get there. I could try and contact her to find out, but she didn't acknowledge my last message to her - although that was just information that didn't need replying to.

 In the meantime.....the three bean and chickpea salads I ate yesterday are having all the predicted effects. My whole house stinks, but I think it is almost all over now !
Sunday 11th February 2018
 09:45 GMT
  Yesterday was a bit of a grim day. The only good thing about it was it getting unusually mild late at night, but even that was of no significance when you are indoors with the curtains closed, and the heating on. The day started off with a frost, and slowly warmed up. By the time the temperature hit 6° C it started to rain, and from then on it was soggy until midnight when it was supposed to be as high as 11° C. I am not convinced it did get that mild, but I didn't actually check, and all I can quote is the forecast.
Bright and breezy
 Today could be described as bright and breezy. I'm unsure about the breeze yet, but it has certainly been mostly bright and sunny since sunrise. It is a shame that the temperature is going to stick around 5 or 6° C until after sunset. It is going to be a cold night, but tomorrow is probably going to be very similar to today.

Some hours have passed since I starting writing this....and so to continue..........

  Yesterday was an interesting sort of day - in as much as it turned out to be nothing like I had imagined it would be. I started off doing very little apart from reading, but eventually I decided to do something useful. Perhaps it was something I ate, or maybe it was a phase of the moon, but I ended up getting the hoover out and hoovering the hall and up the stairs. I might have gone further, but I didn't want to overwork my hoovering muscles, and I had spotted something else I wanted to do.

 That something else was to clean the door to the front room/living room. It's hard to imagine how it got into the state it was in. I can't remember a single time when I have ever splashed a drink, or maybe gravy on the door when entering the room, but that is what must have happened a few or more times over the last 30 (?) years. It took some hard scrubbing to get those splashes, plus the nicotine and tar encasing them off the door. I didn't do a perfect job, but I reckon if I give the door another good scrub it will come up looking good - although still in need of a repaint. At least it looks a lot better for now.

 It wasn't just the door I did, but a few other bits including the light switch by the front door that felt the wrath of my cleaning cloths. When written down it doesn't sound like I did much, but it left me feeling tired. Worse than that is that it gave me the newly described and named symptoms of housemaid's wrist. Even today, 24 hours after the event, my right wrist feels slightly sore/tender.

 There was one other very important thing I did yesterday, and that was to start the process of making a back up copy of the home partition of my PC onto a brand new portable hard drive that was delivered yesterday. I say I started the process because copying 1.3TB (Terrabytes !!!) over the USB2 connection took the best part of 15 hours, and so didn't finish until this morning !

 During the evening I reverted to being lazy - laying around, reading, and....well, not much more until I went to bed. I decided I couldn't be bothered to go out to a gig last night. I still don't know if Angela went to her daughters, "Life Of Brian" gig in Greenwich. I have suspicions she didn't, but maybe I'll be corrected one day. I could have gone to a completely different gig, The Belles, in Bromley, but it was cold, dark, and wet, and I just found no enthusiasm for going out.

 I slept quite well last night, although as seems to be permanently the case, I wish I could have slept for another hour or so. I didn't feel too bad this morning, and that was just as well because I went out of a bit this morning.  Today was the day that a vintage fayre was being held in St Dunstans College here in Catford. It is a place I have walked past thousands of times, but I have never had any reason to look inside. Today I had a reason.

 My attention to this fayre was brought to me by my friend Aleemah when she asked me if I was going to it - before I even knew it was going to happen ! I checked it out, and said yes. This morning I met Aleemah at the station, but she had arrived 40 minutes before the place opened. So we took a walk towards the Wetherspoons pub for breakfast, and took in a few charity shops on the way. I found, but didn't buy, a couple of interesting CDs in the Age-UK shop. I might go back and buy them sometime if they are still there.

 After breakfast we walked to St Dunstans College. It is a very grand, and fairly old building. Once upon a time it was a very posh grammar school, but now it seems they take any old riff raff. I believe they even let girls in these days !!! I took a few pictures there that I'll probably show tomorrow. It was rather crowded inside, and I didn't really like it, but we went around the whole area open to the public, and I did see a few things I might have been tempted to buy, but I bought nothing - neither did Aleemah.
VERY hot sauce

 I guess that after half an hour we had seen all we wanted to see, and took a walk back to the station. Aleemah was lucky in that she had just a 5 minute wait for the train. While she waited that 5 minutes I headed towards home - and missed !

 I realised I had a yearning for a couple of the bean based salad pots that they sell in the Turkish supermarket, and so I went in there to buy a three bean salad, and a chickpea salad, and also a lentil salad. While I was in there I had a look around and spotted a chilli sauce made from the hottest chillies on the planet ! I haven't even dared open the bottle, and I am not sure when I will be brave enough to try it !

 I also bought some of the nice fresh bread they sell in there, and I have already made and eaten a ham roll. Later on, for my dinner, I bought some Cypriot, 98% beef, sausages, and I hope they will make some nice sausage sandwich rolls. Seeing as they are beef sausages I might try something unusual. I might try horseradish sauce instead of ketchup on them.

 There was one other thing of significance that I bought at the last moment before I was about to leave the shop. It is a Polish vodka based liqueur flavoured with orange and herbs. A quick sip suggests it tastes rather nice.
Polish liqueur
Just don't ask me how to pronounce it's name !!!
Saturday 10th February 2018
 08:42 GMT
  It's a bit monotonous to say it was cold again, but unsurprisingly, considering the time of year, yesterday was cold again. The forecast temperatures, around 6° C for most of the day, but falling after sunset, were about right, but other parts of the forecast were less accurate. After the early rain and drizzle there was some unforecast sunshine, and while it was probably all in my head, it felt like it wouldn't be too bad to rush to the corner shop with no coat. An hour or too later, when I set out to walk through the park on my way to the pub, it felt perishing cold. It wasn't helped by some unforecast rain, sleep and snow halfway through that walk ! There was even some unforecast fine, sand grain sized hail as I walked back home from the pub. During the night the temperature fell far lower than forecast !
another less than pleasant
 The forecast, as shown at about 5.30am this morning, says it would be plus 1° C at 7am. I reckon it was closer to minus 2° C !!!!! At the moment the patch of sky where the sun should be is looking bright, but there have been none of the fabled sunny spells that the forecast says should have started an hour ago. If reality and the forecast start to merge we can expect it to get warmer, and at midnight it could almost be close to warm at 11° C. The penalty for this is that from mid afternoon onwards it is supposed to rain. Tomorrow might see many sunny spells, and the temperature is forecast to be mostly between 5 and 7° C.

  It was probably between 9 and 10am when I learned that a small parcel for me was ready to pick up from the corner shop - a most useful facility. It had stopped drizzling a little while early, and the sun had come out. So I took a chance and rushed to the corner shop with no coat on. I wouldn't have liked to hang around too long out there, but for a brief exposure it was OK. In some ways it was better than OK because it felt sort of good to defy the weather, and to have a brief exposure to raw sunshine.

 From then on things didn't go so well. A little after midday I went out to go to meet Angela in the pub, and even with my coat on, and done up, it felt very cold. It got worse.... Just as I left the park and entered the hospital grounds, it started to rain. That rain quickly turned to sleet, and by the time I got to the pub it was doing it's best to turn to snow !

 I only stayed in the pub for one pint of Guinness yesterday because as I was about three quarters of my way through that pint, and considering going to the bar to order another, plus a vodka and coke for Angela, my phone rang. It was Angela who had suddenly remembered she ought to let me know that she had taken the day off sick, and so would not be at the pub lunchtime. Having battled through the rain, sleet and snow, that was a grand annoyance.

 I finished my drink and decided to go home again. For most of the walk I was accompanied by what felt like fine, sand grain sized hail. It was like being pelted with melting grit. My reward when I got home was fish finger sandwiches...or more precisely, slightly stale rolls with fishfingers and mayonnaise. I gave the rolls 30 seconds in the microwave first, and that usually revives bread that is getting a bit dry, but it was only 90% effective on the three leftover rolls I ate.

 Three rolls, plus fishfingers, made for quite a substantial lunch that deserved a snooze afterwards. The only problem with that was that I had put some t-shirts in to soak before going out to not meet Angela, and I had to try and resume washing them on a full stomach. I don't think I had really worked out the correct sequence for that, but I eventually got them rinsed and fabric conditioned, and hung up to dry before the evening started.

 That was a sort of surprise because those rolls seemed to make me extremely sleepy, and it seemed the more I snoozed, the sleepier I felt ! By about 7pm I had made an executive decision that I would not go out into the horrible cold and dark, and possibly even wet, but I would order a takeaway. It was the wrong decision, but only on account of the particular takeaway order I made.

 I had previously been interested in a Lebanese takeaway I had found listed, and last night seemed like a good night to try it. Unfortunately it turned out to be rather disappointing. The first problem was that it turned up 40 minutes later than the estimated delivery time, and by the time it got to me it was getting cold. The main course, which was basically grilled meat with chips, was sort of nice, but rather over priced by my estimation. The meat was fine, but the chips were very poor quality "fast food" style chips that were not hot enough.

 A side dish of diced spicy sausage with tomato was actually very nice. A little pot of what I assume was supposed to be chilli sauce tasted nasty, and I didn't care to even try the other little pot to see if it was supposed to be mayonnaise or not. I also ordered a side salad, and that was perhaps a little heavy on the vinegar, but otherwise quite nice. The last item was a freebie, or so the man on the phone said when I phoned up to see where my order had got to. I am not entirely sure what it was. It was a bit like semolina, but it had been flavoured by what tasted like lemon washing up liquid. The tiny little taste I took tasted like those scented hand wiping flannels that you used to, and maybe still do get at the end of an Indian meal in a restaurant. It was so nasty I threw it away.

 On the whole I was not happy with that meal - and to make matters worse it was comparatively expensive for what it was. On the other hand it did seem very filling, and perhaps more so when crammed down on those three fishfinger rolls I had earlier. The very worst thing is that I feel I really should be eating today after such a stuffing yesterday, but I know I will sooner of later.

 The good thing is that it didn't seem to interfere with my sleep. I read until midnight, and after that I very quickly fell asleep. The only significant time I woke up in the night was after a worrying dream. In the dream I woke up after hearing someone going to my bathroom, and using the toilet. At first I thought it was Patricia, and then I remembered that she had left a few days earlier. So I leapt out of bed to challenge the intruder. As she came out of the toilet I tried to shout "who the hell are you ?" but no words would come out of my mouth. So I followed her downstairs, and she waited for me in the living room.

 My next thought was that maybe it was Marion. I hadn't seen her for 30 years, but maybe she still had a key from when she was staying here all those years ago. It wasn't Marion, and I have no idea who it was. I didn't recognise her at all. At that point I was rather flummoxed, and woke up in a brief state of confusion. I managed to get back to sleep again after that, but it was only for an hour or two before I woke up after apparently having enough sleep despite it being much earlier than I would have desired getting up.

 Today I think I can still feel last night's dinner sitting in my stomach, although it's probably just guilt or something. I guess I feel about as good as many recent mornings apart from that. I have very few plans for today. I was going to go to a gig tonight. It was to be The Life Of Brian playing in The Mitre in Greenwich, but the only reason to go was to see Angela, and a reason not to go was that lover boy would be playing drums. If Angela was ill enough to not go to work yesterday (although I have my doubts), then I guess she will not be going out. Unless she specifically informs me otherwise, and asks me to go, I think I'll be staying in again.
snowdrops alongside
                        the river bank
One of the sights I saw yesterday - snowdrops alongside the river in the park.
mounted police in single file
Another sight in the park - mounted policewomen unusually riding single file. I've seen two black horses, two white horses, and now a black and a tan horse. (Unfortunately I didn't get a decent picture of the trailing, tan coloured horse).
Friday 9th February 2018
 07:49 GMT
  Yesterday morning was a lot sunnier than the new fangled weather chart suggested it would be. Sadly it didn't last, and the afternoon was comparatively dull. I'm happy to report that it stayed dry all day, and after a very cold start the temperature eventually climbed to 7° C.
 Today has started with rain - quite a lot of it ! Oh well, it should soon turn to just drizzle, and then stop by midday - according to the forecast ! The consolation prize is that the day has started at, according to my thermometers, 7° C - not warm, but better than a frost. Maybe there will be a bit of sunshine this afternoon, but by then the temperature will start falling, and the night could be very chilly. After a freezing start, tomorrow could end up almost very slightly warm, 10° C, but the penalty will be a very wet afternoon !

  Yesterday was one of those days that seemed very short. This was all the more surprising considering how little I did. The first thing I did was to wash a small hand towel, and a big bath towel. The latter was really hard work, and very difficult to wring out. In fact it was impossible to fully wring out, and I had to hang it over the bath for a half hour or more to let it drip. During that time I gave bits of it an occasional wringing until it seemed safe enough to let it dry in front of a fan heater set on low in the living room. This morning it seems to be 99% dry, and later on I can take it off the clothes horse to make room for the next bit of laundry.

 After I had finished that laundry, and finally got the towel and clothes horse out of the bath, I was able to have a nice shower. I'm not sure what time that was, but I do know I would have been pushed for time if I had to get to the pub to see Angela. Instead of a nice healthy (sort of) walk through the park, I went for a walk to Poundland to have a rummage. I was specifically after a sponge with built in scourer to clean the bathtub, but as is normal when I go there, I came away with a lot more.

 Maybe it was just me, or maybe it was the wind, but it felt colder than the forecast temperature while I was out, and that could have been a good reason to rush home again, but I decided to have a look in a couple of charity shops on the way home. I noted that the Sue Ryder shop (whose purpose I have yet to find) had the best choice of second hand DVDs - and they were cheap as well. Two for a £1. Sadly the second hand CDs on offer were excreteable ! The British Heart Foundation shop had rubbish DVDs, but a good selection of CDs - although they have less now because I bought the 6 best ones !

 By the time I got back home I only had a couple of hours to have some lunch, followed by a snooze, before it was time to go out again for my Thursday evening drink with the Thursday night drinking club. It was a pleasant couple of hours in The Shortlands Tavern. I had my usual three pints of ale before getting the 7.02pm train back to Catford.

 Last night it was dry, and not excessively cold as I walked home from Catford station. It takes 10 to 12 minutes, and it didn't feel particularly arduous, but in the dark it was not enjoyable. That walk is probably the best argument for teleportation. I would have been a lot happier if I could have reduced that walk to just 30 seconds or less. My actual walk took a lot longer because I went home via the fried chicken shop.

 I wish I hadn't bought some fried chicken and "fries" for the simple reason that I found it underwhelming. It was nice enough, but it failed to bring the excitement that I was looking for. Maybe chicken and chips has had it's day, or maybe it was just how I felt last night. The oddest thing is that it didn't even seem to be filling. After eating it I took a book to bed, and as I read I kept thinking that I could have eaten a much bigger meal.

 I stayed awake reading until almost midnight to finish the book - "Moonrise" by Ben Bova. The next book I'll be reading is "Saturn" by Ben Bova. Once I had finished reading I turned over, and I think I fell asleep quite quickly. A series of dreams, whose memory has all but faded, suggested I didn't sleep that deeply, but I would fall asleep quickly and easily after the few times I woke up. I probably got enough sleep, but I might try going back to bed once I have finished writing.

 This morning my chest feels very delicate again, but it is not actually painful. That was the case during the night as well. A little later I will be washing a small towel plus some t-shirts. That will be a good test for my chest. Hopefully it will prove beneficial to my chest as it usually is. As far as I know at this time in the morning I will be going out as usual to spend a lovely 45 to 60 minutes with Angela at lunchtime. Maybe we will plot to meet at a Life Of Brian gig tomorrow night (where sadly lover boy will be drumming), and then hug and cuddle as much as is possible in a pub, in the middle of a gig, without lover boy seeing us.

 I might possibly go to a gig tonight, but I have doubts. Chain are playing in The Bricklayers Arms pub in Beckenham. On the plus side the place is just round the corner from a working 54 bus stop - the first "normal" stop after the bus is diverted because of the everlasting road works in Beckenham high street. On the downside is that the pub is small and cramped, and the band have to set up by the doors - meaning everyone has to move back whenever someone wants to come in or go out. It is really stupid ! There is also the excuse that it will be cold and dark, and I would rather bolt the door, pull the curtains, turn the heat up high, and just sort of luxuriate in my own slobbishness !
Thursday 8th February 2018
 09:33 GMT
  The wind had fallen to just a breeze yesterday, and that made it feel a little less freezing - particularly so if you happened to get the sun on you when the breeze was at it's lightest (or preferably during a few rare spells when the air was still). Now the sun is slowly climbing higher and higher in the sky it is beginning to carry some heat at last. The highest temperature yesterday was supposed to be 5° C, but on one of the rare occasions when it was shining strongly, and the breeze was very light it probably felt like 10° C - but only on the side facing the sun !
well, at
                    least the day has started sunny....
 This new crap version of the BBC weather forecast seems to be no more accurate than the nice version before. It says there should be sunny intervals as I write this, and yet the sun has been pouring through my bedroom windows, and feeling warm while it does it, for over half an hour now. Of course as I wrote that the sun dimmed a little..... It seems that most of today is going to be dull, but if it makes the forecast 7° C we can say it is less cold than yesterday. Tomorrow seems like it will be a wet version of today, but at least there seems to be a trend for the days to get a tiny bit less cold for the next week or so.

  Just before 11:30am Patricia left here with her extremely heavy suitcase, plus big and small rucksacks, to head for Catford Bridge station as part of her long journey back home to Argentina. She had enjoyed her time here, and left with a tear in her eye. I was both sad to see her go, and also a tiny bit relieved to get my house back to myself again. It was lovely having her company for the two short times she was here, but then there is the luxury of not having to worry about getting caught wandering to the toilet in the nude in the middle of the night !

 Just after midday I set off to the pub to eventually meet Angela for our lunchtime meeting. I went via Aldi where I bought a 95p bunch of cut daffodils to give to Angela to brighten her desk up at work. While I was walking to the pub with the daffodils I got a call from Jodie. She asked if we could meet earlier than the 4pm we had planned earlier because she had to accompany her dad to the doctors at 4pm. I suggested she meet me in the pub at 2pm, about the same time that Angela would be going back to work.

 As usual, I had time to do the quick crossword in The Metro, as well as some of the cryptic crossword before Angela arrived. Doing the crosswords helps keep my brain ticking over, as well as distracting me from drinking Guinness too fast. It was a joy when Angela turned up, and I had a very nice time with her, but she didn't feel quite as close as, for instance, the day before. It was probably, or even certainly because she was suffering from a sore throat that had also spoiled her sleep.

 At 2pm Angela went back to work after giving me a warm hug, and I waited for Jodie. She arrived perhaps 5 minutes later. The reason she was so keen to see me was that she won't be going to tonight's Thursday evening drink, and she had brought a present back from a visit to Finland for me. That present was a couple of chunks of unusual cheeses. One was a black cheesed that was coloured with a Finnish liquorice flavoured liqueur, but was actually predominately lemon flavoured. The other cheese was one I am sure I have seen before - a cheese flavoured with, and the colour of lavender.

 After just one pint I guided Jodie back through the path behind St Mary's church, and then across the park to Ladywell station. Once I was at the station it seemed sensible to get the same train as Jodie, but just for one stop to Catford Bridge station. That halved my walk home. On the walk from the pub we noticed that a small field behind the church, but probably part of the park, although separated by the river, was covered in snowdrops - another sign that spring is coming.
snowdrops - a sign
                        spring is on it's way
Snowdrops....and on the subject of flowers.....
 These are the daffodils I gave to Patricia to brighten her room up for a day, but this should also be what the daffodils I gave to Angela look like if she managed to find a vase or bottle to put them on her desk at work...although maybe she took them home with her.

 It was convenient seeing Jodie earlier on yesterday. It meant I could go straight home and indulge myself with the final leftovers from the Indian takeaway I had with Patricia a couple of nights ago. Yesterday it was a full side dish portion of mixed vegetable curry, plus over half a portion of potato bahji. It was very nice, but not particularly filling. Later on I made some ham and cheese rolls using some left over rolls that I had originally bought for Patricia. They seemed more filling, and almost stopped me having a nibble later in the evening.

 I almost had my best sleep for ages last night, but it was spoiled when I woke up feeling cold at around 3am this morning. I did have the heating on low, but I had been sleeping partly uncovered, and the outside temperature was heading towards minus 2° C at the time ! I turned my heater up full before going to have a pee. When I got back from that I leapt back into bed and pulled the duvet tightly around me.

 That was a mistake, because in doing so I jarred my chest. I then spent the next hour with a pain that feels so much like a heart attack, but which I knew probably wasn't. It is the "probably" more than anything else that makes it so hard to get back to sleep again. I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and that calmed my chest down enough to get back to sleep again - but it took an hour to do it.

 I slept for a few more hours before waking up, and assuming I was going to get up then. I spent a little while on my PC, but my bedroom was feeling nice and warm, and I thought I might as well try for just another 5 minutes sleep. I think it was two hours later that I woke up again. Since then I have felt unusually refreshed, but I can still feel the legacy of jarring  my chest in the night. It is still rather sore, and I have to be careful with it. After I finish writing I will be finishing washing a large bath towel that I started last night. It is very heavy when wet, but past experience suggests it will help pull my chest back into a (possibly short lived) painless state.
class 319 train
 I got a message from Angela a little while ago to say that she wants to go shopping this lunchtime, and won't be able to see me in the pub. That is a shame, but it does give me more time to do other stuff, such as laundry, as I mentioned above. Also, as much as I adore seeing Angela, having a drink at lunchtime, and then having to go out again for another drink a couple of hours later is nit a great idea. Maybe I will enjoy this evening's drink a bit more than usual. One of the things I can probably make a start on, with the extra time today, is my project to make a photo album of all the pictures I have taken over the years of the now obsolete class 319 trains (as pictured above on 2nd July 2009 at Catford station).
                            13th March 2010
 This gratuitous picture of the pier at Walton-On-The-Naze, taken on 13th March 2010, is a reminder to me that, in that year at least, I thought the weather was good enough to get out exercising in little more than a months time from now. In theory I should probably be going for a walk today, but by the time I am ready to go out it will be all nasty and cloudy again - if the weather forecast is correct - which it doesn't seem to be as I write these words !
Wednesday 7th February 2018
 09:06 GMT
Today is a day of mourning. The BBC have just changed their weather chart to look all flat and modern, and Windows 10 alike. Civilisation must be near an end ! 

 Yesterday, the last day of the traditional, friendly, and useful BBC weather forecast, was yet another very cold day. Fortunately it was dry, and there was even some sunshine, but not much. The highest temperature was 3° C, and it lasted for most of the afternoon.
still very cold, but sunny
 This is the new version of the BBC weather forecast, and it has to be shrunk down to get it on the page. It is so scrunched up that from now on it looks like I'll have to go to the bother of making it clickable to show it full size in a new tab/window. I don't like it. It wouldn't be so bad if they kept the sunrise and sunset times on the left of the page, but now they are sort of hidden down in the bottom right hand corner. Why do the bastards have to do these things. Sigh !!!

 So it seems today is going to be slightly warmer than yesterday, but only by a couple of degrees, and there should be more sunshine. At the moment it should be raining, snowing and sunny - all at the same time ! In reality the clouds are thin and broken, and I doubt they contain any rain, sleet or snow. Perhaps it will snow later. Tomorrow will start below zero, but will eventually warm up to 7° C - a very small improvement on today - but it will probably be unpleasantly grey.
Angela looking stunning 

  Yesterday's highlight was going to the pub to meet Angela for lunch. As usual I walked through the park, and along the way I checked the fungi I pictured yesterday. It looked a bit darker than the day before, but was still basically purple. What I didn't picture was a small clump of the same purple fungi a few feet away. That had changed from purple to a more brownish colour, and was strongly resembling a fungi known as "Witches Butter" on account of it looking a bit like a splodge of black butter.

 I had a lovely time with Angela yesterday, and I thought she was looking great. I felt very close to her, and I am sure she felt the same way. I'm not sure how it happened, it certainly wasn't contrived, but we seemed to be holding hands a lot in the pub. At the end Angela was most reluctant to leave, and announced that she would be happy to stay there all afternoon - although whether that was with me, or with the vodka.... I walked her back to work, and we parted with a big warm hug.

 It is surprising what a big warm hug can do for your wellbeing. Maybe it helped that I was wearing fast walking shoes, but I marched back home in double time - although maybe not literally ! I certainly paid no heed to any aches and pains because I hardly had any.  Of course I paid for it later with a few extra aches and pains later in the afternoon and evening.

 One good and bad thing I did was to have a big hot meal of leftover curry when I got in. It was delicious, but left me feeling bloated even into early evening. I spent a lot of the afternoon just reading or snoozing on my bed. As the afternoon came to an end I roused myself to cook dinner for Patricia - although my art was rather minimal. To be honest I did nothing more than take the wrapping off, and place an Aldi "Specially Selected" Macaroni Cheese with Beef Ragu ready meal in the oven, and set the timer.

 When the meal was cooked I decided that I still felt a bit too full to eat much of it. Patricia had had a big lunch with her friend Natí in Croydon, and she too was not very hungry. It ended that Patricia had about 8 spoonfulls, and I had about 3 before we announced we had eaten enough. That left over half of it, and it is now in the fridge ready to be heated up for my dinner today.

 It may be that I slept more than I realised yesterday afternoon because when I went to bed last night I found I wasn't sleepy at all, and it was a struggle getting to sleep, and staying asleep. In consequence I didn't seem to sleep well last night, and yet this morning I don't seem to feel sleep deprived. Maybe later I will change my mind.

 I'm not sure when it will be, but sometime around 11am Patricia will be staggering up the road with her suitcases as she heads ultimately to Gatwick Airport on her way back to Argentina . I think she will be meeting her friend Natí in Croydon again for a coffee along the way. Sometime after midday I will take a saunter through the park, and then diverting via the hospital to pick up a copy of The Metro before ending up in the pub to meet Angela just after 1pm.

 It could be after I get home again that I will find out just how not sleep deprived I am. The plan is that I will then be meeting Jodi in the Wetherspoons pub for more beer later in the afternoon. I am not terribly keen on the idea, but she says she has something for me that she has brought back from a stay in Finland, and won't be joining the Thursday night drinking session because she is at a gig tomorrow night. Once I have seen Jodi, and gone home again, I can put my feet up, and go into full on slob mode. It will be quiet with Patricia being here, but at least I can walk around the house naked late at night with no fear of shocking the dear lady !
Tuesday 6th February 2018
 07:36 GMT
  Yesterday was cold, very, very cold - and it snowed - twice ! There was some sunshine forecast but I can't recall seeing any. What I can recall was the southern half of the sky looking so grey and heavy that I was expecting a blizzard at any time. The northern half of the sky was a bit light, but not by much. By low temperature I mean between zero and 4° C,and by snow I mean two light flurries, one of some big flakes, and the later one as I was walking to the pub at lunchtime, was just tiny flakes swirling in the wind. Not a single flake settled on the ground for more than seconds.
                  unpleasant cold day
 Today could be a degree colder than yesterday, but no snow is forecast (not that that means anything), and maybe there might be a little sunshine instead. In the couple of hours since I took this screenshot a few things have changed. Most notably is that 4pm is now shown as thick cloud instead of sunny spells. Not shown is the threat of light snow as midnight approaches. Tomorrow may show that there will be a peak of 4° C for a few hours in the middle of the day, and some sunshine at the same time, but on average it is going to be a mostly freezing cold day with the morning and later afternoon temperatures with a couple of degrees of zero.
 There is something about Monday's that I like. I feel sort of refreshed after the weekend, and it still works now. just as well as when I was at work. Of course these days it is probably more to do with seeing Angela after not seeing her over the weekend, and yesterday even more so after not seeing her since Tuesday of last week. The weather seemed foul yesterday morning. It was cold and grey, and there had been some snow falling earlier when I set out with a simpletons hope that I would be meeting Angela prior to any confirmation that she would actually be going to the pub.
purple fungi !
 One thing I was not expecting to see as I walked through the park was fungi. I thought it much too cold for it. I usually think of it as an autumn feature, but I saw a few heads of fungi almost poking through the leaf litter. What I wasn't expecting to see even more was purple fungi ! I can't recall ever seeing purple fungi before. I took a picture of this one head of purple fungi, and there was a small clump of them a few feet away. I am guessing they are growing on the decaying wood chippings that cover a few square yards of ground of the fenced off river bank.

 It was a joy to see Angela again. At first neither of us had that much to say, but it was still a joy just to sit next to her in the pub. After 5 or 10 minutes we both warmed up, and then the conversation flowed free and easy. So much so that Angela announced that she wished she didn't have to go back to work at 2pm. I still had half a pint of Guinness to drink when Angela had to leave, and so I couldn't walk her back to work. So we said our goodbyes with a quick peck on the cheeks, and then two steps later Angela came back and gave me a big hug. Out one hour hour a day, in public, love affair is back to full strength !

 It was as cold walking back home as it was walking to the pub - even with my coat zipped up tight. It is possibly just the legacy of all the coughing I did when I had a cold a few weeks ago, but my chest seems extra sensitive to cold at the moment, and I feel rather glad that I no longer have to commute to work in the freezing cold and wet. Despite my coat being zipped up, and my chest not seeming to get cold, I still found that I was in a lot of pain when I got home, took off my coat, went into the kitchen, and took the lid off a can of soup.

 It may have been the angle that I picked up the can of soup, or the action of opening it that gave me a really rather intense localised pain a few inches from my operation scar. The really weird, but interesting thing is that as I firmly stroked the area, to try and determine the extent of the pain, it felt incredibly tender, but only for a moment. It was as if the action of just a single stroke of the affected area was enough to push something that was dislodged, probably the end of a rib or something, back into place, and the pain went almost completely in the space of a second. What was even stranger is that I didn't appear to feel anything click into place, or something like an internal cyst burst, but I can only imagine that the mechanical action of just a single rub across the skin fixed something or another.

 The soup I had was minestrone soup, and I am not sure why I bought it because I didn't used to like it. I can remember as a kid it seemed to have the consistency of dish water - complete with random bits of food floating in it ! Yuck ! The Tesco branded minestrone soup I had yesterday was much thicker and wholesome, and with a dollop of very hot pepper sauce in it, was rather delicious - and it warmed me up nicely. After that I had a snooze.

 Some discussion had taken place during the day as to how I would feed Patricia last night. One option was to go out for a meal together, but ultimately it was so cold and horrible out that we opted for an Indian takeaway. It was most enjoyable, and the best thing was that there was plenty of left overs for me to have an Indian meal when I get home from the pub this lunchtime. Patricia will be having lunch with a friend in Croydon and so all the leftovers are MINE !!!

 The main reason for there being so much left over was the beneficial effect of having Patricia here. I eat far less when in company ! A few more weeks of this might even have a detectable effect on my waistline, but today is Patricia's last full day here. Tomorrow she flies back to Argentina until she comes back to London (and Wales) at the end of March. She will be with her partner then, and won't be staying here though, and the chances are I'll only see her a couple of times before they fly south for the winter again.

 I want to try and get out and do a little shopping before I go to meet Angela at lunchtime, but that and seeing Angela are the only plans I have today. I expect I'll think of something to do apart from snoozing this afternoon, but I'll worry about that when I get there. Maybe I won't even do much snoozing. Just for a change I managed to get a little good sleep last night - some hours were crap, and some hours were excellent !
Monday 5th February 2018
 09:00 GMT
  It was often bright, and even sunny yesterday, which was sort of cheering, but it was still very cold. The max was 5° C in the first part of the afternoon, and then the temperature started to fall.
sleet forecast
 It is possible the temperature was even lower sometime during the early hours, but just before 9am it was 0.0° C by my reckoning - that is 1° C lower than forecast. That also means that the forecast sleet shower at 10am was brought forward to actual snow - right now as I write this ! It may have just been an isolated flurry because over the course of the last 5 - 10 minutes it has gone from a light fall to an almost stopped fall. Heavier rain is forecast for 11am, and if that falls as snow it could be more significant. Overall it is going to be a very cold day - and tomorrow may be colder still, but apparently it should be a dry day.

  I had a quiet day yesterday, but I still couldn't get away from photos. I have invented a new project to use some photos. For years the Thameslink rail service from Sevenoaks to Blackfriars, and sometimes further, used class 319 trains. Not everybody liked them, particularly so during rush hour when they could get uncomfortably packed, but at lighter times they seemed to have something nice about them that was better than the "Networker" (class 465 and 466) trains that ran through Catford Bridge station (and still do). The class 319 trains are now obsolete, and have been replaced by class 700 trains. Some of the class 319 train have been moved up to the midlands or beyond where they may get further use, and some are reported to be used in an experiment with battery powered trains, but here in the south east of the country they are effectively dead.

 So I spent a great deal of yesterday trawling through my photo archive looking for any snaps I may have taken for a sort of photo obituary. I found 37 snaps, and the next step is to go through them one by one in my photo editor to get them as presentable as possible before uploading them to Flickr. It is at this point I realise I should have prepared at least one picture to show here, but instead I took a screenshot of the entire directory in thumbnail form. Clicking on the picture will reveal the screenshot full size - but that is as far as you can go for now !
screenshot of directory of class 319
                          train photos
 It was inevitable that while trawling through all my old photos I would come across some of other interest. One was an old picture of "teacher". It was taken on the 17th May 2004 in The Rising Sun pub, and it is of Patricia, who 14 years later is currently staying at my place for another couple of days before flying back to Argentina. She was my "teacher" while I was on a forced training course during one of my two periods of unemployment - forced by the Job Centre on pain of loosing my "Job Seekers Allowance" - aka dole money.
Patricia in 2004
The cut down original of this picture, plus more of the story that goes with it can be found here.

 I'm almost forgetting one other thing I did yesterday, and that was to go to Lidl to get a few supplies in.  I took Patricia with me so we could both stretch our legs. It was painfully cold outside, and three times as cold when we were walking along Catford Broadway, behind the theatre and old town hall building. The high sided buildings there seem to funnel the wind into a roaring icy feeling gale ! I think that experiencing that was the final nail in the coffin of the idea of going out in the evening.

 I went to bed, but initially just to do some reading, at about 9pm last night. By 10pm I had read enough, turned the light out, and tried to go to sleep. I was sure I was tired enough to fall asleep almost instantly, but instead I found myself in quite intense pain. The pain was from my right hip, and initially it felt like the discomfort you get when trying to sleep on your side on hard ground. I can remember camping with the boy scouts more than 50 years ago. It always felt like there was a rock under your hip, and you quickly learned that you had to sleep on your back. Last night that "laying on a rock" feeling quickly escalated into agony. The reason was a small ruck in my mattress protector. Just pushing my pillow back a few inches, and then hauling my body along to match it, was a complete cure for that pain. On that occasion I was sleeping on a rock - even if that rock was probably little more than half an inch high and made of memory foam !

 For the rest of the night my hip was pain free, although my wonky chest complained a few times, and at one point I woke up with my hand feeling like ice - it was outside the bed, and I had turned all the heating off. It wasn't the best sleep I've had by far, but I did seem to get enough hour of it, and I guess that is the best I can hope for. This morning I feel moderately OK.

 There are a few things I might do today, but none is particularly important, or even likely apart from a lunchtime walk through the freezing park to meet Angela in the pub - at least I hope she will be there today ! I might possibly nip out to get a bit of shopping - particularly cod liver oil capsules - at some point today, and I think it is possible I might go out to dinner with Patricia this evening - although it will probably be more Wetherspoons than fine French dining !
Sunday 4th February 2018
 08:27 GMT
  It was cold and nasty yesterday. The temperature flatlined at 4° C, the sky stayed grey all day, and from time to time there was cold drizzle.
another cold day, but maybe with a few
                  sunny spells
 At first glance the weather looks OK today. The first thing to catch my eye is the sunshine, but then I look at the temperature and realise that at max of 5° C is far from even mild, and it's going to be just 2° C at the extremes of the day. The final bit is the wind. It may not be a strong wind, but there is going to be enough of it for some extra chill factor, and when you see it is coming from the north - apocalypse !!! Tomorrow is going to be worse, and may involve a bit of snow !

  It seemed my day was dominated by all the photos I took on Friday night. I wanted to try and finish editing them before going out to take more photos. It seemed to take the whole day, but I did finish them in time......but ! By the time I had finished with them I had not even washed or dressed properly. My eyes were tired, my back ached, and I felt too tired to even bother washing or dressing, let alone going out.
Chain with Rob Todd on
                        guest vocals
 Here's Rob Todd (in grey t-shirt) doing his stint as guest vocalist for Chain. He may not actually look like he is singing in this snap shot, but he sang Chris Rhea's "Road To Hell".
wide angle lens view
                        taking in the whole of the band
 I am unsure how I managed to get so low, and even less sure how I managed to get up again, but by using the wide angle lens and some flash, I managed to get a picture of the whole band .
Sabina Donelly on
                        guest vocals
 Sabina Donelly as guest vocalist. Sabina was, and maybe still is a model, as well as a singer, and is very photogenic in good light. I found it hard to capture a good picture of her in the odd lighting of the gig.
Another snap of
 This second snap of Sabina is the best one I managed to take.
Patricia dressed up and ready to go out
 As I was finishing the last of the pictures Patricia was dressed up ready to go out. She had tickets to see a play featuring Jeremy Irons, and was going with her London based, Argentinian friend, Natí.

 The timing of this was rather fortunate for what would be a different reason to the one I first assumed. By the time I had finished those photos I realised I was too tired to want to go out, and after not sleeping well the previous night, I looked forward to the opportunity to get to bed early.

 It was not much later than 8pm, half an hour before the gig I might have gone to started,  before I was reading in bed. By 8.30pm my eyes were starting to droop, and before the clock hit 9pm I had the lights out, my eyes closed - and nothing happened !

 I couldn't seem to get comfortable in bed, and I either felt too hot or too cold. At 10pm I started to feel a bit uncomfortable in another way, and I needed to go to the toilet for more than a wee ! It was a little explosive, but seemed satisfying enough as I went back to bed. As soon as I laid back down on my bed I heard an ominous gurgling, and decided it would be prudent to go back to the toilet - it was ! That happened one more time before I could finally relax - except I couldn't ! I had to wait until the toilet could flush one more time before I could finally relax. I am glad that Patricia was out for the whole performance - one probably more dramatic than what she was seeing in the theatre !

 It still took a fair time to find a comfortable position before I finally got to sleep. During that time I swapped between one and two pillows several times. I finally fell asleep with my head on just one pillow, but woke in the night with my neck feeling stiff. So I went back to two pillows, and woke up this morning with my neck feeling stiff. Does anyone know where you can buy half height pillows ?

 I slept right through Patricia coming home, and while I woke a few times in the night, I managed to sleep through to almost 8am. I still feel like a nice snooze would be beneficial, but otherwise I don't think I feel too bad this morning. I have some definite plans for this morning, but after that things get very hazy. Top of my list is to have a decent shower, and to wash my hair. It is after that that things get hazy. I'm not sure if it is today or tomorrow that Patricia suggested we go for a walk along the Southbank (one of her favourite walks), or if it was tomorrow she was thinking of.

 One thing is for certain today - the trains are running ! That makes a change for a Sunday, and maybe I might take advantage of that by going to a gig late this afternoon. On the other hand, if I do go out walking with Patricia today I might not feel like going out again later. With Patricia flying back to Argentina on Wednesday I ought to prioritise anything we can do together.
Saturday 3rd February 2018
 09:12 GMT
  We are back in the grip of cold weather now, and maybe yesterday was the transition from unpleasant cold to nasty cold. There was some sunshine yesterday, but today I feel there was probably less than that the forecast for the day suggested. The most positive thing is that it stayed dry, and maybe 7° C for a few hours wasn't that awful. Awful is reserved for today !
a very
                  unpleasant sort of day
 Today has started off awful, and it is going to be awful all day !  It's been drizzling all morning, and it looks like it will continue (almost) through all the hours of daylight. With the temperature starting at just 3° C, and then staying steady at 4° C, it must be perilously close to snowing ! With luck it will stay dry tonight when I will probably be going out, but it is going to be a cold experience. It is going to  get colder still over the next 5 days, and while the forecast could change completely by next Wednesday, the current forecast says that Wednesday morning could see some snow !

  I felt very de-motivated yesterday. Not being able to meet up with Angela at lunchtime, for the third day in a row, gave me little enthusiasm to do anything - and for many hours I didn't do anything. I spent many hours just reading technical news on the internet, and plenty of time laying on my bed reading a very thick paperback, and having an occasional snooze.

 Eventually I decided I had to do something before I froze up. I originally thought I would leave some of the heavier laundry until Patricia had gone back to Argentina. It's not very nice for visitors having a big clothes horse in the living room hung with drying stuff, but I decided I had to go for the big one. I hand washed one double fitted sheet, four pillowcases, a small hand towel, and a pair of underpants (that I accidently picked up with the rest of the washing).

 A week ago I wasn't fit enough to do a job like that in one hit, but evidently I have recovered enough to do it like that again. As usual it reduced the pains scattered around my chest, but did leave a legacy of a few stiff arm muscles this morning (and maybe last night too). It does seem counter-intuitive that in this cold damp weather, when my chest is often feeling very delicate, I strangely seem to have untapped reserves of energy - although maybe not so much when I went out last night !
Patricia briefly
                        pausing from her work
 One brief distraction yesterday was taking this snap of Patricia. She is very much on a working holiday, and I interrupted her work briefly to take this snap of her in my spare room working away at a translation on her laptop. It's only another 4 days now until she flies back south to Argentina having concluded her business here - unless an interpreting job she is doing in a law court on Monday drags on for longer than expected.

 Finally it was time to go out last night, and I didn't really want to go. I really wanted to be preparing for bed - not initially intending to go to sleep, but just to take a book to bed and read until the idea of sleep filled my mind. I resisted that because I knew that once I got moving I would enjoy myself, and so at about 7.45pm, with it being fully night outside, I started to walk up the road to the bus stop for a bus to Beckenham.

 I felt perfectly comfortable walking at an almost brisk pace, but as I approached the bus stop I saw a bus coming, and I decided it might be prudent to run for 10 or 15 feet. Maybe my heavy camera bag banging against my side as I tried to run is a good excuse, or not, but I found it hard to pick up my feet and actually run properly. Fortunately it wasn't needed, and I got to where the bus doors were when the bus stopped.

 It was the last bit of my journey to the pub that taxed me most, although it mainly taxed my temper. The everlasting roadworks in Beckenham meant that for the umpeenth month running, the buses are diverted away from the high street, and I had to walk up the hill from the wrong end of the high street to get to the pub. I took it at a sedate pace, and it felt OK, but still made me feel bloody annoyed knowing that without the diversion I could get off the bus at the old bus stop, and just walk 50ft to arrive at the pub fresh as a daisy.

 The pub was less busy than I anticipated, and that made the experience so much better. The only thing that spoiled it was the arrival of someone I don't really like. He is mildly obnoxious in ways that are difficult to define - except for his after shave. That definitely stinks ! He wasn't the reason why I left before the gig was over. I stayed until about 10.30pm. By that time I felt I had seen all I wanted to see (including two guest singers), taken three times as many photos as I needed to, and the three pints of Guinness I had drunk felt about right.

 I had a 10 minute wait for a bus home in the freezing (4° C) night air, and I reckon I got back indoors as 11.30pm approached. With Patricia sleeping in the spare room I had to be quieter than usual, but I managed to reheat a strange pasta dish that I had bought from Aldi - part of their posh "Specially Selected" range. It's name suggested it had sausage in it, and it possibly did, but not the sort of sausage I was expecting. I think the sauce for the pasta had minced spicy sausage in it - maybe. It was pleasant, but ultimately not exciting.

 After eating my dinner I went to bed. I expected to go out like a light, but it took a long time to get to sleep, and it was hard work staying asleep ! As morning started to approach I had a series of dreams that were not nice. I can't remember all of them, and what I think I can remember is too complex to describe. They weren't horrible enough to be nightmares, but they had a sort of disappointing quality. Perhaps one or more gave a similar level of feeling to that of being at work when you don't want to be - there is nothing nasty about it, but you just really wish for a different situation.

 This morning I feel tired and I have a few minor aches and pains that just sort of nag whenever they get the chance. Of course the more I think about how tired I am, the more I yawn ! One sidetrack to these negative things came in the idea of wondering how well I would do these days if I could only take just one single picture at a gig. Then I realised I had a sort of analogue of that situation already - it was the very first picture I took of the night, and this is it.
1st picture of the
                        night - Jo Corteen
 It doesn't look too bad, but I hope I have some that are far better than this one. I have to confess that this isn't the raw image. I have put it through my photo editor to crop the picture to leave out some unwanted stuff (there was half a P.A. speaker on the left hand side of the picture), and I have brightened it up a bit - with selective brightening of Jo's face. I think I have to conclude that in many ways my photography has got more sloppy since when I first had a dabble with a film camera. In those days you had to get things about right first time because there was no digital editing then. Now I heavily rely on digital editing to get my pictures right.  Having said that, a lot of what I do could be done by a skilled photographer in a dark room - adjusting the exposure, dodging and burning.

 I think I have revised how I feel this this morning. I seem to have a little more energy than I thought earlier. Whether that energy would be totally expended by something as simple as a walk to the corner shop is a mystery for the moment. I still think I'll be trying to have a snooze or three today, maybe four, in preparation for another evening out tonight. Tonight it is Big Red Bus in Graces bar in Birkbeck.

 I have only been to Graces Bar once, and that was by taxi there and back (with Angela). I'm not sure if I like the place. It is a bit modern/American for my tastes, although fortunately not enough for it to actually be horrible. To get there I have to take a train (which fortunately are running today) as far as Clock House station, and then walk a hundred yards or so to the nearby tram stop, and then it is just 2 stops on the tram.

 Before that, it's back to this morning, and what I am doing for the rest of the day. I think my day will be adequately taken up with snoozing and editing photos I took last night. More immediately I have to start a search for my binoculars. I have just learnt that Patricia is  going to the theatre tonight with a friend, and wants a pair of binoculars so she can ogle Jeremy Irons better as he does whatever he is doing on stage !
Friday 2nd February 2018
 08:13 GMT
  Yesterday was cold, very cold, and it was the wind that made it feel so. The wind wasn't very strong, but it was enough to blow away the 5 or 6° C that was almost the best that the day could offer (although the forecast did say it would be 7° C at 2pm, and possibly not a minute before or after !). The biggest surprise was the evening rain. Not only did it start an hour earlier than forecast, but it was also considerably heavier than forecast....and what's more, I had forgotten it was forecast, and it took me by surprise. The peculiar thing is that the wind dropped to almost nothing while it was raining, and that made it feel warmer despite the rain !
a mostly harmless sort of day, but still
                  rather cool
 Today looks like it will be cool, but mostly benign. There is no sign, or even any sign of the likelyhood of a single ray of sunshine that the forecast predicted for this hour, but maybe the sun might manage to squeeze a ray through at some point during the course of the day. It looks like it will be a whole degree warmer than yesterday, but that could depend on the wind. The small print of the forecast says it will be breezy. So I guess it is going to feel extra chilly outside. It looks like we are in for a run of cold sunless days, and by Monday or Tuesday heading into potential snow territory.

  I hadn't heard from Angela when I set off to walk through the park to go to the pub, and I couldn't be bothered to try and get an answer from her. So I went anyway, and although I didn't get to see Angela, I did get my daily exercise, and I did get a few snaps along the way - and I stroked a police horse ! I also had a pint of Guinness (just the one) and completed the quick crossword in The Metro.
duck hen on a nest ?
 It was too cold for the ducks to dangle their bottoms in the cold river, and so this hen was resting up on a clump of weeds that had built up next to a bend in the river where the river bank was protected by a concrete bank. It's interesting how the plummage blends in with the concrete ! It is possible that the hen was sitting on eggs, but maybe not because I am sure that this clump of mud and weeds can get covered in water when the river is high.

mounted police
mounted police

 The mounted police were out in the park again yesterday, although I first saw them passing the end of my road. On the left is Sergeant Jessica ????? and on the right is a policeman whose name tag identifies him as just "Police Officer".  I actually said hello to these two, and confirmed that there is a police officer called Helen Wolski who is also a mounted copper, and who had been recognised by another friend who saw the previous pictures I had taken of the "Rozzers" on horses.

 It was fortunate that I wore my thickest coat as I walked through the park, and that I had it zipped up. It stopped my chest getting too cold. I had it zipped up when I walked home again, and on the whole it was pretty comfortable. More importantly it allowed my chest to continue getting better after walking around in a damp t-shirt the day before. That was particularly useful later in the afternoon.

 When I got home I ate a pack of sandwiches before laying on my bed to read. It wasn't long before I fell asleep, and I think I got at least an hours sleep - and that was rather welcome after the bad night I had had. I still wasn't raring to go when it came time to go out for my early evening drink with the Thursday night drinking club, and yet it seems I had more energy than I thought !

 I left home to walk to the station a little later than intended, but only by a few minutes. I usually over estimate the time it takes to walk to Catford station (not Catford Bridge station), and I knew I didn't have to rush to get the train I wanted. That train, the 16:47, is an oddity that is slipped in among the usual half hourly service, and so if I missed it, It would only mean a 15 minute wait. So once again there was no need to rush, and yet that is exactly what I did. It felt oddly easy to walk over the hump of a road bridge over the railway at Catford Bridge station, and it wasn't until I had walked up the three flights of stairs to the platform at Catford station that I felt the need to slow down a bit as I walked to near the far end of the platform. The best thing is that at no point did my chest complain.

 It is curious that it seemed almost as hard walking from Shortlands station to the pub, and that walk is less than a quarter the distance from home to Catford station, and apart from walking down the stairs at Shortlands station, it is all on the level ! Once in the pub I started on my usual three pints of beer, but yesterday was slightly unusual in that I stuck to just one particular beer. I can't remember the brewer, but it was called "Pride Of Kent", and I seem to recall the pump click incorporated a picture of a WW2 Spitfire plane - but it definitely wasn't Shepherd Neames "Spitfire" ale.

 I was only halfway through my first pint when I suddenly remembered I had a good reason to contact Angela. My sister sent me what I hope is the first of some old family pictures. This first one is a picture of me (maybe 5 years old) and both my sisters. The old person is my Grandmother on my dad's side of the family.
old family
 Angela replied quite quickly to my message, and said she loved the picture. She also confirmed that she had taken the rest of the week off work, but that she would be back, and see me on Monday. She also added that she had to take the time off to care for her kids who were naturally upset about the death of their original father.

 As planned, I got the 7.02pm train home. If it hadn't been for the fact that Patricia was here I might have been tempted by the fried chicken shop, but I came straight home instead. I was expecting Patricia to have eaten her half of a posh, "Specially Selected" Aldi ready meal of pasta with Tuscany sausage (or something along those lines), but she said she hadn't felt that hungry, and had eaten something lighter. That inspired me to put the pasta in the fridge so it can be microwaved back into life for a meal today, and to have just a second pack of sandwiches for my dinner/supper.  If was conveniently forget about the excessive amount of wasabi flavoured almonds I ate, yesterday was another day when I ate a lot less than usual.

 I expect I might feel a lot better today for eating less yesterday, but I'll have to wait until some suitable test comes along (like going for a walk) before I can confirm that. I do feel better in some way though. I seemed to have a reasonable sleep last night - although not perfect - but I reckon that along with my afternoon siestas, I am getting just enough sleep. It almost feels like the lengthening days are already reducing my need for sleep.

  It was certainly nice to get to the pub last night before night had fallen (although it was getting a little gloomy). What was less nice was leaving the pub in the middle of an unexpected torrential downpour. Fortunately my warmest coat does up easily, even with three pints of beer swilling around inside me, and is waterproof - although if it had a hood it would have been even better.

 I have no idea what I will do for the majority of the day today. If it ever brightens up I may walk through the park, and have a Guinness while doing the crossword, but I am not sure if I can be bothered to do that. I may just do a lot of resting until I intend to go out to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham tonight, and it is an easy venue to get to - or would be if the buses weren't on diversion while they rebuild the high street with wider pavements, and leave barely enough road space for a bicycle to get through - or so I am told ! I may only go for a short time because The Coach And Horses is very small, and it will probably be packed, and the light in there is usually very bad.
Thursday 1st February 2018
 08:41 GMT
Today we stumble blindly into the second month of the year.

  Yesterday had it's moments, and most of them were wet ones ! There seemed to be very little of the promised sunshine, and rather more rain than was forecast. That, together with the temperature being on the low side, had consequences that I shall explain later. I feel sure that the temperature fell away from it's early morning high much faster than was forecast - or maybe it was just me - or the effect of getting wet !
no cause for any
Today's forecast brings little reason for any joy....or not much. There is some nice sunshine at the moment, but it is very cold. It won't be long before the sunshine just turns into the occasional sunny spell, and then, once the clouds turn dark and ugly we might get a splash of rain. Later in the evening much more rain is forecast. Tomorrow is probably going to have a similar range of low temperatures as today, but it will be a much duller day.

  I wasn't feeling 100% yesterday morning, but there were things that had to be done. One of them was to go to Aldi and get in some provisions for Patricia's return from Italy. According to the weather forecast it should have been sunny when I went to Aldi, and it should have been sunny when I left Aldi again, but it wasn't. The reality is that it was dull and very lightly spitting with rain when I went to Aldi, and pouring with rain when I left there !

 Had I taken a rain coat that rain may not have mattered, and it might not have felt as cold as it did with a wet t-shirt on ! Wrapping my chest in a cold wet t-shirt did it no favours. It wasn't too long afterwards that my chest began to feel tight and aching, and to a lesser extent it still does this morning. There were times when the discomfort was remarkably similar to a (mild) heart attack, but I am assuming it is just the usual "soft tissue damage"/"twisted rib"/"dislocated rib cage" that has been plaguing me for the last 4 years. Perhaps the proof is that I am still alive this morning.

 At lunchtime, as usual, I walked to the pub, but without any idea if I would be meeting Angela or not. It wasn't a very nice because it was grey and damp, although not actually raining. It wasn't until I was actually in the pub, a quarter of my way through a pint of Guinness that Angela replied to my messages to say that she had taken the day off work, and would not be joining me. That was definitely annoying - more so as I am not entirely sure why she needed to take the day off work. Yes there was a death in the extended family, and I understand the grief that causes, but I guess I was raised with the oh so British idea of "stiff upper lip".

 After I finished my single pint of Guinness I left the pub and went home. It was hard work walking home...well maybe not hard work, but the legacy of the wet t-shirt across  my scar tissues and stuff was beginning to bite, and it was certainly uncomfortable. It was made worse by it turning overcast. The heavy looking sky made it feel colder than it was. The silly thing was that it was only heavily overcast in one direction - the direction I was walking. If I looked to my left the sky was still bright blue.
dark and gloomy ahead
 Just out of sight, beyond the houses on the left, the sky was mostly blue, but this was the gloomy view walking down Albacore Crescent - the only crescent road I can think of around here. I took this photo at this particular point because it shows the shape of the crescent best.
some cloud, but fairly
 This photo was supposed to show how sunny it was for part of my walk to the pub, but somehow it looks rather dull. A little blue is visible in the distant sky, but what seems to me to be the best indication of sunshine is the couple of shadows across the tree on the left hand border of the picture.
Robin on railway
 This picture came out a bit better than I imagined. It is a red breasted robin perched on the barbed wire above the fence alongside the railway line that runs through the park.

 It wasn't long after I got home from the pub that Patricia arrived. She will be here another week now before flying back to Argentina. I had a mostly relaxing afternoon and evening apart from doing a little bit of cooking. During the whole time I could feel the pressure of my t-shirt pushing against my scar. I didn't feel good at all, and it became worse when I went to bed. In the dark of the night you wonder if the pain is just rheumatic in nature, or if it is something more sinister. Initially I didn't feel all that bad, but just as I was about to fall asleep a message came through on my phone. I read the message, which was of no great consequence, and as I twisted round to put the phone down again my chest sort of went "twang", and it was really difficult finding a position to lay in that didn't hurt. I don't think I fell asleep until almost 2am, and even then I woke up frequently during the night.

super bright full
blue moon or blood moon
 One delay in getting to bed, and probably stupid extra exposure to frigid night air, was taking some pictures of the full moon last night. Last night was a special occasion that only happens every 150 years, or something like that. It was not only a full moon, but it was a blue moon - the second full moon in a single month, and it was a blood moon. Sometime last night the shadow of the Earth was supposed to pass over the face of the moon, and that turns it to a dull red colour. I didn't see that, but I did get the two snaps above, taken with two different cameras, at around 11pm last night.

 This morning I feel pretty rough, but I think I will probably go and see if Angela turns up in the pub at lunchtime. Later on, although not that much later, I should be going to The Shortlands Tavern for my regular Thursday night drink with the lads. In the meantime I am unwashed and feel really stinky. It's time to get under the shower !