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January 2018
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My Diary/Blog For the Month of January 2018

Wednesday 31st January 2018
 08:44 GMT
  It wasn't very warm yesterday. In fact it was rather chilly, particularly in the morning, but there was some nice sunshine ! As midnight approached the temperature started going up, and the clouds started to thicken.
                  but maybe with some sunshine
 I have a feeling that the temperature could have been as high as 10° C at 7am this morning, but as this screenshot of today's forecast shows, the temperature will gradually fall away as the day progresses. Tomorrow might even start with a frost. What the forecast doesn't show is that there was quite a lot of rain in the early hours of this morning, and without going outside to check, I can't make up my mind if it has totally stopped even now. It looks as if we can expect a few more showers today, but also a fair bit of sunshine - although I would never have guessed that from looking at the deeply murky sky at this moment. There might be some rain after sunset, but tomorrow looks like it will be mostly cold, peaking at just 6° C, but bright and frequently sunny.

  Once I got moving I realised I didn't seem to have much energy yesterday. It was almost certainly the direct result of eating too much. My first bit of movement was to go to Poundland on the high street. I felt strangely stiff as I walked there and back. It was nothing like the nice fluid motion I had when I went to Tesco the day before. I didn't have very long to get my breath back before I was off again to meet Angela in the pub.

 Angela has been going through a bit of a tough time recently, and it seems it was about the impending deaths of not only her daughters father (he actually dies last night), but also the impending death of her son's girlfriends dad. He too is in the last stages of a terminal illness. Two deaths so close together of members of the extended family is enough to upset anybody.

 I felt happy that I managed to provide some distraction, and brought a smile to Angela's lips a few times. I'm not sure if saying "I felt happy" is actually the right words here, but it did give me a warm feeling that I was able to help even in a small way. When we parted there was some doubt about whether Angela would be at work today, and hence whether we would be meeting today. I hope Angela can confirm with me if we will meet today, or if she is taking the day off to see her daughter.

 I didn't do much of anything once I got home from the pub. I had something to eat, and then I lay on my bed to do some reading. I don't think I read more than a page or two before I put the book down and fell asleep. I have an idea that I might have slept for almost 2 hours ! My first major memory might have been some time after waking up, but it was the stark realisation that it was 5pm, and it was still light outside. Little more than a month earlier it would have been dark for almost a full hour at 5pm. It seems that spring is really going to happen !

 It wasn't until later in the evening that I busied myself with setting up to transcribe some old VHS analogue tape to digital. I basically have three ways of doing this, and each way can be heavily flawed. First of all is a little box that records onto an SD memory card. It was cheap and nasty, and was basically designed to record security camera footage when there is very little action on the screen. It has two major flaws. The first is that the sound quality is awful. I don't think it has any automatic gain control, and I know it doesn't have any manual gain control. The sound comes out too loud and distorted. The other major flaw is that the bit rate of the recording is too slow, and the video compression is not set correctly. This means that any movement on the screen can cause awful video artefacts !

 The second option is another little box that records onto a micro-SD card. It is far superior in every way except for one major flaw. It is possible that I am using it incorrectly, but there is no information in the very brief, badly translated, manual to suggest using it any other way. The problem is that on finishing recording it doesn't always close the video data file correctly, and while megabytes of disk space are used, the file is completely unreadable. Last night I recorded 5 short clips, and only 2 were usable ! I may show one of them here sooner or later.

 My third option for digitising analogue video is to use my Sanyo DV camcorder. Unlike most camcorders it is capable of recording from an external input. The huge problem is that it can interpret any dropout at the bottom of the frame as being an anti-copy signal - and old VHS tapes have plenty of dropout at the bottom of the frame ! On the plus side, the analogue to digital conversion is damn near perfect !

 I finished playing with my video tapes at about 10pm. In some ways it was a premature end. After rewinding the VHS tape I was playing/copying from, there was a strange click, and ten repeated clicks. It seems likely that the tape got mangled in some way. I couldn't eject the cassette, and it seems I will have to open the machine to find out what has happened, and to extract the cassette. It is possible that my very last VHS machine might have bitten the dust, and brought to an end my attempts to transfer any more video.

 I was in bed before 11pm, but it must have been closer to 1am this morning before I managed to get to sleep. I don't think I slept very well last night, and I don't feel very good this morning. This is a pity because I have a semi busy day today. Patricia returns from Italy today, and before I go to meet Angela, if I go to meet Angela, I want to go to Aldi and buy some stuff for Patricia. It is possible that if I do meet Angela we could have Patricia joining us. If she had no delays on her flight, and there are no problems with the trains here, she would be going through Ladywell station, just 5 minutes walk from the pub, at the same time I will be in there.
Tuesday 30th January 2018
 08:49 GMT
  One thing you can say about yesterday was that it was mild. At least it was mild when the wind wasn't blowing ! Without the wind, 11° C would have been t-shirt weather - almost ! Around the middle of the day it was supposed to be wet, but I am sure there was less rain than forecast, and I seem to remember some bright periods when rain was supposed to fall. More than that, I am sure I can remember a little bit, maybe just a minute here, and a minute there, of weak sunshine ! The sky definitely cleared after sunset, and the temperature started to fall......
                  frosty start, and a cold sunny day
 By this morning the temperature had fallen to zero (and maybe  lower while I was sleeping). An earlier forecast than the screenshot above predicted mist for just after sunrise, and maybe I did see a hint of haze when I opened the curtains this morning. As I write this the sun has just risen above the roofs of the nearby houses, and it is dazzingly bright - so much so that I have multicoloured patches floating in front of my eyes after accidently looking straight at it for half a second. It's a shame that it will only be 6° C at best today, but the temperature is supposed to rise through the night to give another warmer, but wetter day tomorrow.

  I felt rather sad that Angela didn't want to meet me after her optician appointment, and further sad that as yet she has not said the results of that appointment. I know she was feeling down on Sunday, and I wonder if she was feeling apprehensive about that appointment. Last week, when she told me about the appointment, she did mention there was some family history of glaucoma, but I didn't think that was a particular worry with modern treatments etc.

 I did two things to make myself busy yesterday. The first was to go to Tesco. In defiance of the weather I went there without a coat, and just wearing a t-shirt as a top. When the air was still it felt perfectly comfortable, but I have to confess that when the wind blew 11° C didn't feel very comfortable at all ! There were only a few things I wanted from Tesco, and I almost stuck to getting just those, but inevitably a few extras appeared in my basket.

 I really ought to try a lot more to resist the lure of half price sandwiches, but I ended up with four of them. To make matters worse, they were not half price, but more like 5% off - at least the tuna and sweetcorn sandwich I have just eaten for breakfast was. I think the cheese and ham rolls I ate yesterday, and which left me feeling a bit overstuffed, were closer to half price.

 One of the things about going to Tesco yesterday was that I felt unusually closer to fit and healthy than I expected. This was particularly so when I left the place wearing a rucksack filled with heavy bottles. It feels like a weighty rucksack forces my body into a better posture. I came out of the supermarket I felt taller than usual (an effect enhanced by not wearing my glasses - the ground seems further away), and I felt like I had bags of energy. Apart from the chilly wind, the 6 minute walk home seemed like a pleasant stroll.

 With this strange feeling of energy inside me I tackled a horrendous job - hand washing a thick double duvet cover. It was really heavy hauling it out of the big bucket of soapy water, and wringing it out after 1 wash, 4 rinses, and finally from fabric conditioner, and it needed all my strength to do it, but I did it !  This morning, after being on a clothes horse, with a fan heater on it's lowest setting, blowing over it, that duvet cover is dry and ready to be used.

 Washing that duvet cover, and then eating ham and cheese rolls, left me no good to do anything else for the rest of yesterday...and yet I did a few small things. One was to cook a steak and peas dinner - a dinner that I did not enjoy as much as I should have. I think the problem was that while the idea of eating a steak rare seems like a good idea, I think that I very much prefer the flavour of a well done steak. Of course on a barbecue you can have the best of both worlds - crispy on the outside, and red inside. That is not so easy to do using my tabletop mini oven and grill, and I should have given that steak an extra 5 minutes.

 While I didn't do anything else that involved expending much energy, I did get mildly creative. One bit of creativity started when, out of the blue, I suddenly remembered where I had put a little gizmo I once bought for digitising analogue video. I had the box for it downstairs, and I looked everywhere for it, but I didn't look in a bland looking black camera case up in my bedroom. I think I stuffed it in there to take to work one day. I'm sure I wasn't even thinking about it when I suddenly realised where it was.

 It was exactly where I imagined, and when I found it, it had a memory card in it that contained several video files. Their date stamps showed I had last used the box in December 2016 ! There are two big problems with the box. The first is that it doesn't really know what to make of standard European 625 line, 50Hz television. The second is that the bit rate is too low, and that causes lots of visual artifacts when the video contains movement.

 One of the video files was a recording I must have made in the early 1970s using my portable video set up. By "portable" I mean "luggable". The camera was the size of two house bricks, and the recorder was the size of  2 breeze blocks ! In addition I also had to lug around a small lead acid battery to get more than half and hours recording time ! This video was of a walk through the woods with a difference. The difference was that it was a visit to a pirate radio site. The video quality is disgusting - even before the mess that the digitising made of it - but I may well make a special web page to show it to the criminally insane - watch this space for details - one day !
blue and white lights
                        in a blue Absolut bottle
 My other bit of creativity, besides doing some light editing on the walk through the woods video, was to do "something" with a blue glass Absolut vodka bottle that has crinkly sides (not really obvious in the picture above). The bottle was too pretty to throw away, and has been sitting there as a sort of ornament for the last 6 months. I suddenly wondered what it would look like if I stuffed it with battery powered white and blue LED fairy lights. It looks more impressive that the picture above, but it definitely needs more thinking about. Rather than a random tangle of lights I wonder of wrapping them around a spindle would look better. If the creative urge comes over me again I may experiment further.

 It is definitely nice to have 99.996% recovered from the cold I had over a fortnight ago. (I did have to blow my nose to release a little green mucus just once this morning). Getting to sleep without coughing or worrying about a blocked nose is a luxury we all too often take for granted. It was easy getting to sleep last night, and while I didn't sleep right through the night, it feels like I slept well. This morning I don't feel like running a marathon, but it does feel like a walk through the park will be..........well, a walk in the park !

 At lunchtime I will be going for a pint or three of Guinness, and I hope that Angela will be joining me. It may be stupid, but I am just going to assume she will be there - unless she contacts me beforehand to say she won't. My biggest fear is that after a day off work she will be too busy catching up with her work that she won't be able to get out. Oh well, at least I can enjoy the Guinness and do the crosswords in The Metro.
Monday 29th January 2018
 08:49 GMT
  January may not be over yet, but we do seem to be getting an occasional mild day, and yesterday was one of them. It may have been gloomy outside, but at 13° C it was comfortable to walk to the corner shop without a coat. As far as I noticed, or can recall, it stayed dry yesterday despite some pretty thick clouds. That's probably going to change this afternoon.
a wet afternoon
 It's only supposed to be 10° C this morning, but it still feels a fresh sort of way. From midday until almost sunset, rain is forecast to spoil things. On the other hand, as soon as the sky clears the temperature will drop, and at 6am tomorrow morning it could be just 2° C (and possibly frosty). Tomorrow could be a much brighter day with some sunshine possible, but the morning will be misty, and the early evening might be wet.

  Yesterday was a funny sort of day. There was one thing I was intending to do that I had forgotten about when I wrote yesterday morning. I wanted to go to a Chain acoustic gig that was in West Wickham, and best of all it was a 6.30pm start. I still could have gone if I had fancied going on a rail replacement bus - which I definitely didn't ! These weekend closures of the line are increasingly annoying, although at least we had trains on Saturday for a change.

 I don't know if it was the new found knowledge that there were no train, or something less tangible, but I found myself in the sort of state where it was difficult to be bothered about anything. Sometimes you have to force yourself to do stuff when like that, and sometimes that can bring it's own rewards.

 There were two things I forced myself to do yesterday, although one was mandatory rather than optional. Quite early in the morning I pulled on the Marigolds and tackled a pile of stinking washing up in the kitchen sink. I even cleaned the inside of the microwave at the same time ! It felt satisfying to get that job out of the way.

 The next job carried no special importance, but it was satisfying on a couple of levels. I had threatened to wash a duvet cover, but one of the duvet covers wasn't a duvet cover at all. It was a double fitted sheet and some pillowcases. Washing the sheet by hand still took a bit of stamina, but I did the whole wash in one sitting, and it included one more rinse than I usually do. Once I had it hung up to dry I was sweating, but feeling good in an exhausted sort of way.

 After that I lay on my bed cooling down, and for the next hour or two (or three ?) I did a little staring at the ceiling (while listening to some music), some reading, and some snoozing. Occasionally a thought would intrude in on my relaxation, and it was the idea that I was thinking I ought to go to Tesco. My reply to that thought was that I couldn't be bothered. It got to 2:50pm and I had the sudden idea that all I really wanted was a bottle of diet cola, and I could get that from the corner shop.

 At that point I hadn't washed, and I hadn't even brushed my hair. I was probably very stinky, but I quickly pulled on some clothes, and rushed to the corner shop before it closed (although it actually closes at 4pm and not 3pm). It is useful to mention here that only about an hour had passed since eating a rather big Sunday dinner. In such a state I surprised myself that I was able to do a quick march to, and from, the corner shop with little effort. It was almost as if I had finally got over the cold, and it's knock on effects, that started a fortnight earlier.

 The rest of the afternoon and evening had the potential to be boring, but somehow it wasn't, and I don't know why. The time seemed to pass smoothly without resorting to time wasters like TV, and with little effort on my part it was time for bed. Overall I seemed to sleep quite well last night. Even the dream about nuclear weapons didn't seem particularly alarming !

 This morning I seem to have a mild headache, but otherwise I seem to feel quite well. One text message has left me feeling slightly sad. I had hoped to meet Angela in Sydenham after she had been to the opticians, but she sent me a text message to say not to. I have a feeling that she expects lover boy to turn up there instead. I have suggested that if she is alone she could come and visit me at home, but I think that will be very unlikely, and I will have to be patient and wait until tomorrow when out when we should be meeting during her work lunchbreak as normal.

 Not seeing Angela leaves a hole in my day. It does allow me a bit more time to go shopping this morning, but I am not sure what else I might do. Maybe I will finally tackle washing the duvet cover, and it's even possible I might get the hoover out. Hoovering could be a good idea because I definitely have a visitor on Wednesday. That is when Patricia flies back from Italy. Her flight back to Argentina is, if I recall correctly, on the 7th Feb, and so she will be here for another week. Before anything else I ought to wash and get dressed !
Sunday 28th January 2018
 08:26 GMT
  I don't know how to describe yesterday - it had a bit of everything negative, and just one positive thing....hmmm, maybe two. The early morning sunshine was welcome, but it didn't last, and it didn't contribute any warmth. The big problem with the morning was the wind. It wasn't all that strong, but it was strong enough to blow away any warmth, and it felt much colder out that it was in reality (although it could have just been me going through a funny phase). During the afternoon there were a few showers - mostly light, but one was a bit heavy. The most positive thing, more positive that the bit of morning sunshine, was that by early evening the wind seemed to have dropped, and the temperature was a fairly agreeable 11° C.
grey, but not too
 The temperature stayed up through the night, and I would concur with the official forecast temperature of 10° C. I wouldn't agree with the forecast for sunny spells (or intervals) at 8am this morning. It was quite grey at that point, although at the moment I might be generous and say it is bright grey. It seems the general trend today is for it to be grey, greyer, and more grey, but at least it should be fairly mild feeling with a few hours of 13° C towards the end of the afternoon. It would be great if tomorrow could be bright and dry, but at the moment the morning is forecast to be grey, and it will rain in the afternoon. It will probably be a couple of degrees cooler than today.

  The first thing on yesterday's agenda was to meet Aleemah at the station. She was a bit later than expected, but she informed me of her progress, and I was able to stay indoors until I knew her train was approaching Catford Bridge. By tradition we would go and have breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, but I was feeling sort of odd, and I didn't fancy beer for breakfast. I suggested we go in the cafe like we used to before we started going in the Wetherspoons pub. Aleemah was quite happy with that.

 Instead of a couple of pints of beer I had double egg and chips, and Aleemah had pie and mash instead of a "veggie" breakfast. It is ages since I last had double egg and chips, and while it was nice, it was not a good as I remembered. The trouble was the chips were obviously re-fried, and they came out more like "fries" from a fast food restaurant. I feel sure that 3 or 4 (or more ?) years ago the chips in that cafe were thicker and more like real chip shop chips.

 After breakfast we took a quick look in Poundstretcher, and then walked home. During that walk I felt like the wind was really chilling me. The immediate problem was that my chest started to hurt, but later on I had to turn the heating up full while we sat watching the DVD of the reconstructed Dr Who adventure "Shada". Until I warmed up I felt rather ill.

 One thing that surprised me was that there was actually very little reconstruction needed to restore that Dr Who story. Before the episode was canned by a technicians strike back in 1979 most of the exterior scenes were shot of cine film - which can't be erased like video tapes - the fate of many early Dr Who stories. To reconstruct the story animation was used, but surprisingly little of it. The voiceovers for the Dr were done by a now very old Tom Baker, and it is surprising how little his voice has changed over the years. There is more information about the reconstruction here -

 The reconstruction was presented as one long movie, and it lasted quite a long time. At the end we both agreed it was rather enjoyable. It was after 2pm when Aleemah went to get her train, and I had the chance for a lie down, and a snooze - except I couldn't get to sleep for some reason. Maybe I just wasn't as tired as I thought I was, or maybe I was being kept awake by some nagging pains in my chest. I did wonder if I ought to take a wander along to the hospital about those pains, but two things gave strong hints that it was no more than my scars, internal and external, from my heart operation doing their usually dastardly stuff - egged on by getting really chilled in the morning - plus I am going through a phase where they are being more troublesome than usual.

 After an hour or two of laying on my bed I decided to get up and do something - something kill or cure ! I opted to wash some t-shorts and some pants - by hand in big tubs of hot water. Doing that certainly warmed me up. By the end I was sweating, and I was feeling good. I don't understand the process, but the actions I take to hand wash, all the pounding and swirling, plus the wringing out, seems to pull my rib cage back into shape. Apart from feeling hot, sweaty, and knackered, all my chest pains had gone away....or maybe all but gone away.

 Later on I was reminded just how sensitive the area behind the main visible operation scar is. As I took down a shoe box that had the shoes I was going to wear in the evening, I managed to poke the scar with the pointed corner of the box. It wasn't a hard poke by any means, but the pain was momentarily excruciating. It quickly faded to nothing, but it served as a sort of reminder of how sensitive that area can be, and in turn helps to explain how all my chest pains are generated. I am pretty sure it is not supposed to be like that, and if I ever get around to complaining about these pains to my doctor again (for the fourth time), I shall use that poke from the box as an illustration of how easy it is for me to suffer.

 To be honest, I wasn't looking forward to going out last night. I just can't get the hang of going out well after dark, and on a damp night. Maybe it was made easier by it being 11° C, or maybe that just made the journey back at 11pm more pleasant. The event was The Life Of Brian playing in The Partridge pub in Bromley. The main reason I did go was because Angela asked me to go. It was all a bit weird because lover boy is the drummer for the band, and I didn't want to bump into him. Fortunately I didn't, and on reflection I had a good time, albeit with some reservations.
Angela looking lovely
                        at the gig
 The biggest problem is that because of the noise it was difficult to talk to Angela (who was looking lovely - picture above). I only managed to decipher half of what she said, and raising my voice in the hope she could hear me left my throat feeling a bit raw. One thing she did say that I understood in meaning, if not in every word, was that she looked forward to our private drink together on Monday. The only problem with that is that she is not at work on Monday because of an appointment at the opticians on Monday morning. We will plot and plan later, but a tentative idea is that I'll meet her after the appointment, and because it is in Sydenham we could go for a walk around Crystal Palace Park together afterwards. It will probably end with a quick drink somewhere on the way home, or if the weather is very miserable, a longer drink in a pub somewhere. None of this may happen if lover boy has similar ideas !
Miranda Bell fronting
                        Life Of Brian
 I only took a few pictures last night because I wanted to stay near Angela. Here is one of the few. It is Miranda Bell, Angela's daughter fronting The Life Of Brian.

 I stayed at the pub until 11pm, but the band played on possibly as late as midnight. I was very lucky when I left in that I had to wait zero time for a bus home. It was a pleasant bus ride home, or as pleasant as a bus ride can be, although it was slightly spoiled by the dreaded "This bus will wait a while at this stop to regulate the service". Fortunately it only took a minute or two to get back on the timetable, and I reckon I finally got home not much later than 11.30pm.

 One thing I didn't want to do when I got home was to eat despite the temptation being close to overwhelming. I managed to get through the day without eating too much, and I wanted to keep it that way. I managed it, and maybe that, or the large glass of Irish whiskey, helped me get a good sleep - albeit for not as long as I would have wanted, but I guess I got over 6 hours sleep. This morning I seem to have a mild hangover like headache, but otherwise I think I feel better than many mornings.

 I have no idea what I am doing today. I am tempted to go to Tesco, but with all the temptations that brings I wonder if it is wise. I think there is a reasonable chance that I will attempt to wash a duvet cover - really hard work by hand !!! Other than that I have some reading to do....and maybe I might order a few more books from Amazon.
Saturday 27th January 2018
 08:09 GMT
  It was less grey than expected yesterday - even when the forecast predicted dark clouds the clouds were a moderate light grey. Sadly there was never any blue sky to be seen that was bigger than a thumbnail, but the sun did manage to shine through once or twice in the afternoon. The maximum temperature was 7° C, and with only quite light wind it didn't feel too cold.
early morning sunshine, but then overcast
 The sky is clear, and there is some nice sunshine this morning. Sadly it won't last - if the forecast is correct. In less than an hour it will cloud over, and stay that way for the rest of the day. It seems like the cloud may get thick enough for a little rain later in the afternoon. It is a rather cool 4° C now, but the temperature will slowly rise to 11° C by the end of the day, and it is currently forecast to still be 10° C tomorrow. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a mild day with the temperature peaking at 13° C for a short while, but it is going to be a day without sunshine, although it should stay dry.

 I didn't feel too good yesterday, and it was probably worse in the morning. I was still suffering from a sort of bloated feeling, and some assorted pains from the corners and centre of my rib cage. The bloat sometimes feels like indigestion, but I am beginning to think it is something that I suffer from rarely that crops up periodically - some sort of stomach ulcer. It is almost certainly caused by a bit of acid reflux as a result of drinking beer on a too full stomach. Some antacid tablets help, and that tends to confirm my guesswork diagnosis.

The assorted chest pains are just the ongoing story of my post operation scar tissue, and the damage I am sure I did during the critical early stages of healing (i.e. carrying 10 times the load that my surgeon forbade me to go over !). It is made worse by occasional bouts of bad coughing - usually at night, but occasionally during the day - and most particularly when accidentally inhaling chilli dust off some spicy food (that really made me cough !!!!!)

 I wondered just how good or bad I would feel when I walked to the pub to meet Angela. As seems to frequently the case, walking eased the chest pains, and maybe it helped a bit with the heavy feeling in (on, of ??) my gut. I think a feeling of heaviness is possibly more accurate than describing it as a bloated feeling, although it does depend on whether I am standing up or sitting down. Describing pain or discomfort is terribly complicated !

 I had to walk to the pub faster than usual, although not at breakneck speed. The reason was because I was expecting a parcel delivery, and I wanted to minimise the time I was out of the house. Fortunately the parcel man took note of the note I left on the door and managed to get next door to take it in while I was happily drinking Guinness in the pub with Angela.

 It was a very nice drink with Angela. I only had time for two pints, and I had to drink half of one by myself when Angela went back to work before I had finished. While Angela says that she is still having a good time with lover boy she is saying it less convincingly recently. Maybe it is telling that she is keen that I go along to her daughter's gig in The Partridge (Bromley) tonight. The bad thing is that lover boy will be there playing the drums, but for a couple of hours he will be busy playing, and the layout of the Partridge is such that only a few lucky people can see the band directly, and of course the band can only see a limited amount of audience. It should be possible for Angela and myself to have the occasional hug and stuff in relative safety - an idea she agreed to with a smile on her face. I have a feeling that were it not an impossibility at the moment, she would be taking me home after the gig - just like we used to less than 18 months ago.
a selfie taken on a
                        proper camera
  One of the things I tried at the pub was taking a dual selfie using a proper camera. The results, as can be seen above, were quite pleasing. I look a bit "rugged", but Angela looks very beautiful - to me at least, but maybe I am making allowances for her not getting much sleep the night before, and consuming far too much vodka with her daughter !

 I got a fair amount of sleep last night, and I think that some of it was good sleep. I certainly feel different this morning in a good sort of way. Probably the best thing was that I didn't wake up all stuffed up and coughing. Could it be that I am finally over the cold that started a fortnight ago, and has taken this long to finally dry up ? Maybe, but I wouldn't like to count my chickens just yet.......

 This morning I shall be meeting Aleemah. We will start with a quick breakfast in the Wetherspoons pub, and that will be followed by watching the DVD of the restored Dr Who story "Shada". It won't make any actual difference, but I'll be playing it on my new BluRay player. I took it out of it's box yesterday evening, and wired it up. The first disc I tried in it was a home burnt disc that I didn't initially realise was burnt as a data disc. The mp4 file on it played perfectly. It seems the new player is happy with not only CDs, DVDs and BluRay discs, but will also play a variety of computer files - including sound, picture and video file formats.

 Aleemah will be going home again in the early afternoon, and then I will.....well, probably I'll lie on my bed and have my siesta. An afternoon snooze seems to be a regular bit of my life these days. It is after my snooze that I will have difficulty. I have to somehow make sure I am awake, comfortable and alert enough to go out late tonight to meet Angela at the gig in Bromley. Apart from the fact that lover boy being there will be grating on my mind, I think I might enjoy some of tonight !
Friday 26th January 2018
 08:32 GMT
  Yesterday was our treat of the week. It wasn't very warm....well, not warm at all, but it was bright and sunny mostly all day long. The temperature was forecast to hit 10° C, but it didn't feel quite that high.
back to greyness, but it could be dry
 Today it's back to greyness, but maybe there is hope for a ray of sunshine at 3pm....maybe. It is supposed to be a dry day, and that will be a plus point, but a maximum of 7° C is nothing to get excited about. At the moment it looks like tomorrow will a little warmer, but it will be as grey as today, perhaps more so, and the rain will be back !
blue sky, bright
                        sunshine, and a babbling brook
 This is what it looked like at midday yesterday - blue sky, bright sunshine, and a babbling brook. It could almost be a snap taken on a summer's day - except there are no leaves on the trees, it was barely "mild", and the babbling brook is an artificial water course that has been made to look like a brook.
  I took the picture above while walking through the park to get to the pub to meet Angela. It was wonderful to see her again. It was one of those days where we both seemed to feel extra close to each other. Angela felt some sort of need to tell me some family secrets, and I felt deeply honoured to be able to hear them. It gave me a warm glow inside. Unfortunately necking back the last of my Guinness so I could walk Angela back to work gave me a different feeling inside !

 I felt fairly bloated as I walked back home. Forcing down about a third of a pint of Guinness obviously didn't help, but I was still carrying the legacy of eating too much the previous day.  That did leave me with a bit of a dilemma. At 5pm I was expecting to drink more beer as part of my regular Thursday night drinking session, but I didn't want to drink more on an empty stomach - even if the rest of my digestive tract was pretty full. So I had a sandwich and a ready made salad sort of thing.

 After eating I lay on my bed and fell asleep. When I woke up it felt like most of my lunch had settled OK, but I still felt a little uncomfortable. Fortunately the walk to the bus stop helped settle some more of it. When I got to the pub I found I was struggling to finish my third pint, but that was sort of OK because I rarely have more than 3 pints on a Thursday evening. Once I had finished my beer I said my goodbyes and headed for the bus stop.

 I only had to wait 2 or 3 minutes for a bus home. The walk from the bus stop (by Catford Bridge station) helped settle the beer and any remaining food. This was good because I had pre-cooked a dinner, and I was keen to try it. It was a posh "specially selected" Aldi ready meal of meatballs with pasta under a crispy, cheesy topping. I found it was still tepid after sitting in the oven for as long as 2 hours, and that may not have been the best way to eat it, but it was quite nice - apart from the fact it left me feeling bloated all over again !

 A couple of hours later I went to bed. I didn't feel quite so bloated by then, but I did feel rather hot. It made getting to sleep difficult, and then there was the bad side effect of the drug that has a beneficial side effect. The beneficial side effect of the drug Losartan-K is is slows down the processing of beer into wee, and allows a comfortable journey back on the bus after drinking lots of beer, and also for some time after. Eventually that beer has to go somewhere, and the bad side effect kicks in - waking up to pee - sometimes at 1 hour intervals !

 On the whole I slept badly, but I did have a lovely dream about Angela. It was curious in that it wasn't a sexual dream (apart from the last 2 seconds !!), but it was a very sensuous dream. In an ideal world I would probably still be in bed, but there is a problem, a problem that could continue for a lot of the day. When I got in from pub last night I found a card on the door mat. Hermes had tried to deliver a parcel while I was out. It was a BluRay player I had ordered from Amazon, and it wasn't due to be delivered until today.

 I suppose it doesn't actually make much difference if I was originally expecting that parcel today, or the fact that I missed it yesterday, and the card said they would automatically attempt another delivery today. I still have to be on full alert today until it comes. So I got up slightly early, and had a shower, and washed my hair. I am making the stupid assumption that the delivery driver will try and deliver what he couldn't deliver yesterday first, and that it will come this morning. I bet it doesn't !

 One thing Angela told me yesterday was that she was having a meal with her daughter Miranda last night, and then "going on the lash". It seem they had a very good time. I know this because Angela phoned me this morning while she was waiting for a bus to work. That was very unusual, and rather nice. She is running a bit late after a late night, but looks forward to seeing me at lunchtime.

 Apart from popping out to see Angela for maybe 90 minutes (perhaps I bit longer if my parcel turns up earlier), I have nothing really planned for today. There is a gig on in Bromley that I could go to, but I don't feel any desperate need to go to it. I could more usefully spend my time doing a bit of housework. Tomorrow morning Aleemah is coming over to watch the Dr Who DVD I bought before Xmas, and which she was originally going to watch between Xmas and New years eve, but couldn't come over because she was sick. Hopefully all will be well tomorrow because I am quite keen to watch the DVD myself !
moorhen paddling in
                        cold water
I took this snap of a moorhen while walking through the park yesterday. It was one occasion when I wish I had been using a DSLR camera with complete control over the camera settings. The camera I was using, a Nikon P500, insisted on using a slow shutter speed because the light was not good. I would have used a larger aperture instead. The depth of field would have been a lot less, but the motion blur, as mild as it is, would have been even less.
Thursday 25th January 2018
 09:12 GMT
  First it wasn't, and then it was very wet. Very wet indeed ! After the light misty rain which made the morning damp, but maybe not actually wet, it brightened up, and for a few seconds it seemed like the sun was going to come out. It might have been less than half an later that the heavens opened, and there was torrential rain. It eased off after a while, but by that time I had lost interest in the outside world ! The temperature seemed to be as forecast - a high of 13° C by midday, and then it dropped to just 8° C by early afternoon, and stayed like that through most of the evening and into the night.
a much brighter day
 Today promises to be a much brighter day, and indeed, as I write this the sun is shining. A high of 10° C, with bright sunshine, may actually feel good of the wind isn't too strong. Tomorrow is going to be a couple of degrees cooler, but the current forecast only give a small hope of a glimpse of sunshine just before sunset. The rest of the day will be grey, maybe only light grey, but still grey !
  After a damp grey morning it seemed nice to take a walk through the park. As I walked it seemed to get brighter and brighter, and although the sun never did break through the clouds, it gave a very bright patch to the clouds that was strong enough to cast a weak shadow. That was probably about the time the temperature hit it's warmest, 13° C, and it almost seemed springlike. I even spotted some daffodils with buds that looked to be just days from opening.
daffodils getting
                        ready to flower
a spare vodka and coke
 Sadly the joys of spring were false in many respects. It was still wasn't raining when I got to the pub, but I hadn't been in there that long before it began to pour down. I don't think I appreciated just how heavy it was until I left the pub after a couple of pints of Guinness and a vodka and diet coke.

 The latter drink was because Angela left it too late to say she wasn't going to go to the pub yesterday. At 1pm I bought the vodka and coke, pictures on the left, on the assumption that she would arrive at the pub within minutes. I think it was gone quarter past one when I got a text message saying that she was too busy, and didn't want to face the torrential rain.

 That was understandable, although I still felt very sad not to see her. After taking a day and a half off work sick she would have a backlog of work to catch up on, and that rain was heavy enough to put off anyone, let alone someone who had just been ill. What was less understandable is why she never responded to several messages I sent her, and still hasn't.

 The rain was absolutely teeming down when I left the pub, and even the merest dip in the ground had filled with a puddle the size of many of the more important seas. It was lucky that I had anticipated rain, and had worn my waterproof, hooded coat. Had I realised how heavy the rain was going to be I might even have tried my old waterproof over-trousers to see if they were still wearable !

 Despite the rain, and my trousers starting to get quite wet, I didn't go straight home. I went via Cash Busters. They are a loan shark/pawn brokers/secondhand shop where I have bought several cameras and accessories. On this occasion I was after a Kindle e-book reader. It wasn't for myself, but for Patricia's friend Laura back in Argentina. She has recently been diagnosed with cancer, and will be spending a lot of time in hospital. A lightweight e-book reader stuffed with loads of book should keep her amused.

 Maybe it was my (our) lucky day because Cash Busters did have a Kindle in, and it seemed nice and cheap to me. It was in the window for just £40, and without really trying I got the price reduced to £35. In fact I didn't really ask for any reduction, but the manager of the shop seems to like me. Maybe it is because he often has to deal with the scum of the earth in there, and by contrast I usually have a cheery disposition, have the right money, and know exactly what I want. He wasn't actually there when I started the buying process with the young lady who was at the counter, but he came in at the right moment, said hello and a few other pleasantries, and then told the young lady to knock £5 off the price !

 With Kindle in hand (safely wrapped in a waterproof bag) I sploshed my way home. My first priority was to get out of my wet trousers, and get some hot food in the microwave. It was only after I had eaten the first of too many ready meals yesterday that I turned my attention to the Kindle. It's e-ink display, which doesn't need any power at all, was showing an empty battery symbol. So I put it on charge. It took a worryingly long time until it suddenly burst into life, but once it did I had a play with it.

 It is sort of annoying that the main manual for the device is stored as an e-book on the device itself. I couldn't be bothered to read it, but trial and error revealed it is quite simple to use. It does seem to be quite a nice device, and if I read more I would consider getting one for myself. When I say if I read more I should qualify that by adding more e-books. While indoors I prefer real paper books, and I do read a lot of them !

 Apart from the brief excitement of playing with the Kindle, the rest of the day was rather boring, and rather depressing. As I mentioned earlier, I ended up eating far too many ready meals. This was partly the fault of getting carried away in Iceland the previous days. I had all these potentially yummy ready meals in the bottom of the fridge just waiting to be eaten. In a few cases they had to be eaten to satisfy curiosity.

 I was curious about the Szechuan prawns with jasmine rice. The were nice-ish, but left me a bit underwhelmed. I was curious about the Korean barbecued pulled chicken. That turned out to be a lot nicer than I expected. My expectation was that it would actually contain very little chicken, but although it was shredded, there was quite a lot of it, and on this occasion the shredding (or "pulling") was appropriate because it made for a nice thick spicy sauce to go with the huge noodles. I am not a great fan of noodles, but when coated in that thick sauce they were very pleasant. I might even buy another of those meals one day.

 Eventually it seemed a reasonable time to go to bed. I initially fell asleep fairly quickly, but I woke up coughing after a while. It was a nasty tickly cough, and it started every time I lay my head on the pillow. Eventually I had to get up for half an hour or more before I felt I stood a chance of getting back to sleep. Eventually I slept, but I seemed to have some very long dreams, and those dreams had a slightly depressing character.

 This morning I feel sort of OK, although maybe a bit fragile. I don't think the cold and wet did me any favours yesterday. For instance, my knees seem, or seemed to be a bit stiff and creaky. I shall get a chance to test my knees a bit later when I go to Aldi. After that I live in hope that I will finally get to see Angela at lunchtime.....although for some reason I keep thinking it could be a false hope. Her lack of communication is worrying. Later this afternoon it's Thursday evening drinking with the lads. Tonight were are meeting in the Bromley Wetherspoons to start using our CAMRA/Wetherspoons discount vouchers.
Wednesday 24th January 2018
 10:06 GMT
  I had high hopes that contrary to what the forecast might say, there would be some sunshine yesterday. Unfortunately in this case, the forecast was about right. It was a rather dull day. The only good thing is that, as forecast, the temperature probably did peak at 13° C, although most of the time it was between 11° and 12° C. As far as I remember, the only rain was in the morning.
warm but soggy
 The screenshot of the forecast above was taken almost 5 hours ago now. Since then the forecast has been revised. It now shows the heaviest rain to be starting at midday, and finishing at 3pm. That is a slight improvement, but not much. There has been light, misty, drizzle for a lot of this morning, and my gut feeling is it will continue after the heavy rain. The good news is that it is a "warm" morning, but the bad news is that the wind will get very strong around midday. Walking through the park at midday might be an "interesting" experience. Once the wind drops the temperature is going to fall, but it will still be almost mild. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be not so warm, but it should be nice and sunny.
  Yesterday was one of those days that passed fairly smoothly without being boring, and yet was far, far from exciting ! Well maybe there was some excitement when I got the runs in the early evening, but even that was rather mediocre, and all over in little more than half an hour. The problem yesterday was a lack of motivation. Anything I did do I needed to grit my teeth and force myself to do it.

 The first thing I did was to go to the local shops. I wanted to check the vitamin D tablets that had briefly caught my eye a little while ago in "Super Savers". As far as I could tell they were identical the tablets I bought from the pharmacy. The big difference is that a bottle from Super Savers was less than half the price of those from the pharmacy, and contained nearly double the tablets !

 After buying my vitamins, plus some shower gel, I wandered into the Iceland store next door. I think I might have got a little carried away in there, and bought rather more than I should. In theory I should be back to cooking my rather unusual, mostly vegetable based meals, that have the potential to be low fat and stuff, now that Patricia isn't here. Now I have a fridge full of ready meals that contain all sorts of crap ! Oh well, at least I will probably enjoy them, and that could be good on a day like today.

 Once I got home from shopping I managed to wash a few t-shirts, and apart from a duvet cover, I am now fully up to date with my laundry - for the moment. That laundry was really the last thing I did of any significance. It is difficult to describe the rest of yesterday. It was just a mix of reading (paper and screen), eating, a bit of snoozing, and.....well that's about it. One thing I could not motivate myself to do was to continue going through last Saturday's photos of the Stone Blind gig.

 Last night was a typical case of not being able to sleep, and then finding I had fallen asleep quite quickly. I seemed to sleep fairly well last night. There was only one occasion when I woke up feeling all stuffed up, and having to bust a lung trying to clear my throat of a tickly bit of mucus. Maybe that was for the better because when I finally got up this morning my airways seemed unusually (although maybe not perfectly) clear.

 This morning I feel underwhelmed again, and I blame it on the grey skies and rain. And I blame the rain for feeling sort of stiff and creaky. And I blame...actually I am not sure what to blame for feeling what can only be described as underpowered. All these ailments will have to sit on the back burner soon as I fight my way through the wind and rain to get to the pub to see Angela at lunchtime. The very thought makes me feel warm inside. I hope we will have a wonderful half hour or more together.

 After I have seen Angela, and got home, I will indulge in an Iceland ready meal, and then I will probably have an afternoon snooze. There is an open mic session going on in Blackheath tonight that I am curious about, but at the moment I feel very little inclination to go out to it tonight. Perhaps when I have had my little exercise of walking to the pub and back, and got my blood circulating again, I might feel different.....but then I'll probably have a mild Guinness hangover, and that will put me off in a different way.
Tuesday 23rd January 2018
 09:45 GMT
  Yesterday was mild - around 9° C in the middle of the day, and 8° C on the extremes. That is about the only good thing you can say about it. The fact that it was often just mildly overcast was better than nothing, but it didn't make me feel good as such. It suddenly came to me that yesterday was far better than that. I was describing an early version of the forecast, and not the later one that was closer to reality. That reality was that there was actually quite a bit of sunshine yesterday afternoon, and under specific circumstances it actually felt hot !
a variable
                  bastard of a day
 A little bit of today could almost be good. 9° C this morning wasn't bad, except for the rain. That was bad ! I think the rain has stopped now, and it seems to be getting brighter. It almost feels like the sun might be able to break through later. That would be excellent, and make the high of 13° C feel rather nice. It seems tomorrow could be 13° C too, but at the moment it is forecast to be a very wet and grey day.
  I didn't get to see Angela yesterday. At about mid morning she contacted me to say she was going home from work sick. That was a bit of a blow, but I decided to go out anyway. I was feeling pretty horrible with stiff knees and elbows, and my chest was giving me some grief. I decided it was kill or cure time. A good long walk would normally free up all my stiff joints, and it would either let my aching ribs settle down in their sockets, or if the pains I felt were heart pains the walk would probably put a positive diagnosis on it ! To avoid the stress of wondering about it I will reveal now that I felt quite good once I had been walking for little more than 10 minutes.

 I was out for a total of 2 hours, and maybe an hour and a half of that was walking in the park. Admittedly I was walking quite slowly with frequent stops to take pictures, and so it was less stressful than it seems. The really excellent thing is that for a lot of the walk the sun was out, although that did have a downside - I was wearing one of my thicker coats, and I started to overheat a few times.
blackbird posing for
Blackbirds are normally very skittish, but this one posed for me perfectly.
another posing blackbird
There must have been something special about yesterday because a second blackbird posed for me. I don't think I have ever captures a good snap of a blackbird before.
Rozzers on horses
A couple of mounted policewomen having a canter through the park. According to a friend of mine now living in Lincolnshire, a friend who is in to all things and people horsey, says the rider on the left is called Helen Wolski. I will say hello if I see them again.
parakeet high up in a tree
Taking my Canon Powershot SX40 camera, with it's powerful zoom lens, was a good idea yesterday. All the pictures I've shown would have been difficult without it, and this one of a parakeet high up in a tree would have been impossible.
last remaining sign that mentions the
                        long demolished Catfird Stadium
My walk took me almost all the way to Ladywell, and then I walk back down the other side of the park until I got to the bridge over the railway. I crossed there, and walked through the other two main fields of the park before coming out between Catford and Catford Bridge stations. At the top of the stairs that lead up from the exit from platform 1 of Catford Bridge station to the main road there is this enamelled sign. I suspect it contains the last existing directions to the very long closed, and long demolished Catford (Greyhound) stadium.

 I didn't measure my walk, but I reckon I covered over 2 miles, and it didn't stop there. After exiting onto the main road I walked down to the 99p shop where I bought a few odds and sods. After that I decided to have a rummage in the British Heart Foundation charity shop. I had never looked through their CDs before, and sort of assumed they would all be rubbish, but I found 5 that I decided to buy. The two best CDs were the AC/DC remastered disc, and Jeff Wayne's War Of The World. The others were less exciting.
CDs from a charity
 My afternoon was fairly quiet. Patricia was out visiting a friend for most of the afternoon, and I ended up having a snooze. In the evening Patricia and I had dinner together, and at 10pm she set off on her travels again - a 47 bus to Liverpool street, and then the train to Stanstead Airport. Then after a long wait until 6am, a plane to Turin (or somewhere in Italy). She will be back here for at least a couple of days before 7th Feb when she flies back to Argentina.

 Last night, with my house empty again I could walk around naked, fart, snore, cough and sneeze to my hearts content - except I didn't...much. If it wasn't for waking up earlier than I desired, I could have said I slept well last night. It is taking an age to throw off the remnants of the cold I had, but it is happening, and it only took 20 minutes to be able to breathe properly when I got up this morning.

 So far this morning I have hand washed another 4 heavy t-shirts, and a pair of lounge pants, and that is basically all I have to do today. Poor Angela is off work sick today, and doesn't want visitors. I offered to pop over later this morning to mop her fevered brow, but I think she is scared that lover boy may turn up unannounced when he is supposed to be at work. So I have another Angela free day, and that saddens me a bit (plus of course I worry about her when she is sick).

 Very soon now I had better have a shower. After that I think I might pop out to "Super Savers" and buy more vitamin D tablets. I have just run out of the expensive ones I bought from the pharmacy, and I hope the "Super Savers" ones are equivalent despite being considerably cheaper.  After that I will have some lunch, and then....dunno. I'll probably have a snooze and/or do a bit of reading. I still have a shed load of pictures I took last Saturday night to go through, and I guess I'll end up spending hours going through them today.
Monday 22nd January 2018
 08:40 GMT
  I was so late writing yesterday that I have already described most of yesterday's weather, but I will add that just as forecast, it did get almost warm last night. By 11pm it most probably was the forecast 10° C, and it felt mild enough to leave the heating off all night.
later forecast is more optimistic about
                  some sunshine
 I thought I would include how the forecast for today looked a couple of hours ago. Had I taken a screenshot of the forecast being shown late last night you would have seen a brief flash of sunshine expected around 111am (if I recall correctly). This morning things looked to be getting more miserable with no sign of sunshine. The very latest forecast now shows that from later this morning there could be several hours that feature sunshine. 10am is actually shown as pure sunshine, but when I look out the window at the grey sky and damp ground, the idea of it suddenly becoming sunny seems like a fantasy ! The one constant in the changing forecast is the temperatures. The temperature dropped from it's high at midnight last night, and it is currently around the 8° C forecast. Later on it could creep up another degree to 9°C. From midday tomorrow 12° C is forecast - almost warm ! The penalty is that tomorrow will see a lot of rain in the morning, and some later on in the evening. We might have to wait until Friday for a rain free day !
 It wasn't all that long after I finished writing that I went to bed last night, but it was later still until I was actually asleep (was it 11pm or midnight ?). I don't know if I should describe it as good sleep or not. I woke up a few times in the night, and I had some nightmareish dreams. The first time I woke up was because I was choking on some mucus stuck in my throat. It was slightly peculiar in that I could breathe in perfectly normally, but every time I breathed out the mucus would quiver, vibrate, and tickle - but the bugger would not shift !!! What I needed to do was a huge great power roar, but I was reluctant to do that with Patricia sleeping in the next room.

 Eventually I got things under control again, and I was able to get to sleep again. The next time I woke was for a wee, but that was a dreamlike experience, and I was asleep again as soon as my head hit the pillow. It was in the next, and final bit of sleep that I had some nightmares. The first nightmare concerned going into a friends toilet while I had a stomach upset. This toilet was gleaming and shining and perfect until I got in there and exploded. I'll spare you the details, but I will say I had to dismantle the whole toilet and it's plumbing to get it clean again.

 The second nightmare was from what must have been at least a couple of dreams that morphed together to seem like a longer dream. It started off with me visiting my previous workplace. That morphed into the workplace of my second job, and then that morphed into the workplace of my first job - which was in an electro-mechanical telephone exchange. The curious thing about that telephone exchange was how little it had changed in the last 30 or so years since I was last in there. Funnily enough one of the men I worked with seemed to have hardly changed in that time as well. The nightmare aspect was being told that a recent audit had revealed a missing piece of test equipment, and a suspicion that I might have taken it.

 The idea that I had taken it seemed unlikely because I didn't even recognise what it might have been. What actually worried me is that if my house was searched some other stuff might come to light that would be difficult to explain. I do have some stuff here that was legitimately bought as scrap, and once upon a time I had receipts to prove it, but there are also a few items that were legitimate scrap, but "not disposed of through the usual channels" ! I also have some tools that should have been turned in when I left. 

 This morning I feel relatively well, but it will be nice when winter is over, and I hope I feel better still. I am still occasionally bother by unexpected blobs of mucus left over from the head cold I had a week ago. Everyday they get less and less bothersome, but it will be very much nicer when they have dried up completely !

 I think I only have one definite thing on the agenda, and several possible things for today. The definite is to go and meet Angela at lunchtime. The only trouble with that is that I think I will be hearing she had a good weekend while totally off the radar, and in the company of lover boy. The possible things for today are to wash some t-shirs, and to have an afternoon siesta - the latter is really a probability rather than a possibility. From time to time I shall work on the photos I took on Saturday night.

 There is always some confusion surrounding the date of things happening overnight. I think it is tonight that Patricia goes out very late tonight to make her way to Stanstead airport for an early morning flight to Italy. She will be there for about two weeks before returning here for a couple of nights before flying back to Argentina. There is a possibility that when Patricia says she is going on Tuesday, she actually means she is leaving here Tuesday - albeit very late on Tuesday, and her flight is actually very early on Wednesday morning. I'm sure that by late tonight that will be clarified !

 One thing I have done since last night is to go through a few more photographs taken on Saturday night. I have two to show here. The first is just a sort of silly action shot...
Jamie Bull doing a
                        very strange pose !
 The second is of more technical interest. Saturday night was the first time I had tried out the remote trigger for my flash gun. In this second picture the flash head is located on a table on the right hand side of the picture. In concept it worked well, but I still have a lot to learn. In particular I have to learn that the reach of the flash is more limited than I thought. I should have turned the power of the flash up - something I hope I did in later pictures - or turn the camera sensitivity up. In this shot I have moved a fair way back from the action, but the flash is a lot nearer. If it had been brighter it would have possibly produced a good picture, but I had to artificially brighten this one in "post production".
long shot of the band
Sunday 21st January 2018
 18:08 GMT
  Yesterday seemed to be cold and wet, but in fact it was merely cold and dull just after sunset. Before sunset it was cold and wet ! It was just 4° C all day except for a few hours in the morning when it was testicle shrivelling 3° C !
less cold but
 On consideration I conclude that the weather today was very much as forecast. It is no surprise that with the temperature little more than 1° C some of the early afternoon rain attempted to fall as sleet and snow. There were some big soggy flakes falling for a while. Of course they didn't settle, but it came close. Maybe the forecast didn't mention sleet or snow to avoid exciting us. The rain should be stopping soon (it may have already done so, but it's difficult to tell in the dark, and I am certainly not going outside to check on it ! The temperature has been slowly rising since midday, and by midnight it could be 10° C - and foggy ! Tomorrow may not be desperately cold, and it should stay dry, at least for the important bits. The temperature will mostly rang between 7° C and 9° C. We might even see a few minutes of sunshine !
 It was nice having a bit of company from my friend Patricia yesterday, but it would have been much nicer still if it had been from Angela instead. Sadly Angela is generally off limits at the weekend. I didn't even get to see her at the main attraction yesterday - the Stone Blind gig at The Golden Lion pub in Sydenham. I was hoping that she might pop in late in the evening, probably with lover boy in tow after they had their meal together, but no. I have a feeling that even Angela was disappointed about that.

 Despite it being the main attraction for the entire weekend, it still took a lot of effort to force myself out the front door, but once I got moving I was fine. The journey there was made more pleasant by finding Michael at the bus stop. He was going to the gig as well. The gig was very, very enjoyable. I was initially thinking I might not stay much past 10pm, but I ended up getting the twenty past midnight bus back to Catford ! Once again, I had Michael with me to make the bus journey seem quicker.

 The band were on really good form. Both Jamie Bull and Dan Murphy are excellent showmen, and really made the gig buzz along. Individually they are good, but together they turn the night from just a gig to pure entertainment ! Of course all this was helped by copious quantities of Guinness. I seemed to get several pints bought for me, and I struggled to finish the last one - I think I may have left some in the glass when I went home. The surprising thing was that the event was not really any better attended than many gigs at The Black Cat - which is no longer having any gigs because of poor attendance.

 When we got back to Catford I let Michael walk home by himself while I went into the chicken shop and bought a couple of chicken burgers to eat when I got in. They were delicious ! Patricia had gone to bed hours before I got home, and doesn't remember me getting home. I too found myself sleeping fairly solidly once I got into bed. The only problem was both the curse and blessing of one of the drugs I take - Losartan K.

 This drug is supposed to protect my kidneys from some of the effects of the other drugs I take. It has the happy side effect of slowing down my production of wee. I had one small wee before leaving the pub, and I didn't feel any urge for another until after I got home, and if I recall correctly, until after I had eaten my chicken burgers. Of course there is one side effect of the side effect that is not so good, and it is that I woke up at least three times in the night for a wee !

 Apart from a few visits to the toilet in the night, I slept well last night.....although maybe for not quite for as long than might be ideal. I feel quite ambiguous about how I have felt today. Now and then I have a good cough, and a few times this morning I coughed up some big lumps of mucus, but I think I am coughing far less than I was earlier on the tail end of last weekends head cold. Sods law says that as soon as I wrote that I would start coughing for a minute ! The other positive thing is that my nose remains clear most of the time, but it still needs a occasional clear out.

 The thing that bothers me most now is possibly an aftershock from all the coughing I have done on previous days, and perhaps particularly last night - both as a result of having to raise my voice of the noise of the band, and breathing in the very cold and damp night air. It has resulted in my chest/ribs/soft tissues, and other stuff, but hopefully not my heart, being quite sore from time to time. Sometimes there is a very obvious reason for a certain pain. I have no idea what did what to what, but when I bent down in a sort of sideways motion to pick up a coffee cup I had a very powerful pain in my side that took many minutes to fade away.

 Other pains are harder to explain, and some have sometimes felt like something more serious. One particular ache did make me speculate if it was some sort of heart pain, and so I decided to wash a medium sized bath towel. The effort to do that should have killed me if it was heart pain. It didn't, and as has been observed before, it actually made me feel better. Some of these pains are very evidently the result of not doing any exercise on a cold and very wet day.  Fortunately I will be taking a walk through the park to meet Angela in the pub tomorrow. That is always a good way to rattle the ribs back in the proper places, and get the blood circulating.

 Apart from washing that towel I have been mostly sedentary today. Sometimes even sleeping. I was sleeping so deeply this afternoon that I didn't react to Patricia telling me she was going out to meet her friend Natalie. The first I was aware was when a text message came through from Patricia to say she was out, and what she was up to. The one other thing I have done, although not with any great industry, is to go through the pictures I took last night. I haven't got that far through the 909 snaps I took, and I am not terribly excited about the ones I had worked on so far. I think I may have had the flash power turned down too low. I have a vague recollection of deciding to turn it up at some point in the evening. Hopefully there will be better pictures later in the collection. For the moment here is one semi-good snap. Maybe more tomorrow.
Stone Blind
From left to right: Andy Tucker, Steve Pitt, Jamie Bull, Dan Murphy, and Dylan Tidman.
Saturday 20th January 2018
 08:19 GMT
  Yesterday was delightfully bright and sunny, but it was still very cold. There was a frost first thing in the morning. The temperature slowly rose through the day, but by sunset, when the temperature peaked, it was still only 6° C.
cold and wet
 Today is forecast to be a particularly horrible day. Apart from when the temperature dips to just 3° C during the morning for a couple of hours, it is going to be a constant 4° C. I wouldn't be surprised if the rainfall between 9am and 10am doesn't contain some sleep, or possibly even snow. Fortunately, or maybe unfortunately because it would be sort of pretty, any snow will never settle on the wet soggy ground. It looks like it could be dry tonight, and that could be handy, but tomorrow is forecast to be another very wet and soggy day. It doesn't feel like the temperature being double that of today, 8° C, will make tomorrow better in any meaningful way.

  The great thing about yesterday was that Angela was back at work after two days holiday, and we could meet again at lunchtime. Yesterday was an interesting meeting because for the last 15 minutes we were joined by Patricia (at my invite). To my relief it went well, and the two seemed to like each other. I think, or hope that I managed to show Angela that Patricia was no rival to her.

 At the end of Angela's lunchbreak we left the pub together. Patricia went to a bus stop to get a bus into Lewisham to do some stuff there, and then go on to The National Gallery (one of her favourite places in London). Meanwhile I walked Angela back to work, and from there I walked home.

 I wasn't quite sure how I felt yesterday. There were many conflicting things about how I felt. Getting my first reasonable night's sleep in almost a week the night before should have been very good, but it didn't seem to make much difference in practice. The prospect of, and actually seeing Angela raised my spirits, but still something didn't feel right. The curious thing is that while I was starting to think my cold was back at almost full strength, my walk through the park seemed unusually quick and effortless.

 My walk back home wasn't quite so good. It may have been because it wasn't all that warm when I was in the pub, and had started to cool down in there, but as I walked home I felt the cold very acutely. One of the first things I did when I got home was to have a bowl of hot soup, and the second thing was to have a bowl of tinned spaghetti (with some crumbled scotch bonnet chilli flavoured cheddar in it).

 After that I lay on my bed and very quickly fell asleep. I think I probably slept for over an hour before waking up. Upon waking up I felt really lousy. Maybe it was something about my posture when sleeping, or maybe I had been coughing, but I woke up with my chest feeling very sore, and for a while I did wonder if the ache was something more than just my "twisted rib"/"soft tissue damage"/aching scar tissue, but I am still alive this morning so I guess it was nothing more serious.

 There was one bit of bad news that came through late yesterday afternoon. The Life Of Brian, fronted my Angela's daughter Miranda, had their Saturday night gig cancelled. It seems the pub had mixed up their dates or something, and they should be playing next Saturday instead. This was obviously a blow for the band, but it has further implications. Angela was considering not going to see her daughters gig tonight, and instead go to see Stone Blind who are playing in The Golden Lion pub in Sydenham - just half a dozen stops of the bus from where she lives.

 I had planned on going to see Stone Blind in advance of Angela saying she might prefer to see them, and there was a sort of unplanned plan that we might go together. It is still possible that we both might be going tonight, but now he is not drumming tonight, lover boy is bound to go with Angela to see Stone Blind too. The only possible saving grace is that he is reported not to like Stone Blind, or at least a couple of people who play in it, and may refuse to go. I fear that Angela won't defy him, and go on her own if that is the case, but we live in hope.

 Patricia came back from The National Gallery a bit earlier than I had imagined, and when she got back we started to plot what food we might have for dinner. Initially I didn't feel hungry. I sort of felt a bit sick after my soup and spaghetti extravaganza. Patricia had a hankering for some Chinese food, and so we ordered two main dishes, and some rice - more rice than we actually needed. Once I started eating it I suddenly regained my appetite, or most of it. At the end of the meal there were some leftover that at other times I would never have left - except for the spare special fried rice. I ordered it with the idea that I might reheat it, and eat it today. I probably will. The only difficulty is that there is only enough for one, and I might only have it if Patricia is out during the day (I don't know what her plans for today are, and I am not sure she does either).

 After dinner we talked for a good few hours before it was time for bed. Patricia stayed up writing emails, and doing some of her paid translation work. I took another couple of Codeine tablets, like I did the night before, and after giving then just under an hour to work, I got into bed, and fell asleep very quickly. Once again I managed to sleep quite well, and I am sure I feel better for it this morning.

 At least I feel better for it now, a couple of hours since getting up. Initially I woke up feeling all clogged up again. I was forever blowing sticky green chunks out of my nose, and I had to have a couple of squirts from my handy asthma inhaler to open up the airways enough to cough up some ultra sticky mucus that was partly blocking my windpipe. Since then I am breathing freely, my throat doesn't feel sore and constricted, and to a limited extent my nose is sometimes clear - sometimes it isn't !

 At some time today, and possibly this morning, I will be going out into the fresh air (maybe just to a supermarket), and I feel my nose, throat and windpipe might even feel good in the fresh air. I have no idea what else I might do today apart from going to the Stone Blind gig in the evening. I hope I will be able to confer with Angela before then to find out what she will do, but I fear communication will be difficult or impossible if she is with lover boy.
parakeet near the top
                        of a tree in the park
I find it really difficult to get any decent pictures of the parakeets in the park. They fly far too fast, and generally stay at the tops of trees. This is my best effort recently.
two ducks on the rocks
Taking snaps of ducks standing on rocks in the river is far easier !
gull surrounded by starlings
I thought this was an unusual sight starlings surrounding a gull. There were many more starlings, and many more gulls, but this particular tight grouping was easiest to photograph. It is not always that well known that gulls can be quite carnivorous, and I have seen them ripping road kill apart with great gusto. Maybe they are only scavengers of meat, and don't attack live birds, but I am still sort of surprised to see so many starlings together among the gulls that have made the playing fields in the park their new home.
Friday 19th January 2018
 07:10 GMT
  Wednesday was bright and often sunny during the day. Most of the day was fairly cool between 4 and 6° C. As midnight approached the rain started to fall, and the wind started to blow. During the transition between Wednesday and Thursday there was a raging storm ! It was enough to damage some trees, and for a while a large branch blocked the railway line somewhere down the line from Catford Bridge to Lower Sydenham station.

 The storm fizzled out hours before sunrise yesterday, although there were still some occasional strong gusts of wind for a while after sunrise. The rest of yesterday was fairly tame. It was a little bit less cool, peaking at about 7° C, and the morning, and some of the afternoon was pleasantly sunny.
a very cold start, but some sunny spells
 This morning all the cars parked in the road had frost on their roofs. Eventually it should end up at 6° C today, and with luck it will be mostly sunny. Tomorrow morning will be another very cold frosty morning....or maybe not. The updated forecast says it will be 3° C - and pouring with rain ! Rain may feature a lot tomorrow, and it will be just 5° C at best. Hopefully the forecast turns out wrong, but Sunday is currently forecast to be even wetter. On the other hand, it will also be the start of a run of less cold weather.

  My health has been very variable recently. By day I have been mostly OK, but at night I have suffered from very poor sleep. On Tuesday night I barely slept for 3 or maybe 4 hours, and on Wednesday night I think I got little more than one hour ! The reason, as I have explained before, is that as soon as my head hits the pillow my face fills with mucus. It blocks my nose, and as a side effect it makes me cough a lot. It starts as a dry tickly cough, but later at night I am coughing up great big dollops of green mucus.

 Last night was different. I had Patricia staying in the spare bedroom, and I didn't want to wake her with all my coughing and nose blowing. In desperation I tried taking a couple of codeine tablets. I was originally prescribed these tablets for nerve pain when I came out of hospital back in 2013. They didn't work then, but maybe they worked last night. The alternative explanation is that I was so sleep deprived that I just had to sleep sooner or later.

 Last night I managed in excess of 7 hours sleep, and I think I feel so much better for it...except for one thing which I'll describe in a minute. I'm sure I slept non stop for 4 hours, and then after being awake for maybe half an hour I slept for almost another 3 hours. I managed to get to sleep again even after that, but I don't really know for how long. It might have been for a couple of half hours, or maybe even a continuous hour. The confusion is because I spent an unknown amount of time in a sort of half awake/half asleep sort of state.

 The downside of all this sleeping was actually far more preferable than not sleeping. Each time I woke up my nose and throat were completely blocked with thick sticky mucus. I had to blow my nose so hard and so frequently that I managed to rupture a tiny blood vessel - not enough to pour blood, but enough to spot my handkerchief. My throat felt so congested that I had to resort to my rarely used asthma inhaler. I have it purely for such occasions as this. A couple of squirts of that blue inhaler, and I coughed up half a barrel of nastiness, and I was able to breathe freely again.

 On Wednesday I spent a lot of the day editing photos from Tuesday night. I ended up with 32 good photos, and  the photo album on a certain social media sight gained 48 "likes" plus quite a few complimentary comments. I had also intended to do lots of housework in preparation for Patricia's visit. In the end I did very little housework because I wasn't feeling all that good. I did, and still does seem the tail end of the cold that laid me low at the weekend is very reluctant to go away. Maybe it is because once the weekend was over I refused to act as if I was ill. On Wednesday I slightly gave into it.

 I think I probably felt a bit better for it yesterday, but it might also have been the excitement of Patricia's arrival. I first heard from Patricia by way of a text message at about 5.20am - or just after I managed to get to sleep for what felt like the first proper time all night - which wasn't an ideal situation ! The message told me she had arrived safely in Madrid on the second leg of her long journey from Argentina.

 The next massage was that she had arrived at Gatwick, and it was earlier than I expected. I quickly got myself washed and dressed and prepared for her arrival. She arrived here at about quarter past eleven. We didn't really do much but gossip, but the time seemed to pass really quickly. In the evening I ordered some very nice pizza, and we had one and three quarters of 10" pizza for dinner (I had the last quarter for breakfast this morning).

 By 9pm it seemed like time to go to bed. I think Patricia went to sleep very quickly, but I stayed awake for another hour desperately trying not to cough too loudly. As I mentioned earlier, I resorted to trying a couple of codeine tablets, and they seemed to work. I must admit that I still feel a bit thick headed this morning despite being awake for a few hours now.

 The plan for today is for Patricia to go into Lewisham to visit her bank, and attempt to sort out a problem. Maybe visit another bank to see about opening an account with a different bank, and to do some general shopping in Lewisham. At some time just after 1pm, if she gets her timing right, she will join Angela and myself in the pub at lunchtime. After that I have no idea what I will be doing. There are no gigs on that I am aware of, but I might treat Patricia to a pub dinner tonight - probably no posher than something from the Wetherspoons !
topping up my vitamin
Topping up my vitamin C - vitamin C on the bone !
Wednesday 17th January 2018
 11:10 GMT
  It was nice to see the sun again yesterday. It was quite a sunny day - although despite improving, the days are still very short. I don't think you could call it a disappointment because it was expected, but it would have been much nicer if the temperature was a bit higher than just 6° C. It felt much cooler in the evening because it was a bit windier after dark.
another cold yet sunny day....until
                  this evening !!
 Today is forecast to be not too different to yesterday - but with one big significant difference ! It has been sunny almost all morning, and will continue to be sunny this afternoon, but as midnight approaches... The temperature will rise a bit, and the wind will change from a sort of strong-ish breeze to a howling gale. At the same time the heavens will open and rain will come cascading down by the bucketful ! By the early hours of the morning it should be all over. Tomorrow is set to be mostly bright and sunny, and it will be slightly warmer at 7° C.

 I had just two things on my agenda...or maybe three, but I messed up the third one, and it shall never be spoken of again - possibly. The first thing was a walk through the park to meet up with Angela in the pub for our lunchtime drink. I had slept atrociously during the night after another attack of torrents of thick sticky mucus seeping out of any and all crevices in my head as soon as I laid my head on the pillow. I estimate I managed little more than 2 hours sleep during the night.

 After that it was a delight to get out into the fresh air. It freshened me up, and apart from an occasional, mostly dry cough, I felt fine. Of course seeing Angela is always a good way to feel good. We had a nice warm time together, and the only thing that spoiled it was when she told me that lover boy would be going to the open mic in the evening. That made me a bit reluctant to go. Nevertheless, Angela implored me to go, and I said I would, but while I wouldn't be ignoring her per se, I would not approach her in the venue, although she was more than welcome to approach me. With that we hugged and she went into work, and I headed home.

 I didn't go straight home. I went via Poundland where I wanted to get a few items. One such item was Jaffa cakes. Getting them was the item on my agenda for the day which will never be spoken of again because I forgot to get them ! I did remember two other useful things - more cough linctus, and some (alleged) high power/long life double A batteries for my flash gun.

 When I got home I had a bowl of soup and some crisps. I wanted to try and eat lightly so I wasn't too bloated to go out in the evening. After my light lunch I tried and tried to get to sleep, but sleep just would not come despite my sleep deficit. I didn't try and sleep on my side because that just seems to make my nose flood with mucus, and my cough to start up. Laying on my back, which I do not find comfortable, lessens the amount of mucus - or so it seems. While I didn't seem to be able to sleep, I could at least rest and prepare myself for the evening.

 I felt really rotten when I eventually left the house to head towards The Wheatsheaf pub in West Wickham. To get there I took the train to Eden Park station  where I can get a bus from right outside the station, up the hill, and along the high street to the pub. When I arrived I learned that I had only arrived a few minutes behind Angela and lover boy (plus Miranda, Angela's daughter). That actually made me feel worse, but I went in an ordered a Guinness. After I had drunk half a pint, and also realised that Angela was sitting at the front of the pub, and the open mic "stage" was in the back of the pub, I began to feel a lot better.

 I was soon enjoying myself. There was some great music - including tow covers of Neil Young songs - an artist who often seems to be neglected at many of the gigs I go to. After a while Angela slipped away from lover boy, and with a big conspiracy like grin on her lips came over to see me for a few minutes. She was looking very lovely in a lacy armed top.
the lovely Angela
I took this sneaky snap while lover boy was at the other end of the pub playing his bongos.
filming her daughter
Deeply serious as Angela films her daughter Miranda as she plays guitar and sings.
applause at the end of one of Miranda's
Applause at the end of one of Miranda's songs.
Sid and his flute
 I didn't just take pictures of Angela. Here's Sid D'Hant - a very competent flute player, but an actor by trade. He is one of lifes great characters - maybe it is just his acting skills, but he always seems friendly and approachable, and approaches me as a friend even though our paths very rarely cross.

 The official finish time of the gig was 10:30pm, but I expect it probably went on a bit longer than that. I decided that by 10:15pm it was time to go. I had a very lucky journey home. When I got to the bus stop, which is probably a minute or two walk away, I probably had less than 5 minutes to wait for a bus to take me West Wickham station. That bus ride is barely more than 5 minutes. At the station I had a mere 4 minutes wait for a train. I seemed to get home in no time at all. Even after waiting for a couple of chicken burgers to be made up I was still home little more than 30 to 40 minutes after walking out of the pub.

 I greatly enjoyed eating my chicken burgers when I got in, and afterwards I slowly prepared myself for bed. Once again I was feeling mostly OK until my head hit the pillow, and then the mucus started to flow. Last night wasn't the disaster that the previous night was, but I still did not get my full complement of sleep. It took some time before I felt relatively OK after giving up on sleep and getting up. On the plus side, that was a lot later than the day before. I may have only been sleeping half an hour, or an hour at a time, but I didn't give up until it was light this morning.

 One thing that was totally unexpected, and really, really delicious, was a phone call at just after sunrise. It was from Angela. She said that everybody was still asleep at her house (including lover boy) and she just wanted to thank me for going going last night, and to see how I was feeling. That was so kind of her, and it was sort of telling too. When I was ditched in favour of John, the man she fell in love with while he was dying of cancer, Angela would never take time to make such a call, and I am pretty certain that she would think it almost inappropriate to be in contact with another man. This morning was one of quite a few calls of a similar nature since she has been with lover boy. The most amazing was the call I got on Xmas day. For the whole of the Xmas period the previous year I don't think I even existed in her mind. Sometimes, in my imagination, I feel that Angela is slowly weaning herself off lover boy, and moving ever closer to me.

 I won't be seeing Angela again until Friday lunchtime. So today I have to find other ways of passing the time, and if I choose to do them all I have plenty to do. Patricia arrives tomorrow and I have as much preparatory work as I can imagine. High on the list is to get the Jaffa Cakes that I keep forgetting. Some fresh milk would come in handy too. There is an infinite amount of hoovering I could do, and I still haven't fixed the bathroom door so it can shut properly tonight.

 The last thing to do is something I really want to do, but it depends on finding the energy and "wellness". Tonight there is the M.T Pockets open mic at The Iron Horse in Sidcup. It is relatively easy to get to, and I have been meaning to see Dan (from M.t. Pockets) for ages. With luck I'll make it there even if just for an hour or two. With luck I might sleep better tonight, but I have big doubts about it.
Tuesday 16th January 2018
 09:57 GMT
  Yesterday was a very wet day ! Fortunately there were a few gaps in the rain, and two of the most important gaps were when I was walking to and then from the pub at lunchtime (there was a spectacular cloudburst type fall of rain while I was actually in the pub !). By mid afternoon the rain gradually fizzled out leaving a very pretty sunset.
sunset in Catford Monday
                  15th Jan 2018
 It did feel milder than of late yesterday, but I think the temperature fell a couple of degrees short of the forecast 11° C. Let's hope today reaches it's predicted high because it ain't very high !
sunny but not warm
 So far this morning the forecast is looking accurate. The sky is blue, the sun is pouring down, and the temperature is more or less as predicted - about 5° C. The penalty of a clear sky is that the temperature is going to dip down rather low during the night - possibly low enough for a frost in the morning. Tomorrow is going to be very similar until a few hours before midnight. If the forecast holds it will start to rain, and then the rain will get heavier, then even heavier still. At the same time the wind will pick up from "a bit breezy" to gale force. If the forecast plays out it is going to make for an "interesting" Wednesday night !

 It was nice to get out into the fresh air yesterday - even if my first little walk was in the rain. During the morning I went to Tesco and bought some useful things for when Patricia stays here for a few days from Thursday. Rather annoyingly I forgot the second most important thing - Jaffa cakes ! I was sort of surprised how good I felt so soon after spending my weekend dying on my sick bed.

 At lunchtime I put my raincoat back on, but didn't need to do it up as I set out to walk through the park to meet up with Angela for our lunchtime drink. The only peculiar thing that I still can't understand was that after walking for little more than 30 seconds I developed for a very brief spell a barely detectable light headedness. I can't describe it as dizziness or loss of balance, and in fact I find it very hard to describe at all. It was just a sort of feeling of my head bearings being a bit slack. It was like being drunk, but with the intensity turned down to less than one.

 The park was looking very bleak, and practically deserted as I walked through it to get to the pub. All the rain had swollen to river, and it seemed higher than I have seen it for ages. I stopped in 3 places to take some video of the river. Unfortunately the video doesn't really show the power of the moving water - except maybe as it goes over the weir by the bridge to Lewisham hospital.

 After not seeing, or communicating with Angela all weekend it was wonderful to see her again, and yet it started off a little bit cool. At first I thought it was because she was reluctant to tell me that she had had a nice weekend with lover boy, and yet what was not said seemed to start to suggest it was the opposite of that. I'm not sure if I understood it correctly, but I think that Angela said that instead of sharing Sunday dinner with her, and her son and prospective daughter in law, lover boy only came round later in the afternoon. He did stay the night though, and that was useful because he gave Angela a lift to work through the torrential rain in the morning.

 It wasn't long before Angela warmed up, and we had a good chat about all sorts of stuff. After maybe 20 minutes she had her head on my shoulder, and was telling me how clean and fresh my t-shirt smelled. That was a nice, and sort of intimate comment. The other exciting thing is that she said she was looking forward to going to an open mic session with her daughter, and not with lover boy ! Her daughter, Miranda, will be taking her turn on the open mic, but otherwise mum and daughter will be able to let their hair down and have a good time if they haven't got to worry about lover boy. It is a gig that I was going to try and go to anyway. I might even dare to go if it should turn out that lover boy does go. It is a big pub, and if I keep my nerve I can avoid him (but sadly also Angela) for a while before fleeing again.

 When I got home from the pub after another dry and almost pleasant walk, I set about making some lunch. Like last Friday, I made a couple of cheese and onion crusty rolls. I used red onion instead of brown onion like on Friday, and it left less of an intense, lasting onion taste in my mouth. After eating I had a lie down, and read for a bit before having a snooze - at least I think I had a snooze. My memory of the afternoon seems very vague - as vague as if I had slept for longer, or perhaps a series of snoozes, than I can imagine.

 By 6pm I was feeling like some dinner. Rather than cook anything I had another couple of rolls. These rolls were not round crusty rolls but crusty finger rolls - perhaps 5 or 6 inches long. I didn't put any onion in them, but had smoked cheese, tomato and liver sausage. They were extremely nice, and more filling than I realised. In fact I felt quite stuff after eating them. Unfortunately that feeling persisted into the evening, and would have consequences.

 By 9pm I was feeling very fatigued, and by 10pm it felt like too much hard work to blink or even breathe ! I went to be and immediately didn't fall asleep ! In fact I immediately stayed awake feeling like I would never get to sleep ! My earlier dinner was still making me feel bloated , and that made it hard to get comfortable. Although I had not had any chilli or other hot spices, I couldn't work out if I was hot or cold a lot of the time, but worse than all that was that I developed after shocks from my weekend cold.

 For almost the whole of yesterday I coughed very little, and only had to make occasional use of a tissue, but as soon as I lay down on my pillow my nose started to fill with thick sticky mucus - the type that make you feel really bunged up, and is hard to expel. At the same time my cough started up again. Mostly it was my throat that was tickly, but from time to time I coughed up some very thick and sticky mucus from the bottom of my lungs.

 Eventually most of that settled down a bit, and I felt just about barely comfortable enough to fall asleep. It didn't happen because at that point it felt like something had bitten the side of my right foot near the ankle - something bigger than a flea, but smaller than a great white shark. As far as I could tell, nothing had actually bitten my foot, but the pain seemed real enough - not a strong pain, but enough to be very intrusive. I can only speculate it must have been something like a pinched nerve, but I have never heard of anything like it before.

 I think I managed about an hours sleep before I just had to get up to give my nose some serious blowing, and do a lot of coughing. Of course one I was upright, and wasting the time reading stuff on the internet, most of these inconveniences faded away until I tried to go back to bed again. This was repeated several times until I finally managed to sleep for another hour - maybe longer. At about 6am I realised I was never going to be in a fit state to go out and meet Angela on her walk to work.That was a great shame because I was always, as ever, keen to see Angela, and apart from it being damn chilly out, it was a very clear morning for a walk.

 My throat still seems a bit tickly now, and my nose is occasionally slightly stuff, but I expect all these things will fade away when I get out into the fresh air, and go to meet Angela in the pub at lunchtime. I predict a nice warm session with her today, and maybe we will do more plotting about possibilities tonight at the gig. After I have seen Angela I will have a quick lunch, and try and get a bit more sleep in so I am not too knackered for tonight. Hopefully I'll get to the gig, and hopefully get some nice pictures.
Monday 15th January 2018
 09:39 GMT
  Yesterday was another day when I paid little heed to the weather because I stayed in the warm all day. I do remember the sunshine flooding through my bedroom window, but the amount I saw seemed to be less than the forecast suggested. Other than that, I have no reason to dispute the forecast temperatures of 5° C in the morning and evening, and 6° C during the afternoon.
a very wet day, but with
                  the hope of an occasional sunny spell
 My first impression this morning was that it is very wet, and it is still very wet as I write this. It is exactly as the forecast says. Let's hope the forecast was right about the sunny spells too ! The exact timing of the sunshine has changed several times as the forecast has been updated today, but they seem to be a constant feature, and so must be right ! The most significant thing about today is that the temperature should reach 11° C. If it wasn't for the rain I would be happy to go at least as far as the corner shop with no coat on at that temperature, and if the sun was shining I might have even gone as far as the pub at lunchtime with no coat. Tomorrow may be dry, but it will also be a lot cooler. The latest forecast shows not only Wednesday with a big bright sunshine symbol, but Thursday and Friday too !

 I only did one thing of significance yesterday, and that was to finally finish selecting and editing the photos I took at the Whitestar open mic session last Wednesday. I still have very mixed feelings about using my new flash gun. It did make the job easier, and indeed, some photos needed very little work to make them look good-ish, but somehow they look less artistic than the pictures taken with natural light. Maybe I delude myself that the more work I have to put into a picture during post production, the better it is. Obviously that is rubbish, but it does give me a great deal of satisfaction to pull a good looking picture out of a muddy mess.
wide angle shot of the
                        entire band
 It is definitely true that in the dim light of The Partridge pub it is impossible to do wide angle shots like this, taking in the whole band, using natural light - at least not with any lens I can afford. This shot makes it look as if the pub was almost empty. Compared to a Saturday night when a full gig is on, it was, but there were still more people in there than would go to most gigs at The Black Cat !
almost like morris
 Sometimes you catch an instant in time, and it looks like something completely different is happening. In this picture it looks like Chris (on the right) and the other guitarist are doing some moves from something like a morris dance. They weren't ! They just happened to be doing two typical guitarist poses, and were mostly stationary.

 I was feeling almost like I had got over my cold by the time I went to bed last night. My nose seemed almost dry, and one single tissue was lasting at least an hour - at the peak of my cold a tissue would barely last a minute ! My cough had faded away to the point that I hardly remembered coughing at all during the evening. It had all left me feeling very weary, with a bit of a headache, but strangely enough, not sleepy.

 That all changed as soon as my head hit the pillow, and more specifically when I turned on my side. What I had forgotten was that as much mucus as I had been blowing out of my nose had also seeped/been blown into my sinuses, and as soon as I laid on my side it wanted to come out again. I spent several hours blowing my nose again, and coughing before I finally got to sleep.

 After a series of sleeps lasting from 1 to 3 hours each I got up this morning feeling good and bad. The good was a sort of stupid expectation of a good day. The bad was that I had to spend another hour clearing my nose, and even after that I still have a bit of an intermittent tickly cough. I am expecting all this to dry up sooner or later, and while I may also feel a bit creaky, I expect to be able to go out soon without too much ill effect. In fact I have the rash idea that some nice fresh air might be good.

 My first foray will be to Tesco. I want to feed my latest fad - crusty rolls - and there are other bits I want to get. I might get some milder red onions to go with some strong cheese to go in those rolls, and I definitely need a spare bottle of slimline tonic before Patricia gets here on Thursday. At lunchtime I am very much looking forward to going to see Angela in the pub to hear her tales of the weekend.  I realise my brain is very heavily biassed, but I have a hunch that her weekend with lover boy did not go as planned.

 After I get back from the pub I shall be treating myself to cheese and onion filled crusty rolls, and then I shall relax. It is entirely possible that I shall stay relaxed for the rest of the day, but there are a few odd jobs I could do if I feel I have the energy. Slicing an eighth of an inch off the top of the bathroom door so it shots properly is job I want to have done before Patricia stays here on (I think) Thursday and Friday nights, and possibly another night just before she flies back home. I slightly less arduous task, and one that I feel more possible later today, is to finish washing the wall in the living room. It will mean moving a bit of furniture around, but not much. Of course there is also a very slightly higher chance than the Martians landing that Angela could pop in after work, but maybe my money is on the Martians landing on the Whitehouse lawn.
Sunday 14th January 2018
 11:12 GMT
  I didn't pay much attention to the weather because I didn't go out yesterday. What I did notice was that there were several un-forecast sunny intervals, but otherwise it seemed to be mostly grey. The temperature was probably roughly as forecast - between 5 and 6° C.
there is supposed to be a bit of sunshine
 There is supposed to be a bit of sunshine today, but as yet there are no hints that it will happen. It is currently as grey as it was half an hour before sunrise. Apart from the (so far) mythical sunny spells, the temperature is going to be a very familiar 5 to 6° C. Having read the small print I can explain how tomorrow is going to be raining and sunny at the same time. Apparently it seems tomorrow's weather symbols that look like heavy rain will stand for mere "blustery showers". I am not entirely sure what that actually means beyond the likelihood that we will sometimes get wet, and sometime see a bit of sunshine. The best thing is that it should be 11° C. That should mean t-shirt weather in the sunshine five minutes before getting soaked to the skin !

  Despite all my optimism, the cold I developed on Friday night continued to be a source of bother yesterday, but it was incredibly variable. Sometimes I would cough, and sometimes my nose would get very stuffy. At other times I would feel a bit tired or a bit achey, or even both. A few rare times, maybe lasting little more than a few minutes, I completely forgot I had any symptoms. Most of the variability depended on what I was doing.

 I wasn't totally inactive yesterday. I didn't go out anywhere, and I only did the very simplest of cooking, but I did hand wash five t-shirts - and they were the more of the heavy duty type. It felt a lot like hard work ! The exertion warmed me through and through, and the steam from the hot water probably helped clear a few bunged up passages of snot and bogies. I have to say that wanting to blow your nose while wearing wet, soapy rubber gloves is not a good position to be in too often !

 The other bit of mad activity I did was to wash 90% of the wall in the living room that Angela has remarked up on. The big problem was that many years ago, in a mad panic, I washed part of the wall to show a cleaner backdrop for a video interview that I was involved with. It was the contrast between the washed bit and the unwashed that looked, I have to admit, rather horrible. So late yesterday afternoon I got this bee in my bonnet about washing the rest, and that is what I did ! There in one upper corner I couldn't easily get to without rearranging the room more than I was prepared to do, and that corner really sticks out like a sore thumb ! I might have to do something about it very soon - maybe even today. The rest of the wall, now it is dry this morning, looks a lot better, but ultimately I will have to repaint that wall - and the other three walls too - but for now it will have to do.

 I wanted to go to a Chain gig last night, and maybe I could have survived a short visit, but I thought I would be gambling to much with my dodgy chest in the cold night air. The occasional coughing I have been doing has left my chest feeling a bit tender, and combining that with cold night air was probably too foolish to contemplate. So I stayed in, and I thought I would end up having an early night - but I didn't.

 I certainly felt tired by as early as 8pm, but I think I wanted to get very tired so I would fall asleep more easily. It was actually almost midnight before I fell asleep, and I needed a couple of paracetamols plus a good smear of Vick's Vaporub under my chin and a little way down the centre of my chest to get myself comfortable enough to go to sleep. It worked well for just over 3 hours before I woke up again from a dream that featured an unknown woman. I don't think I knew her name, and I can't even remember what she looked like. Maybe it was Angela, or maybe not, but she did share one very wonderful attribute that Angela has - it was nice just to be with her.

 I don't think I actually needed it, but I had a pee, and then I splurged more Vaporub on me, which eased my breathing and coughing, and tried to get back to sleep as fast as possible in case the mystery woman was still waiting for me in my dreams. Sadly, if she was I don't remember it. I think I managed almost another three hours sleep before getting a few much shorter periods of sleep.

 When I finally decided I could fight being awake any longer I rose feeling.....Actually I am not sure what to describe it as. I had a little while of my head feeling really stuffed up, but that cleared. There was a period of time when my breathing seemed quite course, and I was coughing a lot, and then that went away. Sometimes bits of me have ached in a slightly different way to most mornings, and sometimes I have felt what could be described as weak. As I write this it just feels like I have the sort of cold that I would not consider serious enough to keep me off work.

 I strongly expect that what I could do with today is a bit of fresh air, and to stretch my legs. If I clean myself up I might chance going to Tesco today. I think I have a desire for some crusty rolls, and an extra bottle of tonic water would be a good idea (it is only 4 days to go now until Patricia will be coming to stay for a couple of days, and she will be expecting Gin and Tonics !). One other thing I will be doing to pass the time I have already started - going through the pictures I took last Wednesday, and which I have neglected to do much with.

 Using the flash gun for those pictures means they need less work to get them in a nice state, and yet I am not fully satisfied with them. The argument against using flash is that natural light gives a much nice picture, and that is evident on these pictures. I think they have a slightly unnatural look...well maybe it is just some of them that do. On the other hand it has enabled me to get some pictures that would be extremely difficult without flash in the gloomier recesses of the pub ! Here's one example. It is fairly well lit, but not perfectly, and yet is seems to lack any dynamic.
Unnamed guitar player
                        on the left, and Chris Mayer on the right
Saturday 13th January 2018
 09:00 GMT
  Yesterday had it's moments - there was one brief sunny interval - and it was only lightly overcast for much of the day, but it was still very winterish. I guess that is normal for this time of year - winter ! At least it was dry, and the temperature did hit 8° C for 3 or 4 hours in the early afternoon.
another mixed
                  bag of a day
 Over to the east there is a bright patch where the sun is trying, but failing to shine through a thin bit of cloud. No sunshine is forecast for today, and the best we can hope for is that sometimes the sky will be light grey, but we will also have to endure it being heavily overcast from time to time. The temperature is going to be typical for the time of year - 5 to 7° C. It should stay dry today, and it should stay dry tomorrow. It's looking like tomorrow may be a bit brighter but a little bit cooler. It is sad that if we can believe the forecast for Monday we will have to trade heavy rain for a much milder day.
Angela ready to rock !
 My lunchtime tryst with Angela was very nice, but for the second time we were not quite as close as normal. The reason was that lover boy is still behaving himself. I hate the idea that we are much closer when he is being an ass, and Angela is upset by it, but it is a fact of life.

 One cause of sadness for me is that Angela doesn't dare to post her traditional "ready to rock" selfies on social media now. It was so much of her life before. I used to love seeing her all bright and bushy tailed before she left to go to a gig. She was going to a gig (with lover boy) last night, and I had the privilege of being sent her "ready to rock" selfie privately - and without even asking for it. I may be terribly biassed, but I think she looks stunningly beautiful in this selfie.

  I hope she had a good time last night, but I fear she didn't. It was, I believe, lover boys idea to go and see this band in The Fox And Firkin. Angela knows at least one member of the band from old, and would typically greet him with a hug and a kiss, but she was not allowed to do that last night, and of course she is not allowed to dance with anyone.

 I felt slightly under the weather yesterday, and I didn't know why - at the time - I found out last night ! It all started a few days ago. I was walking home from seeing Angela, and someone coughed at me. It wasn't deliberate, and it wasn't really aimed at me, but it was intrusive enough for me to remember it.

 It seems I was under the weather yesterday because I was fighting infection. Obviously I can't put an exact time on it, but let's say it was at 5pm that my infection fighting failed. From then on my nose started to feel very stuffy, and eventually was almost, but not quite running freely. That was a slight surprise because once my nose goes it usually gushes ! I also started to get a tickly throat. Another hour or two and I was coughing up a lot of mucus.

 The fact that my cough didn't (or hasn't yet) turned into raging bronchitus, or worse, is one justification for not smoking for over 4 years now. The other justification is the amount of money I have saved !

 As bedtime approached it became obvious that it was going to be very difficult to get to sleep with all the mucus sloshing around. Another difficulty with sleep is that I had warmed my bedroom up too high earlier on when I probably had a mild fever and was feeling cold. To my surprise I managed to fall asleep close to midnight, and I slept for nearly three hours. I woke up feeling very slightly better....very slightly !

 This morning I am not sure what to think. After about an hour after waking up, my nose seems almost dry, and only needs an occasional light blow, and my cough is dry and the tickling in my throat is almost gone. This is all while sitting in a nice warm room, and doing nothing more strenuous than typing at my PC. I do feel there is a real possibility of making things much worse if I try and do anything more taxing in the cold....and yet sometimes a walk in the fresh air can clear a stuffed up head. I might try and experimental walk round the block a bit later and see what happens.

 What I am hoping is that I feel well enough to go to a gig this evening. I have promised to go to Chain's gig in The Partridge (Bromley) tonight. There is a small possibility that it will be a little quieter in there so soon after the Xmas holidays, and that will make it a bit more enjoyable. It will still be rather dimly lit, and it will be another great opportunity to test and experiment with my new flash gun. I doubt that I would stay to the end of the evening - although that would depend on just how crowded it was, but of course the real question at the moment is will I feel well enough, or stupid enough to go tonight ?

 I still haven't gone through all the pictures I took on Wednesday night, and I keep adding to the backlog. I didn't take any pictures when I went to see Angela yesterday, but I still had some pictures taken on Thursday to deal with - pictures of the river and banks being tidied up by a team of volunteers. If I liked hard work - which I don't - and I liked standing in freezing cold water - which I also don't - I could have joined them just for the fun of wading in the river.

cleaning the river
volunteers cleaning the river and banks
Friday 12th January 2018
 09:36 GMT
  Yesterday was wetter than the forecast predicted. There was no heavy rain, but there were prolonged periods of drizzle at almost anytime through the day (the forecast said only 11am to midday). The temperature was an almost constant 7° C - not desperately cold, but still generally uncomfortable.
a mixed bag of a
 If someone at the weather centre had bothered to look out the window they would have seen that it was raining this morning, and while it may have stopped now, it still looks very soggy outside. I was hoping that we would get the forecast sunny interval at 11am today, but it has disappeared from the latest version of the forecast. On the plus side it does show light fluffy clouds until 10pm now instead just 7pm....although once darkness falls it is a bit irrelevant. A few hours today maybe a whole degree warmer than yesterday, but until late this evening, when the temperature might drop to 5° C, the temperature is going to feel the same as yesterday. Tomorrow is forecast to have both light fluffy clouds and dark sinister clouds. The morning and later evening could be a few degrees colder, but once again the daytime temperature will be similar to today. Maybe we will have to wait until Monday for it to start lapping around the distant shores of almost warm.

  Yesterday was a busy day for me in comparison with many other recent days...or maybe I am downplaying some of my recent achievements. It was certainly a day where I wasn't busy doing nothing. I was out at lunchtime, and I was out in the evening. It didn't give me a lot of time to look at the pictures I took at the Whitestar open mic on Wednesday night. I quickly when through some of them and found the first three people who had at least one decent picture.....
Jason Stamper
This is Jason Stamper pausing between guitar playing to play some harmonica.
Chris Mayer
Chris Mayer with Martin the keyboard player behind him.
Jo Corteen
It is a shame that Jo has a slightly odd expression. I must have caught her midway through a word as she was singing.

  Many of the photos I took (based on a sample of about the first quarter of them) were complete and utter crap, but when my new flash gun did what I had hoped it could do I was very pleased with the results. What I wanted was a flash that did not overpower any ambient lighting, and kill the effects of any coloured stage lighting, and also to leave the backgrounds fairly dull. It seems it can do that, and if I manage to learn to drive it properly it is going to be a great asset in some "difficult" venues - The Partridge in Bromley, and The Mitre in Greenwich come straight to mind !

 Angela was caught up in some work and was a bit late getting to the pub yesterday lunchtime. Although it meant spending less time with her, it did actually suit me better because I didn't want to drink too much because I was going out again in the evening. It wasn't a very joyful meeting yesterday. Not only had Angela been rushed off her feet at work but her son had been bothering her. I did my best to cheer her up, but she couldn't wait to get home after work and have a good soak in a hot bath. It is probably no more than my inbuilt bias, but I don't think she was 100% looking forward to a visit from lover boy in the evening. I'll find out more about that in a few hours time.

 While I was at the pub I popped into the bakers next door and bought 4 crusty rolls. I only wanted 2 but they were 74p for two and 94p for 4 - the choice was obvious. When I got home from the pub I made myself two cheese rolls - one with tomato and one with onion. The cheese was some really smelly Camembert. I was surprised that while I could almost smell it without opening the fridge, it's flavour was actually quite mild and delicate. The onion really overpowered it, but it worked really well with the tomato.

 It was during the couple of hours between getting home and going out again that I prepared the three pictures from the Whitestar open mic session above. I also had time for a very quick snooze. Soon enough it was time to go and get the 16:47 train from Catford station to go to Shortlands station, and The Shortlands Tavern. They had a nice beer in there called "Good 'Elf" from a brewery whose name escapes me. I had three pints of that, plus some good banter with the lads before getting the 19:02 train back to Catford.

 Once again I had arranged to have some food here that tempted me away from any takeaways on the way home....Although I was seriously tempted back in Shortlands. I couldn't actually see the shop from where I was, but I think I remember roughly where it is. It is a traditional fish and chip shop, and the wind was blowing that greasy fish and chip smell right at me as I walked to the station. It is a sad fact that we no longer have a traditional fish and chip shop, or indeed any fish and chip shop in central Catford or I could have been very strongly tempted. (There is a fish and chip and burger and kebab and chicken shop that is only 4 or 5 minutes walk from Catford station - but in the wrong direction).

 The food that I had left out to tempt me straight home was an Aldi interpretation of some sort of Italian dish whose name I can't remember. Basically it was a bowl of tapeworm like pasta with a spicy pork based sauce. It was nice, but not exciting, and I doubt I would want to try another. I think I enjoyed the ready made cheese and onion sandwich that I had bought in Aldi at the same time.

 I was in bed, and asleep soon after 9pm last night - at least I think it was 9pm, but I have a nagging thought that it may have been 10pm for some reason. Once again I slept perfectly until 3am, and then slept badly until when I decided to give up and get up at 8am. Since then I have caught up with some internet stuff, and I have paid my credit card bill. As yet I haven't washed and dressed. I must do that soon so I am ready and relaxed to go out to see Angela at midday (or just after). I have nothing planned after that. There is a gig on tonight that I could go to, but I don't like the venue it is in, and I am not a great fan of the band. They are good, but sometimes being good is not always enough. There is a certain something unknown that makes or breaks a band. If they were playing in The Black Cat I would go without hesitation, but they are playing in The Elm Tree in Elmers End - easy to get to, but the horrid pink lighting in there hurts my eyes so I never go there now.

Seen during my walk through the park, in Ladywell Arena, yesterday.
Thursday 11th January 2018
 09:50 GMT
  No matter how the forecast kept changing, yesterday was a sunny day ! Not 100% sunny, but quite good enough for a high feel-good factor. It almost, but not actually made 8° C feel warm...maybe it just warmed the soul.
It's going to be 7° C and little else
 It's easy to sum up today's forecast - it will be 7° C ! The next few days are currently forecast to deviate very little from 7° C too. It is difficult to tell without going outside if it has stopped raining. I don't recall any rain forecast for first thing in the morning, but it is definitely looking very soggy outside. Light rain is, or was forecast for a bit later this morning, but the rest should be dry. However the day is and will be thickly overcast - even the flap of a butterfly's wings can probably shake rain out of such clouds. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be less grey, but still overcast, and sometimes it will be 6° C instead of 7° C.

  The day before yesterday I didn't feel all that comfortable walking through the park for my lunchtime tryst, but yesterday I didn't feel quite so bad, and the sunshine spurred me on to walk a little further than usual. Instead of leaving the park by crossing the bridge over the river into the hospital I carried on walking. I walked as far as Ladywell station where I picked up a copy of The Metro, and then walked back to the pub via the St. Mary's "Therapeutic Garden". I took many snaps on the way, and here is a few of them.
blue sky and sunshine
This picture merely illustrates it was bright and sunny with a blue sky.
wooden alligator
I don't know if this split tree trunk is natural or if it was split that way to give it some resemblance to an alligator climbing out of the stream.
new seasons pine cones
The main subject is the new seasons pine cones, but also look at that delicious blue sky !
light glinting on the river
This picture came out better than I hoped, and yet it still doesn't capture the scene perfectly. 10 or 20 seconds of video would have made the scene perfectly clear. To the left of centre is the glare of the sun reflecting off the river, but the really pretty thing, when seen in motion, is the light glinting off the water where the stream joins the main flow to the right of the main glare of the sun's reflection. In real life it was sort of hypnotising.

 As usual, I had a very pleasant three quarters of an hour with Angela in the pub at lunchtime. For a time it did get quite emotional as she talked about John (the man she was deeply in love with, and who finally died of cancer last summer). Seven months after his death the emotion is still raw, but I would have thought it would have softened a lot now if she is as in love with lover boy as she says she is.

 My detour via Ladywell station meant I had less time to drink, and I only had two pints yesterday lunchtime. That was good on two counts. The first was that I was able to time finishing that second pint in time to walk Angela back to work, and give her a big hug when we got there. It also meant that I felt less yucky for the rest of the afternoon.

 One consequence of not having an afternoon hangover was that I had the get-up-and-go to go and do a bit of shopping in Aldi. I bought quite a lot of stuff in there, and some of that was reduced price Xmas branded stuff. Aldi's price reductions on some of it put Tesco's meagre reductions to shame. The unfortunate thing is that nearly all of it was chocolate and stuff. I decided it would be safer to put nearly all of it in a less frequently opened cupboard to cut the temptation down to minimum. In reality I shouldn't have bought any of it.

 I also shouldn't have bought the two crusty rolls either - for a completely different reason ! Fast forward to just before 11pm, and I had just got home from an enjoyable evening at the Whitestar open mic session at The Partridge pub in Bromley. I had bought those two crusty rolls specifically for this moment - partly as a lure away from possible temptations of the fried chicken shop. For reasons unknown I was lusting for a cheese and onion sandwich or roll, and that is exactly what I had. I already had some powerful onion, but I bought some sliced smoked cheddar to use as the cheese. Both the cheese and the onion were powerful flavours, and those two rolls were delicious - on first eating. The all night onion flavoured burps, and the onion flavoured fur on my tongue (despite giving my teeth a good brushing before going to bed) were rather less delicious !

 One strange thing happened yesterday evening before I went out to the open mic session. I got a text message from Angela saying "thank you for the T-lights xxxxx". She was presumably referring to the scented tea light candles I had included in her Xmas presents. I was very touched that she was thinking of me while supposedly entertaining lover boy at home. That, and maybe a posting she made on social media a bit later, left me wondering if everything was OK with her evening. I'll probably find out in a few hours.

 Despite my cheese and onion rolls, I was in bed, and asleep before midnight last night. I apparently slept solidly until 3am when I woke up and couldn't get back to sleep for ages. It was that typical condition where the mattress and pillows develop lumps where previously there were none, and you can swap aches from limb to limb, joint to joint like the swirls of a kaleidoscope as you try a hundred different sleeping positions. Eventually I got back to sleep, and while I still woke up briefly several more times, I managed to sleep until almost 8am.

 There are three things on the agenda today. The first is to meet Angela at lunchtime, and the second is to go to my Thursday evening drink with the lads. The third is just a time filler that will probably extend into tomorrow, and it is to go through the pictures I took at the open mic last night. There could be some good snaps because I was testing my new flash gun. I really didn't know how to use it, and I still don't, but trial and error pointed to usable settings. I didn't get a chance to use the radio link between the camera and the flash head, but I guess I should learn to walk before I run !
Wednesday 10th January 2018
 09:07 GMT
  Yesterday wasn't quite bitterly cold like the day before, but it was still fairly nippy ! The temperature very slowly crept up from 4° C in the morning to 8° C by about 9pm. An hour later it started to rain.
                  last, some weak, watery sunshine !
 The rain finished sometime in the early hours of the morning, but it left everything looking soggy when I first peeped through the curtains a little bit before sunrise this morning. Today is not going to be as cold as recent days, but 8° C is still far from t-shirt weather ! The forecast for the amount and time of any sunshine keeps changing. The latest forecast shows just sunny periods for 10am, 1pm and 4pm. 10am seems a definite possibility - the sun is already trying to peep through a crack in the clouds as I write this. Hopefully there will be more sunshine that the latest pessimistic forecast. The current forecast for tomorrow says we will be back to dull gloomy weather. Not a single ray of sunshine is forecast, and the sky will be thick with dark heavy clouds, although no rain is forecast. Just to make things worse it will be a degree or two cooler than today.

  It's not just the weather than can be unpredictable. How I feel, or in other words, my health can be quite changeable. On Monday morning I woke up feeling slightly rough, but I soon started to feel good once I went on my (approx) 3 mile walk, partly with Angela. At the end of the walk I was still feeling good, and had the weather been more cheerful I feel I could have walked a few more miles. That wasn't the case yesterday !

 I was almost going to say I felt good when I got up yesterday, but I think a bland, lower case ok was probably closer to the mark. I didn't go for an early morning walk, but I did walk through the park to meet Angela at lunchtime. I didn't get very far before bits of my chest started aching. With almost every step I could feel a sensation very much like my rib cage rattling around inside me. This was not a new phenomenon, and it has plagued me on and off for the last 4 years now to some extent or another. Perhaps the worst thing is that it felt like my legs could run, and yet my chest just wanted to lay down. I felt better walking home with some Guinness inside of me to cushion the shocks....or something.
shrub with new bright
                        yellow flowers
 While walking through the park I came across this shrub that seems to be flowering in the middle of winter ! Those bright yellow flowers were sort of nice on a horrible grey day.
seagulls over the
                        playing fields
 I am convinced that we never used to see seagulls in Catford except for very rare occasions in severe weather, but now they seem a common fixture.

 I had a nice drink with Angela at lunchtime, but I feel it was slightly unsatisfying, and I don't know why. Perhaps it was gaining the knowledge that she would be cooking one of her excellent dinners for lover boy that made me feel a bit negative. I shouldn't feel so bad about it because the more time they spend together the greater the chance of another blow up. I hate to see Angela saddened when these blow ups happen, but I have to confess that being able to cheer her up does feel good, and there is always the possibility that he may end up being dumped.

 Walking back from the pub was less uncomfortable after three pints of Guinness, but three pints of Guinness left me feeling hungry. It was difficult to fight that, but my resolve was bolstered by the idea that I would be going out to Stretchy's Open Mic night in the evening. A suitable compromise was to have nothing more than a couple of cans of soup. Being mostly liquid, soup doesn't leave me feeling stodgy. Unfortunately it would trigger another effect later.

  I ate the hot soup, and for a short while I felt nice and warm, but it didn't seem to last. After sitting here quietly reading I began to feel almost cold, and I was also feeling sleepy. So I turned the heater up to "tropical" and lay on my bed. When I woke up it was dark outside. I don't know in figures how hot my room was, but I wouldn't be surprised if it wasn't at least 25° C, and yet I only felt very slightly too warm.

 Once I had turned the heater down, and closed the curtain I realised that I needed the toilet. The first time was almost normal, but that hot soup had liquefied the contents of my digestive tract - or so it seemed. It wasn't long before I had to rush to the toilet again, and again, and again... That didn't leave me in the right frame of mind to go to a pub a bit later in the evening !

 Last night I stayed in again, and apart from a bit of guilt because I had said that I would be at the open mic session, I felt fine staying in. With my digestive tract apparently completely empty I did get some hunger pains in the evening. I filled that empty space with a strange concoction I cooked up. It was nothing more than sweet potato and peas cooked in chicken stock, and then semi mashed with some butter. I refuse to think about the nutritional content of that meal, but it was tasty, filled a gap, and used up my last sweet potato. I don't think I'll be buying any more for some time.

 By 10pm I was feeling very sleepy, and so I went to bed. As I think I mentioned yesterday, I am now sleeping under my summer duvet again. Last night was the second time and I seem to sleep rather better under it than my thick and heavy winter duvet. The reason is because I keep my bedroom too warm, and the reason why it is so warm is because I tend to spend more time in my bedroom than anywhere else in the house. It is where my PC is, and I spend a long time on my PC, and of course it is where my bed is, and I prefer to read laying on my bed. If I didn't spend so long in here I could let it get cold, and then the winter duvet would come into it's own.

 After what seemed to be quite a nice sleep I was awoken by a text message from Royal Mail to say they would be attempting to deliver a parcel today. That is quite exciting, but I feel sure they will make the attempt while I am in the pub with Angela. I expect that tomorrow I'll have to go to the sorting office to pick it up.

 Once again I feel reasonably OK this morning, and it will be interesting to see how I feel when I walk to the pub. Maybe it will be OK today. I have already done a bit of exercise - sort of. I have done some laundry, this morning, and while it felt like hard work, it didn't feel like painful work. Next on the agenda is to have a shower and then get dressed properly. I don't know what else I'll be doing today apart from meeting Angela at lunchtime. Probably what I ought to do is to do some serious familiarisation work on my new photographic flash gun. The only trouble is that it is very boring taking pictures of just the walls !
Tuesday 9th January 2018
 09:37 GMT
  Yesterday was bitterly cold. It was made worse by two things. The first was the wind. It wasn't strong, but it was enough to blow all the heat away. The other thing was the horrible grey sky. I am sure the effect was all in the mind, but it just made it all feel worse. The lowest real temperature was probably the 4° C that was forecast, and the highest was, once again, probably the forecast 5° C. The actual feel of the temperature was zero° !
definitely getting a bit less cold
 The forecast doesn't seem to show today being any brighter than yesterday, and my first thought was that maybe that was being unduly pessimistic, but on reflection it does look bloody miserable outside. At least today will end up a little less cold, and it looks like the wind will be even milder than yesterday. That should help make 7 and 8°  C less of a trial. It is forecast to rain late tonight, but with luck it will not inconvenience me (I will probably be out tonight), and it will have finished by the morning. Tomorrow will still be cold, but much less cold than yesterday, and ultimately a tiny bit better than today. The predicted amount of sunshine keeps changing. At worst it will just be a succession of sunny periods, and at best there could be some prolonged periods of sunshine....or it will snow !

  Yesterday started well with my long walk to meet Angela, and then walk with her as she made her way to work. I found myself surprised at how easy that walk was considering it was getting on for three miles, first thing in the morning, and on an empty stomach. The funny thing is that I can't remember if I ate anything when I got in. I feel sure that I must have, but I have no idea what it might have been. I am sure I was thinking along the lines of resisting eating anything, and as unlikely as it seems, I may have achieved that.
obstruction on the
 I hadn't gone very far on my walk to meet Angela when I hit this obstruction on the path. It looked like this old Xmas tree had been dumped in such a way to completely block the footpath. Obviously there is a way around it on the left, but from a distance, and without the benefit of my cameras flash gun to give a better view, that gap was not obvious.
the bottom of Perry
 One of the trials of walking to meet Angela is the walk up Perry Hill. It is not steep, but it does go on a fair way, and it comes after a very gentle, almost unnoticeable uphill walk which slightly saps the energy. It seems worse when like in the picture above, it is before sunrise.
sunrise on a day
                        without any sun
 A little later than the previous picture, and near the top of the hill, the sun should be rising in the distance in this view. The trouble is that there was no sun yesterday !

 Once I had rested from my walk I got quite busy yesterday. I set up my "photographic studio" to show to Angela later, and with the hope that we could take a few test shots to see how it looked. It will be quicker to set up next time now I know what I think I want to achieve, although until I use it for real I am still unsure about arranging the lighting. In fact I know that it is likely that I will change it because I received my new flash gun yesterday.

 The new flash gun is a complicated beast ! It looks remarkably similar to the one that John Bull (professional photographer) was using at the gig last Friday night. My one was fairly cheap, and appeared near the top of the listings on I would have thought that a professional would choose something a bit more expensive, but maybe not. Next time I bump into him we can compare notes, and see if our radio link channel clashes !

 The other thing I did yesterday was to go to Tesco in the afternoon. There were a couple of things I specifically wanted. One was a ripe and ready to eat avocado for Angela. Another was some cans of soup for me. I also wanted something like some tapas bowls. I wasn't sure if they would have anything like that, but happily they did.
food and Angela
 You can see the bowls that I bought in this picture (plus a startled Angela in the background). I imagined getting small round bowls, but I rather like these square bowls. They were sold individually, and were just called "bowls" rather than tapas bowls, although in this instance they are meze bowls. In this particular meze spread Hula Hoops substituted for bread !
my lovely Angela
 Here's a better picture of Angela (apart from her socks !) looking more relaxed and happy after having some nibbles, and finally feeling warm again after her walk here from work. Sadly, but as predicted, she could only stay for a short while, although a bit longer than the hour that I first predicted. Sadly she couldn't stay a bit longer to have a look at my "photographic studio" set up, and do a couple of test poses.

 After Angela went home I had to take my lights, tripods, and backdrop down to convert my "photographic studio" back into my bedroom. After I had done that I finally allowed myself to have some dinner. It was a big little dinner...or was it a little big dinner ? It was a couple of packs of sandwiches I had found on the reduced price shelf in Tesco, and the leftover chunks of cheese, tomatoes and olives I had prepared for Angela. The nice, but unfortunate thing was that the sandwich packs were triple egg bacon and sausage - noted for their high fat and salt content. Oh well....

 I felt a bit full when I went to bed not much more than an hour later. It didn't seem like it would happen, but I managed to get to sleep around 9pm, and I seemed to sleep well until 2am. I think I was then stayed awake until after 3am, but eventually I got back to sleep again. I was in quite a deep sleep when I got a message from Angela at about 7am (when I should already have been up and at least showering). She decided that with the weather being cold again she was going to get a bus to work, and not to waste my energy walking to meet her.

 Instead of showering and getting dressed I decided to waste my time/amuse myself reading some technical news off the internet ( Once I have finished writing this I really must shower and get dressed. It won't be that long before I have to walk to the pub to meet Angela at lunchtime. Hopefully I'll have enough time to get some laundry started before I go out. Dealing with that laundry will be an afternoon job. I won't be seeing Angela after work, and another after work visit might have to wait a week or more. What I hope I will do is to go an open mic session in Bromley tonight.
Monday 8th January 2018
 10:32 GMT
  The sunshine didn't seem very spectacular yesterday. Maybe it was because it seemed to carry no heat. That was definitely so outside, but it even behind glass it had less effect than I would have hoped for. It was still very welcome though. The highest temperature yesterday was 5° C.
a cold grey day
 I can confirm from personal experience that it is bloody chilly this morning. It is also very grey outside, and sadly it seems like it will stay this way, including the cold, all day long. The best we can hope for is just 5° C again. Tomorrow may be almost identical to today, but a whole one degree warmer. At least this morning there was one ray of sunshine to cheer me up - Angela !

  I was fairly busy for a Sunday yesterday. In the morning I went to Poundstretcher to buy a curtain rod and a curtain, plus a few other possible accessories for a similar idea idea for photographic back drops. What I really wanted was a light blue curtain, and preferably one printed with clouds on it. They didn't have any blue curtains of any shade, so I opted for light purple. I thought that would be better than deep purple even though deep purple would have been my choice if the curtain was to be used as a real curtain.
light purple, silky
                        looking curtains
 It wasn't long after I git back from the shops that I started to put the curtains up. It needed three holes, one for each support, drilled in the wall above my bed, and then the brackets screwed to the wall. That was pretty much all that needed doing. The end result can be seen in the picture above. I hope that all the creases (mostly) fall out of the material once it has been hanging up for a few days. With a better duvet and pillows covers I think it should like quite nice, maybe even exotic when Angela poses before it.

 The supporting rod for the curtains is not fixed down, and it is a simple thing to take the curtains down when not needed, and  of course simple to put them up again. Putting up the supports and trying out the curtains was probably the only major thing I did yesterday, but I seemed to keep myself busy doing lots of little jobs. One such job was a start on tidying up a gigantic heap of old financial papers.

 I thought my old Philips flash gun may have been hiding behind those papers. It wasn't, and maybe I threw it away, but it was interesting to see how much old crap I had accumulated. There was paperwork going back to when Videotron was the local cable TV company (it was taken over by NTL, and is now Virgin Media). There were phone bill from when I had a mobile phone on the One-2-One mobile network - They went through several owners, and I have no idea who the current owner of the network is called. Then there were bank and credit card statements going back ten years or more. One day I need to sit down and start shredding them before disposing of them - maybe even have a bonfire.

 One other thing I did yesterday was to look back through all my photos to find when it was that I first laid eyes on Angela. It was the day after her birthday, and Chain sang happy birthday to her in The Catford Ram at the end of October 2014. It took a lousy photo, and it was made worse by Angela having very moist eyes and blushing. I'll still treasure the photo though. I think that was the first time I had consciously seen Angela, and somehow I knew instantly that I wanted to get to know her. It took almost 2 years before than dream started to come true, and once we talked it was like a spark between us.
a very emotional
                        Angela after the band sung happy birthday to her
                        in 2014
 Yesterday I used my improving photo editing skills to touch up this picture of Angela. It is still a poor picture of her, but it was the picture that lead me on to get to know her so much better.

 I wanted to get to sleep early last night, and I was careful with what, when, and how much I ate yesterday, but it was to no avail. I didn't feel sleepy, and couldn't get comfy for hours. Instead of being asleep very soon after 9pm, it was closer to 2am when I finally got to sleep. Even then I woke up after an hour, and then again an hour after that. Finally I got into a deeper sleep, probably through shear exhaustion, until I woke up at about 6.30am.

 In one respect it would have been better if I had been able to have the pee I needed, and then gone straight back to sleep, but I had a plan.... It took some discipline to haul myself under the shower, and do the other necessaries prior to getting dressed, ready to go out. My plan was to walk towards Angela's house, and try to meet her on route to work.

 Initially I thought my plan had failed. I got with a hundred feet of her house without bumping into her, and it seemed late enough that I was sure I had missed her. I felt a bit sad about that, and I turned around and started walking slowly back towards home. After a few minutes walking I looked back, and my heart leapt with joy when I saw Angela walking down the hill towards me. I think Angela enjoyed a bit of company on her walk to work, and I would hope she enjoyed it as much as me.

 As we neared her workplace we made some plans for later. Today I am not meeting her at lunchtime, but I will be meeting her after work. She is coming here for a chat, a drink and some nibbles. It may only be for an hour, but I suspect it will be longer. After we said goodbye I walked back home. I felt both exhilarated and slightly knackered ! I wasn't always walking that fast, but I was out walking for about an hour and fifteen minutes. I didn't measure it (maybe I will tomorrow), but I estimated it was a three mile walk. Two of those a day and I would soon be feeling a lot fitter. However, for the next 20 minutes I am going to put my feet up !
Sunday 7th January 2018
 09:50 GMT
  It was cold and mostly grey yesterday. Sometimes it felt like the temperature didn't even reach the forecast high of 6° C, and I am sure that by midnight it was only 2° C (possibly an hour or three before that !).
another cold day, but there may be
                  occasional sunshine
 Today is going to be even colder than yesterday, just 5° C maximum, but by way of consolation there should be a lot of cheery sunshine. At the moment it is bright, but not actually sunny, although I can see quite a bit of blue in the sky. Tomorrow should see a similar range of temperatures but it is supposed to be an exceedingly dark grey day. The current thought is that it will remain dry, but I have my suspicions.....

  Yesterday, and yesterday evening did not happen as intended. At the very minimum I expected to shower and dress yesterday. I also thought I might go to the shops sometime during the day, and I was looking forward to going to a gig in the evening. None of these things happened, and it was only this morning that I realised there was a good reason for one of them not happening. Perhaps there was a reason for the others not to happen too.

 Perhaps much of the blame can lie on me spicing up the southern fried style chicken I had on Friday night. As I recalled yesterday it caused me to feel too hot and too cold, and I ended up thrashing around in bed instead of sleeping - simplified version of the story ! I felt pretty lousy in the morning, and continued to feel lousy for a lot of the day.

 A big contributory factor to feeling lousy was being stuck at my PC editing photos for a lot of the day. It turned out that I found 34 good or good enough photos among all this I had taken on Friday night. All of them were improved with various digital darkroom techniques, and that takes time. I don't know if it was midday or even an hour or two later when I was still not washed and dressed that I decided to lay on my bed for a bit.

 I started off reading, but that didn't last more than 10 minutes. Another minute later and I was fast asleep. I slept for at least an hour and woke up feeling far worse than when I fell asleep. All sorts of bits of me ached, and I felt cold - shivery cold - despite the room being a little over 20° C, and possibly 23° C as it is as I write this. It felt like I had suddenly gone down with 'flu !

 I had to turn the heat up to tropical temperatures, and have a can of hot soup before I felt reasonably comfortable. Some ibuprofen helped some of the joint pain, and later on several very large whiskies provided relief for anything left over - and got me drunk. Not roaring drunk, but drunk enough to know that going out would be a stupid idea. Still going around in a slobby pair of lounge pants, and still not showered was another reason for not going out.

 This morning I found the ultimate reason why I still would not have gone out if everything else was perfect. I didn't realise it, but we have no trains this weekend, and the idea of messing about on buses, going to a place that I have never had to make my own way to before, was abhorrent to me. Oh well, at least the day wasn't wasted because I did get all the photo editing done.
wide angle look at
                        Friday night's gig
The light was a bit marginal, but I managed to get some use out of my wide angle lens at the gig. I thought I would probably end up using it more outdoors, but this shot seemed reasonable if you don't study it too carefully. It is actually a cropped version of the original because that was just a little but too much "fisheye", and the periphery contained little of interest.
high angle shot of the drummer
While my original mentor, and now almost rival at some gigs, does a lot of very low angle stuff (he can kneel down with his knees becoming a mass of fiery pain) I seem to get some success doing high angle shots. Capturing the drummer in this position came about by pure luck.
slightly high angle shot featuring most
                        of the band
This was a high angle shot too using my medium wide lens, and once again it was a lucky shot. I hadn't intended it to include the hands clapping at the bottom, but I thought it added a nice touch.

 I didn't think I felt too bad when I went to bed, but maybe I was just too anxious about trying to get to sleep before the hangover from all the whisky I drunk set in. The result was that I couldn't get to sleep, and that in turn lead my brain to start thinking of other stuff as a distraction from thinking about my feared hangover.

 With my brain churning away ten to the dozen I still couldn't sleep, but I did think up some possible good ideas. Just to make matters worse, the more I thrashed around the lumpier the mattress felt, and the harder the pillows felt. Of course the pillows also felt both too high and too low at the same time ! At something like 3am I did fall asleep, but it was a pretty lousy sleep.

 This morning I don't feel too bad for now. One thing I do feel is a desperate need for a shower ! I have nothing specific to do today, and with a bit of luck I may be able to catch up with a bit of sleep. I think I will probably go out to Poundstretcher this morning to investigate some props to give a nicer backdrop to my "photo studio". Nowhere in my house is there an uncluttered background to take pictures of Angela against.

 A brain wave (or was it a brain storm) I had last night was to buy some curtain rods, and some plain curtains. I can then put the curtain rods up on a wall, and have curtains drawn across a pretend window. If I buy several curtain rods (I think they are relatively cheap) I can use the same curtains in a few different places.

 Another brain wave, or more likely brain fart, I had in the night was the idea that I/we could use a currently unused brand new plain net curtain to make a sort of semi transparent toga. I am not entirely sure how it would work, and I hope that when the time comes, if it does, Angela will have some better ideas than me.

 Apart from a visit to the shops, and hopefully a bit of sleep catch up, I have nothing to do but to wish for tomorrow. I desperately want to get to sleep early tonight so I can get up early. Tomorrow morning is going to be cold and dark, but I want to walk Angela part way to work in the morning. Along the way we can consider whether to meet at lunchtime or whether we will meet after work. I hope it will be after work.
Saturday 6th January 2018
 10:21 GMT
  Yesterday's weather was a bit of a mixed bag. There was a little rain, but no heavy rain as was forecast for mid morning. The afternoon was sunny in varying amounts, and it was only moderately cold - more very cool than cold, or 8° C while the sun was out.
cold, cool and
                  mid grey
 I'm not sure if what I saw with bleary eyes was dew or frost this morning, but it was probably cold enough for frost. By the middle of the day it is supposed to warm up to a glorious 6° C. As forecast, there is some weak sunshine trying to filter through the clouds as I write this, but most of the day is going to be light to mid grey (except after dark when it will be black !). The latest forecast for tomorrow shows it being a sunny day, but it is going to be a degree or so colder than today. Brrrrrr !

  My yesterday lunchtime meeting with Angela in the pub was a very happy time. There are no imminent changes to our circumstances - it has been too early for her lover boy to blow another gasket, but it will probably happen this weekend or next. Whether that will be the final straw is up to Angela. I hope it will for Angela's sake as much as mine, but I fear otherwise. Regardless of that we made plans for the future.

 In the immediate future is the prospect of having to go through another trauma when her lover boy has another freak out. In the longer term is an idea for "glamour photography" using Angela as my life model. I initially mentioned almost tongue in cheek, but Angela picked up on it, and it seems she is as keen, if not more so than me. It was touching that she admitted she would never allow anyone than me to take the pictures - which might end up as "tastefully nude".

 We parted on a big hug because we won't be seeing each other until Monday now. I walked back home doing my best to suppress thoughts of food. I only had two pints with Angela, and it wasn't on a completely empty stomach (although close to it), but even two pints can "encourage" me to rush home for some lunch. Yesterday I managed to fight that for a good hour, and it might have been two. When I did give in I only had two cans of soup. The first soup was a peas with mint soup. Without realising it before opening the can, my second soup was very heavy with peas. It was a German themed soup of sausages and vegetables. There seemed to be very few thinly sliced bits of Bockwurst (I think) sausage, and most of the vegetables were peas !

 My breakfast was a whole packet of ready made crispy bacon - fat, salt and calories by the bucketful, and flavour by the ton ! That and the two cans of soup were all I had until I got home from a gig. I think I might have been able to resist food then, or perhaps just have a few biscuits or something, but I had prepared something for when I got home. It was "southern style" chicken legs and breasts. When I say prepare I mean I took it out of the packet and 95% cooked it. All I had to do when I got home was to turn on the grill/oven for 10 minutes to complete the process.

 To make the chicken even nicer I sprinkled on a fair bit of black pepper (allegedly the most significant of the secret herbs and spices of Kentucky Fried Chicken), and I also sprinkled on some dry chilli flakes. That chicken did taste nice last night ! Unfortunately the pepper and chilli, while not seeming to be very hot when I ate it, provoked a fierce sweat an hour, or maybe less, after I got to sleep. That rather ruined my sleep. It was difficult to sleep comfortably after that. The bed was either too hot or too cold. I felt pretty lousy when I gave up trying to sleep this morning.

 Maybe I might catch up with some sleep during the day, but I have a lot of photo editing to do. I took a lot of pictures of The B Movie Creatures in The Swan pub in West Wickham last night. The surprising thing is that I was semi-enjoying myself in a pub I normally dislike going to. Some of it was the good music, and some of it was some good company. I only had two difficulties. One was that Jamie Bull is the lead singer on the band, and his dad is John Bull - professional photographer, and my one time mentor. John was there, and my photos will be going up against his - in my mind if nowhere else !

 My second problem was a much more decisive problem. Before getting to the gig I had been rather flatulent, and I feared I was building up to another bit of gut upset. Fortunately it didn't happen because the toilet in the pub, the one single cubicle as far as I know, was blocked, and while liquid was still filtering through the blockage, any solids would soon have the pan filled - yuck ! For that reason I decided to call it a day once I had had a chance to have a few brief chats with people between the 1st and 2nd sets. By pure chance my timing was excellent. I left the pub at about 10:30pm and wandered down the hill to the station. The platform display said the next train was due in 2 minutes - very handy !
Jamie Bull
Jamie Bull fronting The B-Movie Creatures last night.
The B-Movie Creatures at The Swan
 So far I have looked at just 1% of the pictures I took last night. I am hoping for some better pictures than these two among those I took. These aren't bad, and could be considered good compared to most mobile phone snaps, but at full size they are quite poor. Some of it is on account of the lighting. I did notice that John Bull, who once advised me against using flash, and didn't use it himself, was using a flash gun last night. It was a rather "flash" flash that was radio linked to his camera, and which he set to bounce the flash off the ceiling. I can imagine it will have filled in the lack of front illumination of the bands faces quite well. I have to confess I have just ordered something similar to add to my kit. I expect mine will be a cheap Chinese version of John's......but maybe not.

 Selecting and editing photos will probably take up most of my time today, but not all of it. Realistically there is little chance that I would get through all the pictures today, and so I have already spent a little time enhancing my spare bedroom by trying to get most of my t-shirt collection out of it. It is definitely now at the point where the only major improvement would be give the walls a fresh lick of paint. With Patricia's brief visit still 11 days away I guess I could even do that if I really put my mind to it, Maybe I will, or maybe I won't. At least I can be satisfied that even now it is infinitely improved over the smelly, cluttered room it was the last time Patricia stayed - which was 14th September 2013 - the day after she was supposed to stay here to watch over me after I came out of hospital !

 Tonight I take even more pictures. I'm going to see M.T. Pockets playing at Grace's Bar and Grill in Birkbeck. The one and only time I went there before was with Angela during another lull in her relationship with lover boy. If they hadn't made up (or come to an uneasy truce) I would have been going with Angela tonight. There is still a microscopic chance it could still happen. I know she didn't enjoy herself last night. It is still very unlikely though because her daughters other band, Back To The Fray, are playing in Blackheath tonight, and she really wants to be there to support her daughter. Sadly she will have lover boy with her or I might have gone to that instead.
Friday 5th January 2018
 09:17 GMT
  Yesterday morning was very soggy in the extreme ! By late morning the rain had all but stopped. By midday the clouds had broken up enough to let the occasional ray of sunshine in, and the temperature had climbed to 12° C. Just as that was starting to feel pleasant the wind got very gusty, and blew all the heat away. The wind eased off at sunset, and the temperature started to fall away to 7° C by 9pm, and then continued to fall.
                  rather cool and damp day
 It is currently about 6.5° C, and that is close to the forecast. There has also been some rain, but not heavy rain (as far as I am aware) as the forecast says there should have been. I am also pretty certain I have seen no sign of any sunshine so far this morning ! It makes it difficult to believe that this afternoon could be sunny, but we live in hope. Overall it is going to be a cool day with the temperature possibly only reaching 8° C during the afternoon. The weather has been revised for tomorrow since I took this screenshot. It is going to be a cooler day than today, and also a lot wetter !

 I did a lot of walking yesterday. First of all there was the early morning walk I did in the rain when I hoped to intercept Angela on her walk to work. I think I'll be trying that again some day - a dry day, and a day when I think it is unlikely she will be getting a lift to work (i.e. any day when her lover boy is not busting a gut to get her back after another bust up). I guess I was probably walking for 25 - 30 minutes. The next bit of walking was just to Aldi and back - maybe 5 or 6 minutes there, and perhaps a tiny bit longer when carrying a heavy load back. That visit to Aldi had consequences ! The final walk was to and from the pub where I met Angela. That was another 25 to 30 minutes walking. Yesterday must have been the forst day in ages when I have got almost sufficient exercise.
me to the left, and Angela to the right
There are many things I don't understand, and sometimes I think that top of that list is love and emotions. When I met Angela in the pub at lunchtime she confirmed that she had a nice evening with what should have been her ex-lover boy, that he had stayed the night, and he had given her a lift to work.

 Maybe it is because she knows there will be another blow up in a week or two's time, but instead of keeping some sort of distance from me, she seemed as close, if not closer. She was more than happy to give a wonderful smile in a selfie of the two of us. Until recently I wouldn't even have dared ask to take a photo of the two of us, but yesterday I didn't even have to ask. I just got my phone out and she went into pose mode.

 For half an hour every work day we have what is to all intents and purposes a love affair, and while it is very wonderful, it makes it so hard to think that she goes back to her abusive lover boy afterwards. It is like for half an hour we inhabit a different, and rather wonderful universe, and then reality comes crashing in a ruins everything.  It is possible there could be a variant of that next week.
storm damage
 All the strong winds we have had recently haven't done much damage, but I did spot this tree while I walked through the park to meet Angela.
swollen river pouring
                        over weir
 The river through the park was very swollen yesterday, but if you look at the tide marks in this picture you can see it was even higher sometime before I took this snap of the water completely covering most of the rocks.

 I felt very peckish when I got back home after seeing Angela - three pints of Guinness can do that. I ended up being rather gluttonous. As I was putting stuff I had bought from Aldi into my fridge I noticed a pack of posh, beechwood smoked bacon was beginning to bulge. If it hadn't gone off it was on it's way. The real test was to open it and see if it stank. It didn't, and so I put the bacon in my mini grill and oven. I also noticed that a steak I had in the bottom of the fridge was a fair bit past it's sell by date. In the case of steak this can be a good thing - up to a point. I decided I might as well cook it too.

 It was a very meat heavy lunch, and I hadn't finished yet. Prior to finding and cooking the bacon and steak I had set my heart on trying some chicken wings with a spicy Korean sauce. They really need no more than a couple of minutes in the microwave to heat up, and I had already started the microwave before putting the bacon and steak in the oven/grill. I had those chicken wings as a sort of starter. The only difference between them and other wings was the sauce they came with, and the only difference between that and other chilli sauces was not much ! They had to be tried, but once tried they can be ignored in the future.

 Once I had stuffed myself full of meat I lay on my bed with a mild hangover just starting. It didn't take long to fall asleep, and the next thing I knew was that it was starting to get dark, and I felt cold, and I felt awful ! I tried to get myself ready to go out for my Thursday evening drink, but I was too late to go and get my first train of choice, the 16:47, and I couldn't even get the 17:03 train. The next train was 17:33, and we generally meet at 17:00 ! In the end I felt so rough I "called in sick". I think I could have coped with the headache in the belief that beer would cure it, but the feeling like a lead weight in my stomach was too horrible to travel with.

 I amused myself for the rest of the evening by doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Included in that vagueness was preparing the pictures I have used today. It was tempting to just go to bed very early with the book I am reading, and read until it felt like a good time to put the book down, close my eyes and sleep. I could have done that, but I decided that I wanted to try and stay up a bit later last night to prepare me for (maybe) tonight, and (probably) tomorrow.

 Today my plans start with meeting Angela at lunchtime. Now she is back with lover boy this will be the last time I see her until after the weekend. During what turned out to a very a temporary breakup we had planned to go to a gig together on Saturday night, and maybe tonight too, but sadly not now. It is possible, although I am slightly pessimistic about it, that we may meet after work next Monday instead of at lunchtime. It is even possible that we will meet at home instead of a pub. If it happens it will probably be for no more than an hour, but it will still make me very happy.

 Tonight I am toying with the idea of going to a gig - by myself. The B-Movie Creatures, who I don't think I will like that much, are playing in The Swan in West Wickham - a pub I don't like much, although it is slightly easy to get to. I think I am going to go through the motions to prepare to go out tonight, but whether I will when the time comes is anyone's guess.
Thursday 4th January 2018
 08:54 GMT
  The wind stopped it feeling as mild as it could have yesterday, but we did get a bit of bright sunshine, and I can't recall any rain. The highest temperature was 10° C, but it didn't feel like it.
rain, but maybe mild feeling from time to time
 The latest forecast for today is slightly different to the one above that was published at 4:07am this morning. Funnily enough it is this earlier one that seems closer to current reality. The current reality is rain, rain, and rain, but it does seem to be getting lighter now. The current forecast just shows light cloud for 9am, and bright sunshine at 10am. It would be nice if that turns out to be true. At the moment it is so dark that I have to have the lights on. By, or even before midday the temperature should have risen from 8° C to 12° C. The only trouble is that at midday the wind gets very strong again, and it will blow all the warmth today. Tomorrow is supposed to be cool and dry with some sunshine.

  Once again the first significant thing I did was to go to meet Angela in the pub at lunchtime. I decided to take along my Sony Experia mobile phone and give it an airing. Initially my thought was to try and take a few selfies of us together to see if I could capture a really good one, but I decided that yesterday was not the best day to do it. I originally bought the Sony phone on the strength of the reviews about it's camera. I agree with the reviews - it is a good camera. Unfortunately I hate the phone for other reasons. The phone came with loads of "bloatware" that I neither understand or want, and it can't be uninstalled...but it does take nice pictures !
blue sky through the
 If I had had time to use the zoom option this picture may have been even better. It's actually a cropped image that I took to show the amount of blue sky visible between the clouds. I never expected the plane to look so good. It may not be a great picture of a plane, but I expected it to be hardly visible !
duck and
                          drake on the river bank
 When shrunk down to fit on my page this duck and drake don't look that good, but in the full sized image they look much better. If you click on the picture you can see the original picture straight off the phone in a new tab. It is very big !
 I took this picture to show the shadow cast by real and most welcome sunshine !
selfie in the pub
 I did take one selfie in the pub while I waited for Angela. The Sony phone camera did make a better job of it than my normal phones camera. It is quite dim in the pub, and just above my head is a light that shines away from me, but can still dazzle the camera.

 It was still very nice to see Angela, but I don't look back at it as a very happy meeting. I learned that after Angela had called me early in the morning she received some text message from (at that time) her ex lover boy. He announced that he would be calling on her at 7pm, and to my dismay she had agreed to meet him.

 I have grave fears that he would be extra nice, probably bring some nice flowers, and end up staying the night...and so start another cycle of emotional abuse. At about 6pm I sent Angela a link to a web site about abuse, and she did read it, but I don't think she read it properly, and sort of filtered out all the low level stuff, and only concentrated on the nasty stuff like physical abuse. I fear that I made a grave error sending that link, and that instead of persuading her that being controlled and attempts to change her natural personality are abuse, she only thinks that a punch in the face is abuse.

 At the end of our meeting in the pub I walked her back to work, and we parted on a big firm hug. I continued on my way home, and when I got there I started to prepare some lunch. I wanted to try and eat something simple and not too wet. Too much gravy can leave me feeling almost bloated and sluggish. I decided to hang the expense and cook a steak which I would just have with some peas.

 I put the steak in my little mini oven and grill, set the timer, and went upstairs to my computer. When it felt like enough time had passed to check the steak I went down stairs and found the oven cold and the steak extremely rare ! I don't know how it happened, but the oven/grill had become unplugged. I plugged it back in, and started the steak cooking, but I was feeling extra hungry by then. I decided to dice some cheese for extra flavour and eat the peas I had cooked first. I then, a bit later, I ate the steak by itself with some horseradish sauce. It was rather delicious.

 It was several hours later that I began to feel uncomfortable. A trip to the toilet seemed to be a cure for that, but the cure didn't last. Once I had started my guts began to turn somersaults, and at 10 minute intervals it seemed like I had make a visit to the toilet. Towards the end each poo became slightly smaller, and considerably more liquid, but even so I could just not imagine where it could all be coming from ! Through all this I didn't feel any nausea, and desire to vomit (although the stench did catch in my throat once or twice !!!!!!!), but I still thought it would be better to restrict my eating to just a couple of cans of soup for the rest of the day.

 By 8.30pm, or maybe a little before, I felt very tired. So I brushed my teeth, git into bed, and fell asleep almost instantly. I slept solidly for 3 hours before waking for no real reason. I think I then slept for another 2 hours. After that sleep came very thinly. By about 4.30am I had given up on sleep, and essentially got up.

 One plan I made for this morning was to walk towards Angela's home and if I timed it right I would be able to bump into her near there, and walk with her on her way to work. There were two flaws in this plan. One was the heavy rain. I would have expected her to get a bus, but there was one other possibility that I feared, and I learned that it was so just a little while ago - she was given a lift to work. She is back with lover boy, and I'll give it less than two weeks before I have to go through the pain of trying to help her get over another abusive session with him.

 Regardless of the rain, I did actually go out to see if there was any sign of Angela walking to work, and I did think I saw her through my rain speckled glasses, and steamed up windows of a 75 bus heading towards where she works, but evidently it was not her. That was no great surprise, but something else was this morning. At the usual time I went to the toilet and did a usual poo, and a little while later I went again, and did another perfectly normal poo. This would have been perfectly normal at any other time, but this morning I am perplexed about where it all came from. I couldn't believe my body could produce all the poo I passed last night, so to find more this morning was just mind boggling. I am sure I am completely empty now ! I must be !!!!

 I have several things on the agenda today. Very soon now I will be going to Aldi. Hopefully I will get there and back in time for a casual stroll to meet Angela in the pub at lunchtime. Then later this afternoon I'll be getting the train to Shortlands to meet up with the lads for the Thursday evening drink.
Wednesday 3rd January 2018
 09:30 GMT
  Much of yesterday was grey and murky, plus there was quite a lot of rain fall - but not when the forecast said there would be. Maybe it would be more true to say that I was lucky in that it didn't rain while I was out. It was most definitely not a warm day, but it was almost mild. The temperature slowly crept up during the day from around 5° C in the morning to 10° C by sunset.
strong winds !!!!
 The main feature today is strong winds. They actually started very late yesterday evening, and it almost seems as if they have blown themselves out. I'm sure there is still a very strong breeze at the moment, but it is not making the windows rattle, and the roof creak - like it did at about 10pm last night ! I have included the predicted wind speeds on today's screenshot of the weather forecast. 43mph is not hugely strong, but strong enough - particularly in unexpected gusts. The temperature looks reasonable today, and it seems we might even have some sunshine. Tomorrow is forecast to be warm and wet !

  About the only thing of significance yesterday was seeing Angela at lunchtime. I was expecting to walk there through heavy rain, but the rain had stopped when I went out, and it was also dry when I walked home from the pub. When I say dry I mean it wasn't raining rather than everything being dripping wet - there were some pretty big puddles to avoid out there ! I had a very pleasant 30 minutes with Angela, and something happened that has never happened before. It could be said to have happened twice !
very poor quality, but
                        treasured selfie
 It all started when I demonstrated a clip on wide angle lens for mobile phones. I found them in Poundland, and thought they were an excellent buy for just £1. The picture above was taken on my mobile phone. It looks terrible because the light in the pub was atrocious and the camera was struggling to focus (I think I also jiggled the phone as I fumbled for the shutter button). The great significance of this picture is that it is the first ever picture of me and Angela together in a selfie. The lens I took to the pub was meant for Angela, and when we tried it on her phone the results were so much better, and the picture below is the first selfie Angela has ever taken of us !
Me and Angela
 Despite how it might look, and how I would like it to be, we are not actually in a so called "relationship", and for certain reasons Angela is actively against one at the moment, but I hope they are one small step along the process.

When I got home from seeing Angela my thoughts turned to breakfast, but breakfast was long past, and it had to be lunch. I had quite a big lunch, although it should have been low(ish) in both calories and fat. It was skinless chicken thighs with broccoli cooked in chicken stock. In an ideal world I would have only eaten about half the chicken, and then added more vegetables to make a stew for dinner in the evening. I didn't though, and I ate the whole lot !

 It was some time after eating that I decided to have a snooze. It was light and warm in my room when I put the book down I was reading and fell asleep. It was dark when I woke up, and I felt terrible. I had a mild hangover and I felt almost shivery cold. Apart from putting some lights on, and turning the heater up, I was inspired to cook a large baked potato, dressed with butter and cheese, for dinner. Even that didn't make me feel satisfied and full, and later in the evening I had some cheese and biscuits.

 I guess it was the late afternoon snooze, but when I went to bed I couldn't get to sleep for ages. When I finally got to sleep I managed to sleep for several hours non stop, but I did seem to be dreaming a lot. I can't remember any detail from those dreams, but I have a feeling they were generally pleasant dreams. I managed several more blocks of sleep, but as 7am approached I found myself more awake than sleeping. 

 It was about 7.30am when I was just starting to get myself together and the phone rang. It was Angela. She was very distressed and needed someone to talk to so she could calm down a bit before going to work. Apparently her now ex-lover boy has been acting like a spoiled kid and being malicious. After speaking to Angela for 10 or so minutes she calmed down enough to get ready to go to work. Once again I'll be seeing her lunchtime, and will do my best to make her happy.
Tuesday 2nd January 2018
 06:13 GMT
  I only have a few vague memories of yesterday's weather because my mind was on better things. It might also be because it was a very bland day. It wasn't warm, but it wasn't freezing. The sky was a neutral grey colour, and while I did notice a few rain drops on the window at one time, it was essentially a dry day. The forecast said most of the day would be 7° C with a few hours around midday at 8° C, and I wouldn't dispute that.
                  for rain when I least want it
 Today I have to be prepared for rain when I least want it - while walking through the park to meet Angela at lunchtime. Before then, and after then, it could stay dry, but this is based on the 5am version of the forecast, and the day could easily turn out differently to this. The temperature forecast is usually close to reality, and the reality is that it does feel very chilly this morning. During the day the temperature is supposed to rise from a low of 5° C to an almost reasonable 10° C at 8pm. It will also start to rain then, and by midnight it could be raining very heavily. The temperature could peak at 12° C by midnight before falling back down to something like 7° C by tomorrow morning - and all the while it will continue to rain ! It seems the main feature for tomorrow will be strong winds.

  I was hoping to see Angela at midday yesterday, and I had doubts about it happening. What I didn't imagine was getting a phone call just after 10am asking if she could come straight round to my place. Fortunately I had just finished showering and washing my hair, and despite still dripping, I was able to say yes. I quickly dried myself off. Got dressed, and with my hair still wet I walked up the road to meet her.

 She was not happy, but despite many anxieties she was happy when she left to go home. I feel guilty about deriving so much happiness on the back of what probably should be considered a tragedy. Time will tell if Angela splitting up with her lover boy is a permanent thing, but I hope it is - and not for my sake, although I am obviously happy she can spend time with me again, and maybe we can restore the relationship that got side tracked 14 months ago. Even if it was not with me I would rather see her with someone else rather than someone who she claimed to love, but was forever making her unhappy !

 I think Angela stayed at my place for just over three hours before she decided she had to go home and face returning several ignored phone calls from what is now her ex-lover. During that time we talked and cuddled - both were nice - but the one strange thing that stands out in my memory was so simple and innocent, and yet it meant so much to me. I was just stroking her arm, and time seemed to stand still. It probably only lasted a minute or two, but it felt so much longer. There was no rush and I felt so calm and sort of wonderful. It was just the human contact I needed, but it couldn't work with just any human. I really love Angela.

 It was slightly sad when Angela left, but I felt a great deal of satisfaction in knowing that I had made her happy in the middle of such dire circumstances. It's what my life is all about. After Angela left I started to feel hungry after not eating anything since getting up. I really wanted to have something like a very low calorie vegetable stew, but I ended up having two small ready meal cottage pies that needed eating before they got too many days past their use by date !

  There might have been two of them but it still felt little more than a snack to me. Later in the evening I had a baked sweet potato with a can of baked beans with sausages. The canned sausages were, of course, rubbish, but the beans went will with the potato. Now that there is hope in the air - both for spring and Angela - I feel an urge to try and use up things like the bag of baking potatoes, and things like biscuits in the cupboard, and get back to healthier stuff. I think I must have been suffering from some sort of primitive urge to stock up with stuff as winter approached, and now I have lots of "naughty" foods that I would like to not eat, and yet I don't want to waste any.

 I managed to get to bed, and to sleep relatively early last night, but it was another night that came close to insomnia. I seemed to sleep really well for three hours but woke up from what I think was a pleasant dream, that I can't remember, convinced it was 6am. In reality it was just after 2am. I then slept for about an hour, but thought it must have been more like 2 hours. By about 4.30am I was barely sleeping at all. From then on I had what is a fairly novel experience these days - I lay in bed feeling comfortable for maybe almost an hour. I might have drifted in and out of sleep, but it is hard to tell. It was just a feeling of calmness, and I think I can dare to say, hope !

 This morning I am up unusually early, and feeling relatively good. The most negative thing is impatience. I haven't got that much to do to pass the tile until I walked through the pouring rain (if the forecast is correct) to meet Angela at lunchtime. A little bit of that time will be taking up having a shower, and maybe a tiny bit more trimming my beard. I want to go to the shops this morning, and that will use up maybe half an hour. It feels like it is going to be a long wait until lunchtime.

 I haven't been out to take any pictures for some time now, and so I thought I would look back and see what pictures I might have taken on this day in previous years. I came up with this...
the river wandle
 This picture was taken exactly 2 years ago (minus a few hours). It is a view along the River Wandle as seen from the footbridge between the road around the corner from work, and King George's park (on the left). It looks a nice sunny day, but I am sure it was probably damn chilly !
Monday 1st January 2018
 09:02 GMT
  The last of the year was nothing to get excited about (in more ways than just the weather !). The morning was milder than the evening, and it was dry too. After sunset the temperature dropped from highs of 11 and 12° C to 7° C by midnight, and it rained - sometimes quite heavily.
mostly harmless
 I think that today the weather could be called "mostly harmless". Actually the latest update shows it as completely harmless. The rain originally forecast for 4 and 5pm may not fall now, and so the only complaint is that mostly 7 and 8° C is a little cool to be inspirational in any shape or form. Tomorrow could be warm, but only at 11pm ! The morning is going to be chilly, and some rain is forecast for the middle and end of the day.

  On the whole, yesterday was very bland. I nearly said boring, but that would be a very slightly too strong a description of the day. Once I had washed and dressed the only useful thing I could think of doing was to wash a couple of t-shirts, a pillow case, and a small hand towel. After that it was a case of just pottering around doing nothing but reading, eating and watching half a DVD.

 The DVD is "The Power Of The Daleks" - a BBC Dr Who adventure with a difference. This Dr Who adventure dates back to 1966, and is one of the lost tapes - video tapes lost or wiped. While there is no original video there was a complete audio recording of the episodes, and many still photos were taken on the set. I think the DVD notes also say that complete production notes and scripts still survive. The whole story has been re-made using animation set to the original sound recording. I've watched maybe half of the episodes and it is both good and bad. The background drawings of the animation are quite detailed, but the characters look rather cartoon, or comic book-ish. Worse than that is that they walk/move in a very unconvincing way ! If it wasn't for that it would be easy to let the mind forget it is animation.

 It was my intention to be in bed, and fast asleep before midnight and all the noise started last night. Most of the noise was fireworks. The trouble was that I did not feel sleepy. So I read in bed, and by pure coincidence I finished the book around midnight - the end of last year. I still wasn't sleepy after that, and I tossed and turned until 2am when a message came through on my phone.

 In previous years I would get several "happy new year" text messages, but this year I got just one. It was from Angela, and this one said "happy new year darling xxx". That rather cheered me up. It is the second time she has surprised me over this holiday season. The first was the call on Xmas morning to wish me a happy Xmas. We exchanged several messages and it tirned out it wasn't a happy time for her like it should have been. It seems she upset lover boy by dancing with someone else at the new years even gig. He is making me feel quite cross recently with all his strops that upset Angela so much. If he had just kept his cool, and trusted in her they could have gone home together, and finished the night in each others arms. Instead of that Angela had to get a lift home with someone else.

 Thinking about all that kept me awake for a couple more hours. At about 4.45am I decided to check some stuff on the internet, pour myself a glass of whisky, and eat a small bowl of dry roasted peanuts. I think I then managed to sleep for a couple of hours before getting up to go to the toilet - several times ! Once I was comfortable I laid down on my bed and stared at teh ceiling while contemplating the meaning of life, the universe and everything. I may have even dropped off to sleep for a bit, but I was brought to my senses by an incoming call from Angela.

 The poor girl has been beating herself up for daring to dance with someone, and apparently touching his bottom, at a drunken new years eve party in a pub ! Technically it may have been her fault, but by my reckoning she only deserves 5% of the blame. Once she settled down a bit she asked me what I was doing today. So I said I was rather hoping to see her this afternoon. To my utter astonishment she said a provisional yes. If nothing else pops up to distract her (which I fear could be a fair possibility) she will be coming here at midday - somewhat earlier than I would have suggested, but absolutely fine with me.