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My Diary/Blog For the Month of September 2018

Sunday 30th September 2018
09:23 BST

   Yesterday was a nice day. There was a lot of sunshine, and while it may only have been 17° C for a few hours in the afternoon, it still felt very comfortable. Behind glass, such as in my south facing rooms, it felt quite warm. Even the evening didn't get that cool, although it probably went below 10° C sometime after midnight.
                      morning, dull afternoon
  The sunniest part of today is happening right now. The sunshine seems glorious right now, and I can feel it's warmth on my back as it streams through the window as I sit here typing. Outside it is just 10° C, or maybe as low as 8.3° C according to the thermometer on the north side of the house, but by just after midday it should peak at 15° C. That probably will feel quite chilly under a dull leaden sky. If reality follows the forecast, as it often doesn't, the current sunshine will give way to sunny intervals for a few more hours, and then the sun will hide away behind clouds until it is ready to be seen again tomorrow. It might be a cheerfully sunny day tomorrow, but it may be just 8° C in the morning, and the afternoon peak just 14° C - and that peak may only last for one single hour !

  I came up with a theory that the clocks would change from BST to GMT today, or maybe in the early hours of tomorrow morning, but it seems I have it wrong. It is the last Sunday in October when this happens. By then there will be little daylight left to save !

  Yesterday was another of those days where not much happened, but time seemed to pass very quickly. When I consider what I did or achieved it seems that I should have been bored, but somehow I wasn't. I passed a little time with two shopping trips. One was just a very brief visit to the corner shop to buy a magazine and a couple of bottles of Diet Coke. The other was a 4 location shopping trip.

  First I went to the SAM 99p shop to buy a few odds and ends. Then I went to Super Savers to buy a bottle of high strength vitamin D tablets. I also found a couple of new flavours of Original Source shower gel in there. One was Sweet Apple And Vanilla, and the other was Rhubarb and something flavour. I will delight in trying them out sooner or later.  The next stop was the bank to withdraw some money. I was rather disappointed that their hole in the wall machine delivered my cash in £10 notes instead of the more usual £20 notes. Finally I went in the Poundworld shop where I wasted more money. Perhpas the biggest waste was another packet of ear plugs. I still haven't finished off the last packet, and I only ever where them while taking photos near the speakers at some of the loudest gigs. I'm not really going to any gigs at all at the moment, and so this last packet of 10 pairs is going to last a long time.

  Another thing I did yesterday was to wash one and a half lots of laundry. That sounds weird, but it is logical if explained. I started off washing just three items, and I left them soaking while I was out shopping. While in Poundworld I noticed, and bought two hand towels. They needed a good wash before use, and so I washed them on their own until it seemed I had rinsed them well enough to match the first lot of washing. I then combined the two lots for the final rinses, and then the fabric conditioner. I hung them on the clothes horse indoors to dry, and this morning they are all dry except where I accidently left a tissue in the pocket of the lounge pants !

  It seems like I really didn't do anything else yesterday except reading and snoozing - although I don't think I snoozed for much more than 10 minutes in total. Oh, now I think of it, I did do all the outstanding washing up, and take the main rubbish bag and put it in the black wheelie bin. I didn't do any more photo scanning, as I thought I might do, and I didn't do any cooking.

  All my food yesterday, and there was more of it than there should have been, was all pre-cooked. Some of it was snacks, and some of it was ready meals (just one as far as I recall). My breakfast was allegedly "southern fried chicken". It wasn't very nice. The batter that the chicken was cooked in didn't taste very "southern" to me. It was almost bland and floury tasting. I found it quite disappointing. For dinner I had peri peri chicken, and it was nice - ish !

  That peri peri chicken seemed a bit too greasy, and the peri peri sauce/marinade seemed to only be sort of half strength. I really ought to avoid that chicken shop in future, although the onion rings I ate the previous night did seem to be exceptionally good. Eating that spicy and greasy chicken for a late night dinner may not have been the finest idea. It wasn't actually late night in general terms, but it was only a couple of hours before I went to bed, and it had a legacy effect.

  Yesterday was the second day I went without painkillers. My chest was basically behaving itself, although it did feel a bit creaky from time to time. Nothing else really hurt, and because I didn't go further than the local shops I didn't feel I would be taxing myself. When I eventually got into bed I seemed to feel mostly OK, although I only had to turn over once or twice before my chest mildly complained in it's usual way, but I began to notice something more.

  I seemed to gain an ache that went up and down my chest instead of across it. After some time I realised it was indigestion of some sort. So I took an indigestion pill, and I washed it down with a swig of Diet Coke. That made me burp, and as I did so the back of my throat was sprayed with chilli enhanced acid. It seems I was suffering badly with acid reflux thanks to stuffing myself with peri peri chicken. It took a few tens of minutes, but the Ranitidine tablet I took cleared it up, and I slept mostly OK after that.

  Maybe I didn't sleep that well though because I do remember having quite a few dreams. One bit of dream I remember was like a sketch with no beginning or end. I was in a house that was like an extended version of the house I lived in with my mum before I moved out on my own. There were only two people in it, although others were implied. It was a discussion about allocation of bedrooms. It seems there were 5 bedrooms, and 5 of us who were to sleep there. Apart from my bedroom there were three bedrooms for what I think were supposed to be my three sisters (only two in real life), and one box room for a young lad.

  The scary thing is that for some strange reason it was like the young lad might have been my son (I have never fathered children in real life, and have desire to do so). Maybe he was just a younger brother in this fictitious family (or maybe he was completely unrelated - who can tell in dreams). He said he would prefer a bigger room, but I suggested that the box room was slightly more isolated than the others, and that he could lock himself in and, like most pubescent young boys, wank himself stupid if he wanted to. I said I would even get him a big box of tissues for it. This seemed to shock, and secretly delight the kid !

  I have no idea what inspired that dream, and nor do I have any idea what inspired another. Once again it is just a snap shot that has no beginning or end. I was laying on a settee, and I noticed ripples across a donkey skin rug like there was a wind blowing across the room. I got up and parted the curtains, and I could suddenly hear a howling gale from outside. That wind then lifted the curtains until they were almost at ceiling height. The perplexing thing was how they were doing it. The main pair of windows were iron framed, like was once used on many council flats and houses, and when in good condition were practically draught proof. Adjacent to the windows was a door, and it too was iron framed, and draught proof, and yet somehow this howling gale was lifting the curtains.

  A third dream I had was about a search for a toilet. I don't remember much about it, but I do remember that when I woke up I had no urgent need for the toilet, and so I have no idea what the dream was about. I am unsure how I feel this morning. My chest felt a bit stiff but seems OK now, but I do have a sort of headache. It is a very mild headache. Perhaps a bit like a touch of eyestrain or something. After a two day painkiller fast I think I will take painkillers if I feel I need them.

  The only way I might need then is if I decided to go out somewhere more distant than the local shops, and I can't think of anywhere I want to go on a day when the sunshine should be failing soon (although it is still shining quite steadily as I write this - except that it has now risen high enough to miss me as I sit here at my PC). One place I ought to go to today is the local Wetherspoons pub to use a couple of the 50p off vouchers. Maybe I'll take a book or magazine there at lunchtime or something. I can't think of anything else to do today. Maybe today will be boring, but it is Sunday, and Sundays usually are boring !
Saturday 29th September 2018
09:56 BST

   If yesterday had been a bit warmer it might have been a nice day. It wasn't that cold, but you don't want to stand around in just 16° C. It was a different matter indoors, behind glass. There was enough sunshine, mostly in the form of sunny intervals, to warm my bedroom and living room up (both face south), and for a while I even had my bedroom window open to air the room. Once the sun set the temperature dropped quite a lot, and yet it didn't seem to feel like it dropped to the predicted 7° C by 3am this morning.
a bit
                      better than yesterday
  Today should be a bit better than yesterday. For a start the temperature may reach 17, or possibly even 18° C. As far as I am aware the sun has been shining non stop since dawn. The latest revision of the weather forecast disagrees with this, and say that we should only have been having sunny intervals for the last hour. Maybe there is some hazy cloud in the sky now, and I think that has slightly dimmed the sunshine, but it is stil casting dark shadows. The wind is probably going to be very light today (a bit like yesterday) and so even just 17° C shouldn't feel too bad. From about 10pm there may be sufficient cloud to keep the warmth in, and tonight should no be quite as cool as last night - not that I seemed to notice it being particularly cold for some reason. Tomorrow should see some sunny intervals, but not many, and it is only forecast to be 15° C. So it doesn't sound like it will be a very nice day...although it should stay dry.

  I thought I felt reasonably OK yesterday morning, but it turned out I wasn't. It's hard to say just what was wrong. I guess it was lots of little things, and a sort of desire not to fight them. In consequence I had a very lazy day...and a consequence of that was that it made me feel worse. The seed for it all was my chest, except in this case it seemed to be much of my torso, and not just the rib cage. As well as the usual bits of my rib cage aching, I also had a sort of feeling that was a cross between bloat, hunger and indigestion with a bit of unexplained tenderness thrown in for good measure.

  During the morning, and into the early part of the aftrenoon I couldn't be bothered to do much more than lay on my bed reading, and occasionally trying to snooze. For unknown reasons I didn't seem to be able to sleep. Everytime my eyelids started to droop something would happen that brought me to alertness again. It could have been a message coming in on my phone, or a car door slamming outside. Most disturbances probably came from outside. Why I seemed so sensitive to them yesterday seems a mystery that will never be resolved.

  From about midday I was bored enough to want to do a few things. I ended up downstairs using my old laptop to scan old photos. It was probably because I was doing something that I started to feel better. As 6pm approached I decided that what I wanted was a takeaway. I had eaten little during the day, and was feeling hungry. I ordered some grilled peri peri chicken, and some bit to go with it. I also ordered some more stuff to eat today to bump the order up to the point of free delivery, and a small discount.

  In theory the idea of eating spicy chicken when my guts seemed to be in a tenuous state was a bad one, but in fact I felt much better after eating. So much so that I finished off the potato wedges that I had intended to keep for today because the heat up better than (so called) "fries". I also ate all the onion rings later in the evening. While I felt a lot better in quite a few ways, I began to feel tired. I have no idea what time I ended up going to bed, but for some reason I think it was actually late rather than early.

 I also can't remember if I put the heating on low before I tried to go to sleep, or if I woke up and put it on during the night. Whenever it was it seemed to keep me comfortable, and it feels like I slept quite well last night. I feel more refreshed now than yesterday morning despite possibly being in bed for less time. One thing I have already done this morning was something I couldn't be bothered to do yesterday - have a good shower, and wash my hair.

  I might feel a lot better than yesterday, but I still don't feel like rushing around. Despite that I have quite a few ideas of what I may do today. I need some more vitamin D tablets, and so I will be going out to get some shopping at some point this morning. I still need to do the washing up, and I definitely still need to empty the waste bin in the kitchen - I did emoty the recycling bin yesterday. I have a few items already soaking in detergent that I'll be hand washing today. I might even get the hoover out.....although does sound a bit like fantasy.

   I expect I'll be doing more photo scanning today. One thing I won't be doing is going to a gig. I was contemplating going to a gig in The Golden Lion this evening. It is a venue where I doubt I would bump into anyone I didn't want to see....although it is possible that Angela and lover boy could go there I suppose. I didn't really know that band that I thought were scheduled to play there, but I think I might have liked them. The only problem is that they seemed to have been replaced by another band who I have definitely never heard of, and don't like the sound of. So it's back to plan A - not going out tonight.
Woodside station 10th
                        October 1994
  One of the many photos I have been scanning and saving digitally. This picture was taken n 10th October 1994, and shows a 2 car 2EPB slam door train approaching the platform at Woodside station on it's way to Addiscombe station. The Elmers End to Addiscombe branch line closed a year or two later, and the track was used from the Croydon Tramlink. The Woodside station building still exists, although it is boarded up and empty, but the platforms are long gone. There is now a Tramlink station at Woodside, but it's platforms are a hundred yards or so away from the old Woodside platforms. 
Friday 28th September 2018
09:03 BST

   If yesterday wasn't so short, and if you ignore the extremities, it was like a summer's day. The temperature was a very pleasant 22, or maybe even 23° C. Of course the early morning was a lot cooler, and by midnight it had cooled down a lot, but even at those times it wasn't really that cold. There were a few unexpected clouds that dimmed the sun, but essentially it was bright and sunny all day.
back to
  Today we step back into Autumn. The temperature should still rise to 16° C, and there should be sunny periods all day - even if that looks unlikely when I look out the window ! It is possible the last couple of hours of daylight will see lots more sunshine as the clouds finally disipate. The lack of clouds, assuming it happens, will allow the temperature to drop very low tonight, and tomorrow could start as low as 7° C, but it will eventually rise to as high as 18° C. Tomorrow might, or might not, see a bit more sunshine than today.

 I just had an update to my computer this morning. It was for a file called tzdata. It provides details of time differences, and in this case I am sure it is in preparation for the switch from BST back to GMT. I really ought to check, but I imagine it is happening this weekend. After 63 years on this Earth I still can't remember which way the clocks change twice a year, but I think this is the change that gives an extra hour of daylight in the evening, and steals an hour in the morning. Something I used to find really depressing when commuting to work. Having written that I am now doubting what I have written. It still could be the other way round. Oh well, it matters little to me now, and I'll find out when I wake up on Sunday morning - if indeed the change happens this weekend !

  I felt very unsure how I felt yesterday morning. Two consecutive visits to the seaside had left me feeling a bit fragile on Wednesday, and I wasn't sure how much I had recovered during the day. Yesterday morning my feet were still a little sore, and my chest still felt like my rib cage was loose inside me. It turned out that I felt less fragile than expected. The only real test I did was to go and get some shopping from Tesco.

  I wore what I hoped were comfortable shoes, and it turned out I had made the right choice. My legs felt a little stiff when I first started walking, but the freed up very quickly, and I walked to Tesco at a very good pace, and it felt rather good. I bought quite a lot in Tesco, and so was quite loaded down when I walked home. The heaviest load was in my rucksack, but the single bag I carried was rather heavy too. Being on one bag, the load was a bit lopsided, and that was probably not good for my ribcage, but I only suffered a little bit of discomfort because of it.

  I don't think I would have survived another long (3 mile plus) walk yesterday, but it seemed like I was OK for day to day stuff, and yesterday that meant going to the pub for my late afternoon Thursday drink. We had CAMRA's Wetherspoon vouchers to use up yesterday, and so we met in The Greyhound in Bromley. To get there means getting the bus. I think I missed my first choice of bus, the 320, and faced with a 17 minute wait for the next one I decided to carry on walking to the high street to get a 208.

  I only had a very short wait to get the next 208, but it was not the usually pleasant experience of the 320. I get on that bus on the first stop of it's route, and it is generally empty at first. The 208 bus I caught was heaving. It even had to miss out one bus stop because it was too full, and from then on it made slow progress because of extended stop times at bus stops as people had to shuffle around to make room, or to allow others to get off. When I got off the bus in Bromley I noticed that the 320 I couldn't be bothered to wait 17 minute for was only almost pulling up behind the 208 I had just got off.
  I tried three beer yesterday. The first was "Dark Munro" as pictured on the left. I have to admit I didn't like the first mouthful, but once I had drunk about a third of a pint I got the flavour, and found it very palatable after that. Next I tried the "Naked Bliss". It had a strange undertone of flavour that I found particularly unpleasant, and so for my third pint I went back to the Dark Munro. On many occasions three pints is enough, but yesterday I stayed for one more. It was a pint of "Summer Blond", and while it was by no means horrible, I found I didn't enjoy it as much as I would have hoped.

  One reason for staying for a fourth pint, apart from it still being a little early, was that together we had an embarrassment of 50p off CAMRA vouchers to get through. Between us, including some donations from people who weren't there, we had something like 40 vouchers to get through. There was no way we were going to get through all those, and so I withdrew 4 from the pot, and I now have until closing time on Sunday night to spend them in a Wetherspoons pub. That probably means a trip or two to The London And Rye in Catford.

  I aid it was still early when I started my last pint, but it wasn't really. Thanks the ever shortening days it was almost night when I was waiting for the bus home, and it was fully night by the time the bus was half way home. It was a rather unpleasant bus ride home. There was no trouble, but the extremely loud voices of some of the passengers in the back was quite disturbing. I suppose this is our reward for once having an empire.

  I was looking forward to a big fish pie for my dinner when I got home. I had bought it in Tesco when I went shopping earlier in the day. What I didn't realise was that it said "not suitable for microwave cooking", and gave instructions for cooking in a conventional oven for something like 30 minutes even when on only chilled (45 minutes or more if it had been frozen). It came in a plastic container that looked like any other that can be microwaved, and I didn't see any reason why it shouldn't be microwaved like any common of garden fish pie.

  I gave it about 14 minutes in the microwave, and that seemed a good guess. The top was obviously not crunchy and singed like it would be in a conventional oven, but the cheese topping did crisp up, and the whole thing was delicious. If it had one fault it was the choice of fish in it. It was pollock - nice, but not as nice as cod. I think it was supposed to serve two, but that would only have been the case if it was supported by a range of vegetables and stuff. I just ate the whole thing by itself.

  The sunshine during the day made my bedroom feel quite warm last night, and being full of hot fish pie (to which I had added some hot pepper sauce) made me feel even hotter. When, after reading for half an hour or so, I decided to turn out the light, and go to sleep, I felt too hot to cover myself up. I didn't really sleep all that well like that, and at something like 1am I found myself almost shivering, and I put the heater on low, as well as pulling the duvet over me. I warmed up too quickly like that, and woke up again to partly uncover myself.

  In some ways it was a typical night when I didn't sleep well. Despite originally falling asleep as early as twenty minutes before 10pm, I have no idea how much sleep I finally got, but I do know that a lot of it was not quality sleep. It also meant that I had some vivid dreams. One was amazingly erotic ! Another was about art. It included a statue type thing that was obviously in existence, but which the artist refused to make ?????. Another dream seemed to start with going down a few steps, and then going through a light brown painted door with louvres in it's lower half. Outside this door was a view a moonlit view of a very big harbour, or maybe just a bay. It was dying to be photographed, but it would need a long exposure, and so both a tripod and camera would be needed, and I had neither with me.

  This morning I seem to feel reasonably OK, but I have no idea what I am doing today. I do need to finish some laundry I started yesterday, but didn't finish. I probably need to do some washing up that is cluttering up the sink, although there is not much of it. Emptying a couple of rubbish bins would be an excellent idea too - the one on the kitchen is getting rather smelly, and attracting flies ! I feel like I should go out for a small walk this afternoon, but I don't feel terribly enthusiastic about it now.

  One thing I will probably end up doing is to scan some more old photos. I have some pictures of both Woodside and Addiscombe stations before they lost their National Rail services, and they would be of some interest to certain people who love disused stations. Tonight, and tomorrow, and possibly Sunday too, there are gigs I could go to, but I think for now I will continue my social isolation (except Thursday evenings) for at least another week. Somehow gigs have lost much of their appeal these days. Maybe it needs a break to rekindle the interest.
Thursday 27th September 2018
10:18 BST

   ....and again.. Yesterday was like a summers days tuned down to three quarters. There was loads of sunshine, and it was perfectly comfortable to walk around in the sun in just t-shirt and jeans. The sky was blue with occasional fluffy clouds, and the temperature was around 20° C (some places recorded 23° C). It was a calm day with very little wind.
                      than yeAVsterday
  Today could be a couple of degrees warmer than yesterday. If reality matches the forecast it could be 22° C today, and although the latest revision of the forecast has changed 11am to just be sunny intervals, the rest of the day is supposed to be non stop sunshine. Once again there should be very little breeze to cool things, and that 22° C should feel rather warm. Tomorrow was previously forecast top be quite grim, but the latest theory is that after a slightly dull start there should be sunny periods for the rest of the day, and the temperature could reach 17° C. Even the day after that, which was forecast to be very grim, might turn out to be pleasant-ish.

  The idea of going out yesterday when I hadn't recovered from the day before seemed like madness, but I did it anyway. I had to be fortified with painkillers before I left home, but I caught a bus to Lewisham DLR station where I caught a DLR train to Limehouse. When I got there the ticket office was closed, and that was a blow because it meant I would either have to break my journey at Upminster, the limit where my 60+ Oystercard is valid to, or pay the full price (with Senior Railcard discount) all the way to Thorpe Bay - my intended destination. I opted to pay full price, but 1 minute later the ticket office opened. I explained my intentions to the ticket clerk, and he issued new tickets, and refunded the difference !
tickets to Thorpe Bay
  It's close on an hour journey from Limehouse to Thorpe Bay, and so about 30 minutes less tan the long journey to Bognor Regis from East Croydon. I didn't bother timing it, but it is probably a similar amount of time to get to Limehouse as it is to East Croydon. At East Croydon I had at least a 20 minute wait for a train after buying my ticket, but at Limehouse it was less than 10 minutes (I think it was 8 minutes). An hour later I was walking down a long road (0.8 miles) from Thorpe Bay station to Thorpe Bay itself. At the end of that walk I was rewarded with blue sky, blue sea, and the smell of old seaweed ! I also gained a few aches and pains that didn't bode well for the walk ahead.
blue sky, blue sea,
                        and a bit of beach with smelly seaweed on it
 It was quite surprising how blue that muddy Thames water looked under that blue sky. All I had to do from this point was to walk all the way to the landward end of the pier where I would cross the road, and get the lift up to the high street. From there it is a short, and almost level walk to the station. The problem was that two bits of me ached, and that made my walk seem slow - even though it wasn't that slow. My feet were still complaining after my walk the previous day, and it didn't help that I took a chance on some different shoes that I hoped would be more comfortable. They possibly were, but they were very new, and they managed to draw blood by the time I got home.
The pier railway was
                        running single coaches
 Unlike Bognor Regis, a lot of Southend was still open for business, and that included the pier railway. It was only running a single carriage train though. It was amazing how noisy it was when running over the jointed track on the pier. I was at least half a mile away, using full zoom, to take this picture, and it was the noise that drew my attention to it.
view of pier from top
                        of lift to the high street
 It was a relief to finally get to the high street, and just a short walk to the station. This picture was taken from the top of the structure that houses the lifts that take you from sea level to high street level. At this point I had felt all sorts of interesting pains from my wonky rib cage. Some did seem worryingly similar to Angina pains - and some very different. They quickly subsided when I stopped walking - which was suspicious, but started very quickly when I moved again - which was more typical of my wonky rib cage pains. I walked over three miles, and although I was walking slightly slowly, it wasn't very slow (keep in mind the average looks slower because of the times I stopped to take photos).
another 3+ mile walk
  I just checked yesterday's entry, and it seems my average speed at Bognor Regis was 2.18 mph, and yesterday, when I was in more pain, it was 2.21 mph. That has to mean something, but I am not sure what ! Another curious fact is that when I compare the date for yesterday's walk with a similar length walk recorded on a previous phone I owned, I see that the older walk was shown as consuming almost double the amount of calories. The 284 calories calculated for yesterday's walk doesn't seem to be worth the pain. I think I need to check what weight I have entered into the calorie calculator on the app on my new phone. I suspect it is set to a default value of a 7 St weakling !

  Getting home from Southend was a fairly smooth experience. I had about a 10 minute wait for a train at Southend, and then about another 10 minutes from getting off the train at Limehouse, and getting on the DLR train there. The only thing that was a let down was the timing of a train from Lewisham to Catford Bridge. The DLR arrived about 5 minutes too late to get a train at Lewwisham, and so I got a bus from Lewisham. I arrived home a good 10 minutes before I would have done if I had waited for a train at Lewisham.

  When I got home I felt sleepy, but not quite as knackered as I expected. It is possible, and maybe even probable that I am building my stamina up again. There was still the problem of my sore rib cage. All evening I could feel it was tender, but by being careful I managed not to provoke it too much. That wasn't the case once I got in bed later on. My first priority was to have a bite to eat, and I just had to heat up the spare dishes I had ordered as part of the takeaway the day before.

  For starters I had Singapore fried rice. The thing about Singapore fried rice is that it is supposed to be hot and spicy. It even says so on the menu, but the reality was that it was difficult to tell if it had any chilli in it at all. It was also almost meat free. It was otherwise nice, and I enjoyed eating it, but I think I will avoid that restaurant in the future. A little later I had a Singapore Chow Mein, and that too would have been a bit bland if I hadn't given it a good generous sprinkle of cayenne pepper. It too had the very minimum of meat in it.  I think I mentioned the two dishes I had the night before were a bit lacking in meat too.

  During the evening I went through the photos I had taken. There was not all that many to consider - on reflection, the smaller amount of photos probably explains my apparent faster average walking speed. As the evening passed I decided that I really did want to have some meat, and so my supper was a small pack of sliced German baked ham with some English mustard on it. It was rather delicious.

  I think it was around 9pm that I decided it was high time I was asleep - except it wasn't as easy as that. As soon as I lay down in bed I became very aware how delicate my ribcage was feeling. It seemed almost impossible to find a comfortable position that I could keep. Several time I turned over, and was rewarded with some nasty pains. Eventually I got to sleep, but it was a very disturbed sleep.

  It is becoming a cliché to say that I wished I could have slept for longer when I finally decided to give up trying this morning. I feel I will have to be careful what I do today, and even then I'll probably have to take some painkillers. On the other had there are things that could actually make things better. I have some smelly t-shirts to wash, and hand laundry often helps more than it hinders. I also want to do some shopping this morning. It often seems that carrying a medium heavy load in my rucksack tends to pull my ribcage straight, and also relieves some of the aches and pains.

  With luck I'll also be able to have a snooze at some point. It is weird how I can often sleep on my back, laying on my bed, instead of in it, during the day, in a way I can't do at night. There is one other activity that can be sometimes good, and sometimes bad today. It's Thursday, and my time for a bit of social interaction at the pub. The booze usually helps the pain, but sometimes just sitting down can make the pain worse. As I type these words, sitting down, I am sort of comfortable and pain free, but I am acutely aware of a sort of tenderness. I think it is all part of a pattern - a week of discomfort followed by a week of less, or no discomfort.
Wednesday 26th September 2018
08:31 BST

  Yesterday was like a summers days tuned down to half. There was plenty of sunshine, and it was perfectly comfortable to walk around in the sun in just t-shirt and jeans. The sky was blue, although dotted with fluffy clouds, and the temperature was around 17° C. There was very little wind to spoil the feeling of warmth.
                      than yesterday
  Yesterday was good, and it's looking like today will be even better. The forecast promises pure, undiluted sunshine all day. I hope reality follows the forecast ! The temperature today is predicted to be 20° C. Apart from the shortness of the day, and the coolness at the beginning and end, it should seem just like a summers day. Tomorrow could be even better with the temperature hitting 22 or 23° C. The day after, Friday, could be a shock to the system if it is really just 15° C under a dull and gloomy sky.

  I didn't dare believe that I was going out, and going so far before I got to the station yesterday. Even then I had doubts about whether I would see it through, but I did, and had a lovely time doing it. I started off at Catford Bridge station, and travelled to Elmers End station. It was there that I had a pleasant surprise. Someone said "Bill ?", and soon as my eyes focussed on that person I realised it was Mick, the senior engineer at the workshop where I was based for most of my second job. Like me, he was waiting for the tram,

  We had a good natter about the old job. I used to get on really well with Mick. He used to think of me as a real engineer - which was handy because I was a much slower worker than some of the cowboys, but that was because I used to get some of the harder jobs because of my competence. I used to have the lowest parts cost per job of anyone in the workshop, but the highest man hour cost per job. Some lauded me for it, and others castigated me for it. That was all by the by. I found out that Mick quit the company just a few months after I did, and for the same reason. The workshop was moved from Elmers End to Erith. It was a long tedious journey, and the atmosphere at the new place was miserable.

Tickets for Bognor Regis
  Mick got off the tram and Addiscombe, and I continued on to East Croydon where I was to buy tickets for Bognor Regis down on the south coast. I hadn't been really sure I wanted to go all that way. It was about 90 minutes on the train, and I had already spent close to half an hour getting to East Croydon station and buying my tickets. I then had about a 20 minute wait on the platform for the first train to Bognor Regis.

  It was a tedious journey, and made worse by modern trains. At least on the old slam door trains you could open the door window, and risk getting your brains smashed by leaning out of the window to look ahead to see where the train was going to.

 There were a few worrying times when we passed under rather more clouds than I was happy with. The idea was to frolic in the sun, and not cower under a dull, leaden sky. It didn't look too bright when my train finally arrived at Bognor Regis, and I feared the worst, but it was only a matter of minutes before the sun came out, and apart from a few momentary losses, stayed out the entire time I was there.
Bognor Regis
 Yesterday wasn't the first time I visited Bognor Regis, but it was the first time I had seen the sea there. The previous visit, maybe 20 years ago or more, was purely a trainspotting thing, and I don't think we left the station. If I recall correctly, I was with my friend Kevin, and we had purchased a Southern rover ticket that gave us unlimited travel on Southern trains for a day.  It seems that ticket is still available today -
fishing fleet
 This picture shows two things - the colour of the sky, and the very small fishing fleet that works from next to the pier. At this time of year the most bluest sky is photographed with the sun behind you, and yesterday I tried to do just that, but sometimes that rule has to be broken if it is something very interesting. Fortunately I had the sun almost behind me when I took this snap of the 4 fishing boats, and their smelly lobster pots simmering under the sun on the beach.
Bognor Regis pier
 Bognor Regis only has a small pier compared to many. I have no idea if it was ever any longer. I do know that many piers were shortened, or sections removed during the last war to prevent German ships using them for an invasion. Maybe that happened here, or maybe the depth of the sea gets deep enough here at this short length for the steamers that would once ply their passenger trade around the coast to to call, and tie up here. Anyway, it was a pleasant enough pier. There are gates at the side of the big white building that allow you to bypass the screaming and flashing machines, plus the psycho kids who use them, and have a quiet walk to the end of the pier.
my walk
  This was where I walked yesterday. It was only a 3.34 mile walk, but that was longer than my recent walk at Clacton, although still a few miles shorter than some of the walks I have done this year. My feet were a bit sore at the end of it, but I could have gone further if there was anything of particular interest to see. I find that the journey can almost be as tiring as the walk itself, but yesterday I didn't feel nearly so knackered as I did at the end of my journey to Clacton-On-Sea.

  There were a few times when my stomach growled with hunger while I was out, but I managed to ignore it without giving in, and buying any breakfast while I was out. By the time I arrived back at home, which was about 5.30pm, I almost wasn't hungry. With sufficient distraction I possibly could have not bothered to eat, but instead of distractions, my mind seemed to concentrate on the idea that I deserved a takeaway to end my day out. I gave into that, and ordered a Chinese takeaway.  The two dishes I ate last night were quite heavy with vegetables, but like the stereotype of a Chinese meal, I was feeling hungry again by the time I went to bed.

  I had little trouble sleeping last night - despite the hunger pains - real or imagined. That's not to say I didn't wake up several times in the night with a mild desire for a pee. By 6am it seemed I had had enough sleep, but that didn't stop my trying for more ! This morning the soles of my feet are still slightly sore, particularly around the ball of my feet. My knees felt rather stiff when I went downstairs, but the rest of my body feel fairly OK.

  I have several choices of what to do today. I ought to get a few items of shopping, and I really need to get out into the garden to fill up the brown wheelie bin with more garden waste. The bin is collected early tomorrow morning, and last week I left it empty. I ought to not do that this week. On the other had I have a perverted desire to go and walk in the sunshine again. I've been thinking about Southend. It is usually almost civilised mid week, and out of season. I'll have to think about this further....
Tuesday 25th September 2018
08:46 BST

  It wasn't particularly warm yesterday, but it was comfortable, and the bright sunshine did feel warm if you were out of the breeze, or even better, behind glass. There was supposed to be non stop sunshine from dawn to dusk, but it wasn't that good. I do remember times when the sky looked a bit cloudy, and the sun went behind clouds more than once. While the sun did a good job of keeping my south facing rooms (bedroom and living room) warm while it was shining through the windows, once the sun had moved around enough they cooled down quite quickly. The highest outside temperature was predicted to be 15° C, and that was probably about right.
                      sunny, and warmer than yesterday
  Today is forecast to be a few degrees warmer than yesterday, and the sun that has been shining brightly ever since it climbed high enough to be seen, should help raise the temperature to the predicted 17° C. That should feel nice when out in the raw sunshine, but there could be a flaw in the forecast. At 7am it was forecast to be a rather chilly 7° C, but my thermometer said it was only a very chilly 3.8° C ! It is forecast to be a clear night again, and yet the temperature may only fall to 11° C by 1am tomorrow morning. By 6am it could be down to 9° C, but the afternoon high, after a day of non stop sunshine could approach 20° C ! The day after could be even warmer, but after that we resume autumn.

  The idea of going out in the sunshine yesterday was a good one, but it never seemed to happen. After it getting so late in the morning, and with me being still not washed and dressed, the idea of any long distance frolic in the sunshine evaporated away. There was still a possibility of going out locally in the afternoon, but that never happened either. It was mainly because I was too busy, but too busy doing what ?

  Yesterday was one of those days where I did lots of little things. These things included cookery, and washing up plus other little bits of cleaning or tidying up. I also did a lot of photographic type stuff. I was often up and down the stairs to use a scanner attached to a laptop downstairs, and then edit the scan on my big desktop PC upstairs. The reason for the scanner being attached to the laptop is because the only space upstairs is taken by a printer/scanner. Unfortunately my PC can't detect the scanner half of the machine for complicated reasons. So I use a printer/scanner that has a broken printer on the laptop downstairs. It's all terribly complicated, and jolly good exercise !

  My food yesterday was quite disappointing. For what from it's timing could be called elevenses I had some burgers. They were Aldi "speciality" burgers featuring anchovic (or something like that) chillies. They should have been good, but in fact they were not very nice. They did have a slight chilli flavour, but no bite, and the grease they gave off while cooling had a flavour that hinted of engine oil. Like most flavoured burgers they are worth avoiding, and annoyingly I should have known that before I was suckered into buying them.

  My evening meal was very disappointing too. It was a vegetable stew flavoured with garlic, chilli and ginger. The vegetables were broccoli, leek, and runner beans. Apart from the leek, the other two vegetables had been in the fridge too long, and I had to cut away bits that were starting to rot. Maybe I didn't cut enough away because the whole thing didn't taste very good at all. I ended up throwing away at least half of it. I ended up substituting a rather less healthy combination of cheese and biscuits for the stew I had thrown away.

  Although I had some regrets about not going out in the sun, I didn't seem to be bored yesterday, and I had to force myself to relax at the end of the day. By 9pm I was in bed reading, and at 10:17pm I turned the light out, and was soon asleep. I had a very average night's sleep. It wasn't good, and it wasn't bad. I know I woke up to pee a couple of times, but mostly I slept through to almost 6am. There was only a hint of light in the sky then, and it was still essentially dark when I went back to bed after taking a screenshot of the weather forecast, and checking a few things on the internet.

  It didn't really seem like I fell asleep again after getting back in bed, but the dreams, and the missing hours suggest otherwise. The one bit of dream I had was a right mish mash of my past life. The setting was a classroom at school, but I was with people from all three jobs I did. Instead of a school desk I was at a bench using tools from one job to repair a piece of equipment that was a sort of hybrid of equipment from my first and last job. It was a bit confusing, and sort of pointless, but a sort of enjoyable dream.

  This morning I am not sure how I feel. I think I feel moderately OK, but I might take a painkiller before I go out. I'm not quite ready to go out yet, and I am still uncertain where I might go, but at least it will be a lot earlier when I am ready compared to yesterday. Let's see what the day holds !
Monday 24th September 2018
10:12 BST

  There was very little that is positive to say about yesterday's weather. The morning was dull and either wet or very wet. The afternoon was a bit better, and it did brighten up a lot, but while there was a lot of blue sky, it was not completely blue, and by the sun was ready to shone it was too low on the horizon to give much cheer. The most positive thing was the sky clearing to make way for a better day today. The highest temperature yesterday was a rather cool 13° C.
the day
                      has started as forecast - sunny
  The one trouble with the sky being clear last night was that it allowed what little heat we did have escape into space. I did hear one report of someone seeing frost on their car windscreen, but I'm not sure how far out of London they lived. At 7am this morning it was forecast to be 7° C, and I think that matched reality. The forecast sunshine certainly matched reality. There is bright sunshine as I write this, and it should last to sunset. By 2pm the temperature should reach it's peak of 15° C. That will probably feel quite pleasant in the bright sunshine. Tomorrow could be a degree higher, but there will be less sunshine. Most of it will be in the form of sunny intervals, although some hours may be completely sunny. Wednesday and Thursday both look like they could be very nice if the forecast matches reality when it arrives.

  The rain and grey skies didn't inspire me to to do much yesterday - certainly not to even leave the house for a minute. I did seem to find lots to do though, and nearly all of it was photographic stuff. A lot of the time I had my halogen heater in my bedroom. It is not very powerful, just 1.2kW, but given time it gets the room nice and warm. It also gives out a lot of yellowish light, and that light seemed to reveal something I did not want to see. Because that light is made so close to the floor it illuminated under a small chest of drawers in my bedroom.

  The chest of drawers is in the alcove between the chimney breast and the wall, and the light from the heater seemed to be lighting up what looked like a mouse curled up between one of the legs of the chest of drawers, and the wall. This perturbed me a lot ! I wasn't sure if it was dead or alive, and it would have been difficult to reach it to find out - assuming I dared to even try ! It took several hours, and a lot of worry before I realised what it actually was. It was a leaflet out of a packet of pills that had fallen down the back of the unit, and wedged itself in the position described. Over the weeks, or even years it has been there, it has accumulated a coating of dust that looks a lot like mouse fur. Sometime soon I'll hoover my room, and extract the leaflet and it's dust using the long hoover pole.
beer bottles
  The stress of finding what turned out not to be a mouse, and the stress of the cold, dull, and wet day turned me to seek solace in some beer. These are the four bottles of beer that I bought from Aldi on Saturday, and these are the bottles that now lie empty in the recycling bin. The Felinfoel beer was nice, but the Trooper was even nicer ! I could have drunk more than this, and I had plenty of tins of lager in the fridge, but somehow these four bottles, each about a pint a piece, seemed to be about the right amount when spread across the afternoon, and into the evening.
Jojoba toilet paper !
  One of my other purchases from Aldi on Saturday was this pack of Jojoba toilet paper. It does seem that Aldi is the place to go for novelty toilet paper. I am not sure what jojoba does to the bottom, but I think, and I could be very wrong, that when used in shampoo it gives extra lift and bounce as well as shininess. Sound just what my bottom needs.
The Flame Pilots
  Another picture from Saturday evening - three quarters of The Flame Pilots. Apart from the bass player who was being elusive, and standing apart from the rest of the band (it's a trait that seems endemic to bass players), the other three were nicely grouped when I started using my flash gun with the correct settings.
Trouble County
 The band who were on after The Flame Pilots were Trouble County. They take their inspiration from "southern rock", although in their case they are more south coast than the southern states of America. I'm not convinced that a big black beard sits easy with hard rock !
bass player from
                        Trouble County
  Earlier I said that bass players stand apart from the rest of the band, and they often hid in shadows, but I guess that would be silly when you are part of a trio. So the bass player for Trouble County would take centre stage and throw rock star poses like the one above. It's a shame I didn't know any of their stuff, and that the lead singer/guitarist's big black beard put me off. It might have otherwise been interesting to see more of their set.

   From time to time I fancied a break from scanning old photos, or whatever else I was doing, and would lay on my bed and start to read. After 10 or 15 minutes my eyes would start to close, and I would try for a snooze. The trouble is that I just could not seem to fall asleep. That would be true until almost 4am this morning ! There was just about every reason in the book for not being able to sleep except a stomach upset like I had the previous night. The room was too hot or too cold, and it was too hot or too cold with or without the duvet. My pillow and mattress had lumps that weren't there the last time I used them. Some attempted sleeping positions caused me pain, and in the early afternoon was the worry about whether or not I had a mouse sleeping or dead in my bedroom !

  This morning I feel like I missed out on a lot of sleep, and yet I don't seem to feel too bad. I did have some plans for today, but they all revolved around the idea of sleeping early so I could be up early this morning. By now I could have been halfway to the seaside if my sleep had gone to plan. At the moment I haven't even washed and dressed ! Since thinking about it I now feel that a good snooze would suit me right now. I'm unsure what I am going to do now. I feel it would be a waste to not take advantage of the nice sunshine, and maybe I'll go for a walk in the park or something. The most important thing is what today is, and maybe it should be the whole week !
International Grumpy
                        Fucker day
Sunday 23rd September 2018
10:17 BST

  Dull and wet could almost describe yesterday, but that fails to note that it was just 14° C, and that it wasn't always wet. The various revisions of the weather forecast did manage to capture the essence of yesterday's weather, but as usual, no revision actually got it perfectly right. For instance none of the revisions mentioned the 2 minutes of sunshine that I seem to remember happening late morning/early afternoon. Also the timing of the rain seemed topsy turvy. The heaviest rain seemed to come before the lighter rain, rather than the other way round - although I have to admit this is timed around when I was exposed to the rain. Later on, once I was safely indoors, the very light rain turned into very heavy rain.
a wet
                      morning, but maybe late afternoon might be OK
  There seemed to be heavy rain all night, and it was still going until recently. As I write this it may have stopped, or may just be so light it is difficult to see it through the upstairs windows. The latest revision of the forecast still insists there should be heavy rain at the moment, and that it won't ease up until this afternoon. If we are very lucky the clouds will clear away sometime after 3pm, and the last couple of hours of daylight might be very sunny hours. It seems the maximum temperature today will be just 13° C, and clear skies tonight will see the temperature plunge to 8° C or even less in the night. Tomorrow is supposed to start at just 7° C, but it might be a gloriously sunny day, with the temperature as high as  15° C by late afternoon. The forecast seems to think that the weather for next week could be fairly good.

  I had a lazy morning - maybe too lazy because at midday I decided to go to Aldi for something to do - also to buy more bottles of Trooper beer. The beer that went down so well the other day. I only bought two bottles of it, but I also bought two bottles of "feeling foul" (Felinfoel) beer too. Once upon a time I used to really like it, and I hope when I open those bottles, I still do. I also bought a few sandwiches and wraps. There was one I regretted eating a bit later. It was a chicken wrap with pesto. It didn't suite my pallet at all, and the pesto flavoured burps threatened to seriously spoil my beer later on.

  It was pouring down when it came time to get my train to New Cross for the "Sham Rock Half Dayer". The venue was The Amersham Arms, which is right opposite New Cross station, and there were 7 or 8 bands playing half hour sets from the afternoon until the late evening. I think one band had to pull out for reasons unknown, and the opening time, and the price on the door, were changed to reflect that. The first band was on at at about 5pm instead of 4.30pm.
Amersham Arms seen
                        from New Cross station
 This picture of The Amersham Arms, as seen from platform C (I think) of New Cross station was taken on my way home. Darkness was starting to fall, and it would be completely dark when I arrived back in Catford. In the low light the name of the pub stands out more. I took this picture on my Nokia 5 mobile phone, and somehow I managed to hold it still for long enough for it to come out sharp with no motion blur. When treated with respect, which I often fail to do, the camera in that phone can be quite good.
  The first "band" on was actually just a singer/songwriter called Elsa. She played well, and sung well, but sadly she became boring after a couple of songs. The same could be said about hearing any band playing their own songs for the first time. Maybe it is just a problem for me - it takes several hearings to decide if I like a song or not, although I have to admit I am more receptive if the band themselves are more familiar. I was quite happy when she finished, and it was time for the band I had actually gone to see.
The Flame Pilots
 The band were The Flame Pilots featuring Mark "Arkie" Wright on lead guitar (on the far left in this picture). I have known Mark for maybe 30 years, but obviously not very well because it was only 4 or 5 years ago that I discovered he played guitar, and was in a band ! The Flame Pilots play all their own material, and I don't think I recognised anything they played yesterday, but at least I knew their style, and knew two members of the band.

  I started off trying to take snaps of them just using the stage lighting. Unfortunately the main lights were stuck on red, and that makes for very poor photography. After a dozen snaps I resorted to flash. This is one of the first picture taken with flash, and I forgot to set the white balance to "flash", and to set the power of the flash high enough. I have made corrections to the picture, but it still looks a bit insipid. Later snaps, that I have yet to process, should be much better.
Mark "Arkie"
 On this picture of Mark "Arkie" Wright I had almost got the camera and flash settings about right.  For the third band, Trouble County, I tried using remote flash where the flash gun is triggered remotely from a transmitter on my camera. If those pictures look as good as they did in the camera viewfinder then I wish I had used that method earlier. At most venues there are rarely safe places to put the flash head, but there was a very convenient ledge at The Amersham Arms.

  By the time the third band were on their second or third song I had drunk 5 pints of Guinness, and a train back to Catford Bridge was due. The band were a three piece playing almost hard rock, and they played well, but once again I had the problem of not knowing anything they played. It seemed like a good idea to get my stuff together, and head for the station. The rain had slackened off a lot compared to the deluge I suffered getting to the venue. It seemed so light I didn't even bother doing my coat up, or using it's inbuilt hood.

  It was dark when I got home, and my first thoughts turned to dinner. I considered the idea of ordering a takeaway, but I had stuff in the fridge that needed to be eaten. One ready meal, a chicken biryani, was very close to spoiling, and I had that first. It was a low calorie meal, and I decided I was hungry enough (blame the Guinness) to have a second one after it. The second was a Chinese chicken curry that was adorned by a half price sticker because it too was on it's use by date (the biryani was almost certainly past it).

  I made a start on photo editing after eating, but I soon became sleepy, and decided to go to bed. I was in bed before 10pm, and probably not that long after 9pm, but sleep did not come easy. It was one of those nights where the bed and pillow seemed really uncomfortable. Later on I would also suffer from abdominal pain. It was no more than trapped wind, at least I think that is all it was, but I did have suspicions that the chicken biryani might have been off even if it tasted perfectly OK. A lot of farting and burping seemed to reduce the pain to just a sort of tender after feel, but it took until 4 or 5am for that to happen. I did get some sleep  before then, and probably a lot more than it felt like. I was quite surprised to find out how long my last block of sleep lasted. It didn't feel like I had really been asleep, but I have no recollection of the hours between around 6am to 9am when I woke up.

  Today I am feeling the effects of rotten sleep. Extra bits of me ache. Some of the aches, and maybe the bad sleep can also be blamed on the cold and wet weather. At the moment I feel like I need to stretch my legs or something, but I don't fancy going out in this weather, although the rain still seems to have stopped. It is still very wet and gloomy out there even if it isn't raining ! Not only that, but I have a lot of pictures taken last night to go through. I think those, plus a snooze or three, will take me through until the evening now. This evening I will see if there is anything on TV, and when there isn't, I shall go to bed hoping that I can have a comfortable night's sleep !
Saturday 22nd September 2018
10:11 BST

  The forecast for yesterday got off to a good start, but then it all went tragically wrong. It was a lovely morning - blue sky and sunny - just as the forecast predicted. Unfortunately the forecast said it would be like that all morning, and into the afternoon. It didn't. By midday, or even maybe a bit before, it clouded over, and became exceedingly dull and gloomy. By 1pm it was pouring with rain. Some of it was quite heavy ! After about an hour it stated to brighten up a bit, but by then the damage had been done. Even an occasional sunny spell did not rehabilitate the day. I'm not sure if the temperature rose to the forecast 17° C, but it probably wasn't far off it.
wet and
  It felt rather cool this morning, and it seems it is not going to get warm at any time today. The latest revision of the forecast says a maximum temperature of just 13° C, and at 5pm, when heavy rain is expected, it will fall to just 12° C. It's almost time for my winter coat ! The latest revision also predicts that light rain could start as early as 11am this morning, and then it will continue, on and off, until the heavier stuff at 5pm, and that could continue on into the night - and through tomorrow morning too. Tomorrow is going to be quite chilly with the temperature as low as 10° C at midday, but the last few hours of daylight could be sunny.

  I almost went to Southend yesterday, but in the end I couldn't be bothered to go out anywhere. I passed a little time doing two lots of hand laundry. The second item was just a single medium sized bath towel. It needed 5 rinses instead of the two that simpler things get, and so needed extra muscle power to swoosh it around, pound and pummel it, and to wring it out. It was a good way of warming up ! It also helped straighten out my wonky ribcage, and I felt more comfortable after it than before.

  My biggest project yesterday was one that has been simmering at a low priority on my post retirement to do list. It was to digitise some of my pictures that only exist as chemical film prints. In an ideal world I would work from the negatives, but I lack a negative scanner. Scanning the paper prints still produces some reasonable results, although I am a bit dismayed that some prints are starting to fade. For some it is the blue dye that is fading most. It is fortunate that digital processing can improve on the prints, and even when not faded I can straighten up wonky pictures, or crop unwanted bits. It is something I would have loved to have been able to do during the film printing process if I had my own dark room. Sadly I didn't, but thanks to The Gimp (Gnu Image Manipulation Program) I can do most of it many years later.
slam door train
                        through Catford station circa 1998
  Unfortunately not all my photos are dated, and I have to guess the year by using any hints I can find - usually from other pictures taken at the same time. This picture of a slam door "coastal train" passing through Catford station probably dates to 1998. It doesn't look too bad, particularly when shrunk down to fit here, but I suspect it would look even better if I had scanned the negative.
class 319 Thameslink
  This was one picture where the blue was starting to fade, but it seems to have restored fairly well. I can date this picture to November 1994. It was taken at the old, unrebuilt, Blackfriars station, and shows a Thameslink class 319 train waiting to depart towards Bedford.
Willsden high level
                        signal box
  The railway around Willesden is quite complex with tracks converging from two different places at high level, and below there is the mainline, and the tube lines too. Once upon a time there were several signal boxes to control it all. I suspect they have all been replaced by modern signalling systems now, but controlling the high level line in 1994 (14th September 1994 to be exact) was Willesden High Level Junction signal box. It looked like it was a bit of a murky day when I took this picture 24 years and one week ago !

  I am not sure what I ate yesterday. I did my best not to eat much until the evening, and I did quite well at that. In the evening I had two main dishes. One was quite a small, and none too exciting "fisherman's pie". The other was far more sophisticated. I can't remember the description on the packet, but it was crab meat, some chilli, on a bed of noodles. Apart from the fact that I am not really a great lover of anything pasta based, it was sort of nice. Not nice enough to buy again, but still very pleasant.  I also finished off some "English" plums. I think there were about 5 small to medium sized ones that I finished off. The relevance of all this will be explained soon.

  By 9pm last night I was feeling quite sleepy. I forced myself to stay awake for a while as I read in bed, but eventually I gave in and fell asleep. I can't be sure, but I think it might have been closer to 9pm than 10pm. I'm sure I woke again about 2am this morning, but my recollection of it is so hazy that I might even be imagining it. It was a little after 5am when I definitely woke up, and I stayed awake for quite some time before going back to bed for little more than 30 minutes.

  When I woke up after 5am I felt quite reasonably good. I was yawning a fair bit, and fully intended to go back to bed, but most of my usual aches and pains, and in particular my wonky ribcage seemed to be behaving themselves unusually well. I had no idea what was coming. I had a pee almost as soon as I got up, and then after a while I went to the toilet again for the rest. I had no prior feeling that anything might be wrong, but it turned out top be quite an explosive evacuation. From then on things became a little delicate. It was probably just a few minutes later than I need to go again, and had to waste no time getting to the toilet. I was still drying my hands after washing them when it became apparent I needed to sit on the toilet for the third time this morning. There was a more decent interval of time, perhaps 20 minutes before a fourth visit became prudent.

  I think, or hope that four visits was enough for today ! I can't think what it might have been that causes such an upset gut. I don't want to blame the plums because I had four of them the previous day with no ill effect. Maybe it was the crab and chilli noodles. It tasted fine, but it was something I had never had before. Fingers crossed that it is all over now, although there is plenty of time before it would become very inconvenient for my guts to play up again.

   I have just one plan for today, and that is to go out to a gig late this afternoon. The Amersham Arms in New Cross, a place I haven't visited since the 1980s is having an all day gig extravaganza. It's not really all day because it dpesn't open until 3 or 4pm. All I know for definite is that The Flame Pilots are due on stage at 5 or 5.30pm. I should be there early enough to see the band on before them, and I might stay for a bit and see a band or two after The Flame Pilots, but I don't expect to be out late. I might even just make it home in the last dregs of daylight !

 Today's gig could be the last I go to for some time. I am being very selective about what gigs I go to from now on. It is most certainly a petty thing to do, but I just don't want to go to any gigs that Nigel or Angela might turn up at. Unfortunately that also includes most of the gigs that Sue might go to as well. I will be leading a pretty solitary life for the foreseeable future, but I feel I have got to the age where I don't need to do stuff I don't like doing, and I don't like being at gigs with Nigel breathing over my shoulder trying to be friends with me ! He is just an annoying creep.
Friday 21st September 2018
09:30 BST

  Although it looked like it could rain at any time yesterday it was mostly dry. The rain forecast for the morning never happened, but sometime around midday I thought I felt a very fine spray of rain on my face for a few minutes. I may have imagined it because it did not even seem to fog my glasses.In the morning the temperature started at about 19° C and quickly rose to 21° C. It then stayed there until it slowly started to fall, but it took from 7pm until midnight until it dropped back to 19° C. I'm not sure how much earlier it had started, but by midnight it was pouring with rain.
A bright
                      sunny day !
  During the small hours of this morning, while it was still pouring with rain, a strong wind blew up, but I seemed to sleep through most of it. This morning I woke up to bright sunshine, and it is still like it now, and if the forecast turns out to be correct, it will be sunny all day today except for a few hours this afternoon when we may only get sunny intervals - although the latest revision suggests the sunshine will give way to sunny intervals sooner. In fact the sunshine pouring through my window as I write this may just be an extra long sunny interval waiting for a cloud to appear in the blue sky to obscure the sun for a while. For all this sunshine the temperature may only reach 17° C today. Maybe a coat might be required under some circumstances. It is going to be very breezy today, but apparently no gales as had been forecast earlier. They could be reserved for the weekend. It's looking like tomorrow is going to be rather cool, and extremely wet !

   My biggest problem yesterday was that my chest/rib cage was playing up. It was the same sort of general ache that annoyed me the previous morning. I didn't do any hand laundry to help it to go away, but I did go out for a short walk. I went as far as the building society in the high street where I withdrew some money. Upon examining the receipt I did some quick and dirty (and probably wholly inaccurate) calculations, and if I am right it means my savings (excluding my Premium Bond investment, and an emergency saving account) should last for another 4 years at my present state of consumption. That calculation assumes that prices will not go through the roof after a very messy BREXIT. Four years is not long, but it should only be another 3 years until I get my state pension (assuming the government doesn't spend it to pay for BREXIT). In theory the small pension I currently receive, plus my state pension should cover all my day to day needs quite well, and if I stop buying photographic equipment, I might even be able to save a few pennies a month !

  On my way from the "hole in the wall" with a pocket full of money, I called in to Poundland, Poundstretcher, and the 99p shop. I bought a few items in each shop. Much of it was stuff I really shouldn't buy like assorted flavoured peanuts ! Some of it was more practical like a bag of rubber bands - a lifetime supply at my typical rate of consumption of a couple per year ! (I must find more uses for rubber bands !).

  After my shopping I had some lunch. That turned out to be a bad idea because it left me feeling sort of bloated, and that, together with my ribcage clicking and popping as I walked along, made for an uncomfortable walk to the station to get the train to Shortlands for my late afternoon Thursday drink with the lads. I'm not sure if the walk, done non stop at my fairly typical walking speed, made me more uncomfortable or not. Maybe it was slightly more, but perhaps not in the way expected. I imagined I would arrive at the station puffing and blowing with all sorts of aches and pains. Maybe my legs still felt a little stiff, but it was basically effortless to walk there. While I wasn't puffing and blowing, I was breathing quite deeply, and the mechanical motion of that did make my rib cage feel more sore. It rather spoiled what might have felt like a good walk.

  I wasn't particularly comfortable in the pub, and I decided not to stay for an extra pint despite it seeming like a good idea at one point. I felt quite different when I walked back to the station. I left plenty of time for it, and so I did my best not to walk as fast as seems natural to me. That wasn't easy. I probably managed to slow down from about 3.3mph to 2.9mph. It was still uncomfortable walking with three pints of beer sloshing around in my still tender feeling stomach, but the peculiar thing was that walking up the long staircase to platform level didn't seem to almost wind me. Sometime it feels like only bits of my body are getting old and decrepit, and other bits are in good working order. The trouble is that there is no way of predicting which bits are falling apart, and which bits are in good working order in advance.

  Walking home from Catford station means walking up and down the other side of the road bridge over the railway lines for Catford Bridge station. There have been times when that bit of the walk has felt like really hard work. It wasn't last night. I was expecting it to be a more uncomfortable experience, but it seemed sort of easy, and I might describe it as only mildly uncomfortable. The same was true of the rest of the walk to home. It was still very nice to finish the walk, and put my feet up. By that time, and mostly it was the influence of the beer, I was feeling very ready for dinner.

  Part of my dinner was some marinated pork belly strips that I had cooked before I went out. They just needed warming up. Unfortunately they were not nearly as delicious as the ones I had eaten last week sometime. The difference is that the ones I had last week were fresh and unfrozen. During cooking they shrank a little bit, but not much, and they tasted really lush. The one I had last night were frozen, and they shrank a lot during cooking. They shrunk from dinner sized to snack sized ! So I had to top up my dinner with other stuff.

  I felt very tired last night, and I was in bed, and fast asleep by 10pm. I think it may have been the wind and rain that woke me around 2am, but neither stopped my getting back to sleep quite quickly. At about 3.30am the wind seemed to have dropped, although I was really only aware of any wind or rain when I was in the bathroom. I could barely detect it on my bedroom. At 3.30am I did have some difficulty getting back to sleep because my mind was in turmoil. However I did get back to sleep, and while I woke up once or twice more, it was something like 8am when I finally decided to get out of bed.

  It was at 3.30am, or thereabouts, that I read a comment from Sue that was directed at me. Unfortunately it was most probably written by voice dictation, and when Sue was a bit drunk. The exact meaning was slightly obscure, but the overall meaning was that she is not very happy with me. Even before last Sunday night, when I walked out on Stretchy's open mic with no explanations or goodbyes, I felt she was feeling very cool about me. Maybe she was just too engrossed in the iPhone battery problem, but I just didn't feel any warmth from her. Anyway, I have been castigated for wanting to avoid Nigel. It is probably lucky for all that I don't act on my base instincts an punch him in the mouth. That is just not my style, but avoiding him is, and apparently it a bitchy thing to do. So be it. I am feeling that I will have to write off my purple courier bag, and all that is in it, including my relatively new pocket sized Canon camera, because I have doubts I will ever see Sue again. It's a shame that my last memory of her will be a sour one after so many other happy memories. Maybe it's just the way of my world.

  Tonight there was a gig that I was tempted to go to, but it has been cancelled because some of the ceiling fell down in the pub ! Tomorrow there is a very long gig that I intend to go to for probably only a short time. Many bands are playing at this gig, but of particular interest to me are The Flame Pilots featuring friend Mark on guitar. I last saw them on Herne Bay pier a bit earlier in the year, and enjoyed that, and the only other time was another very rare visit to London where they played in The Iron Horse in Sidcup about 6 years ago.

  I mention these gigs now because I think I shall be cutting down on my gig going a lot in the future. Some gigs would risk bumping into both Sue and Nigel, and I don't care for that. Funnily enough there is one venue where I can be sure of not bumping into them, and that is The Partridge where they both have lifetime bans. Even funnier is that I still, for some crazy reason, want to continue my self imposed ban on the place in sympathy or support of Sue. It's a crazy world.

  So no gigs for me tonight, and maybe very few in the future. That still leave the question of what I am going to do today to pass my hours of solitude. It's getting late now, but it is possible that I could end up at the seaside if I pulled my finger out. I have no idea where yet, but I was wondering about Worthing. Maybe I'll just end up in the local park instead, or maybe I'll go nowhere at all. I suppose I ought to get washed and dressed and find out !
Thursday 20th September 2018
09:39 BST

  As far as I was aware it stayed dry yesterday despite what the weather forecast predicted. Instead of early morning rain there were sunny periods ! Unfortunately they didn't last long, and most of the morning, and into early afternoon was rather dull. There were some more sunny periods later in the afternoon, but by then the weather was dominated by some rather strong winds ! For all that it was a warm day with the temperature reaching the forecast 22° C.
weather warnings issued for strong winds
  It is today that a weather warning has been issued for gale force winds. They could start any time after 6pm, and continue until tomorrow morning. In the mean time we are waiting for the rain that should be falling now. I must admit it does look like it could rain at any minute, but for now it remains dry. Earlier on, and not in the forecast, was a few short periods of sunshine. The latest revision of the forecast says it will now rain at 11am instead of 9am - we'll see ! Whether it rains or not, it does seem that today will be dull and grey. To go with that blandness the temperature is going to be bland too. At 21° C it will be slightly warm, but there is only going to be a degree or two change in the temperature from morning to late at night. Rain is also expected from 11pm onwards, and it could continue until 7am tomorrow morning. After that it could be a very sunny day, but staying rather cool. The highest temperature may only be 17° C even when the sun is shining. On top of that there could be some strong winds to make it feel cooler still. Maybe tomorrow will not be t-shirt weather.

    Yesterday was almost a day of rest. My day out to Clacton the day before seemed to have taken a bigger toll on me than expected, although most of it was just all in the mind. One of the peculiar things is that it affected my chest in strange ways. During the morning I was sitting at my PC reading the latest technology news from and my chest started to gently ache. As usual I decided it must be an oncoming heart attack, and decided to get it over and done with quickly (and not leave behind any dirty washing).

  In order to encourage my heart to expire more quickly I did some hand laundry. It was enough to bring me out in a light sweat, but for some reasons it seems to cure my faux heart attacks. Actually I think it proves the notion that the pain was not my heart, but my wonky rib cage, and that it was my posture that was causing it to ache in some mysterious way. Just to make sure I allowed half an hour to cool down, and then went to Aldi to buy some assorted shopping.

  Amongst the stuff I saw in the store were bottles of "feeling foul" (Felinfoel) - a beer that is, or may was brewed in Wales, and used to be fairly rare around these parts. The last time I had any must have been sometime in the late 1970s, and it was on draught in The White Bear in Fickleshole near Addington - a pub that was only accessible by car. I didn't buy any of that beer, but I did buy two bottles of another rarity - Trooper beer. It is a beer made to the specification of Bruce Dickinson - lead singer of Iron Maiden (which may not be 100% accurate, but it is good enough for now). I drank both bottle in the evening, and it was delicious. I wish I had bought more of it, and did have fanciful plans to go back today for more, but I doubt I will actually do that.

  For the rest of the afternoon, and evening I did little of note. Instead of eating anything brought back from Aldi I tucked into the Singapore Chow Mein that I had ordered the night before. It was very tasty, but stereotypically I felt hungry again an hour or two later. So I had the last part of the previous nights order, the Singapore fried rice. That was very tasty too, and initially seemed more filling.

  I was wondering if I would recover from eating those two takeaway meals fast enough to consider going out in the evening. It is possible I could have. It might have been nice to go to the M.T. Pockets open mic night in The Iron Horse in Sidcup. It was one place where I think I would not risk bumping into Nigel. Unfortunately two things came between me and going out. Maybe you could make that three things ! The first was that I was feeling very slightly bloated, but probably only to the extent that the feeling would quickly go away once I stated moving. The other two things were the two bottles of Trooper beer.

  I'm not sure whether to add a fourth or not. If I were to do so it would just be a rather vague item that could be summed up as I just couldn't be bothered ! I had a reasonably pleasant evening in by myself. It was just another in a series of thousands, and so I am well practiced at enjoying such evening. I watched a bit of TV, drank beer, and did some reading before going to bed. I have no idea what the time was, but I feel I was in bed, and asleep fairly early - before 11pm, and possibly not that long after 9pm.

  I slept well until 3am (if I recall correctly). During that time I had an extended dream that featured Sue, but perhaps not the Sue I know. The details are fading fast, and the bit I remember the most detail from was the end of the dream. The Sue in my dream was driving a very special car. I would later find out it was a leftover from days before I knew her when she was up to very illegal things. The car was quite a big four seater, soft top, sports car.  If it was caught in an ambush it contained a smaller two seater sports car that could be driven out of it to leave just the shell of the bigger car behind.

  If the smaller car was later ambushed it contained a bicycle for another chance at a getaway. After a dramatic demonstration of the capabilies of the car the scene changed. In reality it was probably a new dream that followed on from the previous. The scene was now set in a court, and I don't think Sue was actually there, but her reputation was. The reason why her past was never mentioned, and the reason for the escape car, was that she had been a terrorist bomb builder (probably for the IRA), and had done 7 years in prison for it. She had been summoned to court for a different, and possibly petty reason.

  It was in the courtroom that we learned of her past life. With her not there the case was adjourned, and we (whoever "we" were) all retired to a small room where some suspicious packaging was noticed. One of the parcels was opened, and it seemed to have dodgy stuff in it - possibly stuff for biological warfare, but I I woke up before any of that was confirmed. It was quite an exciting dream sequence, and I did my best to try and commit as much as possible to memory, but I actually remembered very little of it.

  After having a pee I had no trouble getting back to sleep again. I slept solidly for two more hours, and once again I was dreaming. All I can remember of  those or that dream was that I wanted to try and remember some of it, but anything else has completely evaporated now. I think I had one more hour of sleep after that. I got up feeling pretty awful, but that is nothing unusual these days. An hour later seems a better time to assess whether I feel good, bad, or in today's case, sort of neutral. If it was bright, sunny and warm I probably feel almost OK for another day out.

  As nice as another day in the sun could be, I couldn't do it even f the weather was on my side. Today is the day where I am briefly sociable again. Later this afternoon is my mostly regular Thursday drinking session. As is now usual, it will be in The Shortlands Tavern. I expect I'll just have my usual 3 pints, although if they have a particularly good beer on I could, and maybe would enjoy staying a bit later. Afterwards I have some very nice pork belly strips in the fridge that I shall pre-cook before going out, and thus remove any temptation of the fried chicken shop (even though the pork belly strips may actually be worse for me than fried chicken !).

  As well as "seaside and pier spotting" on Tuesday, I also did some "station and train spotting".....
Liverpool Street
                        station concourse
I had a long wait at Liverpool Street station, and I filled in a bit of time taking a few snaps of the station. This one of the station concourse is possibly one of the better snaps. It's not long after midday, and it is still fairly busy.
My train home arriving at Clacton
This was my train home from Clacton pulling into the terminal platforms there after arriving from London. Another 4 car train would couple to what would become the front when it left to head back towards London. That 4 car unit was kept locked so it could uncouple again on the way back. I suspect it was at Colchester, and that it would form a service on the short Colchester Town branch line (bit that is purely a guess).
class 360 train
This class 360 train was in the siding adjacent to platform 1 when I first arrived at Clacton, and was still there when I left. I don't think I have ever travelled on a class 360 train before.
Wednesday 19th September 2018
08:44 BST

  Yesterday was not as sunny as I hoped it might be - possibly because the sunny periods were shorter and more random than expected. It was still mostly a nice day though. In Clacton, where I spent the afternoon, the breeze was a bit strong from time to time, but when it dropped the air felt warm and humid. The top temperature in Catford was most probably the forecast 23° C. I have no idea what it was in Clacton, but I would guess it was at least 20° C.
this is
                      all wrong !
  This forecast is very wrong ! According to this it should be dull and drizzling. The reality is that the sun is shining as I write this ! Maybe that is just luck because large parts of the sky do look dull and grey. The latest revision to the forecast still says it should be drizzling now, and at 10am there will be light rain. We shall see ! This afternoon, if the forecast catches up with reality, we should see some sunny intervals. The top temperature will be 22° C - which is a nice enough temperature. The latest forecast for tomorrow says it will start at 18° C, climb to 21° C, and then fall back to 18° C. Apart from the possibility of a few sunny intervals between 6pm and 7pm, it will be a dull day with a small risk of rain at almost any time except from about 9pm onwards. It almost certainly will rain from then onwards. Or tomorrow could be completely different to the forecast - just like it is right now !

my tickets
  I was right, and Sue didn't bother to contact me about my earlier offer to take her to Hastings. So I decided to do my own thing yesterday. I had speculated about the possibility of going to Clacton-On-Sea, and at first I decided no because it is a long and gruelling journey, but then I decided to do it and get it over with. My 60+ Oystercard gave me free travel as far as "boundary zone 6" (in theory it should have been zone 9, or Shenfield, but I couldn't be bothered to argue the point despite it possibly saving another £2.50), and then, with a third off saving using my Senior Railcard, it was only £15 return.

 Almost half the journey time was getting to Liverpool Street station where the train to Clacton starts. I'm not sure I went by the best route, although it was an interesting route. I just missed a train to Cannon Street station, and so I got a Charing Cross service from Catford Bridge, and changed at London Bridge. While on the train I checked the times of the train from Liverpool Street. I previously knew the trains were only hourly, and so I was dismayed to find that no matter how lucky I was, I would miss the next train from Liverpool Street. From that point on I decided to move as slowly as possible. It wasn't a decision I could actually stick to. I added 10 minutes to the journey time by using the toilets at Cannon Street station. They tend to be the best station toilets anywhere in London. I then forgot to waste time by diving through the closing doors of a Circle Line tube train.

  I arrived at Liverpool Street station with a lot of time to kill. Finding the ticket office consumed a few extra minutes - it is no longer where it used to be. The old ticket office is now a shop. The new ticket office is probably a bit smaller, but not a lot. I suspect there may be three ticket offices at the station. The one I used was run by Greater Anglia trains. I think I saw one just for Stanstead Express trains, and I suspect TFL have one for London Overground and TFL trains, although the tube station ticket office may cater for those trains. After buying my tickets I still had just over half an hour to wait for my train, and then I would have to face one hour and twenty six minutes of travel on that train.
Clacton Pier
 The first place I headed to when I arrived at Clacton was the pier. I was pretty certain it was a horrible pier, modelled closely on nearby Frinton pier. The landward end is a big shed filled with noisy games and stuff for kiddies. It was mostly deserted in there, but even without ten billion screaming kids it was still bloody noisy in there. Things were beeping and hooting, and they played random music loudly in competition to other hooting and bleeping things playing their own music.
view from the pier of
                        the beach
  Once through the cacophony of the first shed it is possible to look back at the almost deserted beach. The beaches along this coast are real sand - unlike the pebbles, shingle and mud of beaches along the Kent and Sussex coast. Even the seaward end of the pier was still cluttered with rides and all sorts of stuff to liberate kiddies parents from their money. I guess the pier has to earn it's keep, but I am sure there must be better ways.
palm trees on the
  This picture illustrates all the clutter towards the end of the pier, but it also shows something that seems unlikely. The idea of growing palm trees on an English beach facing the cruel North Sea sounds like it shouldn't work, but maybe it does. These three trees, and there are quite a few clumps like this, seem to be a bit stunted, but still alive and green. They also show how strong some of the gusts of wind were. They now have to face the English winter - like the rest of Clacton. Most of the shops and facilities by the beach were already closed and boarded up now the season is over. The toilets on the pier were still open, and the lack of customers meant they were sparkling clean.
My walk around
  I didn't do a very long walk yesterday, but then again it was nearly 3 miles, and that is probably not that bad considering I am badly out of practice. I was also hampered by my feet being sore. When I got on the train at Liverpool Street my feet felt perfectly fine - so good that I can't even remember being aware of them. As soon as I stood up to get off the train at Clacton I was aware that they felt tender and sore. It made for a rather uncomfortable walk, and journey home.

  Getting home was less stressful. I cut 5 or 10 minutes off the long journey back to Liverpool Street by getting off the train at Stratford station - a station that continues to confuse and piss me off since it was "modernised" for the bloody London Olympics. I'm sure it still stinks of sweat and liniment too. I caught to Dockland Light Railway back to Lewisham from there (with one very quick, cross platform change of DLR train at Canary Wharf station). At Lewisham I could have caught a bus, and maybe that wouldd have saved a few seconds, but I waited just under 15 minutes for a train to Catford Bridge. My train at Clacton started at 17:05, and I arrived back on my doorstep at 19.25. So about 2hrs and 20 mins door to door.

  I felt tired and hungry when I got home. As usual I had gone out without eating anything, and the only drink I had was a pint of Guinness at a pub near Clacton station because I had half an hour to kill before nthe next hourly service to London. I did have a couple of ready meals I could have quickly heated up, but I felt I deserved more, and some how seemed to have the patience to wait for it. I ordered a Chinese takeaway. Last night I had a king prawn omelet - that was a sort of substitute for breakfast - and pork satay (which seemed to contain no trace of peanuts) for my dinner. I still have Singapore fried rice, and Singapore chow mein left over to eat today.

  After I had eaten I went through the pictures I had taken, and because they were taken in daylight they needed very little work done on them. I was able to quickly cobble together a photo album of the day. By 10pm (or was it 11pm) I was dead on my feet, and not long after I was fast asleep in bed. The first few hours of my sleep were good, but having to get up at 2am to have a poo was an unusual occurence. From then on my sleep got a bit random. Often it would seem like I wasn't sleeping, but I would notice hours had passed by without me noticing them.

  I would have loved a few more hours of sleep this morning, but by 7.30am, or thereabouts, it seemed I could sleep no longer. My original plan was to do my early morning chores - pee, medication, and screenshot of the weather forecast - and then go back to bed. That didn't happen, and I ended up writing this earlier than recently. This morning I am definitely reminded that I am very out of condition for days out walking at the seaside. Quite a few muscles and joints delight in reminding me they were used a lot yesterday ! As the hours pass they are getting better.

  I almost had a notion that I might go out again today, but I think that would not be a sensible idea. I do intend to go to Aldi, or one of the supermarkets today, and I think I may brave some of the super webs that the garden spiders have been building lately to clear some more of the garden. The brown wheelie bin will be emptied tomorrow morning, and so today is the last day to fill it up. Beyond that I still have plenty of stuff to read !
Tuesday 18th September 2018
09:56 BST

  Yesterday was a very nice day. It was a shame to waste it. It was warm, and sunny, although the latter was more true from about 3pm onwards. Prior to that it was just sunny intervals, and earlier than that it was overcast. I am not sure the temperature reached 25° C in Catford. I think it was a few degrees lower, although I did note that the evening forecast on TV said that 26° C had been reported from somewhere in Kent.
                      forward to some sunshine in the afternoon
  The forecast for today has just been revised as I type this. It now shows a 38% chance of rain at 11am this morning, and the amount of sunny periods has been reduced compared to that shown above. Of course the timing of sunny periods is usually wildly wrong on these forecasts, but if the latest version of the forecast matched reality we could expect a sunny interval at 2pm, and then more of them from 5pm to 7pm. That is not exactly awe inspiring ! At least the threat of rain seems to dwindle to just a couple of percent by midday. Through all that negativity it could still reach 23° C for a short while this afternoon. Tomorrow brings little cheer. Much of the day will be overcast, although some sunny intervals could start by about 4pm. The temperature should reach 22° C, but there will be a very small, but credible chance of rain almost all day tomorrow.

  I was not happy yesterday, and so I did very little. I sort of regret wasting what eventually turned out to be a nice warm, and sunny day, but I just could not find any enthusiasm to go out - not even to the local shops. I probably spent much of the time just reading, although I did take a bit of time off to stare at the ceiling with my eyes closed. There were quite a few times when I would find my eyes closing while reading, but everytime I put the magazine down, and gave in to going to sleep, nothing happened. This would be true up to 3am this morning.

  I thought there might be some excitement when I ate my main meal of the day. It was meatballs cooked in beef stuck with sliced mushrooms. I gave it a bit of extra flavour with some chilli paste from a squeezy tube. That chilli paste is preserved using vinegar, and while it makes it quite mild as chillies go, it also gives it quite a nice tart flavour. The thing that might have livened up my day was that the meatballs had been in the fridge for rather longer than they should have been. They didn't actually smell rank, but they didn't smell too fresh either. I took a chance on them, and fortunately, or maybe unfortunately I didn't get any spectacular "technicolour yawns" from them. (Although for a genuine Technicolour yawn I would have to have eaten diced carrots, sweetcorn, and tomatoes as well).

  My general malaise started the night before, but not hearing from Sue fed it through the day. I didn't hear from her about whether she wanted some support when she went to the Apple store to see about getting her phone fixed, and I didn't hear the outcome of that visit. I have a feeling I never will get to hear about it. Maybe I am in the wrong to expect her to phone me, but it just makes me think she has lost any interest in me. So be it.

 I am sure I was complaining that I didn't get enough hours of sleep the previous night. I certainly didn't seem to have any useful snoozes during the day (I think I might have one short snooze). That should have set me up for feeling very tired last night, but my brain would not shut up, and it was 3am, or maybe later still, before I finally fell asleep. Maybe I got about 4 hours sleep last night. Oddly enough, I don't seem to feel particularly tired this morning.

  I feel my body is suffering from spending so much time laying down yesterday, although it doesn't seem as bad as I predicted. I think I might needed to be helped by a couple of paracetamol tablets, but I really must get out today. Perhaps it might be as undemanding as a walk to the local shops, but I feel like I ought to push myself to go further. I have even been wildly speculating about a trip to Clacton-On-Sea. Maybe that is too wildly enthusiastic, but I'll do my research, and see what pops out. Today was the day that I previously offered to take Sue to Hasting's but the chances of her taking me up on the offer seem close to zero.

  One thing I have been contemplating is future gigs. The amount of venues I could be avoiding in the future keeps going up. There are several places I now avoid because Angela and lover boy might be there. I can now add to that list a whole host of places that Sue goes to, but not for any problem about bumping into Sue. No the problem is the leech called Nigel. He tends to hang around places where Sue goes. Maybe he sees her as a soft touch for blagging drinks. One thing is for certain, and that is that he really annoys me. That really spoils any gig I might go to - doubly so if he tries to talk to me, and treble that if it is in the gents !

 It is a shame he cast such a pall of unpleasantness on Sunday. I was almost enjoying myself at Stretchy's open mic. There are special photographic opportunities there.....
Poppy the dancing dog
This is Poppy the dancing dog.
another shot of Poppy
Poppy is happy to dance for many people, and very much so if rewarded by some pork scratchings.
Gian Goldie
This is Gian Goldie - Poppy's owner, and singer of good songs !
Monday 17th September 2018
10:58 BST

  The first sunshine broke through the clouds much later than forecast, and even then there didn't seem to be as many sunny intervals at first, when they did start. Late in the afternoon the sky did get quite clear with as much as 50% of it a glorious blue. By midday it was feeling slightly better than mild. The mid afternoon temperature reached 22° C, and that was nice.
                      and warm
  Various revisions of the forecast for today all say that the sun will be fully out, and presumably the sky blue, buy 3pm this afternoon. It should last until sunset. Until then we are having frequent, and rather nice sunny intervals. I am pretty sure they started before 10am as the forecast says. In fact it seemed very bright at 8am, but I hadn't drawn the curtains then to check. The latest revision of the forecast still says the temperature will reach 25° C at 3pm, and it will last for 2 hours, after that it will slowly drop, but it will still be 20° C at midnight, and still 19° C tomorrow morning. Tomorrow looks like it is going to be disappointing compared to earlier forecasts. The morning will probably be dull, and the afternoon will only see some sunny intervals. The temperature is now predicted to 23° C - nice, but nothing to get excited about, doubly less exciting under a grey sky.

  Yesterday, being a Sunday, was a sort of day of rest, and I did quite a lot of it. I also finished my photo editing of pictures I had taken on Saturday night. On the whole I was satisfied with many of the pictures I had taken on Saturday night. I am not sure how I did it, but I did seem to find some balance of using the flash to enhance the natural light, rather than bleach it out - although that was by no means always the case ! Some pictures were too dark, but often salvageable if they were useful, and a few pictures were too bright. The latter were basically unusable.
Jo with a big smile
Sometimes the light just fell in the right place at the right time - like this lovely picture of Jo smiling.
Guy Harris and his drum kit
I used my wide angle lens for this aerial shot of Guy Harris and his drum kit. The idea for it was just one of those flashes of inspiration that too rarely comes. It meant invading the bands area, but it seemed to work well.

 I managed to get all the photo editing done early in the afternoon, and so I spent the next 3 or 4 hours doing very little except reading and snoozing. I also did some cooking. For a late lunch I poached some Scottish mackerel in water and vinegar with a vegetable stock cube and some sliced leeks. The vinegar was to reduce the fishy smell when it was cooking, and it seemed to work OK. The fish was nice, maybe even slightly better than nice, but not as far as delicious. I also cooked some marinated pork belly strips for later consumption.

  As sunset approached it was time to go out to Stretchy's open mic at The Swan And Mitre in Bromley. By the time I got there is was fully dark, and it wasn't exactly bright while I waited at the bus stop for the bus to go there. The days seem to be getting very short now, and there is far, far worse still to come. I decided to take my Canon EOS 1200D camera with me to give it a bit of an airing, and to get some mileage out of the Canon flash gun I bought at great expense - it was still cheap compared to it's brand new price, but over double the price of an equally good, or even better, Chinese version.
Rob Todd
  One of the things about the real Canon flash gun is that it's electronics talks to the camera's electronics. In practice that means you can just set the camera to automatic, and most pictures come out well (although not all !). When viewed at full resolution with a bit of extra zoom, you can count the hairs on Rob's moustache - not a nice job, but someone has to do it ! At the current time I am only halfway through the pictures I took last night.

  Last night was a night of surprises - and all of them were not that good. I wasn't expecting that human sponge to turn up - the one who is frequently trying to sponge drinks off people because he is broke - aka Nigel. I didn't expect Sue to turn up, but she did. That should have been nice, or even very nice, but there was a certain coolness between us. It was made worse by her son being with her - that was probably my fault rather than her or his. It was definitely made worse by Nigel being their. I don't like being in the same pub as him, and I definitely won't join in any conversation he is part of, and he persists in trying to talk to Sue. She can't seem to blank him like I do. Perhaps she doesn't want to. The final nail in the coffin was when Lee turned up. That was a complete and utter surprise. I left him, Sue, her son, and Nigel to their own tiny world, and just stayed in my tinier world.

  Actually the final, final nail in the coffin was when Nigel tried to talk to me in the toilet. With that I just grabbed my camera and walked out without saying goodbye to anyone. A few minutes later, and waiting for a bus, I was joined by Jerry Scales. I don't think he left the pub for any particular reason apart from feeling very slightly unwell. He was using an asthma inhalor a lot during the evening. We had a nice chat on the bus until we got to his stop, and he left the bus to walk home.

  When I got home, which would have been roughly when the open mic session would have been finishing, I sent a message to Sue offering to meet her in Bromley today when she takes her phone for it's appointment with a specialist in the Apple store. All I got in return was an invite to install Messenger on my mobile phone - something I think Facebook sent automatically. While doing that I left the marinated pork belly strips I had cooked earlier heating up. They were delicious when I came to eat them. Of course like all things that are delicious they were terribly unhealthy, but last night I was not in the mood to care.

  It did seem warm in my bedroom last night. Too warm to sleep fully under the duvet. I probably should have opened my bedroom window to let in some cool air. I was a bit agitated last night, and so sleep didn't come easy, but it probably came quicker than I thought it would - perhaps 1am instead of 4am ! I didn't seem to sleep well, and I had a load of dreams. Oddly enough I don't think they were sad or unpleasant dreams, although the memories now are so hazy that it is hard to judge. Mostly my bad sleep, once I got to sleep, was just difficulty trying to balance feeling too warm or a bit cool.

  This morning I feel slightly bad, but nothing unexceptional. I still haven't heard from Sue, and if I recall correctly she is due  at the Apple store in half an hour as I write this. I feel that another glorious adventure is over, and it's not a nice feeling. I actually feel far worse for spotting some beer mats in the pub last night.
nice idea,
  It superficially seems like a good idea, but no matter how much you talk, you can't change reality. Unfortunately it is reality that has betrayed me - as it seems it has done for the last 30 or 40 years. Of course it would be the popular opinion that it is my reality that is wrong, and a good brain mechanic could somehow change that, but apart from it being mostly miserable, I feel very comfortable in my reality. It would be labelled as narcistic, but I maintain my reality is right, and it is yours that is wrong.

  Apart from finishing off my photo editing I have little or no idea how I will fill in the time until it is time to go out to another open mic night tonight. I must admit I will be going there without much enthusiasm, or indeed any at all, but I'll go anyway. I reserve the right to walk out at a moments notice, and while that could be triggered by some individuals being there, it is more likely to be triggered when it gets too busy in there. This will be the second open mic night at The Crown And Anchor, and the first did end being very busy. There was a tight scrum around the "stage" area. I got fed up with that, and left after a couple of hours. I can see myself doing the same again tonight....on the other hand, maybe now the novelty is over there will be less curious onlookers.
Sunday 16th September 2018
09:52 BST

  Yesterday wasn't a bad day. There were a fair scattering of sunny intervals through the day, and it felt on the warm side of tepid. Maybe it was the lack of any significant wind that made it seem perfectly comfortable coming home in just a t-shirt as 11pm approached. I didn't check the temperature myself - on reflection it seems I rarely do unless it is very cold, or very warm - but I have no reason to doubt the official forecast of 20° C for the maximum daytime temperature.
                      going to be dull today
  The forecast says there should have been sunny intervals for the last couple of hours. I have yet to see any sunshine at all, but it is fairly bright, and maybe the sun is doing it's best to break through the clouds as I write this. Assuming it does break through eventually, it should be a better day than yesterday. It is forecast to be a couple of degrees warmer, and there should be even more sunny intervals than yesterday - assuming we ever get to see the first one ! Today should peak at 23° C according to the latest revision of the forecast (which still insists that there will be lots of sunny intervals). Tomorrow might see the temperature hit 24° C, but it will be a very dull morning. In the unlikely event that reality foloows the forecast, the sun will first break through at 5pm for a couple of hours of sunny intervals followed by full sunshine for the last couple of hours before sunset.

  I don't think it was completely planned, but I did a lot of resting yesterday. After all my rushing around, doing loads of housework that I am unaccustomed to doing, it was nice to catch up with my reading yesterday. I wasn't totally static though, and that was a good thing. All that laying around does make me feel stiff and aching. I did one very small job before midday, and that was to hand wash one specific item. It was the tea towel I had used as a damp base to do my ironing on the day before. It was rather stained where the heat had boiled out old polish from the wood. Fortunately it seemed to clean up OK.

  Early in the afternoon I went to Aldi. It is quite surprising how just that one relatively short walk can loosen up many aching bits of my body. The one thing it didn't cure, although it did help a lot, was the aches from my rib cage where I had crunched it when turning over in the night. Later on, when I went out to two gigs, I took some paracetamol to help dull some of the pains.

  The first stop on my evening out was The Mitre in Greenwich. I could spot no reason for it, but the traffic through Greenwich was just crawling along. One person got so fed up waiting to get to the bus stop that they begged the driver to open the doors while still a couple of hundred feet from the bus stop. I took advantage of that, and walked past the bus stop to the pub minutes before the bus got there. The band I was seeing was Mark In Time - quite an appropriate name for a gig in Greenwich, with all it's associations with time.
Mark In Time
 Last night I didn't even attempt to muck around trying to take pictures in the ambient light. I leapt straight in with my flashgun. For the first pictures, like the one above, I forgot to flick down the diffuser that helps spread the light out a bit, and I was just purely bouncing the light off the ceiling. It seemed to work OK, although I worry that later pictures may be a bit too bright. I have only gone through the first few snaps to get a picture to show here. I also shot a bit of video of the band on my Nokia 5 mobile phone. It ain't great, but it's better than I thought it might be.

 I watched Mark In Time for about 45 minutes, and that seemed like a good round sort of time. Maybe it is no coincidence that many classic album lasted about 45 minutes, and of course it was one side of the most popular Compact Cassette - the C90. In my naivety I sort of forgot how bad the traffic had been earlier, and so I wasn't pleased to see it barely moving when I left the pub. It was something like 10 minutes before a 386 bus turned up. Once I was on it it barely managed walking pace through the centre of Greenwich. Once we left the main road it still would not exceed 20mph even with an empty road ahead.

 To make matters worse the bus was going to terminate early at The Royal Standard pub, and that meant a 6 or 7 minute, very slightly uphill walk to the pub. Once we got to the stop where the driver wanted to terminate the bus several of us realised that there was nowhere he could turn around, or go anywhere except to go past the next stop, which is right outside the pub, and we persuaded him to let us out there - which fortunately he did.

  Chain had already started when I got to the pub, The British Oak. As usual, despite their stage lights, it was pretty dim in there. The problem with small pub venues is that there is no place to put the lights in front of the band, and they end up on the side, very often slightly behind the band. So once again I didn't mess around, and used flash from the beginning. I have only given a couple of snaps a quick glance, and they seem to have come out OK, but I haven't prepared any for here yet.

  Once again I watched the band for about 45 minutes - which actually took them up to the end of their first set. I could have stayed later, but maybe I was worried about buses being caught in slow moving traffic, or maybe it just felt like I had enough photos. Like a phantom of the night, I evaporated away before the second set started. I think I might have just missed a 54 bus, but it was only a 3 or 4 minute wait for a 202 bus.  It was actually quite a fast ride home. I didn't actually go straight home. I had deliberately eaten very little up to the time I went out. So the inevitable happened on the way home, and it was very tasty !

  I think I slept well last least I can't remember any incidents during the night. I probably woke up a lot earlier than was desirable, and then compounded the problem by doing "just one more thing" instead of going back to bed. It started innocently enough with just taking a screenshot of the weather forecast, and ended up with a bit of very simple video editing. Maybe that was good because I woke up aching with stiff joints. I feel much better now though, although "much better" doesn't equate to "good".

  Some of today will be taken up with photo editing, and some with being lazy - if quietly reading is being lazy. All that stops tonight when I'll be going to Stretchy's open mic in The Swan And Mitre in Bromley. I am contemplating taking my usual camera kit for gigs tonight. The last couple of open mics I've been to I have just used small cameras. I am pretty sure Sue will be there tonight, but I think it unlikely I'll be going back to her place afterwards, and so there will be no problem lugging my big camera bag. Of course if I get lucky it still won't be much of a problem with the bag camera bag.
Saturday 15th September 2018
09:37 BST

  The forecast made it look like yesterday would be very dull, but it seems I was just being pessimistic in my interpretation of the chart. During the morning, and into the afternoon, there was enough cloud to block and direct sunshine, but that cloud was thin enough to let through some hazy light. Sometimes it would be bright enough to cast a fuzzy shadow. It wasn't until an hour or two before sunset that the clouds cleared to leave a large expanse of blue sky. Unfortunately the sun was so low in the sky by then that it was always obscured by buildings and trees. The highest temperature was 18° C. That was comfortable, but not really what you might call warm. There was a 40% chance of rain in the morning, but the day remained dry.
                      than yesterday
  Today is forecast to be brighter than yesterday, and in a rare agreement between the forecast and reality, the sun is shining brilliantly as I write this. Later on it will get a bit cloudy, and we could lose the sun completely for part of the afternoon, but it should be back later in the afternoon. It should be a dry day with a top temperature of 20° C, and that could feel very nice when the sun is out. Tomorrow should see sunny intervals popping up all day long, and the top temperature will be 22° C - which might, or might not, feel like 23° C. I note that next Tuesday, once thought to be a very warm and sunny day, is slowly becoming more and more ordinary with each update of the forecast.

  When I look back, I had a very busy day yesterday. One of things I did was to put down more mousetraps to try and catch, and "eliminate" the small furry intruder I saw the day before yesterday. I haven't seen it since that 1 second view I had of it, and I haven't noticed any dropping either. I am sure I didn't imagine seeing it, but it make me wonder.  One possible, although highly unlikely possibility is that it has gone into hibernation underneath the disused washing machine or something. One thing I did was to deliberately leave out some off cuts of some pears I had been eating, and put mousetraps on what I hoped would be the approaches to it. There has been no sign that the bits of pear were touched, and certainly no corpse in any of the traps.

  It was in support of mouse prevention that I gave the living room a good hoovering - and in particular where I occasionally drop crumbs of food when eating in there. I even hoovered the walls - woodchip wallpaper can accumulate quite a bit of dust sometimes. I also hoovered the hallway too while I had the machine fired up. With the living room freshly hoovered, I decided to move my portable photographic backdrop, and set it up in there. After a bit of consideration I decided that I would set the length of the crossbar to just two sections from the four that came with it. If I use a double duvet cover as a backdrop, as I suspect I will, I'll use three sections, but two sections seems to match a modified fitted sheet (modified by cutting the elasticated corners off).

  My earlier experiments, in the spare bedroom, showed that I would have to iron those sheets before using them. So my next task was to iron them on the little wooden desk/coffee table in the living room. I covered the table with a damp tea towel before ironing. I had forgotten how hard and tedious ironing is, although I fear it was made worse by not having a proper ironing board. It seemed to be enough to bring me out in a light sweat. This was particularly so when ironing the second item, the old white sheet. When I decided to save that old sheet I had no idea that I might use it as a photo back drop. I thought I might use it as a dust sheet, and so I just sort of screwed it up and tossed it in the corner. Some of the creases in it were stubborn little buggers !

  My next bit of housework was to rehabilitate the small table in the living room. Although I thought I had protected it's surface with the damp tea towel, I was wrong. The heat boiled out some of the old polish, and fluff from the tea towel got stuck on it. I had to clean the top with some isopropanol alcohol before re-applying polish to it. Maybe that might have been a good thing. I'll have to check it today to see how it looks now it has had time to dry out again.

  My final bit of housework, apart from cooking, was to hand wash a few bits and pieces, and hang them up to dry in the living room (It seemed a bit late in the day to hang it in the garden). That last bit of work completely knackered me, and I was left feeling rather sweat and sticky by the time I hung up the rubber gloves. It seemed worth having a snooze, and I think I did, although I didn't sleep for long.

  Compared with a usual day it seemed like I had done quite enough for one day - by my own standards, but probably few others - and the idea of going out in the evening faded away. Had I gone out I had two choices. One was to take two buses to The Greyhound in Keston to see Kristian Baker with Sue, and the other was to see Back To The Fray in Beckenham. If I could have endured a whole evening of Kristian Baker I might have had a chance of going home with Sue, but I can only stand him in small doses. The problem with Back To The Fray was that I didn't know if Miranda would be fronting them. She has been sick lately, and there is another singer who can stand in for her.

   I just elected to watch a bit of TV followed by an hour or so of reading in bed. It took very little effort to fall asleep once I turned the light out. I ended up having a very strange dream. It concerned someone unknown to me who had a high court injunction against him that prevented him from broadcasting, or podcasting (on the internet) a programme that had some sort of "naughty", probable political content. It happened that he was living nearby in a strange building that was a run down block of flats that seemed to have loads of interconnecting corridors.

 I decided I want to try and get some pictures of the anti-hero. At first I took a couple of bad snaps of him at his front window, but then I realised I knew someone who lived in the same block. So I went to visit him, and he in turn lead me through the corridors to the anti-hero's flat. I'm not sure why I describe him as an anti-hero because while I can't remember what has been the cause of the high court injunction, and maybe I didn't even know in the dream, I feel sure I approved of it. The last thing I remember from the dream, or at least the last part that makes any sense, was being offered a tape of the banned broadcast so I could hear it for myself.

  I woke up this morning with all sorts of aches and pains. I have a vague memory of turning over some time in the night, and hearing/feeling my rib cage going crunch. Most pains have now dissipated - including one that was lower down than my ribcage, and offset to the side. That pain was very unusual, and possibly worrying, but with hindsight it must have faded away since going to the toilet. Several hours later and I think I feel moderately OK. I don't feel terribly dynamic though !

  I am unsure what I am doing today. I feel like I want to get out and stretch my legs, but I don't want to use up too much energy doing so because I want to try and go to two gigs tonight. A band, whose name is on the tip of my tongue, are playing in The Mitre in Greenwich tonight. That should be an early start. As is my usual practice, I could spend an hour or two there, and then get the 386 bus to The British Oak where Chain are playing. It is unlikely, but I could have Sue in tow. If that is the case I might be able to go back to her place afterwards. I have already ascertained that trains from Lewisham run quite late from there to Orpington - I think there is even one at 01:38am - although I don't think there are any 54 buses running that late.
Friday 14th September 2018
09:00 BST

  It was nice yesterday - probably nicer than the forecast seemed to suggest it would be. After a cold start lots of sunshine warmed it up to about 19° C. Once it reached that, just after midday, the sun was supposed to give way to just sunny periods, but it felt like the best of the sunshine was from mid afternoon until almost sunset. There is a possibility that it all looked better from indoors. I was supposed to be out in it, but circumstances dictated otherwise.
  The forecast has changed a fair bit since yesterday. I am sure that yesterday it was predicted that today would see a scattering of sunny periods, but now it seems it will be gloomy until 5pm - except that back in the real world the sun is doing it's best to shine as I write these words. It was rather dull until maybe 10 minutes ago, but now the sun s doing it's best to burn through the clouds. It is currently just strong enough to cast a hazy shadow. Maybe this is just a short lived thing, or maybe reality is going to be different to the forecast. The temperature prediction is usually pretty close to reality, and it says that today will be a just acceptable 18° C. Tomorrow may see sunny periods popping up throughout the day, and at 20° C, it will be a bit more pleasant.  The current theory is that the weather will continue to improve over the next few days, and next Tuesday could be spectacular if it turns out to be true (unlikely).

  Two things, one good, and the other bad, made yesterday a little less uneventful. A lot of yesterday was all about waiting around for a parcel delivery. I was confident that it wouldn't happen until the afternoon, and so I was free to go out to Tesco to buy some bits and pieces. One of the more important purchases was a bottle of Grant's whisky ! I also found time to wash a bath towel and some underwear before my parcel arrived.

  There were 4 items in my parcel. Two were standard sized to mini sized HDMI cables. I tested one by connecting my small Canon camera to a spare computer monitor. I was not very impressed with the results, but I think I can blame the monitor for that, and in particular the fact that I had to use an HDMI to DVI converter. I have never tried this before, and so I didn't really know what to expect. I suspect that the monitor was not going into full resolution mode. So the pictures looked a bit soft, and also a bit low contrast. In particular the blacks looked a bit grey. I am expecting more interesting results when I connect one of my big cameras to my TV. That has a native HDMI input, and may well be better in several ways.

  The other two items were related. One was a new flash gun that is compatible with the flash gun I have been using recently. I have already confirmed that I can fire off both flash guns at the same time when using the radio link adapter on my camera. Using one as a main flash, and the other as fill in should make for far better portrait photography. The final item was a softbox to attach to a flash gun. It is used to spread the light from the flash gun so it doesn't dazzle so much. I was quite surprised at how small it was. The info was that it was 12 square inches, and I read that as that it was 12 inches across, but they meant it very literally. It is 3 inches by 4 inches, and so 12 square inches, and not 12 inches square !

  All the bits were for my temporary photo studio where I hope to take some photos of Sue with the aspiration of matching some of the shots she had done in the professional photo studio. The HDMI leads were so I can show Sue the results as I take them on my 40" TV. If they come out as well as I hope it may encourage her to let me continue experimenting for longer. I hope I'll be able to get Sue to come here sometime next week.

  The other bit of "excitement" yesterday was excitement I could do without ! I saw a mouse in my kitchen. At least I hope it was a mouse. I only caught a fleeting glimpse of it, and it looked to be very slightly bigger than most of the mice I used to get here, and it seemed to be darker than mousey brown. I strongly suspect it came in while I was working in the garden with the back door left open. On the occasion a week and a half ago, that I think I have mentioned here, when I stepped back to admire my handiwork, and stepped on a rat, I was worried at the time that it could have just as easily bolted in the house as back into the undergrowth. Maybe it is that rats baby that had invaded my house !
  Here is the culprit responsible for my last mouse infestation. This is Schiba who was a stray who adopted me - maybe for his old age. He always seemed very agile, and I presumed he wasn't old, but one night he insisted on going out into the rain, and I never saw him again. He was found by a neighbour in one of the houses at the rear of my place. She thought he was just asleep, but he never woke up. He didn't have a mark on him, and I have to presume he died a natural death. It wasn't obvious at the time that he was very good at catching mice, but not very good at keeping them. It seemed like he would bring mice in, and then lose them. Pretty soon they were breeding, and I had a houseful ! It wasn't until about a year after Schiba died that I managed to clear the house of mice - until yesterday !

  I hope that yesterday's mouse is a one off, and that sooner or later it will be caught in one of the traps I have already started putting down. Once I tried putting down poison bait, but they seemed to eat that with impunity, but I got lucky several times with the traditional mouse trap. Disposal of the bodies was always an unpleasant task, but death must be close to instantaneous to the poor things.

  I expected to have nightmares about mice when I went to sleep last night, but I slept fairly pleasantly. The only faint remnants of a dream I can remember were about a woman wearing extremely tight, possibly rubber/latex trousers. That dream (or dreams) may have been inspired by a video I saw on You Tube of the great German rock goddess Doro Petch on stage at a big gig.

   This morning I seem to feel fairly OK, but slightly apprehensive about what I am going to do about the mouse in my kitchen. Of course the trouble is that it is unlikely to stay in the kitchen, and could be roaming anywhere in the hose. Hopefully it will not find it's way upstairs. I think I need to give the living room a good hoovering to clean up and particles of food that might have dropped on the carpet in there. That should give it no reason to stay in the living room if it goes exploring in there. The back room is a total nightmare. There is so much clutter in there that it could find a 1000 places to hide in there. All I can do is to lay traps near the wall, or other places the mouse might go, and hope it is the only one, and that it gets it's neck broken when it treads on a trap.

  I have practically no other plans for today until this evening. Tonight I might go to one of two gigs. Back To The Fray, hopefully featuring Miranda, are playing in Beckenham tonight. Miranda has been suffering from an illness for some time now, and had to pull out of the last Back To The Fray gig. I hope she is OK for this one, and that her mum and lover boy won't be there. The other possibility is to try and get to Keston, and see The Kristian Baker band. That is attractive because Sue will be there if she is feeling well enough after what is probably just a summer cold. There are two downsides. One is that I only like Kristian Baker in small doses, and second is that it is a two bus ride to the venue. 
Thursday 13th September 2018
08:48 BST

  The rain that made the early hours of yesterday so soggy had definitely finished by first light, and the rest of the day was dry. It was generally a cloudy day, but it was fairly light cloud, and so not as gloomy as I feared. From time to time the cloud would be so thin that it seemed quite bright out even though there was no actual sight of the sun. The forecast said there should have been sunny intervals starting in the early afternoon. I'm nit sure I remember any particular time when the sun started to shine, but I do know that there was a nice pink sunset, and I could see blue sky contrasted against the pink clouds. The highest temperature was most probably the 17° C that was forecast. It was never warm, but I didn't need any heating, and it was fine going out to the shops in just a t-shirt. During the night the temperature fell a lot !
a cold
                      start, but sunny day - I hope !
  This version of the forecast predicted it would be 9° C at 7am this morning. My thermometer said it was just 7.7° C ! The forecast did get the sunshine right. It is bright and sunny now, and if it remains so, as the forecast predicts it will until midday, it should raise the temperature to a pleasant 19° C. From midday some cloud will reduce the sunshine to sunny intervals, but it will stay dry, and should still be quite pleasant. Tomorrow is currently predicted to start less cool than today, maybe 11° C, but it should warm up to 18°C through the day. Some cloud will mean there may only be a scattering of sunny periods through the day. It's foolish to look any further ahead, but if reality should be similar to the current forecasts, the weekend should be nice, as too might be at least the start of next week.

  Yesterday was one of those days where I didn't seem to do much, and yet the day passed by quickly. I wasn't totally idle yesterday, but a lot of the time I was very close to it. Among my achievements was to do a little hand laundry, and make two visits to the shops. The first visit was just to the corner shop, and that is little more than 2 minutes walk away. The other visit was to the SAM 99p shop, and that is a good 6 or 7 minute walk away. During the morning I finished my photo editing, and then moved on to some very simple video editing - just topping and tailing with a fade in and fade out.

  This video is of Rob Todd singing one of his self penned songs. It is quite a sad song, and he first stated singing it just after I had been dismissed by Angela back in April - so the words had an extra poignancy to me. Rob appears to put extra emotion in it with what looks like a real tear that he brushes away at the end, but I think it is really just a bead of sweat that has run down from his forehead. You can see another bead on the right side of his temple.

  It was almost a couple of months ago now (at least) since I heard the results of my last blood test. As well as my blood glucose level running a bit high, my cholesterol was reported to be high too. I think I made a subconscious decision to stop buying cheese then, and once what was in my fridge had run out I have not had any cheese to nibble on. I did have an urge to nibble on cheese last night, possibly because of semi-boredom, but I had to settle on a tin of peas. If I hadn't covered them in mayonnaise they might have been much more healthy than a big lump of cheese, but with it, they were probably worse than cheese !

  I'm not sure if I felt very tired last night, or not. I certainly felt no urge to go to bed early - which is often the favourite choice when bored. Maybe I wasn't bored enough - except with TV - but the book I am currently reading, a sci fi book by Arthur C. Clarke, kept me amused for an hour or so. Eventually, and I think it was as midnight was approaching, I turned out the light, and I was soon asleep.

  Going to sleep so late didn't really fit in with an idea that I would like to be up and about early this morning. I almost could have. I slept solidly until 4am, and then slept more until almost 6am. I might have got up then, but it was feeling chilly. I switched on the heater, and got back under the duvet. I am currently using a radiant heater with bright halogen lamps in it. It is not ideal for sleeping because it is lights up the room, but I am sure I did drop off to sleep for some of the time I was in bed.

  Today I have several things on the agenda, plus a very recently added one. The original plans were to go to Tesco this morning, and then go to my usual late Thursday afternoon drink - once again at Shortlands. The added thing today is a parcel delivery from Amazon. It is the final accessories I need to do a photo shoot here. One important bit is a "softbox". That is a pyramidal shaped enclosure that clamps over the end of my flash gun, and which has a white diffuser on the large end. It provides a softer bright light when using the flash for portrait photography. Past experience suggests the parcel delivery will be sometime around 2 to 3pm. That should not interfere with the two other items on my agenda. I just hope I can rely on that guess, and the parcel does not arrive while I am having a shower or something ! 
Wednesday 12th September 2018
11:11 BST

  The forecast said yesterday was supposed to be a dull and grey day. It wasn't, or at least the morning wasn't. The morning, and maybe even a little way into the afternoon, was really rather nice. There was plenty of blue area in the sky, and the sun made many appearances. The afternoon was a lot duller, but not entirely.....I think I remember a few unexpected rays of sunshine appearing for a few minutes here and there later in the afternoon. It was certainly very mild - definitely t-shirt weather, and even topless weather when working in the garden. The peak temperature was certainly very close to the forecast 22° C, and it lasted for most of the afternoon, and almost into the evening. The only real failure was that by 11pm it had started to rain - at least 3 hours before it was forecast !
today IS
                      a gloomy day !
  It may well have rained through most of the early hours of the morning, and probably didn't stop until 8am this morning. I have no idea if it was non stop rain, or whether it stopped to draw breath now and then. Mostly it was light rain, maybe not much more than drizzle, but there was at least one time when it seemed to be heavier. It is only lightly overcast as I write this, and so not quite as gloomy as I feared. The latest revision to the forecast reckons that the cloud will break up enough to let a few rays of sunshine through now and then. At the same time the temperature will rise from as low as 13° C this morning to a non too spectacular 16° C (one degree lower than shown in the earlier forecast above). During the night the temperature may drop to as low as 11° C by 7am, but the forecast says there will be a lot of sunshine tomorrow, and the temperature will climb to 19° C. It should feel very nice in that sunshine.

  Yesterday I mentioned that I did some hand laundry quite early in the morning. I did it more as a test to see how I felt rather than any urgent need to clean the few items I washed. It seemed to be easy enough, and it seemed that I was over my weekend illness. So the next thing I did was to wheel the brown wheelie bin through the house, and do some more hack and slash gardening. It really feels like I am making progress on the garden, but I am also fully aware there are some serious trials of my patience and stamina to come !
another wheelie bin
                        filled close to the brim
The wheelie bin is almost full at this point, and I was feeling knackered, but I went on to add a bit more before I gave up.
the back fence is finally in sight
It is hard to show just how much I have done in this picture, but the size of the fence panels give a clue. I think they are 6ft wide, and my efforts yesterday have pushed the jungle back almost one fence panel deep. The next bit, that I shall do next week, should see me arrive at the back fence down this side of the garden. Yesterday's push included going through nettles and brambles that were head high, but the next bit will only be about thigh deep.
aerial view of the garden
    This aerial view (taken from the bathroom window) shows most of my garden. There is another 4 - 5ft to the wall of my house at the bottom of the picture. The red bounded area (plus another 1 or 2 ft that can't be seen at the bottom of the picture) is the work I have done to date. That doesn't include clearing the paths of twigs and branches from the felled tree. It also doesn't include some of the thick branches I have sawn off the top of the tree. Next week I shall tackle the green bounded area. I think that will be comparatively simple to clear, and I expect I'll also do a little more clearance to the right of the red bounded area. The area bounded by yellow will be my task for the following week. It includes the big (3 or 4ft) stump of the tree. I fear I may never get the stump out, but I'll definitely need to keep cutting back the new growth from the stump. It is already getting rather lush !

  The other thing the picture above shows is my next door neighbours garden. Until I took the picture I had no idea the lady next door had done all that hard work decorating her garden in this sea theme (at least I think she did it all - her husband probably did some of it though). All that hard work left me hot and sweaty, and with a few aches and pains that had not been aching as part of my weekend illness. Luckily they didn't seem to be lasting aches and pains, and in many ways I felt quite good after finishing that hard work.

  All I had to do next was to have a good rest before having a good wash, and getting ready to go out to Stretchy's open mic at The Bricklayers Arms pub just the other side of Bromley (from my perspective). It is nearly always a good night there with lots to see. I had hope to see Sue there, but she had to cancel her visit when she had one of her friends visit her for "counselling". Appartently her friend is not getting on too well with her boyfriend/husband/partner/whatever. So I had no special company, and obviously couldn't go home with Sue and stay at her place overnight.
                            "Stretch" Sickel
  One of the problems I had with photography last night was that there was almost enough light to no use flash. That sounds like a good position, but my Canon SX40 still kept wanting to use a slow shutter speed even with the flash activated. Some pictures had a curious mix of a sharp image superimposed over the same image with motion blur. To make it more interesting the blurred parts were red tinted because they were taken with tungsten light. Many images, like the one above of Stretch, came out OK apart from a strange sort of texture to the picture that isn't helped by shrinking it down to fit on this page. The strings on the guitar look very weird to me.

  The weather forecast said the rain would not start until 2 or 3am this morning, but it actually started as I was on the bus going home. My situation was made worse by missing both the 208 and 320 buses while walking to the bus stop. If I had left the pub as little as a minute earlier I could have had my choice of either. Rather than wait 20+ minutes for the next bus I opted to get the 336 bus. It takes the scenic route that ends up as the same stop as the 320 - just around the corner from the fried chicken shop. I came up with the unassailable idea that I might shelter from the rain inside the shop, and that by the time my chicken burgers had been constructed the rain might have stopped. It didn't !

  I had made arrangement for coming home in the rain, but the arrangements assumed that I would be leaving from Sue's house, and that it would be this morning. By the time I would have left there this morning, it wouldn't actually have been raining. Instead I arrived home rather damp, but fortunately not really cold. Like the night before, it seemed quite warm in my bedroom, and I think I slept most of the night with the duvet barely over me - maybe just one leg.

  This morning I feel mostly OK. I don't fancy doing any rushing around today, but I probably could without too much effort or discomfort if I had to. Mostly I will be sending some time editing photos. I have actually made a start on that, and I am half way through. I also have some video to edit (only topping and tailing with a fade in and out). I don't think I have ever tried my Canon SX40 camera to shoot any video before last night. The thing that inspired me was noticing that when in video mode there was a menu setting to turn off automatic, and adjust the microphone sensitivity manually. The results on the few bits of video I have sampled seemed to be very good, and the picture looks fairly crisp and well balanced too. I'll not comment on my camera work beyond saying I could do better !
the full moon on
                            31st January 2018
 I'm pretty certain I would have shown this picture already, but I found it as an isolated picture among some gig pictures on the camera memory card in my Canon SX40 that I used last night. This picture of the full moon on 31st January 2018 came out so well that I thought it worth showing again.
Tuesday 11th September 2018
08:34 BST

  According to the forecasts, yesterday was the end of a short run of nice days. The jury is still out on that one, but yesterday was nice. There were plenty of sunny intervals, and some of them were quite long. Some so long that the moved into the a category of "sunshine" !. The temperature was a pleasant feeling 21° C - ideal shirt sleeve weather, but not hot.
a gloomy
                      day that hasn't actually started gloomy
  The forecast for today has got off to a bad start. It predicts it to be dull, overcast and gloomy, but as I write this the sun is shining, and there is a lot of blue in the sky. Most of the clouds are of the thin and wispy variety. One of two things will happen. Either the forecast will be revised to reflect the reality in Catford, or the sky will cloud over to catch up to the forecast. Of course there could be a third way. The latest revision of the forecast says it will be dull and gloomy in 16 minutes as I write this, which seems unlikely. It also says the cloud will be even thicker, making day time like night time from midday. Despite all this cloud, if it arrives, it should be 22° C. It is now predicted that by 1 or 2am tomorrow morning it will be raining. That rain might continue all through tomorrow. Most of it should should be light rain, but you never know.....

  I wasn't really sure how well I felt yesterday morning. It seemed like most of the aches and pains and stiffness had subsided, but until I tested my body I couldn't make up my mind one way or the other. The one thing I thought I knew was that I still felt a bit weak. The big test was to go shopping in Aldi. Once I got into my stride I was happy to find that I was close  enough to be in fair working order. On my way back from the store I bumped into my next door neighbour. She asked how I was, and commented that I looked very fit and healthy. I am not sure I would fully agree with that, but I was feeling "OK".

  I was hoping to take Sue for a liquid lunch yesterday, but it became a bit late for that. One of the holdups was that Sue was spending hours on the phone to Apple (and also EE) about her phone. The phone is only 14 - 16 months old, and the battery is failing, or by many definitions, has failed. I have my suspicions that the situation os made worse by the way Sue handles her phone. I often see her pick it up by the charging lead instead of the body of the phone. Not only does she manage to wreck many charging leads, but the strain may well be damaging the charging socket. I have gently pointed this out a few times, but she pays no heed to my advice.

  The alternative plan for yesterday was to take a spare phone that she could use over to her place, and that is what I did, but it was far from straightforward. After travelling to St Mary Cray station I went to the bus stop and kept an eye on the Countdown display. A bus was due in 16 minutes, and that time gradually reduced minute by minite until the bus was 3 minutes away. Then it disappeared off the face of the Earth. At that point I faced another half hour wait for the next bus. That bus did exactly the same thing.

  The only reason for the disappearing buses must be some sort of diversion, and that turned out to be the case - and I later found out it was two diversions on different parts of the route, although only one stopped the buses going to the station. If I had known that there were no buses to Sue's place I would have attempted to walk there. It is possibly less than a 20 minute walk, although a lot of it is uphill. After standing at the bus stop for over 45 minutes I opted to get a cab from the cab station just across the road. It was an unnecessary £5.60 that I spent, and the cab driver said that the 60p was mostly because he too had to take a convoluted route because of road closures. (One closure was a collapsed sewer or something).

  I spent several hours at Sue's place, but it was not the most enjoyable hours I have spent with her. She spent most of the time on the phone to Apple support, and some of the time answering an incoming call from my friend Lee. Unfortunately Lee was making some stupid suggestions to Sue. He evidently knows nothing about the construction of the modern iPhone. The battery in Sue's iPhone is glued in using hot melt glue. To change the battery it needs to be put into a temperature controlled oven. Too hot and it kills the screen, and possible explodes the battery, and if too cool it still encased in a solid lump of plastic like glue. A new battery may only cost £6.99 on fleabay, but most amateurs like Lee would probably break the phone. A replacement fitted by Apple might only cost £25 according to their website, and that is the option I would use because it is the path of least resistance even if it it did seem unjust that it was not replaced under warranty.

  It is still possible that it will be replaced under warranty. The last woman at Apple support who Sue spoke to was very good, and calmly talked sue through the best way forward. Over the air diagnostics by Apple support had strongly suggested battery failure. What Sue has to do is to take the phone to the Apple store in Bromley, and they will inspect it, and write out a report for free. Sue then has to present that report to EE who sold her the phone as part of a 24 month service contract. She has to remind them that under consumer law the phone is guaranteed for 24 months, and that Apple has confirmed it is faulty. They should then either repair or replace the phone without impacting on the length of her current service contract.

  Once everything calmed down, or calmed down enough, and Sue knew the way forward, I made my excuses and left. Before I left I asked her if it would be OK to go home with her tonight, after Stretchy's open mic, and stay the night with her. She said she is not 100% certain she will go tonight, but if she does, I can stay with her. It is probably my imagination, or ego corrupting my perceptions, but I seem to have a very calming effect of Sue, and I think she likes that, and more importantly, needs it sometimes.

  With no buses going to St Mary Cray station I opted to go to Orpington station. I was keeping an eye on the time to arrival of the bus on my mobile phone app when the bus suddenly seemed to disappear. With hindsight I realise that it is an effect of the bus being diverted off it's usual route - as it was by the other set of roadworks that the bus was diverted around. Fortunately the bus re-appeared a few minutes later, and I was able to get to Orpington station with 10 minutes to spare before a Thameslink service would take my straight back to Catford station without having to change trains anywhere.

  I felt a few twinges in my chest as I started walking home from the station. The reason for that is that the first 100ft of the walk is currently passed some work being carried out on the pavement, and that even where the pavement was clear it is narrow, and cluttered with people. All that twisting and turning, weaving in and out of people, irritates my rib cage. Once I was in the clear I was able to speed up, and those twinges went away. I arrived home after a fairly swift walk feeling fine, but hungry. I hadn't eaten anything substantial all day at the point, and it was just gone 7pm when I arrived home.

  I decided to grit my teeth and spend a bit of time preparing a semi-healthy meal. It was grilled cod fillets in batter with mange tout and runner beans. It was mostly low fat, low sugar, and low in carbohydrates. The only trouble is that I let my guard down during the 25 minutes it took the fish to cook, and I ended up having a nibble or two before dinner. Those nibbles didn't spoil my appetite though. It wasn't long before I had eaten the fish that I wanted more to eat. I think it was the knowledge that there were some sandwiches in the fridge that I had bought from Aldi in the morning.

  I finally finished eating, and watching the thin offerings on TV. There wasn't much to do after that. I was feeling quite weary by that time, and so I took a book to bed and read for a while.  The funny thing was that it seemed quite warm in my bedroom. Some of it would have been the sun warming it up earlier in the afternoon, and some of it was the effect of the hot pepper sauce I had eaten along with my food earlier, but I think there was another effect in place. I don't have any central heating, but my neighbours do either side. On one side they are elderly, and on the other side the lady who lives there comes from Thailand - both possible reasons for them to run their central heating on the warm side. I think my bedroom, sandwiched in the middle, is heated by my neighbours central heating. It isn't enough in winter, but in these cool nights it would appear to make all the difference.

  I can't say I had a good night's sleep, and it was definitely shorter than I would desire. It seemed to be punctuated with dreams. Some dreams in the first part of the night were a bit Sci Fi, and seemed to have depressurisation as a theme - leaks and stuff allowing all the air out of cabins etc. I woke up several times after dreams like that. In each dream I seemed to suffer no ill effects from the lack of breathable air, and indeed it often seemed like I was merely a passive observer - maybe as if I was watching it on TV, or reading it in a book. Back in the real world I wonder of I was suffering sleep apnoea where you actually stop breathing for short periods, and yet I didn't seem to have any lack of breath, or any other signs that such a thing could have happened as I woke up.

  One bit of dream that was most worrying turned out to be no more than pure dream. In this dream I was taking a very satisfying pee into the fireplace that was in the toilets of a pub. It was like a medieval fireplace with a large surround for a smaller fire in the middle, and I was peeing into the ashes at the side. It was quite an inventive dream because I very much doubt there is a pub anywhere in England that had a working, and in use, fireplace inside its gents toilet ! It was such a satisfying pee in the dream that I had to check my bed when I woke up at the end of it. I am very happy to announce that my bed was still perfectly dry when I woke up, and I surprisingly only felt a very mild desire to pee.

  I got up a bit earlier than usual, or than I might have desired this morning. When I say got up I only mean that in the loose sense of getting out of bed. I have yet to wash and dress. On the other hand I haven't sat around doing nothing. I have already done a bit of laundry, and hung the item on the line in the hope that it would stay bright and breezy for long enough to dry them outside. I have also had a sort of breakfast. I have no idea what I will do next..or maybe next after having a shower. The only thing that is definite is going into Bromley tonight for Stretchy's open mic. It should be entertaining even if Sue doesn't appear, but I think the chances of that will be slim.
Monday 10th September 2018
09:08 BST

  Yesterday was pleasant, but not particularly special. Actually I might be ungenerous saying that. There was a couple of times that I ventured outside as far as the wheelie bin in the front garden, and the sunshine did feel rather lovely on my back. The direct sunshine, plus the front of my house acting as a sort of heat trap, did feel much warmer than the air temperature of 22° C. That 22° C lasted for several hours in the afternoon - the sunshine rather less. It was a day of sunny periods of very variable lengths. Sometimes the sun would be shining for as long as 30 minutes, but 10 minutes was more typical. The periods without sunshine could be as little as 10 or 15 minutes, or as long as a couple of hours. There were a few times when the clouds did seem thick enough to bring rain, but it was another dry day.
                      dry and sunny
  The theory is that today should be a superior version of yesterday. The temperature may be a degree less, just 21° C, but there should be more sunshine. Until late this afternoon it may only be in the form of sunny intervals, but in a grand flourish, the last three hours of daylight should see good sunshine. There seems little chance of rain today, but tomorrow looks a little suspicious. It may actually be warmer tomorrow, 23° C, but it is forecast to be a very grey day. Not a single ray of sunshine is predicted, but then again no rain is actually predicted either. The day after, Wednesday, looks like it is definitely going to be wet, although that forecast could change beyond recognition in the next 48 hours.

  I felt pretty bad again yesterday, but maybe only for the morning, and a few hours of the afternoon. It was great that I got lots of sleep the night before, but that did have the minor downside that it seemed impossible to pass some of the day away snoozing. By mid morning I was able to more carefully consider, and note how I felt. The conclusion I came to was that it depended on what I was doing. So no help there ! When I distilled it down it came down to the fact that my chest/ribcage was no longer hurting most of the time, but was still tender, and easily inflamed. With the distraction of my chest very much reduced I became aware that quite a few joints and muscle felt mildly stiff, and mildly aching.

  It felt like a very much attenuated 'flu - which is impossible, but that is how it felt ! On top of that, or maybe part of it, or the cause of it, was a general mental feeling of malaise. I think I might have described it as "bleaaaaagh". That is not a simile or homophone for vomitting, but a sort of feeling that the world ending would be an improvement ! I think it was close to 3pm that I decided I had had enough of just laying around, and it was time to do something useful, and to lightly test my body.

  The task I chose to do was to do a fairly simple, but slightly annoying task, and it was do a small backlog of washing up. I also cleaned inside the microwave oven and the worktop in front of it. Prior to starting that I did wonder if my feeling of malaise was partly just inside my head - a sort of depression/despair sort of thing, but I quickly learned that many of my symptoms were real.  One thing I had not realised before was how stiff my hands seemed to be. I also noted that my wrists and elbows seemed stiff. On top of that my right leg seemed to starting hurting after standing at the sink for a few minutes.

  At the end of doing the washing up, and cleaning the microwave, I actually felt slightly better, but more than that is that I felt I had accomplished something. I celebrated that with some beer, and then went onto drink 7 cans of beer before the rest of the day was over. Some of that beer slipped down very easily while speaking to Sue on the phone. We had not been in contact since I walked out of the pub early last Friday night. I was worried that might have annoyed her, but she was too engrossed in the band to worry about me - which was one tenth part of why I left early !

  We had a good long chat about this that and the other, and somewhere in the conversation she accepted my invitation to take her for a drink today in principle. There could be, and it now seems quite possible that there could be complications that will stop that happening. One complication is that her mobile phone battery has all but failed, and she needs to try and get Apple to change it under warranty. They argue that a battery is just a consumable, and if it was as easy to change as a couple of AA cells I might agree, but in the iPhone it is an almost non replaceable part. To fail in under 2 years ought to be considered a manufacturing defect, and Apple should take responsibility for it.

  I read in bed until midnight last night, and maybe that wasn't sensible considering there are things I hoped to do before going out to see Sue today. Various interuptions, including messages from Sue, and digging out an emergency phone for her (a Sony mobile phone that can't be much more than 2 years old) have delayed me a lot, and if I was to keep to my original idea of meeting Sue I would have no time to go shopping in Aldi - one of the things I wanted to do this morning.

  I still don't feel perfect this morning, but I feel that I will soon loosen up once I get out walking in the fresh air. However I have had another, different sort of problem this morning that I think, or hope is resolved now. I felt quite bloated when I woke up. Four very productive visits to the toilet seems to have replaced that with a hollow sort of feeling - which is also not very uncomfortable, but nearly as uncomfortable as the bloat was - at least I think that is so.

  If I don't get to take Sue for a drink (probably in Shoreham, Kent) I may still go and visit her at home to give her my spare mobile phone. Those two possibilities are about all I can predict about my day at the moment.
Sunday 9th September 2018
09:00 BST

  As far as I am aware, it stayed dry yesterday, but it did seem to be a very cool feeling day. The highest temperature was 19° C, and that was forecast to last for 3 or 4 hours in the afternoon. Unfortunately I was feeling off colour, and it still felt cold to me. There were a few sunny spells that popped up now and then, but I don't think any lasted for more the 10 minutes.
could be
                      a pleasant day
  Today could be a pleasant day. There are supposed to be sunny periods right now, but I think we are just unlucky at the moment. I can see lots of patches of blue sky, but very few have managed to line up with the sun so far. The problem is that there is more cloud than the original forecast predicted. The forecast has just been revised to show less sunny periods than shown in the screenshot above. On the plus side, the maximum temperature is now predicted to be 23° C. Tomorrow will start off cool, and the maximum temperature is currently predicted to be no more than 21° C, and that only for a brief time. However it should be another dry day with sunny periods during all the hours of daylight.

  I didn't feel very good again yesterday. Some of the trouble was almost certainly caused by my lack of sleep the night before, but there was more to it than that. My ribcage felt very tender, and was prone to the odd twinge of pain through a lot of the day. That didn't make me feel too wonderful either, but there was something on top of that too. It wasn't bad enough to be called a fever, but maybe my temperature was running a bit high because I felt cold all morning, and into the afternoon. I had a heater on right up to about 3pm.

  It was at 3pm, or thereabouts, that I decided to finish some hand laundry of a few t-shirts that I had left soaking in detergent since the morning. It didn't cause any pain, although it felt slightly harder work than usual, but only by a small degree. The good thing is that it didn't aggravate my chest/ribcage. It may even have helped to pull it back into shape. One thing it definitely did was to warm me up. I went from feeling cold to sweating profusely by the time I had finished. To get a bit damp when doing the laundry by hand, particularly in warm weather, is not unusual by any means, but yesterday it seemed to take things to extremes. It certainly saved my electricity bill because I don't think I needed any heating on upstairs after that.

  I did put some heating on in the living room last night while I was eating. It may have been that my earlier sweating has sweated something bad out of me, but it wasn't a complete cure. I still felt sort of bleaaahhh in the evening - a sort of nondescript sort of bleaaaahhh - no particular symptoms, just a sort of listlessness and a vague feeling of mild entire body ache. It was the perfect excuse to order a takeaway for dinner. All I had eaten earlier in the day were three high everything bad flapjacks that I had bought during a quick visit to the corner shop to buy a couple of bottles of Diet Coke (and also a magazine - a copy of New Scientist, a magazine they didn't previously stock, and one that I haven't read for years and years).

  I decided a Chinese takeaway would satisfy me, and it did ! I ate it in the living room where I had hung up my freshly washed t-shirts to dry. It felt cool and damp down there, and so I put the fan heater on full blast. It didn't take long to take the chill off the air, and by the time I had finished eating I thought it was starting to feel quite warm in there. As usual I had ordered far more than I wanted, or needed, to meet the minimum order charge for delivery. I tried a restaurant I hadn't used before, but the food was good and tasty, although they were not very generous with the amount of meat used. Maybe that didn't really spoil things though.

  I ate three parts of the order yesterday - some naughty but nice chips, a chicken curry (to go with the chips) and a roast pork omelet. I suspect the latter was rather less unhealthy than the other two dishes. I had two left over dishes that I saved for today. One was Singapore rice, and the other was a Singapore chow mein. While I ate I watched a bit of TV. One programme was "Britain at low tide" (or title similar to that). The episode I watched was about the Shoreline at Winchelsea. It was extra interesting because it was an area I am slightly familiar with after one of my long coastal walks in the area.

  I also watched an old episode of Dad's Army - some of it just between the commercial breaks of the other programme. After eating I continued my watch on my PC in my bedroom. The last programme finished at 8pm, and I decided that it seemed like a good time to go to bed. I didn't initially get into bed, but lay on top reading. I ended up reading quite a lot, and it wasn't until 10pm that I had brushed my teeth, got into bed, and then fallen into what must have been a fairly deep sleep.

  It seemed like I slept for several periods of 2 or 3 hours at a time, and at no point did I suffer any particular pain from my ribcage. On one or two occasions I could feel some slight tenderness, but somehow I managed to avoid any sleeping positions that aggravated it. Even in the early hours of this morning I was still sleeping in big chunks of time right up to when I awoke at 8am. I might possibly have been able to go back to sleep even then, but it would probably just be in short snoozes. At 8am it sort of felt like a good time to get up.

  Since then I have been trying to work out how I feel now. One thing I felt was hungry, and I had Singapore rice for breakfast. My chest/ribcage still feels a little tender now and then, but has given no trouble. Earlier on I couldn't stop yawning. That made my eyes water, and that made me nose run. It did make me wonder if I was a symptom of a cold, but I considered correctly that it was just a side effect of yawning so much. A more worrying thing was that for a short while I seemed to have a mildly sore throat with the soreness, or tightness extending up to under my ears like a glandular sort of thing. That seems to have gone away since eating. Hopefully it will stay away.

  I have no idea what I am doing today. I am pretty sure there are no gigs on tonight that I could go to even if I thought I was up to it. I have a vague feeling I would like to go out in the fresh air, and any possible sunshine I can grab, but I have no idea where. I'd like to go to the seaside, but I don't think I am up to long journeys yet. Maybe it will be no more than a walk around the shops, or maybe I'll walk around the park, or maybe I'll do nothing. Nothing seems like a good thing right now, but I fear that could become boring.

  Yesterday was boring in parts, but I did amuse myself by doing some laundry, as I have already mentioned. I had an enjoyable time just quietly reading, and I filled in yet more time photo editing. I finished the photo album of pictures taken of the Kristian Baker gig at The Elm Tree on Friday night. The pictures taken using flash were far superior as expected !
Kristian Baker band by
I managed to get the whole band in for this shot, but they are all looking a bit odd.
the money shot
This was the best picture of all, although they still look a bit odd !!
Saturday 8th September 2018
09:45 BST

  There was nothing really negative about yesterday's weather, but then again there was little positive to say about it either. It was mild, or 18° C, and there was some sunshine, although mostly in the form of sunny intervals.
a mostly
                      gloomy day ahead
  It seems there is a mostly gloomy day ahead. We seemed to have dodged the rain that was forecast to be falling as recently as now. Instead of rain it does seem that the sun is trying to break through the clouds. The clouds do look very bright where the sun should be right now. The latest published guess at the forecast still included the sunny periods shown for 6pm, and substitutes more of them for the rain that is shown in the screenshot above at 7pm. Another small change is that it will be 19° C for more of the afternoon now. The very biggest change is the forecast for tomorrow. Originally it was shown as a dull and gloomy day, but now it is thought to be a day filled with sunny intervals, and feeling slightly warm at 22° C.

  Yesterday was not a great day. It was initially spoiled by waiting in for another parcel delivery. I basically did very little until the parcel arrived at about 3pm. The really ironic thing was that it was just a couple of mobile phone cases that I had added to the bigger order I had made with Amazon for the photographic accessories. The parcel was so small, and flexible enough, to go through my small letter box, and I really had no need to wait in for it !

  I didn't feel all that good yesterday. There were various reasons for this. One being my chest playing up. It wasn't particularly bad, and perhaps it was more the potential to be worse that was the debilitating thing. There was worse to come in the evening, and some of it was self inflicted. I went out to see The Kristian Baker band playing in the Elm Tree pub in Elmers End, and I only went because I wanted to be with Sue. Those simple facts were the root of my troubles.

  The first negative thing is that I don't like the pub. There is no special reason - just little things whose importance has probably grown out of all proportion to their original reasons. Another thing is that I don't really like The Kristian Baker band. They do what they do terribly well, but I only like it in small doses. Unfortunately Sue idolises them. To express any negative things about the band lost me many brownie points. One major annoyance was that the band was not scheduled to start until 9.30pm. In some venues, where bands start much earlier, I have been in and out with a camera full of pictures before 9.30pm.

  The start time for the band is set by the pub's manager, and so most of my ire is aimed at him. Even if it were a much earlier start, the changing of the seasons means I would still probably have been going to the gig after dark. I don't mind coming home after dark. In fact I frequently enjoy it, but only because I am heading in the direction of bed ! Last night, because of the late start, I caught the 8.48pm train. Had I been at home I might have been thinking about switching off for the night about then.

  My crankiness increased while I was at the gig. Despite quite a few people greeting me by name, including Kristian himself, I never quite feel comfortable in The Elm Tree. I think the bouncers on the door put me on the defensive as soon as I walk in. It got worse. Although I was there because I wanted to see Sue, and maybe even accompany her home at the end of the gig, I got the feeling that my presence was of complete indifference to her. When it got to about 11pm, and I said I was going, she barely even said goodbye, let alone thank me for being there, or make any encouragement for me to stay longer.

 Maybe she just sensed my disquiet about being there, or maybe she was just too much in love with the band. One thing she didn't realise was a few of the reasons why I wanted to get out of there. One was a character called Nigel. He is harmless apart from being an irritant who hangs around like a bad smell. He wants to be friendly, but I don't want to be friends with him. He is responsible for getting Sue lost a couple of times after claiming he knows how to get her home from venues off the beaten track. It was on one of those occasions that he was instrumental in Sue losing the brand new mobile phone power pack/charger that I bought for her, and then had to replace.

  There were two people there who were potentially worse than Nigel. They were Angela and lover boy. To see them together just hurt even after all this time. I was dreading a meeting with Angela because I would have to be nice to her when what I really would want to do was to tell her how much she hurt me by running off with lover boy.  Whether by accident or design we kept out distance from each other, and so I never got a good look at Angela's face to see how she is looking now. At one point she seemed to be ageing fast.  I put that down to the stress of trying to be the woman that lover boy wanted, rather than the woman she is. I noted that lover boy now follows Angela outside when she goes for a smoke.

  I timed my exit for the next train from Elmers End back to Catford Bridge. I think it was the 11:09pm train. I was soon back in Catford, and although I had really eaten enough for one day (in possible anticipation of going back to Sue's place after the gig) I decided I wanted some comfort food. That meant a minor detour on the way home to call into the fried chicken shop. I would like to report that the chicken and fries was delicious, but I probably wasn't in the mood to savour it properly.

  During the day I had a few small twinges from my cranky ribcage, but it wasn't until I got into bed that I managed to really crunch my chest as I turned over. From that point on I became so uncomfortable that it was impossible to relax and get to sleep until gone 3am this morning. Even then I had to get into the most comfortable position I could find before I started to get some sleep. It was made worse by it feeling too hot under the duvet, and too cool without it. At some point I fell asleep with the duvet over me, and woke up to a damp sweaty pillow !

  I doubt I got much more than three hours sleep last night, and in consequence I feel pretty sleepy as I write this. In one respect it doesn't matter because it wouldn't interrupt anything at all if I spent the whole day snoozing. The only problem is that my chest is very cranky at the moment. Just reaching down to wash my hands under the tap was enough to generate a few jolts of pain under my right "moob". There is one peculiarity that I can exploit today - I find it much easier to sleep on my back when just laying on top of the bed - for instance when I have been reading, and put the book down to have a snooze. For some weird reason I can't seem to get comfortable when on my back when in bed.

  The significance of this is that most of my rib cage pains when I am in bed occur when I turn on my side. Last night it was very painful to turn onto my left side ! So in theory I should be able to get some sleep, uninterrupted by rib cage pains, just laying on top of my bed. It is possible that I'll have to put some heat on before doing that. It did feel quite cool in my bedroom this morning despite my thermometer saying it was 15° C, and I have had a bit of heat on to make it more comfortable as I write this.

  In theory I have two birthday parties I could go to tonight, and there is a slim chance I might go to both just for very short periods of time. I don't really do parties because I find them boring and isolating, but it would be good to pop in for long enough to say high, and happy birthday. Maybe 30 minutes would be quite long enough at each, but in truth I really don't fancy going out anywhere today. I do have one little job to do today, and I have made a start on it already. It is to go through, and select and edit the photos I took last night. Even though I was generally pissed off, I still kept snapping.
Kristian Baker
This is Kristian Baker. As can be seen, he is quite a stout gentleman.
I don't know the name of the guitarist..
bass player
    ...and I don't know the bass players name either ! There was a time when all pictures taken at The Elm Tree came out looking like this, but after a year of everyone complaining about the lighting someone managed to flick the right switch, and now the lights do cycle through much more photo friendly colours. I took quite a lot of pictures just using the stage lighting, but after a while I decided not to take chances, and used my flash gun for the last pictures.
Friday 7th September 2018
09:25 BST

  Yesterday was divided into three distinct parts. In the morning there was nice sunshine. Then some clouds arrived to reduce the sunshine to sunny periods in the afternoon. When the evening started the clouds got even thicker, and it rained. The highest temperature in the afternoon was a reasonable 20° C.
                      hours of daylight will see some sunshine
  It was definitely a cool start this morning, just a chilly feeling 11° C. It has also been a nice bright, sunny start to the day. There should be some sunshine all day today, but the middle part may only see sunny intervals. The most recent revision to the forecast is a tiny bit more generous with the temperature - it now says the afternoon peak will be 19° C instead of 18° C. Tomorrow morning could start a little less chilly than this morning, perhaps 13° C, but the afternoon peak is currently predicted to be just 18° C. Unfortunately it is currently predicted to be a mostly grey day with the possibility of rain in the late morning. There could be a few sunny intervals before sunset, but by tomorrow the whole forecast could be completely different.

  I felt constrained to not be too far away from my front door, and ready to open it at a moments notice yesterday. That did make the morning go rather slowly, but the reason for this stopped at about 1pm. It was when the parcel I was waiting for was delivered. It was two stands, plus a crossbar, to support a backdrop for photography. I never quite appreciated how big it was when I ordered it. Fortunately that is only when everything is extended to the maximum. It wasn't long before I set it up, and with the aid of some clamps I hung a double duvet cover on it. It worked well, and the actual duvet cover I selcted should work very well. One side is black, and the other red. I can imagine taking some nice portraits using those as back drops. Once again, like when I was experimenting with using some old sheets, I will have to iron these backdrops before I use them for real. I just hope that Sue will have the patience to let me experiment on her with different lighting and camera adjustments before I am ready to take what I hope will be some very nice snaps.

  Although it was tedious waiting for the parcel to arrive, it actually came at a convenient time. I had enough time to unpack it, and set it up with a double duvet cover as the back drop, to see how it went together, and how it looked, before going for my morning shower - in the afternoon. I then had just enough time to cool down after the shower, pack a lightweight rain coat in my courier bag, and then get to the station to go for my late Thursday afternoon drink. The train was on time, and I got to the pub at the expected time.

  There was an interesting selection of beers at the pub, and most were nice, but two were not really to my liking. I was going to have just three pints, but the timing of the next train home meant I could fit in an extra half. Three and a half pints of just average strength ales, plus the paracetamol I had taken as much as an hour before I had left home, made an amazing transformation. Prior to that I had been suffering from assorted aches, at assorted strengths, from some of the common places for such aches around my rib cage. Some of those aches are similar to heart attack/angina type aches, but there is one big difference - these aches can be instigated, or made worse by going down stairs. Back in the day, when I definitely had a couple of heart attacks, and suffered from angina, the pains would be instigated by going up stairs. It's the mechanical jolting that shakes up my loose rib cage (or something in my superstructure).

  It seems the paracetamol and the beer relaxed me enough, or something like that, for any aches I had to fade away, and no new ones to start as I made my way home. I made it from Catford station to home at a very spirited pace without a single sign of distress. Unfortunately I might have triggered off something new during that fast walk. It was 30 to 60 minutes after getting home that I noticed my right knee was getting very sore and stiff. Another hour later and it was damn painful to bend it when either sitting down, or getting up again. Strangely enough it was not particularly sore to walk on it - provided I walked in a straight line. Any turning movement could cause a lot of pain, and also going down stairs was very uncomfortable.

  It seemed sensible to rest the knee as much as possible, and the easiest way to do that was to have an early night. The knee seemed comfortable once I laid down, although I had to take care when turning over. I think I was fast asleep very soon after 9pm. I mostly slept OK, but with three pints of beer circulating through me, I woke several times to go for a pee (one of the prescribed tablets I take has this strange, but useful effect of delaying my pee - useful when going home on the bus, but inconvenient when it comes out in small doses through the night).

 Getting out of bed was uncomfortable, as was getting back into bed, sitting down on the toilet, and standing back up again, but actually walking to the toilet caused very little, or no discomfort.  This morning my chest feels a bit tender again, and my knee is still definitely complaining. I have rubbed some Comfrey cream on my knee, and maybe that is doing some good. If I have to walk anywhere I will feel inclined to take some painkillers first, but that won't be this morning. Once again I am waiting for a parcel today. This time it will only be a very small parcel - a couple of cases for my Nokia 5 mobile phone. Two of them because I couldn't decided which was better when I was ordering them.

  Sometime next week I will have another day of waiting for a parcel of more photographic accessories. My little parcel today is being delivered from the same Dartford depot as the last two. They both arrived early in the afternoon, and I assume today's parcel will arrive then too. Once the parcel has arrived I will have many hours to fill in before I go out to a gig in the evening. At least I think I'll be going. I am not over keen on the band, but I want to go to be with Sue (and to possibly accompany her home and stay the night with her). I hope that my wonky knee manages to fix itself by then. Whether it is the Comfrey cream, or just the natural progression of things, but it does seem to be feeling half OK now....then again I am sort of resting it as I just sit here typing. I'll see what happens when I get up from my chair !
Thursday 6th September 2018
08:11 BST

  There were many times when it felt like it might rain yesterday. Just before the sun set it did manage to break through the clouds a few times, but it seemed weak, hazy, and rather unspectacular. Apart from that it was a dull and gloomy day, and also a bit damp in the morning after some rain before sunrise. The highest temperature was 19° C.
the day
                      seemes to have started bright
  It is nice that the day has started bright and shiny. If reality follows the forecast it should stay sunny until almost midday, and from then on we will just have sunny intervals until sunset. After sunset it is supposed to rain. Fortunately it is only supposed to be light rain because I could be still heading home from the pub when it first starts to fall. It should be a degree warmer than yesterday. 20° C should feel a fair bit nicer in the sunshine than 19° C in the gloom ! As usual there has been a revision to the forecast in the last half hour. It now seems that the rain has been brought forward to start at 6pm. Bugger ! Tomorrow should see a mix of sunshine and sunny intervals. The highest temperature is currently forecast to be 19° C, but the day will start rather chilly, just 11°C, and it will get quite chilly in the late evening/night too.

  One of the first things I did yesterday once my new photographic lighting stand was delivered was to go out shopping. I visited three shops. The first was the Pound Shop on the high street. I rather over optimistically hoped they might have a full sized HDMI to mini-HDMI connection lead. They didn't, but I still bought a spare full size to full size HDMI lead, and I also bought an HDMI to micro-USB lead. At least one of my old mobile phones could output a video signal coded onto the HDMI standard. It would be curious to see the phone's display on a 40" TV. I hope it wasn't the phone that had the USB-C connector !

  My next stop was Cash Buster's where I wasted some money. I went there to see if they had finally sold the Canon 5D Mk1 camera they had in the window for some time. That had gone, but I did notice a genuine Canon speedlite flash gun. I shouldn't have bought it, but I did. It was actually quite expensive compared to Chinese versions, and myabe not even as good as the Chinese versions. It was back at Petts Woodstock that I was chatting to the photographer who inspired me to get serious about photography, and we were talking about flashguns.  He told me that he had invested in a brand new, very expensive Nikon branded flashgun, but prefers to use a far, far cheaper Chinese flashgun. That should have served as a warning to me, but I didn't.

  I parted with good hard cash for the Canon flashgun, and I found I didn't like it for some strange reason. It works perfectly, and it does have the advantage that it and the camera's electronics can talk to each other. That allows most of the multitude of parameters to be set from the camera's menu screen, and it also allows the camera to control the flash gun in automatic mode, and yet despite these advantages I find myself not like it. Maybe it is because it is too complicated to use. As I said, it has a multitude of parameters that can be changed for this or that. The biggest disappointment is that it is not compatible with my Chinese flashgun. The Canon can "talk" to another Canon flash gun to use it as a slave. It is described as "Wireless", but in fact it is an optical link. The Chinese speedlite uses real radio for it's wireless communication. It also has an optical option but I don't believe at this time that they are compatible. Part of the reason for getting a second flash gun was to use one as the main light source, and the second for fill in flash - very useful for portrait photography.

  My third visit on my shopping trip was to Aldi. It was quite simple to select the things I needed to buy, and most of it was of the low fat and/or (preferably and) low sugar. Only most of the stuff though ! The chicken breasts and legs I bought seemed to emit far more fat than I would have expected when I cooked them. I probably ought to have drained the container I was roasting them in from time to time while I was cooking them. I pigged out on them when I ate them for my dinner.

  My afternoon was partly spent doing photographic type stuff. I gave the new Canon flashgun a spin, but only after downloading the user manual for it so I would at least have a vague idea of how to use it. I really should have spent a lot more time on it, and in particular investigating if there was any compatibility between the Canon and Chinese optical communications systems. I have a feeling I'll just be using the Canon on my Canon EOS 1200D camera, and the Chinese speedlite on the Canon EOS 600D camera.

  One other thing I did was to rig up another temporary back drop using a lightweight aluminium pole to support another old sheet. The second sheet was white, and seemed OK. Once I receive the back drop stand, which could be delivered today, I can also experiment with using several coloured duvet covers as back drops. I have a nice black duvet cover which could work well. For the temporary lash up using the lightweight aluminium pole I just supported it by using the top of the door jam, and the top of a wardrobe. I did consider putting a couple of hooks in the wall. As I contemplated that I looked down and saw the two hooks I had chosen had almost taken up this shape.....
love or screw you
I don't know whether to caption this "Love" or "Screw You" !

  My evening was pretty "normal". I ate my roast chicken parts, and watched some TV with little enthusiasm, and then busied myself with selecting some railway related photos to upload to a special interest group (closed stations). At 11pm I decided to give Sue a call before going to bed. In what must almost be a historical first, she had gone to bed before me, but I think she might have been watching TV instead of being asleep. We chatted for little more than 20 minutes before we said goodbye, and I turned over and went to sleep.

  I had a very uneventful sleep apart from waking up this morning earlier than I would have chosen. I barely remember dreaming, let alone any details of dreams. This morning I woke up feeling pretty awful. Assorted bits of me ached, and some of those aches are only just dying away now, several hours later. It doesn't feel like a good day to run a marathon....or a even a bath ! What I am actually doing today is rather constrained by the expectation of a parcel delivery - any time before 9pm tonight. The last bit of tracking info I saw said my parcel had left the depot in Dartford. The last time that happened the parcel arrived soon after lunchtime (I can't remember the exact time). Hopefully this will be the case today because just before 4pm I want to head out to the station to get the train to Shortlands for a Thursday evening drinking appointment with the Thursday evening drinkers.
Wednesday 5th September 2018
10:13 BST

  The early morning forecast for yesterday got it all wrong. There were very few sunny intervals, and many times it looked like it might rain. It didn't rain though, and the temperature rose to the forecast 21° C, but 21° C didn't feel very warm under a grey and gloomy sky !
A very
                      gloomy day coming up
  While it didn't rain yesterday, there was some unforecast rain at about 4am this morning. It was heavy enough that I could hear it through the bathroom window. I went back to sleep after my bathroom visit, and I have no idea when it stopped, but the ground was still very wet at 8am this morning. The road looks a bit damp even now. The latest revision to the forecast starts after the rain had stopped, and so does not mention it. The sunny periods originally forecast for later this morning have now been replaced, and it seems it will be dull and gloomy until at least 5pm when there might be a few sunny intervals until the sun sets. The top temperature today is only going to be 19° C. That's not cold, but I suspect it won't feel anywhere near warm under a steely grey sky. Tomorrow brings hope for some sunshine followed by sunny periods until sunset - when there might be some light rain. It should be a couple of degrees warmer at 21° C.

  Special anniversary :
    I am unsure of the exact date, but plus or minus a day, it is five years ago today that my heart surgeon plunged his hands deep inside my chest cavity, and re-plumbed my heart. Before the end of the month I had broken his careful work to put my chest/ribcage back together again, and I have suffered from spurious aches and pains ever since. I guess the important thing is that I am still alive (although there have been occasional days when that was more a curse than a blessing). I wonder if his work will last another 5 years ?

  Yesterday was a sort of extension of the day before when I did some medium strength resting. I wasn't completely static though. In the morning I took a walk to Poundstretcher to buy a few odds and ends. I also bought some food, and a highly inconvenient 3 litre bottle of Diet Coke - inconvenient because they don't fit in my fridge unless I clear everything off the lower shelf, and put the bottle on it's side. In the afternoon I did lots of rushing around indoors setting up a backdrop and lighting for some experimental photography.
portrait of a camera
  The blue backdrop is actually an old double fitted sheet that I slightly modified by cutting through the elastic, and corners. One side is still OK, but the other side got really rough and "bobbly", and so I decided it was no good on my bed, but as a backdrop it seems to work well - or it would have done of I had ironed it ! I didn't have a model to experiment on, and so I mounted a spare camera (my Canon Rebel, or EOS 300D) on a tripod, and that became my subject. In the picture above I used a red filter on a video light to give a bit of colour. In theory it should help highlight red lipstick on a model.

  Yesterday I used three LED video lights as my light source, and it was mostly OK, but when I get a real live model (Sue !) in front of the camera I will use my remote triggered flash gun as the main light source with the video lights just for fill in. One problem yesterday was that I tried to keep the aperture fully open so the depth of field was very slender. The idea being that the creases on the backdrop would be out of focus. That didn't really work, and it just made the focussing very tricky.  I think I learned some useful lessons from the experiment.

  My evening was fairly typical - eating dinner and watching a bit of TV before going to bed. What wasn't typical is that I suffered a really bad dose of insomnia last night. I felt I should feel tired, but I lay in bed, and could relax. It wasn't just a case of not being able to turn my brain off. I just did not feel tired. It was 2am, or maybe even slightly later before I finally fell asleep. Even then I did not sleep well. By 4am I was up having a pee, and listening to the rain outside while I did it. I got back to sleep easily enough, but I woke up several times before giving up and slowly getting up at about 7.30am.

  This morning I feel sort of sleepy, and I think there is a fair chance I'll be having a snooze after lunch. Apart from sleepy, I also have a few rib cage aches (I would say chest aches, but many misinterpret that as something far more sinister). They are inevitably the result of too much thrashing around in bed last night. One ache that is popping up quite frequently this morning is a sort of burning sensation on/in/behind my left moob. I am unsure what causes it, but I do know it can be triggered by silly things like reaching for the tube of toothpaste on the shelf of the bathroom cabinet.

  My plans for today were very fixed until half an hour ago. In a sort of fit of enthusiasm, I recently ordered a few pieces of photographic equipment. One item is a backdrop support. I am expecting at anytime before Sunday. I hope I get good advance warning of it arriving. Another item was a lighting stand. Amazon reckoned it would arrive tomorrow or Friday, but when I checked the Royal Mail tracking number it showed it was out for delivery today, and that it would be here before 3pm. It arrived a little before 11am. The lighting stand is described as a professional item for photo studios. Of course it isn't ! It was far too cheap for that, and looks quite flimsy compared to the stands in use at the photo studio where Sue had her photos taken. On the other hand it is perfect for my uses.

  Now I don't have to wait in for a delivery I am free to do anything. One thing I want to do is to see if any of the high street shops sell a mini to standard HDMI connection lead. They can be very expensive from some sources, but standard to standard sized leads can be bought for as little as 99p in the SAM 99p shop, but I don't think they have any with the mini connector that my camera has. I thought it would be a good idea to hook my camera up to a monitor so Sue will be able to inspect the pictures I (hope to) take of her without having to worry about transferring them to the PC. Maybe I have yet another Amazon order to make soon !
Tuesday 4th September 2018
08:37 BST

  Yesterday was pretty much the same as the day before, but I didn't go out yesterday to fully savour it. There was a fair amount of sunshine, but I seem to remember it as being slightly diffuse sunshine. That was certainly the case in the morning. Maybe the sky got a little more blue in the afternoon, but being indoors, I never really noticed it. Probably the most important thing is that it was warm and dry. The temperature stayed at 23° C for much of the afternoon.
a more
                      gloomy start than this forecast predicts
  This forecast suggests it should be quite bright this morning, but it's not ! It looks like it is about to rain at the moment ! Of course the forecast has been updated since taking this screenshot. Instead of reflecting how gloomy it is right now, the revised forecast says that 9am should bring non stop bright sunshine from a clear sky. It also shows a 20% chance of rain at 10am. Midday, plus 6 and 7pm might see bright sunshine from a clear sky, but I feel pessimistic about it. I would not be surprised to see some rain today. On the other hand, maybe there is reason for hope - I've just looked out of a north facing window, and I can see streaks of blue among the clouds. The latest revision of the forecast reckons that today might reach 23° C, but shows no improvement for tomorrow. It looks like tomorrow could be a real gloomy day, but it still might be 20° C.

  It was good to rest yesterday after my double feat of endurance on Sunday - Hastings and Stretchy's open mic session in the evening. It was still a busy day though. I had photos from the open mic session to process as well as those I took at Hastings. It was lucky that I didn't take that many photos in the evening or I would never have got through them all yesterday. Apart from hand washing a medium sized towel, and two t-shirts, it seemed that photo processing took up much of my day. I'm not sure how that could have made me so busy that I had no time for anything else, and how I didn't get around to washing and dressing all day. I will confess that I spent the whole day dressed in no more than underpants !
a gold car
  Quite a lot goes on, on the pier at Hastings, and some of it must make a bit of money for the bloke that owns it. I know nothing of him apart from the fact that he owns the White Rock Theatre which is directly opposite the pier, across the road. So it is a reasonable guess to think he is also the owner of this gold plated car that was parked on the pier (although I strongly suspect it is yellow varnish over polished aluminium or steel). Unfortunately it seems to me like the sort of car that the now reviled Jimmy Savile would drive.
a childrens entertainer
   Of course it's only a derisory theory of mine, but I reckon this childrens entertainer, doing his stuff on the pier, is a sadly out of work actor secretly hoping to play a major Shakespeare character on a London stage. Either that or he is just a pervert who likes dressing up in women's clothing !
sculpture that depicts the rotting
                          remeins of a viking boat
  I didn't see any plaque that had any explanatory text for this sculpture. I think it is supposed to represent the skeleton of a rotting Viking boat that has been abandoned on the beach. It looks painful to accidently run in to ! Lovely blue sky though !!
hookah smoking caterpillar
  If you keep your eyes open there are all sorts of strange things to be seen among the fishermens huts in Hastings Old Town. I guess this hookah smoking caterpillar was left over from some sort of homage to either Jefferson Airplanes "White Rabbit", or more likely Louise Carrols "Alive In Wonderland" - perhaps in some sort of parade through the town, but it's connection to crabs and winkles escapes me.

  I finally finished my photo processing, and uploaded the last photo album to social media at about 7pm. I had already had a nice healthy late lunch (poached cod and sugar snap peas), but I decided I wanted a full dinner...well almost full. It was an alleged reduced calorie green Thai curry with rice. If I had just eaten the two items it would have been a day of healthy eating, but I also had assorted snacks plus the last of the peri peri chicken for breakfast. In fact when I look back at it I ate far too much yesterday, and doubly so considering how inactive I was for most of the day. Oh well......

  I called Sue last night, before I went to bed, to see if she had any thoughts about going to Hastings with me today. She would have liked to, or at least I think she would have liked to, but needed to be in for a while this afternoon, and so couldn't come today. She suggested tomorrow, but the weather forecast looks as if it will be a lousy day there. Next Monday looks as if it might be a better day.

  Perhaps it is the change of weather, but once again I seemed to sleep rather well for over half the night. The last few hours were not that great, and it is from then that I half remember what seems like it was a very long dream.  Of course it wasn't a very long dream, but a series of dreams that seemed to flow together because they seemed to have common points to them - either people or places. Last night's dreams involved assisting someone at work to repair a TV.  A presentation to some people who had left the company some years ago. Strangely enough it included people who had worked at a completely different company. There was also a mystery journey on a night bus in the middle of the day that dropped us off in an unknown road in Deptford or New Cross. Half the ex coworkers I was with decided that we ought to go one way, and the other half in a different direction. I have no idea where we actually had to get to !

  This morning my lower legs still feel a little stiff from the walking and standing around I did on Sunday, but the more I move around the less stiff they seem. I do feel a bi bloated this morning, and I hope that will soon pass or it will put a limit on what I do today. At the moment I have no idea of what I even want to do except for one passing idea. That one idea is by no means a definite idea. It is more the result of over think " what can I do ?". It was to go to the seaside again, but this time to Southend. When I crack open the curtain, and look at the grey light out there, I don't feel much enthusiasm to go anywhere distant at all. Maybe this is good because it might be handy to do some local shopping today. Even though the wheelie bin is full, I might do a bit or preparation for garden clearance. If I do, I think I will wear boots in case I tread on another rat !
Monday 3rd September 2018
10:48 BST

  Yesterday might have been the last day of summer. It was a very pleasant day with blue skies, and feeling warm at 23° C. Even the morning and evening didn't feel too cool. The sun pouring through the window really heated my bedroom up !
maybe not
                      as good as yesterday, but still pretty good
  The forecast for today has changed a bit since last night. It was originally forecast to be a day of sunny periods, but now it seems we will get hours long stretches of sunshine. The only problem at the moment is the sky is more milky coloured than blue, and so the sunshine is a bit soft and diffuse. The temperature range for today is predicted to be very similar to yesterday, which is nice, but it seems like it might fall a bit more in the night giving a cool start to tomorrow. Tomorrow may be a degree cooler than today's 23° C, and there may only be sunny intervals through the day. A day or two ago it was forecast to be quite gloomy, but it seems that will now happen the day after.

  Yesterday turned out to be a busy day. I not only went to Hastings, but I also went to Stretchy's open mic in the evening...although going to the latter was a bit touch and go for a while. Travelling on a Sunday is always fraught with problems, but my train ride to Hastings was very straightforward. Getting home very less so ! I caught the 12:03 train from Catford to Sevenoaks. It is a 40 minute journey, and there seems no way to take any short cuts to get there sooner. At Sevenoaks there was a 10 minute wait for the Hastings train. It is a faster train, and doesn't stop at too many stations, but it is still a 57 minute journey on that train !

  I was pleased to see that the sky was just as blue, and the sun as strong, or stronger when I got to Hastings. It made it great for walking. I didn't have a coat with me so if the weather was radically worse I might have had to just turn around and go home again. That happened to me when I visited Folkstone once. I did stay there for about 30 minutes before giving up, and I must revisit there some day.
blue sky and a blue
                        sea !
 If it hadn't been Hastings, and that beach was sand instead of pebbles, this could have been an exotic location ! There were many people sunbathing on the pebbles, and many people in the water enjoying the last days of summer. The picture above was taken at the most eastern part of my walk, just past the old town. I had actually started to the west at Hastings, Warrior Square station.
Hastings walk
 It was as I was walking, and occasionally checking my progress on the "Simply Walking" app on my new Nokia 5 phone, that I realised my new phone has a really annoying problem. The battery saving techniques it uses are so aggressive that it turns off the GPS receiver after a few minutes. This means the app has to fill in the gaps with straight lines instead of where I had actually been. The app said I only walked 2.3 miles, but I am sure it was as much as another mile on top of that. One glaring error is that it doesn't show that I walked to the end of the pier and back ! If you could zoom in on the original plot you would also see that I walked straight through quite a few buildings !

  That was rather annoying, and on my next walk I will use one of my old phones to plot out my walk. It wasn't as annoying as getting home though. If I had arrived at Hastings station earlier I would probably have got home at least an hour earlier. I didn't appreciate it at the time, but there are two trains per hour from Hastings towards Sevenoaks. One stops at all stations, and the other is semi-fast. The thing is that they are still timed to arrive at Sevenoaks at 30 minute intervals. So because one stopping pattern takes much longer than the other they don't leave at 30 minute intervals from Hastings. It is more like a gap of 20 minutes and one of 40 minutes. The next train after the one I missed by as little as 60 seconds was the one that meant a wait of 40 minutes !
That is lies
                                and a long wait !
  This rather over exposed pictures is what I saw when I arrived at Sevenoaks. The most obvious thing is that the time was 17:42, and the next train to Blackfriars, the train that calls at Catford, is not until 17:58. It was a 16 minute wait at this point, but because it took me 5 minutes to think about taking the picture it was more like a 21 minute wait originally. The worrying thing was that the 17:49 train, which terminates at Sevenoaks, and then forms the 17:58 train was shown as not arriving until 18:12. In fact it was a bit later than that. My train ultimately left Sevenoaks nearly half an hour late, and to make up time it was announced that it would run fast from Bromley South to Blackfriars. At Bromley South I had to get off the train, and complete my journey on a bus ! Grrrr !!!!

  By the time I got home I had very little time to do anything before going to get a bus to take me back to Bromley, and Stretchy's open mic session. I had enough to time to reheat some potato wedges in the microwave (leftovers from the previous night's takeaway), and eat them before going to the toilet, changing my shoes, and heading out the door. Incidently, the potato wedges were the only substantial thing I had eaten all day at that point.

  It seemed like many other people had gone out in the sunshine yesterday, and were too tired to go out in the evening - or had not even got back from their days out. Plus there was a rival open mic on in West Wickham. The result was that Stretchy's open mic was very poorly attended, but the few who were there made an excellent go at entertaining us who don't play. There was some good music played.
Stretch and
  It was Stretch and Gian who provided most of the music, but Rob played 4 or 5 songs during the session, and Smudge added another three of four.  I only took my small, pocket sized, Canon camera with me to take a few snaps. On this occasion I was mostly disappointed with the picture quality. I think it is because the camera was getting confused by using the flash when there was almost enough light to not use it. In particular the flash is very white, but the natural light, particularly the light on the music stand, is very red by comparison. Getting away from the music stand light, and the lights on the wall behind the players, produced better pictures...
Sue grimacing
  This picture might have looked very good if only Sue had smiled instead of gritting her teeth ! It was nice to see Sue again, but it was slightly low key. I was feeling tired, and didn't have a lot to say. I did consider suggesting that I see her home, but I was rather looking forward to my own bed, and some sleep, last night. The clincher was when I was offered a lift home by Rom. He said he was going through Catford anyway, and it would be no trouble to drop me off. It was an offer I couldn't say no too.

  When I got home I heated up some more of the previous night's takeaway. It was the grilled peri peri chicken. I am sure I had specified hot when I ordered it, but it didn't seem particularly spicy to me. It was still very nice though. After eating it, and cleaning my face and fingers up, I gave Sue a call to see if she had got home OK. She had, and we talked about going to Hastings together tomorrow. I hope I have recovered by then ! There is an unlikely possibility that I could go over and stay with Sue tonight, and then set out to Hastings from there. It would make the journey to Sevenoaks much shorter for me if we did.

  Initially I slept really well last night - which wasn't that surprising after a busy day. As morning approached my sleep got a little intermittent. One thing made it worse, and one thing better. The worse was several attacks of cramp in my lower legs (usually the right one). The thing that made it better was a dream. It was almost an erotic dream, although ultimately very little happened. In the dream I was in a very big house with many rooms, and everything seemed to be painted white. There was a woman there who was a sort of composite of several women I know. I am unsure who she was, or who she was meant to be. The thing that made it all the more interesting was that she was often naked. There didn't seem to be any reason why she was naked - she just was. Mostly it was like 1960s nudie magazine pictures with odd bits of furniture or potted plants obscuring the view of the more interesting bits, but at least once she was totally unobscured. That was definitely the case at the end of the dream. I gave her a very warm hug, and sadly the dreamed just faded away.

  Today I still feel a bit knackered. I only have a couple of things to do today unless going to Sue this evening becomes an extra thing. I have a couple of items of laundry that have been soaking for 24 hours now, and need dealing with very soon. I also have a stack of photos of my walk around Hastings to process. That is going to take up a lump of time. In between these things I can imagine reading for a bit, and having a few good snoozes !
Sunday 2nd September 2018
07:59 BST

  The thing about yesterday is that it could be described as bland. It was neither hot nor cold, and it was neither sunny nor not sunny. The morning started off mild, and then the temperature rose to 22° C. I suppose in the depths of winter that would be considered warm, or maybe even hot, but yesterday it was so neutral that it barely registered. There were blue skies and non stop sunshine in the morning. The afternoon just had sunny intervals. Maybe some of them were quite extensive, but maybe it is because the sun is not as high in the sky as it is at high summer that it didn't seem very spectacular. Of course if yesterday's weather had happened in, say, February, it would be considered the height of luxury.
a very
                      sunny day
  Today is forecast to be a very sunny day. The highest temperature is supposed to be a degree higher than yesterday's  22° C. It may only be a degree, but I have a feeling that 23° C is going to feel warm in that sunshine - although I'll probably need to be out in it, away from any shelter, to get the best effect. The current forecast for tomorrow could very easily change beyond recognition. For the moment it says that the morning will start a bit cooler than today, but the temperature should peak at 23° C like today. The biggest difference is that it will be a bit cloudy, and most of the sunshine will be in the form of sunny intervals, or sunny periods (I have never worked the difference between those tow descriptions).

  I never heard anything back from Sue yesterday, and even this morning I await the requested text message to say when it would be good to call her. It's probably going to be the worst thing to do, but I am going to stick to my guns and not phone her until she responds. Of course the trouble is that she probably instantly forgot the text message that I sent in reply to a message she sent me to apologise for not being able to answer my call because she was in the middle of a long call from her brother in law. All that was a long winded way of saying I didn't get to plan to see Sue either for a drink or at a gig yesterday, and I had to amuse myself without her.

  One of the last things I wrote yesterday was how it would be a struggle to take the first steps to go out to enjoy the sunshine. It was made harder by leaving it late enough to miss the best of the sun. There were nice sunny intervals through the afternoon, but I think I decided I couldn't be bothered to think of a place to go, and then go there, was during one of the duller periods of the day. In the end I hit on a compromise.

  That compromise was to go out into my back garden and fill the wheelie bin up with twigs and weeds. I still have a gigantic amount of tree to deal with, but now I've pushed back the frontiers I am bypassing the worst of the tree, and pushing my way towards the back of the garden through the left side of the garden. That side is mainly clogged with weeds, brambles, and bind weed, although it does include some branches from the felled tree. I made some good progress.
garden progress
  I find it really hard to capture a picture that really shows how much progress I have made. One problem is that I can't stand back enough to get things in perspective. Almost in the centre of this picture is a tree stump. Before I started work it was almost hidden behind a wall of bramble, stinging nettles, and bind weed with assorted bits of tree branch knotted into it. Pushing a good yard beyond it, plus some clearance in front of it, plus some assorted tree branches to the side of it, produced enough "garden waste" to fill about three quarters of the brown wheelie bin. That seemed enough for one day's work. The other quarter of the bin was filled with stuff from the front garden.

  I will soon have cleared enough space that I'll be able to use some of it to stack some the products of my hack and slash gardening. I would be able to let it wilt down before stuffing it in the wheelie bin a week or so later. I did have a couple of "exciting" moments when working out in the garden yesterday. The first was when I thought I was being attacked by a green spider. It took a good second before I realised that it was actually a grasshopper, or similar green insect. The other "excitement" was when I stepped back on something soft that squeaked. It seemed very much like of of Sue's dog's toys, but it was actually a rat. I'm not sure what part I squashed, but it felt thicker than it's tail. I have no idea if I might have done some long term internal damage, but it looked intact when it ran off into the undergrowth again.

  That "gardening" was the most significant thing I did all day, although hand washing a medium sized bath towel must come second. That towel was bloody heavy when saturated with water ! The weather was good enough that it was three quarters dry when I brought it in yesterday evening. Had there been a bit of wind it would probably have completely dried while it was on the line outside, but there was barely enough breeze to even make it ripple.

  There were no gigs on that I fancied going to last night, although there were a few that I could have gone to if I had been that bothered about going out, or if Sue was going to one. I opted to stay in and amuse myself. Part of that amusement was to order a takeaway. Last night I had a nice mixed salad plus some "steak chips", and some barbecue chicken wings. "Steak chips" are just a fancy way of saying traditional chips as opposed to that American abomination "fries". They were nice, the salad was nice and the barbeque wings not so nice. Maybe they would have been nice if they had some hint of barbeque flavour instead of just being smeared with a sort of barely tasteless jam. I have saved the major part of the takeaway order for today - a whole peri peri chicken.

  With no gig to go to, and no other distractions, I went to bed early again last night. I think it was even earlier than the night before. Once again I read for a while, and lost all track of time before turning the light out, turning over, and falling asleep. I think it all happened before 10pm. It was another night where I seemed to sleep for quite a long time before waking up, although I think that maybe it might have been less than 5 hours before I needed to get up for a pee. From my memories of dreaming it seems that I was only sleeping lightly for a few periods as morning approached.

  One dream was a confusing melange of scenes from being back at work, and to add to the confusion it was the job before my last job. I think I dreamed I had gone back to work for that old employer, and I was trying to remember all the procedures. Either that or I was just practicing my best kind of working - doing as little as possible. A later dream was a bit macabre. I was at a funeral, although I have no idea who had died, and I had no idea who most of the people were who were there. I think that most were forgotten relatives, although I did seem to recognise the occasional face. I think the funeral was for someone who was not direct family - maybe someone's in laws. I was with a small delegation of my own family, although mostly they were unrecognised, and perhaps even unseen faces. One was notionally my mum, but not my mum as I remember her. For some reason we had decided to sit behind a very broad pillar in the church, and we would not be able to see a thing once the funeral started. My last, and perhaps clearest memory of that dream was going into a toilet at the side of the church/chapel area. It was a nice clean, well equipped toilet. I woke seconds later with a light desire to visit the real thing.

  Doing that hack and slash (and sawing) gardening yesterday doesn't seem to have left any negative effects this morning, and like yesterday, I feel sort of mostly OK, but not terribly dynamic. Maybe today I will get out and frolic in the sunshine. Sunday is often a terrible day for trains, and so I doubt I will go very far if I go out, but I shall do some research. At the moment I have no destination in mind, but a bit of sea air would be nice. One thing I have to bear in mind is that I want to go to Strechy's open mic in Bromley tonight. It's usually good on it's own, but tonight it will also be a chance to see Sue. Maybe I might even go home with her afterwards. The important thing is not to wear myself out if I do get out with my camera today.
Saturday 1st September 2018
08:22 BST

  Yesterday, the last day of August, was spoiled when the cloud thickened enough to give some extended periods of gloom. It is difficult to say when that was because it was a gradual change. The morning, and the first bit of the afternoon were generally bright with lots of sunshine or sunny intervals, but gradually the sunny intervals became shorter and shorter, and the periods of gloom became longer and longer. By about 6pm it really seemed like it would rain. In fact I think I even felt a few spots of very fine rain when I went out to take some washing in. It is possible it did rain during the night. The ground seems dry, but I noted that there were drips on the end of leaves and stuff that I don't think were dew. The temperature was 20° C for most of the afternoon, and that was perfectly comfortable, but not exciting.
                      and 23° C
  This morning has started a few degrees less cold than recent mornings, and a sunny morning should push the temperature up to 23° C this afternoon. Apparently this will feel like 23° C ! The afternoon will see sunshine give way to sunny periods, and that should be OK provided it is not like yesterday when the sun only managed to peep out from behind rather dark looking clouds for short periods. Tomorrow, and the day after, will see a very similar temperature range to today, or so it's currently thought, but less sunshine. Many hours will be dull, and we will only be treated to sunny intervals at other times.

  Yesterday did not turn out like I had hoped. I didn't get to see Sue, and I couldn't be arsed to go and see any gigs. There were none that I had any great desire to go to, but there were a few possibilities if I could have been bothered. What I actually did yesterday was the things I predicted I might do if I didn't go out to see Sue. I hand washed four t-shirts, and hung them on the line to dry. They didn't dry that well, and they were still damp when I brought them in during a very long period of gloomy skies at about 6pm. I hung them up on the clothes horse to continue to dry overnight.

  It was after midday when I went to Aldi. I must have timed it right because it was relatively quiet in there for a change. I had a few things on my shopping list. It included cans of lager to take to Sue's if I ended up there - I didn't. As I walked around in there I decided that I wouldn't buy any meat, but instead I would buy some fish for a change. I didn't buy much though. I bought some fresh, boneless, cod that I probably should eat today while it is fresh. I probably should have eaten it last night, but I ate the other fish I bought - fish in the form of fishcakes. One was a smoked haddock, and the other was cod based. The latter was the nicest.

  Later in the afternoon I decided that I just had to make a start of putting up the shelving I have been mentioning for the last few days. My first attempt was a disaster because I somehow managed to get the support strips at slightly different heights, and had to take one down and put it up again correctly. Both time I used a spirit level, and I am not sure how I could have got the first attempt so wrong ! With the support strips up I was almost ready to finish the job, but there was one tricky thing to do that I thought I would do later - maybe today.

  That tricky thing is to cut one end of the shelves into a nice rounded shape so the corners don't stick out into where I rush from bedroom to bathroom ! While I was working in the somewhat dusty corner where I am putting the shelves up I must have disturbed a monster. Maybe an hour or so after I stopped working I glanced at my handiwork as I passed it, and there, sitting on the wall was a monster house spider looking hairy and menacing. I rushed the couple of paces to my bedroom, and grabbed an old shoe with the intention of splatting the spider. I was unhappy about it being only a few yards from my bedroom door.

  Unfortunately I somehow missed. Maybe it moved quicker than expected. It fell down, making a distinct "bop" as it landed on a small cardboard box before scuttling off behind some stuff that will probably end up on the new shelves when I finally cut them and screw them into place. I have to admit it greatly bothered me that there was still a great big hairy, and possibly angry spider so close to me bedroom last night. I was slightly relieved to see it on the bathroom wall, which was in the opposite direction to my bedroom, when I went for a pee in the night. I haven't seen it since, and that is worrying !

  I tried to phone Sue early yesterday evening, but there was no reply apart from a text message that arrived 5 minutes later apologising, and saying she was on the phone to her brother in law. I replied by text asking her to let me know when I could phone her. I never did get that OK, and it wasn't until this morning that I found out she had her son visiting last night. Not hearing anything was mildly annoying, but by that time I had given up on the idea of seeing Sue anyway. I found I had a stronger yearning for the crispy fishcakes I had bought from Aldi earlier in the day.

  As I mentioned earlier, one flavour of fishcake was better than the other, but they were both good. After eating, and watching a couple of hours of TV I decided to do some reading in bed. I think it was  before 10pm that I decided I might as well go to sleep - and I did despite an angry spider rampaging around the house ! I woke for a pee a couple of times in the night, but on the whole I slept well. I think it was just after 7am this morning that it seemed like I had had enough sleep.

  I got up quite slowly. I went to the toilet, although I still have business in there later I hope, and then I took my pills before grabbing a screenshot of today's weather forecast. I then put a medium bath towel into soak. One of my first jobs when I have finished writing will be to finish washing that towel, and try to get it hanging on the line to dry nice and early. After that I don't know what I'll do. If I was meeting Sue today it would probably be at a gig tonight, but once again there are no gigs on tonight that really grab my attention, and I'm not sure I would want to go to one anyway.

 With all that in mind I feel that I might go out with a camera somewhere today.  Maybe I might go as far as Southend for a bit of sea air, or maybe I might explore, or reacquaint myself with some of the outer stations somewhere on the tube network. I might even get no further than a local park. Wherever I go it will be a struggle to get out the door and get moving. Just for a change I feel mostly physically OK this morning, but I feel extra lazy !