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My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2018

Friday 30th November 2018
10:07 GMT

Congratulations if you are reading this. The recent, and continuing rain means my internet connection is very intermittent, and hence this website is up and down, for reasons that no one has any idea about !

  Yesterday was wetter than expected, but that was partly compensated by a little bit of sunshine. In Catford it may have only rained in the morning, but there was definitely an early evening shower in Shortlands, just 3 or 4 miles to the south. I know this because I got caught in some fine drizzle as I walked from the station to the pub. While in the pub there seemed to be some heavier rain. The afternoon temperature was 13° C, but the wind made it feel a bit cooler than that. Although the temperature was supposed to have only dropped to 11° C when I left the pub to get the 6.45pm train, it felt very chilly to me.
sunshine !

  As usual, the forecast for today hasn't got it quite right. Only sunny intervals were forecast for this morning, but the sun has been shining non stop for the last couple of hours. Hopefully it will continue this way, but any sunshine is welcome after the grey wet days recently. Sadly it won't be very warm today. The best the forecast can offer is just 11° C. An hour or two ago it seemed that it was only 8° C according to my thermometers. Tonight the temperature is forecast to fall to a very cool 8° C. The prediction for tomorrow is that the morning will be about 9° C, and it will rain, but the afternoon may be dry, heavily overcast, and an almost warm 14° C.

  My morning revolved around my appointment with the doctor yesterday - which I have already described. It was terribly tempting to have a large lunch after that visit, but two things held me back. One was that I am sure that when I see the doctor again next Thursday, I will be asked to go and give some blood samples so that my blood chemistry can be measured. At the moment the doctor is working on measurements that were taken in June, and I knew there were good reasons why some of the readings would be higher. I have taken steps to reduce one or more readings, and maybe I can push a few things lower in the next 7 days. The other reason for not eating a lot was so I wasn't too bloated when I went for my late afternoon drink.

  One odd thing is that I felt considerably worse after seeing the doctor. My chest was quite uncomfortable. I managed to get some relief when I washed some t-shirts and underwear and stuff. Unfortunately that vigorous exercise left me feeling rather hot and sweaty - too sweaty. I don't think I have any other indicators, but that sweatiness is characteristic of high blood glucose. It is possible that the new options for diabetic control that the doctor mentioned, and may try on me, could be coming at a good time !

  Although doing that hand laundry helped to lessen the aches and pains, I still felt a bit rough when I walked to the station to get the train to the pub. Based on my experience with Angina, over 5 years ago now, I still wonder if walking will make those aches and pains much worse, or as did happen, make them almost go away. I arrived at the pub feeling mostly OK, but the feeling didn't last. It probably wasn't help by it feeling a bit cool in the pub - not helped by me only wearing a t-shirt (maybe I should have put my coat back on).

  I had some nice beer in the pub, but only my usual 3 pints.  Often the beer will relax some of the complaining muscles in my chest, but it didn't seem to until I was on my way home. It felt very chilly when I stepped out into the fresh air, and chillier still on the exposed platform of the station, sitting up high on the viaduct. Once on the train I warmed up a little bit, and I felt OK for quite a brisk walk home. Sometimes I feel that if it wasn't for my dodgy chest, that can be provoked so easily, I could almost run some of the way home these days.

  When I got home I had the last bit of the previous nights takeaway to look forward to. It was a thigh and a drumstick of peri-peri chicken. After a 5 minute blast in the microwave oven, in the hope that it might kill any bugs that had grown on it in the previous 24 hours, it was delicious, but it seemed a bit insubstantial. I really should have stopped eating there, but I had some peanut butter on oat cakes for "pudding".

  I felt very tired in the evening, and I probably could have, and maybe should have, gone to bed quite early, but I didn't. One of the last distractions before going to bed was to measure my blood pressure. It had been amazingly high in the doctors surgery, and I hoped it would be lower in real life - and it was by a considerable margin. With very little effort, the first reading was good enough, and after relaxing for a minute or two once I had the measuring cuff on, I managed to get a systolic pressure of 128, and a diastolic pressure of 72. My heart rate was just 66 beats per minute. That was lower than I expected, and well within the healthy range. The reading I took this  morning was not quite as low, but still very good by my own reckoning. I shall be taken twice daily reading until I see the doctor next, and present her with a spreadsheet of the result.

  I read for a while after getting into bed, and then turned over to go to sleep. It wasn't long before I was just starting to fall asleep, and maybe I had actually fallen asleep for a few seconds when something unusual happened. I had some sort of muscle spasm in my left leg, and it sort of kicked out. It happened just the once, but my sleep was spoiled several times by getting cramp in that leg. I had to leap out of bed to put pressure on the leg to get the leg muscles to relax again.

  While my leg was playing up I was having some odd dreams. I was dreaming about scanning old photos. A couple of photos kept popping up, and I think they were from a collage of old photos. I'm not sure of what was so difficult about these photos, but with hindsight it was probably try to get a decent resolution from a quite small image. The memory of those dreams, and I seemed to have a series of them, is now almost faded away to nothing, but I do remember the climax of each dream was to wake up with my leg going into cramp.

  When I finally got up this morning the calf muscle in my left leg felt quite sore. That has mostly gone away now, but it made going downstairs to reboot my cable modem a slightly painful task. I did have fears that I had completely lost my broadband connection when I woke up this morning, but the reboot seems to have got me back on line. Catching up on some messages (all low to zero priority), and then another of my friend Lee's long and rambling phone calls, means that most of the morning has now gone, and it doesn't look like I'll be frolicking in the sunshine today ! Or at least not in any exotic locations further than the high street.

 Before I can even do even that I ought to have a shower, and wash my hair. I have no idea what I am doing today. I don't think I even dared think about what to do today until I had seen the sunshine with my own eyes. At the moment I don't feel that bad, and maybe I could take a wander around the park or something. On the other hand I may spend some time cutting up the tree in my back garden. With more rain forecast for tomorrow onwards, it might be good to do some stuff in the garden while it is dry and does seem to be a bit of a waste of a sunny day though. There are a few gigs on tonight that are tempting if I can ever manage to raise the enthusiasm to go out in the middle of the night again.
Thursday 29th November 2018
09:05 GMT

Congratulations if you are reading this. The recent, and continuing rain means my internet connection is very intermittent, and hence this website is up and down, for reasons that no one has any idea about !

  There was, as forecast, a lull in the rain during the late morning yesterday, but overall it was a rather wet day. If there was any positive thing to say it was that most of the rain was very light. Essentially it was a day of drizzle. It is perhaps more with the benefit of hindsight that I can add one more positive thing about yesterday - it was 14° C all afternoon, and into the evening. It didn't feel warm in any way, and the absence of biting cold was only apparent when you stopped to think about it.
yet another wet day

  The forecast for today contains a glimmer of hope. It is raining as I write this, but it should soon stop. It will remain lightly overcast for the rest of the day, but it should be making way for some sunshine tomorrow. The best we can hope for today is 13° C, but tomorrow when it will be dry, and there should be sunny intervals all through daylight hours, it may feel warmer/less cold despite being a mere 12° C.

  At this point I take a break to go to the doctors. I had a bad night which spurred me on to try and get an appointment with the doctor. To my astonishment I got through first time, and was offered an appointment at 9:40 this morning. That's in 20 minutes time as I wrote these words. I had better get a move on ! When I get back, assuming I am not taken straight to a mortuary, or hospital, I'll continue the story.

11:28 GMT

  I've been home now for quite a while, but I've had some light breakfast, and read some stuff.

  When I arrived at the surgery the check-in screen said that my doctor was running 15 minutes behind schedule. That wasn't good, but neither was it correct. I estimate I waited no more than 5 minutes after my appointment time. The doctor I saw was a new doctor, barely out of training, and maybe that was a good thing. She listened to what I said, and actually examined me. Some of her conclusions were possibly wrong, or out of date because she was relying on the data from blood tests taken back in June.

  The good thing was that after her examination she concluded that what I was suffering from was most probably costochondritus - a diagnosis I had made over 4 years ago, but which most doctors dismissed as just soft tissue damage that would clear up "soon". The doctor did agree that the 'flu I had would most likely inflame the situation, but she did think that it should be calming down again by now. Unfortunately there is no cure for costochondritis, and the only advice was to continue taking Ibuprofen for inflammation, and Paracetamol for pain reduction. Both do help, but not always that much. I think morphine would be more effective !

  The doctor was also worried about my blood chemistry - based on tests taken back in June. She rightly pointed out that there was some indication that my sensitivity to the costochondritus pains could be made worse by, for instance, elevated levels of blood glucose levels. I did point out, rather ineffectively, that it is hard to follow idealised diets when in pain. I find myself in a vicious circle that while I am in pain I can't eat and exercise like I should, and could, and the pain is made worse by not doing that exercise and eating better.

  The doctor is going to discuss these issues with her senior colleagues, and I have an appointment to see her at 10am next Thursday. It is possible that I might have a change of medication coming up. Apparently there are better things than Metformin for type 2 diabetes available now. A friend is on one, something that sounds like like "glitterzone" if I recall close to correctly, and he reports it is very effective. It seems to have also been very useful for his weight control too.

  Back to yesterday, and I did....... Actually what did I do ? I seems I did very little yesterday, but it took a fair while to do it, and the outcomes were useful if not actually essential. I the morning I went to Aldi to buy a few things for me, and to look out for a couple of things at Jodies request. She had it in mind that Aldi were doing a cheese based Advent calendar. I didn't look that closely, but I think I found what she thought she had seen, but it turned out to cheese based treats for dogs! I did manage to find her the stuffed toy carrot she wanted for some unknown reason. Oh well, it simplifies getting her a Xmas present.

  I spent quite a bit of time yesterday afternoon replacing the batteries in my radio controlled/linked thermometers. A few of the outside sensors had became so weak as their batteries became flat that they were only producing intermittent signals. All are now working except for two. The very first one I ever bought seems to have failed completely. Even it's LCD display seems to have gone very feint. I ought to throw it away. Another only works when the temperature is a lot warmer than it will see during the winter. I'll keep that one until the weather improves next spring, and hope that it bursts back into life.

  For my dinner I had a pile of hot peri-peri chicken. I don't think it helped my chest pains. As an experiment I tried an old remedy - bicarbonate of soda in water. I think I may have over done the dose though.  I have never belched so much in my life. I think the pressure also backfired as well as forward fired. I had to pay two unexpected visits to the toilet a bit later on. I think it did help a bit despite the drawbacks. Next time I will try using considerably less.

  Later on I went to bed feeling good enough to get to sleep easily enough, but not good enough to stay asleep. I think it was around 2am when I woke up, and my chest was feeling particularly bothersome. I was awake for nearly an hour, and it was that which spurred me on to have another go at getting an appointment with a doctor. I thought I had left it too late when I tried phoning at about 2 minutes past 8.30am, but I got through first time. I was even more amazed when I was offered an appointment at 9.40am this morning. I have a strong suspicion that I had phones at exactly the right time to grab a cancellation. The doctor I saw agreed that getting an appointment was no easy thing when she tried to make another appointment for me. She wanted to pass me up to a senior doctor, but all she could find was another slot on her own reserved list.

  Several hours have passed since seeing the doctor, and because I've been sitting at this computer keyboard for several hours now, my chest is complaining a lot. I've just taken both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol in the hope that I will be feeling food for the only important thing today - my Thursday, late afternoon drink. I think I am looking forward to a few pints tonight. I'll probably just have my usual three pints unless there is anything very tempting on. All I have to do after that is to try and avoid the temptation to eat too much. I feel I ought to try and take some care of my eating for the next week - just to make a good impression when I see the doctor again - particularly if I am asked to go and give a few blood sample for testing to the vampires who live in the attic of the surgery. It is not going to be easy starving when it is cold and grey outside, and I am in pain.
Wednesday 28th November 2018
08:14 GMT

Congratulations if you are reading this. The recent, and continuing rain means my internet connection is very intermittent for reasons that no one has any idea about !

  As the forecast predicted, it was grey, but dry until about midday yesterday. After that it rained - sometimes it was no more than fine drizzle, and occasionally it was getting on to be quite heavy rain. Through the day the temperature slowly rose from 5° C (or slightly less) at sunrise to about 10° C by midnight.
another wet day

  It is certainly very dull grey, and very wet as I write this. I can't tell if it is actually raining now, but if it is not then it probably was 5 minutes earlier. There may be a few respites from the rain today. It may stop for a few hours in the late morning, and then for a few hours in mid evening, but essentially it is going to be another vet and soggy day, and my internet connection is going to go very intermittent for the rest of today, and probably tomorrow as well. Along with all this doom and gloom, with strong emphasis on the gloom, does come one almost wasted positive aspect. It's a mild start to the day, and the afternoon temperature could be an almost, but not quite, warm 14° C. The rain should finally finish at about midday tomorrow when the temperature will be just a degree less than today. From about 11am to sunset the temperature is predicted to be 13° C. The next day, Friday is currently predicted to be dry with sunny intervals. When the sun is shining it might even feel nice with the temperature as high as 12° C.

  Yesterday was a strange day. I was in a fair amount of discomfort yesterday morning - lots of assorted aches and pains. None were particularly strong, and each individually could have been mostly ignored, but together they were quite a nuisance. It seemed the only option was kill or cure. So I gritted my teeth, pulled on my safety gloves, and hauled the brown wheelie bin into the back garden to start some more garden clearance. The first thing I tackled was sawing up a bit more of the felled tree so I could get a bit more access to the fence on the right. That was so I could start to pull off as much ivy as I could get to - which turned out to be quite a lot. I also discovered that there were more loose branches under the tree than I realised. I pulled out several and cut them up too.
cutting up the felled
  There is still an awful lot of tree to be cut up, but I made fair progress yesterday, although the biggest improvement was getting the loose branches, from under the big lump of trunk and branches, out, and cutting them up to go in the wheelie bin. There is no apparent depth to these pictures, and it is not obvious that I can now get almost a whole yard down the garden path. Before yesterday I couldn't even get on the garden path !
fence almost clear of
                      ivy, but still lots of work needed
 I can't get to the bottom of the fence, but I managed to pull off most of the ivy from the top of the fence - and there was an awful lot of it. I hope my neighbour appreciates how much work is going into this !
dead rocket
 I must have stepped over this firework rocket several times before I noticed it laying there. I had finished my work, and was just admiring my handiwork when I spotted the red cap of the rocket, and wondered what it was. After taking a few steps towards it, it came into focus (I didn't have my glasses on while working in the garden), and it was instantly identifiable as a firework. It's still out there now because I didn't think it appropriate to put it into the garden waste.

  I was possibly out in the garden for an hour or so, and I worked up quite a sweat working out there - the fleece I put on provides more upper body insulation than I expected. Once I got working I could have just worn a t-shirt. I must wash that fleece soon or it will get very stinky ! At the end of my hard work I had exchanged mystery pains for predictable pains - and the predictable pains felt sort of good in as much as they were indications of having achieved something good.

  I rested a fair bit after being in the garden. I felt a curious juxtaposition of hungry and not hungry. The best compromise was to have a can of soup of the chunky variety - something, potato, and bacon. It was nice but not as wonderful as expected, and it didn't feel like enough. I was going to open another can of soup - I had my eye on a chicken and mushroom soup - but then my eye fell on a single bag of tomato flavoured instant noodles. I had them fortified with some chilli paste and ginger paste. They turned out to be very nice, and hot the right spot.

  After my lunch I lay on my bed to do a bit of reading. I might have had a snooze too, but I am not sure about that now.  During the afternoon a plan started to crystallise in my head. I thought I would treat myself to a takeaway in the evening. To make it more enjoyable I would get the living room nice and warm, and to avoid wasting much of that heat, I would wash a few things that I could hang on the clothes horse in front of the heater. After working in the garden in the morning I didn't fancy doing too big a laundry job, but I had a white t-shirt, and a few light coloured things that would be better washed separately from black t-shirts, and so I washed them yesterday afternoon.

  I ordered quite a lot of takeaway food - more than enough for free delivery. The main part was some extra hot peri-peri chicken, but that wasn't what I ate last night. It was the "padding" of the order that I ate. It was two burgers, one with cheese, and some nasty unsalted "fries". Later on I also ate some onion rings, but if I paced it, I possibly have enough for two dinners, although some may end up as lunch, and possibly even breakfast, but not today.

  I guess I felt guilty about my fast food dinner because it, and worse, featured in my dreams - or one particular dream. Apart from waking up too early, and then not going back to bed for reasons I'll come to soon, I probably slept quite well except when I had a seeming long, and unpleasant dream. It wasn't unpleasant in as much as anything in it was scary or painful, but it was a glimpse of an unpleasant version of reality and a certain amount of prejudice - or was it that different to reality ?

  The dream was all about going to a cinema, and the cinema seemed to be in America. Worse than that, it seemed to be in a redneck part of America. I have no idea what the film was because I couldn't see the screen for a lot of the time. The cinema was more like a fast food outlet. Instead of the comfy chairs that I am told modern cinemas have, or even the traditional fold down chairs that are made to fit a very rare size of bottom, this cinema had small circular tables with 4 chairs around them, and one seat faced away from the screen. Two of them were sideways onto the screen. To add to the poor view there were several large pillars that also obstructed the view, but it was even worse than that.

  Several tables of very loud mouthed Americans decided for some bizzare reason to put umbrellas up to clutter the view even more. The final problem came when this very fat American (far fatter than me) sat down at the table in front of us (I was with a couple of friends, but I have no idea who they were). He tried to put up an umbrella too, but was happy to put it down when I pointed out that it was blocking my view. He then decided to tuck into some food - by the bucketful ! He was completely oblivious to the film being shown, and treated the place just as a fast food restaurant. I never did understand eating in cinemas - not even popcorn - which seems to be an American import that has grown like a virulent disease of ever increasing strength.

  All my plans, which I didn't have anyway, are on hold today. Yesterday Angela's lover boy went into hospital for his heart operation. It may or may no need very invasive surgery - i.e. it might be done by keyhole surgery. I sent Angela a message last night that simply said "Relax, Paul is in safe hands now, and you can sleep easy tonight". She didn't acknowledge it until 7:15am this morning. Apparently she had been up to 3am, and was just getting ready for work when she replied to my message. It seems his operation was to be at 7:30am this morning. I have offered to meet Angela at lunchtime for some moral support (and a couple of beers). She thanked me, but didn't say yes or no. I think she is waiting to find out how she feels, and for any further news before committing herself one way or another.  If he has the full open heart surgery, like I did, he will be off the air for 24 hours, but if he gets away with keyhole surgery, he could be awake again by this afternoon - possibly even lunchtime - and up and walking a few days later.

  There is a possible third outcome to the operation. Someone did mention Angela's track record of men dying on her, and someone has to make up the statistics.... As much as I would love for Angela to be unencumbered by her current lover, I wouldn't wish that grief on her. While we wait I guess I have a few things I can do. Washing the fleece I use for "gardening" would be a good thing. I also need to have another look at the mini PC I want to use as a new firewall. I meant to do something with it yesterday, but didn't get around to it.
Tuesday 27th November 2018
09:18 GMT

  It was grey and not warm yesterday. I hesitate to call it cold because with little wind there was no chill, but 7 or 8° C cannot be described as warm by any stretch of the imagination. By omitting the sentence where I mentioned morning drizzle I can just use what I typed yesterday about the previous day's weather.
a wet day expected
a cold start to the day
  The forecast for today seemed to overestimate the morning temperature a bit, but maybe only be a degree. It correctly predicted the morning mist, although it's looking like that mist may hang around a bit longer than expected. The temperature is predicted to rise to 9° C a few hours after sunset, and the early hours of tomorrow could see 10° C. Once again there is not a single ray of sunshine forecast for today, and the main feature is going to be the rain that is predicted to start falling from about 1pm. For a few hours in the late afternoon it could be very heavy. It's looking like tomorrow will be overcast, the same as today, and the preceding few days. To add to the misery it could be raining, albeit not heavily, for the entire 24 hours of tomorrow. One almost meaningless bit of cheer is that the rain is the rsult of some warm and wet air passing by. It could lead to temperatures around 13° C for a lot of the day. The day after was looking similar, but the temperature looks like it will be the same as tomorrow, and the rain may be mainly confined to the morning, and possibly very early afternoon. They day after that might even see some sunshine !
misty morning
  It wasn't a thick mist when I first took a snap of what it looks like outside this morning, but the trees in the distance look very misty. Beyond those trees in the distance is the park with the river running through it. It is likely to have been more misty across the park.

  It turned out that I didn't feel all that good yesterday, but it is hard to pin down just what, or where, it hurts - not that it was any more than very mild pains most of the time. It didn't help that I spent so long sitting at my PC yesterday as I finished off the pictures I had taken on Sunday evening, and once they were finished, catching up on news and stuff that I hadn't had time to read. It also probably didn't help that on Sunday evening I kept leaning over, often at the side, over the side of the chair, to pick or replace camera lenses, or other camera attachments.

   Some of the pains yesterday were where I had stretched and compressed my side the previous evening. Other pains were mostly distributed over my torso, and they would pop up from time to time. Often I would get instant relief by going downstairs to the kitchen, but if I spent too much time down there, in what is probably the coldest room in the house, I would begin to feel a whole new set of pains. My back and arms seemed most sensitive to the cold. It does make me wonder just how many things there are wrong with my body. It can't still be aftershocks from the 'flu I had 6 or 7 weeks ago now (just how long ago was it ??).

  There was one other factor that made me feel worse yesterday. I was expecting two parcel deliveries yesterday, and that meant I couldn't relax or lay down in case I fell into a deep sleep. Much of the time did coincide with doing my photo editing, but there was at least an hour or two when I stayed at my PC desk at a high state of alertness before the last parcel arrived. Once it was safely in my hands I was able to lay down, and I think I managed a short snooze. During the morning, and into the afternoon, I didn't fancy eating much despite sometimes feeling hungry. I think it was another symptom of whatever is killing my body. I did have a few rice cakes with peanut butter on, and another couple with some soft, spreadable cheese with herbs and garlic in it.

  By very evening I started a project I have been planning for ages - although "planning" sounds a bit grandiose for rolling a few ideas around in my mind. One item in the parcels I received was a very low profile network card that was small enough to fit inside a very small PC that I fished out of a skip several years ago when I was at work.  It is a nice little thing, but maybe a bit too underpowered for many modern tasks. However it should make an excellent new firewall box. My current firewall has given good service, but bits of it are failing, and for the last 6 months or more it has been working with a temporary spare power supply that is too big to fit into the case. That power supply is precariously balanced across one corner of the chassis, and I think the hard disk is balanced across another corner.

  I fitted the low profile network card into the case after re-arranging the hard disks so it's power and date leads didn't foul the network card, and then with it all put back together I booted form the install disk (a CDR disk), and started the installation. It all went smoothly, and although it is a good few years since I installed the software on my current firewall, it all seemed very familiar, and it wasn't long before I was ready to re-boot to continue the setting up via the web interface - except it didn't boot. The PC complained that it couldn't find any bootable media.  So I did the installation again using the advanced mode. It is nit that different, but it does allow you to see what it is doing as it installs. It looked like it had installed everything onto the hard disk, but once again it would not re-boot.

  I am a bit perplexed why my new installation is apparently unbootable. One long shot of an idea is that the install programme has erased, but not deleted the boot area that was used by the previous operating system on the hard disk (it was Linux Mint 13). Sometime today I may boot off a live Linux CD or DVD so I can inspect what is on the hard disk, and possibly erase everything so I can start from fresh. If that doesn't work I don't know what I shall do.

  In the evening, after both a bot of rest, and a bit of activity, I felt like eating again. In fact I felt more and more hungry as my dinner started cooking. I ended up having a two part dinner. Part one was an Aldi "Slimwell" sweet potato and spinach curry ready meal. I knew them to be very tasty, but quite small, and unfortunately quite a big source of sugar once the guts enzymes had broken down the sweet potato. Part two was grilled smoky bacon. I think the latter was the most enjoyable.

  I felt ready for bed fairly early last night, and I spent very little time reading in bed before I turned the light out, and fell asleep very quickly. It was a good start, but by 3am I was awake, and having a lot of difficulty getting back to sleep. I was not exactly in pain, and in very little discomfort, but it was more than enough to distract me from sleep. After an hour I took a couple of paracetamol. I am sure that it was the placebo effect that got me back to sleep faster than the paracetamol tablets could have acted.

 I felt sort of glad that it was light when I next woke up, although a few more hours of sleep would have been welcome. This morning I was semi-OK, but now I am feeling uncomfortable. It is a bit like back ache except it is in the front, but like back ache it is improved by changing to a better posture.

News Flash: 10:28 am, and it may be a bit hazy, but the sun is out enough, and bright enough, to cast strong shadows. I wasn't expecting that, and neither were the weather forecasters !

  In an ideal world I would do something like some walking today, but even though it has suddenly got bright, the chances are that it is still going to be a horrible day once this brief display of sunshine is over. It feels unlikely that I will be going very far  if I do go out. I suppose if it stays dry for a little longer than forecast I could possibly do some garden clearance this morning. I didn't do any last week, and I don't like to waste the money I am paying to hire the brown wheelie bin from the council.

  While that would be good exercise, I would still have to overcome the feeling that I am not in good shape to do anything too much like hard work. It is funny how I know it will be good for me, and yet I still don't have enough faith to put it into practice. There is also the problem that I want to get that new firewall box up and running. It is galling to get so close, and yet not completing the job. Once I have done that job I can tackle another computer job - that of using an old, underpowered laptop as a web server. If I could get that done I could finally stop using the temporary web server that has been sitting open, and covered in dust on a table in my bedroom for the last 3 years ! I am really quite amazed it has lasted so long considering the state it is in !

  There is another job I could have started today, but I can't. I have plans for tidying up some of my network cabling. A core feature of that plan is to fit some wall mounted Ethernet sockets. For some unexplained reason, I seem to have ordered and received the mounting pattresses, but omitted to order the actual sockets ! It looks like I will making another order with Amazon very soon !
Monday 26th November 2018
09:04 GMT

  It was grey and not warm yesterday. I hesitate to call it cold because with little wind there was no chill, but 7 or 8° C cannot be described as warm by any stretch of the imagination. The only very negative thing was the morning drizzle.
a dry version of yesterday
  It looks like today will be a dry version of yesterday. This early version of the forecast for today did show a low chance of rain this morning, but the latest revision shows a 0% chance of rain at 10am instead of 16%. The three hours of 8° C is comparable to yesterday, but the temperature looks set to fall several degrees lower after dark. Tomorrow is currently looking to be a bit nasty. The morning might be cold enough for a frost, and then, after the temperature warms up to 8° C it will start to rain. By mid evening that rain could be quite heavy, but the temperature will continue to rise until it hits 9° C by midnight. The day after, Wednesday, could be almost warm, but is probably going to be a very soggy day !

   I didn't feel particularly good yesterday. I think it was partly a hangover from the previous day, but there were other things too. Maybe it was good, or maybe it was bad that I spent a lot of the morning, and the first bit of the afternoon finishing off the photos and video I took at the Petts Wood Christmas Carnival live band stage. I didn't seem to realise how bad the light was getting toward the end of Jamie Strange And The Offbeats set. There was still a lot of light from the stage lights, but mostly they were background illumination, and it was the fading daylight that lit up the front of the players. My camera didn't complain, but when "processing" the photos I did find I had to use some mild noise reduction when brightening the pictures to see faces better.

  I think it was getting on for 3pm when I went out to meet Jodie who was perusing the Catford Food market. Earlier on she had bought what looked like a toy squirrel with a bog (or bottle) brush for a tail. She saw it in a charity shop while waiting for her bus to Catford (no train service yesterday). She was going straight from the food market to a gig somewhere in central London, and asked if I could look after her toy bog brush, and give it to her on Thursday. I didn't find the food market very interesting, and so I didn't stay long after getting the toy from Jodie. I left her drinking her pea soup, and munching on her artisanal (read expensive) toasted cheese sandwich that went with the soup. I wandered of to Tesco before they closed to buy a couple of bottles of Diet Coke, and a bottle of whisky.

  One of the things I didn't do, before going out again later, was eating. I did have what could be called breakfast, but I didn't feel particularly hungry later. I would have liked to eat, but I was still afflicted with a hangover like feel. So at 5pm I went to The Black Cat, to see Rincewind, on an almost empty stomach. After a few pints of Guinness I was feeling much better, but my last, possibly fourth pint of Guinness, felt a bit like a struggle. It was a nice evening though. It was a live rehearsal rather than a gig, but unlike the last time I saw them, it was hard to distinguish it from a proper gig.
Elsa and Richard -
                          singer and lead guitar
Else and Richard - half of Rincewind.
Ashley Mills, drummer
Ashley Mills the drummer.
Richard, or Dik, playing his flying V
High angle shot of Richard playing his flying V guitar (one of two that he had brought)

  In the last half hour I began to feel slightly uncomfortable, and so the ending was well timed. After saying our goodbyes I accompanied Michael, my near neighbour, back towards his place before veering off towards my house. I was definitely feeling hungry by then despite having a sort of stomach ache. I had precooked some smoky bacon before I went out, and I had that warmed up with some baked beans soon after I got home. It was rather delicious.

  I had arrived home just a few minutes before 8.30pm. It was a nice time for a gig to finish. It meant I could get a head start at "processing" the photos I took, and to review the video I had shot. Unfortunately the video was rubbish ! The stage lights had been left on red, and while it didn't matter so much while using my flash gun for still, it seemed to mess up the autofocus when trrying to shoot video.

  For a little while after eating I felt relatively OK, but after eating I started to feel rough again. I don't think it helped that I ate some baked pea flour crisp like things, and was dipping them in hot salsa sauce ! When I went to bed I had some acid indigestion. I cured that with some antacid tablets, but they made me belch a lot. Meanwhile, at the other end, the reason for my main discomfort became apparent. It was trapped wind of the foulest kind ! It seemed to start in earnest as soon as I laid down in bed. For over an hour the stench of these outbursts was horrendous. I tried several trips to the toilet, but without any luck to brings things to an earlier close. The only good thing is that I felt a lot better once it was all vented.

  Obviously the start of my sleep was a complete disaster, but after the worst of that was over I slept quite well, although I did have some disturbing dreams. One dream concerned being on a bus. I was folling someone who had offered to guide me to somewhere than I can't remember. He suddenly seemed to disappear, and I was left on the bus in an unfamilar part of London. I thought it might be on west London, but I was completely disorientated.  Another dream was being on something that could only be called an underwater bus. It was a relatively benign dream until Sean Connery, as James Bond, 007, came and sat near me. That was both thrilling and scary, because wherever he was, mayhew would be sure to follow !

 I had another lay in this morning where I grabbed an extra couple of hours sleep, and I woke up from that feeling sort of medium. I didn't have any oustanding aches or pains, but the usual ones were all waiting in the background. I don't know why I still comment on what has become a standard part of life no.... on the other hand it is good to moan about it ! I think to preserve the "not feeling too bad" I ought to try and avoid eating any breakfast, and probably have the lightest lunch possible - or less.

  The only plans I have for today are to finish "processing" the photos I took last night. I might take a second look at the video too to see if anything is salvageable. When I look at the gloomy sky outside I feel no urge to go out today, but maybe I might later in the week. The latest news is that Angela's lover boy goes into hospital for a heart operation tomorrow. It is not beyond the bounds of possibility that I'll be meeting Angela one lunchtime to console her - maybe it will be the 24 hours or so when he is being operated on, and recovering - when he will effectively be out of bounds for Angela. I can imagine she will be spending all her spare time with him otherwise - particularly if he is in Lewisham Hospital where she works.
Sunday 25th November 2018
10:02 GMT

  The predicted sunny intervals never happened yesterday morning, but the showers and drizzle that were predicted to happen at the same time, did ! The showers were supposed to take a rest at about 11am, but I think they may have fizzled out a little bit earlier than that. As far as I am aware, it stayed dry from then onwards. Even if it didn't rain, it was a miserable grey day that felt cooler than the mere 9° C that was forecast for the afternoon.
some morning drizzle
  This early morning (05:28) version of the forecast was hastily changed to add some morning drizzle, but is otherwise very similar to the latest revision of the forecast. The temperature is still going to be 7° C except when it is 8° C for a few hours in the afternoon. In other words it won't be freezing, but it is going to be fairly cold and miserable. The last of the drizzle is supposed to finish in about an hour, but in the real world it does looks as if it has stopped already.  Tomorrow looks like it will be a dry version of today, and the day after may be a much wetter version.

   Yesterday was dominated by the Petts Wood Christmas Carnival - the day when they switch on the lights along the high street (and elsewhere), have parades down the high street, sell dodgy food from street stalls, get children into the clutches of a (probably peado) Santa in a grotto made from a plastic looking tent, and have a stage outside the Daylight Inn. It was only the latter that interested me. There were three bands booked to play on the stage. The first was Plastic Free. They had advertised their appearance beforehand, and although I had forgotten about it, I had seen them in embryonic form at Chattfest sometime in early summer. As the picture below shows, they are a three piece band.
Plastic Free
  The second band was a bit of a surprise because I had seen no advance warning about them appearing. They were Jamie Strange And The Offbeats. They are one of several bands featuring Jamie Bull as lead singer. I was first alerted to their presence when John Bull, Jamie's dad, came wandering over the car park to say hello to me. John is the photographer I once tried to emulate before I developed my own style. We rarely discuss photography now, but John was interested that my Canon EOS 600D camera has the facility to set the microphone sensitivity when recording high definition video.

  The video about has several shortcomings. My camera decided to start off out of focus, and probably made it harder for it by forgetting to take a star filter off the lens. That filter can either provide some great effects from bright lights, or it can produce very distracting effects from bright lights. Some cameras can do it electronically, but not nearly as well as a proper glass filter. On the other hand the electronic version can be switched on and off with considerably less hassle than having to carefully unscrew a glass filter, and put it away safely before taking more photos.

  Until the end of Jamies set I had been enjoying myself - or enjoying myself as much as possible when standing around in the cold and grey while doing something that sometimes feels more like a job than hobby. When I first arrived at the pub I found Jenni there. I hadn't seen her since Petts Woodstock in the summer. It was nice to have someone to chat too when the volume of the music allowed it. Later on I could chat with John. When Jamie Strange And The Offbeats finished there was a long interval before the next band came on.

 That interval would be filled by some amateur dramatics or singing by local kids or something. There would also be a firework display, and a speech by some dignitary when the Xmas lights would be switched on. Before all there there was recorded "Xmas music" through the PA system at completely unnecessary volume. While there are downsides, one of the great things about being there on my own, without a girlfriend, or indeed any friends, was that as soon as I stopped enjoying myself I could just walk away. That blaring "Xmas music" changed enjoyment to almost torture, and so I headed for the station. I couldn't even consider taking shelter in the pub because it was like a kindergarten in there. you couldn't move for the amount of smelly pushchairs in there !

  I got home far quicker than I would have imagined. I could have waited for the next train that would take me to Shortlands station to change there, but that would have meant a wait of 15 to 20 minutes at Petts Wood, and because the trains turn up in the wrong order, a near 30 minute wait for a Catford bound train at Shortlands. By pure chance I only had to wait 5 or 6 minutes for a Cannon Street train that stopped at Grove Park station. Grove Park is only three stops away, and it probably takes less than 10 minutes to get there. Within 5 or 6 minutes of arriving at Grove Park I was on a bus heading towards Catford. By luck it was the bus route that is about the closest to a direct route to Catford. The only downside is that it meant getting off at Lewisham Townhall, and walking from there - not much more than 7 minutes.

  I think I got home slightly before 5pm - considerably earlier than I could ever have imagined. It was a good thing though because I had drunk 3 or 4 pints of Guinness, and I felt very hungry (I hadn't eaten much before going out because I wasn't feeling all that good). Within minutes of getting home I had the mushroom rissoto I had been looking forward to trying ever since I had bought it from Aldi, heating up in the microwave. It turned out to be one of those foods that was very tasty, and one I am glad I tasted, but I feel I may not buy again for no explainable reason.

  It wasn't that much later that I had part two of dinner - a single portion ready meal of lamb hot pot. It may have been made of cheap crap, but it was very nice, and I shall be buying and eating them again ! Several hours later I had a big handful of peanuts and stuff. It was a long time to bedtime, and I filled some of that time by making a start on editing the photos of Plastic Free, and editing (only top and tailing - nothing flash) videos taken of both bands. I am not happy with my camerawork on any of the videos, but generally I am very happy with the results I can get from what it superficially a stills camera.

  I felt very tired last night, but found I couldn't sleep when I first tried to go to bed. I think it was gone midnight before I got to sleep. I seemed to sleep well once I did get to sleep, and I possibly slept for 4 or 5 hours non stop. I was awake at a little after 5am, and I did my usual early morning routine before going back to bed 30 or 40 minutes later. I then slept until about 7am. I thought I would be getting up then, but after having a pee I got back into bed to allow a little time for my room to warm up a bit more after turning the heater on full blast. The next thing I knew was that it was gone 9am !

  Perhaps I needed that extra sleep. I do seem seem feel unusually OK-ish this morning - apart form an occasionally tickly throat.  Hopefully that will go away soon. Today has a very simple agenda. I'll spend several hours or more editing the photos I took of Jamie Strange And The Offbeats yesterday. There is a small possibility that I might go to the last Sunday of every month Catford Food Market. I have only been to one before, and it was underwhelming. Today's market is billed as being Xmas themed, and so it could be bloody awful. At 5pm Rinceworld are playing another late Sunday afternoon gig/rehearsal in The Black Cat. I'll definitely be going to that - and not just because I have been promised a pint of Guinness if I take my camera. While they are rehearsing I will be practicing my camera skills, possibly with some emphasis on using it's video capabilities.
Saturday 24th November 2018
09:12 GMT

  I can't recall seeing a single ray of sunshine yesterday, not even a hazy one ! It made for a quite unpleasant day with the only very slightly positive aspect that it wasn't terribly cold. A couple of hours after sunrise the temperature rose to 8° C, and then, maybe an hour later it rose to 9° C. It stayed like that until sunset, and then the tempeature dropped again by a single degree. It then stayed like that all night.
grey and wet
  At first the forecast said there could be some sunny intervals, as well as rain, this morning. The latest revision to the forecast says there will be no sunny intervals, and it won't rain until early this afternoon. Neither version matches what I can see outside my window. It has been relentlessly grey, and rain or drizzle has been falling for most of the morning judging by the size of the puddles !  This is not a great start to a day when it would be a lot more comfortable if it were dry from about 2pm until 7pm - and particularly in the Petts Wood area. It is possible that some of that time may be rain free, but to hope it will all be rain free seems optimistic. The latest prediction for the temperature, which usually turns out to be close to reality, says it is 9° C now, and will stay that way until sunset approaches. It will then drop to 7° C, and stay that way, possibly all night. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be 7 or 8° C all day, dry, and lightly overcast.

   I didn't really make any predictions about what I might do yesterday, but I did mention that I thought I might go to Aldi, and I also said that I couldn't really do any more clearing up in the back room because my wheelie bin was more or less full, and wouldn't be emptied until next Thursday. One of those was correct, and the other wrong. It was around midday by the time I washed and dressed ready to go to Aldi, but I got distracted when I looked in the back room. I was looking at the two shelves I will be removing when I move the chest of drawers into the alcove next to the chimney breast.

  Both shelves had "trophies" from my days in a TV repair workshop. There were things like spares for a DVD player I threw out years ago, and there were circuit boards that I wanted to experiment with, or build stuff from. For many years now I haven't had any room in the tiny box room that I used as a workshop, but worse than that was that working on electronic stuff all day rather cured me of my hobby of home electronics. I three quarters filled a swing bin with stuff that I will definitely throw out, and when the wheelie bin is emptied, with tears in my eye, I will wave good bye to to my old Philips V2000 video cassette recorder. I'll probably have to wait another fortnight for the wheelie bin to be emptied again before I do the same with my Philips Laservision player.

  After cleaning myself up again, because those shelves were extremely dusty. I took a walk to Aldi. I felt physically OK walking to and from Aldi, but the cold grey skies were really depressing. I was glad to be back home again. I seemed to buy quite a lot again yesterday. Admittedly some of it was just bulky items like big packs of toilet paper, but there did seem to be quite a selection of small stuff. Unfortunately some of that small stuff was very eatable, but some stuff was inedible to a few rare members of society.
who knew peanut
                          butter contained nuts ?????
  Well well, who would have suspected peanut butter would contain nuts ? I would be very pissed off if it didn't ! I wonder where this peanut allergy came from ? The only kid I can remember from my school days who had a strong allergy was at least allergic to something common - grass pollen. There were maybe a few who had milder allergies to grass pollen, but as far as I can remember we could and did eat virtually anything (except greens, sprouts, swede and turnip - yuck !).

  The worst stuff I bought from Aldi was sushi and sandwiches. The sushi was a nice snack that I thought I would have instead of a more conventional lunch. I'm not entirely sure why I bought the sandwiches. I think that I probably thought they could be handy to come home to if I had gone out in the evening. In a fit of uncontrolled gluttony, I ended up eating them little more than an hour after the sushi (two packs of sushi !).  After that I got back in control, and shunned any dinner last night. I just had some peanut butter on corn cakes. I can't wait to finish that packet of corn cakes because they are not very nice. They are not exactly horrible, but the taste is not something you can love, and their texture is close to crispy cardboard.

  I was very sedentary in the afternoon, and spent a lot of the time either reading paper based media while laying on my bed, or reading electronic media at my PC. It must have been 5.30pm, just half an hour before Start Trek, the original series, came on The Horror Channel, that I suddenly felt the urge to be more constructive. I did two very low priority tasks - both involving failed power supplies. Over the years I have acquired quite a collection of "wall wart" type power supplies, and one reason for that is that they inevitably have the wrong plugs on. Rather than order new power supplies, some which come with a selection of plugs, I have started to cut off the old lead from the failed power supply, and connect it to the replacement power supply by using "chocolate block" (as this form of connector is nicknamed). Most of these supplies are 12V or less, and so perfectly safe without having to resort to extra insulation.
chocolate block 

  "Chocolate block! is no longer brown like the original connection blocks made from a ceramic material. Now they are made from translucent PVC, or some similar soft, but tough plastic. On the left of the connector is the original lead that plugs into a Sony electronic picture frame, and on the right is the cable from a new pwer supply block.

 Yesterday I got a new power supply for a security camera which isn't used for security, but was once used to watch my cats. I also made up a power supply for an old Ethernet hub that has a slightly rare power socket. It took me ages to find one from a big collection of leftover universal adaptors that I had accumulated when at work. They were one of those things that were supposed to be thrown away to keep the place neat and tidy - except they were in great demand by all the other engineers, technicians, management, and the assembly line workers - and me !

  I missed most of Star Trek while rushing around, up and down stairs, as I did my simple bit of wiring - stripping a few wires and terminating them in chocolate block took minutes. Fetching stuff up and down stairs, plus selecting suitable power supplies took much longer ! I did manage to see most of the following programme - "Start Trek - Enterprise". After that I read for nearly an hour before watching Have I Got News For You on BBC1. After that I went to bed. I think I was asleep before 11pm.

  I had some fascinating dreams last night, and I specifically wanted to be be able to recall some of them so I could recount them here, but all but a few snatches of those dreams have now evaporated. Shame really because I have it in my head that they were generally quite enjoyable. If I consider how I feel now, after being out of bed for a couple of hours, rather than how I might have felt, I think I can say that I feel mostly OK. This is good because I have stuff to do today.

  Today is the day of the Petts Wood Xmas lights ceremony, and as usual there will be a stage outside The Daylight Inn where a few bands will be playing. I'm not entirely sure why they do this, but they are enjoyed by quite a lot of people, and those who don't enjoy it can cross the railway to the high street where more conventional (and bloody boring) entertainment takes place until darkness falls, the lights are switched on, and the firework display starts. I'll be there purely to take few snaps of the bands that will be on. So far I only know of two bands - Plastic Free, and The Dirty Perks. From the times that have been revealed there will be one or two bands on between these opening and closing acts. It is possible that today will be the first time I bump into Sue for what must be 6 weeks now. I just hope that leech Nigel doesn't turn up !
Winter Nights
  Another purchase from Aldi yesterday. This reed diffuser is called, or it's perfume is called, Winter Nights. It has a very evocative smell with hints of aromatic pipe tobacco, and cigar smoke. It is more Xmassy to me than anything. It evokes memories of being something like 9 or 10 years old. Not specific memories, but just a warm, safe, pleasant and dare I say it, happy feeling. The magic of Xmas wore off very soon after that, and within a few years I learned to dislike it. To this day it feels like a lot of fuss over nothing, and I do my best to avoid it.
Friday 23rd November 2018
10:11 GMT

  It was oppressively dull yesterday. To add to the grey wintry feeling there was a light mist last night. In such conditions 7° C seemed to feel very chilly. Perhaps the only saving grace is that the temperature didn't fall very far last night. In fact this morning seemed to start off almost higher than yesterday's high !
grey and cold - again !
  At 7am this morning there was a lot of mist, and the temperature was about 6° C, but the mist seemed to clear very quickly, and the temperature is probably close to the forecast 8° C - and that's a whole degree higher than the best that could be managed yesterday. It should continue to rise to 9° C, but the latest revision of the forecast doesn't show the little blip to 10° C that my early morning screenshot shows. The curious thing about the latest revision of the forecast s that it shows the temperature dipping two degrees at sunset, but then it climbs back up to 8° C for the rest of the evening, and into the night. So it will be a mild night - which is something positive, but overall the deep greyness forecast for the entire day is so negative that nothing can really overcome that. Tomorrow will probably have a similar range of temperatures, but rain is expected, and maybe for a short while it could be quite heavy. We'll have to wait until tomorrow to get a better idea of how bad the rain will be, or if the one brief sunny spell may turn out to last longer than 5 minutes !
just before sunrise
   I took this picture at about 7.10am this morning, or about 20 minutes before official sunrise. There was just enough light from the brightening sky to take the picture, but sadly I seem to have been too late to picture the thick mist I could see earlier. It wasn't that much earlier, but the mist I did see was to the south, and this picture is looking north.

 Yesterday was a peculiar sort of day. I expected it to be a bit of a boring day, but that was partly fixed when I went to the corner shop to buy a bottle of pop. I noticed that they had a new edition of New Scientist in there, and I bought a copy. That should have provided enough reading entertainment to last all day, and a little bit more depending on what else I might be doing. I had barely read more than a page when I got a phone call. It was not from my friend Lee who always seems to speak for hours, but from someone who calls me far less frequently, and so has a better excuse for his calls to last for hours too !

  I think we were talking on the phone for about 2 hours, and then I had to get ready to go out. It was after we hung up that I noticed something curious about my phone. The battery was down to 67%, and that would have been enough for the rest of the day, and probably most of this morning, but I decided to top the battery up. After taking for two hours the inside of the phone had got quite warm, and it seemed that some unknown protection mechanism kicked in that stopped the battery charging until it had cooled down. About 45 minutes later, with just about 10 minutes before I had to go and get my train, I plugged the charger in and it seemed to take some charge quite normally.

  When I had walked to the corner shop and back, earlier in the day, I felt perfectly OK, but I still wondered how I would feel on the much longer walk to the station - and it was the more distant Catford station, and not the slightly closer Catford Bridge station. I put on my warmest coat to keep my chest warm, and left extra time to walk to the station. It only turned up two problems. Firstly, no matter how I try, unless there is something or someone holding me back, I can't walk slowly, and secondly I kept too warm. That brisk walk warmed me up to the point where I had to undo my coat to get some cooling air on my body.

  When I got to the pub I found they still had Chris Moose beer on, and I started with a pint of that. I also noted that they had a beer by the Reverent James brewery (at least I think that was what it was called). I hadn't noticed it the week before, but I did note a couple of people said it was very good. So I had a pint of it for my second pint. It was indeed good, but it was also the last pint in the barrel. It seemed to have a sort of hint of tangy apples about it, and I wondered if that was an effect of the last beer in the barrel getting stale. I was told that a brand new barrel was being put on, and I decided for my third pint to have a fresh pint of it. Strangely enough it didn't seem to taste nearly as good, although I could still taste a hint of green apple.

  I finished my third pint at about the right time to catch the next train home from the station. The air seemed very "soft" when I left the pub. There was a very light mist. It wasn't thick enough to reduce visibility to any less than the limits of what can be seen in an urban environment at any time, but t was enough to give the streetlights a fuzzy halo, and the same for distant car headlights. As the forecast predicted, it wasn't particularly cold as I made my way home, but that's not to say it was warm, or even mild by any stretch of the imagination !

  I didn't have any lunch yesterday, and all I had eaten was three corn cakes* with a bit of cheese on before drinking - and I had eaten those for a sort of late breakfast. With nothing to line my stomach I found myself feeling very slightly drunk, but more significantly, very hungry. It was the perfect storm, as they say, and inevitably I ended up with chicken and fries for my dinner. I have managed to avoid that shop for at least a month now, and that is probably why it was so delicious last night !

 * Corn cakes: Corn Cakes are very similar to rice cakes. They are low in everything - practically no sugar or fat, and about 30 calories per "cake". They score one higher than rice cakes - they are much more unpleasant, and the general rule is that the worse something tastes, the better it is for you - or so the food nazis say. They not only taste worse than rice cakes, which don't actually taste that bad, but their texture is really awful. So they must be really good for you, and I shall make sure that whenever I see them in a shop I will walk very quickly past them !

  It didn't fully grab my attention like the original used to, but last night I watched a special programme on BBC2 . It was "Tomorrows World Live". Some of the original presenters were rounded up after being out to grass for the last 20 or 30 years, and they presented a review of highlight and lowlights from the original series that ran for 30 years (If I recall correctly). They also reviewed some new technology, but sadly none of it seemed very wonderful. We seem to be going through a stagnant phase at the moment where there is little that is new, and most things are just a refined version of something that has been tried before. Revolution has been replaced by incremental improvement. I have little doubt that some marvellous breakthroughs are still to be made in the sciences, and some will end up in the hands of the man in the street, but I still feel that I, and everyone else of a similar age, has lived through a period of exciting intense technological change.

  Once again I have no real idea what time I went to bed last night. I guess that in the grand scheme of things it doesn't actually matter what time I go to bed, or what time I get up again. What I do know is that I very quickly abandoned the idea of reading in bed. I have a funny idea that I was fast asleep within a few minutes of getting into bed, and I seemed to sleep quite soundly for much longer than usual. Despite the beer I had drunk earlier in the evening, I can't remember waking up for a pee until almost 5am. I didn't sleep all that well after than, but I did get some sleep. At 7am I was up again to take the picture above, and take a screenshot of the weather forecast. About 40 minutes later I went back to bed. What really happened after that is a mystery because I can't tell if I was dreaming, daydreaming, or awake imagining various scenarios. It was probably all three, and they sort of blended into one. On the other hand, all the details seemed to have now faded like dreams, and so maybe it was all one long series of dreams.

  The legacy of the 'flu I had still seems to linger on. Once again I woke up with all sorts of pains and stiffness, and once again they mostly seem to have faded to a very low level. I suspect I shall feel sort of tender, and reluctant to do many things for fear of upsetting that tenderness, and then go and do them anyway with no real consequences. Unlike yesterday where going out for my late afternoon drink was part of the weekly routine, I have no plans to do anything at all today. I guess that is not strictly true because I will be very surprised if I don't end up reading most of my latest New Scientist magazine. Apart from that I have no plans !

 There are some things that I might end up doing though. I could do some more garden clearance. Once I got working it wouldn't feel cold out in the garden, and it should stay dry, but I find the idea of working under that cruel grey sky very uninspiring. I could do some more clearance in my back room, but the wheelie bin is full now, and it doesn't get emptied until next Thursday. That would limit what I could achieve in the back room. In a similar way to the garden, the idea of going out to do some photography doesn't appeal with that horrible murky light. There could be a 5% chance of going to a gig tonight, but I haven't seen anything that excites me yet. Maybe I'll just got to Aldi, and buy some toilet paper and stuff.
Thursday 22nd November 2018
08:29 GMT

  Yesterday was mostly bright, but the expected sunny intervals seemed few and far between. There was some drizzle early in the morning, but from mid afternoon onwards it was dry. The temperature peaked at about the predicted 8° C, but most of the time it was a fair bit cooler than that. At sunset the temperature slowly fell away towards a frost this morning.
grey and cold
  The forecast for today insisted there should have been a single, solitary sunny interval this morning at 8am. I must have slept through it despite being awake then, because I never noticed it. I can't say I noticed it was 2° C either. All I can see is unrelenting grey cloud, and a white frost on cars, shed roofs, the grass and certain plants.
a very
                        wintry scene
 This was the view outside my rear bedroom window (through the slightly dirty glass) this morning. I have inset what my thermometer was saying at 7.37am. (If this picture is too small, on a mobile phone screen for instance, you can click on it for a bigger version). All the she roofs are glittering with frost, and lower down, below the bottom of the picture, there is frost on some of the vegetation in my back garden.

  Apart from the frost melting, and the temperature creeping up to 7° C for a few hours this afternoon, not much else will change today. It is probably going to be grey and miserable from now until sunset. After sunset, when the temperature has dropped to 5° C, there is a very low chance of rain - about 10 or 12% at worst. Tomorrow is forecast to be just as grey as today, but the temperature may rise to 10° C in the last few hours before sunset. By recent standards that is warm !

  I threatened to get the hoover out yesterday, and I did ! I decided to give my recent splurge of multimedia stuff (video and photographs) a rest, and do other stuff. Well that's how it turned out, but it may have not been my intention when I started. I was feeling a bit fragile yesterday, and so I didn't think I would be doing anything too strenuous, and I guess I didn't really, but I did get close to it. It was one of those occasions where you decide to just do one tiny little thing, and end up doing far more than you could have imagined.

  The area of all this activity was my back room. It all started when I picked up a poster that was laying on a pile of once wanted, and even once loved, rubbish in one corner of the room. This was the corner where if I can get it completely cleared, I can move the chest of drawers into it, and add several square feet of space to the room. At the end of a lot of sweaty work I did get over half way to achieving that goal, although there will be one extra thing to do before it becomes reality. That will be to take down a shelf, or two, in the alcove between the wall and side of the chimney breast.

  The back room was the most mouse infested room in the whole house back in the day when the cats would bring in mice to play with them, and then lose them. Some may have actually come up from below the floor. One thing I uncovered when clearing away stuff, apart from an awful lot of old mouse dropping, was a hole in the skirting board. I had a 15 or more year old memory of seeing a small hole there, but what I saw yesterday was much bigger, although not as big as classic Tom & Jerry mouseholes. I can't be sure that it is not still being used, and so I have wedged a lump of wood across it until I can do a more permanent job on it.

  At the end of my hard work, and some of it was hard work, my t-shirt was wet with sweat, and I had an assortment of aches and pains. Perhaps the most surprising was my wrists - particularly my right wrist. As I mentioned, I got the hoover out, and using the accessories from the previous tow hoovers, I had a very long extension tube on it so I hoover cobwebs off the ceiling and walls. Holding that tube up soon became quite painful, and it was my right wrist that complained loudest ! Anywhere else that ached just felt like I had put some work into the job, and while maybe unwanted, it did give the feeling that I had done something useful - a good feeling.

  I became so enthused with my progress that I ordered some bits from Amazon that I'll be needing sooner or later. In particular I ordered some wall mount Ethernet sockets. I might finally be able to tidy up some of my Ethernet cabling one day. My intention is to miniaturise some of my network equipment.  Instead of a hulking great old PC in use as a firewall (with some special software on it) I have a very small PC that I intend to use, and I am thinking of using an old, underpowered laptop for my web server. It may be too underpowered to browse modern website, but has plenty of power to serve up my simple web pages.

  It seemed that I spent the evening cooling off, eating dinner, cooling off again, and watching some TV while cooling off. It wasn't particularly warm in my bedroom yesterday evening, but hard work, also including hand washing a bath towel, got me feeling rather warm, as did the simple curry I had for my dinner last night. I hadn't realised that the curry I had, an alleged chicken dupiaza, didn't come with any rice, but it did come with a fair amount of spicy heat !

  When I had cooled off, and TV had become boring, I went to bed, and like the night before, I spent quite a long time reading in bed. Last night I decided to put the book down a bit earlier, and I think I was fast asleep before midnight. Once again I had some interesting, and seemingly lengthy dreams. Whether that means I slept good or bad is still open to debate. One dream was about seafood, and in particular jellied eels, but I can't seem to recall any more details than that. I can't even remember if I ate any of this seafood. I presume I must have done, but all detail have faded to nothing as is usually the case with dreams.

  The other dream was about trains. I have a strange feeling it started off with a road strangely morphing into a railway line, and then in what was probably another dream, I was at a station with my friend Kevin. We were going to catch a special train - a green painted, 2 car, slam door train. For some reason we didn't manage to get on it despite standing beside an open door. I can't remember why, but maybe we got distracted by another sight or opportunity, but I can't imagine what it could have been now.

  Waking up recently is falling into a pattern. I wake up feeling rather unpleasant, but very quickly the worst of the aches and pains seem to fade down to a low level, or even totally disappear, but there is always a feeling of fragility left. That feeling make it hard to want to do stuff that may end up being unpleasantly painful. Somehow I threw caution to the wind yesterday, and survived far better than I would have imagined. I probably ought to do the same today, but when I start that clearance in the corner of the back room again I face some very difficult decisions. There is equipment there that I will ultimately have to throw away. Two things in particular will be hard to just throw away. One as a Philips system 2000 video recorder. They were rather rare because while superior to VHS they came too late to make much of in impact. The other item is a Philips Laserdisk player. Once again they are rather rare. It would be nice to donate them both to some museum, but I know of none that would probably be interested, and even if they were I have no way of transporting them. I feel they will be transported, one at a time, in the wheelie bin !

  Probably the most important thing today will be my late Thursday afternoon drink. Even though it will be cold and miserably grey, it is one thing that will get me out of the house. Of course it will be worse than cold and miserably grey - it will be dark too when I get the train at 16:10. Oh well, it's just a month now until the winter solstice, and the days will slowly start to get longer again.
Wednesday 21st November 2018
09:41 GMT

  Winter arrived yesterday, and it wasn't as bad as expected, although it is going to take it's toll on my electricity bill ! The temperature was mostly 4° C during daylight hours, and 3° C after that. My measurements suggested it might have been a bit lower. There was a lot of random drizzle through the entire day, but I was not aware of any of it coming down as sleet or snow. In the Orpington area, some 5 or 6 miles from here, there were reports of sleet or snow, and some of it settled !
sunny intervals possible
  It's looking a bit murky outside as I write this, but there was a bit of sunshine earlier. The wet pavements show that the prediction for a shower at 9am was right. Maybe we can get back on track for the promised sunny intervals soon. The temperature should peak at 8° C at 1pm today, but after that it will slowly fall away until in the early hours of tomorrow it will be down to just 1° C. I'm expecting to see a thick frost if I peep through the curtains early enough tomorrow. Later tomorrow the temperature should rise to 8° C again, but unlike today it should stay that way for 3 or 4 hours. The only trouble is that it is going to be a horribly overcast day.
it was cold yesterday
starting to warm up !

   I took a couple of snaps of my thermometers yesterday. I have two radio sensors outside, and two receivers. The receivers gave identical readings to each other, and the radio sensors agreed to 0.1° of each other. In conclusion I think these readings are fairly accurate for the temperature outside my kitchen at the back/north facing side of the house, in permanent shade. At 11.20am it was bloody cold. 47 minutes later it had warmed up a tiny bit. I don't think I can recall seeing it any warmer than this yesterday !

  I thought yesterday would be boring, but it wasn't, although it wasn't necessarily productive ! One of the first things I did after I had taken a shower, and got dressed, was to go out into the cold and wet. I decided to wear one of the two (I think) long sleeved t-shirts to help keep my arms warm in the sleeves of my hooded waterproof coat. It made quite a difference, and going out in that filthy weather was not too bad. In one way it felt sort of good to defy the elements. That idea probably wouldn't hold for a longer journey, but I was only going for a walk along the high street.

  The destination of my walk was Poundland - both shops ! I started out with the intention of getting some more hay fever tablets - the same type as my doctor prescribed for me back in May - Loratadine. Whether I still need them or not is debatable. In the past I always had a very slight sensitivity to tree pollen in spring, and to fungal spores in the autumn. In summer, the traditional time for hay fever, I would always be fine. My doctor thought that the cough I was complaining about was probably some sort of allergy, and those tablets did seem to stop my cough. When they ran out my cough did return, although a lot milder than before. I noticed that the Pound shop sold the same tablets, and I have been buying them there, and taking them ever since.

 Of course I didn't just buy hay fever tablets while I was in Poundland. I bought some pan scourers, and other cleaning stuff, some scented candles, and some edible stuff. The edible stuff included lemon and lime Jaffa Cakes, and some scones. The two were on the same shelf as any 2 for a £1. I would have bought two packs of Jaffa Cakes, but there was only one, and so bought a packet of scones to make up my two choices. It is probably good that I did only buy one packet of Jaffa cake because they are irresistable (even lemon and lime flavour !), and once the packet is open..........

  Before I succumbed to any of the naughty stuff I had bought to eat I cooked up a lunch of cauliflower and smoky bacon lardons. The lardons I used were the superior Aldi version. Some cooks would say they are rubbish because they are not very fatty at all. I say they are good for exactly the same reason. Sadly it was not a successful experiment. It wasn't horrible in any way, but I think I should stick to sprouts and bacon, and eat the cauliflower without bacon flavour.

  During the afternoon I spent many hours trying to coax good pictures out of my 30 year old Sony camcorder when playing 25 year old tapes. I feel that camcorder is on it's last legs now, and can only play pristine tapes with no trouble. Experiment showed that what it can't play is old TDK branded tapes. They seem to stick, and clog up the head drum. I was constantly having to clean the head drum to try and play one particular tape, but ultimately it failed. The most annoying failure was when after one tape played perfectly, the little digitiser box I was using decided to corrupt the final file. If I have the patience I will grit my teeth and try that tape again today. One saving grace is that I do have edited copies of some of the stuff I was trying to transfer, but I really would have preferred to have clean copies of the video to re-edit in a different way.

  It was while getting frustrated with the camcorder playback head constantly clogging that I wolfed down the whole pack of lemon and lime Jaffa Cakes. It may have been a small pack, just 6 or 8 "cakes", but even so.... Later on I compounded the problem - which was excess calories and sugar - by eating a whole cottage pie. It was from Aldi's more expensive range. The main difference to the value versions was that the mashed potato was much slimier ! It gave the impression it had more butter in it, but I expect it was something worse. It was quite nice, maybe even very nice, but it was an excessive portion. I felt very full for the rest of the evening.

  By 11pm I don't recall feeling full, but I did feel tired, and ready for bed. I think I had my teeth brushed, and was actually in bed by 11pm. The only problem was that I had come to a good bit of the book I was reading (Imperial Earth by Arthur C. Clarke), and didn't manage to put the book down until 1am this morning ! After that I slept quite well for the next 4 hours. I woke up from a dream that I was back working in an old telephone exchange. Actually I am not sure if I was working there, but that is where I was. It seemed to be early evening, and I would normally have been home by then, but I seemed to be hanging around to watch someone else, plus my boss working.

  I think they were trying to complete an urgent job, although I have no idea what that was. As I wandered around I came across some spare selectors (electromechanical switching units). Once upon a time they would be painted "battleship grey", but sometime in the 1960s someone decided that "light straw" would be a better colour for exchange equipment. The spare selectors I found were very different. They were painted blue - a blue that was a bit darker than electric blue, but I can't think of a proper name for it. I have no idea why they should have been painted like that, and could only assume they were spares taken from some exotic telephone exchange that was closing down.

  This morning I feel, or felt, similar to the last two days - initially with a stiff and sore neck and upper chest. Maybe a few other creaky bits too. Since then I don't feel too bad except for a bit of tooth ache. It's not actually tooth ache - I hope. Yesterday I got a bit of gristle stuck between two teeth, and as I tried to winkle it out using a toothpick and harp flossing tool, I managed to stab or cut, or gouge my gum. It has exposed a sensitive area. Past experience tells me that it will soon heal, and everything will be fine again - I hope !

  Once again I have no plans for today. Today could be the day when I get the hoover out. I do have a long term mission to clear up my back room - possibly to restore it as a dining room again. The trouble is that there is so much clutter in there that it is hard to move anything around, and while my chest/rib cage has been causing me so much trouble I question the wisdom of trying to move heavy stuff around. Ideally I want to move a chest of drawers into a different corner of the room. The other problem is that it is a long term project with no foreseeable benefits. Maybe I'll do a little bit to it today, or maybe it will feel too cold in that room.
Virgin media cable
                      distribution cabinet
  When it rains my Virgin Media broadband fails. Although this distribution cabinet is very local, it probably isn't where my cable goes to, but this picture does nicely illustrate why Virgin media broadband can be so weather sensitive. This cabinet had been open to the elements for months. At one point it was almost laying down flat, but has since been stood up, and re-bedded into the ground, but the panel at the back is still leaning forward at a precarious angle. It really is shoddy maintenance, and the quality of the cabinets themselves seem very poor compared to the "brick outhouse" construction of the cabinets used by the GPO, later British Telecommunications, while I was an apprentice back in 1971.
Tuesday 20th November 2018
09:19 GMT

  It was definitely very cool yesterday, and it was mostly grey too, but not as grey as the forecast suggested. During the morning, when the cloud was forecast to be it's heaviest, there were actually a few short sunny spells, and maybe more bright, but not sunny intervals. There was even some areas of blue sky to the north. Even in the afternoon, when most of the gaps in the clouds had closed up, it still didn't seem to be terribly grey....just sort of light grey. The top temperature was a cool 8° C, and by midnight that had fallen to just 5° C. I'm a little confused by late evening. The forecast said rain, but I am sure I can remember the moon shining brightly last night - as if the sky had cleared.
a very cold day
  The wind from the east, although not very strong, seems to have pushed any last trace of mild air out of the way, and today is going to be cold ! After an early morning high of 5° C the temperature has now fallen to 4° C, and will, apparently dip to just 3° C at midday. An earlier revision of the forecast for today predicted "wintry showers" this morning, i.e. sleet, but now they will just be bloody cold showers. The afternoon temperature is predicted to be 4° C, and after dark it will be just 3° C. The whole day is going to be very grey and overcast, and drizzle could, and probably will, fall any time through the whole day.  After a 3° C start, tomorrow may warm up to a glorious 7° C, and there should be some sunny periods during the morning. The afternoon may be rather duller, but it should stay dry. Subsequent days will only see maximum temperatures of 7 or 8° C, and it can only get worse as winter takes it's grip on us.

  I couldn't really work out how I felt yesterday. Although the worst of the aches and pains seemed to fade to a very low level quite quickly, they never seemed to completely disappear. Instead they just seemed to be ignorable, and even forgettable for some periods of time. I sometimes thought they were just lying in wait to pounce on me if I did something wrong, but the best they could manage was a sharp reminder to adjust my posture while I sitting at my PC for an extended period of time.

  I did try a bit of stress testing my body when I went to Aldi to buy a few odds and ends. I spent quite a bit of money on that shopping trip, but some of it was for two presents. One for Patricia, and one for me (sort of). Patricia will probably have to wait until sometime like next May to get her present - and that assumes she gets a interpreting job here in London. If not she is like to spend all her time in Italy when she flies north from Argentina to leave the winter behind there, and enjoy summer here. (It's alright for some !). My present is not really a present. It is just a couple more miniatures of single malt whiskies to add to my collection.

  Walking to Aldi with a bit of light drizzle blowing around was not nice, but my body didn't complain of any stress from the walking, and neither did it when I walked home again loaded with shopping. One curious thing about that shopping trip is that I hardly ate anything I had bought on it. That is unusual, but there was a strong reason. I had two portions of rice to eat left over from my Chinese takeaway the night before. One of those was "mixed meat fried rice", and the other was "Singapore fried rice". The latter was in a very slightly smaller container (perhaps 90% of the size), but otherwise seemed identical. I had one for lunch, and the other for dinner.

  It wasn't long after I got back from Aldi that I got stuck into doing photographic stuff. I had to scan some old tickets and stuff, and prepare some old photos to make up a couple of photo albums. It seemed to take the whole of the afternoon, and the beginning of the evening before I had finished, and had uploaded the stuff to a Disused Stations group on social media. They were well received, but effort of doing all the work was like, or in some cases worse, than being back at work again - except I didn't have a long commute there and back.

  It should have been the ideal reason for an early night, but it was quite late when I finally went to bed....or was it ? As I sit here I suddenly can't recall what time it was when I went to bed. I'm not sure if it is a case of failing memory, or if I just wasn't bothering to pay much attention to the time yesterday evening. The latter could be likely. The only reason to pay attention to the time was at 6pm when Star Trek (the original series) was on The Horror channel (of all stupid channels to put it on). After it started it was just a case of watching it, and the following programme (Star Trek - Enterprise), and then turning the TV off. There was no other reason for looking at the clock.

  I do remember reading in bed until I almost dropped the book on my face. That seemed like an excellent cue to turn the light off, and quickly fall asleep. My bedroom was quite warm last night, and so I managed to fall asleep with the duvet pushed to one side, and while I was laying on my back. I think I slept a lot like that, but during the night the temperature gradually fell away, despite leaving the heater on low, and I spent some time asleep, on my side, under the duvet. At 5am I thought I still needed lots more sleep, and instead of getting up like I used to, to go to work, I went back to bed. for another couple of hours. After my usual routine I went back to bed one more time, but got little more sleep.

  This morning my upper chest and neck, plus right shoulder, seemed stiff and painfully, as they usually are, but seemed to free upper quicker than they did yesterday. I have an optimistic, perhaps too optimistic, feeling that I am starting another phase of feeling OK. It would be nice if it is true, and nice still if it could last more than a couple of days this time. The big problem now is that I can't, or at least I am very unenthusiastic, about going out in the cold and the wet to make use of this positive feeling. In fact to go out in the cold and wet could easily ruin everything !

  That leaves me with little to do again today. To be specific - little that I want to do. There are plenty of things I can do. Getting the hoover out is one thing I could do. Back in the real world, I have some video lurking on one or more Hi8 camcorder tapes that I want to transfer, and see if I can edit onto something that is not too excessively boring. It features the "little red train" - The Cravens built heritage tube train whose society I have been a life member of since I donated £100 to help buy it back in 1992 (plus or minus a couple of years). I thought the idea of a preserved old tube train was a cuter idea than a hulking great steam train. It has been off the rails for many years now, but there is hope it will be out and about again in the not too distant future. It is this train.....
Cravens Heritage train
                      at Buckhurst Hill
The 9th of July 1995, and the little red train goes through Buckhurst Hill station on the Central Line.
in the vicinity of Epping
I'm not certain where this is, but I think it is close to Epping.
Monday 19th November 2018
09:29 GMT

  Yesterday was bright, sunny, and cheerful, but the highest temperature was only 11° C. There was enough sunshine to not need any heat in my south facing rooms, but the north facing rooms, at the back of the house, were very chilly. Unfortunately that included the bathroom and toilet !
all change, as we dive headfirst into winter
  The jet stream is being blocked, and the winds are now roaring in from the east...although "roaring" is a big exaggeration. The result of this change of winds is that we are now rushing headlong into winter. Today is going to be cold and exceedingly dull - except the sun is trying it's best to shine through a gap in the clouds at the moment, and I can see some patches of blue sky to the north. The maximum temperature today is forecast to be just 8° C according to the earlier forecast, and the latest revision of the forecast. The latest revision now says that there will be some showers this morning - I thought it looked like we had already had one ! It says nothing about the possibility of odd minutes of sunshine that I am seeing now. There will be more rain tonight, and the rain will continue tomorrow. Tomorrow may be a very cold day - cold enough for some "wintry showers", or sleet as we used to know it. That is predicted between 11am and midday when the temperature may be just 3° C. The highest temperature tomorrow is forecast to be just 5° C !

  I felt moderately uncomfortable for a lot of yesterday. Perhaps "slightly" uncomfortable might be more accurate than "moderately". It was just the usual upper chest aches and pains - very annoying, but no drama. It was undoubtedly made worse by it being a Sunday, and since time immemorial Sundays have been boring. I almost wonder if this whole God bothering thing on Sunday was started because people were bored.

  My day was not completely boring, but it was hard work finding stuff to distract me. I did more negative scanning, but clothed but risque !for some reason I never got around to preparing any examples to show here... [goes away and quickly fiddles with photo editor....]. Following the same rules that the government uses, I never reveal my more "racy" pictures for 30 years, or until the person is dead. Over 30 years have definitely passed since Marion posed for me in her underwear, and I haven't heard anything about her since I last saw her in 1988 (possibly 1987). I hope she is not dead, but it is a possibility. None of us are getting any younger.

  As well as scanning negative I also did a bit more Hi8 camcorder to digital video transfers. When I initially tried my camcorder it was still playing up like it did a few days earlier when I got fed up with it, and put it to one side. I think I have finally found out what it was upset about. To power the camcorder I am using a dummy battery that is connected to the charger. There is no separate power connector on my camcorder, but this dummy battery (usually) works OK. I think it was made my Sanyo who used identical batteries, or at least very similar batteries to Sony.

 The problem I was getting was that the camcorder was going into alarm mode. I thought it was the dew sensor being triggered, but that was not the case. What I discovered was probably happening was that a poor connection between the dummy battery, and the battery contacts, meant that every time the camcorder wanted to draw a lot of power the voltage would dip, and it would trigger the low battery alarm. Of course every time I checked the battery would read full - but maybe only when the camcorder was doing no work. A quick clean of the contacts seemed to cure the problem, and although I should give them a proper clean sometime, I was able to play one particular tape with no problems apart from an occasional bit of tape drop out.

  I found myself in a bit of a contradictory situation as evening approached. I felt both starving, and not wanting to eat. I resolved this problem by ordering the takeaway I was going to order the previous night, but didn't. It was a Chinese takeaway, and once I started eating it I became quite enthusiastic about it. I probably ate more than I intended, but I still have enough left overs for a meal, or possibly two, today.

  I reckon my long sleep the night before must have done some sort of good, even if I probably crunched my chest a couple of times, and caused the discomfort that lasted for most of yesterday. However, in terms of sleep it must have been good. Despite having to cast around for things to amuse me, I didn't feel and strong call to go to bed until it was quite late - and I think that was at least 11pm. To my great surprise I seemed to sleep quite well. It was possibly the closest to "normal" sleep I've had in some time  - or might have been - I am not sure what normal is these days.

  This morning the pain and stiffness at the top of my chest, at shoulder height, seems to have faded to a low level very quickly, and as I sit here typing I feel sort of OK-ish ! Maybe a very hot shower, and washing my hair, might have helped. One of my few, perhaps only, plans for today was to try and get an appointment with a doctor, but just as the critical time approached my phone started ringing. It was my friend Lee who wanted some help with registering a SIM card for his mum's new mobile phone. I know I am very bad at reading manuals, and prefer to discover how to use stuff by trial and error, but that is because most manuals for things like camera are quite long, and written in small print. Lee's problem is that he won't even read a few simple lines of print - with simple instruction like "user names cannot include spaces". Once I had persuaded him to replace the space with an underscore he was able to set up the account, and then after a few more reminders to read often no more than one single line of information, he was able to complete the job of registering the SIM and adding credit to the account. It was all there in very simple plain English, but he seemed to be word blind.

  So it looks like I am not seeing a doctor today, and in all probability I have missed all the allocated slots for this week. Oh well, maybe I'll get to see a doctor next week. That now leaves me with the problem of what to do today. Despite it being sunny instead of raining as I wrote this, the sky does look very unfriendly, and on top of that it is most definitely cold. I find that doesn't seem to inspire me to head out into the great outdoors. I think I will though, but only to the limited extent of going to Aldi.

  One of the pieces of video I transferred yesterday was of a gig I went to with Jodie in approx 1993. I was a lot happier to travel much further afield in those days. Probably because I didn't know of any gigs happening locally. On this occasion we went to The Stick Of Rock to see New England playing. We had been following them, but their appeal was waning as the transitioned from sounding something like Led Zepplin to a more thrash metal sort of sound. Sadly that transition was probably one cause of their subsequent demise. The final straw was when they had all their equipment stolen from their van. They were always perpetually skint, and couldn't afford to replace it. I think this song was called "Sometimes", and is very loud, and very heavy ! I am sure we thought it was fun at the time !

Sunday 18th November 2018
09:11 GMT

  It wasn't always as bright as I had hoped yesterday. There were some periods when the sun seemed to go in for longish periods, but otherwise it was generally a bright and sunny day. There was one other thing about the sunshine - the sun is now so low in the sky that it can be dazzling when walking towards it, or it is easy to walk into deep shadows when the sun is behind building and stuff. It was a dry day, and the afternoon temperature probably hit the forecast 11° C.
another sunny but chilly day
  The newest revision to the weather forecast seems to be identical to the screenshot above. It's looking like today could be even sunnier than yesterday, but once again the top temperature may only be 11° C, and that only for a couple of hours. It may feel slightly warm out in the sunshine, and behind glass it may even feel a bit hot, but outside in the shadows, it could feel quite chilly. Once the sun sets the temperature will quickly fall to about 7° C. Tomorrow is looking like a cold and grey day, and the day after looks like it will come very close to snowing. Rain is forecast, and the temperature is forecast to dip to just 3° C. That sounds like a recipe for sleet !

  I seemed to have another relapse yesterday. In the morning I seemed to throw off most of the effects of sleep OK, and I wasn't feel too bad. I had hoped that like most mornings I would continue to improve once I started doing stuff. By 11am I was brewing the idea of going out with my camera. I had decided to aim for Southminster in Essex as a final destination. The station there is on a single track branch line, and could have presented some possible interesting photo opportunities. It took a little while to get ready, and I didn't get a train until 12:04. That was a bit later than I prefer to go out, but I thought it was OK for a quick outing. I would probably get back home in darkness, but there would still be plenty of daylight at my destination.

  As I walked to the station I found I didn't feel that good, but on the other hand I didn't feel that bad, and so I pressed on. I was still trying to work out how good or bad I felt when I got as far as Cannon Street station, but the descent from the mainline to the underground presented no problems. Neither did my exit at Liverpool Street station into the main concourse.  It was there that my mind was made up for me. Engineering works meant there were no trains going through Stratford, and I hadn't gone all that way to mess around with a replacement bus service.

  I could have thought of a new destination, and indeed I do have a desire to visit the Henley On Thames branch, over in the west, someday, but not yesterday. What I decided to do was to go cheese spotting instead of train and station spotting. After I had commented that that the International Cheese shop at Liverpool Street seemed to be no  longer in existence, the last time I was there, I was reliably informed that it was, but it was now upstairs from where it used to be. In fact it is still downstairs, but hidden down what could be described as an alley at the side of Boots the Chemist.
International cheese
                      shop at Liverpool Street
 One thing I had forgotten, or maybe it was a new development because of higher rents and taxes at their new location, is just how expensive the place is. There was one particular cheese I wanted, and it was not a particularly exotic cheese because it only comes from Wales, and not the deepest jungles in Peru. It was Y-Fenni cheese, and it is like a soft Cheddar cheese infused with cracked mustard seeds. You could almost get the same taste by smearing Cheddar with mustard - almost the same taste, but not the same taste !

 I bought a fairly big lump of it, and it cost £9. A similar sized bit of Cheddar in the supermarket would have cost half, or less. I also bought a little piece of Sage Derby cheese, and that was similarly extra expensive. I suspect I could bought both online for less money, but the deed is done now, but next time.....  Maybe the important thing is that both cheeses were delicious, and I bought enough to last a good few days if I am careful. I have been eating them on dry rice cakes. The rice cakes are almost bland, and so you get the full flavour of the cheese.

  With my cheese spotting task accomplished I decided to retrace my steps and head for home. I didn't feel bad, but I didn't feel like rushing around at that point. It was after getting off the tube train at Cannon Street that I suddenly felt exhausted. It was a great temptation to get the lifts up to the main mainline rail concourse, but I resisted the temptation. By the time I had walked up the stairs to ground level, and then up the stairs to the level of the trains, I felt completely shattered. It was as if I had walked 10 miles or more. I felt rather glad that I had been unable to travel into Essex, and was on my way home.

  Once I had stopped climbing stairs I recovered a lot, but I did no fast walking all the way home. Obviously the first thing I did was to sample my cheeses. Once I had eaten my late lunch (it must have been 2pm by then) I laid on my bed to quietly read, and within 20 minutes I was fast asleep. I possibly slept for as much as a full hour before waking up again. I felt better for that sleep, but not so good that the idea of going to a gig later in the evening didn't even register on my conscious. I spent the next couple of hours catching up on some internet stuff.

  I had been looking forward to a takeaway last night, but when it came to it I found I wasn't looking forward to one after all. I went for the simpler option of heating up the Polish "picnic sausages" I had bough recently. I had them with some overcooked baked beans. Overcooking them was deliberate, and it worked as I hoped. I microwaved those baked beans for a full 10 minutes, and they came out deliciously soft and squidgy, and with the sauce reduced to a very thick consistency. In fact they came out very like the Co-Op baked beans that I used to love in the 1980s.

  The beans and sausages, with some English mustard, were very nice. I probably ought to have eaten less than the whole pack of the sausages though. I think there were just 4 of them, but they were quite big, and being already cooked, they didn't shrink when I cooked them more. After eating them I came over feeling very weary. By 8.30pm I felt ready for bed, and so I brushed my teeth, and went to bed. It didn't seem to take long to fall asleep, and once asleep I seemingly slept well.

 It was sometime between 10pm and 11pm when I woke up, and I felt sort of refreshed. I got up long enough to check a couple of things on my PC, and then, perhaps half an hour later, I went back to bed, and was soon asleep again. I probably woke up every 2 or 3 hours after that, but I can't be sure that at least once or twice when I thought I might have woken up it wasn't just a dream. It was almost 12 hours after I first got into bed that I finally got up again properly. I would be very surprised if I got less than 9 hours sleep last night, and it seems I needed all of it. Even now it feel like that if I went back to bed I could sleep for a bit more.

  This morning I woke with the usual pain across the top of my chest. It is still there now if I care to provoke it by, for instance, stretching. Maybe a few assorted muscles feel tender too. I can't believe I have had another relapse into 'flu, and I conclude I have some other disease affecting me. I think that some of these ailments remind me of some cancer symptoms. That could be interesting. Maybe I'll finally get around to seeing a doctor for my medication review next week, or the week after, and I'll see what he thinks.

  In between times I have carried on scanning old negatives. When I first got my Practika Super TL SLR camrea I was keen to try all sorts of stuff with it. I hoped to do some wildlife photography, but I hardly went out except to work, and that limited my opportunities, but there were a few in my back and front gardens. This picture of a butterfly was taken in my front garden. It wasn't bad for an early attempt.
Butterfly on michaelmass
 I was fortunate to have a sort of girlfriend in those days, although my relationship with Marion was never what I hoped for. However she was happy to model one of my home made tie-dyed t-shirts for me. In fact I think she added it to her wardrobe, and wore it several times. It looks like she has had several glasses of wine in this snap !
Marion in tie-dye

  Today is Sunday - the most boring day of the week. Well maybe that is good because I don't feel like rushing around today, but than again, I don't fancy being bored either. As yet I have no plans for today except for a nagging idea that it would be criminal to waste today's sunshine - very much so considering it looks like we are heading into some very wintry weather in a day or so. Next Sunday there is a gig in The Black Cat, but no such fun today. Maybe I'll try and do something with some of the old video clips I digitised recently, and maybe if my camcorder is behaving itself again, I will digitise some more video. In the meantime, I sort of fancy a snooze !
Saturday 17th November 2018
08:40 GMT

  It was horribly gloomy yesterday, but at least it didn't seem to feel that cold. The forecast for early morning mist was about right, although it was a very light mist. There was also a later revision of the forecast that said mist would descend again at 11pm. When I peeped through the curtains at about 10.30pm it looked so wet outside that I am sure it had been raining. Maybe it was ultra heavy condensation from a mist that wasn't actually obvious. The highest temperature, and it lasted for much of the afternoon, was 13° C.
back to sunshine
  Today sees the return of sunshine, although it is not going to be a warm day however you imagine it ! My thermometers broadly agree with the forecast above. It was close to 8am when the thermometer outside the kitchen door said it was just 6.4° C. The top temperature today is supposed to be just 11° C, but maybe it might get a little higher because the sun got a head start on the forecast. As far as I am aware, the sky has been clear, and the sun shining since sunrise. The latest revision to the forecast still says that there will only be sunny intervals until 11am when the sun will be fully out - like it is as I wrote this at 08:53 ! Tomorrow may start out a little bit cooler than today, but it may be sunnier. The highest temperature may be the same as today - 11° C. After tomorrow things start to look very, very bleak. The latest revision to the forecast adds raindrops to the forecasts for next Monday and Tuesday.

  Yesterday was a day that should have been depressing, but it wasn't. I had nothing to do, and that can be a gateway to depression, and if that wasn't bad enough, the unrelenting grey sky should have been bloody miserable. There was one possible reason why I remained cheerful, and that was that I think I knew, perhaps without overtly realising it, that my health was improving. I started the day with my ribcage problems still causing a lot of discomfort, but later in the morning it just seemed to go away, or almost go away. I was still aware of some tenderness, and I still had one or two twinges, but essentially it was not causing any bother. Hand in hand with that, and probably the reason for it, was that yesterday was a day when I seemed to be more free of the lingering 'flu symptoms. I have had so many brief recurrences of some 'flu symptoms that I don't like to say I have finally beaten it.....but fingers crossed.

  One thing I did yesterday morning helped to seal my feeling of partial, temporary, or something feeling of well being, and that was to go and do more shopping in Iceland. I knew that a walk would help loosen up some stiff or painful muscles (and ribs), and that gave me some eagerness to go, but I think there were other reasons. One reason was the joy of defying the weather by going out without a coat. It was about 13° C, and provided I didn't stop I felt perfectly comfortable. Then there was the exhilaration of what could be called a test drive. I pushed the pace up when I walked to Iceland to see how it felt, and I did the same coming home again with my shopping. It felt good !

  I didn't find the fabled Marmite floured sprouts in Iceland again, and that was a rather negative feeling, but at least I found ordinary frozen sprouts, and I bought a bag to put in the fridge for a rainy day. I did hear that the Iceland in Eltham has the Marmite sprouts in the store, and that all shops should have them by the end of this month. So I can look forward to more visits to Iceland. If nothing else they do have quite a good range of (alleged) calorie controlled meals, although some of them are too nice, and that make me suspicious as to just how good they really are for the purposes of weight reduction (only when eaten as part of a calorie controlled diet). I am reminded that I once found a calorie controlled meal that had more calories than an ordinary ready meal. I think that might have been in Tesco.

 I had intended to try transferring more Hi8 camcorder footage to my little digitiser box yesterday, but I had left the heating off in the living room, and I think the camcorders dew sensor was triggered when I tried to use it. So I had to put that aside. I then turned my attention to my new slide scanner. I found a second "fault" with it when I went to use it. The first fault I mentioned yesterday. It was poor moulding in the plastic film carrier that needed cleaning up with a scalpel. It is still not perfect now, but at least it is far better. The other fault is really my fault. The most interesting use of the scanner was to scan the school journey photos I had taken in 1966. When I ordered the scanner I thought the negatives were from "126" film - which the scanner can handle. In fact I now think they were from "120" film, which the scanner can't handle in it's entirety. It cuts the top and bottom off the picture. In many circumstances this doesn't matter, but for others it is annoying. Nevertheless, what it does scan comes out far better than the prints from 1966.
re-scanned negative from
 The paper prints had a very poor grey scale, and I don't think you could see the dark suitcase in the bottom left of the picture. You certainly could make out very little of the writing on the car being held up by my old school friend. Translating from skoolboy speeling to usual English it says "School Journey, Holland, 1966", although it is possible it says 1965 instead of 1966. I'm unsure if the date was written with a hasty overwrite, or if it was just blurred.
Outside one of the
                      hotels or hostels in Holland
  In this picture you can now see the satchels over the schoolkids shoulders, and the two teachers standing in the doorway are almost recognisable.
Prehistoric selfie taken
                      on 33mm film
  I don't think I have a print for this picture that I found on one strips of negatives. This was a "selfie" taken on 25mm film instead of a mobile phone. It would have needed someone else to hold and operate the camera, but I have no idea who my mystery assistant was.
eating dinner in about
 Another type of picture that is popular with the mobile phone wielding classes - pictures of a meal. Well the meal is not actually visible (this was from a 35mm negative that the scanner does cut anything from), but the idea is pretty similar. This picture of me was taken when the back room was still a clean and bright dining room, and not the junk room it became. I estimate it was probably taken not too long after about 1984, and maybe no later than 1986.
old footbridge on
                      Ladywell Fields
 This is one of the pictures that I really wanted the scanner for. The paper prints have lost all their green dye, and it could be said that the prints are in black in purple. The negative still retains the full colour range despite the setting sun giving a sort of extra golden rusty colour to this footbridge. This very elegant, Victorian looking, bridge used to cross the railway to join the two halves of Ladywell Fields together, and I have very fond memories of it as a kid. For one thing the open lattice work on the sides made it easy to watch the trains passing underneath when you weren't tall enough to see over the top ! One of my low priority projects will be to make sure the negatives are as clean as possible (I did very little cleaning prior to a pile of test scans - and some negatives appear to be covered in crap), and to resurrect the pictures of this bridge, and it's demolition, in digital form.

  I was still scanning negatives late in the evening - even while watching TV.  Eventually I went to bed, and last night I think I managed to get some sleep, sleeping on my back. Maybe that helped, as hoped, to put less strain on my chest. Later in the night I know I slept on my side, and I am fairly certain that at some point I was sleeping on my right side - the side that seemed to be most sensitive to making my ribs or sternum, or something go crunch ! I probably slept quite well last night, and this morning I only felt moderately bad when I finally got up. Since then I seem to now feel fairly normal - not that normal is very good these days, but it is mostly acceptable.

  I have no plans for today. I think there is a gig that is mildly interesting tonight, but I don't seem to have any enthusiasm to go to it at all. I am contemplating the idea of trying to go out with my camera today, but while there are a few places I am curious to visit, I have no particular places in mind to visit today. The closest I have to a definite plan for today is just a whimsical thought that a takeaway might be nice for dinner tonight. There is one big unknown today, and that is what Sue's reaction will be when she receives a birthday card from me, and also a present that Amazon say will be delivered today. Her birthday is not until next Tuesday, and I was hoping Amazon wouldn't be quite so fast delivering it.
Friday 16th November 2018
09:29 GMT

  If it hadn't been so grey yesterday it might have been a nice day. The afternoon temperature was 15° C, and was apparently 5° higher than the average for mid-November. All that was missing to make it nice was a bit of sunshine. None was forecast, and I can't recall any time when it got brighter than mid grey.
misty start
  The big difference to yesterday is that this morning started off misty. Maybe some parts of London got fog, but here it was just a light mist that just enhanced the greyness that will be the main characteristic of today. Sometimes the sky will be dark grey, and at others just mid grey - most depressing ! It is not going to be warm either, although with a low tonight of 10° C, and an afternoon high of 13° C, it is going to be sort of tepid. Tomorrow might see the return of sunshine, possibly many hours of it if the forecast is correct. The downside is that the temperature reverts to the seasonal average of just 10° C max !

  I felt pretty bad yesterday. It was another day when I wondered if the pain in my chest was something more serious than "soft tissue damage", or a dislocated rib....or my favourite, a split in my sternum. The latter is apparently impossible, but a lot of the crunching sensations I get are right down my operation scar, and my sternum would have been split in some fashion to access my heart for the bypass operation in 2013. Apart from for half a second when it actually went crunch while turning over in bed, it is never a strong pain. It's just a mild pain that sort of nags. Later I had some strong evidence that my heart and stuff is still perfectly OK, and it is just damaged superstructure.

  I didn't have all that many hours to pass between having a late morning shower, after writing, and going out for my later Thursday afternoon drink. Once I was decent to go out I went to the post box, another minute or so walk past the corner shop, to post Sue's birthday card. On the way back I went into the corner shop and bought the lastest edition of New Scientist. That gave me something extra to read, and a nice swift walk made me feel better.

  Two other "toys" provided some amusement. I had decided that I ought to have another go at recovering/digitising some more of my old Sony Hi8 camcorder footage. I have a little box of tricks, with it's own 2.5 inch screen, that records analogue video to a memory card. The only trouble is that it keeps corrupting it's own files. That would matter less if I was using a Windows PC because Windows would detect the corruption, and offer to correct it everytime you inserted the memory card into the reader. It would probably also deal with the funny way the files are recorded too. On my Linux PC I have to do all this manually.

 Much of this I discovered yesterday, and now I have the routine learned it gives me much more confidence when digitising those old tapes. Another thing that helped a lot was that that the humidity must have been perfect for the camcorder. The last time I tried it the heads kept clogging. Maybe it was the tape rather than the humidity, or more likely a combination of both. Yesterday, after a bit of use, the pictures cleared almost perfectly no matter how many times I shuttled back and forth finding the start of a recording I wanted. The only thing I have to watch is that I don't attempt to transfer more than about 10 minutes worth of video on each recording. At about the 15 minute mark the little box chokes, and really messes up the file system. 10 minutes seems safe. It will mean splicing together short segment to make longer sequences, but with home shot footage that is not a bad idea anyway - lots of dross can be cut out to make for a less boring video.

  My other "toy" yesterday was my new slide scanner. It arrived considerably earlier than expected. I gave it a quick test yesterday afternoon, and it seems to work well, although maybe the pictures aren't a lot better than scanning the prints that were originally made from the negatives. Where it will come into it's own is where the prints have faded, and often it is just one of the primary colours that have faded. It may be stupid, but I have a lot of faith that the colours of the negatives will have survived a lot better. The only fault I have found with the scanner so far is a small fault in the plastic moulding of the slide carrier. I needed to do a little surgery to clean out a badly moulded slot that the negative is supposed to slide through.

  I made myself late for my drink yesterday because I spent too long repairing the file system of the memory card from the video digitiser. That should have meant that I had loads of time to get to the station for my train to Shortlands. That would have been good because I was a little apprehensive about the walk there. In fact I didn't leave early for the next train, and although I didn't have to rush, I did have to keep the pace up. In fact I kept the pace up to just a little short of a rush - and there were almost no ill effects. I did have two very brief twinges, and both for almost the same reason. I was walking faster than someone in front of me, and I had to do a sort of wiggle to get past them. On both occasions I had a brief, but sharp pain like a stitch. On both occasions I just carried on walking, and within a few paces the pain had faded to almost nothing.

  There was something undefinably good about last night's drink. Having some good, but not very strong beer was a good lubricant to a good time. There was more to it than that. It was just one of those occasions when the banter was unusually good. Of course it helped that I was actually feeling comfortable - something I hoped would happen after the walk to the station. I stayed for a fourth pint last night because it seemed like a good idea rather because I had been seduced by a really tasty, silly strength beer.

  I hadn't eaten a lot before going out, and so four pints of even moderate strength beer got me a little bit tipsy - a fact that was more apparent when I tried to write a text message on my phone - it took several goes to get it right before I could press "send". I was also feeling rather hungry, but maybe not ravenously so. I ended up eating two calorie controlled ready meals, and they seemed to do the trick, but I did have some sugar free chocolate biscuits later on.

 The text message that I replied to was from Angela. Her message to me was a simple "pissed again". It became apparent that she was not happy again, and presumably she was having trouble with her sons again rather than with lover boy. It is interesting that it seems she prefers to tell me about these things rather than lover boy. Perhaps she does tell him, but likes to spread the news more. Anyway, it ended with me suggesting we ought to meet up again in the near future, and maybe it will be next week. I asked her to select a good day for her, and text me in the morning of that day.

  I tried to sleep on my back last night, but couldn't get to sleep. I don't know why this was when a little earlier I was woken up by the magazine I was reading in bed falling on my face when I fell asleep while reading it ! The idea of sleeping on my back was that it should put less strain on my rib cage. In the end I just had to try and be very careful, and only sleep on my right side - which seems to cause less trouble than my left. It did seem to work, and I managed several large portions of sleep, but my 5am my chest was feeling quite sore again. I still managed a bit more sleep after that.

  When I first started writing I was feeling bad, but now I seem to have improved a lot. While I am more (but not completely) comfortable, it still feels like any wrong move could be potentially painful. What I should probably do is to go for a brisk walk lasting at least 20 minutes, but the grey skies outside are not very welcoming. One advantage of being at work was that on days like this I had somewhere to go, and a good reason to go there. Now it seems every fibre of my body rebels against the idea of an almost pointless walk under a dark grey sky.

  I theory I have plenty of stuff to amuse me today. I have video digitising, and follow on video editing to do, although there is a minor problem with that. It seems a lot of stuff I videoed back around the turn of the century seem to be of little relevance today, and I neither have the skills or software to make a purse out of a pigs ear. What I can do is photo editing, and in a way I am itching to scan some negatives of the same pictures that I know to have faded prints. I am also wondering if the negatives of my school journey snaps from about 1966 are better than the small 3 x 3 inch prints that I currently have.  I reckon I have enough work to do to keep me going to the end of the day if I can keep at it without getting bored. No need for any gigs tonight - not that there are any that interest me in any shape or form !
Thursday 15th November 2018
08:25 GMT

  It wasn't too bad yesterday. There was a lot more sunshine than originally forecast. The first forecast in the morning said there would just be sunny intervals in the morning, but it was later revised to match the reality of practically non stop sunshine until about 1pm. It got a bit cloudy then, but there were still patches of blue sky, and sunny intervals until sunset. The afternoon temperature was a nice 15° C.
mild but grey
  The most recent revision to the forecast is hardly any different to the screenshot about taken at about 6.30am. It is going to be very mild, but it seems there is no chance of seeing any sunshine today. That is a pity because it could be a very nice day otherwise. Oh well, at least there is almost no chance of rain. Tomorrow the temperature will be a couple of degrees less than today's high of 15° C. It will be another grey day, and sometimes it might be dark grey !

  I almost went out yesterday. By about midday I was all ready to go out to catch a train to start a journey that might have ended in Essex. There was one little problem though. Moments before I was about to open the front door my guts started to gurgle in an ominous way. When I considered the huge pile of sprouts I had eaten the previous day the outlook did not look good. It later turned out to be no more than trapped wind, and all that happened later on was a few farts. Nevertheless, I am glad I wasn't in the middle of Essex, with no toilets within 200 miles when it happened !

  Thinking about those sprouts gave me another idea. I had read that Iceland were selling sprouts infused with Marmite flavoured butter. It looked too good to be true, but I now think that there is a fair chance that it is true. I thought that I might go and see if they had them in my local Iceland. While I was out I decided to have a walk around the SAM 99p shop, Poundland, and Poundstretcher. I bought a few things in Poundland including a £1 DVD of the movie "Starship Troupers". I can remember hearing both good and bad things about the movie. I haven't watched it yet, but I am expecting most of the bad things said about it to be true, but maybe it might have some redeeming features.

  Iceland has some good stuff, but no Marmite flavoured sprouts that I could see. Maybe I didn't look hard enough, or maybe they haven't arrived in Catford yet. I did buy a couple of their "Slim Well" controlled calorie ready meals. They are usually quite nice, although they are not that low in calories and stuff. One exciting discovery I made in there is that they seem to stock a fair selection of Gullom (I think that's the name of the baker) sugar free biscuits. They are not particularly low calorie, but they ought to be good for helping me keep my blood sugar level down. I bought some dark chocolate biscuits, and a couple of packs of one of my favourites - hazelnut wafers. I used to buy them from the 99p shop, but hadn't seem them for years.

  The rest of my afternoon was not particularly productive. I did a bit of reading, and had a snooze. I also did some eating, and finally I started scanning more photos. The latter was less intensive than previously because I was going through a few odds and ends - just individual photos that I thought had some merit or use. I could have done more, but really I am waiting for the negative scanner that I ordered recently. There is a very small chance that it could turn up today, but tomorrow is more likely. I hope to be able to recover pictures from the negatives that would be impossible from the prints because they have discoloured too much.

  I finally managed to get to bed a bit earlier last night. It wasn't particularly early, but I was probably asleep around 11pm. I seemed to sleep OK, and I felt mostly OK when I woke up for a pee at about 4am. As soon as I got back into bed it was like the other day when I turned onto my side, and there was a sort of crunch from my sternum. I repositioned myself so I was more comfortable, and managed to get back to sleep again. I even had some entertaining dreams, but when I woke up a couple of hours later I was in a lot of discomfort.

 My neck and shoulders were very sore, and to top it all the bottom of my legs were going into cramp. There was no way I could get back to sleep even though I felt desperately tired. So I got up and took some pain killers. Maybe an hour later I tried getting back into bed. I might have even managed to doze off for a bit, but I still felt very uncomfortable. The discomfort was so extensive that I did wonder if I might be suffering from a heart attack, but with the worst of the pain being across the very top of my chest, and round my shoulder blades, I thought I would probably live.

  Just in case I didn't I thought I would sort out a few things first. I ordered Sue a birthday present from Amazon that will be shipped direct to her address. It was something I had planned to give her, and had added it to an Amazon list, before I stopped seeing her. I still quite like Sue. It's the company she keeps that keeps me distant for her ! After the Amazon order I made sure I paid my credit card off. If it should be that I end up in hospital I don't want the same stress as last time when my discharge date couldn't come soon enough because I needed to pay off my credit card bill before I incurred charges on it.

  What I was going to do next was to have a shower. Last night, before I went to bed, I put some Comfrey cream on my right shoulder. It does seem to have helped stop it becoming very stiff and sore, but maybe not last night. As an experiment I also put some on the middle of my chest to see if it would help there too. It didn't, and maybe it might have made things worse, although that is not likely. It has left my chest rather greasy, and I thought it would be prudent to have a good shower to degrease my chest just in case things did get worse, and I had to have ECG sensor pads stuck to me chest.

  I didn't have that shower, although I will soon. I decided I preferred to sit here writing this. As I do so I feel at least 95% perfectly OK. If anything, the predominant sensation at the moment is hunger. I think I fancy some breakfast, but I think I'll have that shower first. I have no idea what I shall be doing until I go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink later. Maybe I'll feel OK to lay on my bed and have a snooze to catch up with the sleep I thought I deserved. I always think I deserve a full 8 hours, but it seems that most days I only seem to get something closer to 5 hours. Maybe that is all I really need, but the idea of 8 hours of solid sleep does not seem too much like a luxury !
Addiscombe station in
  One of the pictures I scanned yesterday. If it looks familiar it is because I did show a photo taken from the same spot, but that had the signal box in it. In 1996, when I took this picture, the signal box had been burnt down - probably as a result of arson. A year late the service to Addiscombe ceased, and part of the trackbed of the branch would eventually be used by Croydon Tramlink.
Wednesday 14th November 2018
09:26 GMT

  After Monday's terrible weather, yesterday was quite good - not only by comparison, but perhaps for the time of year as well. The morning was particularly bright and sunny, and sunny intervals continued into the afternoon. The maximum temperature was 14° C - which wasn't exactly warm, but mild enough, and on TV last night they said it was about 4° C higher than the average for this time of year.
even better than yesterday
  As usual, since taking the screenshot above, the forecast has been revised, and now more accurately reflects reality. The reality is that the sky is clear enough for almost uninterupted sunshine, and it could continue until 1pm. After that some cloud will reduce the sunshine to just sunny intervals. The current revision predicts a rather nice 15° C in the early afternoon. Even after dark the temperature is only predicted to fall to 11° C. Tomorrow the temperature should reach 15° again, but apparently it will be a 100% overcast day without even a glimpse of the sun. 
blue sky in the morning
  I couldn't work out how I felt yesterday. My chest felt tender, but most of the time it didn't actually hurt, although I did get a few brief warning twinges. For a while I did feel desperately tired after loosing so much sleep after I crunched my chest/rib cage when turning over slightly too hard in the night. My ultimate conclusion was that I would probably feel better if I went out for a short walk, and got some fresh air, and while the results of that were not as good as hoped, they were still good.

 As you can see from this small photo, there was some strong sunshine, and lots of blue sky, when I took a walk towards Catford Bridge. I had decided that I would go on a circular walk that I could shorten or lengthen depending on how I felt. Just before I went on it I suddenly had the idea that I would like to call into the Turkish supermarket and buy a few things from there.

 I bought a couple of bottles of Diet Coke. Some little pots of bean salads, a couple of "Turkish" pears, some Polish smoked bacon, and some Polish "Picnic Sausages". I'm not exactly sure what the latter are, but I suspect they will be very delicious ! I had one little twinge, a bit like a stitch, when walking there, but nothing more, although I was aware that my rib cage was on edge, and just waiting to complain if I put a foot wrong - I didn't, and so I continued my walk down past the Age Concern charity shop, past The Black Cat, and then past Tesco towards home.

  I think the only thing on my mind when I got home was to eat a couple of those bean salads with extra chilli sauce on them. The three bean salad, and the chick pea salad were, as usual, delicious. Late on I tried one of the Turkish pears. I am unsure what they would be called in other supermarkets, but they do look to be similar to what I think Tesco call Chinese Pears. I expected them to be a bit dry and crunchy, but they were sweet and slightly crunchy. I'm glad I bought them now. I hope I'll be glad I bought the Polish sausages too when I eat them. I know the smoked slab of Polish bacon will taste good even if it is so fatty that it will instantly clog my arteries. Oh well, pleasure has it's costs !

  After eating my beans I had nothing to do, or nothing that really needed doing then and there, but I did have a duvet cover waiting to be washed. Experience has taught me that stresses of washing something like a double duvet cover by hand actually make my rib cage feel better when it is on edge, and so it turned out it did this time - but only just. It did feel like hard work, and I seemed to tire quite quickly. It was almost as if the join pain that I had when I was attacked by the 'flu virus over 4 weeks ago, was still happening to a much lesser degree...and maybe it was. My wrists in particular complained a bit.

  During the afternoon I think I managed an occasional very short snooze while actually intending to do some reading. I decided to go back to scanning old photos to mop up the excess time on my hands. It was while doing that, and in particular trying to balance the colour on a particularly faded print, that I decided I had to buy a negative scanner. I did try scanning a negative when digitising my first ever photos taken while I was about 10 years old on a school journey to Holland and Belgium. Some of those prints were in a bad state, and the negatives looked better, but I could only scan them in low resolution. The negative scanner I have ordered should scan them in far higher resolution. It is possible that it will make all the scans I have done so far obsolete, and I will have wasted my time....we'll see when it is delivered.

  My dinner was another attempt at something that, with some vivid imagination, could be called healthy. It was a pile of sprouts cooked in beef stock with smoked panacetta. The Panacetta I used, bought from Aldi, looks like bacon lardons, but I think it is actually ham, and also contains far less fat. That should have made the meal healthier, although sadly at the cost of flavour. I had one the Turkish pears with a big chunk of strong, mature Cheddar cheese for sweet. Much later in the evening I had rice cakes with ham and mustard for supper.

  I felt wary about going to bed last night. I was scared that I would try and sleep on my right hand side, and crunch my ribcage again, but it seems I didn't need to worry. I managed to get two long block of sleep, and I got up wishing for another couple of hours sleep, but for some reason I didn't think it would be a good idea to try. The reason for not trying was that I was still worried about my rib cage. It was still feeling delicate this morning. As I sit here typing I don't feel anything is wrong, but some movements can still trigger an undefined feeling of impending discomfort.

  I wonder what I am going to do today ? I do feel a strong urge to get out into the sun, and get a bit of exercise, and yet at the same time I don't feel keen to do it. I think the first thing I ought to do is to have a shower, and get dressed. Then reconsider what I can, or want to do. In the meantime, here's a scan I did yesterday while I had the scanner out. It is from a London A to Z map book that I estimate was printed in, or before, 1966. I have scanned Catford, and for those familiar with the current Catford, there are some big differences. Several roads, or parts of roads, were wiped off the face of the map to make way for the development that became Catford Mews, Milford Towers, Tescos, and the multi story carpark - including the section of road where I used to live. I have marked the approx position of where I used to live with a red dot.
 The centre of
                      Catford in or before 1966
Tuesday 13th November 2018
09:54 GMT

  Yesterday's weather forecast could not have been more wrong ! At 7am the prediction was for a day of mostly sunny periods. The reality was that there was one block of almost non stop sunshine that lasted a couple of hours, but it seemed like the rest of the time it rained. Sometime that rain was very heavy rain. I even heard reports from not too far away saying there ad been a few rumbles of thunder. I didn't hear any myself. I think the temperature was probably less than the forecast maximum of 14° C, and may have been no higher than 12° C or less. 
even this forecast may need revision to match
  The forecast above has since been revised to get it a bit closer to reality. The latest revision predicts non stop sunshine from 10am to 1pm. In fact the sun has been out since before 10am. After yesterdays gloom and rain, today is looking like it might be a rather good day for late autumn. If the temperature reached the forecast high of 14° C it might feel quite nice. Tomorrow is currently forecast to only have sunny intervals, but it should stay dry, and the temperature may rise to 15° C for a while. The day after tomorrow could be better still. Once again only sunny intervals are forecast, but the temperature may reach 16° C. It will probably snow !

  My appointment at the hospital for my retinopathy scan at 9.10am was only marred by having to walk there in piddling rain, and having to walk back in heavy rain. I had to negotiate some very extensive puddles on the way back ! There was one other slight disappointment. I sent a text message to Angela saying I was in the hospital, and expecting to finish in time to walk past where she works at 10am. I said that if she was outside having a smoke I would bump into her. In fact I was in and out in record time, and was walking past her work place at 9.30am. I texted again to say I would be early, but that it was pouring with rain. I said stay in the warm, and hoped she had a nice day. She replied in a manner that suggested she was annoyed that the rain stopped her from dashing out to see me, and she added that she was missing me - which was rather nice.
two selfies
  I took these two selfies yesterday. The one on the left was taken in the waiting area in the hospital. I took it after I had the drops put in my eyes that dilate the pupils. I could still read my paper at this point. A few minutes later my eyesight became too blurry to read, and my pupils were probably far bigger than in this picture. The second picture, on the right, was taken at about where I would have seen Angela if it had been dry, and if she was able to pop out for a cigarette (or just to see me).

  Once upon a time the technician who takes the pictures of my retinas would do a basic scan of the pictures, and give an un-official opinion of what the results were likely to be. The software on their PC allowed them to switch the primary colours on and off to better show any small leakages of blood from the microscopic veins at the back of the eye - which is what the scan is looking for. The last few technician I have seen have not bothered to do this, and I'll have to wait 2 to 4 week for the official results to come through. I am expecting the usual one very tiny suspect area that they will examine again in a years time - I seem to get that every year, and the problem is never in the same place twice.

  There was one good aspect of the appointment, and it was more than Angela saying she missed me. I seemed to walk to the hospital in record time, and it didn't seem too hard to do it. As I approached the hospital I did consider using the lifts, but there is one I can never find at the bottom, and so I walked up both flights of stairs. The only bad thing about that was that it left me a bit sweaty under my raincoat, but there were no pains, and no notable shortage of breath, although I was breathing a bit deeply at the top. I recovered from the deeper breathing far faster than I cooled down !

  When I got home again I considered I had done my exercise for the day - mainly on account of the heavy rain. Had I known that there would be a few hours of strong sunshine, before the rain started again, I might have taken advantage of it by going to the shops, or somewhere local. I passed a lot of the day doing reading, eating and photography.  I also hand washed a pillow case and double fitted sheet. One other little job that consumed 10 or 20 minutes was to do some cookery.

  I decided that I had to use up some vegetable that had been in the fridge for too long, and so for lunch I had what should have been an ultra healthy all green vegetable meal. Preparing the sugar snap peas was the tedious part of the process, but preparing the asparagus took seconds. I first cooked the sugar snap peas with some strange Polish stuff that now I have tried it I know it to be some kind of stock granules. It was a packet bought in the 99p shop, and while it had a list of ingredients in English on a stuck on label, the rest of the pack was all in Polish (or maybe some similar Eastern European language). It was not obvious what it was for.

  It turned out to be incredibly salty, and that ruled out the idea that it was a soup mix. If it was added to something like a pot of potatoes, that seem to be able to soak up salt, it would probably be good, but as a stock for just two green vegetables it was far too salty tasting. I had to drain it off before eating the sugar snap peas and asparagus. I think yesterday was the first time I had cooked asparagus. I probably should have trimmed off more of the bottom of the shoot because the bottom end seemed a little tough, but otherwise it was quite nice. Of course within an hour it had made my pee smell horrible, and the effect lasted into the early evening.

  The photography I was doing was the continuation of a project that I started doing a week or two ago - scanning old prints, and then using my favourite photo editor to try and improve them. I have mainly been working through old shots of disused railway stations. There is a group of social media who seem to rate my photos very highly - perhaps because I always use to try and photograph a sort of tour of the station, picking out things like signs and posters, rather than just the standard "train the station" shots. Of course I included one of those as well !
little red train in
                      Ongar station
 This is Ongar station in 1994. It was part of the London Underground Central Line before closure. The station is now part of the Epping - Ongar heritage railway, and the platform now looks very different - as does the rolling stock in use. The train in the picture was part of a very small batch of these trains owned by London Underground. They were kept in red livery, and apart from one (or two) that are still in current use as track inspection trains, they were used exclusively on the Ongar shuttle train. Services only ran in peak hours. That kept the potential users down, and no ticket inspection made the numbers seem even smaller. So it was shut down on 30th Sept 1994 as too uneconomical to operate.
Charing Cross Jubilee
                      line platform
  This is one of the platforms of Charing Cross Jubilee line station. When the Jubilee line was extended to eventually reach Stratford for the Olympics, the current end of the line at Charing Cross pointed in the wrong direction for the extension, and so it was bypassed. The old platforms are still there behind locked doors, and on very rare occasions a passenger train is diverted there if there is trouble further down the line, and empty trains are regularly sent there to keep the rails clean.

  One of the things about yesterday was that I felt rather good. It seemed that I was free of the last twinges of the 'flu I had, and my rib cage was not giving any trouble. One last problem, that of a stiff and sore right shoulder, seemed to have been kept under control by an application or two of Comfrey cream. I think I had at least one short snooze during the afternoon, and by the evening I didn't feel tired at all. It was gone midnight when I went to bed, and all seemed well.

  Everything was well until I got up for a pee at 3am. I felt perfectly fine until I got back into bed, and turned onto my right side. As soon as my side took my full weight there was a crunch from behind my operation scar which sent a stab of pain up and down that scar. As I took the weight off my side there was a stab of pain slightly to the left of centre, and above centre of my left breast. Both pain only lasted mere seconds, but they left a much longer lasting dull ache over quite a lot of my chest. It was a lot like, but actually different to a heart attack pain - or so I hoped.

  I felt really tired at that point, and was really looking to get back to sleep, but I was in too much discomfort to do so. I took both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol to try and clam things down, and about an hour later I was able to lay on my left side almost comfortably. I eventually got back to sleep for an hour or two before waking up. I felt much better for that, and was able to get another hour or two of slightly better sleep after that.

  This morning it feels like I missed out on a lot of good sleep, and my chest still feels tender. It doesn't actually hurt, but it does feel like it would be very easy to provoke it. That puts some limitations of what I might do today. I would like to get out into the sunshine, and maybe I will do. As to whether it will just be a walk to the local shops, or an expedition further afield with my camera remains to be seen.
Monday 12th November 2018
07:54 GMT

  The weather was sort of neutral yesterday. There were a couple of light showers, but that was compensated by sunny intervals, and the temperature, at about 13° C, was neither hot nor cold.
recent shower not included in this forecast
  It wasn't shown on the forecast, but a little while ago we had a shower. It does look as if it might be brightening up now, although it is still rather dull. With luck we will see sunny intervals all day today, but even into the afternoon there is chance of rain - 12 to 15%. This morning it is even higher - 29% at 10am ! The afternoon temperature should reach 14° C, and that should feel quite nice when the sun is shining. Tomorrow might see some longer stretches of sunshine, but the temperature may no higher than today. There is also little chance of rain. The following two days are also looking to be quite good if the forecast holds.

  I reported that my broadband failed because of the rain yesterday. What I don't think I mentioned that it started working again before I had finished writing yesterday.

  Yesterday was a semi-busy sort of day. That was a surprise because I thought it would be boring. Well maybe some of it was, but not so much that the day didn't seem to fly by. I amused myself doing several things. I did a bit of laundry, and I went to Aldi to get some shopping. The latter was a good test of how I was feeling, and it turned out that I must have been feeling good. Walking to Aldi, buying lots of stuff, and lugging it home again didn't seem to be specially taxing. I can't seem to ever remember it ever being easy or enjoyable, and neither was yesterday, but it did seem about as close to normal as possible.

  I spent the afternoon scanning old photos, and later on doing some photo editing on them. I should have prepared a few examples to show here, but I didn't, and this morning I don't have time to do it. In fact I have very little time left before I have to get fully dressed, and ready to go out for my annual retinopathy scan in Lewisham Hospital.

  I was intending to get to bed early last night so I could be up bright and early today. That didn't happen. I did go to bed a bit earlier than of later, but I couldn't get to sleep until almost midnight. I then got just over 4 hours of good sleep with an interesting dream, and then maybe another hour of sleep with a big gap between sleeps. This morning I feel OK except for a lingering wish that I had slept better, but maybe it wasn't needed. Since having a shower, and washing my hair, a nasty stiffness across the top of my chest (almost under the chin) seems to have eased. I think my walk to the hospital will not be unpleasant, and if the sun peeps out for a bit, it could be almost pleasant. I estimate I will leave the hospital about 10am, and it will be nice on my dilated eyes if it is very overcast, and very dull for 10 minutes until I am safely indoors. After that the sun can shine as fiercely as it likes (although I may close the curtains until my eyes return to normal - which usually takes a couple of hours).

  I think it was last Thursday that I tried to view a video of Run For Cover that I had included here a week or two ago. For some reason it would not play despite the video file format supposedly being compatible with most modern web browsers. So I have re-encoded the video at a lower bit rate, and used a "mobile" preset in the encoder. Let's try again......

Sunday 11th November 2018
08:03 GMT

  I think yesterday was pretty much as forecast. There was some dazzling sunshine, in the form of sunny intervals, from sunrise to sunset. Some of those sunny spells were so long that they might have just been described as "sunny". They may have helped to raise the temperature to 14° C. Once darkness began to fall the rain decided to fall as well. It only stopped a little while ago this morning !
a wet start, but brightening up
  Some of last night's rain was quite heavy, but perhaps the heaviest was reserved for this morning. I don't know if it woke me up as 6am, but not long after, while I was sitting on the toilet (!) there was a tremendous flash followed quite quickly by a loud peal of thunder. That seemed to mark the end of the storm. Since then the rain has stopped, the sun has risen, it it is looking quite bright outside. The brightness could continue for some time, but maybe there will be some rain at midday. After that the rest of the day might stay dry, and bright - although only sunny intervals. The highest temperature may only be 13° C today. Tomorrow should stay dry, and from time to time there should be some sunny spells. The temperature may rise to 14° C tomorrow.

Weather notes: Whenever it rains I lose my broadband. I am currently disconnected to the outside world as I write this. That is why the screenshot of the weather forecast is taken from my mobile phone (which is still connected to the outside world), and is in a different format to usual. I am hoping that the forecast for tomorrow is either right, or wrong in a very specific direction. Tomorrow I have my annual retinopathy scan. This is where my retinas are photographed to check for damage. To facilitate this my eyes have to be dilated with some special drops of "eye dilation fluid" - what ever that is. I have an early morning appointment, and expect to leave there, and be walking home by, or before 10am. It would be kinder on my poor eyes if it was actually heavily overcast, and very dim outside. Once I am home the sun can blaze away as much as it can.

  I felt really rough yesterday. It seemed that even though I stayed mostly dry while travelling, just being out in the wet air triggered off almost a relapse of the worst of the recent 'flu I had. I didn't help that I was very inactive for a most of the morning, and into the early afternoon. There was a time when all the aches felt a lot like when I was having my second heart attack back in 2013. In fact I am not so sure it wasn't actually a similar problem. However there were some clues that it was something different. For instance I don't remember my knees and legs being stiff when I had that heart attack.

  The other clue was how many of the symptoms went away, or almost away, when I did get suddenly active for a short while. I spent so long sitting at my PC, editing photographs, that I am surprised I didn't get deep vein thrombosis ! As I sat there feeling increasingly out of sorts I considered my plan of action. I had two priorities that I needed to consider. I wanted to get all the photos finished, and photo albums uploaded before I died. The other priority was to wait for a parcel from Amazon.

 The Amazon parcel was originally estimated to be delivered this coming Tuesday, or Wednesday. Then it was brought forward to today, and then I got notification that it would be delivered yesterday ! It must have been about 2pm when it arrived. I didn't hear the doorbell, but the delivery driver had the presence of mind to ring my mobile number (the number must have been on his documentation). Once I knew he was on my doorstep I went charging downstairs, and then with the parcel in my sweaty hand, I went charging back upstairs again.

  By the time I was back upstairs I found most of my aches and pains had gone - which I am sure is the opposite of what I would expect if it were my angina coming back. It wasn't a 100% cure, but for the rest of the afternoon, and even more so into the evening, I felt mostly OK except for one new thing. To make sure I felt OK I started sipping whisky. Several hours later and I realised that I was drunk. I'm sure it didn't help that I had eaten so little before I started drinking.

  I felt terribly tempted to order a takeaway last night, but I resisted that temptation, and cooked a far healthier meal ~ sort of. It was what could probably be described as a stew made from a mix of cauliflower and broccoli with some lardons, and about a third of a can of baked beans. It went down quite nicely.  Later on it would have an unexpected effect - and not one you might guess.

  I was going to go out last night, but three things conspired against it. For one thing I still felt a bit fragile. Then it was pouring with rain, and I didn't want to repeat the damage that going out in the rain the previous night caused. Finally there was the difficulty of getting to the venue. The venue was The Chelsfield pub. It is next door to Chelsfield station, and it was where Chain were playing. It turned out that what I thought was the most obvious route to get there was actually a very bad idea.

  I thought I could get a train from Catford to Bromley South, and then change trains there, but you can't. You have to change train to get to Orpington, and then change there for a third train to Chelsfield. That route would mean hanging around on cold and wet railway platforms waiting for trains. Maybe it would be nice on a warm and bright summer evening, but last night it would have been awful. A better route would be to get a bus to Grove Park station, and from there you can get a direct train to Chelsfield. Once again, nice in Summer, but not much fun in the pouring rain.

  So I decided to stay in the warm and dry, and finish my photographs. If I had one problem with the photos I took on Friday night, it was that too many of them came out OK - in as much as the were bright and sharp - too many of them were rather boring. There is only so much you can do when you are limited to just a few angles. However, I managed to get three reasonable photo albums together - one for each band.
Off Topic
The first band of the evening - Off Topic.
The Fascinators
The Fascinators - a truly weird looking band. They played a sort of hybrid glam-thrash metal, and, on this occasion, played it without any vocals. Their singer was at home in her bed, suffering from the lurgy, and had lost her voice. They didn't want to let the promoter down, and so elected to do a mostly instrumental set.
Fiouse from The Flame Pilots
This is Fiouse who does such an excellent job fronting The Flame Pilots.
The Flame Pilots
The Flame Pilots doing their Shadows impersonation !

  By the end of the evening I was feeling almost perfectly normal, and found that I didn't fancy rushing to bed - or that's what I thought. Once I was in bed, and reading a magazine, I only managed to read a couple of pages before I had to put the magazine down, and turn out the light. It wasn't long before I was fast asleep...or maybe I wasn't fast asleep. I had a dream, or series of dreams where I kept waking up. That was really annoying, but eventually I realised it was just a dream, and while it may not have been deep sleep, when you don't tend to dream, or forget them if you do, there was a strong clue that all was not what it seemed.

  Further up the page I mentioned that the cauliflower and broccoli stew was have later effects. As you might imagine, it was a bit smelly as I cooked those two vegetables, and I made it worse by adding quite a lot of ready to use garlic purée to it. Every time I thought I had woken up I thought how stinky the house was after cooking that dinner. I didn't stop to consider that all the smell had dissipated long before I went to bed. I seemed to wake up 3 or 4 times and could smell that cooking still. Eventually I woke up for real, and of course there was no smell at all. It makes me wonder how many other times I have believed I have woken up in the night, but may not have. I have sometimes described occasions as being quite dream like - perhaps because they were dreams.

  I woke up, and got up far earlier than I meant to this morning. Initially I felt very creaky, but I seem to feel OK now, although I am yawning a lot, and I may well go back to bed again to see if I can grab a bit more sleep. Other than that, I really have no idea what I might do today....actually I do have more photos to scan. I think that could be my main task today. Perhaps I might go and get some shopping as well, but I think I'll wait until the afternoon until, and if I do that.
Saturday 10th November 2018
09:31 GMT

  Yesterday was a day of two halves. The first half of the day was dry and bright, and the second half was dark and wet ! The maximum temperature was 13° C (maybe it briefly hit 14° C), but for some reason it didn't seem to be that cold.
at least the day started bright
  Today is not forecast to be that dissimilar to yesterday. This morning has started off bright, but it getting rather cloudy now. The latest revision to the forecast says it could rain in an hours time, but maybe only an isolated shower. At other times there could be more sunny intervals until sunset. After that, not only will the sun set, but rain will probably start to fall. Unlike last night, it may only be light rain, but it will continue through the night, and into the first half of tomorrow. The second half of tomorrow should be dry and sunny. Today's maximum temperature will be approximately the same as yesterday's and tomorrow's - 13° C.

  I started yesterday with my rib cage hurting, but a couple of paracetamol calmed that right down, and it gave me no trouble for the rest of the day. Much of my daytime was uneventful. I did a bit of laundry (by hand), and I changed the linen on my bed. The latter was more to do with stripping the bed so I could straighten out the mattress protector that had shifted, making my bed a bit uncomfortable. The only other "excitement" was going to the corner shop for a bottle of pop. I also bought a couple of magazines while I was in there (Fortean Times and New Scientist).

  In one respect it was exciting going, and coming home from the corner shop. It may only be a two minute walk there, and back, and so it may not count, but I felt incredibly full of beans when I went there, and similar when I came home. I seemed to be able to walk at top speed with almost no effort, and no bad reaction to it. It was quite exhilarating in a way, and it probably put me in a good mood for the rest of the day.

  I needed to be in a good mood to go out not just into the night, but into a wet and rainy night ! I'm glad I did because I enjoyed myself. It was a fascinating experience to go to a pub I had never visited before, and see three good bands.....or maybe two good bands, and another band who did their best to do their set without a singer. The singer had apparently gone down with some ailment, and lost her voice. The pub was The Birds Nest in Deptford - close to the bus stop called Deptford Bridge. I once thought it was cross between a real ale and gastro pub, and maybe the other half still is, but the half we were in was a delightful scummy music pub !
gents toilet
This is inside the gents toilet. There are stickers and graffiti covering every inch of the walls, and yet the place was dry with no nasty smells. Despite the "decoration" it was clean in there. Might have given it 5 stars but there was no toilet paper, and so only 2 stars ! (I was told that all cubicles in the ladies had good supplies of toilet paper).
artwork by the billiards/pool table
This weird artwork was in an area at the back where there is a pool/billiards table.
even the bar is covered with stickers
Everywhere you look there are posters and stickers - including all over the bar !
Off Topic
  This was the first band - Off Topic. They were really good, and I particularly liked the way the alternated between original songs and covers. Last night was one time when I am so glad that I invested in some of my photographic kit. There was very little space in front of the band, and they were very dimly lit. Most of the light was just light leaking through from the bar or the back room. So my flash gun was essential, as was my wide angle lens.

  The next band were The Fascinators, and I'll have some pictures of them tomorrow (probably). They were the band without a singer, and played a mostly instrumental set. It was a brave thing to do. The sounded OK, but with no vocals it did start to get a bit boring. The final band were the band that I actually went to see. They were The Flame Pilots, and they performed all original songs. I must confess that despite seeing them three times this year, I only recognised one single song. I should have a few snaps of them tomorrow as well.

  The Flame Pilots finished at 11pm - 10 minutes after they were suppose to. Then there was the usual tedious hanging around. I would have left much sooner, and I did try to, but I had been offered a lift provided I was patient enough to wait for it. After a while I got bored with waiting, and went outside the pub just at the right time to see a bus whizz by. I concluded that it would be probably quicker to wait for my lift.

  I was dropped off outside my house, and that nulled any possibility of being tempted into a fried chicken shop. I decided I still wanted to eat though, and last night I had a very different supper. It was smoked mackerel with baked beans. It was rather nice, ad I didn't even suffer from what I later feared would happen - fishy burps through the night. I guess it must have been almost 1am before I was in bed and asleep.

  As I hoped might happen, I slept well on my newly straightened out mattress protector, and somehow fresh bed linen always seems to feel good even if it is probably no different to the stuff it replaced. My only bother is that it feels like I got up too early. I was up at 7am to take my pills, have a wee, and get a screenshot of the weather forecast. I then went back to bed. I hoped that I would fall into a deep sleep, and be surprised at how long I slept when I checked the clock when I woke up. I did get back to sleep, but it didn't seem to be very deep sleep. In fact it felt like I was awake for most of the time, but it was nearly 9am when I gave up, and got up.

  This morning my main affliction was lower back pain. I am sure it was a legacy of being out in the rain last night. I didn't actually get wet, but some how that cold damp air seeps into the bones at my age. A couple of paracetamol seem to have reduced the lower back pain to the point where it seems to be gone as I sit here typing. Unfortunately those paracetamol seemed to do nothing for the stiffness in my legs. I didn't notice it while my back was aching, but when I stood up just now they seemed almost painfully stiff.

   I am sure they will be fine once I stretch them a bit, but there may be few opportunities for that today...or at least until much later today. Most of my day will consist of sitting here at my PC going through all the photos I took last night. It is possible that I will be going to another gig, and taking more photos, tonight. Chain are playing at a new venue (for them, and me) - The Chelsfield. The pub is next door to Chelsfield station, and so could be easy to get to if the trains are running. Unfortunately it will mean a change of train on route, and tonight it will mean travelling in the rain again. I would like to go, but I am not sure if I will or not. I guess I'll be finding out around 7pm tonight.
Friday 9th November 2018
09:11 GMT

  Yesterday's weather was sort of OK. There was some sunshine, and in that sunshine it felt just warm enough to go to the shops without a coat. The sunshine turned into just sunny intervals before the morning was over, but it was still fairly pleasant. The highest temperature was just 14° C, but as I said, it felt warm in the sunshine. After sunset it seemed to cool off quite quickly, but it was not until this morning that it felt really chilly.
a grey day
  I had the heating on low all night, but at 7am, when I initially got up, I had to turn it on full blast despite the temperature being forecast to be 9° C. By my reckoning it was a couple of degrees lower, and the reason for that was easy to see out the window - clear sky ! Until as little as 10 minutes ago it was bright and sunny, but now reality has caught up with the forecast. It is dull and grey outside. The latest revision to the forecast now says there will be a sunny interval at 10am. When I look at the sky I would say it is more likely to be a shower at 10am ! The rest of the day is still forecast to be cloudy and overcast, and rain is likely to start falling at 6pm. Once it starts it will go on all night, and some of it could be heavy. It may finish by 6am tomorrow, and then the rest of the daylight hours could see sunny intervals. Once the sun has set there could be showers again for the rest of tomorrow evening. Tomorrow could reach 14° C - a degree warmer than today.

  I started yesterday with my rib cage being a bit troublesome, and I wondered if I should take any painkillers before going out. It turned out that I was mostly OK, but not completely comfortable without them when I went out to collect Patricia's prescription from Boots. Evidently I felt OK to take the long way home by going CD and DVD hunting in the charity shops. I managed to pick up 2 DVDs, and 3 CDs. One of the CDs was a Beach Boys triple disk set. I'm not a great fan of the Beach Boys in large quantities, but the occasional track now and then is OK, and at £1.99 for a three disk set it was a sort of bargain that had to be bought.

  One of the DVDs was less of a bargain even though it was just £1. The disk itself is damaged, and I had to resort to polishing it with brasso before I managed to extract all but the last 10 minutes with a DVD ripper. If it were a movie that would be a calamity, but it is Billy Connolly live in New York, and that means there is still plenty to laugh at. I think I will try and use more Brasso, and see if more scratches can be polished out of the disk, and then more video extracted from it. The other DVD was of that classic comedy Airplane ! It appears in good condition, and this version allegedly has hours of extras. Whether those extras are worth watching is debatable.

  It was very early afternoon when I got home with my goodies, and I felt like some lunch. I had bought some kippers from Tesco the previous day, and I was looking forward to eating them. I wasn't disappointed.....well maybe I was a little bit. They seemed to start off delicious, but the last bit didn't taste so good for some unknown reason. I think I topped off the fish with some Marmite on rice cakes. For the next few hours I did little but play with the disks I had bought, and I think I had a little snooze.

  As 4pm approached it was time to head out to the pub for my regular Thursday, late afternoon drink. I should have left earlier because yesterday's drink was in The Greyhound - the Bromley Wetherspoons - and that meant a tedious bus ride. It was even more tedious than usual, by a factor of 5 ! When I got to the bus stop where the 320 bus starts from there was no bus in sight, and the app on my phone said it was 23 minutes away ! There was nothing for it but to start walking again, and go to the 208 bus stop on the high street. It is about double the distance away from home.
delicious beer - 5.2%
When I got there I saw that the next 208 was only 7 minutes away, but I just knew it was going to be packed - and it was ! I finally arrived at the pub well over half an hour late, and not in a good mood. The pub made it worse by being typically very slow to serve me. That pub never seems to be able to cope with a surge in demand. They just don't seem to have enough staff, and what staff they do have seem to spend  all their time dealing with food orders. The good news was that they had a very delicious bitter on tap.

 That bitter was called Greyhound, and it was 5.2% - rather stronger than many beers. I didn't start on it. I started on a much weaker beer. It went down very quickly, and it partly calmed me down. At that point I was still thinking along the lines that I might leave early, but that I wanted to taste the strong beer before I went. It was good. It was very good, and I stayed for a second pint of it. I felt quite good after that, but decided that my usual three pints was sufficient for the evening - and more so considering the strength of the last two.

  Once again it seemed that a 320 bus would not arrive for over 20 minutes, but I didn't have long to wait for a 208 bus. It is possible that a 320 bus could have turned up a lot earlier. There seems to be a dead spot on their root somewhere beyond Bromley, and while in it they don't appear on the countdown display. However I didn't notice one pass my slw moving, and rather full 208 bus as it trundled along towards Catford.

  I was hungry when I got home, and I was very keen to eat. First of all I had a chicken chow mein ready meal. It was nice, but seemed very insubstantial. I suspect the idea was that it should have other accompaniments. I didn't have any Chinese themed stuff to go with it, and so I had a "Hearty Meal Company" minced beef hot pot. These ready meals are under £1 in Tesco, and they are both good and bad. They are obviously made to a price, and so the recipe calls for very little meat, but quite a lot of sliced potato swimming about in gravy. It was actually quite nice. It is amazing what you can do with one tablespoon of cheap mince !

  A little later I still felt like I wanted to eat, and I sort of satisfied myself with rice cakes with either Marmite or peanut butter on them. My extra hunger was a product of the strong beer, and not having much to amuse me in the evening. There seemed to be very little on TV to capture my attention, and I only had 6 or 7 pages unread in the book I was reading, and I soon finished them off. Despite having little to do it was almost midnight when I went to bed.

 Apart from waking up and feeling rather cold, I seemed to be feeling almost OK when I first got up. With the heater on full blast I went back to bed after finishing my early morning tasks. From then things didn't go well. I think I turned over too fast, and crunched my rib cage a bit. It didn't seem that bad, and I thought it would be ignorable after a while. I fell asleep again, and I have no idea what I did, or what happened, but I woke up persistently coughing. It was a dry cough, but even a sip of drink only helped a bit. It stopped after a couple of minutes, but by then my rib cage was feeling quite sore again.

  Since then a couple of paracetamol tablets seem to have made me feel perfectly comfortable - at least while I sit here I am comfortable. There are three things I can think of that I'll be doing today. One of the first will be to finish washing a few clothes. Once that is done, and I have got my breath back, I think I'll be changing the sheets on my bed. I am going to have to strip the bed down anyway so I can sort out the mattress protector. As usual it has slipped, and not laying flat. While I have everything off the bed I may as well change the sheets and duvet cover.

  Late on, and quite a lot later than I was hoping for, I have a gig to go to. The Flame Pilots are headlining a gig at The Birds Nest in Deptford tonight. I originally thought they were just a support band, and could have been on closer to 8pm, but apparently not. I don't know what time they are on, or how long their set will be, but I do know they have been told to finish by 10:50pm sharp ! This is one of those occasions when I will really have to put aside any preference to stay in the warm and dry, and to go out and enjoy myself.
Thursday 8th November 2018
09:45 GMT

  It's difficult to know how to describe yesterday's weather. The straightforward thing is that with the temperature ranging from 12 to 14° C, and the spell at 14° C probably no longer than a single hour, it was a rather cool day. There was rain in the morning, and a few random light showers later in the day. The forecast insisted there would be sunny intervals, and indeed there were a few, but while very welcome, they seemed insignificant compared to the general gloom of the day...maybe it was only a light gloom, but it was still uninspiring.
This was how the weather was forecast at 6am
  Today is one of those rare occasions when the early morning version of the forecast seems to be about right. I would suggest the temperature might be 2° lower in the permanent shade near my back door, but on the south side of my house the sun is blazing away in a clear blue sky. The latest revision to the forecast says that there should only be sunny intervals right now, but that there should be unbroken sunshine from 11am until sunset. It is a shame that all that sunshine will only push the temperature up to 14° C, although that should feel warm when out of the wind, and in direct sunlight. Tomorrow should see a similar range of temperature, but there will be no sunshine. It will be permanently overcast, and then not long after sunset it will start to rain.

  Yesterday was another day that came very close to being boring. Now and then it probably was a bit boring, but I did do two things of significance. A chunk of my morning was spent talking on the phone to my friend Lee. In typical Lee fashion he revealed some "secret" information to me that was already well known by many, or that I already knew ! Finally, with this blog, or whatever you call it, written, and the phone call finished, I could head to the bathroom for a shower, and to wash my hair.

  It was almost half past midday when I was dressed, and my hair dry enough to take a walk to Tesco. When I got there I was saddened to find that the Haig club whisky was now correctly priced. It may have been a month ago they were selling a 70cl bottle for £22, and the 1 litre bottle for £16 ! I wish I had taken advantage of that many times over because yesterday the 1 litre bottle was correctly priced at £35 - and there was no way I was going to pay that. It seems my love affair with Haig Club whisky was over, and it was back to Tesco Special Reserve whisky - just £16.30 for 1 litre.

  The whisky was the most expensive item I bought, but I had several other extravagances as well. I discovered that as well as quite a few different makes or variants of peanut butter, there were some rather expensive jar of cashew nut butter, and almond butter. Curiosity forced me to buy one of each at £3 a jar !!! So far I have only tried the almond butter on some rice cakes, and it is sadly rather bland. Well perhaps bland is not a good description, it does have a flavour, but it is just a sort of generic "nutty", and not particularly strong. I'll try to remember to report on the cashew nut butter when I try it.

  Speaking of rice cakes, like many supermarkets, Tesco seem to keep the plain rice cakes away from the flavoured rice cakes. I did note on my visit to Lidl that the two were on completely different aisles for some reason. I have grown to like rice cakes a lot, but only as carriers for thick layers of some sort of spread - Marmite being the most common. However I couldn't seem to work out any sane way of including a rice cake with my dinner. It was smoked haddock and pak choi poached in vinegary water. Unfortunately the haddock sat on top of the pak choi, and above the vinegar line - everywhere stank of fish by the time it was cooked !

  My other grand achievement (if you'll excuse me biggin it up) was to scan a whole load of photos I took in 1994 of Aldwych and Holborn tube station just before the Aldwych to Holborn shuttle was closed down. Some of the photos were less good than other photos I took in those days, but I was working under the handicap of low light in those tube station. I have uploaded the pictures to a group called Disused Stations where they have received much acclaim. Many picture posted to that group often consist of a single picture, or were just pictures of the ruins, or surviving features long after closure. I have always attempted to photograph what could almost be a virtual tour of the station, and in the case of these two tube stations, just days before they closed.
front entrance of
                      Aldwych tube station
If I recall correctly I had to stand on a traffic island with traffic whooshing by me all the time to take this picture of the front, and in it's last years, the only used entrance to Aldwych station. It is still there to this day with only one small change. The canopy has been removed, and that has revealed the old name of te station - Strand.
Aldwych ticket gates
These were the ticket gates inside the ticket hall of Aldwych. Some say they ruined the atmosphere of what was a very ornate station. I sort of agree with that idea. It is a very ornate ticket hall that has been left almost unmodernised.
Train in the platform
A train waiting to travel the half mile (or thereabouts) to Holborn. The reason why the blinds say "Special" is that both Aldwych and Holborn were never included as destinations when these trains were built in 1973.
Roundel on the wall of platform 5 of Holborn station. Holborn station is still open except for platform 5 where the trains from Aldwych arrived. It is still there, and it is used to test platform equipment, posters, etc, but is closed off to the public.
train in platform 5 of Holborn tube
Looking down in the direction towards Aldwych station from platform 5 at Holborn, with a train in the station.

  My evening was almost similar to many evenings lately. The difference was that some of the time I divided my attention between watching TV and doing stuff with the photos of Aldwych and Holborn tube stations. I was actually watching TV on my PC, and that made the process slightly complex, although usually the photos won out against the stuff on TV. Fortunately everything I was watching was a repeat, and I could fill in most of the gaps from memory.

  For some reason I seemed to have a better night than most nights - at least I think I did. There was one time I woke up with the sole of my right foot itching in the most maddening way. I have no idea what causes this, but it seems to be happening more frequently now. It can only be 3 or 4 months since the last time it happened. It could be a diabetes thing. Maybe some weird sort of nerve damage. Apart from when it is actually happening, I will only be concerned about it it if starts to happen much more frequently. It kept me awake for maybe 20 minutes in the night.

  This morning what seems to be an unwanted routine continued. I woke up a little after 6am, and did my usual pee, screenshot of the weather forecast, checking incoming messages, and then back to bed - just as I think I described yesterday, and probably many time before that. One difference this morning is how much later I seemed to wake up. Everytime I do this I never seem to think I will get to sleep properly. It was a bigger shack than usual this morning to realise it was 9.15am, and there was bright sunshine coming through the cracks in the curtains when I opened my eyes.

  My rib cage seems to be complaining a little this morning, and I may resort to a couple of pain killers if it doesn't settle down before I go out. Other than that I guess I feel "satisfactory". I only have two things on my agenda today. One thing I have to do is to go to Boots to pick up Patricia's latest repeat prescription. I was supposed to go there almost a fortnight ago, but forgot because it is a very low priority job. Patricia will be in Argentina until spring, and won't be able to pick those drugs up until she next visits London. She is currently taking a locally sourced version of the blood pressure drug, but it has a side effect of making her cough - a well known problem with some blood pressure drugs.

 The other thing to do today is to go for my late Thursday afternoon drink. Today we will be going to a Wetherspoons pub to use some of the vouchers that CAMRA members are sent. We have until the end of December to use up 60 "50p off a pint of real ale" Wetherspoons vouchers. That's 60 between 5 of us, or 12 pints each. It is going to need another visit before December is out !

  In some of the time I have left during the day I shall start to prepare more disused station photos. I have photos of both Ongar and North Weald stations taken in 1993 or 1994. Both these Central line tube stations were served by a shuttle service from Epping stations. The line runs through some very picturesque Essex countryside, and it is now a heritage, "Preserved" railway.
Wednesday 7th November 2018
09:21 GMT

  There were a few times yesterday morning when I looked outside and it seemed like the road seemed damp as if there had just been a light shower, but I never actually saw any rain fall. Various revisions of the forecast usually included at least one prediction of a sunny spell at different times, and indeed I do seem to remember a sunny spell at some unremembered time. I think it lasted at least 24 seconds. Overall it was a grey day, but with an afternoon high of 15° C it has to be grudgingly called a mild day.
sun and showers
  The showers shown in the morning on the screenshot above did happen this morning, but as I write this there has been a dry spell of over an hour, and now the sun has come out. The latest version of the forecast says it will be grey, but dry until Midday now. After that we will be back to the sun and showers as previously forecast.  The temperature might reach 14°C very briefly today, and the latest forecast says it will be at midday. The rest of this morning, and most of the afternoon will be between 12 and 13° C. Tomorrow may be a dry version of today.

 Yesterday was a disappointing day. I had been hoping to hear from Angela, but it turned out that she decided not to meet for a lunchtime drink. That left quite a big void in my day that I didn't really have anything to fill. In one respect it was good because I didn't really look forward to the walk to and from the pub. I was feeling off colour again. Some of it may have just been a reaction to boredom, and some may have been continuing after shocks from the 'flu I had. I am hearing more and more anecdotes about people who would seem to have caught 'flu from the 'flu jab, and that they were still suffering from it 4 weeks later.

  One of the things I did to pass the time yesterday was to have a look at the scans I had taken of pictures taken at a gig in about 1987. They were of a band whose name I can't remember, but featured one of my workmates on bass guitar. I have a vague recollection of feeling out of my depth when I turned up with my Practika Super TL film camera. Casting a critical eye over the photos suggests that I did have a vague idea of what I was doing, or trying to do, and maybe if I hadn't left a gap of 20 plus years between those photos, and the gig photos I started taking 8 years ago, I could have been quite good at it now.
two shots of the band
These two pictures were original taken in portrait mode, and I've cropped them down a bit to fit side by side on the page. The bass player on the left of the left hand picture, and on the right of the right hand window (confusing !!) is my old workmate Phil Richards. I think the last time I saw him was at The Albert Hall for an Emmerson Lake and Palmer gig sometime in the early 1990s.
the drummer and his strange drums
This was the drummer playing some strange looking drums. I seem to recall that The Police used similar odd looking drums.
three guitar players and a keyboard
The band, whose name I still can't recall, consisted of a drummer, two 6 string guitar players, a bass player, and hidden at the back, a keyboard player. I had forgotten about him until I saw this picture.

  Black and white photographs seemed to last forever, and so do some colour prints, but on some the colours fade or change over the years. I found these photos seemed a have gained a slight red cast. One of the great things about scanning the pictures, and getting them into the digital domain, is that it is so easy to correct these, and other things things. There is no doubt that film photography does produce pictures that are very different to digital photographs. One thing in particular is an eye opener after dealing with digital for so long, is how even a soft looking picture can have so much detail when you zoom in. It took a lot of will power to not attempt to sharpen some of these photos (although some I had to because the focus had been slightly off).

  I passed the time in the evening watching some TV as seems to be usual now, but I did spend some time on the internet too. Having done so little during the day I didn't feel tired, and didn't rush to bed as early as I might have. I think it was probably about midnight when I fell asleep. I seemed to fall into quite a deep sleep, but I still woke up for no real reason at about 3am. I'm not sure if it was then that I woke up from an interesting dream, or whether, having gone back to sleep, when I woke up again at 6am.

  The bit of dream I remembered was being in either a TV studio, or on a film set. From the size of it it may well have been a film set. Another reason why it might have been a film set was that there were lots of people, many recognisable as TV personalities, standing around doing nothing. At one point one of these TV personalities told me to stand behind him so I would not be noticed so easily. He was acting as if being filmed even though I could see no cameras. In the end the dream just seemed to fade out without anything happening at all during it - a bit like my day I guess.

  After what now seems to be my usual routine of pee, screenshot of weather forecast, and quick check of social media, I went back to bed. I didn't think I would sleep any more, but unless I have mixed up my times, I slept for another 2 hours ! Once again I woke from a dream, but this dream was much more interesting even if it did end on an annoying note. In this dream I seemed to have a new job, although I have no idea what that job may have been.

 My new job was located at a place where old slam door railway carriages were stored. Perhaps my job had something to do with them, but I'll never know because I didn't actually do any work in the dream. What I did do was to go inside one of the old railway carriages with the intention of looking under the seat cushions to see of there were any old railway tickets under them. I didn't find any tickets, but I did find some money. Initially it was just a couple of foreign looking coins, but in a way that only happens in dreams, I found more and more. I probably found enough to half fill a small tumbler. Then I noticed lots of foreign bank notes.

  I never considered those coins or banks notes of having any monetary worth, but I wanted them as curios to add to the odd selection of coins and notes I have saved over the years in real life. Unfortunately, just as I was gathering this strange looking money (including square bank notes) I was interrupted by some of my workmates. At that point I had to say that apart from maybe just a single souvenir coin, I would hand all the money over to the treasurer. Saying treasurer suggests it was not a job, but some sort of club or preservation society. I didn't get a chance to consider it further because I woke up at that point.

  This morning I am running well behind schedule thanks to another hour on the phone from Lee. After being awake now for over a couple of hours, I still haven't really worked out how I feel. I think I feel a bit fragile. My right wrist seemed a bit sore earlier, but I think it is OK again now. A few minutes ago I poured some drink from a 2 litre bottle, and as I rotated the bottle I felt a sharp pain from my rib cage. I think doing next to nothing yesterday has taken it's toll on me. Today I must try and be a little more active.

  My main activity may be no more than walking to Tesco, and walking home with a bottle of whisky along with some groceries. It probably all depends on the weather. If it starts to rain again this afternoon, as the forecast says it might, I feel unlikely to do anything outdoors, but I might possibly get the hoover out. If the afternoon is as sunny as it was for 10 minutes ago a short while ago, in contradiction to the most recent forecast, I could be inclined to do something outside. A bit of travel would be nice, but it could just be a bit more garden clearance. The only definite thing at this point is that I really need to have my morning shower before it is no longer morning !
Tuesday 6th November 2018
10:01 GMT

  Sunny intervals were forecast for most of yesterday, but I only seem to remember the sun coming out once or twice, and even then only briefly. The afternoon saw the temperature rise to 16° C, and that should have felt at least tepid, but it didn't seem to. All in all it was a rather disappointing day.
grey and miserable
  The latest revision to the forecast is not really much different to the screenshot above. The brief peak of 16° C has now gone, and it will be 15° C for most of the afternoon. There is a small chance of rain at any time today, but the latest thought is that it will definitely rain from 11pm onwards, and then much of tomorrow. When I look out the window it does look as if it is about to rain at any minute. The road and pavement is not wet, yet they do look to be very slightly damp as of there might have been a very light shower perhaps before sunrise. It seems the general forecast is that it won't be warm, but it will be depressingly grey today, and tomorrow will start off wet. Lovely !

  Yesterday was one of those days that couldn't really have been predicted. Midday was approaching before I had finished the three things that took up most of the morning - a bit of photo editing, writing the days diary (or whatever you call this scribble I do here nearly every morning), and a long call from my friend Lee. With those three things out of the way I had a nice warm shower, and once I cooled down again I got ready to go out for a walk to Lidl. It feels a bit far to use Lidl for normal shopping, but occasionally I like to see what they have in there. I felt fine walking there, and to my surprise, I felt fine walking back with all the shopping I had bought. So much so that I walked home the long way round !

  My biggest complaint about the place is that they got rid of the sensible sized shopping trolleys, and now all they have is American sized mega trollies. I can barely reach deep enough over the side of them to get anything from the bottom of them. I hate them. They do provide a few hand baskets, but they are too small ! Despite the continuing bad news about the trollies, there was some good news. They have that seasonal treat, tinned flavoured almonds, back on the shelves.
tinned almonds
 I reckon these almonds should still be good after a 100 years if the tins are kept in a cool dry place, but they do have a best before date on the bottom that is little more than a year's time. I have a suspicion that the best before date is more to do with encouraging you to eat them quickly so you can buy more, rather than the product deteriorating so quickly. Now I have new supplies I can eat the cans that have been in the back of the cupboard all year (or possibly 2 ?).

  I bought a few other rather nice things while I was in Lidl. I'm not sure if I had seen them before, but they now do some very nice packs of sushi. I am sure they are bigger than the packs that Tesco sell, and are about a £1 cheaper. I said they were very nice, but I am forgetting they sell two varieties. One is very nice, the other less so. The less so version doesn't seem to feature raw fish. A couple of the little rolls are just vegetable, and they are OK. One big one seems to be cream cheese, and is very unexciting. Another two could have fish roe in them, but I reckon it might be fish paste. They were almost unpleasant.

  I was while eating my sushi that the unexpected happened. I had a phone call from another friend who I only speak to a few times a year, and so he had a lot to say. I'm not sure how long we spoke for, but it must have been at least two hours. That more or less took care of the afternoon. It left me just enough time to cook my dinner before Star Trek, the original series, came on the Horror Channel (no one knows why it might be classified as horror !).

  I think it was after Star Trek had finished at 7pm that I was contacted again, but this time it was by text message. It was Angela. She didn't have a lot to say, but after a while it was obvious she was upset. I'm not sure why she didn't make a voice call because she seemed to need to talk, but maybe she didn't have the privacy for that. I never did get to hear just what had upset her, but on this occasion it wasn't lover boy. By 8pm she announced that she was going to bed. I hope she slept OK.

  I spent the rest of the evening watching a bit more TV, and then I took the book I am reading to bed, and read for an hour or so before turning off the light, and going to sleep. I think that may have been around 11pm. I am sure I remember waking up for a pee once before 3am, but it might easily have been a dream. At 3am I definitely woke up, and I seemed to feel somewhere close to wide awake than very sleep. I stayed up for maybe half an hour, and checked a few things on the internet before going back to bed.

  I woke up at least once after that before finally waking up, and getting up. Until now I hadn't really thought about how I felt. I guess that must mean that I didn't have any aches and pains strong enough to draw attention to themselves - how very strange ! When I look out the window I don't feel very inclined to go out anywhere today, and so I don't really know what I am going to do today. This is more precisely true when it comes to lunchtime. I sent Angela a message this morning to say I hoped she had slept well, and would have a good day. I also mentioned that I was available if she needed "vodka therapy" at lunchtime. She thanked me for my wishes, and said she would let me know about lunchtime later. I think it's a 50 - 50 chance that we will meet for "lunch". Other than that I have no idea what I will be doing today.
Monday 5th November 2018
09:11 GMT

  The weather was very uninspiring yesterday. The sun tried to breakthrough the cloud a few times, but never really succeeded. It made for a very grey day that felt like it was a lot colder than it really was - not that 13° C could ever really be described as warm at any time.
today might be mildly warm
  It is possible that today might end up being mildly warm. At the moment, and possibly for the first time this morning, it is bright outside, although not actually sunny. The forecast promises sunny intervals almost all day. Maybe if we start to get them the temperature may rise to 16° C. That should feel warm in the sunshine. There is a small, but creditable, chance of a shower sometime this evening - there is a 13% chance of one between 7 and 8pm. Having said that, the latest revision to the forecast reduces the chance of a shower to almost nothing. Tomorrow may see a similar range of temperatures to today, but with almost no sunshine predicted. There current prediction gives a tiny, but real chance of rain throughout the day except as midnight nears when it is shown as probable.

  I think the 'flu virus that I presumably still carry attacked me again yesterday. For a lot of the day I felt pretty rotten. I ached a lot, and for a while I might have had a fever because I felt very cold (why do I never bother to take my temperature when these things happen). The only way I could feel warm was to have a couple of cans of hot chicken soup. An hour later I had to turn off the heater because I broke out in a sweat - although in all honesty that was probably the hot chilli sauce I had added to the soup.

  It didn't help that I spent ages sitting at my PC selecting and editing photos. It's a wonder that I didn't develop Deep Vein Thrombosis, but I guess all the medicine I take to mollycoddle my heart would have stopped that happening. It was possibly lucky that I ached as much laying down as I did when sitting down, or I would have spent a lot of the day just reading and snoozing, and I would never have got through all the photos taken at Jo's 50th birthday party.
Des Hanna in black and
Des Hanna, pictured above, requested/suggested that I do some pictures in black and white. That was probably because lots of pictures he sees are taken on mobile phones, and are just a riot of unfocussed bright colours. I think I can usually do better than that, but I did some snaps in black and white. I thought this one came out nice and moody looking.
Run For Cover
I managed to get the whole band in the picture in this shot taken from a high angle, and flash.
Jo joins the band on stage
It was usually easy to get clear shots of the band, but not when Jo joined them on stage to sing a Fleetwood Mac song.
The audience grows to virtually everyone
                      while Jo sings
There was a little space in front of the tight scrum of the audience when Jo was singing with the band, and I did eventually fight my way to the front, but I wasn't there to take this picture.
One final picture - Fenella, one of Jo's daughters, providing a bit of photographic competition. She specialises in taken pictures of individual people rather than bands.

 It was a great relief to have finished selecting and editing all the photos. I had 215 photos to choose from, and out of that at least 100 might have been usable with some heavy work done on the worst. I settled for about 40 in the end. Most still needed a little bit of light post production to improve them. Once they were done I could relax. By that time I was feeling almost back to normal, although my appetite was rather strange.

  For most of the day I had a very strange appetite. I didn't exactly feel hungry, but I did want to eat, but I didn't really fancy anything I had available to eat. My lunch of two cans of soup seemed to be OK, but I wouldn't have thought of them if I hadn't needed something to warm me up. I couldn't really face what I thought I was going to have for dinner. It was going to be sprouts with bacon - or so I thought the previous day. What I actually had was a can of Fray Bentos meatballs in gravy. They were pretty foul ! For my second course I had a can of Princes chicken curry. It would have been bland without some hot chilli sauce in it, but with it, it was pleasant enough.

  It was a bit later, while I had little to do except watch some TV, that I started to desire something more exotic, and perhaps something sweet. Not sugary sweet, but something not savoury. The answer came in a tub of low calorie chocolate ice cream. I didn't really enjoy it at a deep level because I was very aware that even though the entire tub was supposed to contain no more than 320 calories, and thus quite mild by ice cream standards, it still contained more sugar than is good for me. I still enjoyed it though !

  Eventually TV stopped being of any interest, and I retired to bed with a book. Once I was ready to go to sleep I didn't actually seem to feel tired, although I did 10 minutes beforehand. I think I was worried that I would have a lousy sleep like the night before. It turned out that not only did I fall asleep very quickly, I mostly seemed to sleep fairly well Once again I woke up too early to get up properly, although having said that, it would have been late if I was still going to work. As seems to be the new normal, I went to the toilet, took a screenshot of the weather, check my email, and eventually got back into bed not really expecting to sleep.

 It was a couple of hours later when I woke up, and got up again. I felt much better than yesterday morning, and now, quite a few hours later, I think I can say that many bits of me seem to be in fair working order. Unfortunately my knees seem to feel rather stiff, and maybe they need at least a walk around the block to loosen them up. As yet I haven't really considered what I shall do today. A long phone call from Lee, as well as shrinking  the photos I used here, and then writing all this, means that most of the morning has already gone. By the time I have showered and got dressed the afternoon will have started, and there will only be just over 4 hours of daylight left. I don't think I will be travelling very far today.
Sunday 4th November 2018
10:42 GMT

  Yesterday's weather forecast promised much, but I was very underwhelmed by reality. The morning started off rather dull, and the promised sunny spells seemed few and far between during the afternoon. It was probably 13° C for much of the afternoon, but without the sunshine to back it up it made little impression on me.
bright but not actually sunny
  The forecast has been revised since I took the screenshot above a little after 6am this morning (and then went back to bed again). The main change is that the sunny intervals should last all day now. Everything else is about the same. There is a very small chance of a light shower sometime this morning, but as I write this the morning is almost over, and there has been no sign of rain yet - and neither has there been any sign of sunshine that I have noticed, although there have been a few times when it seemed a bit brighter than it is now. Like yesterday, the afternoon should be about 13° C, but once again that will mean little without some sunshine to back it up. Tomorrow seems more hopeful. The temperature is currently forecast to be 16° C by late afternoon. That should be high enough to feel slightly warm by itself. If the sun comes out it could be very pleasant.

  I finished writing yesterday by saying I didn't know what I would be doing for most of the day. A day later and I still don't know what I did, because I did loads of small things, and no big things. I probably spent 20 minutes checking my camera kit ready for the evening, and I probably spent another 20 minutes topping up the batteries on a couple of my old mobile phones. One of the things I didn't do was spend that much time eating. I was determined not to eat too much before going out in the evening.

  My only meal before going out was a very simplified cauliflower cheese. It was just cauliflower  cooked in chicken stock, and then sprinkled with grated cheese for the last few minutes of cooking. I made a terrible mistake in that last stage being far too long. The cheese more disintegrated than melted. It made it less flavoursome, and a lot of cheese just went down the drain when I poured away much of the stock after eating the cauliflower. Losing that cheese was probably good because it was the nearly the only source of fat and calories. In that respect it was the sort of healthy meal I should be eating. It's a shame about what I had much later !

  Despite doing almost nothing of any note during the day, yesterday, I don't recall being bored in any way. Eventually it came time to go out. It meant going out several hours after sunset, and I have got so out of practice doing that. The unfortunate thing about last night was that it seemed more a chore than a pleasure. It should have been a pleasure. There was free food, which I didn't touch, cheap Guinness (£4 a pint), and a good band on.

   There were also plenty of people I knew there, but I still felt rather alone.  The event was Jo's 50th birthday party, and it was held in The Daylight Inn by Petts Wood station. It is an easy venue to get to now the trains connect so well at Shortlands station. It is less easy to get home from because the trains don't connect well in the other direction - it's a 19 - 20 minute wait heading home compared with just 3 minutes heading to Petts Wood.
Jo on the stage with Run For Cover
  One of the main reasons I was there, although there was no explicit order to do it, was to take photos. Without my camera I probably would have had no reason to go, and would have politely declined my invitation. I took a smattering of photos of other guests, but I am not good at that, and concentrated most of my effort of the band. The band were Sue's favourite, or second favourite band - Run For Cover/Glamstar - but Sue wasn't invited. Maybe she would have been if we were still seeing each other.

  I did a few experiments while taking pictures. Initially I tried using the ambient stage lighting for my snaps, but I have got lazy, and soon gave up trying to capture some good shots like that. It wasn't long before I got my flash gun out. In a low ceiling venue I usually bounce the flash off the ceiling, but the Daylight Inn has a very high ceiling in their function room. So I tried out my "soft box" diffuser over the flash gun. It seemed to work well. It worked even better when I took te flash gun off the camera, and used the radio trigger to fire it. Initially I propped the flash gun up in a corner, but then I tried it hand held - usually holding it high over my head. That seemed to work quite well.

  Another experiment was to try and shoot some video on my camera. My Canon EOS 600D has the capability to shoot in very high definition (1920x1080). It also has the capability to manually set the microphone level. Prior to last night I had only taken a few seconds of footage at home, and it seemed like it had great potential. Last night I shot three songs. One was not a very good song. The second would have been quite good but I seemed to have put my finger over the microphone. I'll have to be careful about that in the future. The third attempt worked well - except for my lack of skill as a video cameraman, and the stage lighting being a little more colourful than the camera could handle...

Run For Cover covering Comfortably Numb.

 I stayed until Run For Cover finished their first set. They would come back later as Glamstar, although possibly not in their full glam rock stage costumes (although I expect they did - the whole party was 1970s themed with flares and glitter and long wigs etc etc. It was just gone 10pm at that point, and it felt like I had seen enough. There was a train due at 10:27pm, and so I decided to catch that as far as Bromley South.

  At Bromley South I could decide whether to wait the 19 minutes for the next train to Catford, or to get a bus. Sometimes the bus can take as long as the train, but not last night. As I exited the station I saw a 320 bus pull up on the other side of the main road. I thought I had no chance of catching it, but thanks to a couple of people, whose command of English was very poor, asking the bus driver if he stopped in Catford (which the front of the bus says it does) I had enough time to to cross the road, and get on before the doors closed.

  The time I got the bus was when there is a lull in demand. That would come a little bit later when the pubs closed. With few people using the bus the driver could put his foot down, and we were soon back in Catford. I think my entire journey took around 45 minutes door to door - and that included calling in the fried chicken shop in Catford. With three pints of Guinness in me on an almost empty stomach I was not drunk, but my will power was very poor, and I was most defintely hungry. I ordered a little more than was good for me.....

  I think I stayed up to about midnight. In the time before I went to bed I ate my chicken and fries, and once I had degreased my hands I took a look at some of the pictures I took. As usual there were loads that were not worth bothering with, but there were plenty to make a big photo album of the occasion. I also reviewed the video I had shot, and decided I had enough time to do a quick bit of editing to it - at full resolution. I did no more than top and tail the video and do a fade on and fade out. It took over 2 hours to render the video, but it did it while I was fast asleep.

  I had some very strange dreams last night. One featured being on the moon watching Run For Cover. Des, the front man for the band, had picked up a piece of moon rock that, if you screwed up your eyes, looked like a gigantic guitar pick.  It was impossible to use because it was far too big and heavy, as well as being far too fat to pluck an individual string. So he just stood there, in a spacesuit if I recall correctly, doing nothing except for holding this rock.

  I woke up at around 6am this morning feeling like I had hardly slept at all. After a visit to the toilet I took a screenshot of the weather forecast, and check the video edit I had left rendering. It did look a lot better than any of my camcorders could manage, and my still camera, in video mode, effectively leaves those camcorders redundant. I uploaded the high resolution version to social media, and then made another, smaller, version for here (as above if your browser can play mp4 video). While that small version was rendering I went back to bed.

 I wasn't convinced that I had slept much, but I was rather startled to see it was 9.30am when my eyes next opened. I still felt sleepy even then, and even considered going back to bed again. I expect I'll have a snooze or three during the afternoon, but for the moment I seem to feel alright, although I am relieved to find that I had my dates mixed up, and the gig I thought I was going to late this afternoon is actually next Friday - unless that is a different gig to the one that I can't seem to see listed again today. I think my day today maps out to lots of photo editing, and lots of snoozing !
Saturday 3rd November 2018
08:53 GMT

  It may have been sunny yesterday, but it was a generally cold day. The morning was very cold, and the temperature seemed to drop very fast at sunset. Before that there was a brief spell of it being sort of tepid with the temperature peaking at 11° C.
maybe a little less cold than yesterday
 I haven't checked what the temperature was this morning, but the forecast of 7° C may have been right. By now we should have had a couple of hours with sunny intervals. Maybe it did seem very slightly brighter a bit earlier, but it is very grey at the moment, and it doesn't look like the sun will break through the clouds any time soon. Perhaps we will finally get the promised sunny intervals later on. The latest revision to the forecast still insists there should be some - even at this very minute when it is quite definitely very overcast. One very small change to the forecast above is that just for 1pm the temperature might hit 14° C. Tomorrow is now shown to be something like today is in reality - mostly grey, and with a similar range.

  I had high hopes of going out somewhere yesterday to do some photography, but it never happened. Even after a hot shower I still felt uncomfortable. There was a fair possibility that a bit of exercise may have made me feel better, but there was also a chance that it could have made me feel worse, and I didn't want to take a chance on that. Some of the discomfort was my wonky rib cage. There was a sort of tightness or stiffness across the top of my operation scar - sort of between my shoulder blades. A good walk may have helped that, but I also seemed to have stiff legs, and walking would probably not help them. It does seem like that 'flu virus is still fighting back from time to time.

  After deciding I didn't want to go out I was left with a strong potential to be very bored yesterday, but it seems I found enough to do to keep me occupied for much of the day. One thing that occured to me was that if I couldn't go out and take some fresh photos, I could maybe do something with some old photos. I had previously identified two sets of photos that would make a project for some electronic reprocessing. One set was what I suddenly realised was my first even attempt at gig photography. It was a gig featuring on of my old workmates in the late 1980s. The other set was the first photos I ever took. I was 10 years old, and given a simple camera to take on a school journey to Belgium and Holland. At that age I had no clue at all about how to use a camera, and no clue how to choose the shots for my absolute limit of 20 exposures.

hotel in Belgium or Holland
Dutch ducks and Dutch daffodils
school friends
snow covered roofs in Belgium

 My scanning software did much to improve the contrast of the original prints. After over 50 years they seemed rather faded, although I seem to recall they didn't start off as being that contrasty when new. With a little bit of gentle sharpening some of them don't look that bad. I chose 4 to show here.

 Top left was taken outside one of the hotels or hostels we stayed in while in Belgium. The two adults standing in the doorway were presumably teachers. Top right was probably taken in Holland and is of two white ducks with a stand of daffodils behind them. I still take pictures of ducks to this day ! The daffodils give the clue that this school journey was done in the spring - quite early in the spring with a lot of snow on the ground even in London. Bottom left shows three of my school friends. From left to right, Philip Church, Jeremy, and Robert Crocker. Robert is holding up a card saying "School Journey" and probably the date, although the latter is unreadable. Finally, bottom right is the view from one of the first hotels or hostels we stayed in. If it looks like there is snow on the roofs it is because there is snow on the roofs ! I can't remember if the trip across Belgium and Holland took 1 week or two, but by the end the weather had changed to warm and sunny.

  I didn't realise I must have taken almost a whole roll of film, with 24 shots, when I went to The Greyhound pub in Sydenham to take some snaps of one of my workmates playing in a band. I remember it being a very strange and intimidating experience. I think it was probably the first time I had ever seen a band play live, and I was in an unfamiliar pub filled with people I didn't know. I think I felt very out of my depth, and I don't think I stayed for the whole evening. Nevertheless it does seem I took a reasonable set of pictures with the aid of a flash gun on my Praktica Super TL film camera. I have scanned the entire set of photos, and sometime, maybe today, I'll set about tidying them up now they are in a digital format.

  Apart from cooking and eating, I think that scanning two sets of photos, and editing one of them, was about the only notable thing I did yesterday. My eating was slightly unusual in that I had a big lunch, and only a small(ish) dinner. My lunch was a big chink of very fatty Polish "baked bacon" that I further baked in my oven. I had it with some baked beans and mustard. I dread to think how much it clogged my arteries, or how many mega calories it contained, but it was incredibly nice !  After that I had to do my best to have nothing but rice cakes for dinner in the evening.

  For a day when not a lot happened, I didn't seem to be in any rush to go to bed last night. I watched, without a great deal of enthusiasm, some TV, and then I read in bed for maybe an hour, maybe more. I lost track of time, but I think it might have been 11.30pm when I turned the light out, and quite quickly fell asleep. Unfortunately I was only asleep for as little as two hours before I was awake again, and not feeling good. I think I must have turned over in my sleep and crunched my chest. At the time it left me feeling very uncomfortable, but this morning I think I may have crunched my chest/ribcage back into the right place because this morning I woke up with my chest feeling better than it has for a while now.

  It is now almost 10am as I write this, and finally there is some bright hazy sunshine shining through my window !

  Today is a day where I have little idea what I am doing until the evening, and I feel constrained in what I may end up doing because of this evening. The event this evening is a birthday party. In the ordinary course of events I would probably wimp out of going because I am not a party person, and I guess I suffer from what must be something very similar to claustrophobia when a party is held in an over full house. Tonight's party is in a pub ( I think in a private room) and there is a band playing. I know, and have seen the band several times before. They are very professional, and do there show in two halves. I like the first half, and dislike the second. They happen to be Sue's favourite band, and she will probably be sickened when she sees I've been to see them at an event that she is not invited to. I guess it will be yet another wedge that will be put between us.
Friday 2nd November 2018
08:22 GMT

  Yesterday's weather forecast used that ambiguous pictogram of a black cloud with a rain drop below it, and the rays of the sun peeping out from the side. It was shown for every hour from morning until 3pm. At no time was there the merest hint of a ray of sunshine, but there were plenty of black clouds, and plenty of rain ! The only positive slant I can put on yesterday is that at 12° C it wasn't very cold, and that the rain had stopped before I needed to go out at 4pm.
cold but sunny
this morning it is officially cold !

  The forecast for today has got one thing right - it is most definitely sunny this morning. The sky is blue, and.........and it's bloody cold ! The forecast says it should be 4° C now, and maybe it is, but at 7.26am it wasn't. It was just 1° C, and the frost on the cars outside would tend to confirm how cold it was. I did notice that the temperature had risen to 1.7° C on the same thermometer half an hour later. Maybe it is possible that the temperature has suddenl
y rushed up to 4° C while I wasn't looking !! I expect that it will probably reach 11° C after a morning of non stop sunshine. It might turn out to be a nice day....for this time of year. Tomorrow will probably only see sunny intervals, but they should last through all the hours of daylight, and the temperature should rise to 13°, or if were are very lucky, 14°C.

  All my hard work the day before, the garden clearance, and even hand washing the bath towel, left a legacy of pain
yesterday. Maybe I was even expecting it. It was, of course, unwanted, but there was a valid reason for it, and thus it was sort of OK. The good thing was that it didn't hinder me from doing anything. That anything included a walk in the rain to Aldi where I managed to buy so little that I could pay for it by contactless payment using my debt card. It is not often I can do that, although most times it is only a few pounds about the £30 limit.

  Soon after I git home the post arrived. It was just one item - a new debit card from my bank. It came with a sticker noting that it couldn't be used for contactless payments until it had been used in the conventional way with the pin number entered correctly first. I would do that on my way to my late afternoon Thursday drink at the scariest cash machine known. It is in the ticket office at Shortlands station, and that ticket office was gorily decorated for Halloween.
cash machine with spider on top
It's black so hard to see any detail, but the legs of this huge spider sitting in the cash machine are very obvious !

  Yesterday afternoon seemed to drag by slowly. It was because I had little to do apart from trying to avoid eating all the food I had bought from Aldi. I think being all grey and wet outside also slowed down time. Eventually it was time to walk to the station to get a train to Shortlands, and have just three pints of beer in The Shortlands Tavern. It was a very dark coloured beer whose name ended with "Nog", but I can't remember the full name, and I can't even remember the brewery. What I can remember was that once you got the taste it was rather nice.

  I felt rather peckish when I left the pub, and was on my way home. It is probably good that the train passes hardly any, if indeed any at all, fast food shops on the way home. This is unlike the bus from Bromley where there seems to be a fast food takeaway by every bus stop, and even more between bus stops. It makes fighting the temptation to buy a takeaway so much easier if you can see or smell the shops. I resisted the temptation to detour via the fried chicken shop as I walked home from the station, and I resisted the temptation to order any food online too.

  I actually had a three part meal when I got in. The first part was some grilled smoked mackerel with some horse radish sauce. It was very nice, but it had such a lingering taste that I had to eat more to try and hold that taste down. So next I had an individual cottage pie ready meal. It tasted slightly bland after that fish. I had the third part of my dinner later in the evening as a sort of late night snack. It was smoked ham on rice cakes with some mustard.

  I don't know if it was what I had eaten, or something completely different and un-guessed, but when I went to bed I found I didn't seem to be as sleepy as I thought I was. I didn't really feel sleep at all once I was in bed, and that gave me time to explore every single ache or pain I might have, plus every tiny lump in the mattress, or pillow. It wasn't long before I felt too hot under the duvet, and had to mostly uncover myself. I think I may still have got to sleep by midnight, but it felt like I had been trying for sleep for hours.

  Overall it seems I had a lousy night. I don't think I had been asleep for much more than an hour before I had to get up and turn a bit of heating on, and to pull the duvet over me. From then on I sort of slept OK, and sort of not. One positive thing, although I am not sure why or how, was my disturbed sleep seemed to be responsible to a very pleasant erotic dream. Sadly, or fortunately maybe, what should have been the best bit of the dream would have happened just after I woke up.

  This morning it feels like I want to sleep for another 4 hours, but that is probably just all in the mind. The more physical reality is that I have far fewer aches and pains compared to yesterday. Most, and perhaps all of the pains that were a direct result of my hard labour the day before yesterday, have faded to nothing. I do have a mild headache this morning, or maybe I did. It too seems to have mostly faded away now. I am doing my best to hold a good posture as I type because my rib cage is complaining this morning. The main ache is slightly below, and slightly to the left of my left breast.

  As mornings go I guess I don't feel that bad, and I would hope that I feel even better after a hot shower. In theory I should be fit enough to go out and take some photos somewhere. I was considering taking a walk in the Sydenham Hill nature reserve along the old disused railway line - disused, with the track lifted, almost since I was born. On further consideration I don't fancy all that walking. I think a better option might be to rack up some more miles on my 60+ Oystercard, and do some working railway photography, but at this time I have no idea where yet.
Thursday 1st November 2018
07:40 GMT

  After a cold start, almost cold enough for a frost, yesterday warmed up to 12 or 13° C. With little wind that felt almost warm - particularly in the sunshine. There were sunny periods for most of the day - many of them very long periods, but there were also a few periods when we lost the sun for as much as half an hour, but still the overall feel of the day was that it was a sunny one. Sometime after dark, but I have no idea when, it started to rain......
wet !
  I am curious to know why the forecast includes the sun symbol this morning. As I look out my window the sky is unrelentingly grey, and it is leaking copious amounts of rain. It doesn't feel like the sun will ever break through that thick cloud, but the rain could easily continue, sometimes light, and sometimes heavy, for the rest of the morning, and then into the afternoon. The one positive thing is that this morning it is probably the forecast 11° C, but the trouble is that while that figure may sound reasonable, they grey sky seems to be sucking the heat out everything - including indoors, although that might just be my imagination. If I am lucky the rain will stop by, or soon after 3pm, but then the temperature starts to dip a lot. Tomorrow could start with a frost, but it should be a dry and sunny day with the temperature hitting 11° C for a few hours.

  I didn't feel all that good yesterday morning. My ribcage felt very wonky and sore, and on top of that my whole body seemed to be stiff and aching. Despite that I decided I ought to test my body to see if it was better or worse than the day before. The day before I had felt mostly good, and seeing Angela made me feel very good in the head if nowhere else, but the fatigue after walking to the pub to meet her, and then the far worse fatigue a little while after walking home again seemed rather mysterious. Then there was what must have been some fever when I suddenly felt very cold, and then later came out in a sweat.

 To test how these things might have affected me I decided to do some garden clearance. It seemed a sufficiently hard test, and a kill or cure situation. I donned my old loose jeans, and old fleece that is not fit for public viewing, and my boots. Then I stepped out into the cold garden. I didn't feel cold for very long. It seemed that my aching limbs were still very capable of hard work, and it wasn't long before I was sweating in the fleece. As I have observed when doing my hand laundry, all that work seems to pull my wonky rib cage into the correct place, and it no longer hurts. Admittedly there was one time when I thought I had jarred it, and experienced a sharp pain in my side, but it went away so quickly as I continued to work that it seemed perfectly ignorable.
the result of more hard work
 I had two major achievements yesterday. I pushed to within an arms length of the back fence, and in doing so I was able to get the worst of the ivy off the fence on the left, and I managed to lop the top off a very spindly 12ft high sycamore tree growing in the far corner of the garden.
more logs found under the brambles and
  The ultimate completion of the job got a little more difficult when I found several more logs underneath the brambles and weeds. They are the two in the centre of the picture seen propped up again the tree trunk on the right. Depending on the weather, I might have a cunning plan to deal with some of that wood. I think I have cleared a sufficient area (apart from small weeds close to the ground) to have a small bonfire, and with Guy Fawkes night coming up on the 5th, I might burn some of the wood in a small bonfire.

  On this occasion I did not fully fill the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin, but there were only a few inches of space left at the top. I was still exhausted when I stopped though, and it seemed like a very good time to stop work. Unlike the fatigue I had felt the previous day, this exhaustion was the feeling of a job well done ! After putting my tools away, and taking the wheelie bin back through the house to the front garden ready for emptying today, I was able to take off the fleece, and start to cool down, and dry off.

  I did note that for a very short while my hands were sort of trembling. I think I had excited some very little used muscles while working in the garden ! Once I had cooled off enough I went for a lovely hot shower, and also washed the twigs and spiders web out of my hair (I am sure I walked through one spiders web !). Once again I had to cool down again before doing much else, but I did put some laundry in to soak. It seems madness, but later in the afternoon I hand washed a couple of t-shirts, and some underwear. One of the t-shirts was my only white one with a pocket. I had managed to stain it with some chilli sauce. The first time I washed it that chilli sauce stain only slightly faded. Yesterday I think I managed to wash it out completely - but I'll re-judge that opinion when I check the dry shirt in daylight.

 Yesterday was another day when I tried to eat the bare minimum, but failed again. I wasn't patient enough to wait to eat the food I had prepared for dinner at dinner time. I ate it for a slightly late lunch. It was a very simple dish of sprouts cooked with lardons - Tesco lardons, and that was unfortunate. The last lardons I used came from Aldi, and they were more like diced fatty bacon. Tesco lardons do what they are intended, but are more fat than bacon, and so my meal had more fat in it than is probably good for me.

  When dinner time really came around I had a low calorie chicken chow mein. It was quite fortunate that I did because I noted that it was several days after it's use by date. It tasted OK, and nothing bad seemed to happen. Unfortunately it did not seem to satisfy me. It was probably because at that point I was in a vegetative mood just watching TV, and there was little to stimulate me. I ended up having a sweet a little while after dinner, and it was indeed sweet. It was Nutella on rice cakes. To make matters worse it was thickly spread Nutella ! I didn't even dare look at how much sugar it contained.
There was a pretty sunset last night, although it was not really a red sunset.

  By 9pm I felt ready for bed, and by about 9.30pm I was asleep. The next time I became aware of was 1.30am. At that time I felt perfectly OK except for needing a wee. I had one, and I was soon asleep again. A few hours later I woke up again, and this time I felt a bit stiff and aching. When I finally decided to get up I could feel every muscle that I had used yesterday aching. An hour or so later I don't feel quite so uncomfortable. I am expecting to feel better after a hot shower.

  Late this afternoon, hopefully after the rain has stopped, I'll be going out for my Thursday evening drinking session, but until then I only have the vaguest of ideas of what I might do today. Depending on just hard the rain is, I feel a shopping trip to Aldi coming on. Apart from that I do have one job that I think I might make a start on. Lacking a paper shredder, I have a big box of old bill that need ripping to shreds by hand before disposal. Most of them are probably 10 years old or more. I might scan a few of them to keep electronically. They will be of companies that no longer exist. Things like Mercury One2One mobile communications !