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My Diary/Blog For the Month of July 2018

Tuesday 31st July 2018
09:35 BST

  I don't think that yesterday was as sunny as I was expecting, but it wasn't a bad day. The temperature went up to 25° C, and rather oddly that still felt very moderate, or almost cool compared to the 35° C of just a few days ago. Rain was forecast for 10am, and I don't think that happened. Rain was also forecast for the night, and that did happen !
after a
                      very wet start it should be a pleasant day
  I've heard reports that to both the south and east of here there was thunder and lightning last night. It seems unlikely, but it appears I slept right through it. The ground was certainly wet enough this morning for there to have been heavy rain last night. It is drying up now, and although the sun has not come out as the forecast predicts, there have been a few short sunny periods, and with luck their length will increase as the day progresses. The top temperature today is forecast to be 24° C - a degree less than yesterday, but still very acceptable. Tomorrow is currently predicted to be fairly sunny with the temperature back up to 26° C. Then it gets even hotter !

  I was still suffering with aches and pains from my chest yesterday, and that sort of limited what I wanted to do, but not much. One curious thing about this chest problem that gives me some hope that it is still a muscular/skeletal problem, rather than a heart/lung problem, is that one bad bout happened after going down stairs. Going up again, the sort of thing that should (in my ignorant opinion) make a heart problem even worse, actually helped ease the discomfort. It took a few minutes to realise what was going on. As I was going downstairs I was leaning back just a little to reduce any risk of falling head first down the stairs. I guess we all do it without realising it, but in my case the bending was centred slightly above my waist, and the muscle power for that came through my chest. That is what made it hurt - it was just another example of how posture is critical in making my chest hurt or not.

  Sitting down at my PC for long periods tends to make my chest hurt more than walking usually does (but sometimes walking can make it worse if it involves any twisting movements). It was a sort of shame that Sue wasn't available for a visit (I wonder if she will ever be again until her PC needs looking at), as that sort of exercise could have been good. On the other hand I had, and still have a backlog of pictures taken at Chattfest that all have to be dealt with. I got up to the third act yesterday - Triggers Broom.
Triggers Broom
 Triggers Broom play mostly 1960s and perhaps 1970s classic pop songs. They always seem a little sloppy, but they do play with an infectious enthusiasm.
Triggers Broom's drummer
One of the good thing about the small stage at Chattfest is that it is easy for me to sneak up the side steps to get a good picture of the drummer in action.

alcoholic dandelion and burdock
 While I didn't go out anywhere significant yesterday, I did pop out to the local shops. First of all I went into Super Savers. I wanted two things in there. Some low dose aspirin in case my prescribed aspirin runs out, and some high strength vitamin D tablets. While I was in there I noticed bottles of alcoholic dandelion and burdock - as pictured on the left. I like dandelion and burdock as a soft drink....although maybe only as an occasional treat. I have never tried an alcoholic version before, but if it has alcohol in it, it must be good !

  I have yet to try the drink yet because I am told that it is rather sweet tasting - presumably because it has a lot of sugar in it. That would not be good prior to a diabetic blood test. It was for the same reason I was a bit restrained in what I bought from the 99p shop. I did but one bad thing, and ate said bad thing for my lunch. It was a big bag of "Jalfrezi" flavoured potato crispy things - not actually crisps but extruded and fried potato slime.

 In other respects I was slightly restrained about what I ate yesterday. The trouble is that while restrained, I wasn't always restrained in all the best ways. Those potato things were high in carbohydrates. The sort of snack I had of emmental cheese and sliced garlic sausage was low in sugar, but very high in fats. If I had used peas instead of two small bags of Hula Hoops to accompany the smoked mackerel I had for dinner it would have been a much healthier meal, bit, oh well, the damage is done now.

  I had a couple of snoozes during the day yesterday, and I guess I can blame them for not being able to get to sleep last night. I read in bed until just before 11pm, but I think it was half past midnight before I finally fell asleep. To have slept through a thunderstorm, even one several miles away, suggests that some of my sleep was quite good, but it did seem like I woke up a bit too frequently in the night. It seemed like I was dreaming a lot, and some of those dreams seemed like they were repeats. I can remember very little about them, but I get the impression I dreamed the same things several times over hoping for a different outcome.

  This morning I forced myself to get up early, and more importantly to wash and dress early. I couldn't put it off any longer. This morning I went and gave a couple of test tube full blood samples to the vampires who live under the roof of the group practice. Someday it the past month I have consciously tried to keep my sugar intake low, and other days I did it unconsciously, and other days still I just didn't care. Yesterday I ate all sorts of unhealthy crap, but nothing had an added sugar (as far as I know). I now wait to find out if my blood glucose is being well enough controlled. I fear it is not.

 In about a weeks time, and sadly after my last repeat prescription has run out, I will have to face the nurse. She will not only be giving me a tongue lashing about my blood glucose level (probably), but will be doing a "monofilament" touch sensitivity on my toes. It is an important test, but I frequently cheat on it. I will also being having my blood pressure checked. It usually raises the nurse's blood pressure to the danger limits when she sees mine. It is always high in the surgery, and so these days I always try to take along a weeks worth of morning and evening home readings. They are always cherry picked to show the lowest, but that is allowed, and the whole point of taking the readings at home when I am properly relaxed. I started this morning, and my first reading was 134/86. That is not as low as I can occasionally achieve, but still good for me, and just a little on the high side of "normal". A weeks worth of readings like that and I'll have no problems. I'm sure it must prove something when in the middle of a bout of chest pains, but I am not sure what.

 My ambitions for today are fairly simple. Now I have given my blood samples I can test the alcoholic dandelion and burdock drink with no worries. I could also treat myself to something outlandish, but if it isn't ice cream then I don't know what it will be. At the moment the weather is not bad, but it is not good enough to call me out into the outside world. I expect I'll spent today doing what I should be doing as soon as possible - going through the rest of the photos taken last Saturday - and intersperse that with some reading and snoozing !
Monday 30th July 2018
09:46 BST

  By comparison to the recent heatwave yesterday was cold, quite chilly feeling in the wind, and yet 19° C, as it was for the morning, and the first half of the afternoon, would have been considered warm t-shirt weather only a month or two ago. Of course there was the additional psychological loading of the cold looking grey skies, and light rain to make it seem far worse than it really was. There was probably less rain than forecast, although it is hard to note light drizzle unless standing in it !
                      some sunshine later in the afternoon
  Last night wasn't quite as cold as the night before, but the day has started as gloomy as yesterday finished. It looks very damp outside, but it does seem to be brightening up now. The latest revision to the forecast downgrades the rain seen in the chart above for 10am to just fine drizzle. After that we could get some sunny intervals - which is rather better than the endless gloom shown for today shown in forecasts a few days old. If I was to be hyperoptimistic I could believe that from 5pm there will be continuous sunshine until sunset. That is certainly very different to earlier forecasts for today ! The highest temperature today should be 25° C, and that should be nice and warm. Unfortunately it looks like the temperature will drop a lot tonight, and tomorrow could start with rain. The forecast reckons the rain fill fizzle out by mid morning, and from then on it will be dry with sunny intervals, and the temperature will be around 24° C.

  I felt pretty rotten yesterday, and although I don't think I explicitly stated it yesterday, it was some relief that Chattfest, day two, was cancelled because of all the rain forecast. In the past the event has taken place on a reduced scale inside the pub when it has rained, but with the forecast saying it would be wet all day the governor of the pub decided it would be too loud and crowded inside the pub. As far as I could tell, there was no more than occasional light drizzle during the afternoon, and it might have been possible to continue outside. Ross, in charge of the PA system said he had covers and stuff for his gear if it rained, and the stage itself would protect the bands. It was just the audience who would have to stand in the rain and sit on wet seats !

  I missed a few bands I definitely wanted to see yesterday, but I felt rotten enough that it would have been a huge struggle to get out to see them. On the other hand, it seems likely that much of my malaise was a hangover, and a few pints of Guinness would have got me back on my feet again. It never occured to me that it was a hangover because while I did feel I had drunk quite enough on Saturday, I didn't think I was particularly drunk. As far as I an tell, although I haven't look close, the pictures I took at the end show no special sign of being drunk.

 During the morning, and a little way into the afternoon, I was as lazy as lazy can be. I spent a lot of time laying on my bed reading and snoozing. Bits of me ached. My head and neck seemed to ache, and even my legs didn't feel in good condition. On top of that there was the latest period of "wonky rib" chest pain to get through. I'm not sure exactly when it was, but 3pm is as good a time as any, I poured myself a large whisky. The quick effect of that seemed to prove that it was a hangover that was making me feel so crap. The transformation was surprisingly fast. Within half an hour, perhaps even a quarter of an hour, I had shrugged off many of the aches and pains, and I felt ready to do some work.

  Well I could have done some work, but I still seemed to be stuck in a rut, or it was just too easy to carry on reading and stuff. Later on I did start going through some of Saturday's photos. I made up a small photo album of Moss, the first man on the stage on Saturday. He sang and played guitar to a pre-recorded backing track. He was competent, but not very entertaining. I uploaded that album to social media, and I think it was completely ignored. At least the photos I had taken, but held back until last night, of Kensal Green Cemetery I took on 3rd July got a couple of "likes".

 Although the whisky cured many of the aches and pains, and cleared my head, I still didn't feel very dynamic yesterday. The most dynamic thing I did was to "cook" a Tesco curry ready meal in a bit of a hurry. A couple of hours before that I had tried some BBQ peanuts I had bought from Tesco. They were not very nice, but seemed passable. It was a bit later when I started doing smoky bacon flavour crisps burps that I decided I had to try and push those peanuts down with some "proper food". I can't eat smoky bacon flavour crisps because while they initially taste nice, I can't stand the everlasting after taste !  It was lucky that I had been out during one of the dry spells around lunchtime to buy some food from Tesco.

 Yesterday evening seemed to pass very quickly considering how little I was doing. I was surprised that it was almost 11pm when I got into bed. With my bedroom window closed the room was warm enough to not bother with the duvet again. Within minutes I was fast asleep, and it did seem I slept well for the first part of the night. From maybe 3am onwards I was waking up a lot, but everytime I tried to get back to sleep I seemed to go out like a light again.

 I had some very complex dreams in the last few hours of sleep (and maybe some before that too). I can only remember snatches of one dream - although with hindsight it was lots of short dreams with enough commonality to seem like a much longer dream. In this dream I was back working for British Telecom - although "working" may not have been accurate. I was on the ground floor of a building, and all was normal, but I decided I wanted to go upstairs, and onto the roof to take some pictures (at least I think that was what I wanted to do, and yet I can't recall having a camera with me). At this point the building seemed to be a very slender tower block, and it shook whenever the wind blew. At this point I might have thought that it was too windy to go on a roof that was barely 10ft by 10ft - the apparent size of this slender tower. So I left the staircase on the third floor, and fond myself in a huge room - a room as big as a railway shunting yard, and all the racks of equipment seemed to be lined up like wagons in a rail yard. It gave the feeling that they were on rails, and that on the far side of the room were locomotives to haul them around. It was both confusing and rather wondrous. I think I did actually start top help someone do something to the equipment, but the dream faded away at that point.

  This morning my legs seem to be in great working order, but I am no sure about anything else. I feel like another hour or two of sleep would be nice, but I am sure I don't really need it. My aches and pains all seem very mild, and very usual this morning. The only unknown is my chest. I did get a mild stabbing pain under my right man boob just now, but a small change in posture made it go away again. I can't recall any particular aches from my chest during the night. It might be premature to say that I am over this recent phase of my chest playing up, but so far today it hasn't really bothered me. It is possible that what it was that had popped out, popped back in again last night while I wrestled a tin of bake beans out of the plastic wrapping of a 4 pack. As I pulled the can upwards I needed to add extra force to overcome the resistance of the incompletely cut away plastic wrapping, and as I did so I felt a rather violent pain above my left man boob. The pain was only brief, but in my imagination, if not in reality, it could have been something previously displaced moving back into it's proper place again.
Gav and Sam
Before I started writing all this I made a small start on preparing the next photo album of bands on at Chattfest 2018.
This is Gav (on the left) and Sam who were second on the stage.
Gav and Sam
Gav is playing a cahoun - a specially constructed box than can mimic a drum set when skilfully used - and Gav plays it very well. Sam sang and played guitar.  They sounded good together.

 Today I will finish the Gav and Sam photo album, and maybe a couple more photo albums. I doubt I will get through all the photos I took on Saturday....on the other hand it could be possible because I have little else to do today. It is unlikely I will see Sue today, but not a complete impossibility. Other than that I might wash a couple of t-shirts so I can get them on the line in time for the sun to come out. Maybe I might do more reading and snoozing too !
Sunday 29th July 2018
10:23 BST

  For the first time in ages it was merely warm yesterday. The highest temperature was around the forecast 22° C. The forecast was possibly a bit over optimistic about the sunshine. The forecast predicted non stop sunshine, and sometimes that was right, but there were many periods of just sunny intervals. The forecast didn't even get the timing of the rain right. It was forecast for 10am, but I reckon it was between 2 and 3pm. It is hard to be more precise because there was something like 20 - 40 minutes between the two drops I saw. Overall a nice day, but the temperature dropped a lot after sunset to give a chilly night.
  The idea of sleeping under my duvet seemed like fantasy during the heatwave, but last night the temperature dropped to below 16° C by my reckoning - at least that is what I saw on my thermometer at 8am when the forecast said it should be 18° C. The forecast has definitely got the rain right, but I never noticed the sunny periods that were also supposed to happen between 8 and 9am. As far as I am aware it has been very grey since daybreak, and it looks like it will still be grey by sunset. Maybe if we were ultra optimistic we might believe the forecast that the rain will stop by 7pm. The latest revision to the forecast actually has the rain stopping at 8pm. Other than that small change, the forecast is as above. Tonight may not be as chilly as last night. Tomorrow may see the temperature rise to 24° C, and there could be some sunny periods despite the headline saying "light cloud".

  The big thing yesterday was day one of Chattfest. It seemed to take me a bit longer to get ready than I thought, and that delay meant I didn't get to The Chatterton Arms pub until about 10 past 1pm. In the grand scheme of things it didn't matter that I was 10 minutes late. I bought the third ticket sold, and the first person on stage, a bloke called Moss didn't actually start playing until at least 20 past 1pm. For a while it looked like I was his only audience, but once the music was heard inside the pub, more came out to watch.
Triggers Broom
The band on at 3pm was Triggers Broom. I remember seeing them at a previous Chattfest. Sometimes their playing sounds a bit sloppy, but they play mostly 1960s pop music with an infectious enthusiasm.
Jon Blackburn band
The John Blackburn band - playing blues music, and playing it well, although I find this sort of music better to listen to in the background rather than watching the band. Perhaps they try to be too purist or something.
Chris, Russell and Jo
One of those photos that worked out so well purely by accident. It is the final in a series of photos. In the first Chris, on the left, notices my zoom lens pointing towards him. He puts on a smile and adopts a pose. Jo notices him and looks confused. Finally she looks around to see me and puts on a smile, and then finally, Russell in the middle turns on a smile. The only thing that slightly spoils the picture is a bit of lens flare in the middle. I was essentially shooting into the sun. but the buildings behind provided a shielded back drop.

 I enjoyed myself at Chattfest, although I probably didn't pace my Guinness intake too well. Having got there at about 1.10pm I was starting to feel a bit strange by about 7.20pm. It was a sort of a mixture that was mostly fatigue mixed with a bit of slightly drunk. I saw all but the last band, and as they were "The Rum And Reggae Boys" I don't think missed out on a great experience ! I didn't have to wait too long for a 320 bus to take me back to Catford. I don't know why it is but at that bus stop (Bromley Common, The Crown) 320 buses appear and disappear on the Countdown display. One minute it was showing a bus due in 6 minutes, and the next minute that bus had disappeared from the display. It re-appeared 2 minutes later, and the original prediction of it being 6 minutes away turned out to be about right.

  One of the things about the ticket for Chattfest was it was a two part ticket. One half was for entry, and the other could be exchanged for pie and mash. I declined having pie and mash because I don't like to eat when out. By the time I got back to Catford I was feeling rather hungry, and I didn't have anything at home that would make an instant meal. There was nothing for it but to buy some chicken and chips. I asked for three pieces of chicken, but actually got 4 - albeit two of the pieces did look a bit small. I'm sure I am not what you could call a regular customer of the shop, but the man behind the counter does recognise me. Maybe it is because I am generally cheerful and say please and thank you that I get preferential treatment. Many of his customers just sort of grunt, and then start making demands on just which pieces of chicken they want, and saying there is one chip missing or something silly. It is like trying to serve a Neanderthal !

 Once I started tucking into my chicken and fries I decided that I would have been just as happy with two pieces of chicken, but I managed to force it all down. I'm not sure if I enjoyed it as much as I thought I would. After eating I started copying the photos I had taken onto my PC. When that was done I selected just one picture from each band, plus a few other interesting photos like the group photo above, and quickly edited them down to look better. I managed to upload them to social media before deciding it was time for bed. The John Blackburn Band photo got the most interest. I shall probably do their photo album first.

 It was pretty chilly in my bedroom when I went to bed, and it got chillier in the night. It felt strange sleeping under my duvet for a change. I thought I would sleep very well last night, but I hadn't factored in getting cramp quite a few times in the night. I think it was something like 4 times I woke up with my calf muscles heading towards agony. If that wasn't bad enough, my chest was giving me grief too. It had been mostly OK during the day, and it was mostly OK when I got into bed. As I lay down there was some minor discomfort down the right hand side, but while getting comfortable I sort of pulled myself up closer to my pillows. I can't quite remember exactly how I did it, but I think I grasped the edge of the matress to help pull me along. As I did it I felt a bad pain on my left side, and the discomfort on the right side either faded away of was just over shadowed by that on the right.

 After that rough night I still feel very tired, and my chest feels sort of crunchy. Some movements, and even a deep breath for a yawn make it feel like there are two rough surfaces in my chest rubbing together. Sadly day two of Chattfest has been rained off. I don't know if that is good or bad for my chest. This period of chest discomfort has been going on since Sue leaned heavily against the side of my chest during a cuddle. Some days have been worse than others. Yesterday it felt mostly OK, and that might have been because of the combined distraction of beer and music. I won't get that today, but theoretically it might be good to rest my chest - if I ever work out how to do that.

  As if to rub salt in the wound the sun almost came out just now. A dry period, such as now, might be useful if I went shopping in Tesco - which I might do anyway. I think today is now going to be a mixture of photo editing and snoozing. It's not quite as exciting as Chattfest, but if lots of snoozing were involved it could still be very pleasant. Maybe the biggest disappointment was that I was going to see Sue at Chattfest today. I am wondering of it will still be possible to see her.
Saturday 28th July 2018
08:45 BST

  Yesterday started hot, and got hotter. The morning temperature was close to the forecast 25° C, and by 3pm it was 30°C. For some reason I didn't make a mental note of the time, but sometime in the afternoon I started to hear thunder in the distance. There wasn't much in the way of sunshine then, and it slowly became more an more overcast. Eventually it started to rain for the first time in weeks and weeks (Could it have even been a couple of months ?).  The first rain to fall was light, and didn't last long, but it wasn't long before the thunder moved in very close, and the rain became torrential. After that torrent the rain settled down, and slowly fizzled out again. By the time it had finished the air was noticeably cooler, and by midnight it felt like cold air blowing into my bedroom. After so many hot sweaty nights it was bliss !
cool but
  It will be good if the weather does follow this forecast. Earlier forecast showed that Chattfest, happening today in the open, could be rained out, but if the forecast above is right, it will be a warm, not hot, sunny afternoon. Of course this forecast was made at 10pm last night, and is unlikely to be correct. Let's hope it is wrong in a pessimistic fashion !  Unfortunately tomorrow, for day 2 of Chattfest, things don't look so good. In fact if the forecast is not revised upwards, it is going to be almost cool, and surprisingly wet !

   I seemed to be suffering quite badly in yesterday's heat. It seemed to be making my "twisted rib" quite sore, and this made my chest hurt in a way that was quite suggestive of a heart attack. I think the root cause of this was when I was cuddling Sue on her settee last Tuesday, and I could feel her  crushing the side of my rib cage. It was quite uncomfortable at the time, but I was enjoying that cuddle too much to stop. The legacy of that ran through to yesterday in varying degrees, and I am not so sure that it is still on the edge this morning. I've taken no painkillers this morning, but I feel OK - but only just. There is still a reminder there that makes me think it could flare up at any minute.

  I felt too hot to do anything yesterday until the rain started to fall. At the time I was just slouching around indoors wearing no more than underpants. They were of the type that look similar to swimming trunks except for a flat at the front, and comparatively weak elastic around the waist. As soon as the rain fell I slipped on a pair of flip flops, and went out my back door to stand in the rain. Provided I don't go more than a couple of feet from the back door I am almost perfectly shielded against onlookers.

  So I stood there and let the rain pour down on me, and it was delicious. For the first time in weeks I felt cool. After a few more minutes I actually felt cold, but that felt good too. By that time the thunder was crashing around my head, and still I stayed there cooling down. It was only when I realised that where I was standing I was also under a lot of splashback from the roof, and I was getting covered in grit and stuff that I decided to go in. I didn't bother to dry myself off, but afer a while I had to get under the shower to get the grit off me, and more importantly, out of my hair. I have my shower set to about as cool as possible at the moment, but it is still slightly warm, and that felt a shame as my body temperature was falling to "normal" after a long, long roasting !

  I felt much better in the evening, and by the time I went to bed I realised I didn't need the fan on, and that if anything I might need to pull the duvet onto a bit of me. I slept quite well until maybe 4am when I did seem to be feeling a bit chilly. I think I pulled the duvet over to partly cover my back before sleeping again. It is strange how 24° C, a temperature that would have felt quite summery before we got almost used to 30° C, felt really rather chilly. The temperature in my bedroom is about 23° C now, and I am feeling almost uncomfortable !

 There is just one thing on the agenda today, and that is Chattfest. It starts at 1pm, and goes on to 9pm. There are something like 8 bands, or solo acts on at 1 hour intervals. It is going to be a long day, and I will be taking a humungous amount of photos unless I manage to discipline myself. It is some sort of relief that this year there appears to be a curfew at sunset. The event takes place in the huge garden behind The Chatterton Arms pub, and so there is nothing to contain the sound. In previous years they have had complaints from neighbours, but maybe not terribly serious ones or the council would crack down on the event - which is to raise money for charity. It seems an earlier finish is the best compromise.
cola on a bed of ice
  One aid to keeping cool that I have been using is to have a cold cola (or squash) on a bed of ice. Instead of messing about with ice cubes I have been freezing an inch and a bit of water in the bottom of a pint glass, and then pouring chilled cola on it. It keeps the cola icy cold, and very delicious for at least half an hour before it seems to warm up.
Friday 27th July 2018
09:55 BST

  Yesterday was hot and dry, but maybe not always sunny. There were a few times when the sun seemed quite hazy.
                      forecast said thunderstorms all day, but
                      apparently not now
    Last night was an incredibly sticky night, and the rain or thunderstorms that had been forecast for the early hours never materialised. This morning started very warm, and while today won't be as hot as yesterday, it will still be hot. Maybe there will be some showers today, but the threat of thunderstorms seems to have receded. Tomorrow could be a lot cooler, and some of it will be wet. Sunday could be cooler still, and also wet. Unfortunately that is going to make Chattfest, being held on both Saturday and Sunday from 1pm both days, and into late evening, a rather less pleasant experience than expected!

Afternoon temperature
later afternoon temperature
morning temperature

 Three photos of one of my thermometers - the one that seems to give the clearest pictures. I have three outside sensors, and they all broadly agree with each other, and so I assume they are accurate enough for day to day comparisons. The first picture shows an outside temperature of 35.1° C at 14:42, and I thought that it can't get any hotter. I was wrong. Just before rushing out to get a train to Shortlands at 15:58 I quickly snapped the middle picture on my mobile phone (which seems to have squeezed the height down for some reason), and it was saying 36.3° C ! It was indeed very warm outside ! After a long and sweaty night, it was still 26.2°C at 08:43 this morning. That temperature is high enough for a nice Summers afternoon, but rather outlandish for the morning !

  Despite the heat, or maybe because of it, I just about managed to do two things yesterday. One of them wasn't going to see Sue. She was busy seeing her kids who are in care because of the fallout from a particularly acrimonious split with her ex-husband.  What I did do was to hand wash a double duvet cover. That was rather sweaty work, but I was partly enthused to do it because I was able to hang it up to dry on the washing line in the garden, and it wouldn't matter of it was still dripping out there. That took the pressure trying to wring it out too thoroughly. Apart from letting one edge hit the dusty path while hanging it up, it was fairly easy, and in the heat of the afternoon it was bone dry when I came home from the pub early in the evening.

  Going to the pub on the 16:10 train to Shortlands was the other thing I did yesterday. It was fiercely hot walking to the station, and yet it seemed no great hardship. Of course by the time I reached the platform where I waited about 4 minutes for the rain, I was just about simmering in the heat. The train was air conditioned, and felt quite cool, but it didn't seem to cool me down that much...or maybe it did, but so slowly that it wasn't noticeable. It was noticeable how warm it was outside when the doors open to get off though !

 One thing of interest that I have just noticed is some clues as to how fast I walked in the hot sun to get to the station. In the centre picture of my thermometer the time is shown as 15:58, and that is from a radio controlled clock, and thus should be accurate. I arrived 4 minutes early for the 16:10 train, and as far as I know it was on time. Doing some simple maths shows that I walked all that way in just 8 minutes. I usually think of that walk taking at least 10 minutes, and generally I allow a good 12 minutes so I don't have to rush....

   Having got to the pub I was tempted to have a pint of ice cold lager, but I decided to stick to the general tenet of these Thursday evening drinks, and stick to the ales. The "Spirit Of Kent" ale was cool, but not cold, but it still slipped down very easily. Just to make sure I wasn't getting dehydrated in the heat I stayed for 4 pints of it ! I caught the 18:45 train home, and it didn't seem that the temperature had dropped at all by then.

  I guess I can blame the beer for the outcome, but not the inspiration. From somewhere deep in the depths of my brain came this strange urge for a Chinese takeaway as my train travelled towards Catford. I didn't feel a great urge to rush to order it, but I did order sufficient food to meet the minimum order charge, and then some ! I had two dishes last night that suggest that my brain had been fried by the heat. So not only was a it slightly strange to want a hot meal of Chinese food, it was also very strange that the two dishes I ate were seafood based. One was a mixed seafood with Udon noodles dish, and the other was a king prawn omelette (or was it foo young ?). The latter was particularly delicious, and it did make me wonder why I frequently avoid the seafood options.

  Eating hot food for dinner/supper on the hottest night ever (maybe) was obviously a stupid idea, but I moved the fan to be nearer my bed, and managed to sleep with the fan on full blast playing over my face. It wasn't exactly a good sleep, and I was plagued with strange dreams. The theme of one dream was quite persistent and cropped up loads of times - or so it seemed. It was like the bastard sons of Microsoft's "Clippy" had invaded my PC and phone. On any screen, but mostly on pictures there would be little captions in red superimposed on the screen suggesting things to do. On some pictures there could be half a dozen of these annoying messages over different things in the image.

 I was most disappointed that there was no rain, or thunderstorms in the early hours of this morning. Some rain would have made it feel fresher even if it did little to the temperature. Yesterday's forecast for today was for lots of thunderstorms scattered through the day. The latest forecast shows a small chance of a shower between 2 and 3pm, but a much better chance, maybe even definite chance of rain this evening from 6pm onwards. The highest chance will be a a few hours later than that.

 Tomorrow morning could be wet, but if we can believe the forecast, and in this instance I will do my best, at 1pm, when Chattfest starts, there will be brilliant sunshine all afternoon, and until sunset. The second half of Chattfest on Sunday could still be a soggy day, but there is plenty of time for the forecast to be completely different. By Sunday the heatwave could be back, or it might snow.

  Today I am mostly resting in preparation for a long day at Chattfest tomorrow, but there is at least one thing I may do, and that is to go through the photos I took at Stretchy's Open Mic last Sunday. I would like to see Sue today, and sooner or later I will ring her to see what she is up to. I know that tonight she is out at a gig in Orpington. I had no plan to join her there, but I guess I could. We'll see,
Thursday 26th July 2018
10:14 BST

  Yesterday was another step on the way towards the hottest weather I can recall. The temperature was forecast to peak at 31° C, and I have no reason to doubt that is what it hit. Sometimes there was a light wind, as the forecast predicted, and that occasionally help to make it feel a bit fresher, but mostly it was another sweaty sort of day.
                      there be a thunderstorm today ?
    After a hot sticky night, the thought that today will be 33° C may not be a good one. The latest revision to the forecast takes away the prediction of a thunderstorm at 9pm, and substitutes several hours at 34° C - which will feel like 37° C !
bloody hot !
  It may be 34° C between 3 and 5pm ! It is already close to 29° C, and feeling quite warm enough. It seems there is still a chance of rain at 1am tomorrow morning, and maybe thundery showers in the early hours, but even at 6am tomorrow morning it will be 22° C. It wasn't so long ago that 22° C would have been considered a nice temperature for a summer afternoon. I think the forecasters are hedging their bets for tomorrow's forecast. They show thunderstorms for almost the whole day. It seems likely there could be a couple, but not all day long...surely !

  I did several important, or semi-important things yesterday. Going shopping in Tesco was one such thing. I was going to go to Aldi, but they were closed while they had the drains seen to in the carpark. Maybe that was good forward thinking - getting all the channels jetted clean so that there is no flooding of we do have some torrential downpours tomorrow. I didn't actually know that Aldi was closed before I got there. With the added walk of getting to Tesco from there, I wish I had worn better shoes. It is not that the shoes I wore were uncomfortable. On the contrary, they were soft and comfortable - so soft that walking in them seemed like hard work. Maybe it was just that I wasn't feeling very strong and agile, but I felt like that shopping trip did me in - for a few minutes at least !

 Maybe the much more physical thing I did was to fill the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin to the brim with more twigs and branches and weeds. I think I did that in what was the hottest part of the day, but being outdoors made it feel much fresher than the sweaty hot box of my bedroom. I seem to be making good progress in clearing my garden of the felled tree, and yet I have really only cleared the periphery. There is some seriously hard work to look forward to sooner or later. Even the next session is probably going involve cutting through some thick branches !

  One of the more important achievements yesterday was to select and edit the photos of Chain I took last Saturday. They were playing for a private birthday party, and so I had to sneak in, and rush off some shots before disappearing again. That gave me very little time to get used to the lighting, and to make matters worse, my camera was set for the very different lighting that Run For Cover/Glamstar were using downstairs for their public gig. Many of the photos I took of Chain were lousy, and even some of the better ones needed a lot of work to make them half decent.
This was almost the first picture I took, and oddly enough it came out fairly good. It is not easy to see in the photo, but my unexpected appearance made both Jo and Chris wide eyed, and Jo had to try and sing with a big smile on her face.
under exposed, and not in focus :-(
For this picture I sneaked across the middle of the party to spend a few seconds taking some pictures from a different angle. If I had spent a couple of minutes setting the exposure and focus before taking the picture it could have looked a lot better. This is how the picture looked after noise reduction, sharpening, brightening, and some selective brightening to the faces. It is sort of passable if you don't look too carefully. The ironic thing is that a mobile phone camera on automatic would probably have taken a better picture than my digital SLR camera.
Jo fronting Chain
I actually paid two visits to the private party, and on the second visit I was a bit more relaxed, and while I still didn't want to intrude for too long, I did spend a few extra seconds setting my camera, and a few pictures, like this one, came out well

  About the only other thing I did of note yesterday was to do some washing up, and take the food waste out to the bin for the dustmen this morning. It seemed that I had managed to almost fill one of the special biodegradable, or compostable, as the current term is, bags with a revolting sludgy mess of rotting bits of salad, uneaten rice form takeaways, and other horrible festering stuff. It made the kitchen smell a bit fresher once that was safely in the bin outside.

 Other than that, I mainly dripped with sweat while watching, without a great deal of enthusiasm, some stuff on TV. After a couple of hours of TV I felt quite sleepy, and so with the fan carefully adjusted to cool my face and upper body, I went to bed. Initially I thought I might do some reading, but I never got around to that. It wasn't exactly early, but by 11pm I was fast asleep. It wasn't a great night. I woke up several times during the night, and each time I had to rotate my top pillow because it was wet with sweat. I was awakened by the sound of moving wheelie bins at about 6am, and from then on I spent the next couple of hours drifting in and out of sleep. I'm not sure why I didn't give up and get up, but maybe it was because it still felt very hot in my bedroom.

 This morning I felt hot and sticky before I had even moved, but otherwise I probably felt, and feel moderately OK. I have only one definite plan for today, and that is to go to my Thursday evening drink at 4.30pm. I think we are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern again, but I'll have to check. It does occur to me that I could possibly go and see Sue again this afternoon for a few hours. The train home from their stops at Shortlands station, and so if I got my timing right it would be no problem at all. I have no idea if Sue will be in, or accepting visitors. The silly thing is that I keep thinking I need some sort of excuse to go and see her, and I realise that is rather silly. It would just be nice to see her for a couple of hours, and even nicer if I departed again after a kiss like last time !
Wednesday 25th July 2018
12:45 BST

  Yesterday was another hot day, but I didn't feel over warm a lot of the time. I'll explain why later. I think the mercury did hit the forecast 29° C late in the afternoon, and then it very slowly cooled off a bit during the night.
can it get any hotter ?
  It was quite a warm night last night, and today we can expect the temperature to hit a sizzling 31° C. The forecast claims there will be unbroken sunshine from dawn to dusk. So far today the forecast is proving to be correct. The latest revision of the forecast now says it will only be 30° C, but that 30° C will last for 4 hours now. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be even hotter - 33° C !!!!!! The chances of rain today seem to be close to zero, but tomorrow afternoon the chances go up to 11% in the later half of the afternoon, but it is the day after, Friday, when rain seems almost certain, and it is going to be very hot - the recipe for summer thunderstorms !

  When I finished writing yesterday I didn't really know how my day would go. I was speculating that I might go and visit Sue to see if I could offer any advice about getting her computer working. That turned out to be exactly what I did, but I also did more than that. In a way the day started off as a disaster because I found the train I was going to get had been cancelled. I'm sure it was shown as in service a little earlier before I left home.

  I left home a bit earlier than I needed to so I could take a nice slow walk in the hot sun. The problem there is that it seems I don't know how to walk slowly. Maybe I might have managed to walk slightly slower, but I was still at the station some 10 minutes before my train would have arrived if it had been running. So I had a 40 minute wait for the next train. Having finally got to St Mary Cray I noted that the time of the little bus that goes to Sue's place is carefully timed to depart 3 minutes before the train arrives. So I had a 27 minute wait for the bus !

  I finally arrived at Sue's place much later than I expected. I had never been there before, and even with people I've know for years I find it hard to relax in their houses, but in Sue's place I found myself more and more relaxed. Fortunately getting her PC working was easy. Once I had a look at it I could see the remains of an HDMI plug broken off in the socket on the graphics card. That was the missing link. I pulled the broken plug out, and plugged in a new lead between the computer and a big Philips TV she was using as a monitor, and everything came to life.

 Instead of being in and out in less than an hour, as I originally thought might happen, I stayed at Sue's place for 5 or 6 hours. We talked about this that and the other while having a couple of cans of beer.  One of the wonderful things about Sue is that she seems to need a hug or cuddle more than I do...well it is obviously not wonderful that she need a hug, but it is wonderful to be able to give her hug. From the first time I did it, which was at the end of our afternoon out to Shoreham, I worried that I was being intrusive or sort of aggressive, but she just seems to melt into my arms, and wants to stay there.

  This hugging is becoming sort of natural, although "natural" is not the word I am actually looking for. I am not even sure the word exists, but I can offer an example. It is probably a very good sign that Sue's dog, a small pug, seems to not only accept me, but to think of me as it's second master. I was sitting on Sue's settee when the dog came and sat down beside me. I told him that he couldn't do that because he would come between me and Sue, and Sue might want a cuddle. As soon as he moved Sue came up close to me and I cuddled her for a long time. It felt really, really good, except for one thing. I could feel Sue pressing in exactly the wrong place, and my "twisted rib" was giving me a lot of discomfort. Fortunately not so much discomfort that I had any desire to stop cuddling Sue.

  It seems such a weird thing to me that anyone would be attracted to me, and yet that seems to be the case with Sue. It may not be, and probably isn't a classical physical attraction, but something seems to draw us towards each other.  I don't think I want to jinx this by predicting any future, but while it happens I am very happy, and I do hope it happens for a very long time. I guess that despite some quite negative feelings towards Angela, I should thank her for being instrumental in evaluating my whole life, and proving that even if it was just for a short period of time, I could be accepted as a partner - even a sexual partner !

  It seemed like I had been at Sue's place for ages, and so I checked the time of the next bus back to the station. It was about 15 minutes away, but Sue was telling me lots of stuff about her life, and I didn't want to stop her. I thought it was important to Sue to tell me some of it. Much of it was interesting, but I didn't try and remember even half of it. Probably lots of little bits of information went into my mind to be remembered someday, but the most important thing was to let Sue unload some quite dark bits of her life, and sadly she has more of them than most people.

 In the end I missed that bus, but I did come close to getting the next one, and maybe if Sue hadn't misplaced her house keys we might have caught it - Sue had decided to get the bus with me so she could buy some food from one of the few shops near the station. In the end was walked all the way to the station. It was mostly downhill, and that made the 15 (?) minute walk much more bearable. During the walk her dog was still acting like I was the master. Apparently he is not terribly good at sitting at the kerb before crossing the road, but provided I stopped on the kerb he sat down everytime !

 We finally arrived near the station just as my train arrived. I was almost at the long flight of steps that lead up to the ticket office when I saw the train pull into the station. I knew there was no chance of getting up those steps, and then down the other side to the platform before my train was halfway to the next station. So I turned around, and saw Sue still watching me. I walked back to her, and after a while we had the cuddle that should have happened if there was more time earlier. It was quite a long cuddle, and ended with an unexpected quite long kiss on the lips. That was nice.

 It was gone 10pm, perhaps it was 10.30pm when I got home. It had been a quite long, and extremely pleasant day. What's more it had been a cool feeling day. Sitting in Sues living room was not hot and stifling like I imagined it could be. It has a door that leads straight out into the garden, and that help it to keep cool. It was still warm enough to very lightly sweat, but not drip. I could feel Sue's back was slightly damp when I hugged her. I thought that was another indicator of our growing closeness - that what might have been an unpleasant idea of two sweaty bodies embracing each other didn't seem to matter in any shape or form.

 I may have only been slightly damp with sweat at Sue's place, but after a fairly fast walk home from the station I started to sweat more as soon as I got indoors. As soon as I went up to me bedroom it felt like I had walked into a furnace, and I just started pouring with sweat. It didn't help a bit later that the easiest thing I could have for my breakfast (I hadn't eaten all day) was a Tesco Chicken Jalfrezi ready meal. All those hot spices just made me sweat even more. It could have been the heat, and it could have been the food, and it was certainly the buzz of having a wonderful time with Sue, but I couldn't seem to get myself to bed until almost 2am. Speaking to Sue on the phone for maybe another hour didn't help either !

 Finally I got to bed, and I seemed to fall asleep quite easily. What's more it seemed like I had slept quite soundly for quite a long time - until I remembered that I hadn't got to sleep until 2am.  I slept with the fan on me, but I still woke up with a soggy pillow everytime I woke up. The pillow itself was partly protected by a towel, but I still had to rotate the pillow around everytime I woke up. Somehow I slept until almost 10am. If I ignored the times I woke up during the night I could almost claim to have got my 8 hours sleep.

 Apart from the same old stiffness and aches where the fan had been blowing on me, I thought I felt fairly good when I first got up. I am not so sure that wasn't being a bit optimistic. I haven't done much since then, but I have washed, and I have been to Aldi - which was closed while they had a blocked drain in the car park entrance dealt with. With no access to Aldi I walked to Tesco, and got some shopping from there. This time I remembered to get some bread, and I also bought some more stuff to put in the bread to make some sandwiches.

  That walk seemed like hard work, and possibly thanks to my shower beforehand not being cold enough, I dripped with sweat all the way, but worse than that was the shoes I was wearing. Their soft soles are nice and comfortable when stationery, but it's like walking on soft sand, or loose shingle when walking - it's hard work. I came home from Tesco feeling like I had walked 5 miles !

 Today I have just one important job to do, and that is to fill the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin with more twigs, branches and assorted weeds and stuff ready for it to be emptied by the dustmen tomorrow morning. It is going to be hard and sweaty work for maybe an hours or so, but it is quite satisfying - even the aches and pains afterwards can be rather irritating. If I am feeling truly masochistic I might wash a double duvet cover too, but that could wait for months and months if need be because I have plenty of clean duvet covers ready for use at a moments notice.

 I expect what I will mostly do this afternoon is snoozing, reading and some photo editing. I have already done some very special photo editing which I can't reveal yet, but I can reveal it was just one picture, and I'm told I will be rewarded with a pint of Guinness or three ! That is the sort of business deal I am happy to entertain !  When I come to think of it, I think Des Hanna, lead singer/guitarist from Run For Cover, and Glamstar said he would buy me a pint the next time I see him after he saw my pictures of the bands. Photography is a strange thing. I think that many of my pictures are not good because I haven't managed to make them look like they could in my imagination, but many people still rate them very highly. Life is very strange in all sorts of ways !
Tuesday 24th July 2018
10:58 BST

  Yesterday was a hot day. The temperature hit 30° C, and in weatherman speak, that probably felt like 32° C. For all that heat it wasn't all that sunny. There were periods, mainly in the afternoon, when the sun kept disappearing behind some white fluffy clouds. Today could be warmer still, but apparently it will be a degree cooler !
a very, very slightly cooler version of
  Today is forecast to be a one degree cooler, but otherwise identical version of yesterday.  So it is going to be another hot and sweaty day !  Another minor difference is that only half the afternoon will be sunny intervals instead of non stop sunshine. It should be a dry day, but it looks like there is a very small, 7%, chance of rain late this afternoon.  Tomorrow is currently forecast to be steamingly hot ! The highest air temperature if forecast to be 30° C, and we are told that it will feel like 33° C ! Thursday might reach 32° C, and that might feel like 35° C. I'm not sure if I have ever experienced it being that hot before.

  My brain was really fried by the heat yesterday judging by the amount of spelling, grammar, and other word related errors I made when writing yesterday. Maybe I will do the same today, but I am aware of the problem now, and trying to proofread as I write - a system that is never used because it doesn't work. Oh well....

  I did my best to be productive yesterday, and in a minor way I was productive. I did some laundry, and hung it out to dry. I went to Tesco and bought some food and drink, and completely forgot to buy any bread despite buying the ingredients to make what might have been some lovely sandwiches. Maybe it was less important yesterday because I bought some ready made sandwiches which did duty as lunch and dinner. I'm not sure what meal to call it, but I did have a snack that used two of the ingredients that should have gone on a sandwich - paté and a couple of big tomatoes. I did something I very rarely do, and that was to put a little salt on the tomatoes. I figured that with all the sweating I was doing I might have lost an unusual amount of salt, and so it was safe to add some to my food.

 The most productive thing I did was to finish selecting and editing the photos of Glamstar I took on Saturday night. Many were really rubbish, and it seemed I took very few really good photos. I can add to my standard excuses on this occasion. Much of the problem was trying to find the best exposure level. One of my standard excuses is that the exact shade of the red, green and blue LEDs that are used in a lot of stage lighting just miss the exact shade of the red, green, and blue filters used in the camera sensor. That results in the camera picture being a lot darker than the human eye sees. In the case of Glamstar there was the added problem of all the sparkly stuff they wore. Those sparkles can be ten times as bright as the everything else, and of the camera exposure meter hits on a bright sparkle it can make it look like the picture will be heavily over exposed. So you compensate for that, and then the picture comes out very dark. There was one picture that looked like it was going to be completely over exposed, and yet that was one of the better photos !
Des Hanna - lead
                        guitar and singer of Glamstar
 This was the best picture I took, and I don't really know how I did it ! It is almost as if there was a source of white light somewhere, but the stage lights were green ! It almost looks like I had used some low level flash to fill in the shadows, but I never used the flash gun all night.
  This is more typical of the shots I was getting of Glamstar. It's all very colourful, but lacking in detail. Then again, maybe the photo is about the wild colours and glitter of the Glamstar experience.
Run For Cover
  It has to be remembered that under all that glitter and greasepaint is Run For Cover, who, in my opinion, play much better songs that the bubblegum music that Glamstar play. In some ways Run For Cover is a performance for the men in the audience, and Glamstar for the girls in the audience - and I know of more girls than Sue who are enchanted by it !

 It was quite late when I finally finished doing the Glamstar photos. I was going through them so slowly because I found it hard to concentrate in the heat. The last few photos I actually did during commercial breaks of the TV I was watching. By midnight it was noticeable that it was cooling down. It may have only been a couple of degrees, but it seemed to wake me up at a time I should have been falling asleep. I think it was just gone 2am when I went to sleep.

 I fell asleep naked on my bed as I have been doing since the temperature first hit 25° C (and possibly before), and last night I think I left the fan on full blast. I woke up twice in the night, and on those occasions, and when I finally got up, my pillow was almost dry. The previous night it was saturated with sweat for most of the night. Having a dry pillow was nice, but that fan did leave me with a some stiffness, and a few extra aches and pains. I think they have gone now. Maybe washing a couple of sweaty t-shirts soon after I got up helped to get the blood circulating.

 After doing that bit of laundry I washed me and my hair. I gave my hair a bit of towelling before sitting down to write this, but I barely bothered to dry myself off. It seemed more pleasant to sit here still wet from the shower (although not so wet as to be dripping). My hair is still quite damp, and may never dry off today, but the rest of my body is now dry, and beginning to feel rather warm.

 I am not sure what I am doing today. In theory I ought to pay Sue a visit and see if I can get her PC working so she can use it to download photos from her phone, and free up some space on it. There are two problems. The first is that the computer has been unused for a couple of years, and no one knows what it's state was when it was last used. The second thing is that it is a "Hackintosh" - that is a non Apple built computer with a hacked version of Apple's operating system on it.

 At this point in time I have no idea if Sue is in, and wants a visitor today. I will feel guilty to put off going to see this computer any longer, and yet it is going to be a hot sweaty experience to work on it. Plus the journey to get there is awkward. Getting the train is not the problem, but the poor service of the little bus that goes from the station to near Sue's house bothers me. If I miss that bus I have the choice of a half hour wait for the next one, or a very sweaty walk down a hill, and then ever further up the other side ! At this point I had better get dressed, and then phone Sue to see what's happening.
Monday 23rd July 2018
10:45 BST

  As I suspected, the sunny intervals forecast for yesterday were rather sparse, and the day could have been described as overcast without straying from the truth too far. The temperature rose to the forecast 27° C and then fell very slowly to give a warm and sticky night. The forecast predicted it would still be 23° C at midnight, and I reckon that was about right.
It's a
                      sunny morning, and it will probably be sunny until
  Today has started off warm and sunny, and it may well end up that way, but in the middle there may just be sunny intervals. The only change to the forecast screenshot above is that it is now predicted that there will be 4 hours when the temperature will be 30° C. It seems warm and sweaty as I write this, and in a few hours it is going to be hot !  Tomorrow is going to be similar to today, but maybe the temperature will be a degree less. It is possible that tomorrow may see a summer storm. It is not in the forecast as such, but it is noted that the chance of rain rises to 16% in the late afternoon tomorrow.

  I felt much better yesterday. It seems I have gone through another phase of my rib cage playing up, and possibly some sort of stomach ulcer. Unfortunately it is likely to be a temporary truce, and even this morning I can feel that my chest feels a little tender. It is possible that one wrong movement, and usually one that is unpredictable, could trigger the whole thing off again. I didn't do much that could have triggered anything yesterday. I spent much of my day editing photos. At the end of the day I only managed to complete a photo album of Run For Cover photos. I still have some photos of Chain, and of Glamstar to get through. They are probably a project for today.
Run For Cover
  As I was going through the Run For Cover photos I kept thinking I should shrink a few down to show here, but the picture above is the only one I did. I thought I might do more this morning, but a late nigh last night means I am running late this morning.

   Last night I went out to Stretchy's open mic in The Swan And Mitre pub in Bromley. It was good, but I was hoping it might be better because of Sue's presence. She missed the half hourly service bus at home, and arrived at the pub late, and not in a good mood. Her mood was not improved by the presence of one person who she has issues with, and the absence of one person who she has even bigger issues with. A consequence of this was that she get very drunk.

  One of the things I was determined to do last night was to see her off on a bus, or ideally a train, and at least have the knowledge that she was heading safely towards home. The open mic session finished just after 11pm, and the last train to St Mary Cray from Bromley South station was at 11:57pm. It should have been easy to get her on that train. She would arrive at St Mary Cray just 6 minutes later, and it might take 20 minutes to walk from there to her home. Unfortunately she insisted on hanging about in the rapidly emptying pub, drinking an extra pint of Stella Artois, and so she missed the last train.

 I walked her to the bus stop, and stayed with her until a bus came. I was hoping that it would be a night bus because the N199 bus goes all the way to St Mary Cray, but there was still an hour of normal buses to go before the first N199. Sue never appreciated how drunk she was, but then again drunks never do. She would walk along dropping stuff, including her phone, and then have to go back for it (at least she knew when she dropped something), and all the time trying to tell me she wasn't drunk - in a very slurred voice. When the next bus came it was touch and go if she could keep all her possessions with her as she got on the bus.

  In theory she would have got to Orpington station, and then used the £20 I gave her to get a cab home from there. Apparently she did manage to arrange a cab, but the driver refused to pick her up because she had her dog with her. I haven't heard the full story, but it seems she walked the rest of the way home bare foot because he boots were getting uncomfortable. One day I might manage to guide her towards an easy journey home, but I need to practice my skills of trying to convince  the drunk that their choice is not the best one.

 I was lucky that I only had a 6 minute wait for a bus home after I had seen Sue onto her bus. It was about half past midnight when I got off the bus. It looked like one, and possibly both of the fried chicken shops might have been still open, but I resisted that. What I did have was possibly just as bad, but also nearly as tasty - cheese on toast. Except it wasn't toast but a stale crusty finger roll. I just cut that roll in half and laid one many slices of sliced Gouda cheese before zapping it in the microwave for 2 minutes. With a generous amount of jalapeno sauce on it, it was rather nice.

 After my supper I went straight to bed. It was hot in my bedroom, but getting to sleep seemed easy enough. Staying asleep was not so easy. I woke up quite a few times, and every time I did I found the towel I had put over my pillows was soaking wet with sweat. It seemed a very warm night, but because I was so damp with sweat using the fan just made me feel chilled wherever the air wafted over me. I think I managed to get close to my 8 hours sleep last night, but only because against all my expectations, I managed to fall asleep at around 8am. I was quite shocked to see it was just gome 10am when I next became aware of real life !

 I was going to go to see Sue today to see if I can sort out her PC, but I have read that she is going out for a meal - presumably at lunchtime. She will probably be spending the cab fare I gave her, but didn't use. Maybe today I will spend my time catching up with what is now quite a backlog of photos since adding another heap of them I took last night.  I probably also ought to get out and do some shopping. I have a load of salad stuff in the fridge, and little else. Eating that sald would be good except that it has been in the fridge so long that it s probably on it's way to be compost. Another little job today will be cleaning out the fridge !
Sunday 22nd July 2018
10:43 BST

  After all the failed forecasts, it finally rained yesterday - when it wasn't forecast !  To be more accurate, it rained three times yesterday. The first time estimated to be at around 4am, and that may have been in the forecast. The next time was around 8pm when the forecast was for bright sunshine. It was actually extremely dull and gloomy. The final time was closer to 11pm. Both the 8pm and 11pm showers were so light they just evaporated as soon as they hit the ground. On the whole, yesterday was an overcast day, but now and then the sun would break through. It seemed nothing like the forecast!
                      sunny intervals - maybe
  The screenshot above, although taken at about 9am, was based on a forecast made last night. It has only just been revised, but the latest revision is not so different to this one. The headline says "Sunny intervals, and a gentle breeze", and that is probably true, although I get the impression those sunny intervals maybe spread rather sparsely through the day. The highest temperature will probably be 27° C, and I think it might be a rather sticky feeling 27° C.  Tomorrow may be similar to today, but I would hope the sunny intervals may be more frequent and longer lasting. It may also be 29° C.

  I said yesterday morning that the chest aches I was getting were probably just my "twisted rib" problem, but there was something that felt slightly different about it. I now think I know what that other ingredient is, or hopefully was. I think I was feeling extra tender because of something like a gastric ulcer. It may be something completely different, but the clue is that it seems to be cured, or if not cured, very much depleted after eating. Over the course of yesterday I had the spare/leftover Chinese takeaway from the previous night for breakfast, lunch and dinner. The only downside is that it was a bit salty, and it made me thirsty, but on the plus side I didn't seem to suffer too much from that annoying chest ache yesterday.

 Of course it may have helped that I did quite a big batch of laundry yesterday. I think it was 4 t-shirts and some underwear.  It only just fitted on my washing line.
  All the stretching and lifting involved with hand washing t-shirts has often helped pull my rib cage back into place/shape, and yesterday was probably no exception. Generally speaking I had a mostly comfortable day yesterday. Apart from that laundry I didn't really do that much except for some advanced level laziness as I rested, snoozed and read to pass the time until it was time to go out to a gig.

 The gig in question turned out to be rather better than I expected. The band was Run For Cover for their first set, and then they transmogrify into Glamstar for their second set. For Glamstar they dress up in glam rock attire - shiny trousers, outrageous platform boots and glitter wigs, plus some face paint. I have to admit I don't like them as Glamstar, and I am not very keen on the "bubblegum" (chew it up and spit it out) music they play. As Run For Cover they were very good, and played some very good tunes.

 I wouldn't have gone to see them by myself, but I was enticed to go by Sue. She loves them. The venue was The New Eltham Social club, and it was straightforward to get to - a 202 bus to Lee station, and then two stops on the train. The venue is then 5 minutes walk from the station. It's basically the same route I use to get to Sidcup station for The Iron Horse pub, but one stop on the train less.

 The easiest way I could think of for Sue to get there was for her to get a train to Catford from St Mary Cray, and then tag along with me. That worked out well, and it was nice to have some company on the way there. It was also nice to give Sue a hug when I met her at Catford station. I can't remember why I said I was going to hug her, but I don't think I actually needed an excuse.

 We arrived at the social club just a little later than intended, but the band hadn't started. I quite enjoyed a lot of what they did as Run For Cover, but I was perplexed by the dull thud of music from elsewhere between songs. I thought it was some unsocial nerk in a car on the road outside, but then I was told that it was Chain playing a private birthday gig in the hall upstairs. So I sneaked up the stairs, and there they were. I didn't want to intrude to much into a private birthday party, but I stayed in the shadows and took a few snaps of them.

  I left what I now know to be quite early. I expected the gig to finish at about 11pm, and I left at about 10:45pm. I later found out that they were still playing at midnight. I wish I had stayed to help guide Sue home. She assured me that she was OK for getting home when I left. Maybe it would have been worth missing my last train and bus home for the brief kiss on the lips I got when I said goodbye, and to see Sue safely on her way. She ended up having a nightmare trip home. There was a gut there who we have known for some time, and in the past has helped Sue catch a night bus from other venues. It seems this time he was out of his depth, and walked her all over the place. Sue finally managed to hitch a lift home, and didn't arrive until 4.30am ! Her guide was left behind, and no one knows how he ever got home.

 I was very lucky catching the train at New Eltham. I hadn't bothered check the times of the trains, and a train arrived just as I got to the station. I had an annoying 15 minute wait for a bus at Lee station. I saw the previous but go by just as I was exiting the station.  That wait, plus a slight detour at the fried chicken shop for a couple of chicken burgers (they were purely medicinal to calm the aches down !) meant it was getting on for midnight before I got home. It was nearly 2am when I finally went to bed. For some reason I felt wide awake, and made a start on transferring pictures from my camera to my PC, and even preparing a video clip of Run For Cover Playing.

  Their rendition of Prince's "Purple Rain" was pretty good, although Dan and M.T. Pockets does it so much better ! Uploading that to a social media web site took me to almost 2am, and by that time I was most definitely feeling very tired. It was one of those times when your head hits the pillow, and at first nothing seems to happen, but the next thing you know you are waking up again.  I had only been asleep for two and a half hours when a message came through from Sue to say that she was safely home. I had asked her to call me when she got home, but assumed it would probably not long after midnight !

 I think I slept for another 2 hours, and then a couple of one hour sleeps before deciding I may as well get up. I guess I feel mostly OK this morning, but I can foresee that I'll be having a few snoozes before I go out again tonight. In the meantime, a lot of today is going to be taken up with photo editing. Tonight it is Stretchy's open mic at The Swan And Mitre. Sue definitely wants to go tonight, but I expect she will make her own way there. If at the end of it she does not have a convincing plan to get herself home I will forcibly thrust a £20 note in her hand and tell her to call a cab !
Saturday 21st July 2018
08:42 BST

  The weather warning for a possible thunderstorm came to nothing yesterday, and the threatened rain from mid evening onwards never materialised. As well as no rain, there was no sunshine either. The morning stayed sort of bright, and I think that the sun did manage to peep through the clouds a few brief times, but from midday and onwards, there were all the signs that it might rain, and even that a storm was brewing. The sky was a dreary dark grey, and as evening approached there was that sort of tension in the air that usually precedes a thunderstorm. The air felt warm and heavy, but nothing happened.
a warm
                      and sunny day
  There was what seemed to have been a light shower at around 4am this morning, and another was forecast for 8am. At 8am it was sunny ! The rest of today is forecast to be either sunny intervals, or later on, unbroken sunshine. The temperature should peak at 27° C - perhaps 3° warmer than yesterday. It looks like it might be a warm night tonight, and tomorrow could be an even warmer day with is now thought to be a degree cooler than today according to the latest revision to the forecast.

  I didn't feel all that great yesterday. The chief complaint was assorted aches and pains around my chest. It was almost the familiar "twisted rib" type pains, but there was something a bit different about it. One test was to hand wash a medium sized bath towel. If all that hard work made it worse it could have indicated a heart problem. If it cured the pain then it was just a "soft tissue" problem. Washing that towel made it no worse, and did provide a little relief. So I guess it is not a life threatening thing, and yet I am not fully convinced about it yet.

 The towel I was washing was a deep maroon colour, and for the last year, or maybe 2, it has suffered from a problem where it gets smelly stupidly fast. I think there must have been some nasty bacteria living on it that could probably only be killed with a boil wash - something I can't do. So yesterday I washed it in bleach. Hopefully that will have killed the bacteria. It has also had the not unexpected effect of bleaching some of the colour out. The towel now looks like it has been badly tie-dyed. The more interesting effect is that the ends of the fibres that give the towel it's fluffiness are now almost white. It give the towel the appearance of having cream or soap on it. It will be interesting to see what it feels like when I use it, and it will be interesting to see how long it lasts before disintegrating from bleach rot.

 My chest started aching again an hour or two after hanging the towel up to dry, but maybe the ache was less. On the other hand even a lesser ache felt more annoying because of the tension in the air from what felt like an impending thunderstorm. I felt very much on edge, and I think that is what inspired me to order a Chinese takeaway for my dinner. I felt in the mood to disregard any pretense to try and eat healthily, and had an old favourite - Chinese chicken curry and chips. I have to say it was delicious. In a small token of respect to healthy living I didn't eat all the chips ! To meet the minimum order requirement I ordered enough for lunch or dinner today as well.

 I washed down the Chinese with a can of Guinness. That went down well, and I followed it with a can of Stella Artois, and a can of Special Brew. The latter didn't seem so nice when following Stella Artois. The food and the drink seemed to totally cure any chest aches, and I had a very comfortable evening. I was also able to get to sleep nice and early. I seemed to sleep well last night. As usual I woke up a few times in the night, but the intervals between waking up seemed fairly long. It was just before sunrise, maybe around 4am, when I woke up and saw that there had been a light shower.

 In theory I had plenty of seemingly good sleep last night, but as I write about it I can't stop yawning ! Unfortunately my chest aches started up again this morning. It is still a very light ache, and it is easy to get distracted from it. That makes it worse when relaxing - totally the opposite to the angina pains of 5 years ago. I am considering going to the hospital to get it checked out, and in advance of that I have been doing some preparatory stuff. I have topped up my mobile phone, and paid the current balance of my credit card. I have also put my mini laptop on charge. In the event that I do decide to go to the hospital I shall be prepared for a stay in there - unlike last time in 2013 when I was quite desperate to be discharged so I could get home to pay my credit card bill !

 I do have two other possible things to do today. Late this morning, perhaps around midday, I might go and visit Sue to see if I can get her PC going for her. It was because she was desperate to try and transfer a heap of photos and videos from her phone to make room for new ones. Last night she discovered she could upload them all directly from her phone to Google photos, and so her PC is less important now. I could have suggested Google photos to her, but I didn't think it worked from an Apple iPhone. Evidently it does.

 I was going to go and see M.T. Pockets tonight. I only expected to be there for a short while until the pub started to fill up, but then I discovered that I had confused Bexley with Bexleyheath stations.  I thought they were playing in the pub near Bexley station, but they are actually playing in a pub that is a very long walk from Bexleyheath station ! I think I'll pass on that. What I might do instead is to go and see a band I have never seen before, and yet I have an idea I don't like them. The band is Run For Cover, and they are playing in the Eltham Social Club. It is easy(ish) to get to - a bus to Lee station, a few stops of the train, and then a short walk from the station. Sue definitely wants to go, and it might be nice to be there with her.
Friday 20th July 2018
09:17 BST

  I can't think how to describe yesterday. It was probably less sunny than the forecast predicted, and I seem to recall a couple of times when the cloud appeared so thick that it looked like it might rain at any moment. The temperature most probably hit the forecast 26° C, but it didn't seem to be a particularly warm day, and the evening felt comparatively fresh.
                      there, or won't there be a thunderstorm today
  There is a weather warning issued for today warning of thunderstorms anytime from 2pm today. It seems that it will probably rain tonight with or without a thunderstorm from 7pm. At the moment is it cloudy, but still bright-ish. A little earlier there was just enough hazy sunshine to cast a fuzzy grey shadow. Some sunny interval are forecast for today - even when it is raining - and the temperature should be about the same as yesterday - 25° C, but maybe only that for a single hour. For some reason the forecast hasn't been updated since late last night, and that makes trying to say anything meaningful about tomorrow a waste of time. Probably best to assume it will be similar to today, but without any thunderstorms.

  I was a little bit productive yesterday, but I had a few mild aches here and there that didn't make me terribly keen to do anything too physical - and yet I did ! My first task was simple and easy. A quick tidy up of the spare room. Mainly just taking the bed linen off the spare bed, and putting towels away. Everything had so little use after Patricia's one night's stay that I didn't consider it worth washing anything. I hope it will be still fresh the next time Patricia stays - which could be anytime or no time in the next 12 months.
spare room with
                        Patricia's stuff in it
The spare room with Patricia's stuff in it.
spare room after tidying
Spare room after Patricia had left, and I had tidied up a bit

   The other thing I did seemed to help how I felt, but ultimately may have added to the aches and pains. It was a fairly big bit of hand laundry. It included two towels - one a small hand towel, and one the next size up - plus some other stuff. Enough stuff to fill my little temporary washing line ! It was typically hard work, but didn't raise as much sweat as I expected. Once all the washing was hung on the line I relaxed, or was just very lazy until it was time to go out for my Thursday evening drink.

 After spending so much time laying on my back I felt worse than before I started. Apart from a few muscular aches from my arms (possibly from sawing up tree branches on Wednesday) I had some familiar aches in my chest. They were of the "twisted rib" variety. Earlier in the day I noted there was a lot of clicking going on as I breathed in and out. Of course the chest aches and the arms aches did seem worryingly like a heart attack, but I was fairly confident I could account for the aches and pains without considering heart attacks.

 One of the very peculiar things was that while assorted bit ached, I seemed to have a lot of energy when I walked to the station. I walked fast, and I breathed fast, but I was never panting even when I had reached the platform up the long staircase at the station. I was almost feeling rather good when I got on the train to Shortlands. Incidently, the 16:20 train that sometimes ran to Orpington seems to have vanished from the new revised timetable. I had a choice of getting the 16:10 or the 16:40. I chose the 16:10.

 There was one nice beer at the pub. It was called Naked Ladies ! It had that hint of grapefruit taste than many don't like, but I thought it was good. I had three pints in total (only two of which were Naked Ladies), and I might have considered staying for an extra, but my chest was starting to hurt again. I felt I needed to stand up nice and straight, and do some walking. That seemed to work, and although I was feeling some slight bloat from the three pints swilling around inside of me, I still managed to walk back from the station to home in very good time.

 When I got home I had food waiting for me. It was a Tuscany sausage ready meal from Aldi. I had cooked it before I went out, and it was still very slightly warm when I got home. There was one problem with it, and I should have remembered it from a previous time I had tried one. I have a strong suspicion that "Tuscany sausage" may refer to a type of big tubular pasta. The entire meal was 80% pasta with a smear of meaty paste, and a crunchy topping. It was pleasant enough, but far from exciting.

 After a couple of hours I went to bed to read. It wasn't long before my eyes started to droop. So I turned out the light, and I fell asleep very quickly. I think that was very soon after 9pm. I woke a couple of times in the night, but it always seemed to be from deep sleep. Each time I got up for a wee, although I didn't seem to need one that strongly - just habit I suppose. It seemed to take mere seconds to fall asleep again when I got back into bed.

 This morning it did feel like I had had some quality sleep, and it seemed much quicker to throw off the effects of sleep. I seem to feel mostly OK this morning, although I do feel it might take very little to upset my chest. Just twisting awkwardly could be really painful if I was unlucky. I don't think I am going to let it limit what I do today until, and if it happens. I don't know what I will do today, but there are a couple of possibilities, and at least one thing that I doubt I will do. The possibility of a thunderstorm is a potential limit of what I may want to do today.

 I still have quite a lot of laundry to do, and I guess I could do the smaller stuff and dry it indoors, but I also have a double duvet cover that  would like to get out of the way. It is possible to dry a double duvet cover indoors, but it is a lot of faffing around, and so much easier to hang it outside - but probably not in a thunderstorm, although it would get some extra rinses ! There is a 50 - 50 chance that I might go out to meet Sue at lunchtime. She has been pretty sick in the last two days. If she is feeling any better we might meet for a quick chat so she can get a breath of fresh air. Tonight I may go into Beckenham for a gig...or I may not. Perhaps I had better have a shower now, and then make it up as I go along.
Thursday 19th July 2018
09:49 BST

  There were times when it felt like it might rain yesterday, but it stayed dry even if there was very little sunshine. The forecast originally predicted sunny intervals for every hour of daylight, but many of those hours saw very little in the way of sunshine. I can't remember what time it was, but I don't think it was much later than 6pm, when there was still 3 hours of daylight left, when it became so dark that I had to turn the bathroom light on to use the toilet ! Despite all that it was a warm day with the temperature reaching the forecast 25° C.
                      sunshine than yesterday
  More sunshine is forecast for today, and even as I write this it is almost sunny. There must be some very thin misty cloud that is making the sunshine a little soft right now, but it is still capable of casting a fairly sharp shadow. Maybe the sunshine today is not going to be quite as strong as it could be. The temperature is forecast to be a degree warmer than yesterday with the high expected to be 26° C (which might feel like 27° C). Tomorrow looks interesting. The weather warning in the screenshot above refers to tomorrow, and it says there is a small (yellow) warning of thunderstorms any time from midday tomorrow until the end of the day. Other than that it should be bright, sometimes sunny, and 27° C.

  Yesterday was not a terribly exciting day. The gut discomfort I suffered from in the early hours bubbled up a couple of times in the day, and during the afternoon, fortunately while Patricia was out, I had to dash to the toilet a couple of times. Even that didn't seem to be the end of of it with another single dash to the toilet in the early evening. I need a scape goat for that, and I think it is fashionable to blame it on Wetherspoons, and the burger and chips Patricia that bought me the evening before. Wetherspoons are so anti European that maybe that have prematurely abandoned European food safety regulations (which were possibly invented here anyway). Perhaps their kitchen has gone back to the old English protocal of a fat man in a greasy apron, smoking a Capstan full strength cigarette while frying the burger in an unwashed frying pan with unwashed hands. Maybe.

 I didn't see all that much of Patricia yesterday, or at least there was little time to socialise. During the morning she did some stuff on her laptop, and went out to buy some stuff from the local shops (there is no equivalent to Primark or Peacocks where she lives in Turin). She came back with several packets of Ibuprofen, which seems to be fiercely expensive in Italy, and several packs of cheap knickers from Peacocks. She was possibly not back from the shops for as much as an hour before going out to do her interpreting job.

 Once Patricia had gone out I think I had a quick snooze. At least I think I did. I certainly lay on my bed to read, but I didn't read much. I have a sort of fading memory of my eyes closing, and some unaccounted time passing. Finally I decided it was time to do some work. I was feeling pretty horrible at the time. I was a bit stiff and creaky, and my chest felt a bit crunchy, and very close to aching. All those feeling slowly dissipated as filled the remaining half of the brown wheelie bin with twigs and branches, plus some weeds and stuff. Some of the branches were thick enough to need sawing into smaller lengths.

  I feel I am making good progress clearing the garden one wheelie bin per week, but there is still a huge amount to do. I am now getting to the more interesting bit. I have essentially cleared all the path around the house, and I am now at the point of clearing the main part of the garden itself. Half of it will be easy providing I just laugh at the difficulties of slashing through nasty spiky brambles. The other half is going to be very trick. That is the half with the main trunk of the felled tree in it. It is a very thick trunk, and now I cans see it a bit better, I see that it branches into two thick branches. Cutting through those, ideally in something like 6 inch sections, is going to take a lot of elbow work !

 I was probably in the garden, doing hard gardening type work, for less than an hour. After that I finally had a shower and washed my hair. From then on I did any little thing I could think of to keep myself amused until Patricia returned - and it turned out to be a very long wait indeed. There was no definite time for Patricia's return, but I though that maybe it might be 7 or 8pm. I was very wrong ! It was a little after 11pm. Patricia arrived here worn out, and with a sore throat from having to talk so much. At least the American marketeers who had hired her laid on some refreshments for the end of the session, and so Patricia didn't have to travel on an empty stomach.

 We had little more than 30 minutes to say goodbye, and for Patricia to pack her rucksack before going out again to get the 00:48 night bus to Liverpool Street. That wasn't then end of it. At Liverpool Street she had to get a coach to Stanstead airport. Then she faced a long wait until the checking gates open at 5am or something. I hope her journey went smoothly. I'm guessing she has probably arrived in Italy by now. It was very nice seeing Patricia, but it was a shame she couldn't stay an extra day for some sightseeing or something.
  Here's Patricia just before she went off to the interpreting job. On the wall behind her, right behind her head, is a photo I took of her on the 13th August 2004 when she was my "teacher" at a tedious back to work course I was sent on by the job centre when "between jobs".

 By the time I went to bed last night I had gone past the sleepy stage, and was waking up again, but once my head hit the pillow at approx 1am this morning, I think I went out like a light. I slept solidly until almost 5am when I woke up for a pee. I also took my morning medication before going back to bed. I was soon fast asleep again, and I slept for another couple of hours. I finally got up feeling rough for the first 10 - 15 minutes, but now, a couple of hours later, I think I feel OK.

 I am not sure if feeling OK is good enough for one thing I want/need to do, although actually doing it will probably improve a few things. I have a load of laundry to do, and some of it is big stuff that will need a lot of muscle power. Fortunately, after just one night's use, I don't think I need to wash Patricia's bed linen. I have spare set that I could put on the bed in the impossibly unlikely event that anyone else should need to sleep in the spare bed.

 The rest of today I shall fill in doing....I have no idea.....fortunately it is a very short day. In the late afternoon I'll be going out for my Thursday evening drink. After I've had three or four pints I won't want to do anything except vegetate !
Wednesday 18th July 2018
07:22 BST

  Yesterday was still a pleasant day, but it was cooler than recent days. The temperature was about that predicted by the forecast, 24° C, but there was less sunshine that the forecast seemed to predict. After the sun set the temperature seemed to fall away quite quickly. By 3am this morning it seemed to feel quite chilly.
                      cooler day today
  Today seemed to start bright and cool, but the forecast says that all we will get today will be sunny intervals rather than uninterrupted sunshine (except for 7pm and 9pm - possibly). The forecast looks similar to yesterday, and as I said earlier, yesterday was not really a sunny day. However, today could end up a degree or two warmer than yesterday. Given the choice, I would opt for a few degrees cooler, but lots more sunshine). Tonight is going to be another warm night, and tomorrow could see the temperature climb to 28° C. It might also be a very sunny day.

  Yesterday morning involved more rushing around preparing things for Patricia's visit. The first rushing around was to go to the other Poundstretcher store in Catford - the one near Catford station. I had never been in there before. It is 2 or 3 times as far to walk to as the store I usually use. I thought it was going to be a lot bigger, but it is quite similar in size, and the layout is very close to the central Catford store. Sadly they didn't have any fans - which was the object of my quest - but I did buy what I hope is a reasonable Lightning connector USB lead that I intend to give to Sue. The one I saw she was using last Sunday looked as if it was about to fall apart. I paid just £1.99 for it - a whole £1 cheaper than the USB-C leads I bought from the central Catford store.

 After Poundstretcher I partly retraced my steps, but went home via Tesco (who hadn't got in any more fans since I checked a day or two previously). They did have lemons and limes to put in Gin And Tonics - Patricia's favourite drink now. I also bought some nice crusty bread, and a couple of items from the reduced price shelf. One item was a little tub of sun dried tomatoes in oil.

 I suddenly realise that I am describing things in the wrong order. The first bit of rushing around was actually doing some more hoovering - but not much of it ! I had just finished hoovering the mats in the living room, and I was going to go on to hoover the hall and stairs, but I was saved from doing that by my hoover dying. Obviously the hoover dying was bad, but on the other hand it gave me more time to relax and wait for Patricia to arrive.

 While waiting I had a bite to eat - a sort of brunch. It was very simple - just a small crusty finger roll and the little pot of sundried tomatoes in oil - and nothing else. It was an unusual meal for me, but I enjoyed it a lot. After that I didn't eat any more until after Patricia arrived here rather later than expected. I had assumed it was going to be early afternoon, but it was close to 5pm. We enjoyed an ice cold gin and tonic and swapped a bit of news before going out for dinner.
Patricia after a
 Dinner was a Wetherspoon's dinner. I had a pint of Kronenberg with a burger and chips, and Patricia had a chicken tikka massala with a large orange juice - all paid for by Patricia. We only stayed for that one drink, and went home for another G&T while talking until it was starting get dark.  I think it was about 10pm when Patricia decided it was time she went to bed, and that seemed a good time for me as well.

 It was much cooler last night, and that made getting to sleep much easier. Before falling asleep I thought I felt a bit hungry, but when I considered how little I had eaten (the Wetherspoon's burger was not that big, and I only ate one half of the bun), it actually seemed like a good idea - until I woke up 3 or 4 hours later feeling rather uncomfortable. With hindsight it was possibly trapped wind that was at least part of the discomfort. I went to the toilet, but still didn't feel right.

 At 4am I did something I can't recall doing before. I went down to the kitchen and grabbed a big handful of peanuts to eat. While I ate them I read some pages from the internet, and in the end I felt a bit better. I was actually feeling quite cold by the time I went back to bed, and for the first time in ages actually went to sleep under my duvet. I didn't sleep all that long, and I was up feeling a lot warmer, and pretty terrible at about 6.30. As early as it was, I found Patricia was already awake, and checking her laptop when I brought her an early morning cup of coffee (plus Jaffa cakes !).

 A few hours have passed since then, and I have been to the toilet twice since getting up. I think I am now starting to feel fairly good. One strange malady I suffered while in bed has happened a few times recently, and it was return to the pain in my left arm that I had in the first few weeks, or months, after coming out of hospital after my quad heart bypass operation in 2013. That pain seemed to be the result of crushed nerves while I was on the operating table, and was also the cause of numbness in the two small fingers of the left hand.

 Since that time those two fingers have improved, but they are still partly numb. I can feel stuff with them, but it is a sort of tingly sensation. While my arm was hurting last night, and also on some other recent occasions, it felt like I had much more feeling in those two semi-numb fingers. For a while I thought I was very close to having normal feeling in them. It is if after nearly 5 years my crushed nerves are having another go at regenerating themselves. It will be nice, and maybe even worth a little pain (but not much) to get full feeling back to all the fingers of my left hand.

 This morning there was a little bit of bad news. I thought Patricia was staying for two nights, but like the last time she stayed, she has to get to Stanstead airport so early tomorrow morning that she will actually start travelling late tonight, and will have a long wait in the early hours of the morning at the airport. At the moment she doesn't know when she is expected to arrive at the interpreting job that has paid for her brief visit to London. It is possible that if it is a late start she may not even get a chance to come back here for dinner before saying goodbye.

 It has been nice exchanging gossip with Patricia, and to have dinner and a drink with her, but sooner or later I will be wishing her a safe journey, and may not see her again for the rest of this year unless she flies south to Argentina in September or October, and flies there via London. Fortunately it seems that I will have some occasional female company from new friend Sue to keep my mind off Angela.

 Apart from one thing, I have no idea what I am doing today. Some of it may depend on what Patricia is doing. One thing I definitely do have to do is to fill the remaining half of the brown wheelie bin with more twigs, branches and some weeds so it is ready to be emptied tomorrow morning. Despite having Patricia's company for a short while still (although as I write this she has gone for a quick shopping trip), I don't think I am going to have a shower until I have done that sweaty work in the garden !
Tuesday 17th July 2018
09:39 BST

  It was hot again yesterday. I didn't actually check, but I think the temperature hit the forecast 28° C. One thing where reality and the forecast did diverge, and diverge a lot, is that yesterday was more overcast than sunny. I think it was just after midday that the cloud seemed so dense that it looked like it might rain. If it had rained it would almost certainly be something more dramatic than a passing shower ! The air seemed to have that humid thick feeling that ideally needs a good downpour to make it sweet again. For most of the day had seemed very still, but just before midnight I noticed the curtains beginning to stir, and in the early hours my bedroom seemed to be the closest to cool it has been in days, or weeks, or.....
                      cooler day today
  It should be a slightly cooler day today, and at least at the moment there seems to be a breeze to make it feel fresher. Looking out the window I see just  a handful of small fluffy clouds, but the forecast seems to imply there will be more cloud later, and that means just sunny intervals instead of non stop sunshine. The highest temperature today may be just 24° C. With luck it will be a comparatively cool night, but there will be more sunshine tomorrow, and it will be a degree or two warmer.

  I was supposed to be rushing around getting ready for Patricia's arrival today, but in the end it seemed too hot to do all I wanted to do. I did manage to hoover the spare room for her, and to also hoover the top landing and some of my own bedroom. Then I had to stop and take a shower to clean myself up, and cool myself down. Well the theory was that I should cool down, but the water was tepid instead of cold, and the action of towelling myself dry seemed to warm me up again !

 Perhaps it was 20 minutes later that I felt ready to go out and get some shopping. There were some important things on my shopping list - Jaffa cakes for a Jaffa cake addict, freshly squeezed orange juice, some salad, and some fresh bread. I also got a couple of emergency ready meals of a type that I now Patricia really likes. On further consideration I think I may have overdone it considering she is only straying two night !

 Once I had got that shopping home, and unpacked it, I went out again. I wanted to buy a fan, or maybe two of them, but Poundstretcher didn't have any, and the fans I saw in Tesco recently had all sold out. It wasn't a completely wasted journey though. I found where Poundstretcher had hidden the apparently good quality USB-C connecting leads, and bought two of them in case Patricia wants a spare for her phone. I also bought a pair of food tongs that might be useful for serving up salad.

 After two trips to the shops I felt hot and soggy, and I lost the will to do much more. I did a few minor tidying jobs, but mostly I was just lazy for the remainder of the afternoon, and into the evening. Up to a certain point the time seemed to almost flash by, but at 9pm I decided it would be easier to retire to my bed to read. I read a couple of chapters from the book I am currently reading, and then turned out the lights.

 For the next few hours I thrashed around on my bed trying to get comfortable in the sticky heat. Occasionally I would doze for a few tens of minutes, but eventually the room seemed to feel cooler, and I fell asleep properly. I think it was sometime around 4am when I woke up feeling cold. It wasn't actually cold in my room, but the fan blowing on my naked body. I turned the fan off, and fell asleep again for an hour or two. Once again I woke up feeling nit exactly cold, but still a bit too cool. It was time to pull the duvet over my body. That was too warm, and I probably got to sleep with the duvet barely covering half my body.

 I had either lost track of time, or I had slept quite heavily, because the next thing I knew was that Patricia was sending me a message, and it was almost 9am. Patricia was at the airport in Italy, and will be arriving at 13:10 London time at Stanstead airport. It would seem I have little more than 4 hours, as I write these words, to get all the last preparations done for her short visit. I guess I had better get under the shower damn soon !
Monday 16th July 2018
08:52 BST

  Yesterday was a lovely sunny day with a wonderful blue sky - and it was like that all day long ! It was a hot day too. The highest temperature was forecast to be 29° C, and that was supposed to last for at least 4 hours. The only downside is that it felt too warm at bed time. There was no breeze at all last night, or at least none strong enough to move the curtains.
                      hot sunny day
  The forecast for today says it will be a degree cooler than yesterday - just 28° C. Apart from at 4pm when a few clouds drift across the sky, it should be another day of unbroken sunshine. It looks as if it is going to be another warm and sweaty night tonight. Tomorrow is probably going to be up to 4° cooler, and most of the day will only see sunny intervals rather than unbroken sunshine.

Sue outside the pub
 Yesterday turned out to be a good day. I was never sure it was going to happen, but I spent a very nice afternoon in the company of Sue. I had offered to meet her for an afternoon drink, and because there didn't seem to be any nice pubs in the St Mary Cray area, where she lives, we went to Shoreham (Kent) for that drink.

 It wasn't a perfect solution in as much as I had to get off the train at at St Mary Cray to meet her, and then wait half an hour for the next train. It turned out that Sunday was not a great day for Sue because the little R6 bus, the only bus that serves near where she lives, only runs once an hour on a Sunday. To make matters worse, she missed the bus and had to walk to the station.

 Apparently it is not a very long walk on a cooler day, but on a hot day it is enough to raise a good sweat. She arrived at the station looking hot and bothered, but it was her dog, Peanut, that I was more concerned about. It is a small pug, and it was really gasping from the exertion.

  The only other negative thing is that I had to pay full price for the train tickets. If Sue had got there a bit earlier, and was able to present her Freedom pass at the ticket office when I bought the tickets we could have bought returns from the Freedom pass boundary, and got discount using my Senior Rail Card. Unfortunately with just 10 minutes to go before the train arrived, I decided not to wait for her to arrive, and just bought the tickets from the machine.

  Four minutes later we were on the platform with a 6 minute wait for the train. Poor Peanut faced another long walk for one with so short legs before he could have a drink and a cool down. I walked us past the pub to what was the old ford in Shoreham, and Peanuts had a nice time in the river there. It was probably at the river that Sue finally relaxed. Until then she was looking a bit stressed. I don't think she really knew what to expect when going out with this strange man.
Sue by the river
 In the picture above Sue is videoing Peanut exploring the vicinity of the ford, and taking a few cool baths in the water.
Peanut in the river
  With Peanut suitably cooled and refreshed we walked back to the pub where I ended up drinking 3 pints of Lager, and Sue had 2 pints. Sue has many issues in her life, some of them very serious, but she felt relaxed enough to tell me some of her life story, and I think she was very happy to be able to do so. One day she might have to remind me of some of what she told me. It seemed more important to let her talk than to actually try and digest or remember everything she said.

 We spent longer at the pub, sitting at a shaded table out the front of the pub, than I had originally intended to do, but it was such a nice summer day, and despite some of the stuff I was hearing, Sue was good company. After my third pint I said we had better make out way back to the station via the river to get Peanut cooled down and wet before the long uphill walk back to the station.

 I didn't want to rush them, but time was of the essence in getting back to the station. Both Sue and Peanut kept up with my pace quite well, but of course Peanut wanted to leave his mark on many bushes and posts, and sniff and explore everywhere. I can imagine there are lots of interesting smells for a town dog along a country lane ! We finally arrived on the correct platform at Shoreham station with the train visible a few hundred yards away down the line. If we had been another 90 seconds later we would have missed it.

 Sue was very different on the train home compared to the train going to Shoreham. On the way there she had been rather tense and jittery, but she was quite relaxed on the way home. As we pulled into St Mary Cray I reminded her of a recent posting she had made on social media. It was one of those interminable cut and past type inspirational pictures with a caption over the picture saying what she needed was a hug, and for someone to tell her she wasn't worthless. So that is what I did. I gave her a hug, and told her she was very worthwhile, and that she had given me a happy Sunday. I expected her to freeze when I hugged her, but she hugged me back.

  I stayed on the train to go back to Catford, and Sue stayed on the platform to wave me goodbye as the train pulled away. Just before we parted I had suggested we should meet again, but on a weekday when she has more buses, and maybe we could go to the seaside. I said I couldn't do it this week because I have Patricia staying for a few days this week. Later on, via electronic messaging, I suggested that we could go to Hastings because it was nice and easy to get to even if it was a grotty bit of the seaside. It seems that was a good suggestion because it seems that Sue actually likes Hastings ! I seem to have made a new friend. I wonder if it will go any further ?

 I arrived home feeling rather good, or for a Sunday afternoon, bloody excellent when judged by how soul destroying Sunday afternoons usually are. I almost, but not quite, didn't feel particularly hungry, and over eager for some breakfast. I knew that sooner or later the magic would be over, and I would want a big breakfast/lunch/dinner. For some reason I couldn't face making up another salad, and so I ordered a Chinese takeaway. It was delicious, but I somehow ate less than I usually would.

 Later on I would top that Chinese off with a low calorie ice cream, but the Chinese food still managed it's fabled trick of apparently fading away in the stomach, leaving you feeling hungry again a couple of hours later. I went to bed feeling hungry - not ravenously hungry, but a definite desire for more food. More food at that point would be stupid unless it was a meal of ice cubes ! I had felt perfectly fine when out walking under a blazing sun, and while sitting outside drinking beer, but in my bedroom I felt stupidly hot and sweaty.

 It took some time, but I managed to finally get to sleep while laying uncovered on my bed, stark naked, and with the fan blowing over the top half of my body. I seemed to sleep quite well like that. I woke up a couple of times in the night, and later in the night it did cool off a tiny little bit, but I still didn't turn the fan speed down. It feels like I got a quite reasonable sleep in the end. I think I feel fairly OK this morning, and that is good because I face a terrible day. On what is going to be another hot and sticky day, I have loads of stuff to do in preparation for Patricia staying tomorrow night, and the night after. I have lots of hoovering to do, shopping to buy, and other general housework. I am not looking forward to it in this heat ! However I am very much looking forward to seeing Patricia for a few days !
Sunday 15th July 2018
09:43 BST

  I guess we are getting too acclimatised to the summer weather now. Yesterday should have felt like it was a hot day, but somehow a high of 27° C felt "normal". Admittedly it didn't take much to raise a sweat, but even doing a bit of work in the garden did not feel oppressive in any way. There were more occasions than the forecast predicted when the sun was dimmed or obscured by passing clouds, but overall it was a dry sunny day.
A hot
                      sunny day
  Today is going to be hot if the forecast is correct, and it is currently looking like it will be. The latest update now says there will be 4 hours of it being 29° C, and that it will feel like 30° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be almost exactly the same as today, but just 28° C instead of 29° C.

  I didn't feel all that good yesterday morning. I thought it was some sort of stomach upset, but nothing particularly dramatic happened. Apart from a very vague and diffuse mild tenderness of my belly, I also had a strange cross between feeling hungry, and at the same time not wanting to eat. I moped around for most of the morning, and while it was more comfortable lying down, it didn't seem to get better or get worse. Maybe it was all in the head, some sort of reaction to Angela posting a picture of herself on social media, a picture that included the leering face of lover boy. That certainly upset me, but whether that upset cause any physical feeling is unknown.

 After laying on my bed, mostly reading, I decided that if my stomach upset wasn't getting better, or getting worse, or doing anything at all to actually assert itself as a stomach upset, then I should probably do something to kill or cure. Fortunately it was a cure...or at least it tipped the balance in favour of eating rather than something similar to nausea. I decided it was time I fixed the leak where the bath waste pipe joins the main downpipe. I had bought the silicone sealant, and it was time to use it.

 Before I could do that I had to clear a bit more of the path along the back of the house so I could erect my step ladder safely, and facing in the best direction. Fortunately it didn't mean sawing through any thick branches, but I did use my big loppers to cut a few big branches. I also cleared up some weeds and brambles. In the end the garden waste wheelie bin was half full. That path, which is only 7ft long, is now completely clear except for one thick log that will need sawing in half. The best thing is that when I had a leisurely shower this morning there wasn't a single drip from the waste pipe. My sealing seems to be working.

  I only did one other thing of significance for the rest of the day, and that was to arrange what could be seen as a date, but isn't really. I don't think it will actually happen, but it is possible I'll be meeting a lady for an afternoon drink today.  There is one other thing that is of no significance, but is worthy of note, and that was to watch the Star Trek movie "Into Darkness" on Channel 4 last night. The noteworthy thing is that it was terrible. A decent editor could have edited it down from it's current length of 2 hours and 35 minutes to about 55 minutes without losing an of the storyline. The film company could also have saved millions of pyrotechnics as well - it seemed much of the film was just flash, bang, wallop with occasional dialogue to string it out to it's long boring length. Not only that, but it is just another bastardised version of a story that has already been covered 3 or 4 time already. I hated it !

 There was one good thing yesterday, or last night, and that was I seemed to sleep quite well. I probably got a full night's sleep, and I can barely remember any interruptions to it. This morning I seem to feel passably OK. I have washed my hair, had a good shower, and now all I need to do is to get dressed and see if a certain lady still wants to meet me. If she doesn't then I guess I might go shopping, and do some more clearance in the garden.
Saturday 14th July 2018
10:47 BST

  Contrary to several revisions of the weather forecast, and the weather warning, yesterday was a perfectly dry day. At least it was for most of London. Little more than 50 miles in a couple of direction, the story was very different. They did have torrential downpours, and possibly some thunder and lightning. Meanwhile, here in Catford, we just sort of simmered. It was not exactly a sunny day, but there was a fair amount of sunshine, and the temperature hit the predicted 25° C. Like on previous days, it seemed very sticky in my bedroom. I am sure outside, with a bit of breeze it probably felt delightful, but indoors, while under the influence of hot food and booze, it was getting on for unpleasant.
hot, dry
                      and sunny - maybe
  There are no weather warnings to spoil the fun today. The latest revision of the forecast still agrees with the one on the screenshot above. It seems like it will be hot, dry and sunny day today. I'm not sure it has hit 23° C yet, and the sun has just been covered by an unauthorised cloud. In fact there does seem to be a fair amount of cloud to the south, but the north looks mostly blue. At least the could in the south is white and fluffy, and so it should not be threatening, but as the temperature approaches 27° C it could be the right ingredients to brew up into an unscheduled thunderstorm. Tomorrow should see sunshine all day, and the temperature should reach 28° C. Apparently that will feel like 29° C, and it is what it will, or might feel like, that becomes the headline figure.

  I was supposed to have a busy day yesterday, but, as I feared, and sort of hinted at, I didn't feel in the right mood to do a lot of what I intended. One of the most significant things I did do was to go out and get some shopping from three different shops. First of all I went to Poundland to buy some silicone sealant for the bath waste pipe. A few shops away is Poundstretcher, and I called in there hoping that they might have some more of the decent quality USB-C type leads that I bought from there a week or two ago.Sadly they had none. Maybe word got out that they were far superior than some of the rubbish being sold via amazon. What I did find was my favourite blueberry shampoo and conditioner. It was just 79p a bottle - 20p cheaper than the 99p shop used it sell it for - and 99p was a lot cheaper than Tesco were charging for it.

 Tesco was the next shop I visited, but not for shampoo and conditioner. I wanted some lettuce, and a few other things used in the construction of salads. I also wanted some sugar free cola. Since the recipe was changed on Tesco's own brand sugar free cola about 10 years ago now it is undrinkable, and the only option is genuine Diet Coke. Fortunately it is usually on some sort of promotion - often 2 bottles for about 1.5 time the price of a single bottle. I am not sure that was the case yesterday, but the individual price seemed lower - it was only about 4 times the price of Aldi's own brand, and very acceptable sugar free cola.
3 items bought from
 There were three items of particular note that I bought from Tesco shown above. As well as two bottles of silver label Diet Coke, I also bought a bottle of red label Coke. As can be seen in the picture above, this is now sugar free. I thought it needed testing. It's ingredients seem identical to that of Diet Coke, but the flavour is different. I was worried that it was actually black label Coke Zero rebranded as red label. My opinion of Coke Zero was that it was very unpleasant, but this sugar free red label seems to have a fair taste. I have grown used to the taste of Diet Coke over the last 15 - 20 years, and if it continues to be available it will probably be my first choice, but it is good to know there is an alternative (apart from supermarket own brands - some of which are good, and some are disgusting).

  In the middle of the picture above is Korean seaweed. It intrigued me, and so I bought a pack.  Unlike the crispy fired seaweed you get from Chinese takeaways, this was in the form of cigarette paper thin sheets. In a strange way it was sort of nice. It was very seaweedy, and a bit fishy. I don't think I would care to buy any more of it. One thing that was a relief was when I finally found that the net weight of the pack was just 4gm because the calorie content looked very high - but that was per 100gm. This pack probably contained little more than 25 calories !

 Finally, on the right of the picture, with the reduced price sticker on it, is a pack of horseradish and black pepper flavoured beetroot. There was a lot of it, and evidently it hadn't been selling well. I bought two packs, and upon testing it I found it to be very nice. It is not as good as the sweetfire beetroot that is flavoured with chilli, but it's not bad. I haven't tested the theory yet, but I think it will go well in a salad with beef. I may be trying that today.

 The only other thing of particular note that I did yesterday, not counting something of a more specialised nature much later in the evening, was to finally finish editing the photos I took at Stretchy's Open Mic last Tuesday. The kast batch threw up a couple of interesting pictures. There were a few times when my flash did not fire. It was either because the batteries were getting weak, or the gun had overheated. Two pictures in particular were very salvageable from the lack of flash because of the brightness of the light on the central music stand.
Simon Whitestar only
                        lit by the light on the music stand
 A lot of the picture is best left dark because it is pretty murky with lots of grain and noise, but I did brighten it up a bit around Simon. I could take far more pictures like this, but the post processing is hard work, and it wouldn't work if it was more than one solo performer sitting behind the music stand. Any accompanying musicians would be left in the dark.
by the light of the
                        music stand

  I thought there was only one gig on last night that was just a little bit interesting. With hindsight there was another that I might have liked, and there could have been some interesting company there, but I didn't really fancy going out last night. There was something holding me back that was as much physical as mental. Maybe there is a part of my brain that I am unaware of that can see into the future, and can influence my decisions. I was not aware of any particular discomfort beforehand, but at sometime around 10pm I developed the worst case of flatulence I have ever known ! I could not stop farting, and the smell was vile ! When even your own fart smells make you gag then you can be very glad you are not in a pub, train or bus ! Staying in, while I may not have realised it beforehand, turned out to be the best option for me.

  It was a while after my flatulence stopped that I went to bed. I still couldn't feel any particular discomfort from my gut, but I did feel generally uncomfortable. Some of it was the heat, but all combined made me think that I would never get to sleep. It did seem that maybe I did sleep for perhaps an hour because I was suddenly aware that it was midnight, and I could account for the time that had passed. Unfortunately I then did not get back to sleep until 3am was approaching. Although I woke up several times, I managed to keep getting shorted and shorter blocks of sleep until I gave up trying for more at 9:15 pm (if I recall correctly).

  Since then I have had a long phone call from my friend Lee who had more computer questions for me. I have washed, and hung out to dry, a hand towel, plus some other bits and pieces, and I have written this. At the moment I don't feel all that good. The main problem is a very vague ache that might, or might not be radiating from my gut area. I am thinking that last nights farting was just one symptom of some sort of weird stomach upset. It is a bit like feeling hungry, but also a bit like feeling potentially, but not actually nauseous.

 I'm not sure how I am going to approach the rest of the day. I should be doing some serious hoovering today, and today there is a gig that I think I would like to see, but I don't really feel like either today. Maybe I'll have a lie down soon and see how I feel. The only problem with that is that it is already starting to feel hot today, and I definitely don't want to start hoovering when I am already sweating ! Probably best to adopt a wait and see strategy.

Friday 13th July 2018

08:37 BST

  Yesterday's weather was really rather bland. The early morning forecast, which I showed as a screenshot, was rather wrong. It predicted a days with lots of sunny intervals, and few hours of solid sunshine towards the end of the morning. In reality it was a very grey start to the day, and while there were some sunny intervals, they seemed few and far between. I seem to recall that some of those sunny intervals were actually hazy sunny intervals. Oh well, it stayed dry, despite it looking like it might not sometimes, and at 25° C it was a warm afternoon.
                      starting a bit grey, but great things are
  Today's forecast is complicated. Until 06:32 this morning the forecasts told of rain today, but probably only light rain, and when it wasn't raining there would be sunny intervals almost all day once some early cloud broke up. It certainly got the grey start to the day right, and the forecast issued at 08:16 extended the greyness to 09:00. Once the greyness is over, which might be any minute now, but almost certainly won't be, there should be plenty of sunny intervals, and some complete hours of sunshine. There is now no mention of any rainfall, and the chance of rain only rises to a mere 7% for a couple of hours after 8pm. It makes you wonder why they are still posting the weather warning.
weather warning
 This warning of thunderstorms is dated yesterday at 10:18am. It makes me wonder why they have left it up if the latest forecast doesn't show any rain for today. There may be one explanation. I didn't include it in the screenshot, but the warning is for the Greater London area. Maybe some part of London will cop it, but apparently not Catford. There are no weather warnings for tomorrow. The current forecast predicts lots of sunshine, and the temperature rising to 28° C. Now that sounds like the recipe for a summer thunderstorm !

   My first test of the reconnected bath waste pipe showed that it leaked quite a lot when I washed my hair, and took a shower yesterday morning. The extent of it was rather disappointing, although I was expecting some spillage. I will definitely have to apply some sealer around the joint. I think a ring of silicone bathroom sealant should be sufficient. I should have gone out to buy some sealant yesterday, but somehow I just never got around to it. Yesterday was another day where time just seemed to fly by.

 I did a few things to help the time fly by. One was to wash a couple of t-shirts and some underwear. I left doing that a bit late in the day, and because yesterday was not that hot, and the breeze was hardly enough to stir anything, that washing was still damp when I brought it in during the early evening. Another thing that used a little time was preparing a salad and eating it. It was a salad built from first principles where I had to wash and cut up all the ingredients. It ended up as quite a big salad, and the addition of corned beef and lots of mayonnaise almost certainly stopped it being anywhere near healthy.

 In between times I edited a few more photos from Tuesday night, read for a bit, and I am sure I had a short snooze. Then it was time to go out for my Thursday evening drink with the lads. I was glad to see that the 16:20 train was running again yesterday. This addition to the timetable after the change at the end of May hasn't always run, and that was a shame because it is perfectly timed for a 4.30pm start to our drinking. The only unexplained oddity is that now the 16:20 train goes to Sevenoaks instead of Orpington - at least it did yesterday !

  I had a nice time drinking with the lads, but I was determined to only have my usual three pints. The five pints I had while waiting for a train to run last week was a bit too much, and as nice as it was at the time, I rather suffered for it later. Another unexplained oddity, apart from the change of the 16:20 train's destination, was that the two different beers I tried last night seemed to leave me with a dry mouth. It was tempting to have more just to keep my mouth wet. It was only a short term affliction, and I didn't seem to suffer a dry mouth on the way home.
British Pullman train
 As I waited on Shortlands station I became aware that the signals at the London end of platform 3 were indicating that a train would be going down the Catford Loop Line, and the signal for it was green. On platform 1, where I waited for my train, the signals also indicated that my train was also going to go via Catford (as my train obviously should), but the signal was red. Something was coming down the line that was a bit unusual, and so I got my camera ready. It was what is or maybe was known as the Orient Express train, but seems to be branded "The British Pullman" now.
British Pullman
                        through Shortlands station
 The focus of this second picture is a bit soft, but it give a clearer view of how the locomotives are painted in the same colour as the coaching stock. It looks like the company who operate the train have acquired their very own class 67 locomotives. They used to hire them in from assorted freight companies. It would have been nice if it had been steam hauled, but I believe their is a ban on using steam during the dry summer months because of the risk of lineside fires.

 The cupboard was almost bare when I got home. It is possible I could have raked up enough ingredients to make another salad, but I didn't fancy that. I could have opened a tin of curry, or something, but I didn't fancy that either. Although it involved a long wait for it to be delivered, I decided to order a takeaway. I ordered a large chicken shish kebab. It was my intention to just eat the meat and salad, but the beer, and maybe the hour wait for the food, made me eat half the pitta bread as well - a most unusual thing for me. To meet the minimum spend for free delivery I also ordered a peri-peri chicken that I will be happily devouring today !

 I was in bed very slightly before 9pm last night, but I spent an hour or more reading. I don't think it was much more than an hour though, and I may have been fast asleep sometime around 10pm. Initially it was a bit warm in my bedroom, but it cooled to an ideal temperature through the night, and it seems I slept rather well. The only oddity was around 6am this morning. I awoke from a dream where I was taking a music magazine with me as I was heading for a toilet. I woke up convinced I needed to go to the toilet in real life. So I rushed to the toilet....and nothing happened. If I recall correctly I had had my early morning wee at 5am !

 I seem to feel reasonably OK today, and that could be just as well because I ought to have a busy day today. I say ought to because I may not feel like rushing around. I should go out and buy the sealant for that waste pipe, and I ought to re-stock my larder/fridge. In an ideal world I should be doing some hoovering around the house in preparation for Patricia's short visit. There is other little tidying up jobs to do as well. One thing that may come before all that, but is incredibly unlikely, is meeting up with Angela at lunchtime. Yesterday she posted a picture of herself (on a social media website) in her office saying she was bored. I sent her a message saying that of she wanted some company at lunchtime today she was to contact me before 11am this morning. I feel certain my message won't even be acknowleged, let alone acted upon, but we live in hope !
Thursday 12th July 2018
08:52 BST

  It felt like being back in spring time yesterday. Apart from the extremes of the day when it felt a bit cool, the middle of the day was no more than warm-ish. Of course these are relative terms. If it was January then 17° C first thing in the morning would seem like luxury, and 23° C in the afternoon would feel hot. In July these temperatures seem underwhelming. The worst thing was that much of the day was very dull, and even the sunny intervals seemed inconsequential. It can only get worse - and it does !
A very
                      grey start to the day
   Contrary to what the forecast says above, it is dull enough at the moment to make me think it could rain soon. The 07:57am revision of the forecast says that in less than one hour from now the temperature will have risen by a whole 4°, and we should be seeing sunny intervals. I am expecting another revision soon that more matches the reality reality of the real world. Another curiosity of the forecasts is that the early one above shows many hours when the chance of rain exceeds 10%, but no rain is predicted. The latest revision reduces the chance of rain to much lower percentages, but at 8pm, with the chance of rain now being just 8%, rain is forecast. My interpretation of the forecast is that we might have some sunny periods, and we might have some longer spells of sunshine. It might rain today any time between now and midnight, and that the highest temperature could be 25° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a dry, sometimes sunny, and warm day - except it will probably rain a lot on the evening.

   I did the most important job of the week yesterday, and I went further than I intended. I shrugged off the aches and pains and stiffness of the morning, and went out to fill the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin close to the brim with twigs and branches from the felled tree. Yesterday involved sawing through some even more substantial branches than last time. The biggest was getting on for 3 inches thick (although 2.5 inches may have been a bit closer). I still haven't fully cleared the bit of path at the back of the kitchen, but I did clear enough to put up my step ladder, and re-insert the bath waste pipe into the main down pipe. It was a much looser fit than I imagined, and at some future point I must put some sealant around it, but I am looking forward to washing my hair, and having a good shower this morning without the waste water emptying onto the path.
bath waste pipe
 The pipe going from right to left is the bath waste pipe, and it needed inserting into the main down pipe on the left.  I don't really like working on ladders these days, and trying to persuade the pipe to bend so I could get it into the downpipe was slightly precarious. Hopefully it will behave itself, and not leak too much before I can finish the job properly - that will also include repairing the support bracket mid way along the pipe somehow.
that branch is more
                        than 2.5 inches thick !
 I tried to use my outstretched fingers to give some sort of scale to one of the branches I had to cut through. Unfortunately it just looks like I am giving the cut a "V" sign, and while that is fair enough, and actually true in hindsight, it doesn't really show that this branch is almost 3 inches thick. For a carpenter, who cuts up wood for a living, that is probably laughingly small, but for someone who spends more time just pushing a computer mouse around, it was quite a challenge - and there are far worse ones coming up !
Looking down my
 This is the current view down the length of my garden. The felled tree rather dominates all the space.  I think my plan of action over the next weeks is to try and drive access to the back fence down the left hand side of the garden. Then I can try and cut up the tree from the side. I have no idea if I will even try and cut through the thickest part of the trunk (10 to 12 inches at a guess), and trying to do something with the stump left in the ground could be a desperate problem. I might have to resort to fire to reduce some of it.

 Like the week before, I exercised some rarely used muscles, and I might have even found some new ones to abuse. I probably only spent about an hour in the garden, but I finished with that strange high of a job well done, and lots of aches. I didn't feel much like doing anything else for the rest of the afternoon, but my partial recovery was fairly quick. I say partial because even this morning I can still feel where I exercised those little used muscles !

 The first thing I did was to reward myself with a treat. It was a rack of smoked ribs from Poland (I think it was Poland) that I bought from the Turkish supermarket near Catford Bridge station a few days ago. As far as I could tell they were basically cooked already, and I decided the easiest thing was to give then a good zapping in the microwave (10 minutes). There was a lot more meat on them than I anticipated, and it was rather delicious even if it was terribly unhealthy. I get chest pains just thinking about it !

 After a nice lay down, and I think I snoozed as well, I started another job, and once again I went a bit further than I originally intended. I started to tidy the spare room ready for Patricia to stay in it for a couple of days next week. Apart from a pile of books that I don't have enough bookshelf space for, and a reading lamp that I want to repair (the switch has gone faulty), I emptied the room of the clutter I had allowed to accumulate in there. The main thing it needs now is a good hoovering, and then once the bed is made up, it will be ready for use.

 The one other thing I did yesterday was to work on the photos I took last Tuesday night. Most of the photos I took using my flash gun needed little work, but I still couldn't seem to knuckle down and get the job finished. Fortunately the remaining photos were all taken with flash and so need very little work done on them except for one that I decided was worth some extra work.
Sue Heath
 I finally managed to get a nice smile out of Sue. It was a shame that she had her eyes almost screwed up. If they had been wide open it would have been a lovely photo - particularly after I spent quite some time doing some cosmetic work (mostly just smoothing out her skin). Cosmetic work is a skill I rarely have to use, but pro photographers doing fashion shoots are rumoured to do it all the time. Some say it is cheating, but if the result looks good, and gives the model a boost, I see it as a good art.

 It was a lot cooler day yesterday, and that made sleeping so much easier. I can't remember what time I went to bed, but I would guestimate I was probably asleep by at least 11pm. I didn't feel that comfortable when I went to bed. Apart from some expected aches from my hard work in the garden, I think I may have upset my chest. It definitely seemed slightly crunchy right down my operation scar, and seemed slightly sore. I wondered of it would hinder me getting to sleep, but as far as I can guess, I fell asleep while still wondering about it.

 As usual I woke up a couple of times in the night, but overall I seemed to sleep quite well. Evidently there was a rift between seeming to sleep well and actually sleeping well. I woke up, or was woken up by the dustmen doing their first round of emptying the wheelie bins, feeling really quite rough. All sorts of bit were aching or still half asleep, and I felt like I could do with another 8 hours sleep. That was, of course, just a slightly extreme case of my usual morning, and as usual I felt more and more better (if you'll excuse the mangled English) the longer I was awake. At the moment I feel like I could probably make it to the shops and back without collapsing - and the usual thing would be that once I was halfway there I would feel like I could do double the distance without batting an eyelid.

 So what will I actually do today ? I have two concrete plans separated by a big gap of nothingness. Once I have finished writing here I will be testing out my bath waste water re-connection when I wash my hair and have a shower. If the water were a bit warmer, and maybe the general temperature a little lower, I could luxuriate in a nice warm shower, but I am not going to adjust the water temperature for just one day. So I'll probably just have a brief, but unhurried shower and assume that the bath water is mostly going into the drains instead of all over the path !

 Once I am cleaned and dressed I have no fully formed idea of what I will do. One obvious thing might be to go out to buy some silicone sealant to put around the bath waste pipe where it joins the main downpipe, but I want to clear the path a bit better before I go playing on wobbly ladders again (actually it wasn't wobbly, but it was a bit touch and go finding clear spaces for the legs of the step ladder to rest on). Maybe I will sit and contemplate other possibilities before I go out for my Thursday evening drink. Once again it is in The Shortlands Tavern, and if it runs I'll be catching the 16:20 Orpington train.
Wednesday 11th July 2018
09:45 BST

  It was considerably cooler yesterday than previous days. The highest temperature was only 22° C. That was still very comfortable, but then there was the lack of sunshine. The forecast for the day was hastily changed to show the reality that it was completely overcast instead of sunny intervals we had originally hoped for. The last I saw of the forecast was that the sunny intervals would start at 3pm, and maybe they did, but they were so subtle that they hardly registered on my mind. During the evening the temperature dropped away to a quite cool 16° C
                      start, and then maybe some sunshine
   My thermometers say it was about a degree cooler than the forecast offers, but I guess that is close enough, and it may just be a bit of lag as the air gradually warms up. The very latest update to the forecast says the temperature could reach 24° C this afternoon, but still says that it will be mostly grey until 3pm when some sunny intervals will start. By 8pm the clouds may thin enough to allow full sunshine for the last couple of hours of daylight. The latest update downgrades tomorrow to mainly sunny intervals, but the temperature should still reach 26° C (but only for a moment too brief to show in the hourly forecast - that shows the highest temperature as 25° C). There have been many false alarms, but Friday might see the first showers we have had in ages.

    Yesterday was a day of both good news and bad news. There seems to be a trend that whenever Angela upsets me I get a consolation prize. In the past this has been small wins on the Premium Bonds, and even, as of quite recently, a tax rebate. Like most times, Angela did not upset me on purpose, or even realise she had done so. You could say that yesterday was my fault for assuming she would be in the park. She wasn't, and that was sort of annoying, and yet it was still nice to get out and stretch my legs. I took a few interesting photos along the way, and so the walk was not wasted.
bracket fungus
 I thought I had just taken a snap of some new looking bracket fungus growing from the trunk of an old, and heavily cropped tree, but when I examined the photo later I noticed something odd. There is what looks like a branch sticking out of the trunk, and that branch seems to have thorns on it (I added the circular blow up on the right of the picture to show a couple of the thorns more easily). I can't think of any big trees that have thorns on their branches unless they are some exotic species from abroad. I must remember to check this again sometime, but my first theory, although unlikely, is that what we see is shoot from a bramble bush that has taken root in a crevice of the decaying interior of the tree.
ratty on the river
  It is rare to see a rat out in the open during daylight. I am suprised that this one was not taken by any of several carnivorous birds that frequent the park - crows, magpies, and gulls. This rat was on the rocks of the weir by the bridge that crosses the river from the park to the hospital.
dove or pigeon
  I am unsure if this is a dove or an almost all white pigeon. What I do know is that if the thing could have held it's head still it could have been a perfect picture, but it was moving it's head fast enough to give motion blur while the rest of it is in fairly sharp focus.

 The bad news was that Angela did not go to the park yesterday. The good news actually came before the bad news. I was contacted by Patricia. She is living in Italy this summer, but next week she has an interpreting job in London, and asked if she could stay with me for a couple of days. I'm now looking forward to next Tuesday when she gets here. I think she will be here for just two nights, and then on Thursday she will stay at a hotel near the airport becuase she has a very early flight back to Italy.

 My plans for the immediate future are now set by external influences. I will have to spend a bit of time tidying up the spare room for Patricia. Fortunately it will only involve removing a bit of the clutter I have allowed to accumulate in there, and a quick hoovering. Alongside that will be a few other jobs like polishing up the bathroom, and cleaning up the kitchen. There is one added job for the bathroom, and that is to change the hot tap on the handbasin. It currently sticks at one point when you turn it on. It is not a big deal for me - at the moment - but I would prefer it to be silky smooth, as it was once, for when Patricia is here.

 There is another related job that needs to be done today. Tomorrow is waste collection day, and I need to fill the garden waste bin twigs and branches from my felled tree. Today could be hard work because I think I'll have to saw through some big branches. I am hoping that I can clear enough to allow me to safely use a ladder to finally re-attach the bath waste pipe back to the main down pipe. At the moment my shower water empties straight onto the path, and soaks into the garden. I try to keep the lengths of my showers down, albeit not by much, but I don't want to put any restrictions on Patricia.

 After my fruitless walk to try and find Angela in the park yesterday I mostly rested. I think "rested" is a good description of doing almost bugger all ! I only "rested" until it was time to go out to the Tuesday edition of Stretchy's open mic. It was a very pleasant evening. There were lots of people there this time, but I managed to exchange a few words with some people. A lot of the time I just stood by myself, camera in hand, snapping any scene that looked good. I even managed to get a nice, smiling, picture of Sue for the first time. At least I think it was a nice picture - as yet I haven't checked any of the pictures I took last night.

 It was quite cool when I left the pub at 11pm, but it was still very comfortable. What was less comfortable was the temperature in my bedroom. It had cooled off a lot, but it was still quite warm enough not to need the duvet to get to sleep. Unfortunately I left the window open all night, and of course the temperature continued to drop in there. I seemed to have a rotten sleep, and I woke up at 5am, or thereabouts, feeling cold. I also seemed to have quite a collection of aches. The worst ache was from the side of my chest - and the side depended on what side I layed on. I think I must have been thrashing around a lot as I slept.

 A combination of aches and the cold made it very difficult to get back to sleep. At first I seemed to start overheating as soon as I pulled the duvet over me. Eventually I did get to sleep, and it was under the duvet. I think it may have been a couple of hours of quite good sleep because I was very surprised when I saw it was 9:15am. I'm sure the last time I saw before that was somewhere in the region of 7am. Even if it was good sleep, I still felt very tired when I woke up again, and assorted bits of me still ache.

 I have to confess I am not looking forward to starting cutting up tree branches today. Even picking up twigs from the ground seems like it will be too much like hard work. I have to cling to the belief that once I get started it will be quite rewarding, and not nearly as taxing as it seems now. Anyway, it is priority work, and has to be done before the end of the day - and maybe that provides some relief - I could do it in small segments through the day provided the wheelie bin is full before it is emptied early tomorrow morning.

 Apart from the never ending story of yet another batch of photos to "process", I have no other plans for today - although the idea of reading and snoozing seem quite attractive. I could also do some professional grade yawning - just like I am doing right.....yawn.......now !
Tuesday 10th July 2018
10:35 BST
Still very hot indoors

  Yesterday was another hot, and very sticky day. It seemed surprising that the temperature should rise to 27, and maybe even 28° C when there was so little sunshine. On the whole it was a rather overcast day with only occasional sunny intervals. For some reason I don't know how to interpret humidity numbers. It seems that the lower the percentage quoted, the more humid it is. Yesterday did seem very humid, and very much so in the evening.

 As my picture of one of my radio thermometers shows, by (almost) 10pm the outside temperature had fallen to a quite fresh feeling 19.6° C, but indoors it was still almost 27° C. In fact upstairs, in my bedroom, it was getting on for 28° C, and I was very profusely sweating. The temperature continued to fall through the night, but not to any amazing lows.
by recent
                      standards almost a cold day !
   I don't think it was any cooler than 16° C when I first woke up this morning. Since then I don't recall any sunny intervals, although there was a period when it was brighter. The forecast says there should be sunny intervals popping up all day long, and I live in hope of seeing one ! By comparison with recent days it is going to feel cool today with a top temperature of just 22° C - it doesn't seem so long ago that such a temperature would have been seen as luxury ! Now it is a different sort of luxury - a chance for my house to cool down a bit before the temperature gets up near 30° C again. Maybe that might happen over the weekend, but tomorrow is going to be like today in many respects - and in checking out tomorrow I note that the forecast for today has been hastily changed to show no sunny intervals, or periods until at least 3pm today. Until then it is now predicted to be overcast and grey.

   Yesterday was one of those days where my main amusement was photo editing - except in the sticky heat I found it hard to apply myself, and I couldn't really enjoy myself. It seemed to be a chore, and it took ages to get through what was actually quite a small photo album. With quite a lot of other time spent reading either book or internet, and an occasional, short lived snooze, it didn't seem worth getting washed and dressed. I spent the whole day wearing no more than underpants, and smelling foul (probably). There was one very short exception to that, and that was when I pulled on a pair of shorts so I could take some rubbish out to the wheelie bin.
Stretch and a foreign
Stretch opens the open mic session, and for his second song he is accompanied by a foreign, possibly German, visitor. His command of English was poor, and his rhythm on the cahoun was even worse !
Ruth King caught unaware and scowling
It looks like Ruth King was very angry with me, but she was actually warning me to photo any of her wrinkles. She has actually worn very well, and looks very nice, but I have smoothed out her skin in some places to try and give her a more youthful appearance.
Sue Heath's dog Peanut
This is Sue Heath's dog Peanut
a conspiracy in progress
It looks like a conspiracy in progress, and it seems it was ! Ruth King had been telling Sid D'Hant that if Jason played a certain song again she would poke his eyes out. I'm not sure what song she was referring to, but the one that Jason seriously over used was "I Shot The Sheriff".
Gian Goldie's dog dancing
Gian Goldie has a very well behaved, and talented dog. While he is playing it quietly hangs around near him, and says hello to anyone nearby. When Gian makes a certain movement with his hands, the dog gets up on it's hind legs and dances for him.

 It was a relief to finally get through all the pictures from Sunday's open mic, and it allowed me to indulge myself with anything else. The only trouble was that there was little to indulge myself with. Even dinner was just a salad. Admittedly it was quite a big salad, and it was sort of tasty, but not in the way that certain takeaways can be. I tried watch some TV, but with the exception of The Simpsons, I didn't find that much on TV to amuse me last night. Even the two episodes of Star Trek, one original, and the other of the new generation, were stories that I don't rate very highly after seeing them so many times before.

 In the end I resorted to mostly reading - sometimes from the internet, and sometime from paperback. By 10pm I started heading for bed, but it seemed stupidly hot in my bedroom. Last night there was a different sort of problem with the heat and humidity, and that was that it was starting to feel almost chilly outside. Being so soon after sunset a breeze sprung up. It wasn't very strong, but it was very intermittent. When ever it blew the curtains would rustle, and a blast of what felt like very chilly air would ripple across my damp and naked body. It was too uncomfortable to cover myself up, and yet those occasional ripples of air from outside felt really chilling.

  I tossed and turned until midnight if I recall correctly. By that time the air was almost still again, and I managed to fall asleep with my head on what was by then a sweat dampened towel on my pillow. Once I was asleep I slept in a few long blocks of sleep - at least 2 hours, and maybe 3 hours on one occasion. At 7am this morning my bedroom was still rather warm, but it was still gradually cooling off. As I type that I think a threshold has been reached, and now my bedroom is starting to warm up again as the day warms up.

 Today I have only one thing on the proper agenda. Tonight there is the traditional second Tuesday of the month Stretchy's Open Mic at The Bricklayers Arm pub in Bromley. I want to go to it, and I am hoping that quite a few missing faces from Sunday night will be there tonight. That doesn't happen for hours yet, and so I have to find things to pass the time until then. I could hack up more of the tree in the back garden, but I don't fancy that today. I think what I will do is to give up waiting for an invitation, and go and see if I can spot Angela in the park today. I hope if she is there she will be alone. I think I will watch from a discrete distance to make sure she is not meeting lover boy or something irritating like that ! 
Monday 9th July 2018
09:51 BST

  Yesterday was another hot day, but not as hot as the day before. Maybe it was just one degree less, but it seemed to make a difference - either that, or I am getting more acclimatised to the temperature pushing up towards 30° C. It think it only hit 30° C in my bedroom. Outside it was only about 29° C. During the evening the temperature did not drop very low, but it seemed to drop fast, and by 10pm it felt deliciously cool despite it still being in the region of 24° C.
                      sunny intervals today
  Apparently we can only expect sunny intervals today. There will be no long periods of unfiltered sunshine. That will keep the temperature down a little bit, but several revisions of the weather forecast all seem to agree that there could be a couple of hours where the temperature will be as high as 28° C. Tonight the temperature will drop a lot more than recent nights. It could be the first semi-cool night in a week or more. By 5am tomorrow the temperature could be as low as an invigorating 16° C. Like today, there will only be sunny intervals tomorrow. They will last through all the hours of daylight, but it is expected the highest temperature will be just 22° C.

   I ended up doing all the things I predicted I would do yesterday. I did a bit of hand laundry, and I ate, snoozed, hand laundered a few bits and pieces, and I finished the photo editing on a good selection of pictures I had taken at the Out The Box gig in Greenwich the night before. I was lucky that I took a good selection before the daylight started to fade away. The last pictures I took were starting to look a bit ratty. Had I stayed for the second set I would definitely have had to use my flash gun. That would have had some advantages if I had used it earlier. With very red illumination from the indoor lighting, and comparatively blue daylight coming through the windows, it was difficult to decide which was the dominant light source. I often misjudged it, and that slowed down my photo editing as I tried to find a balance to give reasonable looking faces.
Out The Box
 This was one of the first pictures I took, and the daylight coming through the windows was still quite bright. Even better was the pub hadn't dimmed the internal lights at that point. Just like in The Partridge, in Bromley, they seem to deliberately annoy me by turning down the lights to a feeble red glow as soon as it starts to get dark outside !
complete an utter twat
                        grabs the microphone
  This was the moment a complete and utter twat grabbed the microphone and tried to sing "it's coming home" across "I love rock and roll". I think it is only wishful thinking, but I would like to believe Dave, on lead guitar, played a lot louder for that bit to drown him out. Dave is not a football fan at all !
 I always like to try and get a picture or two of the drummer at a gig. Many sit at the back, and tend to get ignored. At this gig my life was made easier by being able to get around the back of the drummer. It was also made harder by the amount of backlight from the window that wanted to make his head just a silhouette.
Elizabeth Vass
 I was fortunate here when Elizabeth turned to face almost into the light. It was one of those almost fluke pictures where even having a lighting engineer would not really have made it any better.
Dave Cane
  Another lucky picture. I just happened to be lining up the shot when Dave looked direct into the camera lens.

 It felt good to get through those pictures, and to finally upload them to a social media web site. I was rather surprised to see the photo album, rather than any individual picture, had gained 30 "likes" the last time I looked. That seemed very good for a band who don't play that many gigs, and are rather on the periphery of the social circle of the bands that I, and many others tend to follow.

 With that photo album dealt with, and out of the way, I was free to go to Stretchy's open mic at The Swan & Mitre pub in Bromley last night. Getting there was not fun. I just missed a 320 bus, I saw it drive off from the bus stop while I was 50 yards away (or 100 ?). So I carried on walking to the high street to see if I could catch a 208 bus any faster than waiting 18 minutes for the next 320. When I got to the 208 bus stop I saw that I would have a 12 minute wait there. So once again I carried on walking to the next bus stop that is served by the 208 and the 320. That meant that neither bus could sneak by, but it also meant waiting at a bus stop that had the distinctive smell of sewers wafting by it from somewhere.

 I eventually caught a 208, and it seemed to race to Bromley. If anyone didn't make their intentions perfectly clear the bus just whizzed past many bus stops non stop. I got to the pub well before anything was happening, and the actual open mic session started late because the pub was so quiet. It seems likely that far too many people were still nursing hangovers, and maybe even wounds, from some frenzied football match supporting the day before. Rumour has it that two fights had actually started in the pub the night before, although there was no suggestion that anyone we knew was involved. It was just typical football hooligan behaviour.

  The last time the pub was so deserted was after the last royal wedding, and like that last time, last night was more like a small intimate party. It was nice to be able to sit down and actually talk to people. Ruth King, who I knew of for years, but only in a more formal sense in the last month or two, seems to like me for some reason, and we had a couple of short chats. I even managed to talk to Sue Heath. I'm not sure of that is a good thing or not. She has some issues that make her a complex person to know...perhaps a little too complex, but on the other hand, on the rare occasions that she smiles, she can look very sexy in her above the knee boots !

  By about 10pm I was starting to feel a bit isolated as it got noisier. By 10:45pm I decided I would forego the last 15 - 25 minutes, and get the bus home. I got to the bus stop and checked how long it would be until the first bus arrived. It was 12 minutes so I walked back to the pub to watch one more song before going back out to catch my bus. That first bus was a 320 to Catford Bridge - very near the fried chicken shop. Last night I decided I would have some spicy wings for supper, and nothing else. They were very nice, and made me wonder why I ever bother buy "fries" from these American inspired franchise shops. They all sell nasty things that are not a patch on genuine fish and chip shop chips !

 It was a slightly cooler night last night, and while it wasn't a lot cooler, it seemed to make all the difference. The prtective towel on my pillow was hardly damp when I woke up at around 5am this morning. As far as I can remember, and it is a very dream like memory, I only woke once last night for a pee. I wasn't quite so sure about it an hour ago, but I think I feel more refreshed this morning after what seems like was a good nights sleep. My only annoyance is something that started yesterday, and was considerably worse yesterday afternoon. It was/is tennis elbow - although to be truthful I am unsure of the symptoms of tennis elbow. All I know is that yesterday afternoon my left elbow was really sore - particularly when I made certain movements. Today it is currently giving no bother, but I can feel a something that seems ready to surface if I dare make the wrong movement. Paracetamol, followed by Guinness kept it under control last night very effectively.

 Today, apart from trying to avoid upsetting my left elbow, I have yet another small album of pictures to produce from the snaps I took last night. I didn't take that many, and I think there are many close to duplicates where I was holding the shutter down to try and capture a certain look or expression. In theory it shouldn't take that long to go through the pictures if I can find the stamina to do it. After that I really don't have much to do at all. Maybe I'll end up just reading and snoozing until some tolerable TV entertainment comes on tonight.
Sunday 8th July 2018
09:28 BST

  It can't be denied, yesterday was a hot day. It was also a very sticky day ! The thermometer in my bedroom said it hit 31°C outside, and 31.4° C inside ! It was pretty horrible inside, but outside, where there was some breeze, it felt quite pleasant.
                      hot day today
  Today is going to be very similar to yesterday. There may be two slight differences. Today may be a whole degree cooler than yesterday, but will apparently feel exactly the same, 31° C, at it's hottest. It seems there will be some cloud floating by which will reduce the sunshine to sunny intervals, but it seems no one knows exactly when it will happen. In the screenshot above, taken at about 7am, the sunshine will give way to sunny intervals at 1pm, but a later revision has it happening a few hours earlier, and with full sunshine returning at 4pm for the rest of the day. As I write this the sunshine looks a little hazy, and the outdoor temperature is in the region of 23° C, and feeling deliciously cool ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be only sunny intervals throughout the daylight hours, and it will only be 28° C.

it was hot in my bedroom !
 It was most definitely hot in my bedroom at 16:14 yesterday ! The outdoor temperature was a hot 30.8° C, but inside, with no air movement apart from that provided by my 10 inch fan, it was a stifling 31.4° C ! It sapped my desire to do much, and sapped my desire to go out - which was ridiculous because I knew it was much nicer outside where a bit of breeze made it feel so much more refreshing. It may also have contributed 10% to my bad/grumpy mood. Football accounted for the other 90% !

 I did actually go out twice yesterday, but only to do some shopping. The first time was fairly conventional shopping in Tesco. The second time was to go and buy some very strong beer. I had hoped that Tesco had re-started selling Special Brew, and I am sure I can recall seeing some on there not that long ago, but at the moment all they seem to be stocking is pissy lager for football fans. So after cooling down for 20 minutes I went out again to the Turkish supermarket near the station, and...disaster ! Even they didn't have any. They did have some strong Polish beers, and I bought a couple of can of that, plus some other stuff that caught my eye. After that I walked home the long way round to pass a sort of Asian run off licence, and managed to buy 4 cans of Special Brew from there.

  There was one other thing I did before the evening, and that was to wash a couple of towels, and some other stuff by hand. Hand laundry can raise quite a sweat even when the temperature is only 15° C. Oddly enough it didn't feel that bad in double the temperature, and while I was most definitely warm by the time I had hung the stuff up to dry, I didn't really feel that bad. Various things I do lately don't seem to be quite as fatiguing as I thought they would be. I first attributed this to generally getting a bit fitter, but now I am wondering if not taking my daily statin tablet is the reason. The reason I stopped taking them was because they do have a reputation of sapping energy, but superficially I didn't feel any different. With hindsight it is obvious that I wouldn't notice the extra energy, or whatever, until I tried to draw on it, and maybe things like hand laundry is the proof of that.

  I was quite looking forward to going out to see G-Force playing in The Golden Lion in Sydenham last night until they posted a message suggesting they would be singing some football related songs. So I politely told them to fuck off, and decided I was very glad I had got in some very strong lager to drink by myself at home last night - except I didn't. I remembered that Out The Box were playing in The Mitre in Greenwich, and that they didn't seem like the sort of band who would play football songs.

 So I completed my getting ready to go out, and headed off to The Mitre. When I got there I found the place half deserted. Popular theory had it that all the football fans had drunk themselves silly earlier in the afternoon, and had either gone home to sleep it off, or to commit some sort of hooliganism somewhere else. It suited me well that there was plenty of room to move around to get any camera angles I wanted, but it was a bit of a shame the band were playing to an almost empty pub. I felt very guilty when I went home again after the end of their first set.

  I did hear that loads more people arrived during the second set. That was typical of The Mitre as a venue, and is the reason while I normally bail out before the second set starts. I like that bands there are supposed to start at 8pm (alhough Out The Box started half an hour late), but it would suit the punters better if they started, and finished an hour later. I was a little more restrained than normal when taking photos, but I did shoot some video. I don't think I have ever tried the video option on my Canon 600D DSLR camera before, but it seemed to do a good job on default settings. I have no idea what options there may be to improve things even more, but I feel I ought to find out sometime. Here's a clip of Out The Box performing Roll Over Beethoven with Elisabeth Vass on lead vocals, and Dave Cane on lead guitar.

 I'm not sure of what sort of mood I was in when I came home last night. It was a bit good, a bit bad, and a bit hungry. I hadn't eaten that much before going out - partly because if the heat, and partly to be more comfortable when I went out. When I got off the bus from Greenwich I decided I could sort of compromise on eating something nice, but without overdoing it. My plan was to get some grilled wings, and nothing more. I would have stuck to that plan too if the shop I went in actually had some grilled wings ready (I didn't fancy waiting 10 or more minutes for them to be freshly cooked). What they did have were "spicy wings", with the hot sauce in the batter they are fried in. I had some of those, and because I had already strayed off the path, I also had a small portion of chips.

  I don't think that having a belly full of spicy wings (and fries) made me feel any hotter or more uncomfortable when I went to bed. It was almost identical to recent nights. I managed to get to sleep fairly easily despite pouring with sweat (mainly from my face), and I slept in roughly 2 hours blocks through the night. This morning it seemed to take some time to transition from sleep to awake, but once the transition was made I found I didn't feel too terrible, and maybe an hour or two later I feel fairly OK.

 I don't know what I am going to do for a lot of today...or maybe I do. As well as hand washing a couple of sweaty items, I will probably divide up the rest of the day between reading, sleeping and photo editing the snaps I took last night. In the evening I think I will be safe going to Stretchy's open mic in The Swan And Mitre in Bromley. It is possible some asshole may try and sing a football song, and if they do I will just walk out - maybe just to the garden out the back, but in extremis to home. A similar sort of thing might happen if a certain someone is there and plays anything reggea themed.
Saturday 7th July 2018
09:24 BST

  Yesterday was very warm, maybe even hot, but it didn't seem to be quite so sticky as the day before. The last revision I saw of the weather forecast said the top temperature was going to be 30° C. I'm not sure if it did reach that, but it must have been very close, perhaps closer to the earlier forecast of 29° C. Sometime before midnight I thought I heard a distant sound of thunder. It seemed the right weather for a summer thunderstorm, but if it was, it didn't get anywhere near here.
a very
                      hot day today
  The first forecast today (above) looks very similar, in fact almost identical to yesterday. That probably means it is about right, but of course it has been revised since - and revised upwards. The revision now shows about 5 hours when the temperature will be 30° C, and we are told it is going to feel even hotter than that !
33° C !!!!!
  As well as a very hot feeling day, it is going to be another very warm night leading on to a very warm day. At the moment tomorrow is only predicted to reach 28° C, and a few passing clouds will mean that some of the day will only see sunny intervals. There might be some respite from the sticky nights on Tuesday when the top temperature may only be 22° C.

  Yesterday was another of those days when I could seem to find the enthusiasm to even go out shopping. It was a day of rest - almost. I did do a bit of light hand washed laundry. It was just a couple of t-shirts and some underwear. In yesterday's warmth it was dry and ready to wear again 4 or 5 hours after hanging it on the line (possibly sooner, but I didn't check then).

 I also finally completed going through the pictures I took at Kensal Green cemetery. The resulting photo album could have been a fair bit bigger, but I decided to only include the more interesting pictures. That is, the pictures that may be more interesting to a general audience. All the pictures I took were interesting at the time or I would not have taken them, but on reflection there were some where I wondered why I bothered.
colourful mausoleum
   I thought this mausoleum, with it's Disney-esque look was quite interesting. It is rather strange in that it looks small, like a dolls house in some respects, but it is actually quite big. A 6 footer could easily walk through the door without ducking.
this mausoleum reminds
                        me of Klingon architecture
  From the dainty looking to the brutal looking. Even the name "Dredge" has a certain foreboding. I thought the overall shape, with it's sloping walls, and squat roof, gave it a look like something from Star Trek - probably Klingon.

 Visiting Kensal Green cemetery was very enjoyable despite ending up with aching feet, and there was plenty for my camera there. Considering I only explored less than half the cemetery, I probably ought to go there again some time to see more of it.....although I have a gut feeling that I probably saw the best part of it. Before going back there again there are some other cemeteries I would like to visit. West Norwood cemetery is another old Victorian cemetery that I would like to explore, and then, of course, is the famous Highgate Cemetery. I really must visit there one day.

 I did one other thing of note yesterday. I finally finished a book I had been reading for far too long. It was Ben Bova's "Death Dream" - a book about virtual reality and computer hacking. When it was written, 1994, it was most certainly science fiction. Not even the most powerful computers at the time could handle the workload that was asked of them in the novel, and even now the sort of realism described in the book would tax some of the fastest computers. Some of the stuff described was, and hopefully will be just fantasy for years to come.

  I was very tempted to eat rather more than I should yesterday - particularly in the evening. I had a late lunch of corned beef salad which was adorned in too much mayonnaise, but was otherwise mostly harmless. As evening approached I felt increasingly tempted to order a takeaway, and I was thinking along the lines of some Chinese takeaway. Fortunately common sense prevailed, and I realised that a pile of hot Chinese food was not the best thing to have on a hot sticky night. My actual dinner was something far simpler. It was a 360 calorie tub of cinnamon roll flavoured ice cream. That was less calories than some alleged calorie controlled ready meals I have in the fridge, and it was probably more satisfying.

 I had eaten a few naughty snacks during the day, but overall I think I kept things under control, and maybe that was instrumental in making the night a bit more pleasant. My forehead was still very sweaty when I went to bed at around 10pm. Despite that, and even after being quite lazy for most of the day, I managed to fall asleep relatively quickly as far as I can recall. Once again I slept in 2 hour blocks through the night. I'm not really sure why I woke up most of the time, but I suppose it was an opportunity to have a stretch, and get a few kinks out of my body.

 As far as I can recall, my sleep was apparently mostly dreamless. I am pretty sure I did have dreams, but I just don't remember any except one. That dream was happening in the last 10 minutes of sleep this morning. The beginning of the dream is just a mess of disjointed images, but the last bit seemed to make some sort of sense. It was a most annoying dream in that it involved me accompanying a friend to see a flat she was going to buy. The big problem is that she hardly said anything during the whole dream, and I had to anticipate the sort of questions she may have wanted to ask.

 This morning I feel some stiffness where I was sleeping naked with the fan blowing across my face and shoulders, but otherwise I seem in usable condition. There is probably plenty I could do today, but I feel constrained because I think I want to go to a gig tonight. G-Force are playing in The Golden Lion in Sydenham. It is a very easy venue to get to on the 202 bus, and the pub itself is not too bad. I am crossing my fingers that it will not be too busy because loads of people will be elsewhere watching football.

 I have only a few things on the agenda for the rest of today. I will be going to Tesco sooner or later, and with luck I will come away with a 4 pack of Special Brew (or tramps piss as some know it). There were several days this week when a couple of cans of Special Brew (9% !!) would have fitted my mood nicely, but I didn't have any. The cans I buy today (assuming they have any) will not be for today, but for some future special occasion. Other than a bit of shopping I have already started a bit more laundry. Once again it is almost all light items, but I did throw in a medium sized towel. That will add a bit of weightlifting to the task !
Friday 6th July 2018
09:38 BST

  The thing that distinguishes yesterday from previous warm days is that it was a very sticky day, and extremely sticky night. It may have been 27° C but it didn't seem to feel uncomfortably hot, and in fact it felt when outside in the sunshine. In the morning it did feel a little humid, but as the afternoon progressed I got sweatier and sweatier. After going to bed I soon saturated a fresh towel that I put over my pillows, although the amount of sweat was increased by eating some spicy food earlier !
could be
                      hot today
  The screenshot of the forecast above is already out of date. The latest revision says the temperature will peak at 30° C, and that it will feel like 32° C. There is now no holding back, I can describe today as a hot day !  Tomorrow is currently forecast to be very similar to today, and maybe Sunday will be just a slightly cooler by a degree or two version of tomorrow.

  I went shopping in Aldi a lot earlier than I thought I would yesterday. It was barely 9am when I walked down the road, and it was already feeling a bit sticky. I gave all the prices of detergents and fabric conditioners a good hard stare, and concluded that if I chose wisely they were not a lot more than what I would pay in the 99p shop. So I bought them from Aldi, and saved myself another walk.

 One outcome of going to Aldi early was that I had a meal that was after breakfast time, but before elevenses or lunch. It may have been too early to call it brunch. It was actually quite a disappointing meal. It was some pork with Iberico ham and paprika burgers. It sounded like they should have been exceedingly exciting, but they were merely "nice". They were another of those foods that you have to try once, but are so underwhelming that you never try again.

  I was mostly lazy for the rest of the morning, and into early afternoon. I spent a fair amount of time catching up on some the web sites I read, and I think I probably had a snooze, but only a short one. I tried to find the enthusiasm to go through the rest of the pictures I took at Kensal Green cemetery, but I failed. I did make some progress, and from the pictures themselves I know I am getting near the end of my walk. There were two pictures I was looking out for that I remember I took when I was about to try and find the most direct way out again.
buried with his
It seems that in the 1830s it was all the fashion of the wealthy to be buried with their favourite bathtub !
another bathtub memorial
Another example of a grave with a bathtub on top. There were several others in this old part of the cemetery.

  I was a bit concerned that reports of a big signal failure in the Streatham area might have knock on effects that my disrupt my trains for getting to The Shortlands Tavern for my Thursday evening drink. It was quite an important drink because it was the first time in a week that I would actually see or speak to anyone. Fortunately all the trains on the Catford Loop Line were running fine - better than they had been for the first month or so after the big timetable change on 20th May.

 I had my usual three pints of beer, and then started checking the trains again. By that time the disruption elsewhere caused by the signalling failure had spread to the Catford Loop Line. It seems trains had started being cancelled soon after I arrived at the pub, and now there were no trains at Sevenoaks or Orpington to go into London via Catford. It was evidently a mere hiccup because after another two pints, making 5 in total (!!!), the trains seemed to be running normally again.

 I arrived back in Catford mildly drunk, and very hungry - I had not eaten since about 10am. There was nothing I could do to stop myself buying a couple of chicken burgers and chips. That filled part of the hole once I got home, but I still felt hungry. I ended up eating a couple of small bags of crisps, and using the remains of some potato salad, with some hot chilli sauce on it as a dip.

 Perhaps an hour after eating, but maybe two, I went to bed. The only problem was that the chilli sauce had raised the game from sweating a lot in the evening heat to pouring with sweat. I had to put a fresh towel on my pillow, and it was saturated an hour or two later. I slept naked on top of the bed with the fan on, and I was still feeling really hot until it was almost time to get up. I was reluctant to get up when I did because I slept really badly last night. I don't think I managed to sleep non stop for even 2 hours, and it was often only an hour.

 I finally gave up trying to get more sleep when it seemed to get very noisy outside. There were people slamming car doors as the drove off to work, and a lorry was doing a delivery to the school. It did a lot of beeping as it reversed around the corner, and clattered and crashed as it unloaded it's stuff. It has since quietened down a lot, and I could, and possibly will, lay on my bed and see if I fall asleep.

 It is going to be another hot and sticky day today, and I really ought to be outside where it is cooler and fresher, but I can't think of anywhere to go today. The first task today is to wash a couple more sweaty t-shirts, and sweaty hand towel. I am already feeling sticky just writing this. Doing that laundry is going to be a soggy experience ! As I started writing this paragraph an idea came to me - it would be nice to get under some nice green trees, and maybe a walk around Sydenham Hill woods might be a possibility if I can raise the enthusiasm.
Thursday 5th July 2018
07:42 BST

  Despite the forecast threatening otherwise, it was another dry and bright day yesterday. It did get quite cloudy, and we lost the sun for a couple of hours in the middle of when rain was forecast, but it brightened up again before the forecast threat of rain had finished. It was not one of the warmer days yesterday, and the highest temperature was probably very close to the 23° C that was forecast.
a dry and
                      bright day
  Yesterday's forecast for today said there was a moderately high chance of rain today, but the earlier forecast today (screenshot above), and a later revision, now forecast another dry day today, although we may only see sunny intervals instead of unbroken sunshine. Nevertheless, the temperature is predicted to hit 27° C today. Apparently, and maybe because of the humidity, it will actually feel like 30° C later this afternoon. Tomorrow will be similar to today, but it will include some unbroken sunshine towards the end of the afternoon. Another small difference...or, on reflection, maybe it is a big difference, is that the temperature will probably hit 29° C, and that is supposed to feel like 31° C. Perhaps tomorrow could be  good day to escape to the coast for a couple of hours.

  One of the odd things about yesterday was how quickly the daytime seemed to pass just because I did a couple of productive things. Both things exercised a small assortment of muscles, but only mildly...maybe. The first was an important job, and in basic terms it was to fill the empty brown wheelie bin with as much tree as it would take. It didn't take that long because I had done so much preparatory work earlier in the week (or was it last weekend ?). I did have to saw through a couple of thicker branches to get them to fit in the bin, and that was hard work. I also did a bit of preparatory work for next weeks wheelie bin, and to give a clearer view out of the kitchen window. In some coming week I will face some real challenges as I get to grips with some much thicker branches !

 The other productive thing I did was to hand wash a couple of t-shirts and some underwear. With just those few items it was hardly an arduous job, but it felt good to get it out of the way. The only other thing of note that I did was to go through more of the pictures I took at Kensal Green Cemetery on Tuesday. I did take a lot of snaps, but only a portion of them make for good pictures...but it is quite a big portion, and despite most of the photos needing very little work done on them, I still didn't finish the task !
cemetery toilets
   Yesterday (I think) I mentioned that there are toilets in the cemetery. Yesterday I came to the picture I took of those toilets - men on the left, and ladies on the right. I have no idea where the corpses and ghosts go. As I also probably mentioned yesterday, these toilets are fairly basic, but rather more pleasant to use than most pub toilets.
royal mausoleum
  There are guided tours around the cemetery to point these things out, but I found this royal mausoleum by myself. I am not sure when this dates from, but this mausoleum of The Duke Of Cambridge looks very sturdy, quite big, stylish, but still rather plain. A Google search reveals he died in 1904, and that would have been sometime after the Victorian craze of adding every twiddly bit known to mankind to create a mausoleum straight out of a gothic horror movie.

 I spent a fair bit of the evening just watching TV, although sometimes I only did it through one eye so I could do other stuff like visiting a selection of webs pages, and stuff like that. Once again I headed to bed early, and I think I was fast asleep by 10pm. Unfortunately I woke up again 10 or 20 minutes after midnight. I was initially convinced I had slept through almost the whole night, and I felt quite wide awake. It was a disappointment to find I had only slept for a little over 2 hours.

 Last night was another night where I woke up at roughly 2 hour intervals for no obvious reason. On at least one of those occasions I did go and have a pee before trying to get back to sleep, but the need for a pee had no urgency, and I did it more out of force of habit. I can't quite remember when it was that I decided to stop trying to sleep, and got up, but I think it was not much later than 6am.

 This morning I feel mostly OK - perhaps 5 on a scale of 1 to 10. At the moment nothing aches that much, although I can detect some legacy in the muscles of my right arm from where I was sawing wood yesterday. Since getting up I have washed my hair, and had a shower, and soon I will feel ready to go out, although I feel like a 2nd poo might be a good idea before going too far. Judging by the size of what I passed first time, I reckon I must be a secret eater - so secret that even I don't know I am doing it !

 I don't have any grand plans to do any exploration today. Going out this morning will be purely to the shops. I think it is time I paid my respects to Aldi after not going there for well over a week. Among the more general stuff I shall buy, I think I have a hankering for some good sausages, and maybe that will mean getting some German sausages, but I'll make that choice when I get there. While I am in there I will also study the price of their detergents and fabric conditioners. I noted that Tesco charge 2 to 3 times the price of the 99p shop. I hope that Aldi can do much better than that, but if they don't I will go out again to the 99p shop.

 This afternoon I expect I might have some sausages in me, but lunch could be something different depending on what I spot in Aldi. I'll probably have a snooze to let that food digest, and then at 4pm I'll be off to go to my Thursday evening drink with the lads. With a few beers inside me there is no telling what I might eat for dinner when I get home. I think it will be safer to try and buy something in Aldi that will amuse my beer soaked body without driving it into takeaway thoughts !
Wednesday 4th July 2018
09:54 BST

  Yesterday was, technically, not so warm as some previous days, but on a personal level it seemed very warm, although not hot. The sun was out most of the time, and the top temperature was 25° C.
possibility of rain today
  There is the possibility of some rain today. The forecast issued at 06:31, as in the screenshot above, suggests 7 hours when rain is possible - even if the chance of rain is no more than 28% at worst, and less for other hours. The forecast issued at 09:21 increases the risk of a shower to 35% at 8pm, but lowers it to as low as 9% at 4pm. It seems likely there will be a shower, and maybe two, at some time today, but I don't think anyone really knows when. The rest of the day, perhaps including when it is raining, if it does rain, will see sunny intervals. The highest temperature may only be 23° C. The latest weather forecast issued reckons there will be a 52% chance of rain tomorrow at 4pm, and a lower chance of rain a few hours either side of that, but the temperature could well be 26° C - sounds like the recipe for a thunderstorm.

 On Monday I was in a sort of melange of boredom and depression with one feeding off the other, and to make it harder to break the cycle I was still feeling the after effects of climbing/walking up that bloody steep hill to Blythe Hill Fields. Yesterday I was determined to do something about it, and as I mentioned yesterday morning, a visit to a cemetery is always good to cheer you up (or if I didn't say it, that is what I meant to say - probably). There are many cemeteries to choose from, but only some are interesting. The most interesting are the old cemeteries dating back to Victorian times with their huge statues, and big sinister looking mausoleums.

 Nunhead cemetery is a very nice cemetery - at least it was. I ma unsure how much work the friends of Nunhead cemetery have done to "beautify" the place in recent years. I much preferred it when it was mostly overgrown. It was like a quiet nature reserve with gravestones in it. I was tempted to revisit it, but I decided to revisit Kensal Green cemetery over in North London. I once went there with Aleemah, but I was stupid enough to believe I could use the camera in my mobile phone to take snaps of the place. That was in the days when mobile phones were only just starting to be equipped with cameras, and they were pretty poor cameras.  I think mine may have been one of the better ones with a camera producing images in VGA format (640x480), but today the pictures look like blurry postage stamps. There was also the problem that the phone had very limited storage, and so I took very few of those crappy pictures. Yesterday I took my Canon 1200D dslr camera, and  took loads of pictures - most, but not all, fair to good quality.
walking around Kensal
                        Green cemetery
Not only was it a way of cheering myself up, but it was also a photo expedition, and it was a fair amount of exercise. I covered less than half the cemetery, and yet I covered 2.09 miles. That doesn't include some fair amounts of walking just to get the train that took me to Kensal Green station, and then on the way home too.
welcome board
I have described this as a welcome board, although it's tone doesn't come across as that welcoming. Inside the Catholic cemetery, in front of the chapel, is a board that declares the authority is very short of funds these days, and can only do basic maintenance of the grounds. That seemed strange coming from one of the wealthiest organisations in the world ! Obviously money is tight or the phone number on this welcome board would be updated from 01 969 1145 to something like 020 869 1145 (or one of the intermediate forms that London phone number went through).
Marys everywhere
It is because this section is the Catholic section it is almost impossible to walk 10ft with tripping over another Mary, although there are also plenty of Josephs, Jesuses, and assorted angels.
more Marys than you can shake a stick
More religious icons that you can shake a stick at !
drinking fountain
     I must say that this Catholic section of the cemetery is the better equipped. It has toilets, and this drinking fountain. It is not actually in use, but it would have been nice while walking 2 miles under a blazing sun....although if it had been fed from an artesian well under a load of graves it may not have been so attractive. I think it was more likely fed from a pipe from the water main. I did just about find enough pee to make it worthwhile trying out the toilets. They were not anything magnificent, but better than you find in most pubs.

  After almost 2 miles of walking on the hot ground my feet were starting to complain. I am worried that my feet do not seem to have the resilience they once had. I'm not sure if wearing my pine green Converse trainers was a good idea or not. I haven't used them for some time, but they have plenty of wear on them, and that suggests that at one time I found them comfortable enough - although possible only for commuting. My commuting added up to quite a bit of walking, but it was in small sections, and with a long break at work between the two halves. By the time I got home my feet did feet rather raw. It didn't help that when I took off the right shoe I found it had some straw and a grass seed in it.

 Getting home from Kensal Green was interesting, but quite arduous. I hadn't realised until I got there that Kensal Green station is served by both London Undergound, and London Overground services. The London Overground service goes to Euston station among all the big inter city, long distance trains. I can't recall if I have ever actually used Euston station before (although I have visited it). By sheer luck an Overground train pulled into the station just as I was reaching the platform. So I took that train to Euston.

 It was at Euston that my main hardships started. My feet were quite painful before boarding the train, and although I didn't really need to stand all the way, I did, and this did nothing to make my feet less painful. From where I got off the train to where I got on a Northern Line train to London Bridge was quite a trek, but nothing compared to the long trek from the Northern Line to mainline platform at London Bridge. I do wonder why they have the cheek to call the stations by the same name as they are obviously in different cities !

 The very worst bit, and it was almost, but not quite, my own fault was getting from the concourse to platform at London Bridge. The staircase/escalator I chose had the escalator running in the downward direction. Instead of investigatiing the other staircase and escalator that leads up to the back end of the platform, or even opting for the sad way out and getting the lift, I walked up the long, long, 4 flight staircase. I didn't think I would make it to the top, and almost did the last flight on my hands and knees. Once I got to the top I had to stand still for a minute to recover, and check I was still alive. I guess in one respect I was lucky because I only had a 7 minute wait for a train.

 I was able to sit down on the train back to Catford Bridge, and that was nice until I had to put my weight onto my flayed feet to get off the train, and walk home. Once I got home I was able to treat myself to a pint of frosty orange squash, and it went down a treat. It was so cold that it numbed my stomach, and for a moment I didn't even consider getting any breakfast. It was a couple of hours later, in the middle of Star Trek, so about 6.30pm that I had my breakfast. It was fish and chips !

 I had this irrational desire for fish and chips despite knowing that I would have to order considerably more to meet the minimum charge for delivery. This time I remembered to order a small portion of chips because for some unexplained reason that do not automatically come with fish listed in the plainly labelled "Fish And Chips" section of the menu ! Maybe it was the ice cold orange squash that I was drinking that did something to my taste bids, but I didn't think the fish was nearly as nice as the last time. Predictably enough, the "small" portion of chips was very big, and I only ate about a third of them last night.

 I have to confess I also ate a fish burger that I had ordered out of curiosity. At that point, considering it was my first meal of the day, I hadn't eaten all that much in terms of quantity (I'd rather not think about calories), but I was still drinking a lot of ice cold orange squash. I find I tend to gulp down ice cold water, or orange squash, faster than I drink beer. When I went to bed a couple of hours later, I felt quite stuffed and heading towards discomfort.

 It was 8.58pm when I got into (or rather, onto) my bed, but it was almost 10pm before I fell asleep. I then slept fairly well in two hour segments until I got bored of trying to get back to sleep. This morning my feet seem to have recovered, and the rest of me seems mostly OK. This is just as well as I have a bit of a task to accomplish today. This most important of tasks is to fill the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin with twigs and branches of the felled tree in my back garden before it is emptied again tomorrow morning. Other tasks should probably include washing a few sweaty t-shirts, and of course I have loads more photos I took in the cemetery yesterday to prepare. Maybe there is less rush for these photos because it is a rather sensitive time on social media at the moment because yesterday was the day that someone loved by many died.
Tuesday 3rd July 2018
09:37 BST

  I guess it was hot yesterday, but it didn't feel that hot to me. The highest temperature, and it was sustained for many hours, was 26 to 27° C. It was late in the evening when it started to feel sticky, but even then it was sticky rather than pouring with sweat. I expect it felt much hotter outside under the blazing sun, but I was indoors all day.
                      to, but a degree or two cooler than yesterday
  Today is forecast to be a degree or two cooler than yesterday - which seems odd considering the forecast shows unbroken sunshine for all but the last hour of daylight. It should feel very nice to be out and about today. During the night some cloud will build up, and there is a 10% chance of rain at 9am tomorrow. Light showers are actually forecast for 8pm. It looks like much of tomorrow will be a little dull with just a scattering of sunny intervals through the day. It will be a fair bit cooler with a maximum temperature predicted to be just 23° C for a few hours in the late afternoon.

  I had no get up and go yesterday. I had vague ideas that I might go out and possibly visit a cemetery, but I seemed to be too low for even a cemetery to amuse me. So I stayed in and did very little of any significance - except for one thing that was of huge significance. I bagged up some left over food, and some fruit that was starting to decay, and put it in the food recycling bin outside. I also emptied the main bin in the kitchen. Then after a bit of clean up in there, plus washing up a few plates, it finally stopped smelling disgusting in there !

  It is a male thing I suppose, but instead of eating chocolate ice cream, I had an urge for meat to provide solace to my low feelings. I feel sure that not opting for chocolate ice cream, of which I have several tubs of low calorie stuff in the freezer, was not a good idea. The Fray Bentos steak and kidney pie for lunch, and the meat balls in gravy with tinned new potatoes, must have made a huge dent in my recent run of eating less. I doubt my trousers won't feel very slightly more loose for some time now, and I actually worry that I might have completely reversed some good progress.

 I do have a sort of valid excuse for eating the steak and kidney pie yesterday. During my clean up in the kitchen I found it was sitting in a small puddle of acidic fruit juice leaking from some bananas that were well past their eating point. I was worried that the juice could start eating away at the bottom of the tin, and even a pinhole sized hole could let some nasty bacteria in that would convert it into a botulism pie !

 About the only other constructive thing I did was to do some very bad quality photography of book covers around midnight last night. They are for a project conducted elsewhere of favourite books - except in my case I have warped it to more like favourite authors. I did try and find a book from 7 authors that would represent a good example of their writing, and I guess that is almost saying it is a favourite book. On the other hand, it could be the concept behind the story, rather than the story itself that is good. Grading books is terribly, terribly complicated !

 I had a lousy sleep last night. I spent a lot of time in bed not sleeping, but thinking about what I was going to say about my chosen books and authors. When I did get to sleep I did not sleep well. It was one of those nights where the pillows that seemed just right the night before, now seemed to be too high, and too lumpy. My mattress also seemed to gain some lumps that weren't there the night before. It wasn't until about 7am this morning that I had some good sleep, but only good because it had a good dream in it. It was a very smug feeling dream where I was back at work.

 I think I was just visiting rather than being back working there. Someone, who curiously reminded me of a character from Star Trek, or possibly someone I had worked with in a previous job, asked me about a bodge I had done for him some years earlier. I couldn't remember it until I rummaged through an old filing cabinet that still contained some of my old notes and stuff. To my amazement I found the annotated circuit diagram of a design that had only been made in prototype quantities, and I had rescued a scrap circuit board, and modified it to do what this person wanted. It was typical of the sort of thing I used to do in real life, and which endeared me to influential parts of the design team. On some, maybe many occasions, my skills at innovational bodges pulled many of the developers chestnuts from the fire.

 After a generally rotten sleep I don't feel that great this morning, but I know the cure. Somehow I have to pull myself up by my own bootstraps, and get out to get some walking exercise. I have no idea where, or how far I will go, but maybe I'll think of something while doing my next couple of tasks. In no particular order, and in reality probably before and after, but hopefully not inbetween, I need to have a shower, and to do something about the certain feelings emanating from my guts. I don't feel like going out for even a short local walk if my guts are going to be playing up !
Monday 2nd July 2018
09:28 BST

  Some parts of yesterday actually felt like it was hot - probably when I was standing in full sunshine with no shade around in the early afternoon. Later on, during the evening it felt more muggy than hot. By 5pm it seemed like we had lost the sunshine behind cloud, and the mugginess did make it feel like a thunderstorm was brewing, but the evening, and night passed peacefully. The highest temperature was about the forecast 27° C.
warm like
                      yesterday, but with more sunshine
  Since I took the screenshot above, the forecast has been slightly revised, but only to the extent that the highest temperature today might now be 27° C - which today will "feel like" 27° C strangely enough. So another warm to hot, sunny day, and tomorrow was thought to be exactly the same, but now it is thought it may only reach 25° C !

circular walk via Blythe Hill Fields 
 Yesterday was the day of the Blythe Hill Fields Festival. I wasn't expecting it to be very spectacular - and I wasn't disappointed in that respect ! Nevertheless it was an opportunity to get out and do some more walking to try and improve my stamina.

 As you can see by the details in the map on the left, it was a 2.3 mile walk. What the map doesn't show is just how high Blythe Hill Fields are in comparison to ground level here at home. From the point where I crossed the river, just to the left of the red marker blob, it is uphill all the way to Blythe Hill Fields. It ranges from a mild slope in some parts to bloody steep in others !

 I am now convinced more than ever that the "Simply Walking" app on my phone takes no account of altitude. It is hard to believe that all the puffing and swearing, and aching leg muscles that it took to get to the top took any less than 357 calories without even considering the flat or downhill portions. It is a shame that "Cardio Trainer", the app I used to use before it became unavailable, is no longer available. It wasn't always 100% accurate, but that definitely tracked the hills and dales, and took them into account when calculating calories consumed.

 As well as providing an excuse for some exercise, there were a couple of things that I was curious to investigate at this festival. The first was the "live stage". I couldn't find any listing to say who might be playing on it, but I had dark thoughts about it, and I was right. I also saw there was a beer tent, or stall there. That too was rather less than exciting, but worse than that was that it was expensive !
tree trunk almost like
                        an "art piece"
At this point I was still crossing Ladywell Fields. I had seen this section of tree trunk many times before, but it seemed like it was only yesterday that the sun was in the right position to show it off at it's best. It is far more interesting to see it with your own eyes, in real 3D, where all the knobbly bits make it look sort of strange and interesting.
one of the views from the top of the
There is a marginally higher bit of the park, but the view from it is shrouded by trees. This is one view from the clearest viewpoint. It was around 27° C when I snapped this picture using all the power of my 300mm zoom lens, but the heat haze gave a sort of hazy looking picture.
expensive beer for sale
  I thought the beer prices were a bit high considering it was probably not kept cool enough, and served in flimsy plastic glasses. Just 5 minutes walk down an incredibly steep hill is The Blythe Hill Tavern. I know from experience they do an excellent pint of Guinness, and while I can't recall the price, I have a feeling it is possibly less than £4.50 a pint (but maybe not much less). It is possible there might have been somewhere else selling beer on the far side of the festival, but as far as I could see it was mostly kiddy rides and stuff over that side. What was certain was that there were plenty of stalls selling food - including local, and well respected Indian restaurant Babur.
opera singer on
                            live music stage
This was the biggest disappointment for me. I wasn't expecting much from the live music stage. If I was optimistic I thought that they might have a band doing some pop covers, and if I was pessimistic I would imagine some sort of reggae or rap band. What I never imagined was that there would be an opera singer ! She was undoubtedly a good singer, and very enthusiastic about her art, but I hated it. Maybe if I could have beared to stay later I might have seen something less irritating to my ear, but I felt compelled to keep moving, and spent little more than 10 minutes or less at the festival.
view looking approx south
  This gives a better idea of how high the fields really are compared to the surrounding area. This is the view approximately to the south. It can't be seen, or identified in this picture, and it even in real life it s hard to work out where it is, but at the bottom of the hill is The Blythe Hill Tavern on the South Circular road. Turn left at the bottom and you are heading back towards the centre of Catford. Just to the left of centre of the picture are three tower blocks. They are on Beckenham Hill, and beyond them, in the haze, is Beckenham Place Park - where I was a week ago.

 It may have only been a 2.3 mile walk, but I arrived home tired and foot sore - and a little thirsty after being out under the hot sun. It was nice to sit down and have some lunch. Unfortunately I couldn't face another salad, and I gave in and ate a large, but not as large as I expected, bag of bourbon flavoured crisps. In reality they just had a sort of weak mixed meaty sort of taste - curiosity satisfied, and never to be tried again. I think I gave in because I now faced not only finishing the Whitestar Open Mic photos, but now another lot taken on my walk. Well, it was a way of passing time, but I was getting a bit fed up photo editing.

 Over the course of the remainder of the afternoon, and then into the evening, I took assorted breaks, but managed to compete both photo editing tasks. I am now up to date, and could, and probably will, take more photos sooner or later. I expected to be tired yesterday evening, and once again I tried for an early night. It was still light outside when I went to bed. I read for a bit, and then put the book down. As I lay there I thought I didn't stand a chance of sleeping so early. It is all rather hazy now, and I lost track of the time, but I feel sure I fell asleep much earlier than I thought I would.

 It felt very warm last night, and so I left the fan on while sleeping. I woke up around 4am feeling chilly, and turned the fan off. I then pulled the duvet loosely over me, and went back to sleep. I woke up an hour or two later with the duvet off again, but not feeling cold this time. Since than I have had a couple more brief sleeps, taken my morning drugs, checked the weather, and most recently, had a nice refreshing shower. Once I have finished writing I am free to do anything I wish.

 I had a grand idea that I would do more walking today, and I haven't actually ruled that out, but as I sit here I don't seem to feel terribly enthusiastic about it.  I would like to visit the seaside, but I can't think of a destination that seems suitable. Maybe I might go to visit a cemetery. Having looked at the few crap pictures I took the last time I visited Kensal Green cemetery, I feel that place definitely needs a revisit, but I might go somewhere more local. Nunhead maybe, but there is a large cemetery that I have never been in even closer to home. It is not one of the amazing Victorian cemeteries, but Ladywell and Brockley cemeteries may have some interest.

 On the other hand there is stuff that I need to do right here at home. One is to bag up the food waste and put it in the food waste bin. At the moment it is stinking up the kitchen badly. I ought to wheel the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin through the house, and start filling it up with twigs and branches from the felled tree I am all to slowly cutting up. Then there is one other consideration that makes going out walking a dubious idea - my guts feel a little volatile this morning, and while I am sure there can't be much more, staying near a toilet could be prudent for a while !
Sunday 1st July 2018
10:14 BST

  It was a most pleasant day yesterday. There was plenty of sunshine and blue skies. The temperature did not rise that far, and I am not sure it even hit the forecast 25° C, but it felt pleasantly warm even in a nice refreshing breeze. It did start to feel a bit muggy in the evening, but that might just have been the effect of the chilli sauce on my dinner !
                      another day like yesterday
  Today could be a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday, but the latest revision of the forecast shows there to be less sunshine, but more sunny intervals. The early morning version of the forecast, as shown above, notes an 18% chance of precipitation at 5pm. With the earlier temperature being 27° C it seems like a recipe for a thunderstorm to me, but the forecasters evidently disagree, and the risk of precipitation at any time today is now shown as no higher than 5% at 8pm (and even less at other times). Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a couple of degrees cooler than today, perhaps only 25° C, but there will be more sunshine, and less sunny intervals.

  On the last day of the month, yesterday, I was in a very strange mood. The news on Friday that Angela had gone to the pub at lunchtime, probably on her own, left me in a state of despair - a sort of subset of depression. As I seem to be able to do with little overt thought about it, I channelled that into a sort of energy to do some positive stuff as well as negative stuff. The main positive thing was to do some more tree clearance in the back garden. That definitely needed some channelled energy because this time it involved getting a saw out, and cutting through some branches !
sawn tree branches
 Sawing through these branches, and some not visible in this picture, was bloody hard work for someone not used to this type of labour - like me ! It was made more difficult by two things. The branches were not stable, and there was no way to stabilise them, and secondly I had to use the saw at almost arms length. Two things acted in my favour. One thing was I was able to do all this hard work with no shirt on, and secondly there was a nice breeze that helped cool me a bit. It was interesting that I didn't sweat all that much while doing this. I believe that was because my blood sugar level was nice and low rather than it not being hard physical labour.
bath waste pipe
                        hanging free
 All that hard work was to reveal this - the waste pipe from my bath tub hanging free. Before I finally cut through the tangle of branches that were resting against the wall, and partly entangled around the pipe, it was still almost pointing at the connection point on the grey downpipe seen on the far left of this picture. I am still optimistic that I will be able to pop the end of the pipe back into the connector, and all will be well, although I think the pipe will need the support bracket that can be seen at the same level as the top of the window, refixed to the wall. I won't be able to do that until I have cleared the path of debris so I can erect a ladder safely.

  The other way I used up some of that energy of despair or depression was to do some additional exercise. I think I mentioned yesterday that I had taken my stepper block outside, and did some open air stepping (up and down onto the block). Yesterday I did more of it. Quite a bit more, although maybe not as much as even a 2 mile walk would provide. All the sawing I was doing left my arms aching, and I was breathing a bit heavy, but not very heavy, and of course my legs were doing nothing. So while I rested my arms for a minute or two I would start stepping up and down on that stepping block.

 I have no idea how long I was outside working. It may have been less than an hour, but I would like to think it was more than that - maybe even 2 hours. Eventually I reached one of those natural breaks in a job where you have done all you can doing "that" and need to change to do "this". (Where "this" and "that" stand in for two different modes of working). I went back inside, and after cleaning myself up a bit I seemed to find enough patience to do more photo editing of the pictures I had taken last Wednesday night. It still wasn't the sustained effort needed to clear the backlog, but later on I did speed up a bit when I finally reached the photos I had taken using my flash gun. They were a lot easier to deal with.

 I has a salad for lunch yesterday, and it wasn't a simple salad after I had added stuff like olives and sweet pickled mild chilli peppers to it - the type that taste naturally sweet, rather than being pickled in sugar or something. It was a ham salad, and I dressed it quite simply with oil and vinegar, although as an experiment I did sprinkle some white pepper on it all. That seemed to work quite well. I ate it a little before 1pm. By 6pm I was desiring food again, but I didn't want another ham salad, and I didn't really have any other ingredients for dinner without opening up a can or two.

 The solution was to order a takeaway, but I had to be careful about what it was I ate. It does seem that some of the exercise I have done of late, plus being very careful about what I eat, has left me feeling sort of good, and maybe some of the bulge around my gut has shrunk a tiny bit. Any shrinkage has been above the belt line, and so there is a long way to go before I am in smaller sized trousers - a long way ! There was only one possibility last night - grilled meat with salad - aka a kebab, a large kebab !

 Eating that kebab inspired me to do two things. The first was to press on with my photo editing, and at the end of the day I had worked my way through the first 157 photos of 219. So far that has yielded just 30 usable pictures (although some are barely acceptable). The other thing I was inspired to do was to go out into the slightly cooler early evening air, and do some more stepping. I really should count how many steps I do, or even time the process, but I didn't. All I did was to keep doing it until I felt the very first signs of fatigue before stopping. All I can really say is that I did a lot more than I expected, and if those mild signs of fatigue hadn't stopped me, boredom would have sooner or later.

 I did feel good for doing that extra exercise, although only in a mental way. The only problem is that the exercise and the chilli sauce on the kebab conspired to get me sweating, almost heavily, once I stopped and sat down at my PC. I had to do more photo editing while I cooled off a bit before going to bed. It was quite early when I went to bed - certainly before 10pm, and maybe before 9pm - but I read for a while before turning out the light, and trying to get to sleep.

 I am forgetting one thing. Before going to bed I was aware my right shoulder was aching. It may have been made worse by all the sawing I had been doing, but it often aches anyway. The odd thing is that it mostly aches in the morning when I first wake up. As a precaution, but also as an experiment, I rubbed in some comfrey cream, the stuff that Fran had originally suggested when I mentioned to her about my shoulder. It did seem to work, and work well, but there was a side effect ! To rub the cream into my right shoulder I had to use my left arm. Doing that sort of scrunched my chest, and I went to bed with my chest aching instead of my shoulder.

 I had some good sleep, and some bad sleep last night, but the nice thing is that when I woke up my right shoulder didn't feel stiff and sore like it usually does. There was some residual ache, but it seemed in good company with a few muscles in my right arm that while not actually painful, could still tell a story about being used well yesterday ! There was one other bit of me this morning that unusually ached, and that was a few muscles in my stomach area. I guess they all contributed to my sawing and stuff yesterday. As I write this nothing aches unless provoked, and I feel like I should be feeling pretty good.

 One of the things I hope I will finally finish today is those bloody photos from last Wednesday, and it could be even more important now I have an idea of what I will be doing today. Today there is an event taking place on Blythe Hill Fields. It features this and that plus some live music. I suspect the music will be terrible, but I think I will go and take a look anyway. Just walking to the top of Blythe Hill is a huge effort. It is quite a big hill, and I will be walking through two other parks to get to it (albeit one park is a very small park). So I'll be burning off a few extra calories just getting there !