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My Diary/Blog For the Month of March 2018

Saturday 31st March 2018
 07:55 BST

   Three days ago it was horrible. Two days ago it was unpleasant, and yesterday it was awful ! I'm talking about the weather ! There were three terrible factors about yesterday. It was exceedingly dull. It was incredibly wet, and it was also rather cold. It certainly didn't feel like the forecast 7° C, but perhaps it was all in the head. It seemed to feel cold even when my room was actually very warm according to a thermometer. It seemed like every time you looked out of the window you could feel the drab, wet, and dreary view suck all the heat from your body. I was not happy !
                      the say as yesterday but without rain
 Today is forecast to have a similar temperature range to yesterday, but I think it will feel better than yesterday. For one thing, and perhaps the most important thing, it will be mostly dry least I hope it will. The highest chance of it raining is right now when there there is a 53% chance of rain - although curiously, no raindrops are shown on the chart for right now. Maybe that is because in reality the sun is trying to shine through a gap in the clouds right now. It is certainly bright enough to throw some soft shadows ! This is good, and give hope !! I reckon it may be closer to 4° C than the forecast 5° C. Let's hope that the temperature will quickly rise to the forecast 7° C, and that it feels like 7° C.

 Even better news is that the forecast has just been updated. The temperature now may be as high as 9° C later this afternoon. Two new raindrops have been added to the chart for 5 and 6pm, but the chances of rain are shown to be only 19% for each hour. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be similar to today, but there could be a few more hours at 9° C. The day after, the bank holiday Monday, could be almost warm at 12° C, but it is probably going to be a bit wet.

  Yesterday's cold, wet, and dullness left me quite depressed. It was very hard to inspire myself to do anything all day, and less so in the evening. There were two things I did that were very minor in the grand scheme of things. I washed the brand new double duvet cover (and matching pillowcases), and that is ready for use now. The colour scheme of those covers is blood red on one side, and pitch black on the other. I rather like it, but I think I need a matching bottom sheet. Black would be best except for it's tendency to show up things like sweat stains so easily - not good for when high summer arrives !

 The other thing of note was that I did briefly dare to go outside into the tempest, but it was only to the corner shop. I bought a magazine, a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, and some very naughty crisps ! I did intend to go out again. I had a mild yearning to go to either/or the 99p and Pound shops. Apart from wasting money on buy crap (all of which would eventually be used), it would have been useful to continue an experiment started in a very small way when I went to the corner shop.

 Several years ago I bought some Dunlop branded hi-top trainers. They were considerably cheaper than similar Converse branded trainers. The only trouble with them was that they seemed to have rough areas inside that would grind away the skin on one or more toes. The real problem is that I prefer not to wear socks with most shoes/trainers now. It started when I was doing a lot of long distance walking (mostly prior to 2013), and I used to find socks would get rucked up inside the shoe, and that made my feet feel uncomfortable. Leaving sock off was the solution, but then I could only wear certain makes of shoes that didn't rub and chafe my toes. Recently I have been wearing socks with some cheap supermarket trainers, and while they are not perfectly comfortable, they are more than adequate for short walks. I think socks are the answer to those rough Dunlop trainers, but they never did get their second, slightly longer test yesterday.

 For the rest of yesterday I just moped - as in felt miserable rather than drove around on a lightweight, pedal assisted, motorbike ! At times I even considered drawing the curtains to shut out the miserable dull wet view outside. It was so wet it even killed my cat-cam for the second time. My cat-cam was originally an impulse buy of a cheap (~£40) network connected pan and tilt camera that I put on the back room windowsill to see the comings and goings of my last cat. Despite the instructions specifically saying it was not for outdoor use it has been out there for 7 or 8 years. It failed once when rainwater ran down the power lead, and rotted the power socket. I cured that by hard wiring it. Now and then I have had to spray some WD40 onto the ethernet connector to restore the network connection, but that didn't seem to work yesterday. I wonder if it is now truly dead, or if a bit of TLC can bring it back to life ?
very expensive pot noodles
 Despite eating several very naught packets of crisps during the morning I found I wanted more to eat in the early afternoon. More specifically I wanted something hot inside me. I think it was my soul that was cold as a result of the dull, wet weather outside, rather than my physical body. I initially had a can of soup, and that helped a bit, but later my eyes settled on the noodle pots pictured above. I had bought them on an earlier visit to Tesco. They seemed interesting flavours, and seemed rather bigger than most similar options. They were also considerably more expensive than any other instant noodle pots, but they might have been worth it if they were significantly better than the opposition. Sadly they weren't. The flavours might have been slightly unique, but they were hardly wonderful - they just had that typical pot noodle taste - neither good nor bad. The worst thing is that the size of the actual pot had nothing to do with the size of the contents. The "fill to here" line was halfway down the pot, and when ready to eat they were maybe 2/3rds the size of any average instant noodle pot. They were bought out of curiosity. That curiosity has now been satisfied, and I will never buy these again. If I want instant noodle pots I think I'll still to the 3 packs for 99p that I can buy on the 99p shop. Not only are they reasonable value for money, but a few drops of chilli sauce to "zap them up" makes them actually pleasant to eat !

 I spent most of the afternoon reading from my PC, or laying on my bed reading. While laying on my bed I also took the opportunity to snooze now and then. I had originally wanted to go out to see a gig in the evening, but I just felt too depressed about the weather to even consider it as the time approached. Instead of a gig I ordered a takeaway. It came from a takeaway I had wanted to investigate. It offered a choice of Thai and Malay food, and a recent Food Standards report gave them a 5 out of 5, and that is really good for most takeaways.

 I ordered a small selection of food, and on the whole it was delicious. Even the chicken salad was really good, and if the chicken wasn't in tempura batter it would have been very healthy. The battered chicken pieces came in a paper bag, and that initially confused me until I realised it was the chicken to go with the container of salad. The salad itselof was quite interesting, and rather nice. It didn't include any lettuce. It was mainly thinly sliced raw crunchy vegetables, but it did include celery. Somehow they even made that celery taste close to nice !

 That salad could easily have been a main course, and maybe when the weather suits salad I may order more of it. The other stuff I ate was less healthy, and the least healthy was the barbecued spare ribs. They were the type covered in a thick sweet sauce. I think I thought they were going to be dry when I ordered them. The third dish was a fairly plain, but still tasty beef chow mein. It didn't seem to be greasy, and with it containing a high percentage of bean sprouts I could easily stick my fingers in my ears while chanting la-la-lah I can't hear your while believing that it may have been a very slightly healthy(ish) dish. I also ordered some egg fried rice to meet the minimum order price for delivery, but I didn't eat it. I'll probably eat it today.

 I watched a bit of TV last night, but when that became boring I resorted to reading in bed. I think it was near to midnight when I put the book down, and turned off the lights. I fell asleep really quickly as far as I can remember. Once again I seemed to sleep well last night. It is a habit I should get into more ! I can't think of anything that might have influenced my dreams last night, although the theme of the longest set of dreams was very loosely based upon a childhood experience brought up to date.

 I think it was back in 1967 or 1968, or a little while after dad died that I, along with my mum and younger sister, spent a weekend in Birmingham as guest of my uncle. Some of it was good fun, but the drive up the M1 was long and disorientating. In my dream I was considerably older, and probably my actual age, and the journey was made far more interesting by being able to follow the car journey on Ordnance Survey maps. In fact a lot of the dream seemed to be just studying maps. Somehow I had managed to make Birmingham on the west side of the country, and quite near the sea. Most of the dream(s) are rather hazy now, but one memory does stick out quite clearly. While studying the map I traced a railway line and it went into what was labelled as a citric acid factory. It was as big as an oil refinery, and with hindsight the lay of the land, and the route of the railway was very similar to Canvey Island off the Thames estuary which has, of course, a big oil depot/refinery on it. The thing that stuck in my mind most clearly was the name of the road that lead to to citric acid factory. It was Marmalade avenue. That seemed feasible. Marmalade is usually made from Seville oranges, and they are very tart because they contain a lot of citric acid !

 This morning I think it feels like I have rested well, and if it stays dry I might even try and get out and do something today. First of all I need a proper shower and to wash my hair. All I had yesterday was have a quick rub down with a damp flannel before going to the corner shop. I definitely want to try and get out to a gig tonight. I think Chain are playing in The Partridge in Bromley tonight (although it could be in The Coach And Horses, Beckenham - I'll check later). The Partridge is just a longer feeling 20 - 25 minute bus ride away. So that part is easy if a little tedious (fortunately it always seems quicker coming home again). Unfortunately the Partridge is always very dark (though not the worst offender), and the layout means it very quickly becomes crowded. Assuming I get there I may only stay for the first set, but that would be good enough.

 There is no news from Angela on her sojourn to Wales, but I am not really expecting any. Maybe she will post the occasional picture on social media. If she does it will be interesting to see if she includes any picture of lover boy. I hope she doesn't - mainly because I can stand looking at him, but also because it might indicate they have stepped up their relationship rather than fallen out with each other !

 I have heard from Patricia. She has had an "interesting" flight to London. She first flew from Argentina to Lima in Peru, and then had an extra long wait for a delayed flight to Madrid in Spain. That meant she missed her connection to a London bound flight. She finally arrived in Deptford (of all places) at 11pm last night. I am expecting to see her in a few days time, and with luck she should have a bottle of South American whisky for me. Funnily enough, just as I started writing this paragraph Patricia contacted me, and she has confirmed she has a little present for me - presumably the whisky. A few dry days coming up plus seeing Patricia, and Angela in 3 days, plus is suddenly looking up again.
Friday 30th March 2018
 09:04 BST

   The day before was horrible, but yesterday was merely unpleasant. Perhaps the difference can be accounted for by the morning being bright and sunny. Sadly the sunshine didn't last long. I had high hopes that the temperature would go higher than the forecast 9° C because of that morning sunshine, but I was wrong. Rain of biblical proportions in the afternoon cooled everything down, and I think the temperature was closer to 6° C when I went out for my Thursday evening drink.
                      going to be very wet - probably
  It almost seemed like we would get some sunshine this morning. It was quite bright, but no actual sunshine. Now the sky is filling with thicker, uglier, more threatening clouds, and while the chances of rain are on the low side at first, it would seem that rain could fall at any time today, but particularly from mid afternoon onwards. Like yesterday it is going to be a rather cool day. Next week might be a few degrees less cool, but it seems like a complete week could pass before we see any sign of the sun again !

  I'm not sure what it was that inspired me, perhaps a mixture of morning sunshine and necessity, but I expended more energy yesterday doing housework. Most of it was centred around the front room. I did some tidying up, moved a few things around, and hoovered the floor (plus a few cobwebs up near the ceiling). When I think about it, that was about all I did, but it seemed to take a fair time, and it did knacker me. I have to admit that the clearer I keep the front room, the easier it is to maintain it.

 The next big thing for that room is to paint the walls and the ceiling. That is going to be bloody hard work, and much of that hard work will be the logistics of preparing the room for painting. I certainly can't do it in one sweep until I have cleared the back room to make temporary room for stuff from the front room, plus re-route some data cables through the wall instead of along the floor. Once the front room is pained I think it should look very good. Whether it will be dramatic enough news to lure Angela over to inspect it is an unknown, although it was sort of her idea that it should be done.

 Although I can account for some of the time, yesterday was another day that I look back on and think "where did all the hours go ?". I somehow doubt I spent more than an hour with the hoover and duster. The time I spent out on my Thursday evening drink is easier to calculate. I left to get the train at about 4:15pm, and I was home again a little over three hours later.

 Prior to going out there was rain of biblical proportions. Fortunately it had all but stopped when I went out, but I dressed for a storm. With hindsight it would have been better to dress for cold weather. I felt quite chilly as I walked to the station, and I feel sure that if it wasn't for the beneficial effect of the beer I would have felt cold going home again. (I did feel cool going home, but not actually cold).
big pothole and puddles
 This picture serves a dual purpose. It was taken in front of the new building that backs on to the platform of Catford Bridge station. Once upon a time there were garages there, but for many, many years it was just a big patch of weeds and some fly tipping. The curious thing is that it didn't seem very big, but evidently it was big enough to build half a dozen or more flats on, plus some "retail" units underneath. One purpose of the picture is to show the big puddles left over from the earlier rain, and the other purpose is to show the bit pothole marked by the traffic cone. I don't think it is actually a pothole in the classical sense, but something the builders did. For the last year or so it was covered by a steel sheet, but that has gone, and now there is just a very square sided deep hole ready to catch an inattentive cyclist !
Shortlands Tavern looking green and
 I must say the The Shortlands Tavern was looking very green and verdant after the earlier rain. The rain had completely stopped by the time I arrived there, but a hooded waterproof top was still handy for going under the railway bridge that was dripping dirty water everywhere. It was certainly a delight to get there in full daylight (even if it was rather overcast daylight), but it was an even bigger delight to leave there in daylight after drinking my traditional three pints.
Shortlands Tavern from Shortlands
 I took this picture while waiting for the 7.02pm train back to Catford from platform 1 of Shortlands Station. At that time it was still almost half an hour to sunset, although no one had seen the sun since the morning. Once I got back to Catford, and was walking home, it became apparent that seeing the sun might not have been impossible.
an almost full moon against a blue sky
 As I looked to the eastern sky I could see the moon quite clearly, and it was set on a background of blue sky with some whispy clouds drifting by. Unfortunately the western sky, where the sun was about to set, the sky was still filled with big dark clouds, and there was no hope of seeing even a glimpse of the setting sun.

 I had prepared some food ready for when I got home, and so I wasn't tempted to buy any fried chicken. Maybe it still being light was a reason why I didn't even think about buying a takeaway of any description regardless of having a meal waiting for me when I got in. However I did have a big desire for some sort of "afters" when I had eaten my dinner. On this occasion I had cheese, probably too much of it, with sugar free digestive biscuits. It was a bit good and a bit bad.

 After a bit of TV, and reading some stuff from the internet, I went to bed to read another short story (or was it two ?) from the book "The Best Of Ben Bova - book 1". I guess it was 11pm when I turned the light out, and fell asleep really quickly. At least I think it was really quickly - I can't remember thrashing around trying to get to sleep on this occasion. It seemed like I slept really well, although I did seem to dream a lot. I can remember very, very little about those dreams. All that comes to mind are a few images that have very little context apart from one thing - they seemed to be set in or around a sort of amalgam of telephone exchange and the workshop of the second job I had. It is sort of strange that my last job doesn't seem to feature in my dreams. I'm sure it must have, but I just can't seem to remember them.

 This morning I feel like I slept well, and I am starting to feel possibly a minute bit better than OK. When I first got out of bed I felt really creaky, and something else. Maybe that something else was high blood pressure, although the doctors say you can't actually feel high blood pressure. The clue may have been in a nose bleed. I haven't had a nose bleed for 15+ years, but I did this morning. It wasn't a gushing nose bleed. My nose just felt sort of stuffy, and when I blew it blood came out instead of snot. I had to blow it again 5 minutes later, and this time less blood came out. In another 5 minutes a third blow was almost clear. I haven't had to blow my nose since then.

 Today I have only one plan, and that is to go to a gig this evening. Lord Algea, who are rather good, and have a tendency towards harder rock than many of the bands I see, are playing in The Mordern Arms in Greenwich. It is easy to get to, although I have never been there before, and if I feel up to it I'll be going. Other than that, I do have a brand new duvet cover in soak, and I ought to finish washing that at some point. The rest of the time I can be, and possibly will be, very lazy !

 One final bit of news. Today is Good Friday. To me it is just another bank holiday, and now I no longer work that means even less to me. Two things that happen today is that Angela is due to go to Wales with lover boy, and Patricia arrives in London from South America (and this time she may have remembered to bring me an Argentinian whisky). Patricia won't be happy with the weather in London, and I am not sure if Angela is happy to be going to Wales. She had expressed doubts about it in a coded way earlier, and I noted her posting the sort of stuff she tends to post when anxious on a social media site last night. I can't wait to see Angela next Tuesday to hear how good or bad the trip was, and I look forward to seeing Patricia sometime is a few days time.
Thursday 29th March 2018
 09:32 BST

   On the whole, yesterday was a horrible day weatherwise. It was cold, wet, and overcast....but not entirely. On a couple of all too short occasions the sun did make it through a crack in the clouds, and as the sun began to set I could see a lot of clear sky developing. The highest temperature yesterday was 5 or 6° C, but as the sky cleared at night the temperature dropped a lot.
                      than yesterday
  The consequence of a clear sky was a frost this morning, or if it wasn't frost I was seeing it was very heavy condensation on the roofs of the cars parked down the road. At 8am the temperature was supposed to be 4° C. One of my thermometers said it was only 0.8° C ! On the plus side it is wonderfully sunny right now, and I think there is enough sunshine pouring through my bedroom windows to warm the room up enough without having the heating on (although maybe it will turn out that I am being a bit optimistic). With luck the temperature outside will climb to 9° C by this afternoon. That is not much, and supposedly the breeze will make it feel more like 6° C. The tricky bit is whether to believe the sunshine or raindrops on the hourly icons this afternoon, and going on into the evening. The highest chance of rain, 56%, would appear to be while I am walking to the station. Tomorrow's forecast brings no joy. It may be like today, but without the sunshine, and with extra rain !

  I thought yesterday was going to be a really tedious, boring day, but it wasn't. It was actually a fairly productive day. Initially I was as lazy as can be, but I knew that if I didn't do anything else I had to do some washing up, as I think I remarked yesterday, I was running out of cutlery. Oddly enough it was really only cutlery I was running out of. I had plenty of clean plates and cooking bowls. So I went down into the freezing kitchen and did the washing up, and did a small amount of tidying up.

 This morning was rubbish collection morning, although possibly only the recycling bin, and so it seemed like a good idea to empty a few bins as well. Whether that rubbish has, or will be collected this morning is something I'll find out later. While I was in the kitchen I also prepared some food to eat later. Initially I started out by cooking some "cooking bacon" (assorted off cuts and bits too small to slice all packed into a sealed bag, and sold cheaply). I cooked it in the microwave along with some mushrooms that I had bought, but couldn't think what I thought I might use them for. I did have some of that bacon, and some mushroom for a lunchtime snack. The rest of it I cooked with some chopped up Savoy cabbage for dinner.

 By this time I was obviously feeling quite "domestic" because I went on to do more housework. I hand washed a large hand towel and a t-shirt, and apart from a brand new duvet cover and pillows, that brought all my laundry up to date for the moment. I did need a bit of a rest after doing that laundry, and that is, if I recall correctly, I had my bacon and mushrooms. It was only a very small lunch, and didn't take long to settle down. It was then time for more housework.

 It was the housework I probably hate most - hoovering ! It wasn't all hoovering, but it was the hoovering I probably found most tiring. I hoovered the first foot or two of my bedroom because I was really intending to hoover the passageway from my bedroom, past the top of the stairs, and towards the bathroom (and just inside the bathroom door). Just trying to describe this is making me feel weak and exhausted !

 The real beneficiary of this hoovering, if it can be described as such, was behind the bathroom door. It is a side of the door I rarely see, and I have to admit it was a bit grim there. Apart from dust clinging to the door and to the wall behind the door, there were some impressive old dusty cobwebs. They are all gone now, and somehow it looks a bit brighter there now.

 The final part of my housework was to brush the stairs (plus a few places where I didn't think the hoover had been all that effective). Using a dustpan and brush may seem like harder work than using a hoover, but I find it easier when doing the stairs. It does involve quite a bit of bending over, and that takes it's toll on my back, but I don't think it is as bad as using the hoover. Of course it is not quite as effective as using a hoover - it can't suck grit out from between the carpet fibres, but it does seem to deal with bits of stubborn ling better.

 Brushing the stairs was the straw that broke the camels back, but it, and the rest of what I did, did leave me with a sense of satisfaction, and also a bit of sorrow. Sorrow that it is unlikely that the one person who inspires me to do these sorts of things will probably never see it. On the other hand there is one other person who is likely to see it, and that is Patricia. She arrives back in London tomorrow. I don't know when she will have time to pop in and see me, but when she does I will have the satisfaction that my stairs are reasonably clean (even if the carpet is now beyond it's "use by" date).

 My evening passed by reasonably smoothly. I watched a bit of TV while eating my cabbage and bacon stew. With much of the fat driven off during the pre-cooking of the bacon, it was a reasonably healthy meal. So much so that I felt a strong desire for something like a sweet afterwards. What I actually had, had variable qualities at all sorts of levels. I would only give it a 55% enjoyment level - neither good nor bad, although with a slight bias towards good. It was an unheated tin of Aldi "basic essentials" rice pudding served with a drained can of mandarin segments (originally in fruit juice rather than syrup).

 Later on I went to bed to initially do some reading. At around 11pm I turned out the light, but as soon as I did I seemed to stop feeling sleepy. I reckon it was around midnight when I finally fell asleep. Two hours later something very strange seemed to happen. I woke up, and check my clock. It said 2.19am, and I felt annoyed that I had only slept about two hours before waking up for no good reason. My mouth was feeling dry, and so I had a sip of drink, and then turned over and went back to sleep. As I slept I had a seemingly long and complicated dream. For a few seconds I had perfect recall of that dream, but it only lasted that short time because my mind was distracted by the call of my bladder. So I went to the bathroom to have a pee. As I came back into my room afterwards I glanced at my clock and it said it was 2.23am - apparently just 3 minutes later than when I had woken up seemingly quite some time beforehand. Either the clocks went back another hour, or I had a dream that I still can't tell from reality !

 This morning I feel OK after my ordeal by housework yesterday, or I think I do, but I haven't really tested myself yet. The usual bits ache and complain, but I can't be bothered to describe them this morning, although I will say that last night, and hopefully today, my chest does feel a little less wonky than of late. Today I think I will be tempting fate by doing more housework. The living room carpet definitely needs a good hoovering ready for whenever Patricia visits, and no doubt I can find other bits that can do with a bit of spit and polish. The main thing on the agenda today is Thursday even drinking with the Thursday club. Tonight we are back in The Shortlands Tavern.
Wednesday 28th March 2018
 10:43 BST

   It was a lot brighter than the forecast said it would be yesterday. There was rain early in the morning, but by mid morning the clouds were breaking up, and we had a lot of unexpected sunshine. Later in the afternoon there were still gaps in the clouds to the south that let in an occasional ray of sunshine, but the view to the north was of very thick and threatening clouds. I'm not sure if the temperature reached the forecast 13° C, but it must have been close because I found I could leave all the heating off for hours at a time, and still feel comfortable. Today is very different !
cold and
  It is raining now, and has been since first light (and maybe before). The rain might get lighter towards the end, but forecast reckons this rain will continue until 5pm. Not only is it going to be grey, wet and depressing, it is also going to be cold today. As the morning progresses the temperature will actually drop (if the forecast matches reality). Early this morning we were living on the coat tails of yesterday's very mild weather, but the rain is really going to chill things. It maybe 6° C now (it feels colder than that), but by 1pm it is supposed to be just 5° C. A couple of degrees less and it would be snowing ! By the early hours of tomorrow morning it might be just 4° C, but it should be mostly sunny tomorrow, and the sunshine might raise the temperature closer to 9°C - not great, but acceptable if it's sunny and not raining.

 After the "excitement" of giving my blood sample, and the further excitement of shopping in Aldi, and the even further, further excitement of eating the sandwiches I bought in Aldi, everything went a bit flat yesterday. It was a tediously boring day where no matter how much I tried to force myself to concentrate on some makeshift work, I just couldn't get into it. Once such bit of forced amusement was to try to record some analogue video on the HP laptop I spent so much time on a week or two ago.

 My attempt at doing that failed, and that didn't inspire me to spend any time experimenting. What I did achieve was getting sound in using an external USB sound card - except it wasn't quite that straightforward. For reasons I can only ascribe to malevolence by an unknown third party supernatural being or presence, the WinTV USB application did not want to record video when it was recording sound. This is all mind boggling weird, and I think I have got bored with it now.

 I was bored with most things yesterday. My only solace was that Angela did send me a sort of reply to a message I sent her wishing her a good time on her holiday. Either as a sop for me, or because she has doubts and fears about spending 3 to 5 days in Wales with a childish and unstable man, she replied "I hope so" (plus a bit more). I think she had genuine worries about it, and that seems a rather sad basis for a relationship.

 One terrible thing about being bored, and rather pissed off, is that the temptation to eat became irresistible. Maybe it would have been better if I had not had my home made vegetable curry sitting there waiting for 5 minutes in the microwave before eating. I didn't really fancy it, but I couldn't keep it any longer, and had to eat it before it went off. It was basically nice, but I wanted something a lot nicer. The best compromise was to eat most of the vegetables, and discard all the curry sauce. That made it a smaller meal, and I disposed of the worst (sugar and calories) part of the meal down the sink.

 A little later, and by that I probably mean30 minutes, I had a strong urge that I gave in to, and cooked a couple of cod with cheddar fish cakes. It was those, bought in Aldi in the morning, that I had been craving all along. Later still I ate a packet of ready made poppadoms. If they were not quite so greasy they may have been almost, but not actually innocent.  Another hour or three passed and it was time for bed.

 After doing so little, physically or mentally, I found myself in the strange superposition of being both tired and wide awake at the same time. I did a bit of reading in bed, and around midnight I put my book down and tried to get some sleep. I expected nothing to happen, and for the first 5 or 10 minutes nothing did, but that is all I remember. It seems I have got over my latest episode of a dislocated rib cage (or some such nonsense - but a painful type of nonsense), and generally speaking I slept comfortably. Perhaps the best indication of that was when I woke up at 6am. I got up for a wee, and sort of assumed I would never get back to sleep again, but I did, and did quite easily.

 I think it was around 8am when I woke again, and I have been awake since. With another day of little to do I didn't/don't feel terribly motivated to do much. I spent quite a bit of time reading technical news off the internet, and I had a tasty mackerel salad for breakfast before sitting down to write this. I think I feel sort of OK this morning, but that still doesn't motivate me to go out in the pouring rain. There are one or two things I will probably do today, and one of the first, and most important is to do some washing up. I have almost run out of clean cutlery !

 Other things might be to wash a small towel, and a few other bits. I ought to tidy up, and hoover the living room. That is becoming a bit important. I have no idea when she will actually drop by to see me, but Patricia arrives back in London on Friday for her summer in the northern hemisphere. There are other bits of the house that could do with a bit of housework too ! Other than that it will be anther long, boring, and generally pointless sort of day.

 I just remembered one little thing about yesterday that is worth mentioning. The last time I ordered a "diabetic meal" from Big Fat Gourmet it came with a can of 7 Up (at least I think that is where it came from). Yesterday I was in the mood to drink it. On the front of the can it proudly says "now less sugar for a better taste" (or words to that effect). I poured the can into a glass, and as I did so my eye caught the food info panel on the side. It turns out that it has a gigantic amount of sugar in it. If that is less, I dread to think what it was like before. I tipped it straight down the sink !
7 Up loaded with obscene amount of sugar
Tuesday 27th March 2018
 09:50 BST

   The weather was the best thing about yesterday. There was lots of bright sunshine in the morning, and to all intents and purposes it was continuous sunshine. It became a bit patchy in the afternoon, and by 4pm the sky had clouded over. I think the highest temperature was a little less than forecast. Maybe just 10 or 11° C.
rain, but
                      maybe less rain than initially forecast
  It was definitely raining at 7am, but at 8am, when there was an alleged 99% chance of rain, it wasn't. There are small changes to the latest version of the forecast - which is hardly a forecast because some of it is for time that has already passed, and hence it is actually a record - a record that is slightly wrong ! One change is that rain is no longer shown for 10am, and looking out the window that seems to be correct. The other main change is that the temperature is a bit slower to rise from the morning low, and now the time that it is 13° C is probably going to be a lot shorter - maybe for just one hour. The temperature is now probably going to fall a bit lower during the night, and currently tomorrow is predicted to be a much cooler (max 7° C) day, and a lot wetter, although there is a very small possibility of a few brief sunny spells late in the afternoon. It looks like April is going to live up to it's reputation of "April Showers".
part of a text message exchange
  On the whole, yesterday was not a good day. It started off with some sort of hope. When I sent Angela a text message in the morning to wish her well during her day in the classroom she sent a nice reply saying she would miss me today. I then reminded her that my offer of a drink on her way home still stood. Her reply that "Might take you up on that !" gave me some hope, maybe, with hindsight, too much false hope that we might actually have met later in the day.

 I was very slow getting myself together yesterday morning, and coupled with another long rambling call from my friend Lee, it was getting on for midday before I was washed and dressed. Being so late, and considering I needed, or thought I needed to be in The Black Cat around 4pm, meant that it was a bit late to go out train/station/building/landmark/street view/etc spotting, and so I stayed in Catford. I did actually go out and buy a few things from Tesco, but mostly I was bored. Being bored probably heightened my anticipation of seeing Angela later, and allowing that was foolish.

 One other thing that happened yesterday afternoon was I got a couple of text messages asking me to phone the surgery. As expected, it turned out that the results of my blood tests had come through, and while some bits were good, others weren't. They wanted one blood test re-tested, and I think they added an extra test. My original intention was to pop into the surgery to pick up the blood test request form this morning, and spend today "being good" to try and produce good readings from blood samples taken tomorrow morning.
text message screenshot
 After I had been to Tesco in the morning (actually it might have been just after midday) I went home the long way round, via the station, and picked up a copy of The Metro. At about 3.45pm I grabbed The Metro and went to the pub in high anticipation of a drink with Angela. Once I was there I sent her a message to say so, and to let me know when she was on her way so I could order her drink. Such high anticipation was completely stupid, and I think I knew it beforehand. 20 minutes later I got a reply to my text message. It was just a very bland "I won't be going I'm afraid xxx". There was no reason given, and it hardly sounded like an apology. I late learned that she felt exhausted, but only by reading a comment on a well known social media site that was a response to something her daughter had mentioned. I felt pretty miserable !
a new beer in The Black Cat
 My walk to the pub was not entirely in vain. I had time to do the whole of the quick crossword, and a few clues from the cryptic crossword. I also had the chance to try a new (to me, and The Black Cat) beer. It was Marston's "61 Deep". I expect if I checked the internet I would find the reason for such a strange name. I'm guessing it is commemorating something that is 61 fathoms deep. What I do know is that it is rare for the Black Cat to have nice beer - unless you have a liking for Young's beers - which I don't. 61 Deep was indeed nice, and had I received a more positive message from Angela I would have had another pint.

 I just had the one pint, and decided that some fresh air might be nice. I also decided that despite not wearing comfortable shoes, I would force myself to walk the long way home via the surgery to pick up the blood test request form. I was happy to get in again and get those shoes off picking up the form.

 I could have stuck to my original plan to be good today, and give the blood sample tomorrow morning, but I decided I would give the blood sample this morning. That meant I needed to be a bit careful with what I ate and drank yesterday evening. I wanted to drown my sorrows in an excess of whisky, but I just had one very large one. I should have, and could have eaten much more carefully yesterday evening, but I partly didn't.

 Earlier in the afternoon I had prepared, and 90% cooked a mixed vegetable curry. In theory it should have been quite healthy. After all it was nothing but fat free vegetable, and I think all the vegetables were very low in any carbohydrates. If we ignore all the badness of the ready made curry sauce, it was the sort of thing that would have been great for losing weight. The trouble was that I didn't feel that hungry...or not hungry enough to have all that vegetable curry in one sitting. I was more in the mood for several much smaller meals/snacks.

 At first I had a very small, and rather greasy, pork pie. Then I had a small "deli counter" (whatever that means) sausage roll. A little later I had a small corned beef salad, and a little later still I had the rest of the corned beef from the packet of "6 slices". The vegetable curry would have been much more healthy ! Not that my health was that bad last night......
my lowest blood pressure - ever !
 Last night I recorded my lowest ever blood pressure. Had I relaxed any further I would probably have fainted from low pressure. This sort of reading would almost have satisfied the martinet cardiac rehabilitation nurse....although I suspect she would have preferred it lower still. I sometimes wonder if she has necrophilia tendencies !

 I went to bed very late last night, and that was stupid because I wanted to be up early this morning, or maybe it was because I just didn't seem to feel tired early enough. Sometime before I intended to go to sleep I took a couple of paracetamol to help control any pain from my wobbly rib cage, and other superstructure. It seemed to work because while it sometimes seemed that I wasn't sleeping well, a lot of time went passed without me realising it.

 Ideally I would have slept for longer this morning, but I had to get up early to go and give my blood samples. To be truthful I could have gone in to the vampire department a lot later, but if you get there at about 8.20am, 10 minutes before their official walk in opening time, there is a good chance of only a short wait before being seen. That was the case last week, and that was the case this morning. I was one of the first seen, although the last of the people who had made appointments seemed to be a bit slow. I think I was seen at about 8.40am - not bad, but I have known far better.

 After I had given my blood sample I went around the corner to Aldi to do more shopping. I particularly wanted some toilet paper, and I had a desire for a sandwich. I also bought some (alleged) low calorie ready meals, and more salad. I felt rather drained when I got back home, and I still do. I ate two sandwiches soon after I git home, and I still have a couple more to eat later. It was only by eating those sandwiches that I got my blood pressure down to a good reading to add to the list I will be presenting to my doctor (or nurse) at some point.

 I have long suspected a link between eating and blood pressure. All the rather excellent readings I have taken in teh last week and a half have been taken about half an hour to an hour after eating. That leads to another possible theory. At the moment I still feel drained, and I know that I can blame some of that on recently eating. I can blame more of it on not seeing Angela and feeling rather lost, unmotivated, and wondering why I even well as the dull dreary sky. It seems that my blood pressure goes up when I am fasting, and yet that is when I seem to have the most energy. Last month I did my 5 mile walk around Bournemouth without having any breakfast, and also without drinking anything until the long walk was over. I wonder how high my blood pressure peaked during that walk ?

 Today I don't feel like doing anything, and yet I have to. I have some washing soaking in a tub in the bath, and I have to do something with that sooner or later. I guess that is something to do today. I have no idea what else I will do, although I hope it includes a long snooze or two, and ends up with some large whiskies.
Monday 26th March 2018
 08:21 BST

Yesterday could be described as mild, but that is the only positive thing to say about it. Sadly it was a dull overcast sort of day that failed to bring any cheer to the soul or kidneys. The temperature was probably as forecast - 9° C for much of the morning, and a few hours at 11° C from mid afternoon until the temperature slowly dropped to 8° C at midnight.
At last !
                      Sunshine !!!
  This morning has started off a little cool, but 6° C is still more than double the daytime temperature of a week or so ago. By this afternoon the temperature should rise to 11 and 12° C, but best of all will be the sunshine ! Mostly it is forecast to be sunny intervals, but the current sunny intervals seems to have lasted for over an hour now, and maybe the amount of sunshine today could be more than the forecast suggests. Sadly it won't last. The sky is supposed to cloud over at, or just before sunset, and by tomorrow the clouds are supposed to be thick enough to bring lots of rain. Despite that it could still be as mild as today.

  I was quite prepared for a typical tedious Sunday, but for a while it was not that tedious. I'm not sure what time it was, but I got a call from my friend Jodie to say there was a new food market taking place in Catford Broadway. I am sure this has been tried before, and I am unsure if yesterday was the start of a new season, or another attempt by a different organiser to run the food market. I didn't pay any attention to previous attempts, but maybe this one is supposed to be a bit different by trying to be a bit more exotic....or something.

 If I hadn't been essentially dragged there by Jodie I may well have mostly ignored yesterday's market as well. Jodie wasn't expecting to be available until later in the afternoon, and that gave me a chance to wash a few t-shirts and stuff...and to try and cool down again afterwards before walking to the station to meet Jodie at (I think) 2.47pm. We found there were not that many stalls there, although there were a few empty spaces suggesting stallholders had either not turned up, or had finished early - it was due to end in about an hour, and the market had started nearly 5 hours earlier. I didn't buy anything this time, but it was a good opportunity to take a few snaps.
Indian street food
Maybe next time I could be tempted to investigate this stall a bit more closely, and possibly even buy something. They apparently sell Indian street food. When I took this picture the stall was looking a bit bare. That could be a good sign that they had sold most of their stock earlier.
Cheeses from Sardinia. I could have been tempted to buy some cheese, but I worry that their prices are a bit steep. Jodie did give into temptation and bought a small portion of truffle flavoured cheese.
beer stall
There was even a stall selling beer. It was interesting, but curiously not tempting in any way.

 After walking through the food market we ended up in the London & Rye - the Catford Wetherspoons pub. They had just had another "beer festival", and there were still a couple of festival beers on. and I tried a pint of two different, but both very nice beers before we left the pub, and headed off in opposite directions - me towards home, and Jodie towards Bromley on a bus.

 When I got home it felt like a good time to prepare my Sunday dinner (it was probably around 5pm, but the change to BST confused my "body clock"). Dinner was very simple - just like breakfast and lunch was. Breakfast was grilled wings, and lunch and dinner was grilled peri peri chicken - part of my deliberate over-ordering when I had a takeaway on Saturday night. In theory that chicken, being grilled, could have been an ingredient in a sort of healthy meal or three, but I had just the chicken, and nothing else.

 That wasn't exactly a balanced meal, and later in the evening I decided to add a bit of balance by heating up a can of garden peas. Unfortunately I accidently dropped some slices of Cheddar cheese on the peas as I warmed them in the microwave. So I had some green stuff - not that tinned peas count in the same way as fresh cooked spinach or cabbage, and then ruined it with cheese. Oh well, the worst was yet to come, or was it.

 One thing I have had in my freezer for quite some time is some assorted Indian flat breads. Once upon a time I was experimenting with them as a possible ready made pastry for making empenadas. One of them almost worked ! Last night I decided to see what would happen if I tried to cook them in the microwave. Ideally they should be fried, or brushed with oil and baked. It turns out that it is just possible to cook them in a microwave. They do come out looking a bit strange, and they are very easy to burn, but the two I cooked, although very crumbly, seemed nice when dipped in some barbecue flavoured ketchup.

 I expected the two pints of beer I had drunk earlier may have had a negative effect on my blood pressure, but maybe strangely cooked Indian flat bread was the cure for it. In reality I have no explanation to offer why I measured my lowest blood pressure ever last night. Perhaps it was the timing or something, but last night my systolic pressure was down at 119, and that is incredibly low for me (it is typically anywhere between 170 and 200 in the doctors surgery). Before I started taking these blood pressure readings ready to show my doctor or nurse sometime in the indefinite future, I can remember a few times when standing up after sitting at my PC for a while would make me feeling light headed. I pondered on the idea that maybe my blood pressure may have been exceptionally low. After last night I think my thoughts may have been right (although I didn't feel light headed at any point yesterday evening).

 Despite my blood pressure being very good, and my food intake still being fairly moderate compared to some boring Sundays, I still had a rotten night in bed. The trouble was still the ongoing sensitivity of my chest to pressure and movement after I seemed to have pulled a muscle a week ago. Last night I was getting some stabbing pains whenever I laid on my left or right side. The pains were subtly different, and from different places whichever side I tried. I did find comfortable positions on either side, but I only had to move a bit and the pain would be back.

 After I finally managed to get to sleep I slept for a few hours before waking up again. I thought that I needed a wee, and while I did have one, it didn't seem that urgent. More significantly was as I walked to the toilet I slightly rotated my body as I walked through the dogleg of the passage between bedroom and bathroom, and as I did I had a horrible pain across my chest until I changed my posture a bit. Once I did that I was pain free until I got back into bed, and tried to turn over onto my side. I then had to try a thousand very slightly different positions until I found a comfortable one.

 In the last hour of sleep I was probably only sleeping very lightly, but dreaming heavily. In one dream, or maybe series of dreams, I was trying to work out a theory about an idea that was inspired by maybe just one sentence in the book I was reading. It was part of the book where the owner of a Japanese spaceship builder was being talked about. It went on about that staple of all Japanese stereotypes - honour - and the one sentence that seemed to trigger my imagination was something like "but they see things differently to us".

 The idea that someone might see things differently triggered my dreaming brain to remember the thermal imaging cameras that we were building and selling when I was at work. My dreaming brain came up with the idea that the Japanese, or maybe just the head of the (fictional) Yamagata Space Corporation, had the ability to see long wave thermal radiation. Quite where the next flight of fantasy came from is anyone's guess, but it added that they, or he, could also see time. In other words, a glance at an object could reveal it's history - or maybe future, but I don't think that featured in my dream(s).

 This morning I did feel sort of lumpy when I finally woke up. My chest was not hurting, but it did feel remarkably tender, and that any incorrect movement could be very painful. The rest of me felt about as good as usual. Several hours later and I feel mostly OK, but if it wasn't for the continued sunshine I think I would feel like taking a snooze or 2 or 3 or.... Once again it feels like most of the morning has passed me by (partly thanks to another long rambling phone call from my friend Lee - most time he just can't stick to the point !). There is only one definite thing I am looking forward to, and I think after a brief exchange of text messages earlier this morning the chances of it happening have increased to "possible", and that is to meet Angela after work (where she is spending all day in a classroom learning stuff).

 Other than that I have one more definite plan, and that is to go to Tesco to get some shopping. I'd like to get out in the sunshine for a bit of a walk, and to snap a couple of photos of anything interesting. If I had more time available I would have probably jumped on a train, and just traveled  at random until I found something worth photographing. The only trouble with all this is that it is now 10:30am, and I am still not washed and dressed yet ! I think it's time for a shower !!!!
Sunday 25th March 2018
 09:13 BST

We have been lucky with reality being better to some degree than the forecast weather, but not yesterday. Perhaps it wasn't quite as dull and murky as the forecast for the day suggested, but it was still dull and murky the whole day. Two positives things were that it didn't rain (sleet or snow), and that it was quite mild. I think I underestimated the difference that the day being mostly 9 or 10° C would make. It seemed that it was comfortable to have no heating on at all for a few quite lengthy periods.
not as
                      good as promised in earlier forecasts for today
  The latest forecast for today is not as good as earlier forecasts. Early yesterday the forecast for today included lots of sunny spells, but now it seems we are in for a re-run of yesterday - with one small improvement ! some of today should see the temperature hit 11° C, and the rest will be 9 and 10° C like yesterday. Sadly it is going to be...or is probably going to be another dull grey day. The hope for today has been transferred to tomorrow which, if the forecasters don't change their minds again, should be bright with a fair amount of sunshine, and the temperature a heady 13° C !

  I don't know what I did yesterday, but I must have done a lot of it ! I spent a little while in the morning doing some housework. This was mainly some washing up and emptying a few waste bins. Before doing that I spent some time cutting small branches, twigs and twiglets into small pieces, and stuffing them in a black bin liner. That bin liner is now hidden at the bottom of the wheelie bin under several bin bags of rubbish - the top one being from the kitchen, and despite there being no actual food waste in it, is still nice and smelly to deter deter deeper investigation. This method of disposing of a felled tree will take ages, and I have plans to speed the process up a bit.

 The most important thing I did yesterday was to go through all the photos I took of Chain on Friday night to select the best, or the most interesting for a bit of editing. It can be quite an intensive task, and I didn't finish it until late - too late to go out again last night. Of course it would have helped to have started doing it earlier, but I seemed too busy catching up with some internet news, reading my book, and.....and to be honest I have no idea what ate up all the hours !
Wide angle lens shot
Some of the easier shots were taken using my flash gun - it was needed when using my wide angle lens which is less sensitive, and needs more light. This wide angle shot shows Rob Todd doing his guest vocals.
Geoff Paice
Geoff Paice was on bass playing duties. For some unknown reason he stayed at the back with the drummer all the time when there was space for him to come forward.
Chris Mayer
Chris Mayer taken with just ambient light, and the star filter on my lens. I think I am overdoing that star filter lens now.
Jo Corteen
It is a shame that most of the lighting was behind or to the side of the principle players - Jo and Chris. I don't think I managed to take a single picture of Jo that I was happy with.

 One of the curious things about yesterday was that I didn't eat that much - at least in terms of physical size - although what I did eat was mostly not good for me. It followed on from the day before when I also found I seemed to be less hungry than usual. I can only attribute it to the end of winter, and the start of spring. Yesterday I ate very few snacks of any description, and the two meals I had were smaller than many. At lunchtime I had the two pieces of "southern fried" chicken left over from the previous night.

 I ended up having dinner later than usual, and it was a takeaway. What I ate of that takeaway was incredibly unhealthy. It was a small box of "fries" (and it was about a third of the size of a portion of chips from the average fish and chip shops), and a 9" thin base pizza. It did seem to me that the pizza was more snack sized - particularly with the thin base, and very terse covering of cheese and stuff. I'm not even convinced it was as oily or fatty as pizza is alleged to be (or how I would make them if I had the facilities).

 I think it was almost 10pm before I finished my photo editing, and uploading the best, or interesting pictures to Chain's social media pages. After that I essentially went to bed to read until almost midnight. When I put the book down I didn't think I would ever find a comfortable position to sleep in, but somehow I fell asleep quite quickly. I even seemed to sleep quite well. During the night the clocks changed from GMT to BST and we lost an hour of daylight in the morning, and gained an hour of daylight in the evening. I am hoping that extra hour of daylight is going to be very beneficial to me.

 Today I will spend trying to re-orientate my brain to BST, but that is a job that will probably spread over a few days. I have no idea what else I might do beyond cutting up more twigs. I had sort of imagined going out in the expected sunshine today, but now it seems we won't be getting any. Maybe today will be like a traditional Sunday - soul crushingly boring ! At least I have had grilled chicken wings for breakfast, and I can look forward to grilled peri peri chicken for lunch and dinner today - both left overs from last night's takeaway.

 Bt way of a distraction, here's some video taken on Friday night taken with me new(ish) Canon Ixus 285HS camera. The sound is not bad, and it just about coped with the dim lighting, but the autofocus couldn't quite handle it.

Saturday 24th March 2018
 09:32 GMT

   Once again the forecast said no sunshine, and yesterday we had sunshine - and enough of it to make it feel very nice to walk through the park at lunchtime with no coat on. Drizzle was forecast, and it was supposed to drizzle in the morning, but the only drizzle I saw was late at night, and that was so insubstantial that it was totally ignorable. I wouldn't be surprised if the top temperature exceeded the forecast 12° C, but only by a little bit.
                      cloud - yuck !
  Today thick cloud is forecast, and that seems about right at the moment....or 95% right. It is very grey outside, but not very, very grey ! At least it should stay dry today, and a top temperature of 10° C is not that bad. Tomorrow looks much more amenable. If the forecast holds true there should be lots of sunshine, and at 11° C it might feel slightly warm if the breeze doesn't give too much chill.

  Yesterday was another busy day. It started with my visit to the vampires who lodge in the attic above the surgery. I gave them a taste of my blood that will be analysed for various metabolic functions - all to do with diabetes - and the results usually come through in less than a week. Once I had given my blood samples I went downstairs to the surgery to try and make an appointment with the diabetic nurse for the end of next week. When I timed this I forgot about next Friday being Good Friday, and so there was only a very small window to try and make an appointment in. It didn't matter because the receptionist told me that the diabetic care nurse is fully booked for the next 2 week ! If I phone at exactly 8am next Tuesday I may be able to get an appointment with my doctor next Thursday. He is/was very keen to see my blood pressure readings - which are still coming out lower than expected, and most days I seem to hit my target with a little to spare.
vampire bite aftermath
The aftermath of a vampire bite in the phlebotomy department !

 My next bit of being busy started with a walk through the park. That was a very nice experience. Contrary to what the forecast predicted, I had warm sunshine on my back, and I didn't feel the need to wear a coat - at least not on the way to the pub. We lost the sunshine for some of the walk back, and it was starting to feel a little bit cool - but still not cold ! Despite the nice warm sunshine there seemed little to see in the park. I think I snapped a black headed gull, but that's all.

 I had another very nice drink with Angela. Unless she meets me for a drink after work on Monday it was the last time I'll drink with her until after Easter. That was a bit sad, but on the plus side she did tell me she is going to Wales for the Easter weekend with lover boy. The last time they went there to stay with some of his family they came home not talking to each other. As much as I would hate to see Angela hurt, I will still hope the same thing happens again !
crossword and a pint of Guinness
I frequently get to the pub 30 minutes before Angela does. That usually gives me time to drink my first pint of Guinness, do the quick crossword, and make some headway with the cryptic crossword.

 When I got home from the pub I started off very sensibly. In fact more sensibly than I imagined I would. I had a very healthy lunch of poached egg on runner beans. It was what came after that was insane. I had been bottling things up prior to giving my blood samples, but once given there was no need to hold back. I consumed a whole small (300ml ?) tub of sweet and sugary vanilla ice cream. Later on in the afternoon I had a mini bar of dark chocolate (which should have far less sugar in than milk chocolate), and about 6 bourbon biscuits.

 In the grand scheme of things these little strayings off the path of righteousness mean little, but in the more immediate future there are repercussions. Last night I went out to see not one, but two gigs. The first was Chain playing in Graces Bar And Grill by Birkbeck station. As I started to get ready to go out I knew I had made a mistake in piling in so much sugar. I started to feel hot and sweaty. Walking to the station kept the heat up, and the train to Clock House station felt uncomfortably hot.

 From Clock House station it is little more than 5 or 6 minutes walk to Beckenham Road tram stop, but it is all uphill/upstairs. I didn't cool down then even those I was out in the fresh air again. Strangely enough I did start to cool down while sitting on a tram for a mere two stops to Birkbeck station. It felt incredibly hot in the pub, and I couldn't wait to take my coat off and roll up the sleeves of the long sleeved top I was wearing. I was still freely perspiring in the pub.

 Chain were good (except for a slightly botched try at a new song - Jefferson Airplane's White Rabbit). I stayed for what I hoped was most of the first set before heading out into the fresh air again. At that point I could have waited for a bus, but I decided that as it was mostly downhill I would walk all the way to Elmers End, and the Elm Tree pub. It was the right decision because no bus passed me on the close on 1 mile walk. The downside is that instead of cooling down I heated up more while walking.

 It felt fiercely hot when I went into the pub. I had wanted to watch maybe a whole set from MT Pockets, but in the end I only stayed for 10 or 12 minutes. It was too hot, and typical for that pub, too crowded (although to be honest I have seen it far worse. The other thing was that I knew that there was a good chance that Angela would be there with lover boy - and she was, and he was ! She did give me a wave, and I waved back, but I wasn't there long enough for her to detach herself, and come and say hello to me. I took a dozen or so pictures, and went home.
Dylan on the drums
I am happy to say that after a year, and maybe more, the Elm Tree have finally fixed, or improved their stage lighting. instead of just being a flood of pinkish magenta light they have managed to select green on a few of the flood lights. That combine with the pinky-magenta to give something close to white where they overlap, and photography has become possible again with resorting to using flash. The lights are bright so flash should not be needed.
Dan Murphy
One problem I hadn't anticipated was the amount of reflection from a big mirror behind the stage area. The reflection of those lights combined with the star filter on my lens produced some quite impressive, but also annoying flares. If I had stayed longer I might heave remembered to take the star filter off the lens.

 I think I quickly snapped off about 14 photos in all, and then I wandered up the road to the bust stop to get the 54 bus back to Catford. It seemed like my route from leaving home to getting back home had been a big circle. It wasn't, but it may have come close to a long ellipse with a few wiggles in it ! I made one mistake while I was on the bus. I failed to convince myself that I had eaten plenty of crap earlier in the day, and taken into account that I had only drunk one pint of Guinness, and so was full and sober enough not to need the traditional fried chick supper after a gig !

 I crossed the road and bought three pieces of chicken plus "fries" when I got off the bus. I remained convinced I would thoroughly enjoy them when I got home, but I was wrong. Initially I enjoyed the "fries", but as they started to cool down they became less and less attractive, and felt stodgy as I finished them. As soon as I started on the first bit of chicken I decided I had actually eaten enough - a very rare feeling for me. My lunch today will be "southern fried" chicken reheated in the microwave for a minute or two.

 The rib cage pain and stuff wasn't so bad yesterday evening, although I still had several strong twinges during the evening, but I felt far more comfortable in bed last night. I was probably in bed, and possibly just about asleep before midnight last night, and I think I might have slept non stop until about 5am this morning. That seems unlikely, but I can't seem to remember waking up in the night. I didn't get up then, and did get a bit more sleep, but technically I still haven't got up even now - and after doing a bit of this and a bit of that, it is 11:30am as I write this, and I haven't washed and dressed yet.

 My plans for today are very loose. They definitely include chicken for lunch ! I ought to be spending what will probably be many hours going through the photos of Chain I took last night. I definitely need to empty the waste bin in the kitchen, but before I do that I have some naughty garden waste to hide in the bottom of the wheelie bin, but I am not sure if my aches and pains are going to be OK scrabbling around picking up twigs to stuff into a strong black bin bag. I ought to go to a supermarket today, but I can get by without.

 It is tonight that I can't predict. I have three alternatives. The first is do nothing, and that seems quite attractive. The Life Of Brian are playing in The Partridge tonight, and I could go there. The possible attraction of that is that Angela will be there, and lover boy will be stuck behind the drums. It could be a good chance to try and sneak in, take some nice snaps of Angela's daughter Miranda - fronting the band - and have a sneaky drink with Angela away from lover boys gaze. The final option is to go to The British Oak in Blackheath where Chain are playing another gig. I guess one plan for today is to avoid anything with sugar in it, or anything too spicy so that I can try and stay dry tonight if I visit any gigs.
Friday 23rd March 2018
 06:57 GMT

   No sunshine at was forecast for yesterday, but there were several hours of sunshine in the morning. By late morning the clouds started to fill the entire sky, and before midday we had lost the sunshine for the rest of the day. With no sunshine the breeze took the edge off the 11° C temperature, and while it didn't quite feel chilly, it felt close to it at times.
                      today - maybe !
Today may be a degree less cool than yesterday, but with the possibility of of random acts of drizzle, it may not be a nice day. I reckon it is only just 7° C at the moment, and not the 8° C forecast. Hopefully the temperature may catch up with the forecast, and we will finally get 12° C. If the breeze is not too strong, and no drizzle is falling, and the sky is only light grey, it may be a reasonable afternoon, but I am not that optimistic. The highest chance of drizzle is right now, and it seems to still be dry. Maybe there should be some hope. It doesn't look like there is much hope for tomorrow - similar temperatures, but a good chance of rain. 

  Yesterday seemed to be a busy day. I got started on the photos I took on Wednesday night in the morning, and kept at it until it was time to take a walk through the park to meet Angela in the pub. I left later than usual, and didn't really stop to take any photos in the park. Not only was I in a light rush, but it was rather grey in the park, and there was little to see apart from a few seagulls...or maybe they should just be called gulls. I did notice a few black headed gulls. Most of the gulls that seem to have made the playing fields their home tend to be all or mostly white.

  Angela has been running her department by herself while her workmate has some days off, and she complained of being exhausted, but other than that she was warm and friendly. The only complaint I had is that she tried to dismiss me prematurely, and as we said goodbye she said that she would see me after Easter. I had to remind her that it was only Thursday, and she still had to work today. I also tried to reinforce the idea that we should meet after work on Monday when she has to go in for an all day course. After Monday she will be off work, and unavailable to me until after Easter Monday.

 When I got back home after my two and a half pints of Guinness I wanted some lunch. I had prepared some pasta before going out. I had boiled it up in the microwave, and because I didn't use a big enough pan to cook it in, I flooded the microwave twice ! (but no damage done). I was thinking of eating with some tomatoes and any other salad like stuff I had in the fridge, but in the end I just stirred in some green pesto. It seemed nice enough to eat just like that on it's own. Maybe it was a bit too oily though because my guts did feel a bit queasy afterwards.

 I only had a couple of hours after getting back from the pub to when I had to go out again to a different pub for my regular Thursday evening drink. I spent some of that time eating and editing some photos at the same time, and I spent some time laying on my bed letting the pasta start to digest. I read a page or two from the latest book I am reading, and I tried to have a quick snooze. I don't think I managed any sleep, or if I did it was just a few minutes. What I did achieve was something different, and I have no idea how I did it !

 I think it may have been either leaning over the side of my bed to pick up, or put down the book, but whatever it was it turned out to be remarkably painful. I either pulled a muscle, or twisted my funny rib cage, and it's "soft tissue damage". Since then it can be very painful to make certain movements. You do your best to try and avoid doing those movements again, but some are inevitable, and sometimes you discover an alternative movement can be just as painful. In fact it can be a bit random whether a certain movement will be painful or not.

 Having this pain, which is a stabbing sort of pain on the edge of my ribs cage on my right, made getting to the Bromley Wetherspoons pub, where we were meeting, a less than pleasant experience. That was made worse by yet another bus diversion in Bromley that added 5 minutes of walking to getting there. I was mostly comfortable when sitting down and my only movement was to raise the beer glass to my lips, but I still had some twinges, and it spoiled my drinking pleasure. One other thing spoiled my drinking pleasure.

 This morning I am going to see the vampires to have some blood samples taken so my blood glucose, and some other bits and pieces can be assessed. That was the reason for only two and a half pints of Guinness at lunchtime (it was only going to be two pints originally), and only two pints last night. I'm sure that even that was too much, and my blood glucose is a bit high this morning. Oh well, at least my blood pressure seems to be turning out better than expected.

 When I got home from the pub I had some dinner. I had a small curry ready meal (with no rice), and I had some roast meat balls. I then pressed on going through Wednesday nights photos. Thankfully I finished that job because I may have more photos to deal with after tonight.
dancing to Elvis
 It was fortunate I had my wide angle lens to get this snap. The man in front, dancing to some crap Elvis Presley cover, was only 2ft or less in front of me. Unfortunately it smelled like he hadn't washed in weeks !
teeth or tongue ?
 I remember this guitarist from the previous time I went to the M.T. Pockets open mic. He is pretty good, but I have never seen him play his guitar using his teeth or tongue before !

 Last night I had a pretty lousy night. The only comfortable positions to sleep in were the positions that are not very comfortable in the first place. My usual sleeping positions were very painful. Every time I turned over I could feel my ribs crunch and crackle...or something like that. To make matters worse I woke up twice with bad cramp in my legs. I ended up getting maybe half the sleep I would have wanted. I don't think it will impact on my blood samples, but it does seemed to have affected my blood pressure a little. I had to take a couple of readings, doing my best to relax between them, before I got a reading I was happy with. This is actually allowed, or even encouraged. The official form for doing these home blood pressure reading, which most doctors can't find on their system to print off for me, does have columns for a first and second reading.

 My plans for today are to go to the vampires very soon now. At lunchtime I'll walk through the park to have a drink with Angela. It is tonight that is a bit of an unknown. What I would like to do is to go out and watch the first set from M.T. Pockets playing in The Elm Tree pub in Elmers End (where, allegedly, they have fixed their terrible all pink stage lights), and then get the tram from Elmers End station to see Chain's second set in Graces bar by Birkbeck tram stop. Whether I will even get out tonight is a big unknown at the moment.
Thursday 22nd March 2018
 08:30 GMT

   It was rather pleasant yesterday - sort of like the perfect spring day. There were plenty of extended sunny intervals, and the sun felt warm despite the air temperature being no more than 10° C. It's a shame that today is not the same.
                      sunshine today
  In one small way today will be better than yesterday. The maximum temperature could be a degree higher at 11° C, but with no supporting sunshine it may not be noticeable. At least the day should be dry, and the extremities of the day won't be quite as cold as yesterday. Tomorrow could see the maximum temperature rise to 12° C, and if there was any sunshine that could feel very pleasant, but like today, we will be under a light grey sky all day. Of course, just as I wrote that the sun did it's best to shine. Maybe the idea of no sunshine today or tomorrow might need editing if reality turns out different.

  I spent half an hour or so shopping yesterday morning. It was nothing exciting. Just buying some cleaning stuff, and maybe a few other things, from Poundland, but it was an opportunity to test my legs before going out a little bit later to see Angela. My legs seemed to be in good working order, and with the sun on my back feeling nice and warm, I had a nice walk through the park. I thought I would take the Canon "Rebel", aka EOS 300D camera for a walk in the park just to get some use out of it, and also to see if the new batteries I bought for it stopped it appearing to be a battery hog. They did !
 I was snapping away at lots of things, but none of the pictures seemed new or exciting except for the one above. It was taken with practically full zoom, and so despite taken from a bridge, it appears to be taken from a shallow angle, and from near the water. What I like most though is the way the sunshine gives it a sort of golden glow - particularly of the head.
cyclists - thousands of them !
 I've heard that Ladywell Fields is one part of a popular cycle run that follows the River Ravensbourne, but I've never seen any cyclists doing it until yesterday. It was like the Tour De France had come to town. I didn't try and count how many cyclists there were, but I estimate that as the leaders were exiting the park by Ladywell station, the last of the cyclists were still crossing the footbridge over the railway in the middle of the park ! I can remember a time (1960s) when the uniformed park keepers would give you a severe ticking off for riding your bike in the park !

 After the park it was on to the pub to meet Angela. It was both a very nice, but rather sad meeting. It was nice in so much as we seemed to feel close to each other, and Angela was definitely sympathetic when she told me two buts of bad news. The first was nothing that unexpected - that she had spent 3 nights of her long weekend staying at lover boys place. I suggested she was a lost cause. Not in any vindictive way, but I think I probably meant it. The second bit of bad news might have a sweetener to take the taste away. Next week Angela uses up the last of her annual leave, and she will be off work until after Easter Monday. I won't be able to see her for almost a week and a half - except for next Monday if I am very, very lucky. On Monday she is at work, but is on an all day course. I suggested that maybe we should meet after the course to wind down with a couple of drinks. She thought that was a possible good idea, but I fear she will say she is too tired in practice. Oh well, at least I'll be seeing her today and tomorrow.

 I guess I was feeling OK yesterday because after I walked Angela back to work I went back into the park, and walked home a slightly longer way than the more direct route I would usually use. All the feeling good, exercise and fresh air seems to be having a beneficial effect on my blood pressure, and if things continue as they are until I see my doctor (or the nurse) just before the end of the month, those mad medics should be fairly happy with the results. The reading I took last night was exceptionally low for me, and well into the target area recommended by the doctors.
good blood pressure
 Evidently I was feeling so good last night that I dared to venture out into the night to go to the M.T. Pockets open mic night at The Iron Horse pub in Sidcup. I aimed to get there a little before 9pm, but the bus and train let me down. I just missed a bus, and had a bit of a wait for the next one. When I got to Lee station, where I change from bus to train, I had a bit of a wait for the next train, and I arrived at the pub at about 9.20pm. I arrived just in time to see Dan, Steve and Dylan just finishing their introductory song.
Dan Murphy
Dan Murphy playing the last chords of a song before calling the next musicians to the stage.
Dan announces the next musicians
 There were a lot of people there I didn't know, plus a scattering of those I do know. One curious thing was that there were at least 4 serious cameras in operation (including my own). As well as me there was Rod Tidman with a Sony DSLR camera. Michael Murphy with his Canon DSLR and huge lens, and another man who looked slightly familiar with another Canon camera. In theory there should be a good selection of pictures appearing from last night.

 One of the main reasons I went out last night was to return the book that Rod Tidman lent me before Xmas. It was a big and heavy book about jazz musicians, and the significant thing is that it had loads of photos that Rod had suggested were a good lesson on photography. I didn't enjoy lugging that book on the bus and train to get it back to Rod. With that important job done, two pints of Guinness drunk, and a selection of photos in my camera, I said my goodbyes early, and caught the 10:45pm train back to Lee. As I walked down from the station I saw the bus arriving, and had to run to catch it. I did, and with such tight timing I reckon I went from door to door in about 25minutes. It actually took a little longer because I gave myself a generous amount of time to walk from the pub to the station platform. I also took an extra 5 minutes or so to call into the fried chicken shop.

 I had only a couple of semi small salad during the day, and the appeal of a couple of chicken burgers was too much to resist at the end of the day. I thoroughly enjoyed devouring them when I got home. Soon after I went to bed, and fell asleep very quickly. For most of the night I slept well, but my sleep did become a bit intermittent towards the end. I am not going to have a lot of time to go through the photos I took last night, and so I made a start on them soon after I was awake. The main calls on my time today, apart from photo editing, will be meeting Angela at lunchtime, and going for my Thursday evening drink. This evening we are drinking in the Bromley Wetherspoons pub so we can use up the last of the CAMRA 50p off vouchers that expire at the end of the month.
Wednesday 21st March 2018
 07:20 GMT

   The weather forecast for yesterday seemed to describe a different day to the one I experienced. It started with a prediction for rain, and possibly sleet, but while the sky did seem to be initially very grey and threatening, it only dropped one very brief, very light shower. By 11am we had the first sunny intervals, five hours earlier than predicted. The rest of the day included a fair bit more sunshine, and even when the sun wasn't shining it still seemed bright outside. There were times when the temperature seemed to be higher than the max of 8° C that was predicted.
  Typically enough, today's forecast has started off wrong. As I sit here typing this we are not experiencing a "sunny interval" but full bright sunshine pouring out of a cloudless sky. The consequence of that clear sky is that the temperature is not 3° C, but just under 0°C, and there is a frost on all the car roofs ! If the sky stays clear the full strength sun might quickly raise the temperature to the forecast high of 10° C, and maybe even a degree or two higher. There will apparently be some light cloud tonight that may stop the temperature falling too deeply, and that should make tomorrow a bit more comfortable. The maximum daytime temperature is currently forecast to be the same as today, but no sunshine is forecast.

  Yesterday was not another uneventful day ! It ended up very eventful indeed, and me being ripped off for quite a bit of money. It started with a knock at the front door by a very polite man saying that he was working on the garden at the rear of mine. Part of his job was to control the ivy that was growing over the fence from my side, and that it might involve some noisy cutting, and spraying of root killer. That seemed reasonable, and ultimately desirable. It also seemed reasonable that he might have access to my side of the fence. From then on things escalated, and ended up very unreasonable.

 The big problem was that the man, and his mate, were too eager to go far beyond what I could afford, and their rates seemed very extravagant. It ended with something I wanted, but in a way that I didn't. At the rear of my garden was a tree growing out of control, and partly shrouded in ivy. The original man went to work in the garden behind me, and left his mate to trim the ivy from the tree - or so I thought. That tree ended up being cut down - which was good, but at that point I hadn't actually agreed that it should be done. I then learnt that this man wanted paying separately, and then the two of them started talking of what seemed extravagant disposal rates for all that had been cut down.

 At that point I decided I had had enough. I asked the second man how much his fee was going to be to finish cutting the felled tree into manageable bits. We agreed a price and he started cutting again. 10 minutes later he announced that his chain saw was broken and he could do no more. He also tried to imply that I should pay to have the chainsaw repaired. During a short discussion I essentially told him to fuck off. He left me with a semi-large tree dominating much of one end of my garden that was blocking light into the kitchen, and cluttering up the path .

 It felt rather mild during the afternoon, and I spent two sessions with a pair of loppers cutting that tree up more successfully than the man with his chain saw. Of course I am going to have difficulty with the thickest branches, and I am going to have a horrendous job disposing of all the wood. I could possibly hire a council "garden waste" wheelie bin, and that may be the simplest option. Either that or I dispose of the wood a tiny bit at a time hidden in the bottom of the general waste bin. Other options include having a bonfire or fly tipping. That last option puts ethics in a fine balance. The amount I could dispose of at any given time would be a rucksack full, and that wouldn't look too out of place if dumped into thick woodland.

 Two surprising things emerged from that ordeal yesterday. The first was that my twice daily blood pressure readings continue to be low enough to placate my doctor when I he finally sees them, and secondly that I seemed to sleep alright last night. Well it wasn't perfectly good sleep. I was awake for a short time in the middle of the night with a familiar, but rare complaint that perplexes me - the sole of my foot itching ! It is one of those annoyances that is easily overlooked during the waking world, but whose annoyance value soars tenfold when laying in bed , in the dark, in the middle of the night. I don't think it did any actual good, but it felt soothing when I rubbed some baby oil, with aloe vera, on the sole of my foot. After maybe less than half an hour I got back to sleep again.

 This morning I feel sort of OK. I was concerned that all the work I did cutting up the tree with loppers would leave it's mark on me this morning, but it seems mostly not. I can feel that I did some unusual exercise, but it is not painful in any way, although it could get that way when I do more lopping. Maybe it is the psychological boost from the sunshine, but I do feel almost good this morning.

 Today I will either spend a bit of time using the loppers to cut up more of the tree, or I could make a start on bagging up some of the smaller stuff. One thing I am very much looking forward to is seeing Angela at lunchtime. Then, if I can realise the energy and enthusiasm, I would like to go to the M.T. Pockets open mic in The Iron Horse in Sidcup. I don't know how well I'll fare tonight, but I know it would be far easier if it were next week. Next week, after the change to BST on Sunday, sunset will have changed to after 7.30pm, and on clear days the last hints of daylight should be as late as 8pm. Going out while it is still light ought to have a profound positive effect on my gig attendances.
group photo from 2013
 Yesterday I came across a few photos I had been looking for from 2013 that showed the first time I had met Brian Bath. Brian is the lead guitarist for Life Of Brian - the band that is fronted by Angela's daughter Miranda, and who I can't see these days because it also features Angela's lover boy on drums. Brian is on the right hand side of the picture with his head on Jo Corteen's shoulder.  Chris Mayer is in the centre of the picture. To the left of him is Elizabeth Vass who used to regularly do guest vocals for Chain, and now fronts her own band, Out The Box. I'm unsure who the other young lady is, but it is my old mate Kevin behind her.

 The occasion for this photo was a Jo Bangles gig - essentially just Jo and Chris on acoustic guitars. Brain got up and sung a couple of songs between sets, and the pub landlord sung a few songs to a karoake backing track. It was a fun evening, and the best thing was that it was a very early start on a Monday evening. I went there straight from work. It was easy to get the train from Waterloo East to Charlton station, and even with my ever worse angina pains it wasn't too bad a walk. The gig was on 15th April 2013, and it wasn't until September that my angina brought me to a complete stop, and into hospital with a heart attack.
Tuesday 20th March 2018
 07:20 GMT

   It was another very cold day yesterday, but there was some sunshine in the afternoon - although less than expected, and not enough to inspire me to do anything significant. The highest temperature was a little under 4° C by my reckoning, and a lot of the day was just 2° C or less. It was just high enough to melt most of the snow, but not all, and some snow is still visible this morning.
the start
                      of the slow climb towards warmth
  Yesterday was the slow, incredibly slow, climb towards warmth. Today that climb continues. Later in the afternoon the temperature may hit 8° C, and it is possible that we may see some sunshine as sunset approaches.The forecast gives a 92% chance of sleet or rain about now, but it seems perfectly dry outside as far as I can see. By 8am the chance of rain falls to 76%. Maybe it will rain then. The sky certainly looks like it could rain. I think most of today will be very dull. Tomorrow may be very similar to today, but with no predictions of sleet or rain, and also less chance of sunshine.

  Yesterday was another uneventful day, although it might have been very eventful ! It all started when I started my week and a half of twice daily blood pressure readings that I will be presenting to my doctor and nurse at the end of the month. To my great surprise, my blood pressure was quite low compared to my usual very high readings. It was almost low enough to be acceptable the most martinet of nurses ! The only trouble was that I felt lousy, and the lousiest bit was my chest. It was a bit later in the morning when the aches and pains in my chest  rose to such a level that I wondered if this time it could have been more than "soft tissue" damage.

  Such occasions as yesterday are what I have complained to my doctor about - in as much as it is difficult to tell whether I am suffering from just a strong bout of "twisted rib" or a heart attack. My doctor says I will definitely know if it is a heart attack, but I am not so sure. I can't recall the pain being significantly different when I decided to call an ambulance in September 2013, and that ended up with having my quad heart bypass operation. There were some small clues that it was different to a heart attack yesterday. In particular was the way in some postures I could feel what seemed like bone grinding against bone as I breathed.

  As usual, the cure was to do stuff you are not supposed to do when having a heart attack - hard manual labour. In my case this was washing a medium sized bath towel (plus a few smaller bits and pieces) by hand. Once again it seemed to pull the superstructure in my chest into a non painful configuration. It maybe half an hour after finishing the hard work before the pains faded down to generally ignorable - i.e. normal for my chest.

 I'm sure I did other physical stuff, but I can't think what it was unless it was going up and down the stairs several time in fairly quick succession as I prepared my dinner while also trying to watch Star Trek on TV. Dinner was based on a large(ish) baked potato with cheese and beans. Initially I gave it 5 minutes in the microwave, but that wasn't enough, So I gave it another 5 minutes. That was good enough to get it ready for the next stage - cutting in two, and then covering each half with cheese. I then zapped it again for a few minutes before covering in baked beans, and zapping again for a few minutes. Between each stage I would race back up to me bedroom where my PC was showing Star Trek.

 I guess I gave it about an hour after eating my baked potato before taking my evening blood pressure reading. This time it was higher, but still below the "being shouted at by the doctor" level. I attempted to take a few more readings to see if I could force myself into a more relaxed state, but sometime that made the pressure higher. I think if I can produce a week and a half of these reading it may keep the doctor off my back for another year, and not seeing the doctor will make me feel so much better !

 Considering how sedentary I had been for most of yesterday, I seemed to sleep rather better than expected last night. After what seemed like a succession of dreams set in an altered version of Rushey Green telephone exchange 35 years ago, I woke up feeling fairly good....well maybe not fairly good for the first 10 minutes, but it eventually got there. Now I am planning my day, and I am getting nowhere ! The only thing I can predict doing is going further from my front door than the wheelie bin once the temperature hits 6° C. The last time I left the house was Saturday when I went to Aldi. It is high time I stretched my legs even if it is only a wander around the local shops.
Monday 19th March 2018
 09:35 GMT

   There was nothing specifically shown in the forecast beyond a general threat of snow at some unknown time yesterday, and indeed there was some more light snowfall at about 4pm. I think it probably settled, and increased the depth of snow by nearly 1mm. Other than that, it was a horribly grey day, and frightfully cold ! By 7pm the most pessimistic of my outside thermometers said it was minus 2° C, but that was probably the lowest it got all night.
the start
                      of the thaw....or is it?
  Today should see the start of the thaw, but my outside thermometers were still saying it was at or just under 0° C. What's more is those electronic thermometers make a crude weather prediction themselves, and two of them thought more snow would fall ! All we can do is keep our fingers crossed that this afternoon sees a temperature rise into definite positive figures, plus some sunshine. Tomorrow should be a few degrees less cold, but it looks to be a very dull, completely sunless day. Maybe we will fare better on Wednesday.

  Yesterday was another rather unexciting day, but I guess I wouldn't really expect anything else on a Sunday, and the cold and grey weather certainly didn't inspire me to go out, or even do anything indoors ! I did wash a couple of hand towels and a couple of other small things as well, but that was probably the limit of my productivity yesterday. It is quite surprising how painlessly the day slid by when there was so little to distract me.
snipping from The Metro
 One thing that I did yesterday was to remember I had taken a very poor quality photo (because the light was very poor in the pub when I took it) of a small article in The Metro last Thursday.  It was a story that really resonated with me. There have been several times when I have ordered jeans online that have turned out to be a different size to an identical pair that I may have even been wearing very comfortably as I made the order. On one occasion I had ordered a pair of blue jeans that I thought were so wonderful that I went straight back on line and ordered a black pair of the same style from the same seller. When they arrived I found I couldn't even do them up. Perhaps stupidly I had taken all the tags off before trying them, and that would have complicated sending them back, although maybe no that much, but I couldn't be bothered to jump through the hoops to do it anyway.

 I had a special treat in the evening - a very large steak for dinner. I had it with just a heap of green beans, and a lot of horseradish sauce. It tasted delicious, and it should have filled me up, but boredom fought against that. Maybe less than a couple of hours later I was nibbling on some barbecue flavoured almonds, and I was really tempted to have some ice cream too !

 A week (and maybe a couple more days) before the end of the month I have to give blood samples to check on my diabetes situation, and so I really want to fast as much as possible, but these cold grey days make that incredibly hard. Being bored is another killer too.  Another thing that will be impacted by my diet and lack of exercise will be my blood pressure. I am supposed to start taking morning and even home readings from today, and I dread to think what the readings will be. Hopefully I can get at least a few low (for me) readings (both blood pressure and blood glucose and lipids) to try and deflect my doctor and nurse when I see them at the end of this month. I am extremely pessimistic about the outcome !

 At least I had a reasonable sleep last night. I think I even had a sort of comedy dream. It was about Dr Who's retention toilet in the TARDIS exploding after being continually filled, and not emptied for 499 years. It showered the whole Earth with shit. Fortunately I was standing somewhere not on Earth to observe this, although I have n idea where I might have been standing.

 This morning I feel about as good and bad as most mornings....or maybe most mornings after being sedentary the previous day or two. My legs and arms feel a bit stiff and ache a bit. Other than that I guess I feel reasonably well. Today could be tricky because I have no idea what I am going to do. I feel I want to do something exciting, and perhaps that is blinding me to some of the stuff I ought to do. Stuff that is less exciting like hoovering my bedroom carpets ! Perhaps I'll get into the mindset of doing housework, perhaps I won't. Oh well Wednesday is not far away, and I can look forward to seeing Angela at lunchtime then.
Sunday 18th March 2018
 11:03 GMT

Just one week to go before the clocks change back to BST. 

It didn't really believe that the snow would come to anything yesterday, and yet it was most persistent. There was never anything that you could stretch to calling a heavy snowfall, but it seemed that for most of the day there were a few flakes blowing about in the breeze. Sometimes there were more, and gradually some surfaces accumulated a thin covering of snow. The ground still carried enough heat from the couple of warm(ish) days we had before this snowy weather blew in from the east, to melt any snow falling on it, and in fact for a lot of the time the pavements actually seemed dry. From my bedroom I can see a steeply sloped roof covered in dried up grass. That accumulated a fair covering of snow, as did a few house and car roofs. The average temperature was more or less as forecast, 1° C, but I did observe one of my thermometers saying -2° C late last night.
                    view from my back bedroom
 This was the view from my back bedroom window at about 9am this morning. At roof level it was 1° C when I took this.
the big
                      question: will it, or won't it snow today ?
  I can't ever recall a temperature profile being so flat. It appears that it will be 1° C all day today. The headline says light snow, but nowhere on the hourly chart is there any mention of snow. The chances of any precipitation range from 0% to 16%. I would say the chance of any snow (sleet or rain) to be so low that it is not worth bothering about, but I thought that for a lot of yesterday, and I was wrong ! It's all change tomorrow as we start the long slow climb back to more pleasant weather. There could be some sunshine tomorrow, and the temperature may hit 4° C. In a few more days the daytime temperature should have risen back to 12° C, but the forecasters are being really pessimistic about seeing much in the way of sunshine in the next week.

  Yesterday was another day when nothing dramatic happened, and yet the day passed really smoothly. I only did one significant thing in the morning, and that was to wash 5 t-shirts and a pair of lounge pants. I'm not really sure where the rest of the morning went to. Just after lunch I went to Aldi. I had hoped that the morning rush would have calmed down - I was wrong. It may have been even more busy. Don't these people realise that are supposed to stay at home when it is snowing ?

 When I got back from Aldi I had lunch. Apart from a couple of small packs of  Potato Hoops it contained nothing I had bought in Aldi. The main part was the
Boerewors (South African sausage) that I had ordered from Big Fat Gournet as part of a takeaway on Friday night. Warmed up with a sprinkle of potato hoops, and some barbecue sauce, they were delicious. I think it made me impatient for my evening meal. My evening meal came in two parts. The first part was a ready prepared "roast winter vegetables" that just needed roasting for 50 minutes. That was nice, although the spoiled the recipe some time ago buy adding beetroot into the mix. Roast beetroot is not actually horrible, but it is not pleasant !

 Part two of my evening meal, that came just as fast as I could cook it after I had cooked the vegetable, was venison steak. I have had venison before, but I can't recall having a venison steak before. It was nice, but maybe not enough to justify the price paid for it. One thing about it was that it is very, maybe extremely lean meat, and so theoretically much healthier for you. I grilled it with some butter just to lubricate it a bit, but it may not have needed it.

 My task for the evening was originally to go out to see Chain playing in The Mitre, but I was full of vegetables and venison, mt thermometer was saying minus degrees outside, and I sort of changed my mind. I filled in a lot of the time by watching, and often not watching TV. Just recently they have re-ordered the Freeview channels, and so I did a retune of the program, MeTV, that I use on my PC. In doing so I lost some channels. If my extensive, or time consuming research is correct it would seem that the format used to list all the channels has changed, and my version of MeTV can only use the old version.

 To arrive at this final conclusion I first tried deleting all the channels, and trying to retune them on 4 different USB DVB-T adapters. One of them did somehow find the missing channels, but for some unknown reason always says they are 0% signal strength and refuses to use them. Even more mysteriously it is happy to use, and display perfectly, channels that have been pre-tuned on another USB stick. The Ultimate solution to recover the missing channels was to use Kaffeine. That seems to have it's very own channel configuration file that it can download from somewhere on the internet.

 The ultimate solution is probably to do a fresh installation of the latest version of Linux Mint. I think before I commit to that I will open up my PC, and give it a good clean inside. I strongly suspect that many of the fans and heat sinks are clogged with dust. Once clean I will do a test install on a spare hard disk to make sure everything works OK, and then if that is OK I will do a fresh install on the real hard disk.....or maybe I won't. Maybe I will swap to a bigger hard disk, and do the install on that. Copying all the gigabytes of my home directory will probably take an age, but the old hard disk will become a good backup in case of trouble.

 One result of playing with Kaffeine, the multi-talented media player last night was that I noticed there was an interesting film on last night. It was called "Worlds End", and described as Sci Fi, but it listed Simon Peg as the lead actor, and that had to mean it was a comedy - and it was. I don't think it was the best he has ever done (check "Paul" for that) but it kept me amused for almost a couple of hours last night.

 Once again it took some time to get to sleep last night, and my sleep seemed full of strange dreams, but I guess that I slept fairly well, and this morning I probably feel 33% refreshed, but refreshed for what ? Apart from washing a couple of small towels, and thoughts about taking a wander to Poundland, I have no idea what I may be doing today, and maybe I don't want to do much anyway ! 
Saturday 17th March 2018
 10:01 GMT

  It seemed so nice yesterday that I actually left a couple of windows open to get a bit of fresh air inside my house. There as a lot of sunshine, and the temperature hit, or came very close to 13° C. Once the sun had set I made sure those windows were closed, and left the heating on all night. Today is a very different day to yesterday.
 It was forecast, but I didn't believe it would happen. This was the view through my bedroom window a few minutes before I started writing. It is probably closer to sleet than snow, but it is tenaciously clinging to any dry surface.
A return
                      to the mean depths of winter
  It seems like we have moved to a different continent or something - from a slightly warm and sunny 13° C to just 1° C for most of today. The forecast tells of a high probability of "precipitation" (rain, hail, sleet or snow) at 7am - there wasn't enough to give more than a mildly damp appearance on the road. Right now the chances of precipitation are forecast to be down to 25%, and it is snowing/sleeting very freely ! It seems to have stopped for the moment, but there will be other opportunities later - particularly after 8pm when the temperature drop a whole degree to zero° C ! ... The forecast has just been updated again ! The latest idea is that the temperature will drop to 0° C by 2pm, and there is a 30 - 40% chance of snow any time today. At the moment, while it has stopped snowing, the chances of snow are 87%. Most of tomorrow will be just 1° C, but at the moment no snow is forecast, although there are warnings for ice.

  Yesterday was a satisfactory day despite not seeing Angela. The weather was a big plus point, but there was also good news about the laptop that I intend to mainly use for transferring camcorder footage to digital mp4 files. Nothing I can do will repair the blown up sound input circuit, but an external sound card should take care of that. The best thing is that I now have a working Linux Mint installation working on it. Different versions of Linux Mint gave different results. Early versions worked well enough, but there was the obvious problem that most of the software depositories were obsolete, and so I couldn't install some new software I wanted. The best supported version had a really fundamental problem - it seems not to be able to communicate with the laptop's BIOS, and so the fans run full blast while the processor runs at it's minimum speed. Yesterday I installed the pure Debian version of Linux Mint. It couldn't perform a miracle of the blown up sound input, but everything else seems to work well. Best of all is that it should be supported indefinitely.

 The laptop actually took up very little of my time yesterday. Most of my time was spent selecting and editing photos from Stretchy's Open Mic session last Tuesday. The lighting at the venue, The Bricklayers Arms on Masons Hill, Bromley, is marginal. There is enough light to take some pictures without resorting to flash. It is a bit trickier, and perhaps a bit hit and miss, but the results are nicer. On the other hand it is safer to use my flash gun, and I used that for about three quarters of the pictures I took.
Martin "Stretch" Sickel
This is "Stretch" himself opening up the open mic session. This picture was taken in natural light, and seems much richer for it - although natural light includes a fairly bright light on the music stand.
Paul Southpaw
This is Paul Southpaw playing his left handed guitar. Once again this was taken in natural light, but there is something about Paul that my camera doesn't like. I took many pictures of him and most were out of focus !
Sid D'Hant
This is Sid D' Hant - star of stage, screen and TV. By trade he is an actor, but at the open mic session he performed a spoken piece, and sang a song while accompanying himself on guitar.
Rob Todd
It was a quiet night before Rob Todd got up with his electric guitar ! It was also quiet in the sense that the session was not that well attended on this occasion, and Rob had to sing 4 songs - he usually only does 1 or 2, but it was good practice for him - particularly considering his putting a band together to do complete gigs someday.
Last on was Val who entertained us with some Iron Maiden covers. He was accompanied by Rob Todd on the cahoun, and surprisingly by Rom Cas on bass. Rom (or Romeo) is the bass player from a reggae band, but made a splendid effort adding a bass line to Val's playing. (Love that purple scratch plate on the guitar !!!).

 I finished the photos in time to watch a bit of Star Trek on The Horror Channel. In theory I had enough time to clean myself up and get out to a gig, but I was feeling a bit tired after spending so much time at my PC, and I felt like relaxing. I also felt like having a nice dinner. I had eaten surprisingly little during the day. I had attempted to make egg and bacon for lunch, but the attempt was ultimately a failure. The bacon was a fair way past it's use by date, and so I over cooked it - just in case. Meanwhile I managed to under cook the eggs. The problem was that I literally didn't under cook them. I cooked them over the bacon, but most of the heat was from the grill above them. So the their tops looks well cooked, but as soon as I tried to serve them I found their undersides were close to raw. It turned into a good lesson, and it turned into a smaller meal than I intended it to be !

 To make up for it I ordered a meal from "Big Fat Gourmet", or maybe I ordered two meals. One meal was from their diabetic range. It consisted of a small slab of grilled skinless chicken with some salad plus a small tub of sweet potato mash. It was nice, very healthy, but past experience showed it wouldn't really satisfy my hunger. So I also ordered an ordinary burger - quite a big one. That was nice, but I was expecting it to be magnificent, and it wasn't. I think it was over stuffed, and I have a theory it would be nicer to have two smaller versions. I also ordered what was described as a South African sausage. It didn't say it came with anything, but I was curious about it. I have tried them before, and they can be nice and spicy. This one was very nice and spicy, and it must have been 2 foot long originally. It came cut in 5 (I think) long lengths. I tasted one, but the others I have save for lunch today.

 I nearly gave in to a very early night last night, but I watched a bit more TV, and I did some reading in bed. I think 11pm was approaching when I turned out the light and.....nothing happened. I don't know if it was the changing weather, or the excitement of seeing if there really would be snow today, or something completely different, but sleep eluded me for at least a couple of hours.  Eventually I fell asleep, and I managed about 4 hours of poor sleep. I got up a little after 6am, just as the morning was beginning to get light, and checked for snow. There was no snow, and the road looked no more than very slightly damp. I think there may have still been a few dry areas here and there.

 I spent maybe an hour, perhaps 90 minutes on my PC checking mail and stuff before deciding to go back to bed to see what would happen. Obviously I needed all the sleep I didn't get because it wasn't long before I fell asleep, and slept fairly well for a few hours. I'm not sure I wouldn't sleep a bit more if I tried for it, and maybe I will try for an afternoon snooze. So far my only thoughts on the day is to get under the shower and wash my hair. Then, once my hair is dry I shall go to Aldi. Later this evening I would like to see Chain's first set when they play in The Mitre Pub. If I make it through the snow, and the pub is quieter, and less manic than usual, I might even stay later. Meanwhile I have to think of stuff to fill in the afternoon !
Friday 16th March 2018
 07:52 GMT

  Yesterday was the second to last day of nice spring weather before we return back to winter over the weekend. The day started with some rain, but that dried up, the temperature started to rise towards 12° C, and finally the sun broke through. The sunshine was actually better than the forecast suggested. By 5pm the sky was almost cloudless, and there was continuous sunshine instead of sunny intervals. With the sky so clear the temperature seemed to fall faster and lower that the forecast suggested...or maybe it just felt that way.
                      warm and sunny
  It might have felt like the temperature dropped a long way last night, but this morning the temperature was supposed to be 9° C, and we seem to have a sunny interval that has lasted at least half an hour, and possibly over an hour ! I think that counts as it being sunny. This afternoon the temperature should peak at a satisfactory 13° C. After the the temperature starts to fall, and if the forecast is right it will be down near zero tomorrow and Sunday. It might, or might not snow tomorrow or Sunday. The forecast for the weekend has been changing back and force so rapidly that it has been making me dizzy. The average of it all is that it probably will snow at some time over the weekend, but there won't be much of it. We'll see !

  I was sort of busy doing very little yesterday. The highlight of the day was meeting Angela at lunchtime. That was very nice, but ended on a slight sad note. I knew she intended to take today and Monday off work, but I learned she had also booked next Tuesday off work too, and so I won't be seeing her again until next Wednesday. The other bad thing was that I wore a pair of shoes that mangled my feet !

 The pair of shoes were actually a pair of Converse hi top trainers - size 11. I prefer size 12 because they are easier to put on, but for non hi top's size 11 are often a slightly better fit. I do have a few other pairs of size 11 hi tops and they have always been comfortable, but the pair I wore yesterday seemed different. They seemed to feel slightly narrower than I like, but the worst thing is that they must have been flatter too. That is the only explanation as to how the right one decided to rub the skin off two of my toes. It made for a painful walk home.

 When I finally hobbled home I wanted some breakfast, but nothing too solid because I was going out again later. I should have stuck to a single can of soup, but I also had an instant noodle pot that I fortified with a few extra bits - including gravy granules. I think it was the latter that turned it from a snack into a meal. It left me feeling quite bloated - particularly after shoveling it all in on top of three pints of Guinness. I really wanted to have a good snooze after that, but there wasn't really time for that - although I tried !

 I was laying on my bed, and almost asleep when there was a knock on the door, and I had to leap off the bed, pull a t-shirt on, and see who it was. I was hoping it was a parcel delivery, but to my great annoyance it was a pair of door to door salesmen trying to interest me in "farm fresh" food deliveries. After seeing them off I went back to my bed, but I couldn't relax enough to fall asleep - particularly as by then I could only sleep for about 20 minutes before I had to go out again.

 I'm not sure why we changed, but the Thursday even drinking now starts at 4.30pm, and that gives me half an hour less to get over a lunchtime drink with Angela. In what seemed like no time at all I set out to walk to Catford station. I still felt bloated, and as well as feeling uncomfortable, I wonder where I would have space to fit in another three pints of beer. The odd thing was that it didn't actually feel any worse than usual by the time I got to the station. Even in the days when I was fairly regularly going on 5 or more mile walks, it always seemed hard work walking to Catford station. It is definitely harder now, but not by much !

 The Shortlands Tavern, where we were drinking, had an interesting beer on yesterday - Dartford Wobbler ! It was a slightly pale looking ale that wasn't too hoppy, and was 4.2%. It could have been tempting to have had a fourth pint of it, but I stuck to my plan of only having my regular three pints. Strangely enough, as I drank the feeling of bloat subsided, and to my surprise, the walk back to Shortlands station was fairly comfortable.

 I'm not sure what it was about that beer, but it gave me a fierce desire for food ! Maybe it was because the soup and noodles were all I had eaten all day up to that point. The short version is that I couldn't resist a visit to the fried chicken shop. It was glorious tucking into what I bought once I got home. It wasn't all that long after I finished eating that I started to feel very tired. So I cleaned up, brushed my teeth, and got into bed. It was only after I got in bed that I realised that it was only twenty to nine - rather earlier than I have been going to bed lately. Nevertheless, I was fast asleep in minutes.

 I woke up quite a few times in the night. Sometimes it was to drain the three pints of beer I had drunk, but at other times there seemed no reason for it. The good thing is that each time I woke up I managed to fall asleep again very quickly. Even accounting for those moments of being awake, I definitely got 8 hours of sleep, and maybe 9 hours. This morning I feel........well actually I am yawning a lot, and I feel tempted to go back to bed again !  Other than that, I feel nop worse than usual.

 There is no real reason why I couldn't go back to bed.  I am not seeing Angela at lunchtime, and in fact I have no particular plans for the whole day. Ideally I could do some house work today, but I'll probably be distracted by playing with the laptop that has consumed so many hours this week. I did have time to install the Debian version of Linux Mint on it yesterday, and first indications are looking good that all is in order. Today could just be a matter of testing and customisation.

 There is one temptation for the evening. There is a band who I am not familiar with playing in The Partridge in Bromley. Under normal circumstances I would probably just ignore them, but I have heard that The Partridge have a special Fullers Vintage Ale on at the moment. It is 8.5%, and reports say it tastes like nectar. I think I am considering popping up there for an hour or so to take a few snaps, and sample some of this wonder beer !
Thursday 15th March 2018
 08:03 GMT

  Yesterday was the best day we have had so far this year. It was dry and bright with lots of sunshine, and the temperature hit an almost warm 13° C. There were times when the breeze dropped to give still air, and during those times the sun felt deliciously warm.
grey and
                      damp, but still fairly mild
  Today is not forecast to be as nice as yesterday. There has already been some rain, but it seems to have stopped now, and it is brightening up a bit, but most of the day is supposed to be quite dull apart from some rare sunny intervals in the last hours before sunset. In the few hours where it might be 12° C it might feel reasonable. Despite the headline figure of a high of 14° C, the expanded view shows it will probably only be 13° C and rather like yesterday. The weather warnings shown on the screenshot concern snow.  This is the great on and off saga about a return visit from "the beast from the east", and will it, or won't it snow ? The latest thoughts of the forecasters for Catford suggest some light snow around midnight on Saturday, and another dusting of snow at 5am on Sunday. Other parts of London, or the country could see 6ft drifts of snow, but not Catford.....or so it seems !

 Yesterday was a very pleasant day...or some of it was.  Eventually my bad sleep the night before caught up with me, but that not before I had taken a nice walk in the park - in a t-shirt and no coat !!!! - and had a nice drink with Angela that involved three pints of Guinness. It was that Guinness that was responsible for my bad sleep catching up with me. I had a very extended snooze after lunch. By midday it felt like it should be warm enough to walk through the park with no coat - and it was. I even took a picture to prove it !
not a terribly good picture of me
I actually took two "selfies", and didn't like the look of either, but this one shows more blue sky in the background than the other, so it was the one to use. What it doesn't show is my bare arms soaking up the rays of the sunshine.
a ducks bottom
 Some pictures just have to be taken ! If I recall correctly this is a male duck, and his plainer looking missus was preening herself nearby.
a female, or hen duck
 This is probably the missus. Despite wearing drab feathers she was vigourously preening them, and I snapped her as she took a breather from her hard work.
nice show of daffs in the St Mary's
                        Church garden
After being battered by the snow last week, all the daffodils are now in full bloom. These one's are in the "Therapeutic Garden" behind St Mary's Church.
squirrel posing on a tree stump
With everyone full of the joys of spring, this squirrel was kind enough to pose for me on a tree stump.

 It was a nice walk through the park, and I had a nice drink with Angela. With no prompting she confirmed my thoughts yesterday (or the day before) and revealed that she is going through another bad patch with lover boy. Unfortunately she forgives him because he is ill. He has some sort of ear infection, or other problem with his ear, and has a hospital visit soon (possibly today), and also has another hospital appointment on Friday for undisclosed reasons. Such things can make anyone grumpy, but shouldn't turn you into an arsehole !

 I timed my pints wrong yesterday, and still had half a pint of Guinness to drink when it was time for Angela to go back to work. After I finished my Guinness I decided to turn left when I came out of the pub instead of right towards home. I decided to walk through the "Therapeutic Garden" behind St Mary's Church. Lots of work has been done in there ready for later in spring, and it is where I took the picture of the daffodils above. I wasn't feeling too comfortable walking with three pints of Guinness swilling around in my stomach, but when I entered the park I once again turned away from walking the quickest way back home.

 I walked right to the far end of the park near Ladywell station, and then l walked home via the path that runs parallel to the railway. As I walked it seemed like the sun was getting hazier and hazier, and on a few short occasions it went in completely. It made the last bit of my walk start to feel a bit cool without a coat on, but while there was sunshine it still felt very cheery. In the last few minutes of walking, after I had exited from the park, my thoughts turned to food. I invented a special recipe that turned out less exciting than I hoped !

 My recipe was a pile of ready prepared cabbage and leak as a bed for a smoked frankfurter style sausage and a couple of poached/steamed eggs. It was pleasant enough, but I think a bed of green beans would probably have been nicer. Anyway, it filled a hole in my stomach, and made me feel sleepy. At this time I had totally lost track of time, and so I have no idea when it actually was that I lay on my bed, and read one page from the book I am reading before falling asleep. What I do know is that it was very close to 5.30pm when I woke up again !

 It took some time to wake up properly after that long snooze, but once I found my feet, and other bits of my body and brain, I felt ready to tackle the laptop that has been consuming so much of my time. The story so far is that the very latest release of Linux Mint work well for almost every feature but one, and it is a very important one. It can't seem to read the information provided by the BIOS and so it runs the fans at full speed, and the processor at it's slowest possible speed. As I write that I realise that the problem may be that it thinks the processor is overheating all the time.

 The 2013 release of Linux Mint works OK, but there is a problem with getting updates and extra software from obsolete archives. Last years version does work well, and it is supported for a few more years yet, but like my desktop PC that is running the same version, it makes a complete hash of working with bluetooth adapters. It is a feature that is "nice" rather than essential, and so I tried some intermediate versions to see if I could get everything working. The only problem is that support for those slightly earlier versions ran out last year, and the software archives have started to evaporate. By midnight I had everything working except bluetooth, but I managed to pull myself away to go to bed.

 It didn't feel like I slept that well last night, and I would have loved to have taken full advantage of not having to go to work by turning over, and going back to sleep for a few more hours when I woke up at about 7.30am (or maybe a bit earlier). I did try, but I couldn't get comfortable, and sleep wouldn't come. It seemed the harder I tried to find that elusive comfortable position, the more it felt like my calf muscles were going to cramp. So I got up (although I may try and get more sleep once I have finished writing).

 Today I have a few things to do. I'll be meeting Angela at lunchtime, and so that means another walk in the park. If it is not actually raining it will still be damp and grey, and so rather less enjoyable than yesterday. Angela is off work tomorrow and Monday, and so I had better make the most of seeing her today. This evening it is Thursday evening drinking with the Thursday club. Once again we are drinking in The Shortlands Tavern, and that suits me nicely. There are two other things I could do to fill in the spare time. One is to continue wasting hours and hours playing with that laptop. and that will be a huge temptation. The other is to pull my finger out and do something with all the pictures I took at "Stretchy's open mic" last Tuesday. That really ought to be my priority !
Wednesday 14th March 2018
 08:22 GMT

  Yesterday was sort of good. The morning, in complete defiance of the forecast made just minutes earlier, was nice and sunny, and the sunshine lasted, on and off, until at least mid morning. The rest of the day was mostly overcast, but at least the clouds were very light grey in colour. The final good thing was the temperature. At best it was 11° C, and because the wind was very light it felt very mild. Today could be even better.
                      potentially nice day
  It is certainly nice and sunny as I write this, and the forecast, which only a day or two said today would be wet and rainy, now says it should be sunny almost all day long - although they do hedge their bets by only predicting sunny intervals or sunny periods. It seems the wind may be a little stronger today, and that may take the edge off the 13° C that is predicted. On the other hand, all that sunshine could possibly raise the temperature even higher than 13° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be a dull and wet day. Friday was going to be sunny, and then it wasn't, and now it's thought that it could be sunshine and showers. What they'll will next predict is anyone's guess. The weekend is still predicted to be bloody cold, but some of the earlier predictions of snow seem to be currently replaced by a bit of sunshine on Sunday. I wonder what the weekend will be really like ?

 Yesterday turned out to be a busy day.  I didn't think it would be like it, but it sort of happened that way. I did give some thought to jumping on a train, and doing some photography in some part of London, but I left it late enough for the failing sunshine to put me off the idea. That was mainly because I got caught up in trying to get my HP Compaq nx6325 laptop working correctly using the latest version of Linux Mint. I knew it could work properly because I had a quite usable installation of an earlier version of Linux Mint on it. That was on another hard disk - I swapped to a bigger hard disk when I wanted to be able to run Windows XP on it as well.

 I still have the old hard disk, and at a pinch I could clone it's contents onto the new hard disk, but I tried to do some research about the problem. I didn't find any solutions, but I did find people with the same problem as me. There were some suggestions as to what causes the problem, but no real solutions. One thing seems certain though, earlier versions of Linux Mint seemed to work OK. Today I might revert to a 5 year old version of Linux Mint to see what happens.

 With the laptop running excruciatingly slowly, even when doing simple tasks like updating software, I had time to do other stuff. The most significant "other stuff" was to do some tidying up in my front room. It actually became more than tidying up. It involved sawing wood and undoing screws too ! In one corner of my front room I had extended the depth of one shelf of the book shelves, and reinforced it so I could keep my ancient iMac on it. The iMac was really little more than a conversation piece, and even when it was last working it spent nearly all of it's time showing a clock screensaver.

 The iMac is now in the cupboard under the stairs, together with my collection of Apple odds and sods (including stacks of floppy disks for earlier Apple equipment), and one day I might repair it (it need a new hard disk), or I might just toss it out. Now the reinforced and extended shelf is no longer needed I cut off the extended support, and reverted it to a more normal book shelf (although still with enough extra support to be OK for heavier stuff). I also had a couple of old Commodore Amiga computers, along with assorted accessories, under that shelf, and they are also now crammed into the cupboard under the stairs. With a bit of re-arrangement of some items in my living room I have have got back some wasted space.

 As I was doing all this stuff I had in mind that I would like to go out in the evening. It was "Stretchy's Open Mic" at The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley last night, and it is a nice open mic to go to. It is never too crowded, and the musicians have a fair amount of space to play in. Getting there is simple, although tedious - a bus, either a 320 or 208, goes directly from Catford to within 100ft of the pub. So I got myself cleaned up a bit, and set out towards Bromley. The only problem was that I must have just missed getting a 320 bus from where it starts it's route behind Tesco. I can remember back in 2013 when my angina was really starting to become a nuisance, and it was quite painful to walk to that bus stop. Last night I opted to walk a lot further to see if I would have to wait less to get a 208 bus from the high street (almost trebling the length of my walk). I made the right decision because I only had to wait at the bus stop for little more than a single minute before a 208 bus arrived.

 The bus made good progress to Bromley, but it was still a very tedious journey. Maybe it seems less tedious when it is still light, or maybe it is worse because there is more to see, or maybe it is just tedious in a different way. Anyway, I arrived there in good time. Martin "Stretchy" Sickel had just set his gear up, and was doing a sound check. About half an hour later the musicians, and some spoken poetry, started. The latter seemed out of place, but some of it was strange and funny. The centre mic, where most people played, was just about well enough lit to make photography relatively easy, but in the end I decided to use my flash gun to light up some of the dimmer places. Somehow using the flash gun feels like cheating, and I feel it ought to be annoying, but no one complained, or even mentioned it.

 I stayed right to the very end. The bar had called last orders, and the final song was being sung as I packed up my camera and put my coat on. It's funny how only a few bits seemed very enjoyable, but the whole thing must have been enjoyable for me to stay out that late.  I think I drunk four pints of Guinness during the evening, and that made me feel quite peckish as I left. I had deliberately not eaten anything since lunchtime, and I developed this strong urge for some fast food, and the only fast food easily available in Catford at that time of night is fried chicken. So I hoped a 320 bus might arrive at the bus stop first. That drops me off close to the fried chicken shop I usually use, but the first bus was a 208, and I had a bit of extra walking to go to a different shop.

 Once I got indoors I ate my two chicken burgers (and fries), and thoroughly enjoyed them. I could have savoured the taste a bit longer, but I felt tired, and so I brushed my teeth and got into bed. I fell asleep easily enough, but an hour or two later I woke up and found I must have been feverish or something. My pillow was wet with sweat, and there was a damp patch below where my chest was. Maybe it was some sort of fever because I felt quite cold, and had to turn the heater on before I could get back to sleep using a sleeping position that kept me off the damp area. My sleep was a bit lumpy after that, and I predict I will take a long snooze this afternoon.

 The main thing on the agenda today is meeting Angela at lunchtime. That laptop is probably going to consume more hours of my time today, but at least it keeps me out of trouble. What should consume many more hours of my time is sorting through, and selecting photos taken last night for a bit of editing to make up a new photo album. Even if I don't finish the editing today I should at least have a couple of pictures to show tomorrow.
Tuesday 13th March 2018
 08:39 GMT

  Yesterday I complained that the previous day's weather was, amongst other things, damp. Yesterday it was more than damp. it was actually wet ! On the plus side the temperature managed to climb to 10° C, and that took some of the sting out of the rain. Today seems to be different in many ways ! 
                      what the forecast shows, it is a sunny morning !
  It's not shown on the forecast, but as I write this it is brilliantly sunny. Maybe later on we will lose the sunshine, but perhaps it won't get too grey. The sunshine may even be back just before sunset. Today may be very slightly warmer than yesterday, and with a light wind it may feel relatively OK. Tomorrow might be a degree warmer still, and with more sunshine, but from then on it goes downhill. On Sunday the forecast said that this coming Friday would be sunny. It is now shown as murky and wet, but it get's worse. The weekend is now going to be cold and snowy. Two days ago it was forecast to be grey, damp and warm. I really do wonder of there is any science involved in these forecasts, or if they just study tea leaves or something.
  Apart from washing my hair and having a good shower, the first thing I did yesterday was to go to Aldi. I found I had urges for two things in particular - fish and curry. So I duly bought some salmon cutlets and some smoked mackerel plus a couple of curry ready meals - the nice ones ! A little later I could put down the laptop I am experimenting with for a few hours yesterday when I went out to see Angela at lunchtime. There were some interesting sights in the park as I walked though it to get to the pub.
Mandarin duck
This, as I later learned, is a mandarin duck. I don't think I have ever seen one before, and certainly never on The River Ravensbourne as it meanders it's way through Ladywell Fields. He had his missus with him. She is a lot plainer. I didn't manage to get a good picture of her.

 I had a nice drink with Angela. Some of the talk was about a new medical condition she is suffering from (nothing serious), and some talk about the weekend. I don't know if it was in deference to me, but I don't think she mentioned lover boy at all - and I certainly didn't ask ! Perhaps I should have. On the other hand it is safer to keep deluding myself that their relationship has lost it's sparkle, and is now little more than routine. It was raining when I walked Angela back to work, and I took the opportunity to show my waterproof Fuji camera (so waterproof that it has an underwater setting !). The first shot, taken on the spur of the moment, with no thought to composition is pretty lousy. The second a lot better.

An instant shot with no thought for
                              composition (or use of the viewfinder)
Angela under her umbrella in the

 I rather like the second picture, and it shows that using the viewfinder, instead of guessing, is always a good idea when possible. After I said goodbye to Angela outside her workplace (too wet for a hug, so just a couple of blown kisses) I walked home as fast as possible. It wasn't terribly fast, but I think I did fairly well considering I had three pints of Guinness swilling around in my gut !

 Unlike most times when I come back from a lunchtime drink with Angela, I had no food pre-prepared, and I had to cook something from scratch. On this occasion that was fine because what I cooked did not take long, and wasn't the sort of thing that could be pre-cooked and reheated. It was mange tout with salmon fillets and poached eggs. It was rather enjoyable, and surprisingly filling. It should have been very low in sugar, and apart from the useful fish oil, very low on fat. It might even have been lower in calories than other stuff I might have knocked up.

 After my late lunchtime meal I had a snooze for an unknown amount of time. I felt typically dreadful when I woke up, but forced myself to get back to experimenting with the laptop I hope to use for transferring analogue video to digital video. I had previously installed Windows XP on it, but had left some space on the hard disk for a small Linux installation. Installing the latest version of Linux Mint added confirmation that the microphone/line audio input was as dead as a doornail !

 The solution to my sound input problem may be solved by the use of an external USB sound card, and I have one that I tested yesterday. It would seem to work, although I couldn't actually hear the sound, but at least I saw the level meter moving in time to the music. Before I get to trying that USB sound card when running windows I have another problem to solve. The processor in the laptop, being designed for laptops, has the facility to change it's clock frequency as required to meet the computing load on it. This saves battery power, and helps the laptop to run cooler, and it does, but not correctly. It seems likely that the BIOS is not reporting the CPU's parameters correctly, and the CPU is running at it's slowest speed all the time. The cure might be as simple as editing one line in the boot script. I'll be trying that this morning.

 During the evening I watched a bit of TV and ate an alleged calorie controlled ready meal of Chicken Biryani. I also decided to empty the change in the back pocket of my jeans. I suspect most of us allow the change to build up, particularly after being in a pub, and eventually it becomes stupidly heavy. As I scooped it out I noticed that one coin didn't look quite right. It was the size of a 5p coin, but said 10 on it. Closer examination showed it to be 10 cents.
10 cent coin from East Caribbean
 As can be seen in these slightly less than sparkling photos, The coin is from The East Caribbean States, and the Queen's head on the obverse shows it must be a British Colony - although why they use "cents" is a mystery. A friend, who obviously has too much time on his hands, claims to have looked it up on a coin collecting site (or probably Ebay) and says it is worth £1.99 to collectors. If I could or wanted to realise that it could have half paid for the pint of Guinness that I bought when I was (probably) given the coin in my change from that purchase !

 I read in bed for a while before attempting to go to sleep. I am sure that I felt mostly comfortable as I lay on my back reading, but as soon as I turned out the light, and turned over it was a different story. I was in pain, lots of assorted pains. The pains in my chest were nothing unusual, and indeed I was expecting some discomfort there after a particularly painful episode as I closed the bathroom window half an hour earlier. It was the pains in my legs and ankle that were a surprise. At one point I thought I was suffering from deep vein thrombosis, and maybe I was, but forgot to die from it. I can only imagine I got into this state by sitting awkwardly on the edge of the settee while playing with the laptop for hours on end. It is something I will have to watch out for today.

 Even when I managed to get to sleep it felt like I was not sleeping well. I woke up several times in the night, and each time it seemed to take ages to find a comfortable sleeping position. When I got up I felt pretty bad, but after some time, and a breakfast, I am feeling just about OK...although I am not sure how I'll feel if I try and do anything physical today. Breakfast was interesting, and there was a reason for having it. It was ham and eggs. I had a large pack of "ham trimmings" plus some eggs in the fridge, and decided it might make for a good breakfast.

 It was good, and perhaps even better considering it is extremely rare for me to have a cooked breakfast. It is even possible that it was slightly good for me if it stops me nibbling on inappropriate stuff during the morning, and maybe for even longer. The reason for having it was because I fancied it, but the reason I was able to have it was because my lunchtime visit to meet Angela has been cancelled. I think she saw how sunny it was this morning, compared it to some of the grim days coming up, and decided today was the best day to use her lunchbreak to go shopping in Lewisham. Hopefully I will see her tomorrow.

 That leaves a hole in my plans for today, and I am not sure how to fill it. The sun is now getting very intermittent, and I fear we will lose it soon. It should stay dry though, but without sunshine I do not feel inclined to go out - although I ought to. Maybe I'll jump on a train to somewhere, or maybe I'll try and do whatever is necessary to get me in the right frame of mind, and in a suitable physical state to go out to an open mic late this evening. If only sunset was a lot later. It would make these evening things far easier to do.
Monday 12th March 2018
 07:08 GMT

  Gloomy, dull, grey, damp and depressing are some of the adjectives that come to mind when thinking about yesterday's weather. There was always the feeling that it was about to rain, and sometimes it did, although it was only ever light rain. The only positive thing was that 12° C did feel mild.
a wetter
                      day than yesterday
  Yesterday seemed like a dress rehearsal for today, except today it won't be mucking about. There will be a better than 50% chance of rain for most of the day, and some of that rain could be heavy. The forecast does include the possibility of a sunny interval for a few hours this morning, but looking at the clouds we will be lucky to even get a few seconds of hazy sunshine peeping through a tiny crack between clouds. The best thing today might be the 11° C forecast for late afternoon, but that is also the time when the rain might be it's heaviest ! Tomorrow may be a dry, and lighter grey version of today.
 Yesterday turned out to be most frustrating. Playing with the laptop that I had installed Windows XP on seemed to consume much of my time. After some time I got to the point when I was ready to start using it. One of the things I was aiming for was to use a WinTV USB module for video capture. I tracked down all the drivers for the device, plus the WinTV application, and everything seemed ready to go. The next thing was to dig out my old analogue Hi8 camcorder, and select a tape to digitise.

 The first tape I selected may be so old that it is shedding it's oxide because I had to clean the head drum in the camcorder before I could get clean playback from another tape. The WinTV device works nicely and as a test I transferred a few minutes of video. It showed some frames dropped during recording, but played back cleanly. Those frame drops may give rise to sound - video sync problems, but in this case it didn't matter because there was no sound ! As far as I can tell, the microphone/line in jack on the laptop is as dead as a dodo. I do have a vague recollection of Lee, who gave me the laptop, once telling me how he had blown up the audio input of a laptop. I thought that must have been another laptop because this one allegedly came from his late uncle.

 That no sound poses a dilemma. I specifically chose that laptop because it also has a firewire port that can connect to my old MiniDV camcorder. That transfers sound and video over the same cable digitally, and so I can still use if for those transfers (when the cables I have ordered arrive). I do have another laptop that could potentially be a tiny, weeny bit faster, and while that should have a working audio in jack, it has no firewire port - plus I will have to go to all the bother of installing Windows XP on that laptop. This project could rumble on for days and weeks at this rate !

 The only other thing of significance that I did was to hand wash a small hand towel and a selection of tea towels, plus a few other small things. Other than that, I filled in the time by reading. I have started yet another Ben Bova sci-fi book. This one is called "Colony", and while the story is a pleasure to read, the book itself is not. It is a large format paperback that uses a fairly small font. A pair of pound shop reading glasses cope with the small test well, but the book itself is hard to hold while laying in bed. Most frustrating.

 I turned the light out and went to sleep at around 10.30pm last night. The first bit of my sleep seemed OK, but later on I began to be plagued with dreams that were not nice - not scary, but rather doomy. One was obviously inspired by one of the themes of then book I am reading - weather control. It was a curious dream in that there were no characters in it, and yet I could hear voices. It was a sort of above God's eye view of weather control in action over a very small area. I heard one character say that there was a load of rain to drop onto Catford, and another voice, which I think was female, suggested it might be better to drop it a little further north onto the northern part of Lewisham. I am sure there was a lot more to it than that, but that is all I remember.

 A later dream seemed to morph through many distinct phases, but each one had some remnant of a previous dream segment. As fas as I can recall it started off in a pub, and the news that a load of visiting Americans were having a shoot out in the town. The scene then shifted to something like my old workplace, and there was frantic effort to put up security cameras to watch out for marauding Americans. One curious aspect is that most of the workbenches seemed to be out in a garden with grass all around.

 As usual I actually did very little at this workplace. Most of the time I was a mere observer. As home time approached an unusually high tide cause to sea to come rushing in to the workplace. The water was white and foamy, and it was already up to my knees before I managed to get indoors. In the final scene I had managed to cadge a lift in car that seemed to seat a good half dozen people with room to spare. It was pouring with rain as we drove through the town. It seemed a mostly unfamiliar town, and for some reason I thought it might have been Chelmsford. I asked if, seeing as it was pouring with rain, I could be dropped off at the station rather than anywhere else. I'm not sure if I got an answer because that was when I woke up.

 This morning I feel about normal for these days. Unlike the previous couple of days I will take a shower nice and early this morning. After that I only have a couple of things to look forward to. Both will probably involve a walk in the rain. The first will be a visit to Aldi to buy some groceries. The second will be a walk through the park to see Angela. I know I will enjoy that, but I keep having this dark thought wondering why I bother when I can't see any future in it. Oh well, I guess I have to talk to someone now and then.
Sunday 11th March 2018
 11:36 GMT

  Some more sunshine could have transformed yesterday into a nice day. I have a vague recollection of seeing some sunshine, but I can't remember when, and there was not enough of it to inspire me to any form of action. The good thing was the temperature. In the afternoon it hit 13° C, and it only fell to something like 7° C during the night. There was some light rain yesterday, but it was almost negligible.
sort of
                      warm, but not as warm as advertised
close up on the
                        weather for 3pm  One of the things you can do in this new fangled BBC weather forecast is to click on an hour and see a bit more detail about it. I did that for 3pm, and the result is in the screenshot on the left. You'll note that the headline details for today in the screenshot above say 13° C with a single raindrop coming out of a black cloud, and the caption "Light rain and breezy". I can see plenty of times when it might rain (although only at 9am was the chance higher than 50% - it was 63%, and there was a sprinkle of rain). There is no time on the forecast when 13° C is shown - except on that headline. When you see how the temperature rises and fall through the day it is easy to see that 15:00 (or 3pm) is most likely to be the highest temperature. So I clicked on that and took a screenshot of what it showed. It still says only 12° C, and then dashes even that as a hope by saying it will feel like 11° C !!!!

 Basically today is going to be close to warm mid afternoon, but the sky is going to range from mid to dark grey, and there is a very small chance that there will be more rain. It is not terribly inspiring ! Tomorrow will be similar but  with a higher chance of rain, and a degree or two cooler - so much for the joys of spring !

  Yesterday was a day of feverish inaction...well sort of. A lot of my day was spent playing with an old laptop. You could say that was the only thing I did, and somehow it consumed my time so much that I never seemed to have time to take a shower and wash my hair. In one respect that didn't matter. I have this theory that I have never dared test, that there is a short window of time where not washing makes the body smell more interesting to those with a similar body chemistry. All those pheromones, and stuff could potentially lure the opposite sex. Once upon a time, when I used to get very close to Angela, I am sure I found her more sexy after she had been at work all day, and didn't have a chance to wash. Unfortunately the window of time where this positive effect happens is short, and today I must really stink !

 My reason for playing with the old laptop was because I wanted a machine with Windows XP on it to run some legacy software. The machine I write this on is dual boot and I can select to boot into Windows XP if I choose, but I prefer to have it running Linux Mint all the time. Installing Windows on the old laptop (an HP nx3528 - if I recall correctly) was typically slow and tedious with many restarts required. but I got there in the end. One thing that slowed me down a lot in the beginning was that a 460GB solid state hard disk was not recognised as anything at all. I had to take it back out and put in a brand new 320GB conventional hard disk. That has slowed things up a bit. Once Windows was installed I was able to flash the BIOS to the latest version. That may have extended the size and type of hard disks recognised, but it's too late now.

 I had great plans for going out last night. A bit of research showed that the 361 bus went from The Lord Northbrook pub in Lee to Ye Olde Whyte Lion pub in Locksbottom. That meant it would have been feasible to see one set from Out The Box in Lee, and then a set from Chain in Locksbottom (or vice versa). As darkness fell my desire to go out fell too, and there was the fact that I had not washed, and I was still waiting for updates and stuff to be downloaded and installed on the laptop. So I didn't got out last night. In a way I didn't really miss it, but in another way it would have been a bit of excitement if I had forced myself to go out.

 My bedroom was at the wrong temperature last night. I went to bed at around 10pm, and found it was too hot under the duvet, and just slightly too cool without it. It made getting to sleep annoying ! I did manage to get to sleep, and I probably slept quite well, although a series of dreams suggest my sleep was quite light a lot of the time. One dream was interesting because it indicated I must be happy. That seems unlikely, but this dream featured a big white dog. A black dog is often said to be a symbol of depression, and so in theory a white dog must be the opposite.

 I was walking towards Earlsfield across what was supposed to be Wimbledon Common - except I had no idea of the way to Earlsfield apart from head towards Wimbledon and go a bit north. I wasn't even sure it was Wimbledon Common that I was crossing. At first I walked alone across a very long and bleak part of the common. Eventually I found a road that went through thick woodland. It was there I met the big white dog. He decided to follow me, but I was worried about his safety on the road, and kept having to pull him away from the occasional passing traffic. We seemed to walk for ages and ages, and I think I might have woken up without reaching anywhere.

 This morning I guess I felt as stiff and aching as any morning, but otherwise OK. Once again I have been distracted by doing stuff on the laptop, but I have also been very distracted by trying to convert a small video clip. It was taken on an old mobile phone, and it's video parameters are a bit unusual. Several of my favourite video editors had difficulties with it, but one I generally don't use anymore handled it just fine - although I think the sound and video got out of sync. Fortunately that is no worry for this little clip.

 The video shows me going back to work after a fag break. It also shows why "Steadicam" was invented ! It is amazing that the eyeballs can do such wonderful image stabilisation, and how the mobile phone camera can't as I walk in a way that suggests that I have one leg shorter than the other (maybe I have !).

 The next thing on my agenda is to wash my hair and shower. Once my hair is sufficiently dry I have a parcel to collect from the corner shop. After that.....I really don't know. There is a gig in Elmers End that might be this afternoon, or maybe just a little bit earlier than usual in the evening, and there is a very small chance that Angela's lover boy won't go to it with her. IF several impossibilities all add up I might go. Otherwise I will stay in, have a semi early night, and look forward to seeing Angela tomorrow lunchtime.
Saturday 10th March 2018
 09:24 GMT

  It was very murky yesterday, and there were some light showers from the afternoon onwards. The only good thing was how the temperature slowly climbed through the day from 4° C in the early morning to 11° C by midnight.
warm and
 I'm not sure if it is 12° C at the moment, but it is definitely mild. Unfortunately it is grey too, and it seems all but a couple of hours around midday will be grey too. Those couple of hours may see both sunny intervals and some rain, although the chances of rain seem quite low then, and for the rest of daylight hours. After the sun sets it should stay dry. Today's forecast is a bit of a rip off. A day or two ago the forecast for today said 15° C with far more sunshine possible. Tomorrow was supposed to be a warm sunny day, but that has now been degraded to sunny intervals and rain, and 11° C (although I doubt it will get any higher than 10° C). I should be joyous that the weather is improving now spring is here, but I am annoyed at the slowness of it all !

  It is difficult to know whether to describe yesterday as a good or bad day. It was a bit of both I guess. As I reported yesterday morning, my nose was really itching, and pouring with snot. I also mentioned that I hoped a walk in the fresh air would help, and it did. I had a pleasant enough walk through the park, and on the whole my nose behaved itself. The walk would have been nice if there was any sunshine, but at least it didn't feel too cold.
tennis practice
It was mild enough for some over enthusiastic dad to drag his kids along to the tennis courts for a bit of practice.
the daffodils aqlmost in full bloom
All the clumps of daffodils along the riverbank are now mostly in bloom.

 The effect of the fresh air kept going to some limited extent while I was in the pub. That was handy because I didn't want to drip all over Angela. I had a nice drink with Angela, although a lot of time was spent looking at her new phone, and helping her set up some features. I think I had three pints of Guinness while I was in the pub, but I finished in time to walk Angela back to work, although in deference to my cold I kept my distance, and didn't hug her.

 When I got home again I felt quite quite good apart from a stuffy nose - although once again the fresh air kept it mostly clear. I had several idea for lunch, but I opted for a couple of instant noodle pots - fortified with some extra chilli sauce ! I had been thinking of something more substantial, but I was plotting to have a takeaway for my evening meal.  That idea was triggered by a passing remark to Angela, and reinforced by passing a shop I had mentioned to her earlier as I walked home on the other side of the road to the shop.
Big Fat Gourmet
This restaurant has two tricks up it's sleeve....
low calorie food and a 5 on
                              "Scores On The Door"
 It's first trick is that it offers the 4 meals above for diabetics. All are low sugar and low calories too. The only bad thing is that the portions are not unexpectedly small while the prices are big ! It's second trick is that they have managed to get a score of 5 in their food hygiene rating - which is very good for a shop/restaurant such as this, and something more usually associated with big chains. It could have been where my evening was ordered from, but it wasn't !

 I did lots of intense resting, including a snooze or two, after I ate my instant noodle pots. To help this along I turned the heating up to tropical in my bedroom. Now and again I would get that intense itching sensation up my nose, and that would result in intense tissue usage, but gradually it stopped, and although I didn't see it coming, it eventually completely stopped by roughly mid evening. It was hard to say exactly when because it was a case of suddenly realising that my nose had dried up, and I was feeling OK.

 That had nothing to do with my choice of food last night. I think it was some sort of realisation of being sensible. I could cook a lower calorie meal than a takeaway, and it would be a lot cheaper too ! What I actually had was just simple steak and peas, and it was very nice. For "afters" I had some sugar free vanilla wafers. Maybe I feel microscopically lighter for it today.

 I kept the heat on yesterday evening, and I did worry that it would spoil my sleep, but the room seemed to cool down fairly quickly after turning the heat down, and I seemed to fall asleep, and mostly stay asleep easily enough last night. Maybe it was helped by changing all my bed linen yesterday. Everything was just that little bit smoother, and less rumpled for at least one night !

 This morning my noise sometimes feels a bit stuffy, but it is dry, and I don't think I have any other cold symptoms. It is possible that I might even feel slightly less creaky and achey this morning. That is rather good because sooner or later I have a hard task to perform. I think I may have been foolish enough to think I might do this yesterday, and "this" is hand washing the duvet cover I took off my bed yesterday. I did put it in to soak yesterday, and this morning I face the task of wringing out the icy cold soapy water, and going through the rinses and conditioning before hanging it up to dry. I can't have a shower until I get it out of the bath !

 I had thoughts about going out today, but that was when the forecast said 15° C, and considerably more sunshine. Now it is gloomy with a fair chance of rain I feel less inclined to go wandering away from shelter. I do have a very tentative plan to go out tonight, although whether I actually will is anyone's guess. Out The Box are playing in The Lord Northbrook pub in Lee tonight, and it is a very easy place to get to if only I could overcome my dislike of going out when I feel I ought to be going to bed ! I have to do some research, but if I did get out tonight there might be a possibility of getting a bus from Lee to Locksbottom where Chain are playing. Once I was actually out and moving I would have a lot less difficulty of extra travel. It all depends on whether the 261 bus goes where I imagine it goes !
Friday 9th March 2018
 08:34 GMT

  There were many sunny intervals yesterday, and almost continous sunshine in the last couple of hours before sunset, but I am not convinced the temperature rose to the forecast 10° C. It might just have been me, or maybe it was the breeze, but it didn't feel like 10° C (and I have a vague recollection of noticing my thermometer showing something close to 8° C.)
grey and
  There are supposed to be sunny intervals this morning, but I am still waiting to see the first of them, but with the way the sky looks it could be a long wait ! The forecast temperature is about right though. I currently see 5° C on my thermometer. This morning may be dry, and there is only a small chance of rain in the afternoon, but rain looks to be almost definite for this evening. The only thing it offers in exchange is that by midnight to will be close to warm - 11° C ! That will be a good grounding for tomorrow when the temperature might hit 15° C. That would be really good if only it wasn't going to rain too.

  My plans to have a nice day were put on hold when I received a text message from Angela to say that she would not be going to the pub at lunchtime. That put a crimp on my day, and what made it worse was the suspense waiting for an explanation why Angela was not going to the pub. It must have been a good 20 minutes before the explanation came through. Apparently her boiler had packed up again (presumably reported by her son) and so she rushed home to see what was going on.

 It was very disappointing not having a great excuse to go for a walk in the park, and I did consider going anyway, but in the end I stayed in and did a couple of other things. One thing was to go online and pay my credit card bill. It didn't take long, but the effects on me of paying any bill, no matter what size, meant I had to have a lie down afterwards ! The other thing I did was to cook a slightly more substantial lunch, and eat it much earlier than I would otherwise have done. It was chipolatas and eggs - a bit like the famous sausage, egg and chips without the chips.

 Unfortunately it still seemed to be laying heavily on my stomach when I did the only significant thing yesterday. That was to go out for my Thursday evening drink with the lads. Sometimes time can play some funny tricks on you, and walking to the station was one such time. It seemed to be really hard getting any speed up as I walked to the station, and I thought I ended up walking quite slowly, and yet I seemed to get to the station in less time than usual. Weird ! When I got to the station there were sights to be seen.
Down below the station a photoshoot was taking place. The cameraman was using a Canon EOS 5D MkII camera, and his assistant was using a reflector to throw a bit more light on the models face.
class 375 train speeding through the
                          station on it's way to Victoria
You may think this is a class 375 trainspotting picture, but in fact it is a cloud spotting photo !
my train to Shortlands
Now this is a train spotting photo - it is always handy to spot the train you want to get on before they escape.
Jodie in The Shortlands Tavern
Aerial shot of Jodie and Paul with a little bit of Andy on the left, and half of Steven on the right.
Chris wishes all "cheers !"
In the middle : Chris saying "cheers" with Steven on the left, and Alan on the right.

 It is tempting to say that it was a good session in The Shortlands Tavern yesterday evening, but is was spoiled by the fact that I didn't seem to enjoy any of the three beers I tried. I think the pub had 4 different beers on, and maybe if I had tried the 4th it would have been OK, or even good, but I stuck to my usual 3 pints, and caught my usual 19:02 train home again. It was definitely feeling quite chilly when I left the pub, and I definitely walked fairly fast to get home when the train arrived at Catford station.

 Back at home I had an unusual meal I had prepared waiting for me. It was sort of like bubble and squeak made with savoy cabbage and purple potatoes. I had zapped it up with some crumbled beef Oxo cube and some assorted spices. It warmed me up a bit, and was surprisingly nice. I ate it while watching a bit of TV. Later on I read in bed for a while before turning out the lights and going to sleep easily enough a little before 11pm.

 I slept quite well, but I did wake up at 3 or 4am feeling cold. Before going for a wee I turned the heater up full blast, and that kept me warm enough when I got back in bed. I then slept for another couple of hours. I woke up feeling mostly normal - just the usual stiffness and aches and pains. It was what was to come a few minutes later that surprised me. I walked to the cold bathroom, and in the few seconds it took to get there it felt like I had breathed in a nosefull of pepper ! I sneezed ans sneezed and sneezed !

 Now, over an hour later, my nose still feels itchy, and while I have mostly stopped sneezing, my nose is still producing a lot of mucus. I would like to dismiss it as hay fever - I am slightly sensitive to what is probably tree pollen in early spring, and fungal spores in late autumn, but my nose is completely clear in summer when everybody else is suffering. On this occasion I don't think I can blame hay fever. I probably have a head cold. Hopefully it is just one of those 24 hour things, and if my feeling unusually chilly yesterday evening was actually the start, then I could be over it by the end of tonight. Now there's wishful thinking for you !

 I have no idea what I am doing today. I have a feeling that fresh air could be good for my nose, and so a walk through the park is not ruled out. Whether I should see Angela while I am suffering from a cold is possibly an ethical dilemma that I will not have to face. I seem to recall her saying that she would be taking today off work because she has annual leave to use up before the end of the month, and that she was intending to go out on a bender/girls night with her daughter Miranda. That doesn't seem to have happened because I saw a video of Miranda at Geoff's open mic last night, and lover boy was clearly playing drums behind her. So much for a girls night out ! He just can't help but chaperone Angela anywhere she goes - something that will irritate Angela.

 So I don't know if I will be seeing Angela at lunchtime, and I have no idea if I will even consider going out tonight. I have a feeling there was a band I was thinking of seeing tonight, but I can't remember who. There are two potential reasons why I may not go out tonight beyond having a dripping nose. Firstly I still cannot convince myself that life exists outside once the sun sets, and secondly it will probably be raining. Luckily I have a brand new bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky to amuse me if I need it tonight !
Thursday 8th March 2018
 09:52 GMT

  Yesterday tried it's best to be a nice day, but apart from a few hours it failed. Early afternoon included some sunny periods, and for a while it was almost 10° C, but most of the day was dull, occasionally wet, and cool.
                      forecast that promises much
  The forecast for today promises much. This morning, or at least some of it, has been bright and sunny. In a way that is surprising because there are some filthy looking black clouds in the sky right now, and the forecast does say there is a 43% chance of rain at 11am. I think rain could be very likely then, and maybe even earlier judged by the colour of some of clouds - they have that deep purple/black sort of colour. Perhaps the sky will be clearer this afternoon, and we'll see even more sunshine. Maybe it will be even warmer than 10° C. That would be a good thing because the strong breeze will probably make that 10° C feel a lot cooler. Tomorrow could be a degree cooler and a lot wetter. On Saturday it looks like we may be experiencing warm(ish) rain !

  Yesterday was not a good day. It may have been psychosomatic because I wasn't seeing Angela that I did not feel good. I didn't actually feel bad to any great degree, but it seemed as if life had lost it's sparkle. The "meh" feeling was enhanced by a lack of communication from Angela. She was waiting in at home for a new mobile phone to be delivered, and I was expecting to hear that it had arrived, and I was also waiting for a test call from it. There was even the possibility of a call to ask advice about setting up the new phone - Angela had suggested that one herself in the pub the day before. Instead I heard nothing until I finally sent her a message asking of it had arrive yet ? That was at about 5pm, and maybe I left it a little late and she was expecting lover boy to arrive, or maybe lover boy was actually there because she did reply with a single sentence to say it had arrived, but she hadn't even turned it on at that point.

 My mood was low almost from the start of the day, and it wasn't helped by feeling sort of creaky and sort of aching. Such feelings are not unusual at the start of the day, but usually fade away to some or more extent during the morning. Yesterday, for reasons explained above, they didn't, and I either couldn't be bothered, or felt too fragile to do any stepping exercises on the stepping block I constructed a couple of days ago.

 I suppose the proof that most of it was all in the mind, a day of depression, was that I did go to Tesco, and those aches and pains were almost suspended while I effortlessly walked there and back. It was one of my rare shopping trips to Tesco where I don't think I deviated from a plan, and that plan was to try and stick to the possibility of healthier meals. I say possibility because when I describe what I actually ate yesterday it is obvious that my intents were very poorly followed !

 Inspired by the green string beans and poached eggs I had the day before, I bought more eggs, and more vegetables to have them with. The first big mistake was buying spinach. Spinach can be fine stuff, but the oxalic acid in the leaves can leave the teeth feeling a bit furry. I didn't want that to happen when I had my very simple lunch of poached eggs on spinach, and so I added a rather generous amount of butter in the hope that it would protect my teeth from the spinach. It did, and it was all rather nice, but probably added an extra zero to the end of the number of calories it contained.

 My evening meal suffered in a similar way, but not through me adding butter. My evening meal was once again rather simple, and had only 4 ingredients - a lot of savoy cabbage, meat balls, a powdered stock cube, and assorted chilli flakes and peri peri spices. I am unsire how much fat came out those meatballs when I cooked them, but it would have come out all over the savoy cabbage because I microwaved the whole thing in one dish. If all that wasn't bad enough I also ate several snacks during the course of the day that were very bad for me. One even had a fair amount of sugar in it, and that is one thing I am definitely trying to avoid until after I have given a blood sample about a week before the end of the month. I am supposed to be preparing for a couple of medical check ups at the end of the month, and I am not doing well !

 Going to Tesco, and cooking two meals was almost the extent of all the activities I did yesterday. A slight mix up over the day of the week did have me start to try and fill a couple more small rubble bags of junk from my workshop. As one bag was nearing being full my back was aching (I was doing most of the "rubble clearing" bending over), and as I stopped to straighten up again I suddenly realised that it was not Thursday, and my wheelie bin would not be emptied yesterday. Today is Thursday, and with luck my wheelie bin has already been emptied. I should resume my back breaking labour today, but I don't think I'll have time for it.
purple potatoes
 Maybe these were the one novelty item I bought from Tesco yesterday. They are a novel, although some would say they are the original type of sweet potatoes, and their flesh is purple, or perhaps violet in colour instead of orange. I zapped them all - all 3 of them - in the microwave, but apart from having a quick taste, I haven't used them as part of a meal yet. They seem to taste the same as the more common orange coloured sweet potato, but with the addition of a slight smoky taste. They would seem to be nice, but not nice enough for anything but as a novelty food on all but the rarest of occasions - unless they become far more common, and the prices goes down - a lot !

 After doing little during the day I continued the trend in the evening. The two extra little things I did were to watch a bit of TV, and to get drunk. After that I read in bed until I had finished the last chapter or two of the book I was reading. That was just after 11pm, and I think I went out like a light when I turned the lights out and turned over to go to sleep. It had all the beginnings of a great night's sleep - but it all went wrong a little after 2am this morning !

 I have no idea why I woke up at just gone 2am. The only definite feeling I had was that I was suddenly wide awake, and I just could not get back to sleep. I spent some time thrashing around trying to get back to sleep, and even more time catching up on technical news, and some comic strips on the internet before going back to bed as 5am approached (or maybe it was just after 4am - it is difficult to remember). I did get back to sleep after a while. I think I woke up once for a wee between then and about 9.15am when I finally woke up, and got up.

 This morning I don't feel too terrible, and at least I have a meeting with Angela to look forward to today. Depending on just how breezy it is, I might suggest we meet in the park instead of the pub. Not drinking this lunchtime could make my evening easier. Being as it is Thursday I'll be meeting the rest of the Thursday night drinkers (except for Dave who has now definitely moved up to Buxton) in The Shortlands Tavern. For reasons that I have yet to find, we are meeting at 4.30pm today. That would not leave me much time to eat and sober up after several pints of Guinness at lunchtime. I think those two meetings are my only plans for today - except for having a shower, washing my hair, and getting dressed. I ought to do those three things very quickly now !!!
Wednesday 7th March 2018
 08:23 GMT

  There wasn't much in the way of sunshine yesterday, but there was some....just a tiny little bit, and not enough to stop yesterday being described as a grey day. To make matters worse there was even a short period of unscheduled very light rain in the afternoon. The positive thing was the temperature. It was by no means warm, but it wasn't cold either. During the middle of the day the temperature was about 9° C, and that only needed a light jacket when walking about.
maybe a
                      little less grey than yesterday
 Maybe today will be a bit less grey than yesterday, although the day hasn't got off to a good start. The forecast predicted rain this morning, and that bit is right. It has been raining, but there has been no sign of any sunny periods. It is hard to see why the forecast includes icons showing both rain and sun. On the original pages that my screenshot is pirated from you can click on each hour for a written description. No mention of any sunshine was given for 8 or 9am this morning. It feels a bit cold this morning, but the temperature should climb to 10° C, and that should be pleasant. Some sunny intervals should make it more pleasant. At the moment it is looking like tomorrow will be a re-run of today, but reality may well be very different.

  I only did two things of significance yesterday, and you can put them both in one sentence so they sound like one thing - I walked through the park to see Angela. Maybe I can boost this very thin list of things done by adding that I washed my hair in the morning. It's not exactly a great achievement, but it was something... Maybe the most productive thing was the walk through the park. There was a definite feel of spring in there, and all the animals and plants seemed happy (in my imagination).
squirrel high up in
                          a tree
This squirrel was on a much lower branch of the tree, and posing perfectly for a great shot, but as soon as he saw my camera he scampered up to the top branches and looked down, gloating at me.  Fortunately I had a camera with a powerful zoom on it !
daffodils back in bloom after the
 I think I have pictured these daffodils on the river bank twice before. The first time was when they just started to bloom, and the second time was when the were covered in snow, and looked liked they had all but died. Yesterday they were in full bloom again, and looking cheery.
Blackbirds are common and unexciting, but this one stood there posing for me, and so had to be snapped.
(A similar thing happened a few weeks ago).
Heron on the riverbank
Here's a fairly rare sight - a heron. I think it might have been a couple of years since I saw one in the park. There are fish in the river, but I expect the heron gets richer pickings from the ponds in some peoples gardens.
It's a moorhen !
I always get my moorhens and coots mixed up. The last time I pictured a moorhen I think I called it a coot, but having been taken to task for it and done my research, I am fairly confident in saying this is a moorhen !

 To walk through the park I just wore a long sleeved shirt and a lightweight jacket, and it felt fine. Inside the pub I took off the jacket, and after a while I rolled my sleeves up. Once again Angela complimented me on the shirt. Maybe she feels she ought to say nice stuff because she feels constrained about doing nice stuff with me - except for our clandestine lunchtime meeting in the pub. We had a nice drink together, and considering we hadn't seen each other since the previous Friday, it was a fairly warm meeting.

 She told me how she had stayed at lover boys place for a couple of nights while she had no heating at home, and managed to make it sound like it was a matter of convenience rather than something she enjoyed. Sometimes she does make it sound like a lot of the time she spends with lover boy is no more exciting than the time she spends with me - except he obviously gets fringe benefits.

 All too soon it was time to finish our drinks, and for Angela to go back to work. I walked Angela back to work, and then continued on to home. I had a treat waiting for me when I got home - roast chicken thighs that I had generously dusted with chilli flakes and peri-peri spices. All I had to do was to give them 5 minutes in the oven to warm them up (I had cooked them before I went out). They were delicious, but not as spicy as I hoped. Once I had eaten them all, and to be truthful there were enough for two, I flopped out on my bed, read about two pages from the book I am currently reading, and fell asleep.

 I'm not sure how long I slept for, but I am sure it was over an hour, and I would not be surprised if it was two. What I do know is that I woke up feeling dreadful. I felt cold and stiff, and various bits ached - including my head ! I don't think I fully recovered from it until I went to bed again much later in the evening. From the moment I woke up until I went to bed I did almost nothing apart from cooking.

 After those chicken thighs I probably should not have eaten anything more for the rest of the day, but decided I would have a very simple meal for dinner, and it was very simple with just 4 ingredients. It was green string beans poached in a little chicken stock. Two minutes before the end of cooking I added some eggs to poach in the stock. One amazing thing is that one of the eggs had a double yolk. They are fairly rare, and when you consider I probably only buy 2 or 3 boxes of 6 eggs per year, the chances of getting one with a double yolk must be incredibly high.

 I am not sure why I bothered to add the fourth ingredient - mayonnaise ! It must have been habit or something. With hindsight I don't think it needed it to be very nice to eat, and it would have been far healthier without it. It was typical of the meals I ought to eat more often (without mayonnaise) because they are low calorie and low fat. I could be tempted to go to Tesco today to buy more eggs, and have them with plain poached vegetables. It would also be a good excuse to buy a bottle of (hopefully still very nice) Tesco "Special Reserve" whisky.

 Despite my extended afternoon nap I began to feel very tired by 9pm last night. I had prepared myself for bed in advance of that, and I was reading in bed until I decided I would resist the temptation to read to the end of the book (just a chapter or two away). I'm not sure what time that was, but I am guessing it was around 11pm. I have a vague recollection of trying to get comfortable after I turned the light out, but I don't really remember any more after that until I woke up at a little after 7am.

 It sounds like I should have got a lot of good sleep, but I don't think I did. I think I was probably thrashing around a lot, and I am sure I must have got up to wee once or twice, but the memories are all dreamlike. Perhaps I will get to the end of the day and not feel terribly sleepy if I did sleep well last night, but I have a suspicion I will feel dead beat before the afternoon is out.

 Right now, as I write this, I feel like I am throwing off the worse aspects of how I felt when I first woke up. I felt pretty dreadful - the sorts of feelings like you are about to die....or maybe wish you were. This morning my chest hurts. One thing I did not last night was how much my chest was clicking and popping when make certain movements. It rarely hurts when it does that - at the time, but it is frequently a pre-cursor to how I feel now. I am tempted to take a couple of painkillers and going back to bed, but maybe there are more productive things I can do today.

 I am not seeing Angela today. She has a day off work to wait in at home for a new mobile phone to be delivered. (The lucky girl has about 6 days of leave to use up before the end of the her leave year at the end of this month). It is possible that I might get a call from Angela asking for help about setting up her new phone, and I suppose there is a microscopic chance that she may want to meet up if advice over the phone is not enough.

 There are a few other things I might do today. I have already mentioned that I might go to Tesco today. I think my black wheelie bin should have been emptied this morning. If it has I could gather together two more small sacks of crap from my workshop floor, and hide them in the bottom of it. I feel I may be changing my shower curtains soon, and I think I'd like to fit some proper support for them this time using curtain wire. I could do that today. Finally, of the sun is shining, as it might be this afternoon, I may go for a walk in the park, camera in hand, to see if there is anything good to photograph.
Tuesday 6th March 2018
 08:37 GMT

  Yesterday was a low quality, but passable imitation of a spring day. Although on reflection, I'm not entirely sure what a spring day should be like. It was fairly mild yesterday. Not quite t-short weather yet, but a high of 9° C is getting close. There was some early morning sunshine, and a little more towards sunset, but the middle of the day was lightly overcast and rather dull. During the late evening there was rain. It didn't seem to be that much, and yet this morning the road and pavement still looks damp (although not actually wet).
                      degree less cold today
 Yesterday started off bright and sunny, but not today. It is definitely dull and gloomy out there....although the sun did do it's best to break through a little while ago. Sadly it failed ! I still don't understand where the headline figure of 11° C comes from. The highest temperature on an hour by hour basis is 10° C - which is good, but not as good as 11° C !  If we are lucky there could be some sunny intervals in the last couple of hours before sunset, but it's going to be mostly a dull and uninspiring day. Tomorrow could be better and worse, as well as a degree cooler. The degree cooler seems close to certainty, but the better and worse could well be slanted towards the better. The worse is that there could be rain, but the given percentage of the likelihood of rain is so low that it may never happen. Hopefully the chances, which aren't actually given' for the sunny spells is high !

  Yesterday's early sunshine must have inspired me to do stuff, and I had a fairly busy morning that extended a little into the afternoon. My first bit of being busy was to go out to the shops. I was particularly interested in going to Poundland for two specific items, but I bought more than that in there, and I also bought some stuff in the SAM 99p shop. The first of the two items I specifically wanted from Poundland I only remembered as I entered the shop. They were little vanilla scented candles. Many scented candles give off almost no scent when they burn, but these vanilla ones do ! The other specific thing I wanted was a rubber mat. I also bought some long woodscrews and some (hopefully) waterproof glue.

 The rubber mat was for cutting in half and for two non slip surfaces. The long woodscrews were to build the thing that the rubber mat would be glued and nailed to. This thing was inspired by the favoured instrument of torture used inside the hospital gym for "Cardiac Rehabilitation Classes". Essentially it is a way of using up energy by going nowhere. Back in November 2013 I didn't need to go to those classes because a trial lesson showed that it was easy compared to the commuting I was doing every working day. Since giving up work I no longer get that exercise, and during the winter I have been reluctant to go out on all but the very best of days. So I thought I might try something like those Cardiac Rehabilition excercises - or as close as I can remember them  - which is almost nothing !
the room of
                          (potential) pain 2013
 This is a secret photo taken from within the room of (possible) pain at Lewisham Hospital. The small group huddled together are plotting how to make us sweat as much as possible. In the foreground are the particular instruments of torture that I needed to duplicate. The basic idea is that you step up on them, and then step down from them, then step up on them, and.....Well, you get the idea. This continues until one of two conditions are met. If your only previous exercise is pushing the accelerator pedal in a car you become too knackered to continue after about 5 minutes. Alternatively, if you are used to commuting, and in particular used to transferring from Waterloo East to Waterloo Mainline station via the mad dash across the link between the two stations, you keep on doing it until the instructor/coach/torturess gets bored.
homemade stepper
 I'm not sure what it should be called, but this is my homemade version of those Reebok labled things in the picture taken at the hospital gym. Mine is a bit higher than the ones in the hospital, and I guess that makes it a bit harder to use, and so far my feeble, half hearted attempts to use it have put me in the first category - knackered after 5 minutes ! It didn't help that the first time I tried it was straight after building it, and just building it left me feeling exhausted. Later attempts revealed that the weakness is more in my legs. Maybe it is the extra height, but my knees, as a for instance, seem really stiff. It does make me wonder if I am doing more damage than good when I use it.

 One thing of note is that I was far fitter and healthier (in many respects, but obviously not all) when I smoked, and would go up and down the fire escape staircase ay work 8 times a day. I think that if I can't manage a long workout out on my stepping block then I should try and emulate going up and down that fire escape staircase at hourly intervals. Maybe that will build up to being able to do more intense workouts. Of course with the weather now improving a lot I ought to be out doing more long walks, and this piece of equipment should be redundant. We'll see.

 Once the excitement of building the thing, and it given a brief test, I did nothing, or near to nothing. It actually made for a boring afternoon, or what was left of it, and a boring evening. Being bored was the path to eating more crap than I should have. Although....if it wasn't for the biog bag of crisps I might have just git away with it. Today I will try not to eat until I have come home from the pub after (hopefully) having a drink with Angela. She has been very quiet recently. Either she has been spending lots of time with lover boy, or she is unhappy with lover boy. Maybe I'll find out at lunchtime.

 Seeing Angela, and walking through the park, is about all I can think of doing today. I fear today could be mostly boring again. Perhaps if I don't drink more than two pints of Guinness I will have the energy and enthusiasm to do some housework this afternoon. I think my front room could do with a little TLC lately. Perhaps if I get really enthusiastic I might even finish washing the wall in there. At the moment I don't feel terribly enthusiastic about anything...
Monday 5th March 2018
 08:37 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday got one thing right, or at least came very close to it. It said that the highest temperature would be 8° C, and if we don't quibble over tenths of a degree it was. Most other things it got wrong. Instead of light grey clouds in the morning there was blue sky and sunshine. The forecast rain certainly happened, but it happened a few hours earlier than predicted, and then again an hour or so after it was predicted to have stopped. The sunny intervals in the late afternoon never happened. The important thing about yesterday was that while it wasn't warm by any stretch of the imagination, it was almost not cold !
tantalisingly close to better than mild
 Once again, as I sit here with sunshine pouring through my bedroom window, I wonder why the forecast says the sky should be grey. Maybe today the forecast is closer to reality than it was yesterday. There is a fair amount of cloud in the sky, and that sunshine is sometimes a little hazy, but how much else of the forecast can we trust ?  A little later this morning the temperature is due to reach 9° C. That is tantalisingly close to being on the lowest rung of warm. If this morning's unscheduled sunshine can just manage to shine for a few more hours it may be possible to nudge that 9° C up to 10° C. Curiously enough, at 4pm the forecast says there may be some sunny intervals, and that the temperature will drop a degree ! The temperature is supposed to stay the same after darkness falls, abut as darkness falls so will the rain - except there is only a 25% chance of it happening. Tomorrow has a headline temperature of 11° C. If there was no wind, and if the sun was out, that would be good enough for small periods out doors in just a t-shirt. Unfortunately the wind will blow, and the sun won't shine !

 I was going to say I had a nice restful day yesterday, but when I think about it, most of it wasn't restful. During the morning I washed a few shirts by hand, and later in the morning I went out to Aldi to get some shopping. In particular I wanted some reasonably good quality bacon to add to the vegetable stew I had prepared earlier. I'm not sure that the bacon I bought would be considered "good quality" in more refined circles, but it was better than much of the watery stuff sold in most supermarkets, and it did it's job to add a nice bacon taste to the vegetables. It went very well with the butter beans in the stew. Half that stew made for a nice Sunday dinner/lunch. I will have the other half today.

 Most of my afternoon alternated between reading (and sometimes snoozing) and selecting and editing photos I had taken on Saturday night. Some photos turned out well, and some rather crap. For the crap photos I can blame the stage lights in the Black Cat. Sometimes they will light up in a good combination, and mostly they don't ! It also didn't help that it was unusually well attended, and I took many photos over the heads of people.
Felix's Rock Choir
One of the better pictures of Felix's Rock Choir. With so many of them crammed into a tight corner many would loose out.
The Pinheads
The Pinheads photographed over the heads of those in front of me.
The Kings Of Oblivion
Sometimes the stage lights would add a very strange colour effect that was hard to correct. This band was The Kings Of Oblivion, and the lighting was painting everything a strange yellow colour.
The Grey Cats
The Grey Cats were headlining the gig. I had some negative feelings about them, but I accidently photographed their set list. It wasn't easy to read, but it seemed to have some good stuff on it.

 After spending so much time staring at my PC monitor while going through, and editing the photos, I began to feel quite strange when I stood up. I don't know if it was high or low blood pressure, or maybe some sort of inner ear thing, but I felt sort of light headed a couple of times. It wasn't that bad, and in many ways it was a bit like being drunk. It is possible that I was drunk. I had drunk some whisky, but I didn't think it was anywhere near enough to have such an effect.

 I did drink even more whisky after I had finished editing photos, and it didn't have any noticeable effects. I could have drunk more because by that time I was in the very worst part of the Sunday afternoon blues, but I had finished the last of a bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky, and had opened a bottle of Aldi "Castle And Craig" that I had bought in the morning. Once upon a time, maybe just 3 or 4 months back, I used to like Aldi's "Highland Earl" whisky, but it suddenly acquired a strong burning peat taste, something that Aldi started going on about in their adverts, but I hated it. Now their Castle And Craig whisky has suddenly taken on a wet sock flavour, and even lots of cola in it seems unable to make it taste nice ! I can see a visit to Tesco coming up soon !

 I slept well last night apart from my sleep seemingly being filled with high definition dreams. Many of those dreams featured woodworking in various ways. It was probably because I intend to do some woodwork sooner or later, but I don't think I'll be doing anything that my brain should get so excited about ! I think half my brain wanted to get me up as soon as it detected daylight, and the other half didn't. I do have this "thing" that I ought to be able to sleep late on some days to make up for very late nights after gigs, but it doesn't seem to work that way. I feel that maybe getting up at first light isn't such a bad idea at this time of year. Maybe later in the year, when sunrise is very much earlier, it would be good to sleep through it.

 Today I have very little planned...actually I have nothing planned, although I have a few vague ideas to draw on. The chance of seeing Angela today is unlikely in the extreme. She is off work today waiting for a boiler engineer to fix her heating - except an electrical engineer apparently fixed it on Saturday morning, and so the gas/boiler engineer may be superfluous. I feel that on a sort of mild and dry day I ought to get out and stretch my legs somewhere, and I did have a vague idea that I could go and play on the trains today. The other thing is to do the woodwork I am contemplating. It is to make a step thing for exercising on like the things they used on the one solitary cardiac rehabilitation class I attended some years ago. There are times when I don't want to go out, and yet would still like to keep my legs moving. The thing I could build out of scrap wood should do the job just as well as an expensive gizmo from some sport company.
Sunday 4th March 2018
 08:20 GMT

  The whole of yesterday was above zero ! The forecast high was 5° C, but I am not convinced it quite reached that, but it was enough to melt all but the most stubborn pockets of snow (and even those went overnight). The forecast allowed for a low probability of light rain during the evening, and I think there may have been a tiny bit of drizzle at some point because the road did look a little damp as I walked home from the pub just after 10pm. Overall, yesterday was a grey day.
The forecast for today seems to have got off to a bad start. It is not grey, it is sunny, and it's only about 3° C, not 5° C.
bright sunny morning 
 This was the view from my bedroom window at 7.50am. The sky is blue and the sun is shining. I reckon that it is 3° C (and possibly only 2.5° C). Maybe it will cloud over, and the temperature will rise to the forecast 7° C, and perhaps even as high as 8° C by 11am. Later this afternoon we have the strange thing where the forecasters are obviously hedging their bets - sunshine and showers ! Lets hope they get one bit right, and that the temperature stays up at 6° C overnight, because gives a better chance of the temperature hitting 10° C tomorrow.  

  I had vowed to do very little, and not go out yesterday and today after my freezing to the bone on Thursday night, but yesterday turned out a little different. I didn't go to the shop as I thought I might possibly do, but I did wash some shirts, or tops. I say "tops" because one of the things I washed wasn't exactly a shirt, although it was a shirt made of a heavy material that came close to being a sweater. With it's long sleeves it helped keep the cold out on a couple of occasions, and Angela said how nice it looked (or that it suited me - which may not mean the same thing). It was time to give it a good wash, and hopefully put it away until next winter. Being of a heavy fabric it weighed a ton when saturated with soapy water (and rinse and conditioner water), and that alone of the the items I washed with it gave me a good "work out" !

 That "work out" warmed me up nicely, and together with the slightly milder outside temperature, I felt fine to spend some time in the kitchen. Not only did I clear a small backlog of washing up, but I spent some time preparing some vegetables for a vegetable and butter bean stew. That, possibly with the addition of some meatballs if I go to Aldi today, will be my Sunday dinner. The stew was going to include the last potato from a pack I originally bought for Xmas, but I decided to experiment with it. I cut it into thick slices, smothered them in chilli infused olive oil, and put them in my mini oven/grill until they were almost like super thick crisps. I was a bit disappointed that the chilli in the oil didn't impart any significant heat, but nonetheless, they were delicious. I could be tempted to try that again if I had more potatoes, but I should resist the temptation.

 The funny thing about yesterday was that when I list my achievements they add up to very little, and yet the day seemed to pass by quite quickly, and quite effortlessly. One other little thing I did was to research some bands. It came to my attention possibly as late as Thursday, that something was going on in The Black Cat pub. There was music on in there on a Saturday night. Before the temperature had risen a smidgen, and the snow melted, I had not intended to go out anywhere further than the local shops this weekend, but The Black Cat is essentially in the middle of the local shops, and so doesn't count.

 The even was for a charity - something to do with supporting volunteers - and there were 4 bands playing (or three plus a choir if you want to be pedantic). The event was originally planned for The Tigers Head pub in Lee, but that place has had a change of management, and the new management cancelled the gig with just a few days notice - not very nice !! Fortunately The Black Cat is equipped for music, and because the bands were playing for free the pub didn't have to pay them (although I would hope the pub gave the charity a donation because they did pull in a lot of punters. There now follows some terrible photos taken on my mobile phone because I haven't even looked at the photos I took on the big camera, let alone transferred them to my PC !
Felix's rock choir
First on the bill were Felix's rock choir. Felix, or at least I assume he is Felix, is the one wearing the beret just right of centre in the picture. They did what they do very well, but they weren't really to me taste.
The Pinheads
This horribly smeary photo is of The Pinheads. They were the one band I could not find any info about. All I could find was a band of the same name in Holland, and one in America, and I assume they were neither of them. Apart from the fact they added a bit of a 1950's feel to some 1960s and 1970s songs, and I am definitely not keen on the 1950s, they were pretty good. I am not sure I would want to watch a whole gig from them, but one set was fine.
The Kings Of Oblivion
The third band were The Kings Of Oblivion. They had played in The Black Cat once before, but I think they were one band I missed there in the past. That was a shame because they were really quite good. I think they were good enough that I might go and see some of their gig at The Fox And Firkin on the night of Wednesday 14th March.

 The last band were The Grey Cats. They were something of an enigma. They looked like they would be playing ska or old soul music. The lead singer had a pork pie hat, and the band included both a trombone and a saxaphone player. I was accompanied by Michael, my near neigbour last night, and we both decided we had had enough before The Grey Cats came on, but we stayed until their second or third song. That song they were playing as we left the pub was not ska or soul by an REM cover (one of REM's more sombre, or even miserable songs - but then again maybe all REM songs sound that way !).

 It didn't feel perishingly cold as we walk home, but it was still nice to get back into the warm. I was most keen to get my teeth in a steak and kidney pie when I got in. I had precooked it, and all it needed was 10 minutes in the mini grill and oven to warm it up, and with the grill heater turned on, to crisp the puff pasty on top. I rather spoiled it by adding too much mustard, and on top of that the recipe for Fray Bentos steak and kidney pies has changed a lot over the years. There is now far more thick gloopy gravy, and far less meat, but it was still enjoyable.

 If it hadn't been for needing to wake up several times in the night to drain off all the Guinness I had drunk earlier, I might have reported that I slept well last night. I suppose it still wasn't that bad though. I would have liked to sleep even longer than I did, but with brilliant sunshine creeping around the edges of my curtains it didn't seem possible. The sun is still shining brilliantly even now, although now and again it dims as a cloud passes over - maybe it will end up as a dull day after all).

 It has taken some time since waking up, but I am beginning to feel fairly good now, although there is a paradox here. As bits of me slowly come online, or stop aching, so my desire to go back to sleep increases. Maybe I might just do that ! I have no special plans for today - just a couple of possibilities. I think there is a good chance I will go to Aldi today. They don't open until 11am on a Sunday and so I have no need to rush on that account. What was the other possibility was to go to a gig/open mic tonight. That depended on a train service. A quick check and I see we have no trains today - just a rail replacement bus. So I stay in tonight !

Here's a brief clip of The Kings Of Oblivion, and everyone dancing to them.

Saturday 3rd March 2018
 08:31 GMT

  Another layer of snow fell yesterday. In fact there were two periods of snowfall - early afternoon, and then later in the evening. As is often the case, it warmed up a tiny little bit when it snowed, and evening temperature actually hit a whole plus 1° C ! Earlier on the most common temperature was 0° C. Aside from the snow, and very slightly improved temperature, it was cold, grey and miserable.
                      today we warm up - slowly
  I am not sure it will be 3° C by 9am, because at 8am it was still 1° C by my reckoning. It's going to be another grey day, maybe without a hint of sunshine, but at least it may reach 5° C. That is almost going to feel warm after what we have gone through recently. I could almost forgive it raining early this evening. The headline of the forecast is rather misleading. I have clicked through every hour of the day, and at no time is any snow mentioned, not even the lightest, merest hint of snow. The weather warning references the possibility of ice on roads and pavements this morning. That seems unlikely, but the dangers of slips and skids on the melting snow is very real. Tomorrow could see the temperature rise to 8° C, but it is going to be wet. Monday may be mostly dry, and the temperature could hit 11° C - that's almost t-shirt weather !

 I put on an extra jumper when I went out to see Angela yesterday. It kept me a bit warmer as I walked through the park, but it did seem to feel a bit tight when walking. It also was not in terribly good condition, but still got some praise from Angela. It is strange but nice that Angela often compliments my tops. There wasn't much to see when I walked through the park. The ice patches on the river had gone, and strangely, so had most of the ducks.

 My meeting with Angela was mostly dominated by her tales of no heating. In some twist of irony it seems that lover boys heating has broken down too. Angela has "a man" from British Gas coming out on Monday afternoon to try and fix her boiler. I believe she has a yearly contract with "Homeserve" which cost a fair bit, and has the disadvantage that their engineers are generally reckoned to be useless, and are more like salesmen for new boilers. I hope that the so called engineer that will be checking Angela's will find a simple fault that he can fix on the spot.

 In the meantime it gets worse ! Angela has a rarely used immersion heater that can, or could give her hot water for baths while she relies on a fan heater to warm up the room. Unfortunately it would seem likely that the wire terminations on the power switch for the heating element were probably loose, and that caused overheating. Angela told me that she was worried that whenever she used the immersion heater she would get a nasty, almost cat pee like smell. It's a smell I am familiar with when certain insulators are overheating. I advised her to treat it with extreme caution.

 That advice was well heeded. She kept an eye on it, and reported to me last night that she saw a thin trickle of smoke from the power switch, and the power switch itself had stop working. She had to resort to pulling the fuse from the fuse box to turn off the power to the immersion heater circuit. Fortunately one of our music acquaintances, Derek Brand the drummer, is a fully qualified electrician, and will be trying to visit Angela this morning.

 I only had two pints of Guinness with Angela yesterday. I could have had more, but I elected to sit there with an empty glass for 10 minutes so I could walk her back to work. We said goodbye with a nice warm hug as more snow fell around us ! Maybe it was because I kept my chest warm with my extra jumper, or maybe it was because I only had two pints, but I felt strangely comfortable as I walked home - not completely comfortable, but more comfortable than many days. I think it also helped that the wind had dropped, but I didn't even feel frozen when I got home.

 It was quite strange that after being in significant pain after getting home frozen on Thursday night, and feeling very uncomfortable through the night, I felt mostly OK yesterday - although not entirely. During the early part of the evening my nose started itching internally, and I started to sneeze, and going through tissues quite rapidly. I was totally convinced I was coming down with a headcold, but it now seems more likely it was just an allergy to some dust I had stirred up while looking for something. Having said that, my nose has been a bit twitchy once or twice this morning. Fortunately it has stayed dry.

 The other ailment I have suffered from is rather strange. Yesterday, probably mostly in the morning, one or other wrist felt very sore. Oddly enough it was never both wrists at the same time. At one point it seemed like it was an hour of the left wrist followed by an hour of the right wrist, and then it changed back again. Of course it wasn't exactly like that, but the analogy is close enough to reality to use as a simple description. By midday, or thereabouts, my wrists seemed OK again, but last night I developed a new intermittent pain. I can only describe it as circular, and in the middle of the back of my hand. Once or twice it was quite a strong pain. I have a suspicion it may have been a trapped nerve somewhere.

  By yesterday evening I felt well enough that I could have potentially gone out, but I decided to stick to my guns, and stay in the warm, and off the slippery ice and snow. I also stuck to a devilish plan to have a takeaway for dinner last night. I decided to investigate a kebab shop whose menu, that had been pushed through my letter box weeks ago, I had decided to keep because it looked interesting. I had thought it was from a kebab shop who I have had highly recommended to me. It turned out not to be that shop, but this shop scored a 4 on the Food Standards Agency website - quite high for a kebab shop ! The options on the menu were mostly the expected stuff, but there were a few things a little different. I ordered a large kofte kebab and a large chicken shish kebab - and they were very big. They were also delivered almost on time - which was good.

 The kofte kebab was very good, and also very filling. If I had one complaint it would be that the salad that came with it was a bit unexciting - maybe too much shredded cabbage, and the dressing didn't have any flavour. I thoroughly enjoyed it, and it filled me up enough that I could only find room to taste two bits of chicken from the other kebab. I put the rest of it in the fridge to have for lunch (or maybe dinner) today. As usual I discarded the pitta bread on the twisted idea that just grilled meat and salad is healthy in some way.
my options if I had decided to go out last

 These were my options if I had decided to go out last night. They didn't look very appealing, and I am even gladder that I didn't try and beat the odds by going out. There was news this morning that a train had broken down near Lewisham, and that stranded one or more trains outside the station. On one train the passengers released the emergency latch to open the doors to walk along the track to the station. This was widely condemned as being incredibly dangerous, but I wonder if it really was. There were inherent dangers, the third rail electrified at 750 volts being one, but I expect most people know about that. Sometimes I think you have to give people credit for their own safety awareness, and not impose nannying on them.

 The news report said that all the emergency service were called out, and they blocked all the bus stops to make the passengers onward journey even more difficult, and I would not have been surprised if most of the passengers were safely on the platform at the station before the emergency services arrived. These days I doubt you could set sail to discover America without reams of paperwork, taking years to complete, to be filed with health and safety, and even after that they would probably say no. Sometimes you just have to take risks - hopefully well understood risks, but still risks.

 By about bedtime I was feeling good last night, and I wasn't feeling in the slightest bit tired. That seemed strange after a bad night's sleep the night before, but then again I did have a few good naps yesterday. I stayed awake reading in bed until well past midnight. I think when I finally put the book down, and turned out the lights, I fell asleep quickly and easily. I'm sure I got up once or twice in the night for a pee, but the memory(s) seem very hazy now - almost as if they may have been dreams. The only thing I am sure about (or am I ?) is that I woke up at about 5am think I would never get back to sleep, but I did, and I slept for nearly another 2 hours.

 In theory I have slept enough, and I am fairly free of the worst discomforts this morning. In another theory that makes me ready for dynamic action. In practice I don't fancy that....well not yet. Apart from eating the chicken shish kebab I mentioned earlier, I don't think I have any plans for today. I don't think there are any gigs on tonight that I want to go to, or if there are they are in inaccessible venues. I may pop out to the shops later, and I might wash a couple of shirts, but I will just make up these things as I go along. I might even be bored today !
Friday 2nd March 2018
 08:41 GMT

  It was viciously cold yesterday - tenfold when "Storm Emma" added it's howling gales in the evening. It would be easy to believe that the temperature didn't even rise to the plus 1° C that was forecast. At 7pm, when I was coming home from my Thursday evening drink, the wind chill made it feel something like minus 10° C, and even my warmest coat could not protect me from that. On top of that it was a grey and miserable sort of day.
                      hints that the seriously cold spell may soon be
  The forecast today adds a little joy, but only by looking at the days to come. The forecast for today looks almost as bleak as yesterday.  It's only later in the day when the temperature finally rises to 1° C that the idea that tomorrow could be as high as 5° C seems to be possible. Before that we have to endure the possibilities of another dusting of snow this morning. Although not shown on the screenshot, the official forecast for midday, when I'll be walking through the park, is that the wind chill will make it feel like -6° C ! There could be more light snow later in the afternoon, but then it might turn to sleet, and then rain. I can't wait for the middle of the month when we might see sunshine and temperatures of 10° C. The snow was nice for a short while, but it has now outstayed it's welcome !

duck swimming in an icy
                      cold river
There were still plenty of patches of ice on the river yesterday, possibly more than the previous day, and yet this duck (and several others) were still swimming around in that icy water. No wonder that when you cook a duck you find it's 50% fat.

 I had to feel so sorry for Angela yesterday. Her first news when she arrived at the pub was that her heating had broken down at home, and she had no heating and no hot water - although the latter is not strictly true. She does have an immersion heater that can provided limited supplies of extremely hot water - OK for baths where it can be "diluted with cold water to taste", but more dodgy for a shower. There was also more general bad news in that the heating in the pub was really struggling, and I never did get to warm up after my walk through the park. It made me feel really chilled when I got home again. Apart from that, I had a lovely time with Angela.

 I didn't have that much time after I got home before I had to go out again to my Thursday evening drink with the Thursday club. The first thing I did after getting home after seeing Angela was to heat up two cans of Chicken soup. With the addition of some chilli sauce they seemed to warm me up nicely, but it didn't seem to last. I had my heater on full blast, and I still felt rather cool when I woke up from a short snooze. It inspired me to walk as fast as I could as I walked to Catford station to get the train to Shortlands.

 Walking very fast was not so easy on the sometimes slippery pavements, and yet I think I kept a good pace up. The only trouble was that by the time I got up on the platform at the station, which is at the top of a three section staircase, and that after going up and over the bridge over the railway lines for Catford Bridge station, I seemed to have added a few pains, and while mild by comparison, they did have some similarity to the Angina pains I had before my quad heart bypass operation. It is difficult to know if it was just the cold, and my usual wonky chest pains, or a warning of things to come. I guess I'll know better in a few weeks when, if we can trust the forecast, it should be OK to go out in just a light coat that isn't done up tightly and constricting my chest.

 The theme of last night's drink, if you can call it a theme, was wishing Dave Peru best wishes for his move to Buxton. We did that the week before, but a few days back we got a group message from him to say that his moving date had been put back a week, and he would be able to make one more evening with us. With a second chance to get a decent photo, I turned the flash on this time !
The Thursday evening
                          drinking club minus Andy who arrived late
 Here's the Thursday evening drinking club. From left to right: Chris, Alan, Dave, Steven and Jodie. The space between Chris and Alan would be filled by Andy a bit later.
Dave Peru
Dave in close up. Next Thursday he'll be drinking in Buxton by himself.
 There was some nice strong beer on last night - Welton's "Old Harry". It was 5.2%, and very nice - just what was needed on a freezing cold night. I had my usual 3 pints, and left in time for my usual 7:02pm train back to Catford. The National Rail app on my phone warned that the train was delayed by severe weather, but at every stop down the line it was shown as arriving on time ! It is a shame that I couldn't trust myself to leave it to the last moment before leaving the pub to get the train. It had seemed bloody cold when I was going to the pub, but when I left the pub Storm Emma had really picked up, and it felt bloody, bloody cold ! ... and maybe up on the platform, which is on an embankment/viaduct, it was bloody, bloody, bloody cold !

 I was wearing a thick(ish) long sleeved top under my warmest coat that was fully zipped up, and yet I felt completely perished by the time I got home. Fortunately I had left the heater on in my bedroom full blast when I went out, and I could very quickly heat up some food when I got in. The only trouble was that I couldn't heat it that much because it was a chicken shish kebab left over from my fish and chip takeaway the previous evening. I just put the whole thing in the microwave and guess a heating time that would heat the chicken without cooking the salad. The salad did go a bit limp, but was not bad. In warmer circumstance I might have settled for just that kebab, but I wanted more. So while I was eating the kebab I was heating up a liver and bacon ready meal. That was bubbling hot when I ate it.

 Being in the warm, with hot food inside me should have thawed me out, and I feel I should have felt OK when I went to bed, but still bits of me ached. The most peculiar was a painful wrist. At first it was the left wrist, but later on it seemed to be the right wrist. Other aches were more familiar. It all made finding a comfortable position to sleep really difficult, and I probably thrashed around for what seem like was getting on for an hour before I fell asleep. Once I had got to sleep the forst time I was reasonably successful of at sleeping OK until about 3am (or was it 4am ?). I got up for a stretch then, and took a couple of painkillers. That allowed me to sleep until about 7am this morning.

 Compared to the night before that sleep was very poor, and yet I don't seem to feel sleepy now....or I didn't until I started thinking about it. I'm in no pain now as such, but I really do feel very delicate. I went down into the freezing kitchen to prepare some instant noodles for breakfast, and as I stood in the cold kitchen I could feel all my muscles starting to complain of the cold. It was a great relief to get back to my nice warm bedroom.

 I have decided that I won't even attempt to go out tonight, and I don't think I will even go to the shops today. I might have to get a takeaway tonight if I don't go to the shops (well probably not, but shhhh, it sounds like a great excuse). I will still go for my lunchtime walk to see Angela though. I would walk through the fires of hell to see her...well, sort of !
Thursday 1st March 2018
 08:11 GMT

  The freezing cold weather continues ! The temperature peaked at 0° C yesterday ! One big variant on the forecast was that the midday snow never happened. Instead of snow we had sunshine, and while it didn't warm the air up, it did melt the snow on some pavements, and dry them out in places. Later in the evening the snow did start falling again, and once again the pavements and road gained another inch of snow.
more snow
  It is going to be not only horribly cold, but terribly grey today - and it might snow again this morning. It is certainly very grey outside as I write this, and I can see some snowflakes blowing around in the breeze. Tomorrow is likely to be a repeat performance of today, and the day after only looks better because the temperature may peak at 3° C. Even that may be spoiled by any more snow falling as horrible soggy sleet.

 Yesterday's highlight was undoubtedly seeing Angela for a lunchtime drink. That went really well. I can't really work out what was going on in her mind, but I think she is going through another period of doubting whether she is doing the right thing in her choice of lover. At one point she was talking in rebellious terms, but even more surprising was that she offered to show me something very intimate on her phone. I felt very privileged indeed to be offered such a peek (and even more so to receive a copy yesterday evening). Before all that was the walk through the park, and some sights seen there.
solitary surviving
This was the solitary surviving daffodil on the riverbank. The rest, and others elsewhere in the park, which hadn't even opened their buds, had been beaten down by the snow !
looking north towards the arctic
This is looking north in the park - towards the arctic - but the arctic seems to have come to us !
ice on the river
Here's a very unusual sight. In fact I have never seen it before - ice on the river. In the foreground is ice attached to the bank that is dry enough to have snow on it, but slowly drifting down the river was a bar of ice that the duck was having trouble getting over. In the end it sort of slid over it on it's belly.
Building a small snowman in the garden of
                      the pub
In the garden of the pub, and while the barmaid looks on, one of the regulars builds a small snowman.
finished snowman with his glass of
The finished snowman complete with glass of Guinness !
 When I left the pub I noticed that the sunshine had not only melted the snow on parts of the pavement alongside the main road, but had even dried the surface off. That made walking a bit more sure footed. Fortunately for everywhere else I was wearing a pair of walking boots that had until now got very little use. I must have bought them 6 or 7 years ago, but they quickly went out of favour when when my socks would get rucked up inside them, and that made them very uncomfortable to wear. These days I very rarely wear socks, and I have found they are actually very comfortable to wear without socks. It was lucky I didn't throw them away !

 Once I got home it felt great to warm up, and to help the process I quickly made up two instant noodle pots. I attempted to spice up the bland roast chicken flavour with a couple of sauces. To one I added satay sauce, and while it improved the flavour a bit, it too seemed rather bland. I had more hopes for what is called "Korean Sauce" on the bottle. It is supposed to have some chilli and some spices in it, but I found that too was very bland. Once I had eaten the noodles, and drunk the hot "gravy" in them I settled down to do some deep relaxation - i.e. I read a couple of pages from a book before having a snooze.

 For the evening I had a plan.....or was it a yearning ? It involved ordering fish and chips to be delivered. I don't know why I had this momentary fixation on fish and chips, but I now wish that I hadn't. Not only did the fish and chips leave me feeling a bit bloated (and that was after leaving nearly a third of the "small" portion of chips), but the fish didn't even taste nice. It wasn't an "off" sort of taste. It was more like a cardboard taste somehow. It also left me with indigestion that I thought would spoil my night.

 After chewing a few Rennies I went to bed, and once again I fell asleep very quickly, and I slept well again. I would like to know how I am sleeping so easily and well lately, and apply it to next time I go through a period of insomnia like I had a few weeks back. I would also like to know what caused that insomnia so I can avoid it ! This morning I didn't even seem to go through the final hour of sleep being really light - flipping between being awake and being asleep in a random sort of way. One moment I was asleep having an annoying dream, and the next I was awake. Even more surprisingly is that some bits of me felt quite good - other bits typically less so !

 Today there are two things on the agenda. The first is another lunchtime drink with Angela. I am really looking forward to this one at double the strength of normal. The second, assuming the trains are running, although I could get two buses if I was desperate, is my regular Thursday evening drink with the Thursday drinking club. Tonight's venue is The Shortlands Tavern. Maybe when the weather is warmer we will try other venues again like we used to, but for now Shortlands seems a safe bet.