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My Diary/Blog For the Month of August 2019

Saturday 31st August 2019
09:06 BST
  Yesterday may have been a little sunnier than the forecast seemed to suggest to me. It was dry and bright with a maximum temperature of 23° C according to the forecast, but I think I noticed one of my thermometers saying 25° C.
another bright and dry day
  On the last day of August the forecast shows that today may well be similar to yesterday. The latest revision has got rid of the dull hour at 4pm, as shown in the screenshot above, and replaced it with more sunny intervals. At the moment it looks like one of those days where it is just pot luck as to whether one of the many small clouds blocks the sun. It is even possible that the clouds will miss the sun completely, and it will be a sunny day. Admittedly, a mixture of both is most likely. Like the last few days, the afternoon high is predicted to be 23° C, but maybe only for a single hour today, and so begins a slow process where we lose a few degrees over the next few days. Tomorrow may be a sunnier day, but the maximum temperature is predicted to be just 20° C. In another 3 or 4 days the maximum will start to fall under 20° C. It won't be long before we are in the grip of autumn.

  Yesterday could be described as quite a productive day, although most of the productivity was done by electronic equipment. Sometime late in the morning I was ready to test my new VHS cassette recorder. I was happy to find it works well in all respects except possibly one. I am not so sure the drop out compensator, assuming it has one, worked that well. It is possible that drop out compensation using a delay line is patented by Philips, and Sony tried to use a different method that is less effective. Maybe a more likely explanation is that I was being too critical when playing tapes that are rather old now - 20 or more years old !

  My task is to transfer quite a few old VHS tapes to mp4 files before getting rid of the VHS tapes. The problem, if "problem" is the right word, is that the recordings can only be played in real time from the VHS machine to my Samsung DV camcorder. Out of all the ways of digitising video, I have always found that camcorder does a better job than any other digitiser I have. So it takes one hour, plus some preparation time, to copy a one hour tape to the camcorder. Then it takes another hour, plus more preparation time, to play the now digital camcorder tape into my PC via firewire.

  I am sure that the ext4 file system, as used by my Linux PC, can support huge file sizes, but maybe for compatibility reasons the software I use only writes files up to 1GB in size. If nothing disturbs the process it will keep recording in 1GB chunks until I hit the stop button. I then import all the files into the Kdenlive video editor, and have to stitch them together into one long video when the edit is rendered into mp4.

  There is one particular consequence to this method of working, and one other that shouldn't happen, but did - twice. I think I can blame the mini Samsung DV camcorder I use for playback for that second consequence. For some unknown reason the firewire connection got interrupted, and the connection dropped. I had to restart the recording a few seconds before the connection dropped, and then carefully seamlessly edit to the two ragged ends together - the intended breaks after each 1GB join together seamlessly with no messing about.

  The main consequence of this video editing, one that cannot be ascribed to faults or anomalies, is that if the recording needs any changes each segment needs to be treated one by one. In my case it was that the audio level was rather low, and needed boosting, and each segment needed doing one by one. I don't really know how long it took to get the recording segments all in the right place, and the audio corrected, but a minute here, and a minute there soon adds up. Maybe it took 20 minutes.

  If the setting up took 10 minutes for things like rewinding tapes and stuff, and then one hour to record one hour of video, and that has to be done twice in two stages, we are up to 2 hours and 20 minutes. Then add on maybe another 20 minutes getting the editing right, and a fair amount of time has passed, but once the edit is right it takes quite a time to render it all down to one single mp4 file. I managed to copy two one hour tapes. For the first I shut down all other programmes on my PC, and the rendering took 2 hours. For the second I wanted some other stuff running, and it took 3 hours !

  Most of the times above are guesswork, except for the known running time of the original VHS tape, but I think it is a fair approximation to say that converting 1 hour of VHS video to mp4 takes me 5 hours on average. More exotic and expensive gear could almost do it in real time, but I haven't got the resources of a professional broadcast facilities company. I managed two tapes yesterday, and I am pleased with the results. The only trouble is I have many more hours of tapes to convert.

 Obviously a lot of the process I've described above happens without any input from me - providing all is well I just have to hit the play button, and one hour later hit the stop button, but it does need some monitoring to catch any "anomalies" ! That almost describes why I was mostly very busy doing mostly nothing yesterday. I probably ought to have gone and done some weeding in the garden, or even gone for a walk in the park, but I didn't fancy either. Somehow I didn't seem to find enough time to do much reading during the day. With hindsight I do wonder where all the hours went to.

  With my bedroom window closed it stayed about the right temperature to sleep with the duvet kicked to one side during the night, although I will admit it was starting to get a tiny bit cool by the morning. I seem to think I had a good sleep - so good I could fancy doing it all over again as I sit here yawning ! Some of my sleep may have been shallow. I recall having a long dream that seemed to be set in a place of work that incorporated a mix of all the main places I have worked during my life.

  I don't know what I am going to do today. I feel reasonably OK, and provided I don't go too extreme, I could probably do anything except walk a long way. My feet still feel a bit sore after my visit to Mangapps Railway Museum. Perhaps one thing I ought to do is to grind my callouses down again. That helps for a bit, but probably makes the area soft and prone to more damage.

  I just thought what is the obvious thing I should do. I should transfer another VHS tape. Provided I watch the time, I could do some weeding while it copies to the digital camcorder. That part of the process can usually look after itself from beginning to end.
Friday 30th August 2019
07:55 BST
  Yesterday started off bright and fine, but it did get quite cloudy around 6pm, and it even looked like it was about to rain. Fortunately it stayed dry (because I was out without a coat). The afternoon temperature seemed to be about the 23° C that was predicted in the forecast.
slightly dull start to today
  August is rapidly running out, but since it came back after a pause, summer is still hanging on. It was cool during the night, and it does feel cool this morning, but it should warm up to about the same as yesterday, around 23° C. There is a fair amount of thin cloud in the sky at the moment, and it looks like it will be making any sunshine intermittent, dull or hazy until the last 3 hours before sunset. Tomorrow may be very similar to today, but without the burst of sunshine before sunset. One quite noticeable change over the next few days will be the night temperature getting quite low now.

  I felt remarkably tired and lazy yesterday. The only thing of note that I did yesterday morning was to cook, and eat some bacon. It was one of those mornings, that only come along  on the rarest of occasions, when only bacon will do. It satisfied my desires in many ways, including trying to avoid bulk carbohydrates, and was very delicious, but ultimately it left me feeling off kilter later - at least I think it did.

  I'm almost forgetting...I did do one more thing in the morning. I briefly popped out to buy some food. Some special food. I first went to Savers to buy a couple more of the very spicy instant noodle packs that I had enjoyed so much a day or three ago. I noted that they had almost run out out, and so bought three spicy noodle  pack, and two chicken flavour. I haven't tried the chicken flavour yet, and I not expecting it to be anywhere near as good as the spicy flavour, but you never know.

  After Savers I went into the SAM 99p shop. Unusually I didn't browse what they had, but went straight to the shelf with the wasabi flavoured brown rice cake crisps, and grabbed 4 bags of them. They are nowhere as nice as real crisps, but the wasabi does give them a real good kick, and they are very low in just about everything nutritional.  After that I walked straight home.

  I can remember my legs still feeling stiff after my trip to Southminster and The Mangapps Railway Museum, but I think they eased up at least by the time I walked home, but I think they felt easier on the way back from the shops. My feet still felt a bit sore, but improving. I think the rest of me felt OK, but if it didn't it must have been so minor that it didn't really register. Possibly the only detrimental effect is that that short walk made me feel tired - as in tired and sleepy.

  After eating the small pile of bacon in the morning I didn't want to eat any more until later, although I must confess I was very tempted to do so. I am curious about those chicken flavour noodle packs ! Maybe it was a defense mechanism against the temptation to eat, or maybe I hadn't slept as well as I thought, but I spent quite a bit of time dozing off in the early afternoon. I was only interrupted by one thing - the arrival of the Sony VHS cassette recorder I had ordered.

  Just before 4pm it was time to walk to Catford station to get the train to Shortlands for my late afternoon, Thursday drinking session. I found that walk hard going. It didn't seem easy to keep up the pace. I don't know why I tried because I had left earlier than usual to give myself time to walk slower. All I actually ended up doing was pausing for about 20 seconds outside the little shop almost on the brow of the bridge over the railway at Catford Bridge station, and gazing at the secondhand, ex-business, PCs they sell (and for the umpteenth time wonder if the represent value for money or not).

  I then continued walking with a renewed (very tiny) spring in my step. Of course the next bit was downhill as I walked towards Catford station, but then I had to walk up the stairs to the platform. I naturally assumed that going up those stairs, in the condition I felt I was in, would be a real killer, but strangely enough they seemed relatively easy. Then it was walk along almost the entire length of the platform, and wait for the train while getting my breath back - which came back after a minute or so, and the train some five minutes after that.

  I was the first to arrive at the pub. At the bar I noted a lot of the same old ales available, but there was one new one I wanted to try (or try again I think) - "Runner" by the Trumans Brewery. Unfortunately, when the bar woman tried to pull a pint it came through as clear cleaning water ! I had to choose another. My second choice was Timothy Taylors "Landlord". It was a beer I didn't think I liked, but was prepared to try again - just in case. It wasn't wonderful, but it was nice enough, and three pints slipped down quite easily. The only trouble was it left an unpleasant taste in my mouth, and with nothing in my stomach except the bacon I had eaten 7 or more hours earlier, I felt very, very slightly queasy.

  On top of that slight queasiness, those three pints swilling around as I walked back to the station made the walk unpleasant in a sort of bloated way. Once again I found walking up the staircase to the platform far less taxing than many times in the past. My body was in a very strange variable state yesterday - possibly because of the bacon ??? With the waiting time of the platform, and the 9 minute ride on the train, I was feeling relaxed again by the time I got back to Catford.

  It felt fine walking to the Sainsburys next to the station, but a bit of madness struck when I was in there. I was definitely feeling very hungry, and I ended up buying several reduced price sandwiches as well as the salads I was intending to buy. By "several" I mean four ! I walked out the shop feeling fine, but then had to walk up the side stairs of Catford Bridge station to the top of the road bridge. For some reason those stairs really knocked the wind out of me. I really had to slow down walking down the other side of the road bridge, but my pace quickened after a while.

  When I got home I threw any principles or intentions aside, and stuffed myself with sandwiches. They were very satisfying, and I guess the rush of food made me feel quite good for a while. I did think it might interfere with my sleeping, but my night was actually fairly typical. I needed to get up several times to pee, and I rolled over once too carelessly, and crunched my ribs. I had to stay awake for a while until they had sorted themselves out.

  This morning my chest is still a bit sore - more so if I allow myself to slouch too much while writing these words ! The rest of my body, with all it's weak and worn out bits, seems pretty average. One notable thing that is a bit strange, is that I actually feel chilly this morning. I think it is something to do with the weather and open window...

  There's lot of things I could do today. Maybe even lots of things I should do, but I can imagine I might spend a fair amount of time trying out my new VHS cassette recorder, and digitise some old tapes. That will be both exciting, and boring - analogue tapes can only be copied in real time, and so there will be a lot of waiting around. Also, some tapes may not be as exciting as others, but probably still worth making digital copies before throwing out the originals. (I might offer them to one of the charity shops). The important thing will probably be to watch my eating during the boring bits. They will tend to make me think I am starving hungry, or something like that.
Thursday 29th August 2019
08:21 BST
  Despite the temperature being 10° lower than the previous day, it still quite warm yesterday - particularly indoors which cools down very slowly. There was some rain in the morning, and a brief shower around sunset. The middle of the day was often sunny, and the afternoon temperature around 23° C.
                    but not hot
  We are having quite a long sunny interval as I write this, and soon that sunny interval might extend to lasting until early afternoon. After that it is back to sunny intervals until sunset. That assumes the forecast mirrors reality ! It seems there is almost no chance of rain today, and the afternoon temperature will probably be the same as yesterday, 23° C. It is currently predicted that tomorrow will be similar to today but with the block of non stop sunshine moved to later in the afternoon. Today and tomorrow could be nice. The day after tomorrow could see a little less sunshine, but paradoxically a degree warmer, although that forecast could change a lot in the next 36 hours.

  The legacy of my day out the previous day was a few extra aches and pains, but on reflection I didn't come off too badly. The first great test was going to Aldi to buy some shopping. On a good day it is about a 5 minute walk. Yesterday it might have taken an extra 30 seconds. My legs did feel a bit stiff, and my feet were still a bit tender. These things didn't seem to slow me down when coming home with my shopping. That was typically slower because of the weight of the shopping I was carrying.

  I bought very few "luxuries" in Aldi. Much of it was just salad ingredients, but I did buy some meat to go with it. One supposed luxury was some Thai spice infused/marinated skinless and boneless chicken. Maybe I overcooked it, but it fell far short of my expectations. I also bought some skinless chicken thigh fillets. I hope they are as good as the ones I bought from Tesco last week. I must try and be more careful not to overcook them.

  The thing that made my shopping very heavy to carry home was the 4 pack of cans of lager, and the 4 x 2.25 litre bottles of Coke. While heavy, it didn't seem to arduous to carry that lot home, but I might have had a different opinion of I had to carry it double, or more the distance to home. It was nice to get home, and put that weight down. It was also nice to have a bit of lunch. The only trouble is I can't be certain what I ate. The second course was definitely the Thai chicken, and I think the first course was a bag of wasabi flavoured brown rice cake crisps...or did I eat those at some other time ?

  Going shopping was just one of only two things of any significance that I did yesterday. The other was to wash some sweat stained t-shirts and underwear. I tried some newly bought (from the 99p shop) Fairy branded fabric conditioner on that wash. I don't think I care for the smell of that fabric conditioner. Maybe it will leave a slight positive smell on the dry clothes, but the smell while they were drying was not enjoyable. It wasn't repulsive, but very slightly repellent for some reason. I ought to wait until wearing one of the t-shirts before I make a definite negative report about the stuff.

  The rest of my day was mostly just being lazy, and recuperating from my day out the day before. I do think that a mere 3.45 mile walk should not have been so detrimental, but then again I have to remind myself that it was done on one of the hottest days of the year, and that the journey from home to the start point, and then the journey back home after the walk were pretty arduous. Rush hour travel is never fun, and less so on super hot days !

  One thing that made my day slightly less pleasant in the evening can be traced directly back to my day out. While I was out I didn't eat (ignoring the three biscuits I had just as I was about to start travelling home again). Ignoring those biscuits I had fasted for almost 24 hours. It was no surprise that I didn't need to go to the toilet the next morning, but by yesterday evening I was feeling a bit bloated, and a bit constipated. Being a bit dehydrated the previous day probably didn't help.

  I was feeling very mildly uncomfortable when I went to sleep last night. It was fairly early, maybe around, or even very slightly before 9pm. At just gone midnight I woke up feeling slightly more uncomfortable, but nothing drastic. I wanted a wee anyway, and so I went to the toilet. After about 30 seconds, and with no effort at all, I was no longer constipated. I still felt a bit of bloat, but I think that was mainly wind, and much of that probably escaped in the night.

  Apart from getting up to use the toilet just after midnight, I probably slept quite well - although the amount of dreams I had may indicate otherwise. I can only remember one bit of one dream because it was rather ludicrous. It concerned an old friend, and his car. He had had some sort of accident that badly damaged the passenger door. When he took it to a repair place they refused to repair it unless they could give my friend a manicure. Their excuse was that his fingernails looked a bit rough, and might damage the new paintwork.

  This morning I feel basically OK, but never perfect. I woke up with my chest feeling sore. I have vague memories of turning over in bed once or twice, and my ribs cracking/scraping/popping as I did so. It never hurts at the time, but leaves them feeling sore. That reminds me, on the 4rd Sept I have an appointment with the Cardiac rehabilitation team at the hospital. The official appointment letter came through yesterday. The letter came with a questionnaire. One question concerns chest pains. I intend to answer yes to that question just to stir things up, and because it is true - although not the kind of pains they are interested in.

  Continuing about how I feel... I think my legs have mostly recovered now, and I expect that when I walk to the station this afternoon I will be able to walk free and easy - hopefully (unless my sore feet slow me down). One interesting malady this morning is that my left hand keeps getting pins and needles while typing. This is the hand that is still partly half numb as the result of nerve damage during my operation 6 years ago. It just feels like a cross between that and carpal tunnel syndrome (something I usually associate with my right hand).

  There is only one thing on my agenda for today, and that is to go for my late Thursday afternoon drink in Shortlands. I may have to stay a little bit alert today in case a parcel arrives. Some days ago I made the bold decision to buy a cheap VHS video cassette recorder to replace the one I had that has had a major screw up. I still have quite a few VHS tapes I want to digitise before I chuck the tapes. Hopefully this new, but second hand player will work well, and I'll be able to get some fair results. The only problem is that so far the parcel tracking info is vague in the extreme, and I have no idea when to expect it. It could be any time in the next 7 days - maybe !
Wednesday 28th August 2019
07:58 BST
  It was hot yesterday. The forecast said 32° C, and I think that may have been quite accurate. Later versions of the forecast added a warning of possible thunderstorms breaking out, but I didn't hear anything. It was generally blue skies all day, although there was a heat haze in places.
surprise, surprise, a wet start !
  Some days ago the forecast for today said it would probably rain. Yesterday morning the prediction for today was that it would be a bit cloudy, but that there would be sunny intervals all day long. This morning reality intruded, and the forecast above was revised to mirror it. This morning it is still very mild, but the skies are grey and it is raining. If the forecast retains some credibility it will dry up in a few more hours and we will get the sunny intervals promised, but only until 6pm when the rain will start again - maybe. Today is still going to be warm, but considerable cooler than yesterday - just 23° C. Tomorrow is now shown as being a sunny day, but probably no warmer than today.

  One of the first things I did yesterday was to get the hoover out. This is always a traumatic thing to do, but this time it was more important than vanity. I wanted to hoover up any crumbs in the living room, of which there were a few, and while I was at it I hoovered almost the whole room. Even more important was to hoover up a lot of crumbs and other dropped stuff under the desk in my bedroom where I eat quite a lot of meals while using my PC. There was a lot to hoover up there ! No food should discourage the mouse I saw in the middle of the night loitering in my bedroom or living room. Since that one brief sighting, that was over in the blink of an eye, I have not seen or heard of any mice. It is a stupidly optimistic hope, but maybe it got out the way it got in.

  One thing I didn't do was to clean up and set my collection of mousetraps in strategic places around the house during the morning. I was eager to go out, and I didn't want to delay myself any further. My aim was to get to Southminster in deepest Essex, and walk back to Burnham-On-Crouch, taking in the Mangapps railway museum on the way. To get there I caught a train to Cannon Street, and changed to the Circle Line to get to Liverpool Street station. I would buy my tickets there. Unfortunately the queueing arrangements were a bit haphazard, and some people effectively pushed in. That slowed things down, and many people, maybe most, seemed to have extremely complicated enquiries. It seemed to take ages before I was able to complete my 10 second purchase.
Tickets to
  Having got my tickets - £8.65 for a Super Off-peak day return (don't think I have ever had one of those before) - I went out onto the concourse to see when my train was - it wasn't. The next train was delayed because of a train fault. Eventually it was cancelled, and I had an extra 20 minutes wait (maybe 40 minutes in total) before I could board a silly 4 coach train that was soon almost crush loaded. It was like the rush hour at 1pm !
Wickford station
 Some parts of the journey to Wickford, where I had to change trains, were very fast, and at other times annoyingly slow - and all the time it was really crowded. The periods of slow running meant we arrived at Wickford a bit late, and the branch line train to Southminster had left without us. So there was another long wait for the next one. Just to make life more amusing it came in on platform 4 instead of the more usual platform 1, and we all had to rush over the footbridge.
class 321, 321005,
                        recently refurbished train
  Maybe it was worth waiting for. It was basically the same sort of train, a class 321, but 321005 has recently been refurbished, and it was fitted with deliciously cold air conditioning ! After the 30° C or more of the platform, it was pure luxury. It was just over another 30 minutes on what I now know to the The Crouch Valley Line before I arrived at Southminster station. It is a single track line with a passing place at either North Fambridge or Althorn stations (I forget which).
walking route
 At Southminster station I started my long walk. It would turn out to be 3.45 miles, and it was a killer in the 30° C heat. I had selected what I still think should have been comfy shoes, but in that heat the soles of my feet were soon burning hot, and I had barely walked a mile before it became quite painful to walk. Yet I managed to keep the pace up for much of the walk.

  I had walked just over a mile when my phone rang. It was the nurse from the Cardiac Rehabilitation team. She immediately asked why I sounded out of breath, and I had to explain that I was just over one mile into a long country walk. That seemed to satisfy here, but she still gave a short lecture on keeping hydrated. The actual point of her call was to ask if I would accept an appointment with the cardiac rehabilitation team on the 3rd September. I had to remind her I was miles from anywhere, and even further away from my diary, but that I thought that should be OK. She will be sending me a letter with my appointment details plus a questionnaire. I am sure one of the questions will be about how much walking do I do ? I will be able to answer that one by saying 3.45 miles (not including walking to and from my local station and crossing London to get the train to where my walk started).

  According to my OS map there could have been some footpaths I could have walked along, and that would probably have been very slightly cooler than walking along small, but still main roads. Plus I would have missed the pleasure (????) of being passed by several lorries emitting very farm like smells ! The other thing was that I felt I was in a very unfamiliar area, and I seemed to have no natural sense of direction. So the direct roads took the guesswork out of the walk.
Entrance to Mangapps
                        railway museum
  It was with some sense of relief when I finally arrived at the entrance driveway to the Mangapps Railway Museum. I think the place was started by a farmer who was a rail fanatic, and his collection of artefacts got a bit out of order. It was originally called Mangapps Farm railway museum, but since being properly curated the Farm part of he name has been dropped.
Mangapps ticket
 It's a fairly long walk, particularly with sore feet, to the actual entrance and ticket office. I duly bought a ticket (with Senior discount) for £7. For someone spending the day there, closely examining all there is to be seen, it is good value - maybe not for me so much. I was really only doing a flying visit, but at least I got to use their toilets, and could wash my face in cold water.

  I was too foot sore to stay too long, but before I set off for the mile and a half walk to Burnham-On-Crouch station, I wanted to at least see their small collection of ex-London Underground carriages. There are few places outside the official London Transport museum that bother with London Underground stock. It doesn't easily couple with other stock to make longer trains, and I think it is probably only used as static exhibits.
CO/CP stock
  This is one carriage I wanted to see. I think very few of these have been preserved. They are known as CO/CP stock, and were used on The District Line. I very vaguely remember them, but they had all gone by the time I became interested in The London Underground.

  I may have spent 20 minutes at Mangapps, but I had to move on. If I had taken the opportunity to sit down and rest for a while I might never have got back up again ! It was about another mile and a half to Burnham-On-Crouch station, and it continued to be a painful walk. I probably stopped ever few hundred yards to check on my phone that I was making progress. Eventually I reached the station. Like Southminster station the original station building was intact, but no longer in use as a railway station. I saw signs suggesting there was a coffee/refreshment shop on the premises, but I don't think it was open when I was there.

  After a good 10 minute wait the first train was going in the wrong direction towards Southminster. It would be another 10 - 15 minutes before it would return, and heading back to Wickford. Sadly it was an unrefurbished unit with no air conditioning. It was very lightly used, and so at least it was fairly airy in it, and when the wind blew in the right direction there was a cooling breeze through the windows. It drew into platform 1 at Wickford, and that meant another painful trek over the footbridge to platform 3 for the train to London.

  Fortunately there was a 2 minute wait for the London train, and I just had enough time to nip into the gents to let rip an uncomfortable build up of gas. It was one of several that caused some discomfort. Luckily it was a 12 car train back to London, and once again the carriage was mostly empty when I let another one go. Back at Liverpool Street station the place was heaving with commuters, and that 12 car train would soon fill up. Meanwhile I had to try and weave my way through a dense mass of commuters to get to the toilet. I almost wish I hadn't bothered. It really stank down there. I think they may have had a flood because it was also very wet down there. My wind was almost odourless by comparison.

  I then reversed my incoming journey by getting the circle line back to Cannon Street station. One feature of Cannon Street station (and probably most busy London rail stations) was a water bottle refilling outlet. I had noticed it on some previous visit, took a closer look when passing through there in the morning, and actually used it on my way back home. The water was not very cold, but relatively pleasant. I glugged through half a bottle during the 15 minute wait for a very full train back to Catford Bridge.

  It was very, very nice to finally get home. I was feeling very foot sore, but otherwise very good. It felt like a great achievement to have completed that walk, and to have seen Mangapps Railway Museum, but it probably felt even better to partly strip off and sit down, but first there was the matter of food and drink. I had a two part meal. The forst part was breakfast, and the second was dinner ! Breakfast was a Tesco ready made "House Salad" with nothing added apart from some mayonnaise. Dinner was 6 grilled meatballs with a large pickled onion !
Green Cola
 Amongst other drinks, my first drink was of a can of "Green Cola". It was one of a pair of cans I had bought from Poundstretcher a few days ago. It contains no sugar, and no aspertame, but otherwise is a fizzy brown drink that resembles cola. In fact it wasn't bad, and I could even imagine drinking more if it came in 2 litre bottles. I may buy a few more cans from Poundstretcher for special occasions, but for everyday drinking I prefer it in big bottles.

   I spent some time going through the photos I took yesterday, but I was feeling really tired. I lost track of the time, but I am sure it wasn't a lot later than 8pm when I decided I would have a lie down, and a snooze before doing anything else. That snooze turned out to be a night's sleep. I had become rather dehydrated during the day, and despite getting through about a litre of water while out, and maybe even more in the evening, I was very little bothered by getting up for a wee more than twice in the night. By 5am I was almost ready to get up, but I managed to go back to sleep until it was light outside.

  This morning I almost welcome the rain, and definitely welcome it being a bit cooler today after being baked yesterday. I feel very variable this morning. My usual aches and pains seem to be less than usual, but maybe that is because they are de-sensitised by the more obvious and expected aches and pains from a day out. I must admit that those expected aches and pains are maybe actually less than expected. I can't help but feel if there was a way I could stop my feet hurting so much, I could have pushed myself a lot harder yesterday, and walked even further (my original plan included walking down to the riverside if I had the energy, but that was on the assumption the first part of the walk was going to be as much as a mile shorter).

  There are several things I will be doing today, and only one will involve my feet. That will be to go shopping in Aldi. Another job will be to wash some very sweaty clothes. With luck I will be able to dry them outside. I think the rain has stopped now, but it still looks very grey and wet outside. Another job ought to be setting the mouse traps in case that mouse is still around - which it almost inevitably is (unless it was dream ?). 
Tuesday 27th August 2019
07:46 BST
  Yesterday was another very warm and sunny day. I didn't get a chance to check any thermometers in the afternoon, but I can believe the temperature must have close to the 31° C that was forecast. It was also a very warm evening, and into the night.
                    more hot day
  Today will be the last of a series of very warm days. The temperature could hit 32° C today, and it will apparently feel like 36° C ! Once again it is a fairly clear morning with just some thin high clouds, and the forecast predicts sunshine from now until sunset. It is going to be another warm night, but tomorrow things cool down quite a lot. Earlier forecast had predicted rain for tomorrow, but while there will be some cloud, It is not supposed to rain. There should be sunny intervals through the day, and the maximum temperature is predicted to be just 23° C. It will probably be the start of a long run of similar days.

  Yesterday was good and bad. It started off well when I ended up doing a triple shopping trip. Admittedly one of the shopping destinations was a cash machine where I withdrew some cash. My first destination was the SAM 99p where I was primarily after some fabric conditioner. I bought two bottles of that, some more detergent, and a twin pack of bleach. I also bought some food. I was going to avoid food buying, but I saw they had some wasabi flavoured brown rice "crisps" - a sort of very squashed rice cake.

  When I first checked the nutritional values of those brown rice crisps they did not seem as low as I hoped until I realised that a big bag only contained 66gms, and the skewed the results back to being quite good. I also bought a big jar of pickled gherkins - and I wish I hadn't. They seem rather squishy, and not pleasant to eat. I think I prefer English pickeled gherkins - smaller, and possibly unripe when pickled, and so crisp and nicer to eat.

  The final shop I went in was Poundstretcher. I wanted to have another look to see if they had anything like a towel rail, but they didn't. However they did have more cans of the Sprite lemon, lime and cucumber drink that tasted far better than I thought it would. They also had something called "Green Cola" that has no sugar or aspertame in it. I am not hopeful that it will be very nice, but you never know. I bought a couple of cans (49p each ?) to try some day when I am feeling brave.

  I bought one more item from Poundstretcher. It was another 12" desk fan. I now have three at home, and that might sound excessive. It probably is, but one of the two existing fans has an irritating fault. The fan blades seem to be slightly out of balance, and at the faster speeds it vibrates. I could, and probably will try and re-balance the fan someday, but for now I've bought a spare, and after assembling it, it runs nice and quiet in my bedroom.

  It wasn't long after assembling the new fan, and enjoying a cool blast of air, that there was a ring on my door bell. At the time I was in my underpants because I was halfway between changing to indoor clothes. I quickly pulled my trousers back on, and rush to the door. It was my next door neighbour, and she had some home cooked Thai food for me. It rather messed up my careful dietary plans, but I couldn't refuse it, and it was, when I later ate it, absolutely delicious.

  As the day warmed up I enjoyed quiet cooling blasts from my new fan, and had a light lunch of nothing but salad - no cheese, ham, chicken, or anything but plant matter. I had just finished when I got a text message from near neighbour and friend Michael asking if I fancied popping around. I did, and I had prepared for it by keeping a 4 pack of beer in the fridge specially for he occasion. I put on my best flip flop and marched around there with the beers in one of my new cooler bags packed with ice blocks to keep them extra cold.

  It was nice sitting in the sun while drinking some beers. I turned down the offer of sitting in the shade and sat directly in the sun. My arms did get a bit burnt, but not too badly. As we drank we chatted about music, and various gossip - including about Angela not visiting me in hospital despite actually working in the hospital, but then phoning me up several days later to find out what had happened. Her lover boy also has had heart problems, and I think Angela's questions were more about seeking medical info rather than how I was feeling.
Michael in his garden
  By the time I left Michael's place, after maybe two hours of drinking, I was feeling very slightly drunk, but that was no excuse for the very poor quality of the the photo above. At full size it is very out of focus, although a lot of it is motion blur. I've get it though because while it was taken on a high resolution phone camera, which should have produced a crisp and sharp picture, it looks to be from the 1970s, and taken on a cheap Instamatic. It gives it a sort of period charm.
selfie in the sun
  This not too well posed selfie is how crisp and sharp the picture of Michael should have looked !

  When I got home, little more than 2 minutes after leaving Michael's place, it was a bit early to have dinner, and so I gave in and opened on of the two packets of wasabi flavoured brown rice cake crisps. The underlying brown rice flavour was not quite to my taste, but the wasabi had a nice kick that tickled my masochist glands ! After an hour/90 minutes my hangover was probably peaking, and it was time to warm up the Thai food, and have dinner.

  That food was so delicious, but probably contained all sorts of things I was trying to avoid - even if it was just the rice. Many say rice is good, even better if it is brown rice, which it wasn't, but rice is loaded with carbohydates. Carbohydrates are converted to sugar in the body by using enzymes, and I am trying to keep my sugar consumption down (nobody mention beer because I am not listening !!).

  I went to bed fairly early last night. The heat and the food and the beer left me feeling sleepy. The only trouble was that the heat, and the spices, and the slight sunburn on my arms made it feel hotter than usual. Despite that I did seem to get to sleep fairly quickly, but things would go downhill fast after 2 or 3 hours of sleep. Before getting to sleep I was thrashing around a bit trying to find the perfect pose, and in doing so I "popped a rib" or something. I felt it go, and it was almost like a pop. This morning I had to take some Ibuprofen to calm down some discomfort just to the right of my right breast.

  Once I was sleeping well I had a very strange dream that I can only remember a tiny bit of - I assume there must have been much more too it at the time. It was about being in a gigantic subterranean vault. It was at least as big as a football pitch, and covered with one stupendous sized circular brick arch. I think it was supposed to be part of some disused working for the northern line or something. I can't remember anything happening in the dream apart from looking up at all that brickwork and thinking what an amazing piece of engineering it was.

  I think it was at about 1am this morning I woke up needing to go to the toilet - primarily a wee, but I thought that I might also poo as well. So I sat on the toilet, and suddenly - whoosh ! Just for a change it wasn't my bottom going whooosh, but a mouse ! It came shooting out from behind the toilet bowl, and out the door heading who knows where. As you might imagine this both shocked me, and depressed me. I haven't seen a single mouse since some time after my last cat passed away (he was responsible for bringing them in, still alive, and losing them !).

  I spent the next couple of hours awake, sweating in the heat, waiting for rustle or something that showed the mouse had run into my bedroom. I was also thinking about and dreading all the hard work I should be doing this morning. For one thing my bedroom, specifically around my computer desk where I eat many meals, needs a good hoovering to pick up crumbs and stuff that will inevitably attract that mouse. I also have to dig out, clean up, and set all my mouse traps until the little bastard is dead or gone.

  I did eventually get back to sleep, but I woke up an hour or two later actually feeling too cool. I had to turn the fan off, but that made it feel warm again, and an attempt to just pull a corner of the duvet over me just made me feel like I was being cooked alive. Once again I managed to get back to sleep for maybe an hour, and here I am now awake, but wishing I could get more sleep - which maybe I might.

  I have some conflicting plans for today. Hoovering, and trap setting would leave me plenty of time to go shopping in Aldi, but I rather hoped to go out today. I still want to go out if I can find the time. I can go to Aldi tomorrow if needed, but the hoovering and traps are vital. If I can get that done in time the plan is to go all the way to Southminster station, and then walk back, via The Mangapps Farm railway heritage centre to Burnham On Crouch station. If I feel like a bit more walking I will walk passed Burnham On Crouch station, to take some pictures of the River Crouch, and it's piers and jettys. It was once a Victorian seaside resort, but is now more of a parking lot for sea going boats - the end of the river flowing into the sea about half a mile away.
Monday 26th August 2019
08:05 BST
  As the forecast promised, it was very warm yesterday, but I don't think it quite hit the predicted 31° C - except in my south facing bedroom. The highest outdoor temperature I saw was just a tad under 30° C. It was, as expected, dry, but from time to time some high level, mostly thin clouds did spoil what might have been a clear blue sky, and occasionally made the sun a bit hazy.
another hot day
  Today's weather will probably be a re-run of yesterday, but maybe not. Yesterday started off a little bit misty, but this morning the air seems clear, and more significantly the sky seems to be almost pure blue with just a few small patches of very high wispy cloud. Maybe today we will hit that 31° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a very slightly cooler version of today, but the day after that the garden will probably get watered as some clouds drop some rain on us.
 This slightly soft focus snap shows the temperature at 18:30 GMT, or in summer units, 17:30, or 5.30pm (I finally got around to changing the clock in that thermometer to BST after taking this picture yesterday - how long until I have to change it back to GMT again ?). It shows that the temperature on the windowsill of the back bedroom was 29.1° C, and that was the highest outdoor temperature I saw. Meanwhile, indoors, inside my south facing bedroom, even with the window open and curtains closed, it was a rather warm 31.6° C !

 Of course in the morning it was a bit cooler, but still very comfortable for being naked after just getting out of bed, and maybe not cool enough to raise much enthusiasm for doing anything that might raise a sweat. The first thing of significance that I did was to have a cool shower. The thing that made it significant in the most minor or ways was that it was when I first tested the Original Source foaming shower gel that I bought the previous day. I'm not sure if it was good or bad. It was a bit like showering with shaving foam. It was certainly a novelty, but I don't think it had any special cleaning power. I don't think it claimed to clean any better or worse than the usual non-foaming shower gel. I think the only conclusion I reached is that I will finish this bottle, but won't be looking out for any more - unless I spot a very interesting "flavour". Quite what that flavour could be is anyone's guess.

  Once I was clean and dry I went out and did some shopping in Tesco. I was disappointed that they didn't seem to have any fresh skinless chicken thighs, boneless or not.  I eventually found some frozen chicken thighs, and while not quite what I was after, they are now in the freezer, and I can use them in small quantities without having to worry about quickly using up the rest as I would if they were fresh, and unfrozen. I guess that if they are as good, then getting them frozen is probably a good idea. As a rather strange substitute for more immediate use, I bought some beef meatballs.

  Once again I found myself lugging home quite a heavy bag (plus a heavy rucksack). The main weight was a 4 pack of beers that I thought I might be drinking yesterday, but now it is more likely I'll be drinking today. It was probably lucky I forgot to buy the jar of pickled gherkins that I was going to buy. That would have been another heavy addition to my shopping bag. It is still surprising after all these years just how much lots of little weights add up to a big one !

  I am unsure if I was brainwashed by too many other peoples comments saying that it was too hot to do anything, but I started to believe it. Maybe it was that I couldn't think of too many things to do that wouldn't get me over heated. One thing I should have done was to get out into the garden, and pull up some weeds. I really ought to remind myself that I don't need to spend hours out there, and even ten minutes could be useful for keeping those weeds down.

  It was the sense of hovering boredom that made me unable to stick to my diet. Once again I stuck mostly to self approved ingredients, but ate too much of them. Actually that wasn't 100% the case. I did retain enough self discipline, and only cook half the dozen meat balls I had bought earlier. Like the time I only cooked two sausages, that was a first in living history ! I did check my blood glucose for the first time in years yesterday. It was 9.3. That is just about in the sane range, but I'd much prefer it if it were under 6.0 (but not by much).

  I don't know if I dare measure it again today after eating half a dozen alleged "sugar free" chocolate biscuits. Those biscuits may not have any sugar added during cooking, but the carbohydrate of the the biscuit will have been converted to sugar by the enzymes in the body.....OK, I did just dare, and it was 10.3. Maybe I can blame that on the tomato juice I had for breakfast...maybe not.

  There were two things I did in the blazing heat of the day. One was to hand wash two t-shirts, and some underwear at about 3 or 4pm. It was only a small amount of washing, but even so, it felt far less taxing that I expected. I just wish I had done it earlier in the day so it would have a bit more time to dry. A few edges were still slightly damp when I brought them in at sunset. The other thing was not taxing at all. It was to drill two holes in the wall, inserts a wall plug into each, and screw up a short rack of coat hooks in the bathroom. The silly thing is that I am not exactly sure what it is for. I had ideas of hanging my bath towel on it ready to use after a shower, but then I realised that none of my towels have any sort of tag or something to hook onto the hooks. Now it is there I am sure I will find it useful.

  Last night was particularly boring. So boring I ended up watch a Bond movie on ITV2 - Quantum Of Solace. It was both good and bad in equal measures. In an attempt to make it seem more exciting there were lots of fast cuts between viewpoints in things like car chases. Some were set at night, and the dim pictures, and fast cuts made it extremely hard to work out what was happening. The same was true on several fight sequences. Maybe on a big cinema screen it might have made more sense,  but I sort of doubt it. Perhaps I am too old for movies like this. It certainly went on far too late.

  I was yawning a lot by the time the movie ended at just after 10pm. It was a joy to go to bed - even considering t was baking hot in my bedroom. I just threw off the duvet, and didn't bother with it all night. I seemed to sleep quite well without it. In fact I might have slept even better without it. When I just push it aside I think I end up wrestling with it. Pushing it completely off the side of the bed stopped that, and maybe allowed a better sleep...or maybe not.

 I have some small doubts about how well I slept for at least a bit of the night based up memories of a really vivid dream. I dreamed I was back at work after a period of absence, and things were just different enough to be of concern. One big difference to reality was that it was set in a completely unknown, multi-storey, building. In real life my last workplace was in a two story "industrial unit", The dream building was more like an office block.

  The first part of the dream was set around my work PC. It was running Linux, and was nice and stable, unlike many other people's Windows PC. So stable that it was occasionally taken over by a couple of new guys who were experts in programming the micro-controllers the company uses. After not being able to get to my PC for a while I tried laying on the floor to have a snooze. That didn't last long because I needed a wee (although apparently not in real life because I didn't wake up at that point).

 I went to look for the toilet, but the first was out of order, and the other was blocked and starting to overflow. I was going to go to a different floor when I was called into the office. There were three old men in there who were apparently the financiers of the company. One tried to ask me something, but he spoke so softly that I couldn't hear what he was saying. In the end I walked back to the workshop/development area. I found it completely empty of any equipment except for my PC and half a dozen co-workers.

  It transpired that the company was not making enough money, and had been sold. I was forbidden to touch my PC, and that was very annoying because I wanted to image the hard disk so I could refer to it later. Eventually some of the old equipment did reappear, but we didn't tough it. We just stood around feeling bored. I think I was waiting for some paperwork to say I had been made redundant when I woke up.

  This morning my right elbow is a bot more sore than usual, and I may way take some paracetamol to calm it down before too long. It is going to be another long hot day, and I only have a few ideas of how to fill it. Being a bank holiday, most of the shops will be closed, but there is a fair chance the 99p shop may be open today. I will probably go and see if it is this morning, and if it is I will look for some cheap, but pleasant fabric conditioner. I would not be surprised if I bought a lot more than that. One thing I want is a towel rail for the bathroom. Poundstretcher is probably the place for that, but they will probably be closed, and last time I looked they didn't have anything that matched my needs.

  This afternoon, or early evening, I think I'll be going up the road to my friend/neighbour Michael's place to drink a couple of cans of beer, and swap some gossip while sitting in his garden. I hope his garden chairs are more substantial than the lightweight chairs I bought from Poundstretcher. I need to lose 30kg before they would be safe for me to sit in !
Sunday 25th August 2019
07:35 BST
  I don't think the temperature reached the predicted 29° C yesterday. I think the highest I saw was about 27° C, but it was warm both day and night. There was a lot of sunshine, but from time to time some light cloud turned the sky streaky, and made the sun hazy.
                    hotter version of yesterday
  Today is forecast to be basically a hotter version of yesterday. As I write this the temperature is a degree or two less than the predicted 19° C, and there are some remnants of mist around the trees in the distance. Also there is a lot of high wispy cloud around. It is not very thick, but at the moment it is spoiling what could be a pure blue sky, and like yesterday, could make the sun a bit hazy. Maybe it will clear later as the temperature climbs to the predicted 31° C (which will apparently feel like 34° C). Tomorrow is currently thought to be a 30° C version of today, but the start and end of the day may be cloudy.
traces of mist in the
  It doesn't show well in this photo, but off in the distance there is some light mist among the trees in the distance. I took this picture just after 7am this morning. The sun has risen, but is still close to the horizon, below the houses on the right hand side of the picture.

walk to sorting office and back
  The first thing I did yesterday, after showering and getting dressed, was to take a walk. Quite a long walk - but only when judged against recent norms. I think it was around 11am when I set out to collect a packet from the Catford sorting office. It was a "get well soon" present from a friend. I had some choices getting there and home. The simplest was to use my 60+ Oystercard for a free bus ride there and back, but I opted for the hardest way for some strange masochistic reason. I walked there and back in the blazing sunshine. I can't say it was easy, but it wasn't too bad, and seemed to be less arduous as I neared home. It was my longest walk since getting out of hospital, and it did feel like I was getting back into practice.

  I took the opportunity to walk back via Savers to "Brexit panic buy" some more Vitamin D3 tablets, and Fish Oil capsules. I am not so sure they are as good as the Cod Liver Oil tablets I buy from Aldi. The ones from Savers were 50% fish skin oil, Ah well, I expect it is all good. While in Savers I bought another spare Sweet Strawberry shampoo and conditioner, and something I had not seen before - Original Source foaming shower gel in Lemon And Lime "flavour". I am looking forward to trying it when I shower after writing this. I like Original Source stuff, not because it is allegedly natural or something, but because of the weird and wonderful smells and colour. There was one other thing I bought in there that I shall describe later.

  When I got home I opened up the packet I had collected from the sorting office. I had expected it to be an old hard disk where my friend had fitted a new one in his CCTV recorder, but it did feel far too light for that. It turned out to be an 8 disk DVD box set of the 1970s TV series UFO - My first thought was that it was a rather marvellous present. It was certainly a most thoughtful present, and I was very thankful for it, but I can reveal here, where I am sure my friend will not read it, that it was a bit of a cockup. It seemed very familiar somehow, and it wasn't until later that I checked my DVD collection to find that I already had it in a slightly different form - two 4 disk sets.

  The next thing I was thinking of doing was to go to Aldi, but after that 1.84 mile walk in the morning, and with the temperature getting even hotter I decided against it. A secondary reason, that maybe carried equal importance, was that I had sufficient food already here, even if it wasn't always what I desired. It's not often I can make rational decisions like that ! Rather than go all that way I just went to the corner shop for a couple of bottles of pop, a magazine, and a small can of Fanta, no sugar, fizzy grape juice. I spotted it in the corner of the cooler, and it intrigued me. It did indeed have very low amounts of sugar in it from well diluted grape juice, and it was quite tasty. I'm not sure if it was tasty enough to make a habit of drinking it, but with more and more drinks becoming low or sugar free, I think there are options to experiment a bit.
Lemon, LIme and Cucumber
 Pictured on the left is another experimental tasting. I bought a couple of cans of this Lemon, Lime And Cucumber drink from Poundstretcher at least a month ago. It has taken that long to raise the courage to try it. I could imagine than when warm it might be unpleasant, but when well chilled it was actually rather nice yesterday afternoon. The next time I pass Poundstretcher I might pop in and see if they have any more.

  After having some lunch, a salad with extra bits added, I lay on my bed for an afternoon nap, and/or to read. I think I had at least a short snooze, and maybe a bit more. It felt good on a warm and lazy Saturday afternoon, but it was also very slightly boring.

  One of the things I have, until now, forgotten to add to this narrative is that I did one more thing quite early in the morning. It was to wash the pillow cases, and fitted double sheet from my bed that I had changed the day before. I figured that they were probably dry by the afternoon, and apart from a small bit of damp along a hem or crease, they were. There was only one thing for it - wash the double duvet cover as well, and get that on the line to dry.

  Washing a double duvet cover by hand is quite a tricky thing to do, or to be more exact, wringing a double duvet cover out is almost impossible ! I can do it enough to hang one up indoors, but it is bloody hard work. On a day like yesterday I would obviously hang it outside to dry, and it doesn't matter if it is still dripping when hanging it on the line out there - which it was ! It was too late in the afternoon to expect it to be dry before sunset, and it is still hanging outside now, but it should be bone dry by midday or sooner in this warmth (and unfortunately festooned with spiders !).

  One of my continuing tasks is to eat less and more carefully for a while. Everyday it is a struggle, and many days I don't reach my aspirations, but I'm probably doing OK - sort of. I couldn't hold out until dinner time last night, and couldn't stop myself having a nibble. I managed to keep it down to three Marmite flavoured rice cakes eaten dry. Despite many slips in my intentions, the overall plan may be working. I suddenly realised that I had stopped sweating yesterday afternoon, and into the evening (and indeed in the night too). I am hoping it is a good indicator that my blood glucose level has fallen to a much better level.
bruise on the back of
                        my hand
  My blood chemistry has certainly been up the creek lately, but is hopefully returning to normal. The picture above does not show it well, but on the back of my hand is what looks like a bruise, and indeed it is a sort of bruise. It is one of several places where I had cannulas fitted while in hospital, mostly for taking blood samples. I have never seen bruising like this around the area where a needle went into a vein before. It must be a sign of my dodgy blood chemistry. Maybe the excess of Urea (or uric acid) that has been mentioned.
weed at side of the
  Environmental stuff is big in the news these days - particularly in regard to to climate change. Sometimes I see something that makes me think it doesn't matter if we cause our own extinction, and take dozens of species with us (mostly the ugly ones like hippos, rhinos, elephants, whales and smelly monkeys), because mother nature will just carry on regardless. Other lives will fill any niche available. Mother nature is more than just humans, and will continue just as well without us, with life appearing anywhere it can - including at the side or the road, in a tiny crack between kerb and road surface, in a place that is by our standards heavily polluted.

  TV was mostly unwatchable last night, and apart from an ancient episode of Dad's Army I was fairly bored. I did have an earlier offer to meet Michael, and sit in his garden with some beers to watch the sun set, but the offer came through at an awkward time. I had just had quite an explosive stomach upset. I had felt some gurglings much earlier in the day, but at about 6pm (maybe a bit later) I had a leisurely walk to the toilet where I suddenly exploded ! I am not sure what caused it because I don't think I have eaten anything likely to cause food poisoning. Maybe it is just the result of extreme salad eating. I had several follow up visits after that initial visit.

  It left me feeling slightly sore, and also rather empty. The "rather empty" was like a red rag to a bull while feeling bored. I couldn't help it, although I may have done if an inspection had shown that what I was about to give in and eat wasn't relatively low calorie. Unfortunately it's carbohydrate content was very high.
spicy noodles
  These spicy noodles are the other thing I bought in Savers in the morning. They were also the thing I gave into when bored in the evening. Whether they were appropriate for someone who had just had the runs is debatable. One thing is for sure, they were very spicy ! The chilli oil that came with them was very fierce. Usually when instant noodles are describes as spicy it is a struggle to taste the spice - not these ones ! The noodles, and the sauces and dried vegetable come in a takeaway like container, and the whole lot can be "cooked" in it in a microwave for 90 seconds. Although I am generally avoiding carbohydrates while I can, I am going to buy more of these from Savers while they are on special offer of 99p a go. There is a second flavour, and I think it was curry flavour. If it is the aniseedy Chinese curry flavour they could be nice too.

  The chilli oil was very fierce on those noodles, but it barely raised a sweat on me. I was practically dry when I went to bed last night, and that makes a nice change. I probably slept better for it, but still had to get up a 3 or 4 times in the night for a wee. It feels like I should have had a rather good sleep last night, and yet this morning I feel a bit headachey, and my ribs feel a bit uncomfortable. These things do seem to be fading now I've taken some Ibuprofen.

  There is going to be a lot of today, and I fear little to fill it. I definitely want to do some shopping, and it might be sensible to do that before the afternoon heat hits it's peak, but other than that I am unsure what I'll be doing. I haven't checked, but I am working on the assumption that being a bank holiday weekend, the trains will be badly disrupted, and any that are running will be over run with parents and kids going for one last outing before the brats return to school. Maybe today I will put up the coat hooks in the bathroom that I have been threatening to do, and maybe I'll do a bit more in the garden. Maybe I'll spend even more time in the shade in the company of a fan and book.
Saturday 24th August 2019
07:09 BST
  I can't deny it, it was warm yesterday, and yet the highest temperature I saw on any of my thermometers was just 24° C - a couple of degrees short of the forecast 26° C. The best of the sunshine was predicted to be in the last few hours of daylight, but my memory is that there were nice long spells of sunshine from as early as midday, but with occasional fluffy clouds blocking the sun for short periods of time. Yesterday was, after a string of disappointing days, back to being like a summers day !
                    might even end up being called hot
  As I write this the sun is low in the sky, and hidden behind houses to the east. It is currently bright, but the sky doesn't look clear enough for full strength sunshine. There is a lot of very thin cloud up there making the sky more milky than blue. Assuming that burns off when the sun is higher in the sky, we could be looking forward to a very sunny, and hot day. According to the extra, but hidden until clicked on, information, the hours marked as 29° C above may actually feel like 31° C ! Tomorrow's forecast currently looks to be the same as today except that the afternoon temperature is expected to be 30° C, and that will apparently feel like 35° C. The next two days after that may also be very similar, but a degree or two cooler. 

  I had no idea how I really felt yesterday morning, and after feeling quite rough the day before, I decided not to do anything where I couldn't easily stop and rest. That wasn't completely true of the first two things I did. The first was to change the linen on my bed. In one respect it was a job that couldn't be left undone, but at least I would have a clean bed to collapse on if I needed to rest (for instance to let any possible chest pains die down again). Fortunately I felt fine after finishing that job.

  My next "job" I did very soon after making up my bed. It can't really be described as a "job", but washing and conditioning my hair, followed by a shower often feels like it needs a little bot of energy as I flail around soaping this that and the other. Towelling myself off afterwards can be the greatest use of energy. I admit it does seem weird that such an everyday task should be thought of as hard work. Maybe I do it too vigorously. I do know that on occasions the "gymnastics" needed to get to all places can occasionally "pop" one of my wonky ribs, but didn't yesterday.

  The combined effects of making up my bed, showering and towelling dry, did raise a bit of sweat on what was a warm feeling morning - maybe a humid morning ? I was to get sweatier still when I thought that maybe I would chance doing some laundry. I had a couple of t-shirts, some underwear and a hand towel to wash - all by hand. I expected it to feel like hard work, and maybe trigger some unwanted discomfort, but it felt no worse than any other good day. As I said, it raised yet more sweat, but raised no pains, and at the end I felt basically OK.
washing on the line
  As I consider the picture I sometimes consider I have gothic tendencies ! Maybe the towel being "charcoal" black spoils the effect.

  I definitely needed a short rest rest after doing that laundry, but not a long one. although I did actually rest, or be lazy, for quite some time afterwards. Just after midday I could hold out no longer from eating. I was trying to eat as little as possible yesterday, but I actually ended up eating more ! Yesterday's lunch was a Sainsbury's "Sweet And Crispy" salad with added ingredients. I added some pickles and about half a can of butter beans. The latter was a last minute idea when I spotted the can and thought it might be a good idea to use butter beans instead of something like cheese. It was quite nice, and slightly filling.

  I then had an afternoon nap, but I was not asleep for long. I had a sort of itchiness of the mind - which was rather better than the physical itchiness that the dye used for my angiogram gave me. I think that itchiness is over now, and the slight itchiness on a difficult to reach part of my own back is just my own hair tickling me. The brain itchiness was a feeling that if I could do all the jobs I had done earlier with no apparent consequences, I could do more. It was a filthy urge to work !
  The obvious thing was to get some work done in the garden. I hadn't touched the garden in over a fortnight, and with all the rain we had while I was in hospital, the weeds were growing thick and fast. The picture above is of after I had finished working in the garden, and as you can see it is still very green - from weeds ! Not all are weed though. Those are straggly tomato plants partly blocking the path, and before I pulled a lot of weeds from the left hand side of the path, that path was starting to disappear.
more home grown
  One major contributor to blocking the path were my potato plants, and to thin things out I pulled up a couple, and they yielded the small crop in the bowl pictured above. When I embarked upon planting what were just some old potatoes that were starting to sprout, I didn't really do it seriously, but I have learned some lessons for next time. I should have spaced those potatoes out much more. I had forgotten just how big they grow. The same is true of the rotten tomatoes I planted. For some reason I had less faith they would grow, and just dumped them almost in one big clump. That was a mistake that this time is going to cost me what might have been a big crop of tomatoes. The good news is that yesterday I discovered that I would be getting some tomatoes.
tomatoes on the vine
  This tomato plant, complete with three green tomatoes, was incredibly long, and intertwined with the potatoes. Being of the same plant family (which includes deadly nightshade) I mistook it for potato, and almost pulled it up. Another lesson for next time will be to get some canes, or some way of supporting the tomato plants if they are always going to be long and vine like. I am desperately trying to remember how my mum or dad grew them. I think they used canes. Next year I hope I can do far better, and include more vegetable - maybe even sprouts, but they are a winter crop, and probably should already be planted already. More research needed.

  While home grown vegetables are great, and maybe after the great Brexit famine, very necessary, I harvested the last potatoes at a stupid time when I am trying to cut as much carbohydrate out of my diet as possible. The few I cooked last night in an excess of butter, were rather delicious though !

  I think I spent about an hour in the garden, and in the lovely sunshine. I was deliberately trying not to work too hard, and break any bits of my body this time, but I was still sweating a lot by the time I came back in after only half filling the brown wheelie bin. I felt I had done enough, but for the remainder of the afternoon, and into the evening I still had that itchy brain telling me I still had energy to spare.

  My brain being unsettled was not a great state of mind to be in when it came to eating. My dinner was a sort of salad, but not really a salad. At it's core was three sausages - the last three in the pack that for once in my life I had not cooked, and eaten, all in one go. I think I had three meals out of that pack of 8 sausages - a record with no close competitors. The rest of the meal was raw tomatoes and spring onions plus pickled onions, and pickled sliced jalapeño peppers all garnished with fresh coriander leaves.

  I desperately wanted to stop that, but I could not shift the taste of of the onions from my mouth, and so a bit later on I had some squeezy cheese of Marmite flavoured rice cakes. Conveniently ignoring the couple of butter dripping potatoes, I ate a bit more than I intended, but at least it was of generally healthy bits. I didn't even have any beer, but I did have one large whisky before going to bed.

  The whisky worked as intended, and once again I was in bed, and asleep before 9pm. That is not strictly true. It was a warm evening, and seemed even warmed in my bedroom. For the first 4 or 5 hours I was asleep on my bed, not in it. As far as I can recall, I slept well until about 3am when I woke up, and couldn't get back to sleep again. I thought I felt tired, but maybe I wasn't. One danger that I slightly succumbed to was thrashing around in bed, and crunching my ribs in the process. I did it enough times to need to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to calm my ribs and tendons down.

  It was probably after 5am when I got back to sleep again. It was still dark outside, although there may have been a hint of light on the horizon. Once it was fully daylight I woke up again. Since then I have taken my morning pills, and I have started some more laundry. This morning I will be washing the sheet and pillowcases I took off my bed yesterday. I am also taking a huge chance that the red sheets and pillowcases won't turn a grey pair of lounge pants a glorious pink !

  Once that laundry is hanging on the line I will turn the temperature of the  hot water down so it is more  appropriate for a hot day, and have a shower. After that I need to go to the sorting office to pick up a parcel. It is a "get well soon" present from a friend. I suspect it is a hard disk from his CCTV video recorder. He changes them now and then for no obvious reason. If it is a hard disk it is likely to be a 3 terabytes disk - BIG !!

  I probably ought to walk to the sorting office, but with my 60+ Oystercard it won't cost a penny to jump on a bus. I may take the lazy option ! Once I get back from the sorting office I have no idea what I will do. On a hot sunny day I ought to try and get out somewhere, but I still feel a bit unsure about walking long distances. Maybe I should walk to the sorting office as a sort of try out. Two things I will probably end up doing are to do more weeding in the garden, and to put up a couple of potentially handy coat hooks in the bathroom. After that I will probably be very bored.
Friday 23rd August 2019
07:59 BST
  Yesterday was another in a run of "average" days. It was neither hot nor cold, and it was a mix of sunshine and sunny intervals. The only thing it wasn't was wet, and yet having said that, it did look like the exposed soil in my garden looked quite dark and damp looking this morning. Maybe it was just dew. Yesterday afternoon's temperature was in the region of 23° C which I guess should be described as warm, but I just found it very comfortable.
                    be a warm day
  The sky is very hazy at the moment, but not really cloudy. It is as if there is a mist up there waiting to be burnt off, but the forecast says otherwise. Until later afternoon we may not get anything better than sunny intervals, but the temperature may still rise to 26° C. That should feel quite warm, particularly if the sun does finally completely break through from 5pm until sunset. It seemed to be a mild night last night, and tonight could be a slightly warm night - readying us for an even warmer days tomorrow. The headline may say 29° C for tomorrow, but the hour by hour forecast only shows 28° C. Could be a lot more sunshine though.

  I was only expecting two things to happen yesterday, but it was a three event day ! Event one was a shopping trip to Tesco. Once again it was a fairly heavy load to carry home because I seemed to buy a lot of heavy items. On the other hand it was not nearly as heavy as the shopping that nearly pulled my arms out some days ago. On reflection it is sort of surprising how the weight built up from items that were often small - things like a couple of jars of pickles. The bottles of Diet Coke, and the litre bottle of whisky were obviously heavy. Some of that shopping I shall comment on later.

  I can't quite remember when the notification came through, but I was notified that an Amazon delivery that was initially predicted to arrive next Wednesday was arriving between 13:56 and 15:56 yesterday. It actually arrived in about the middle of those two times - which was good because it allowed plenty of time to get myself ready to go out for the third event of the day - my late Thursday afternoon drinking session.

  My parcel this time was a spare mini oven/grill. My existing one is working well, but looks very grubby. This is particularly so because it is tricky to clean, and after not cleaning it instantly after each and every use, there is a lot of hard, baked on grease in it. I don't really care about that, but it's not so nice for my very rare visitors (which is basically Patricia, although I doubt I'll be seeing her again until next year). What is more bothersome is that there is a patch on the bottom of the oven that is rusting through. It is only a tin plate case, and I can see pinholes of light through it. If I were to try cleaning that area I would probably push straight through it. So for the princely sum of £29 I have a spare mini oven/grill ready to go at a moments notice. Once that is in use I might order another slightly bigger version.

  It was bright with just patches of fluffy clouds in the sky when I walked to the station to get the train to the pub. It should have been a nice walk, but it wasn't. For one thing I made an unwise choice of shoes. They were the white version of the black trainers bought from Aldi sometime in the spring. I often wear the black ones for short shopping trips, and they seem comfortable enough. At least I thought they did. The seemingly identical white one were most definitely not comfortable, but that was not my only problem.

  Other bits of me were uncomfortable while walking. One problem had nothing to do with my shoes. It was a band of pain across the top of my right ankle. I imagine it might be similar to gout. Maybe it is gout caused by a build up of urea in my blood caused by my apparently deficient renal function. The worst thing was like a bad flare up of my costochondritis - aka creaky ribs, and inflamed tendons. I had a few sharp pains when making some movements, and some crunching from my ribs and sternum when walking - and that was after taking some Ibuprofen that normally calms these things down. The worst thing was that some of the pain was remarkably similar to heart attack pain - a bit of a sore subject just now after the recent minor heart attack.

  Beer helped me settle down, and I felt generally fine once I was in the pub. Going home was almost as uncomfortable in some respects, but less so in other ways. The analgesic effect of the 4 pints of beer I had helped to make my shoes less uncomfortable, but not enough, and it was still wonderful to take those shoes off when I got home. I felt pretty good when I got home, and it was because I had a wonderful treat in store - one I had made myself, but didn't realise how good it would be - dinner !

  The core of my dinner was some skinless and boneless chicken thighs that I had pre-cooked before I went out. I had seasoned them well before cooking them in the oven. I was very surprised to see that they had actually been cooked by part boiling, part frying, and part roasting. I had added a sprinkle of olive oil before seasoning the chicken. At the end of it's cooking time the thighs were swimming in oil, fat, and exuded water. I drained it all off, and most of it dried off while I was out at the pub.

  That chicken, with my rather random seasoning, was rather good in itself, but I had it as part of something like, but not really a salad. It was some small tomatoes, some chopped spring onions, some pickled onions, some sliced jalapeño pepper, and the piece de la resistance - chopped fresh coriander. Somehow I had hit upon the perfect combination, and it was delicious ! With luck it was also fairly free of the worst vices of food - fat, sugar and calories. Unfortunately it excited my taste buds too much.

 It was probably not much more than half an hour later I wanted more. So I modified a shop bought mixed salad by adding a few pickled onions, more sliced jalapeño peppers, and some rather crappy bbq flavour sliced chicken. It was OK, but it just made me think I had eaten  more than I needed. I was starting to feel tired by then, and my bed was beckoning me. The tiredness, and probably the effect of the 4 pints of ale meant that I didn't seem to get around to checking my blood pressure, or if I did I didn't record it.

  It was only 8.30pm when I went to bed. I read for a while, but I think I was probably asleep by 9pm. I think I slept quite well with some imaginative dreams.  One dream was set in a friends old workplace, and we were smoking in it - except we weren't. We often handed each other cigarettes, but they looked like 3 inch long red wall plugs, and we didn't actually smoke them. With hindsight it was most strange to have "cigarettes" but not actually smoke them.

  One thing that possibly disturbed my sleep was the amount of times I got up for a wee in the night. It was actually very typical after a 4 pint beer session earlier, but it would usually be typical after drinking a lot of anything in the late afternoon/evening - even pints of squash. Until last night it had not been happening for the last couple of week. Possibly for a little while since before my minor heart attack. These things must be linked ! Maybe my renal function is returning to normal. Maybe it is my imagination, but as I sit here I am thinking the band of pain across the top of my right ankle, that I ascribe to something like gout, may be fading away since getting up.

  I think I have almost given up trying to work out, or describe how good or how bad I feel. Some bit feel not as bad, and some bits feel as bad, but I have no idea what this means in practice. My chest feels a bit tender, and that makes me reluctant to do anything that might annoy it, but maybe some action might be good for it. With the day being warm and bright I feel a strong urge to go and do something - maybe even another day of rail photography, but I really don't know if I will feel well enough to enjoy it. I have a feeling that I am likely to end up doing some weeding in the garden. That can be hard work, but at least I can drop tools and rest at a moments notice if I need to. I think that my master plan will be the same as the day before - have a nice shower, and consider the possibilities while doing it. 
Thursday 22nd August 2019
07:44 BST
  It was bright, and there was usually a fair amount of blue sky, but a few thicker, darker clouds often obscured the sun. The temperature, peaking at just 21° C in the afternoon, seemed comfortable enough without a coat, but it's difficult to say it was "warm" for most of the time.
                    sunshine forecast for today
  There is, and maybe will continue to, lots of sunshine this morning, but at the moment the sky is so low on the horizon that it gives little warmth. By midday the sunshine will give way to just sunny intervals for the rest of the day (although earlier versions of the forecast said the sunshine would be back from later in the afternoon). It might be a few degrees warmer today as things gradually warm up for a mini heatwave at the weekend. The afternoon temperature should reach 23° C today. There might be less sunshine tomorrow, but it should still be a bright day, and it should be warmer still - reaching as high as 26° C in the afternoon.

  As I had my morning shower I contemplated various things I could do, or places I could go yesterday. I had some ideas of taking a walk along some of the upper reaches of the River Thames - only out as far as my 60+ Oystercard could take me - but I was not sure how I felt about walking more than a couple of miles, and what with getting to and from stations, that might not leave me long beside the actual river. Then another idea came to me. Some months ago, maybe more, I saw a piece on the TV news about Henley On Thames station - it was about catching fare dodgers going to the Royal Regatta they hold up there. I noted it was a small, single track branch line, and I was curious about it. I had found my destination.

  Getting to Henley On Thames station means travelling from Paddington station, and getting to Paddington station is a complex mess. Possibly the most straightforward way is the Bakerloo Line from Charing Cross station, but Charing Cross Bakerloo Line station was once Trafalgar Square station because it is a long walk from Charing Cross station - an annoyingly long walk no matter what your state of health !

  That wasn't an option for me because the first train from Catford Bridge was going to Cannon Street, and by pure happy chance, it was going just a minute after arriving at the station. The walk to the station was not the best, but I have had far worse feeling walks. At Cannon Street station I took the Circle Line to Paddington. It is quite a long way by Circle Line, but I suspect that is more how it feels than reality.  Until it started to feel boring it was an almost pleasant part of the overall trip. As I would confirm later, Paddington station, in its God's Wonderful Railway arrogance, deliberately tries to be not part of an integrated transport system. There are 4 or 5 Paddington platforms for London Underground services (possibly only if you count the Circle Line twice), and each conspires to be a long walk away from the National Rail station.

  Having exited into the concourse of Paddington it was time to buy some tickets. I really want to say that the ticket office was a long walk away from the London Underground exit (or one of them), but I guess it was no more that 50ft or something. Fortunately the queue seemed to be moving quickly, and the ticket man dealt with my request quickly and efficiently. I soon had my tickets. From zone 6, where my 60+ Oystercard ends, to Henley On Thames with Senior Railcard discount was £7.60 - not too bad, but still £7.60 for what was for a pointless journey to satisfy my curiosity.
tickets to Henley On
  One problem with the ticket office at Paddington is that it slightly beyond platform 1, and my train was due to leave platform 12, on the far side of the station, in four minutes time. Disregarding any worries about my chest doing anything weird, I walk about as fast as I can to get to platform 12. Just to make life interesting, the entrance to platform 12 is halfway down the platform on the far side of the station. They probably do it this way to make sure that it is harder to get to the Hammersmith & City, plus Circle Line platforms that are right next to platform 12.
Class 387 train at
  The train I got was a fairly new class 387 electric multiple unit. The picture above was taken at Twyford station where you have to change for Henley On Thames station. It takes about 55 minutes to get to Twyford after leaving Paddington, and during that time the train was often moving quite fast, but not as fast at the new class 800 trains that Great Western Railway use. They are, or seem to be, a replacement for the old Intercity 125 type trains. They look flash, but are probably no more comfortable than a commuter train - hard, uncomfortable and narrow seats - probably.
Class 165 at Henley On
  The service from Twyford to Henley On Thames is fairly frequent for a branch line, every 30 minutes, and it seems very well used. The service starts from a platform at Twyford that almost appears to be outside the station, and indeed the recommended walking routes takes you outside the station, but I suspect that is more for crowd control on busy days. As I discovered on the way back, you can walk directly to the London Bound platform just by crossing the width of the platform. The picture above is of the Diesel powered train that shuttles back and forth between Twyford and Henley On Thames.

  One curiosity I noted was that many stations seemed almost inside out. At Twyford there is a typical platform shelter with seats, and crenulated edging, but it is effectively outside, and looks over the car park. I can only imagine that it, and similar arrangements were the result of "modernisation" when a substantial station house, with all it's various offices, was pulled down to "simplify matters". It rather takes away any charm there might be.
Shiplake station
  In one respect it is a shame I didn't feel more relaxed, and prepared to miss an occasional train to take a better look at things. It probably comes from visiting stations which have, or had as little as one train an hour. You have to be really sure you want those pictures if you have a whole hour to wait for the next train ! On the Henley branch it would only be a half hour wait - or less if I caught the train going in the opposite direction. For instance, if I had been a bit more relaxed I would have got off the train at Shiplake to take some better pictures of these historic looking (but probably reconstructions) signs. The next train in the direction I was travelling would be half an hour later, but the train heading back to Henley would probably only be half that. I noted several stations that would be worthy of longer visits for better photography. Many had historic looking features, and one, Southall for it's bi-lingual signs (English and Punjabi).

  My train back to Paddington was surprisingly crowded, and I only just managed to retain a double seat for myself. It made the journey back a little less pleasant, but at least I was sitting on the opposite side, and could view stuff I couldn't see properly on the way out of Paddington. I have no idea what service I was travelling on, but I think I arrived at Paddington around 3.45pm, and so minutes before the worst of the rush hour was about to begin.
Underground and
                        National Rail train side by side
  The significance of this picture would only become apparent after I had taken it. On the right is the train that had just delivered me to Paddington. It is on platform 12. To the left of the train is an underground train (Circle line or Hammersmith & City line). It is also standing at a Paddington named platform. Until some sort of crazy modernisation there was a bridge that linked the two platforms. Maybe there will be again, but to get to the Underground platforms I had to walk the full length of the 8 car train, plus at least half that length again to some lifts. The lift took me up to the taxi rank outside the station. I then walked across the taxi rank, and then down a long corridor to some stairs that took me to within about 20 foot of where I had taken the picture above. After that long walk I might have felt some complaint from my chest (but I think, or hope, it was only my "twisted ribs").

  Once I finally got to the Underground platforms I only had a 5 to 10 minute wait for a service to Farringdon station. Until it was "modernised", as part of the works for Crossrail, aka the Elizabeth line, changing between the underground and Thameslink services was just a simple footbridge, but now it is another long walk. This one, possibly because of the steep stairs down, really did jar my chest. I had a 15 minute wait for a train back to Catford, and probably spent half that time recovering.

  Back in Catford I went into the Sainsbury's by Catford station to buy some salad and some water. I hadn't drunk a thing while out, and I was out for slightly more than 5 hours. I quick sip of water was glorious !  I didn't attempt to go full speed home, but I doubt it added more than a single minute to my walk. Once I got in I prepared some food. I hadn't eaten a thing before then, and so I was rather peckish. I thought I already had two ready prepared salads in the fridge, but one was well past it's best before date, and was too yucky to eat. I had the other, which was still in date, with a small tin of mackerel in BBQ sauce. It was nice, but not enough, and so I had one of the newly purchased salads with a little tin of smoked brisling sardines.

 That was nice too, and I might have almost got away with eating no more, but that fish left a strong taste - made worse by any burp ! One of my original plans was to have had a couple of sausages, maybe with some peas or potatoes as part of my dinner. That changed when I bought the salad from Sainsburys, but I went ahead and cooked just three sausages, and savoured them for supper.

  One thing I hadn't done was to have my afternoon snooze, and by 8pm I was yawning. I held out for a while, but I was reading in bed by 8.45, and not long after 9pm I was fast asleep. So far so good, but at 1am I woke up feeling really hot, and sweating all over my pillow. I am not sure what was really going on, but what I did know is that I was caught in a all too often dilemma where it is too hot under the duvet, and too cold without it. I decided that I would not put the heating on, and after about an hour I managed to get to sleep with one arm, and one leg under the duvet.

  I woke up quite a few times after that, and probably each time I went back to sleep with a little bit more of me under the duvet. At about 6am I woke up with some chest ache, but otherwise feeling OK...well, when I say OK I probably mean better than many recent mornings. I don't feel wonderful, and ready to tackle Everest, but somehow I feel better than the new average. I did think that 6am was too early to get up, and so I took my pills, and did the usual routine before going back to bed. I didn't really sleep though.

  I now face another day. Another day to fill in with something hopefully useful or interesting. Thankfully it is Thursday, and that means I get out for my late afternoon drink today. I have only one loose plan before that, and it is to go to Tesco to buy as little as I can manage - sort of. Some salad. Maybe some skinless chicken thighs, but probably a bottle of Whisky. I didn't have any booze at all yesterday, and I'll probably only have three pints today, but a bottle of whisky is always handy have around !
Wednesday 21st August 2019
08:48 BST
  The weather was generally OK yesterday. There was usually some blue sky, sunny spells, and even longer periods of sunshine. The afternoon temperature was 20° C, but it still didn't feel as good as I am sure August is supposed to feel.
                    quite small improvement on yesterday
  Today is going to be similar to yesterday, but with possibly a little more sunshine, and a degree warmer. Maybe I just feel despondent (I am), but it still feels like autumn is just around the corner. This coming weekend is August bank holiday weekend, and it will slowly warm up of the next few days for what I suspect will be one more blast of warmth before the first morning frosts.

  Bits of yesterday were OK, but much of it was very depressing. It all started with my visit to the "Ambulatory Care" clinic at the hospital. It sounded like a fancy name for a walk in clinic, and indeed it was up to a point. In reality it was something worse. It was close to be back on the ward, but with beds mostly replaced by uncomfortable armchairs. They were uncomfortable because they seemed to be built for people far fatter than me. The very idea should have been uplifting, but it was basically just uncomfortable.

  I had been lead to believe I was just going in to give a blood sample. With hindsight I should have smelled a rat because that could have been done in the Phlebotomy department. I got the full works - blood pressure, temperature, blood glucose level, plus giving two tubes of blood for further analysis. They also wanted a urine specimen, but they only told me that 2 seconds after I had just had a wee. 2 cups of cold water, and after a half hour wait I managed to produce enough wee for their sample tube, plus enough overflow to cover my hands !

  I knew that they wanted to check my kidney function before this, but I didn't realise the extent of it, and even now I am not sure exactly what the parameters of the tests are. One vague statement was that I may not be passing enough urea. That could potentially have interesting consequences beyond what the doctors are immediately concerned about. A build up of urea in the system could possibly cause certain arthritic symptoms - of which I have several. Although cause and effect could be the other way round when it comes to joint pain.

  It is early days yet, but the future prognosis is not good. As well as these investigations continuing until possibly resolved, I am being referred to other clinics that I just know are going to convince me to make lifestyle changes. The huge worry there is that the changes are probably to stop the last few pleasures I have in life. Life could become very bleak if I gave up all my few vices. On the other had there is some hope, and if it is not hope it is amusement.

  One hope is that a lot of this urine/kidney abnormality is being caused by an allergic reaction to the dye they squirted in me while doing the angiogram a week ago. Apparently allergic reactions to it are actually very common, but they affect people in different ways. The night after that angiogram my back was really itching. I am still getting patches of itchiness even now. In fact as I write this part of my back is itching. The effect does seem to be fading, but a lot slower than I hoped. Maybe once the last of that dye is excreted my body will return to normal - whatever normal is !

  The funny side of this is that it is possible I have been over-medicated ! I took a copy of my latest home blood pressure readings, and the doctor was quite interested in them, and in particular how low my blood pressure could get after dinner in the evening. After consulting with a consultant the conclusion was reached that maybe my kidneys were not working properly because my blood pressure was too low ! The recommendation was to reduce the dose of one of my drugs by half. The effect might have started already. I took my first half dose this morning, and 2 hours later my initial reading was higher than usual, and I had to start concentrating/relaxing more to get it from slightly over the optimum, 135, to very slightly lower than optimum, 118, (texbook "normal" is often given as 120).
Ambulatory Care
  It was a great joy to see the outside of the building I was in again. If I hadn't made a very genuine plea that I had a parcel delivery due I would probably have been persuaded to stay until the urine sample had been tested. The doctor admitted that the test results could take over two hours to come back ! I could have been sitting there, bored shitless, for another 2 hours ! I had, of course, walked there through the park, and although it was not that enjoyable, I had kept close to my top pace for extended walks - typically around 3.3mph. It felt like I had to work really hard to try and match that pace going home again.

  I felt quite knackered when I arrived home, but I was partly cheered when my Amazon delivery arrived no more than half an hour after I arrived home. It was a very much earlier than usual, and I could have so easily missed it. Unfortunately what I had ordered was merely practical, rather than exciting. It was some foil trays that are very useful for cooking stuff in, and then, being aluminium, are easily recycled. It cuts down on washing up ! They were of a seemingly rare size that fits my mini oven quite well. The 99p shop gets them in on rare occasions, but I haven't seen any there for months.

  I had the rest of the pack of "Southern Fried Chicken" as a treat, well sort of treat, soon after I got home. The rest of the pack was two legs and three small thighs. It was probably a bit excessive for lunch in these new times, and maybe caused a bit of discomfort later. My chest started to hurt. Not badly, but with hints that were similar to when I went into hospital after my minor heart attack. I feel sure it was some sort of acid indigestion yesterday, and I have a black feeling that it could have been last time (which was also after eating some dodgy food).

  Yesterday was not quite as bad, and I was determined to ride it out this time. Later on it did respond to Ibuprofen, Paracetamol and whisky. The Paracetamol was actually more for my right ankle that had started feeling sore out of the blue, in a sort of arthritic or gout way. (another casualty of excess urea ?). Anyway, it all settled down as I felt more drunk and very despondent.

  It is strange the things you get up to in an altered state of mind. I went down to the kitchen to get a bottle of Diet Coke, and while down there I found myself tidying and cleaning the counter top near the microwave oven. I haven't checked it this morning, but my drunken memory from last night seems to think I made a great improvement. With hindsight it seemed strange that sleep came so easily later in the evening. I had already had a few hours of snoozing in the afternoon, and that can usually keep me awake later than desired.

  I don't really know what time I went to bed, but I think it was before 10pm, and I fell asleep really easily. I think it was around 3am before my sleep became a little disturbed. By then my room had cooled down a lot, and I got in that stupid situation where I felt too hot under the duvet, and yet any leg or arm outside of the duvet felt very chilly. It might have been 4am when I turned my heater on low, and I was soon sleeping half uncovered. At 6am I got up, took my pills, remembering to only take half a tablet of Amlodopine, took a screenshot of the weather forecast, and went back to bed for another hour or two.

  This morning I have the usual aches and pains, but none of them are too bothersome for now. I still feel very pissed off, and that is maybe because I have a whole day to fill, and little to fill it with except dreams of food and drink ! I'm not sure if I dare risk doing any gardening - even if the weeds are taking over my garden again. I'd like to go for a walk in the country, but once again I am not sure if I am up to it. Maybe I'll make up some plan after I have washed and dressed.
Tuesday 20th August 2019
07:43 BST
  The weather was good, then it was bad, and then it was good again yesterday. The morning was bright with an occasional sunny spell. Then the sky to the north went as black as thunder, and there was indeed some distant thunder before, during and after some torrential rain (but no local thunder). Then the sky mostly cleared to give sunny periods for the rest of the day. The afternoon temperature probably peaked at around the forecast 20° C.
                    be a nice day
  There is just a little bit too much cloud to let any sunshine through at the moment, but at least it seems to be bright, fluffy cloud - mostly. If the forecast is to be trusted, and the latest revision shows hardly any changes, we can expect a fairly nice day today - many hours of sunshine, and when not sunshine then sunny intervals, and an afternoon high of 20° C. Tomorrow will lose the continuous sunshine, but there should be sunny intervals all day, and it will be a tiny bit warmer at 21° C.

  Yesterday was a pleasant enough day, albeit not terribly exciting, and not quite the same as I hoped it would be. I was going to invite Sue to meet for an early afternoon drink, but I noted that she was up and out unusually early to do some business at her bank, among other things. I thought it pointless to invite her under such circumstances, but depending on how my morning goes, I may make an attempt to see her today.

   With no need to get ready early I took my time before I was ready to pop out for some shopping. All I really wanted was to get some bleach from the 99p shop - hoping to get the 2 bottles for 99p offer they had been doing for one more than adequate brand for some time, but it turned out they have run out of (maybe they will get new stocks, or maybe we can kiss them goodbye for ever). It was bright and sunny when I went out, but not when I returned !
black skies to the
  Looking to the north and the sky looked very black. As I walked through the multi-storey car park I was unsure if I had heard a peal of thunder or just something heavy driving over the floor above. Two minutes after going through my front door the heavens opened, and my plants and weeds in the garden got the watering of a lifetime ! I heard several more peals of thunder. One came from not too far away, maybe little more than a mile away. I think we got less of a deluge than other places.
just two sausages from
                        a pack cooked and eaten
  One of the things I am trying to do is to moderate my food intake after losing a bit of weight while in hospital. That weight loss was by a deliberate attempt to limit what I ate when there were no temptations around, and indeed when if I became hungry there was nothing I could do about it. It is and isn't working ! Some small breakthroughs have been offset by having an excess of food to be used up in the fridge and larder. Yesterday I managed to break a habit of a lifetime by cooking just two sausages from a pack of 8. Unfortunately, as the picture above shows, I ate them with a lot of potatoes that were dripping glazed with butter.

  Like every day since getting out of hospital I felt quite tired in the afternoon. It shouldn't really be the case, but after the fresh air of my walk to the shops, and with my two sausage lunch inside me, I just wanted to snooze. There being no reason why I shouldn't do it, and so I did it ! It wasn't a very long snooze, and did incorporate some reading while laying on my bed. Maybe an hour later (perhaps 2 hours - I wasn't timing it) I seemed ready to tackle a small task with a sting in it's tail.
CDs bought from
                        charity shop
 Before I went into the 99p earlier in the afternoon, I went into The British Heart Foundation charity shop to buy some CDs. I bought four, as pictured above. The first thing I did was to rip them to mp3 files to make playing them on my PC easier. There are potentially four problems with these CDs. I have most of the tracks on the Guitar Legends CD already - but not all. It is therefore of great annoyance to report that one of the double disc set discs is missing. After buying what turned out to be an empty CD case from the Salvation Army shop a few weeks back, I was made sure I checked each case to see there was a CD in it. Unfortunately I didn't check there were two discs in the double CD set !

  Two of the other CDs were rather speculative buys. I have a vague idea that The Dixie Chicks, basically a Country music bands, had released something that wasn't awful once, and so taking a 99p gamble seemed worthwhile. It was a similar case with the Biffy Clyro CD. I just had a sort of itchy feeling in the back of the brain that I had once heard something reasonable from them. I sort of like their name, although I don't know why, and their music is categorised at "Alternative", although that could mean anything.

  The last CD, by Muse is a complete tale of woe. There was a band, Musek, who covered Muse songs at Petts Woodstock. I basically hated them, but some people told me that Muse were good. So I saw this CD, and spent 99p to acquire it. I gritted my teeth and played it. By the end I had ground my teeth down to the gums. It was awful. The sound, which someone said was really good, turned out to be very muddy, and distorted. It reminded me of the quality of sound from an old 1990s vintage 8 bit home computer. None of the lyrics were distinct enough to mean anything, and they tunes failed to raise a single ping in my brain. Fortunately I have somebody who will take the CD off my hands for free !

  Last night's dinner started with mixed vegetables - which apart from the butter, was good. It was followed by "southern fried" chicken - oven cooked rather than fried. I also had some cottage cheese with sliced chillies in it. It was a smaller meal than many by my normal standards, but rather bigger than was my real intention. At least I deliberately only cooked half the chicken that was in the pack. I guess I will have more of it tonight. Soon after eating I checked my blood pressure, and once again it was incredibly low. This time I didn't feel quite so weird, although bending down to get a beer out of the fridge was interesting.

  Once again I seemed to have a good night, seemingly with plenty of sleep, but I did deliberately get up early to prepare for an appointment at the hospital for a follow up after my discharge on Friday evening. I think it is mainly to draw some blood to check my kidney function has returned to normal. If they don't keep me too long then I may try and contact Sue, and see if she is up for a drink this afternoon. Apart from the definite hospital visit the rest of the day is a mystery !
Monday 19th August 2019
09:13 BST
  Once again the weather forecast for yesterday got the right ingredients, but in the wrong order....  After a dull, cool start, the sun managed to break through the clouds to give some nice sunny spells that, if I recall correctly, lasted until early evening. It seemed to cloud over then, and before long there was a heavy fall of rain. The afternoon high was about the 21° C that was forecast. Mostly it felt nice-lite.
another day where the forecast keeps changing
  The latest revision of the forecast shows an increased risk of rain during the morning, and then actual rain from about 3pm. In the unlikely event the forecast, and it's timing is correct, that rain, probably light rain, will last for about 4 hours, and then the last two hours of daylight will feature clear blue skies with bright sunshine - seems unlikely, but was can hope it is right ! The best temperature we can hope for is 20° C this afternoon, but the long range forecast gives hope of much warmer temperatures coming up by the weekend. Tomorrow could have a cooler start, just 12° C, but it should be dry with some very long periods of sunshine taking the afternoon temperature to 20° C again.

  I did my best to treat yesterday as an ordinary day, and as if my body was in good working order. The latter turned up to be wrong in the end. The first thing I did, after washing and dressing, was to really stress test my body buy going to Tesco and buying far too much (by weight). It was a comparatively rare occasion when I spent little money to buy a lot. The four 2l bottles of Diet Coke made up the bulk of the weight. I carried 3 in my rucksack, and the other, along with a litre of tomato juice, and other stuff in a bag.

  Walking to Tesco seemed almost pleasant. Maybe it was actually pleasant, but walking back really taxed me. Everything started to hurt except my heart. My legs seemed to be a bit stiff, and the weight of the bag, frequently passed from side to side, seemed to be pulling my arms out of their sockets. It was with some relief that I got home again. I didn't stay there for long - just long enough to eat a tub of cottage cheese with pineapple.

  There was a reason for buying and eating it. I had heard someone mention it recently, and remarked that I didn't really like it. That was based on very old information. It may have been 30 years since I last tasted it. The Tesco branded tub I tried yesterday seemed far more pleasant. I could grow to like it if I persisted, but apart from an occasional whim, I see no use for it.

  Once I had rested for 2 minutes, I selected my Canon 1200D camera, and went for a walk in the park to see what was happening at the Food 'N' Fun In The Fields event was all about. I had a flyer that contained three important facts about what was going on. The first positive fact was that there was a Birds Of Prey display. The very negative fact that there was going to be an awful lot of crap such as kids face painting, and endless amounts of very high fat, very high sugar, extremely high calorie foods available. The final fact was that there was going to be a live music stage. The latter could make or break a visit there - it broke it in a grand way !
One of several owls from the birds of prey show.
Looks like a giant kingfisher, but is probably a kookaburra.
another owl
Another owl
yet another owl
Yet another owl
small bird on childs arm
Small, unidentified bird perched on (a suitably protected) child's hand.

  There is no doubt about it that the birds of prey were the highlight of my brief visit. Maybe the donkeys, used for kiddies donkey rides, might have been good if they weren't covered in an infestation of kids. The live music stage turned out, not unexpectedly, to be a waste of space (to my ears). I had rather feared there would be something like a steel drum band on it, but it was almost worse than that - a Dixieland Jazz Ensemble. I will confess I had missed the first "band", and I couldn't stomach hanging around to see if the next band would insult my ears to the same limit as those geriatric jazz players.

  If my memory serves me well it is 0.79 miles from home to Ladywell through the park. I didn't go as far as the Ladywell entrance, but I did walk around for a while where the event was taking place. As such I reckon it would be fair to say I managed to walk about 1.5 miles. That was not much, but it really stressed me. By the time I got home I was on my last legs. I spent my first hour at home going through the 31 photos I had taken in total, and eating one pack of Tesco egg and cress sandwiches. Usually I could wolf done two pack without thinking about it, but one seemed more than I wanted on one sitting.

  I felt dreadfully tired, and I lay on my bed and dozed off for maybe an hour, maybe more. It was force of habit that made me eat to second pack of sandwiches. Like the first pack, they started off good, and then I felt stuffed as I finished the last mouthful or two. Sooner or later I was dozing off again, but this time with my bedroom window closed because I was feeling quite chilly. I stayed laying on my bed, sometimes asleep, sometimes awake and reading, until about 6pm when I thought it was time I ate my main meal of the day.

  Like the day before, it was peri-peri chicken that had been sealed and chilled since it arrived as part of a takeaway a week earlier ! Once again I had given it a good sniff before grilling it to within an inch of it's life. It smelled perfectly OK, and tasted perfectly OK (except that after such a severe grilling it was very much on the dry and chewy side). I enjoyed it, and although it became a struggle towards the end, I finished the last of it of. A little later I checked my blood pressure.
super low blood
  My blood pressure had hit an all time low. I definitely felt a bit odd, but I treated it as if being mildly drunk. I was acutely aware to take care, and make allowances - just as an experienced drunk would do. I don't think this period of very low blood pressure persisted though. It was probably little more than 10 minutes after measuring my blood pressure that, in the words of my nurses "I opened my bowels", except on this occasion I did it explosively - twice, and once more slightly less explosively for luck.

  It would be easy to blame the chicken for it, but while it was an excellent candidate, I do have some doubts. During my stay in hospital, I, like everybody else, was asked at least once a day if "I had opened my bowels". On most days I could honestly say yes, but didn't add "but not much". I ponder on the idea that I was building a back log, and the change of diet started a cascade that couldn't be stopped....or maybe it was the chicken !

  I felt very poorly for a while, but was still able to break the 4 minute mile from bed to bog on two occasions. Eventually I settled down, and became more comfortable than I had been before. I no longer felt shivery, and although I didn't check it, it felt like my blood pressure had gone back up a bit. I still felt a bit tired, but I felt stable enough to go to bed. Now the temperature has dropped it is nice to snuggle down under the duvet, and I was soon fast asleep having some rather good quality SciFi dreams.

  It was at least 3 hours later (maybe 4) when I woke up feeling quite good, and very awake. I got up for about an hour before feeling like I could get back to sleep again. It seems so hazy now, but I think I was fast asleep again very soon after going back to bed, and I seemed to get some good sleep until just before sunrise (05.53 this morning). That felt far too early to get up, and I thrashed around in bed, trying to sleep for some time after that.

  This morning I can't decide if I feel good or bad. Nothing hurts in any particular way, but nothing is perfectly pain free. I think I still feel a bit tired, but that may be because is possible boredom today. One thing I have checked, and that was my blood pressure. Initially my systolic pressure (the first one, the other being diastolic) was a closer to textbook perfect at 118, but on seeing that I was able to relax even more and bring it down to 106 on a second attempt. Last night's 91 was probably a bit low, but 106 seems fine.

  I don't really know what I am going to do today, but one possibility might be to meet Sue for a drink. I haven't really seen her for months, and it is over a year since we last had a drink together. I thought we could meet each other halfway at The Shortlands Tavern. It is a dog friendly pub right by the station that is approx equal distance from either of us. It really depends on how Sue is feeling, and what her commitments are for today. If I don't see Sue I may have to do some very light weed clearance in the garden - assuming I can do that without stressing my body as I usually would.
Sunday 18th August 2019
09:04 BST
  Summer definitely feels like it is over. I think I missed the last day while in hospital. Yesterday had lots of nice sunny spells, but the lacked the "oomph" of summer. The start and end of the day seemed quite cool, but the afternoon high was a pleasant 22° C.
                    cool start
  The weather forecast for today has altered a lot in the latest revision. The screenshot above was of the 6.02am revision. It got the rather cool start to the day. I woke up at 4am and decided to turn the heater on because it felt chilly. Since sunrise it has often been quite bright, and there have been some sunny spells - albeit rather hazy sunny spells. None featured in the forecast. The latest revision seems to have been thrown together randomly. They have thrown in a few spells of rain, and an assortment of sunny spells seemingly at random. I suspect the true forecast says "we don't know". One aspect that is usually about right is the temperature, and so this afternoon is very likely to be 21° C, and tonight is going to be an even chillier night than last night. The forecast for tomorrow seems also to be rather random - sunny spells followed by a few showers, and then glorious sunshine. Starting chilly, but an afternoon high of 21° C again - maybe.

  Yesterday was the day when I tested my body to see how it fared after 6 days in hospital. It was both good and bad, although realistically I should probably say it was mostly bad, but I have to be optimistic about these things. Most of the time I felt fairly OK, but I did lots of little things that suggested otherwise. One of the most significant things I did was to finally have the hot shower with real shower gel, and real shampoo and conditioner, that I had been looking forward to for almost a week. It was luxury. For the first time I felt (hoped) that I was no longer smelly, and the real shampoo and conditioner left my hair feeling good (or at least what I consider to be normal). It looked like old straw prior to that good wash.

  Having a shower can be sort of like hard work - particularly all the towelling to dry myself at the end - and true to form I felt mildly, and very temporarily knackered. Not much change there, and that was good. One of the first things I did when reasonably dry, and fully clothed, was to go to the corner shop. Apart from when I walked home from the hospital (which felt like unusually hard work), the walk to and from the corner shop was the first time I had used my legs properly. It felt quite strange, and not exactly good, but it is now hard to say just why it didn't feel good. Maybe it was because I couldn't seem to use big bold steps, and it took 2 minutes and 24 seconds to get there instead of two minutes and 17 seconds - not that I actually timed myself - it was perhaps just a feeling that I seemed sluggish, and couldn't shave off those extra seconds no matter how I pushed.

  Two things that didn't affect that walk, but would affect many other things I did, were some nasty backache, and a light headed feeling. The back ache was best illustrated when doing some simple washing up at the sink. There were a few plates in there, and fair bit of cutlery. I couldn't wait to finish that, straighten up, and walk away from the sink. The light headed feeling popped up a lot after I had been sitting down for a long while. It meant having to rely on muscle memory when walking downstairs once or twice. It was both a bit of challenge, and actually sort of thrilling, going down the stairs with my head "floating". Yeah, it was potentially dangerous, but it's all good practice, and as I said, I relied on muscle memory to guide my legs.
Low blood pressure
  For most of yesterday my blood pressure was what I would call very low, and the textbooks would call slightly low, and the doctors and nurses would say was very good ! Funny how the definition changes to suit expectations. I am not sure if this low systolic pressure is the cause of the light headed spells or nor, but it seems a possibility to me. This morning my systolic pressure was just 103, and that was not long after getting out of bed - sometimes one of the worst times for me. The diastolic pressure and pulse rate were low too. I think it was the diastolic pressure, which seems to have a much smaller range, was one of the things some doctors though was a little bit high - but not yesterday !
new home grown
  One of the things several people suggested I shouldn't do yet was gardening. It was wise advice, but one I decided to slightly ignore. My potato (and tomato) patch was, after all the rain we have had, getting heavily infested with weeds. I thought that if I took it carefully I could at least pull up some of those weeds, and harvest some potatoes. I pulled up/dug up two potato plants (at least I think I did - it was a bit of a jungle at ground level), and the picture above shows the cleaned results. Enough potatoes for two generous meals.

  I have to confess that bending over to dig those potatoes out really got my back aching badly. Fortunately that ache was was very short lived once I finished, and started walking around upright. I also suffered quite a lot of light headedness while bending over, but it was worth it. I had a very simple meal of home grown potatoes with frozen green beans - a crop I think I want to try next year - assuming I get fit enough to work in the garden again.
home grown potatoes
                        and frozen green beans
  I will confess that meal was not as healthy as it could have been, because I couldn't resist giving the vegetables a good glaze of butter. Delicious ! Later on I would have a very dodgy meal. On Friday 9th Aug, the night before I walked into hospital with my chest pains, I had ordered a takeaway. Part of that takeaway was peri-peri chicken. I had intended to eat it the next night after coming home from a gig. As delivered it was painfully hot to handle. In fact I had to use a tea towel to protect my hands. It was also very well sealed in it's foil container. After a few hours it seemed almost cool enough to put into my fridge - and there it stayed until yesterday evening.

  I had really been lusting after that hot peri-peri chicken during my stay in hospital, and it was not being able to get to it that made the stay so tedious....or at at least for a few days. After 3 or 4 days I feared that I had lost the battle to get to that chicken before it went off. However.....last night I gingerly opened the foil container, and had a good sniff. There were no nasty smells, and no signs of anything wrong. So I selected two bits and gave them a very fierce grilling until bits were turning black. That wouldn't have broken down any toxins, but would certainly kill any bugs that might produce more.

  I very carefully tasted a few bits, and it tasted perfect. So I ate it all, and I enjoyed it. Thankfully all has been well since then. Whether it was sensible or not is an unknown. Raw chicken really reeks when it goes off, but I'm not so sure about cooked chicken. I feel it too would make it's status easy to smell or taste, but I wouldn't recommend anyone else try it. Probably should have fed it to the fox, but sometimes in life you have to make carefully considered chances.

  The other carefully considered chance was to hand launder a couple of t-shirts, some underwear, and a pair of lounge pants. It did seem like very hard work, and maybe I would have done better to leave it an extra day or two, but I got it done, and while the work itself was rather uncomfortable there seemed to be no lasting effects. Overall I think I git through the tests quite well. There were obvious weaknesses, but less than I imagined. It gives me some confidence that life can return to normal soon.

  By 9pm I was looking forward to my bed, but I thought I would try and have a short call to Sue. I wanted to thank her for providing some support while I was in hospital, and for offering to visit at a time when she was going through one of her periods of really bad back ache. (With hindsight I should have encouraged her to visit - not lolling around at home would probably have been good for her back). I was perhaps fortunate that she had a visitor there, but it was still difficult to finish the conversation for what must have been a full hour.

  By 10.30pm I was in bed, but I decided to read for a while before turning the light out. I think it took as little as one minute before I was fast asleep. I slept well last night, although maybe for not as long as desired. It seemed warm enough when I went to bed, but I woke up feeling very chilly at about 4am. I turned the heater on, and pulled the duvet closer around me, and was soon asleep again - but only for a couple of hours.

  I haven't really tested my body yet to get a better idea of how I feel, but at the moment it seems fairly normal, and maybe there is a hint of it feeling very, very slightly better. Of course that doesn't mean that most of the built in aches and pains have gone way, but maybe they are a bit different, or less rabid this morning. It could also be teh case that once I try and do something needing a bit of physical effort I will feel like I am dying.

  There are a couple of things that I feel I will likely do today. One is to go to Tesco. My fridge seems to have more drink in it than food. It would be nice to correct that. Later on there is something going on in the park - something that is supposed to include live music. The chances are it will be steel drums (yuck), some old geezer kicked out of a morris dancing side because his accordion playing causes too many suicides, or some bloody awful school choir. Before I really slag it off I have to see it, and if it occurs during one of the brighter spells it could have some pleasurable effect - even more in in the highly unlikely chance that there is a beer tent.
event in the park
Saturday 17th August 2019
08:53 BST
  The weather for the last week has been very variable. Some days were bright, sunny and warm, but yesterday was dull, drizzly, and feeling much cooler than recently.
                    sunny and dry
  The weather forecast says it should be bright and dry with sunny intervals. That is certainly the case now, and hopefully it will be as good as the forecast, or better for the rest of the day. The afternoon high today should be 22° C. I have no way of knowing what it was yesterday, but I think today will be warmer than yesterday. Tomorrow could start with a brief bit of rain, but should otherwise be similar to today. It is highly unlikely that it will happen, but the following 7 days could also be very very similar except for being a degree cooler than today. We'll see !

  A lot has happened in the last week. During the evening of the 9th Aug I began to get an annoying pain across my chest - and it was no more than just annoying. I initially thought it was just another facet of the costochondritis that has been plaguing me, on and off, for the last 6 years, but it didn't respond to any of my usual cures (basically Ibuprofen). At 2am on Saturday 10th I decided that it might be prudent to get it checked out at hospital. I must stress, it wasn't a strong pain, and could be described as quite mild. I decided I would walk to the A&E of Lewisham hospital.

  Apart from some drizzle, it was quite a pleasant walk through the deserted streets of Lewisham. As I walked the pain faded away - the exact opposite of what you would expect from a heart attack. I was seen quite promptly at the hospital after saying those magic words "chest pains", and so began almost a week long odyssey through the healthcare system. Initial tests showed my blood pressure to be high, although I don't think it was as high as some of my award winning highs back in 2013. One surprising thing was that my blood glucose level was a lot higher than I thought it might be - even higher than when I was first ever diagnosed as diabetic 15 to 20 years ago, but not so high as to be critical.

  There was one test that had a bit of a waiting time, and that was a blood test. After a heart attack various chemicals/residues show up in blood, and this test did confirm that I had had a minor heart attack. I can't remember any specific time, but fairly early on Saturday morning I was moved to Chestnut ward - an initial reception ward where I was to stay for the rest of my visit because there were no bed in Cherry ward - the cardio ward.
my bed during my stay
                        in hospital
My bed in Chestnut ward.

  For the next 5 days I was poked and prodded while the doctors tried to stabilise my reading to what they believed should be normal for me. They did this by feeding me the exact same drugs as I was already taking - with one minor variant, and a few one off drugs. The small variant was to increase my Bisoprolol from 5mg to 7.5mg, and the main one off was a couple of injections of an anti clotting agent. This latter drug was injected into my stomach, and I am pretty sure it is what my friend Patricia now has to self administer prior to a long transatlantic flight after she suffered deep vein thrombosis on one such flight some years ago now.
is it dinner,
                            lunch or supper ?
 The food during my stay was not that good, although nothing was actually unpleasant. I found it ridiculously easy to opt for the healthiest choices possible. By ignoring starters and desserts, and in many cases side orders too, I ended up with a minimal meal. With no access to other sources of food (i.e. my fridge or larder) it was really easy to keep this up, and I only slightly relaxed on this regime once at the very end when I knew I would be going home in a matter of hours. I treated myself to an ice cream desert. I am not sure why I bothered. The ice cream pot was tiny, and the ice cream was almost unpleasant.

  On Wednesday I had a day out - and for stupid reasons it was almost a whole day ! I was transported by (non emergency) ambulance to Kings College Hospital (where I had my quad heart bypass in 2013) for an angiogram. The transport turned up an hour late, and took what I believe was a stupid route to Kings College. I finally arrived there a couple of hours after my original slot. After a fair wait I was taken to the radiology lab, and then turned away when a private patient took priority over me.

  An Angiogram is where they insert a long catheter into an artery all the way to the heart. Then then inject small quantities of x-ray opaque dye into the arteries while watching what happens using real time x-ray TV. For technical reasons I don't understand they chose to insert the catheter into an artery in my groin area. Despite some local anaesthetic spray, it was quite uncomfortable as they prodded and poked around trying to get the catheter in the right place, and heading in the right direction. Once in, the discomfort fell to low levels, and I was able to relax and enjoy the picture show on the monitor I believe the radiologist used.

  The entire Angiogram procedure took something like 20 to 30 minutes plus an hours recovery time - the latter mostly being so they could check that the hole they had poked into my groin was properly closed and not leaking - rather important considering it was into a main artery. The informal report I got from the radiologist was that everything was perfect, and he praised the surgeon who had done my quad heart bypass in 2013. None of the grafts showed any sign of a leak, and all were passing blood with no restrictions.

  It was about 4.30pm when I was ready to leave, but there was a delay getting my transport back to Lewisham - a very big delay. I had been placed in a recovery ward to wait for transport. It turned out that it it was 8.15pm before my transport arrived. Fortunately I had been left in the company of a truly delightful nurse. For the last two hours there was her plus one other nurse, and they were cleaning up the ward ready for re-opening the next morning. As they worked, and sometimes didn't, we chatted about all sorts of things - including nurses pay. When I finally left I almost got a kiss from both, but I was rather smelly, but they both shook my hand, and wished me well.
                                sandwich - it was surprisingly nice
   Before going for the Angiogram I had left a note saying I wanted a sandwich for my lunch. I was expecting to miss lunch by an hour or two, but I missed it by many more hours than that. It was about 9pm when I finally got back to my ward in Lewisham, but sitting on my bedside table was the sandwich I had ordered. It was a nice touch, but I had been quite well fed in Kings College Hospital. I could have been very well fed ! There a small nurses party going on close to the recovery ward, and I was offered loads of pizza. They only thing I did accept was a couple of fingers of water melon. If you look carefully you'll note that I had asked for an Egg Mayo sandwich, but got a chicken mayo sandwich - that was how long the wait was !! The chicken mayo sandwich was probably the best thing I ate all the time I was there. I would actually pay money to buy another in a shop.
worst meal
                                ever !
  My worst meal is pictured above. It wasn't horrible in any way. The "hostess" who took my order misunderstood me when I said I would just have the fishcake, and nothing else. I meant no extra side vegetables and stuff. I didn't mean without the tomato and basil sauce the fishcake was supposed to come with. So I ended up with just a single fishcake sitting in the middle of an otherwise empty plate. It was nice enough, but rather dry without the sauce. I did have an extra side salad with it, but the side salads never tasted that nice to me.
                                    standard breakfast
  My standard breakfast every morning was a single slice of toast with about half the butter in the little pod on the left.
                                    and mushy peas
  One of the better meals served on Fridays - fish and chips. I opted for no chips, and just had mushy peas with my battered haddock. The mushy peas were a bit suspect, but overall it was a nice dinner (at lunchtime). My overall feelings about the food was that it was not so good as the food I had in 2013. I blame cut backs with the catering contract going to the lowest bidder (and probably a company owned by the son or daughter of the minister of health). Maybe by missing out on side orders, things like mashed potato, I didn't get the best impression of what it could have been. Even so....

  On Thursday I was told that there was just one more test they wanted to do on me, and that was an echocardiogram - basically and ultra sound of the heart. Once that was done, and if that and the angiogram showed no negative results I would soon be on my way home. The echocardiogram could be done in house, and they said they were trying to book an appointment with the radiologist as soon as possible. Plus they were trying to get the official results of my Angiogram from Kings College Hospital. They were supposed to be sent electronically, but could have arrived quicker if someone had walked them over.

  On Friday morning it all started to come together very quickly (with hindsight - at the time it was like everything was in slow motion). During the morning I had the echocardiogram, and the technician told me that he had seen nothing out of the ordinary, but the final arbiters would be the cardio team who were looking after me. Later in the afternoon they took one more blood sample to check my renal functions. I think it was about 4pm, when I expected the doctors to finish for the weekend, when one of the junior doctors came along to tell me that the final results were in, and I would be going home once all the paperwork had been tidied up, and a prescription for drugs had been made up.

  Finally at a few minutes before 6pm I was in the park behind the hospital, and on my way home. Freedom felt rather heady. I did feel sort of strange walking through the park, possibly with some odd aches, but I refused to slow down, and 12 to 15 minutes later I was indoors. The worst thing at that point was bending over to pick up the mail on my door mat. It hurt my chest, but it was only muscular pain from my ribs and suchlike, and not the deeper pain of the heart.

  The very first things I did was to put some week old potato wedges, that were in the fridge as hardly touched extras to a takeaway from last Friday night. I reasoned that it was unlikely they would have deteriorated like the peri-peri chicken, untouched, still in it's closed foil container, also from the takeaway, would have done. I gave them a very good grilling while I opened my first of 4 cans of Guinness. It was delicious !!! I then spent the rest of the evening, until gone 11pm, catching up on messages and other stuff on social media.

  I am unsure if I should blame the Guinness for feelings of almost dizziness several times in the latter part of the evening. It was rather unpleasant after what I had just gone through. I did have a genuine fear that it could end up as needing more days in hospital. In one respect that could be good if it meant the doctors stopped trying to dwell on one little heart attack, and reviewed other things as well. I can't help but recall Spike Milligan's epitaph - "See, I told you I was ill".

  The one thing I was really looking forward to last night was a shower using real shower gel, and washing and conditioning my hair using proper shampoo and conditioner. Unfortunately I was so busy that I ended up going to bed still stinking after a couple of days without washing. I should note that the Angiogram team did advise not to shower for a couple of days to allow the catheter hole in my groin to develop a mature seal (scab). So I went to bed filthy, and feeling quite cold. I even had the heater on for much of the evening because it felt so cold. It was nice getting into me own bed, and without the constriction of wearing a hospital gown. I actually had a very good sleep.

  This morning I am unsure how I feel. Sometime I feel a bit odd, and sometimes I definitely need a good stretch to stop my chest muscles/ligaments.ribs aching. I don't think I feel that strong, but that is something I might test later when I might try a bit of light gardening. The weeds have grown most rampart after many rainy days. I could probably harvest some potatoes today as well. One of the first things I will be doing is finally having that shower and washing my hair. I need to visit the corner shop (or elsewhere) to buy some Diet Coke. My last bottle and a half have gone down like nectar after a week with none. My first glass of ice cold Diet Coke was unbelievably good !

  My first big decision is going to come early this evening. There is a gig I would rather like to get to tonight. It is being held in The Fellowship And Star - literally next door to Bellingham station, and just a couple of minutes on the train from Catford. There is a possible problem beyond my health. It is advertised as a ticketed event, but that tickets are free. I guess this is so the venue can get a better idea of the amount of attendees. I haven't got a ticket, and if I feel OK to go out I will turn up and see what happens. If I get turned away then it will have been a nice walk to the station and back, and nothing more. I think there is an alternative gig I could get to tonight - unless it is actually tomorrow night - must check !
Friday 9th August 2019
08:46 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday got it about right up 9pm when the forecast rain didn't fall, and still wasn't falling at 1am this morning. It was a fairly bright day with sunny intervals, and at 23° C it was comfortable without being warm.
                    forecast is weird
  The weather forecast for today is rather weird if you look at it closely. At 8am it is shown as dry, but there is a 93% chance of rain (and it was raining). 4pm is shown as being in the middle of some extended rain fall, but the chance of rain is only 16%. It remains to be seen if it will actually rain when the chances of it happening are so low. One thing is for certain, and that is that when the chance of rain was 93% and 67% it did rain. The latest revision to the forecast does grudgingly admit there might be some drizzle at 9am. It is nearly 9am as I write this, and it is not raining, although a "passing shower" did drop a lot of rain on us 15 minutes ago. The latest revision to the forecast has increased the chance of rain between 6pm and 8pm to a rough average of 60%, and upped the ante from light rain to thundery showers.

  I sort of get why the forecast is rather variable at the moment. There is a big swirly area of low pressure coming in from the Atlantic. We are on the outskirts of it, and the edge is ill defined and uncertain. A bit further north they are going to be positively soaked ! I suspect that through the day the forecasts will be corrected to show what the forecasters can see out their windows rather what their great computer predicts. I think I will jusy work on the assumption that much of today could be wet and horrible, and act appropriately. I suspect the forecast for tomorrow will be more accurate. It suggests it should be dry with sunny intervals popping up for most of the daylight hours, but around the middle of the day there could be some very strong winds.

  I didn't do any household tasks yesterday, and I didn't really do anything else either - apart from going out for an afternoon drink with my Thursday drinking friends. The drink itself was almost typical - a bit of banter and some good beer - but yesterday we were joined by Andy. He was one of the regular drinkers until he moved to Brighton. Yesterday he came up to London to see us. In his honour I stayed for one more pint, but I was drinking a fairly weak beer - St Austell's "Liquid Sunshine" at just 3.9%.

  What was more significant about going out was the walk to and from the station. It seemed like hard work to walk to the station.  Maybe it was the changing air pressure as the weather was changing, or some would blame pollution, but I felt a bit short of breath as I walked. It wasn't bad enough to call it asthma, but I was breathing quite heavily by the time I had reached the far end of the platform at Catford Station. I also felt quite creaky, but I think it was more shortness of breath that slowed me down rather than stiff legs.

  In some ways, coming home again was worse, because there was an additional problem. It was very mild, but I had a few aches that reminded me of when I was first starting to get angina. Those aches did seem to get worse when I pushed myself to walk faster to overtake someone when I was on the "home straight". Fortunately they never got so bad that I had to consider slowing down. In fact I may have done the opposite to see if they got worse - which they did seem to when I put on that little spurt of speed. Curiously enough the person I wanted to overtake looked a sporty type with weird running shoes and almost, but not quite wearing a track suit. If I can walk faster than one of those sporty types then I guess I am not doing too bad.

  I did take one little break on the way home, but that was at the start when I popped into Sainsbury's by the station. I wanted a couple of Greek salads, and anything that might grab my eye with a reduced price sticker on it. I was lucky to find several reduced priced items. The best two items became the first course of my dinner last night. They were packs of sushi - one vegetable, and the other chicken. They had been reduced from £2.40 to 90p each. That was a pretty good reduction. I like supermarket sushi, but it always seems rather expensive for what is just 75% rice. 90p seems far more reasonable.

  The second part of my dinner was some lamb shoulder chops in a mint marinade - ready prepared from Aldi. I gave them 50 minutes in my mini oven before I went out, and another 15 minutes when I got home finished their cooking. I think the meat from a shoulder cut is a bit tougher than elsewhere (but I am making this up as I go along rather than having definite knowledge about these things). Nevertheless, it was still very nice.

  After watching about 90 minutes of TV I felt like going to bed. That must have been around 9pm. I read for a short while, but I couldn't concentrate on what I was reading after a while. It must have been before 10pm when I fell into a deep sleep until around 1am. A quick peek through my bedroom windows, while I got up for a pee, showed no sign that any of the forecast rain had fallen - or if it had, the road must have dried incredibly quickly.

  After going back to bed the next thing I knew was that I was waking up from a long dream at about 6am. The dream was rather disappointing in one respect. It was set in a brothel, but nothing happened - certainly not brothel like action. In a very bizzare twist I seemed to be carrying a cello in a case with me. I guess it would be true to say that I lost my cello in that brothel, but that is nothing to boast about. It remains a mystery to me as to what the inspiration for the dream was. I have never visited a brothel, and I don't think I would really want to - although it would be fascinating to be a fly on the wall !

  It must be the damp weather - I do seem to feel more fragile and creaky than usual this morning. Maybe that doesn't matter because I don't feel inspired to do anything on this grey and wet day. I expect I'll probably end up doing a few odd jobs through the day. I think I mentioned yesterday that I have sufficient materials to put a shelf up in the kitchen, and I may do that today. I'm not sure if I could feel motivated enough to do some more clearance/tidying in the back room. Like my garden, some of the work I have done in the last few months makes it almost possible to actually see that it might be possible to get the back room back into some sort of shape to become a dining room again - but maybe not this year !

  I could go to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. I could almost be tempted except for two things. The more obvious thing is that they are playing in The Mitre in Greenwich tomorrow, and typically until they are starting their second set, that pub is far more pleasant than tonight's gig. The Coach And Horses is too small, and too awkwardly shaped to enjoy a gig unless you right at the front of the audience. Tonight it could be not only wet, but hot and sweaty in there. I think I will stay in, and I might treat my self to a takeaway tonight.
Thursday 8th August 2019
10:43 BST
  The early morning forecast for yesterday turned out to be almost nonsense. A later revision came closer to reality. I don't think it went as far as predicting rain would fall, but in the small print it said there was a small chance of "precipitation" for the afternoon. Back in the real world the few sunny periods in the morning gave way to some thick and ugly clouds, and in the afternoon we had several showers. They were fairly light showers, and didn't seem to last long. I don't think enough rain fell to justify not watering my potato plants, but I didn't water them. The afternoon temperature probably still peaked at 23° C despite the rain and lack of sunshine.
                    today will be what yesterday was supposed to be
  The weather forecast for today has started off as being credible than the forecast for yesterday. There is a fair bit of cloud around this morning, but there has been a lot of sunshine with a few interruptions as cloud has floated past the sun. If this can carry until this evening it will make for a fairly decent day, although with an after peak of just 23° C it will not be any better than the slightly warm side of mild. At 9pm it is predicted to all go downhill. The temperature may drop by 4°, and it will start to rain. It will be a prelude for tomorrow, except that tomorrow could be slightly warmer, and very much wetter - torrentially wetter ! With thunder and lightning !!!

  Once again I didn't go out anywhere except to go shopping in Aldi. By the time I was ready to do that the sky was looking a bit dark and threatening in several directions. It didn't actually rain until a few hours later, but I think I had already made my mind up that it was not a good day to go exploring in the open. I guess I could have done some London Underground exploring. There are some of the old parts of the Bakerloo Line that I would like to get out and visit instead of just staying on the train. I'll get around to it one day, but I think I have to be in a special mood for it - but I have no idea what that mood is.

  Yesterday was one of those all too common now, paradoxical days where I seemed to do little, and achieved a lot....or was it the other way around ? It was a day that might have been wasted, and yet I seemed to be too busy doing something to be able to lay down and read, or even snooze. I think it was a case of doing just a few easy to describe things, and lots of little intangible things - things like spending a few minutes printing a label to stick on a memory card (I number all my memory cards now, and quickly scribble a very vague index to them so I can find pictures more easily if the copies on my PC [and backups of my PC] get corrupted or something).

  One semi little job is both important, but so banal that I wonder why I bother to record doing. It is doing some laundry. I guess I feel I have to justify my time, and doing laundry by hand is some solid work - sometimes, like in the case of a double duvet cover, or a large bath towel, quite physical work. Yesterday it was smaller stuff, but there were quite a few items all needing wringing out after each stage of the wash. It may not have been more than a mildly warm day, but I was hot by the time I had finished that wash, and hung it up on a clothes horse indoors (because it was raining at that time outdoors).

  To keep mentioning laundry may be....oh, OK, it is monotonous, but what I also did yesterday was not ! It started off very simply as doing some washing up, although there was a fair amount in the sink waiting to be washed, but it sort of escalated after that. I had a bit of a tidy up in there, and while the floor tiles are in too bad a condition to wash the floor, I did have a very long overdue sweep around in there - including a few corners that get more neglected than others.

  A few days ago I mentioned that I put up two small, 99p each from the 99p Shop, coat hooks in the kitchen. This allowed made doing some limited tidying up possible by hanging some stuff from them. One such thing was a carrier bag full of carrier bags. It had originally been hanging on the door handle on the inside of the kitchen door. With that gone I could open the door wider except for one thing. For years the last bag of cat litter I had when my last cat passed on, was sitting next to the side of the fridge, and that prevented the kitchen door opening even wider.

 Unfortunately my fridge tends to leak condensation these days because the interior drain hole is blocked (and some of it comes from things like cold bottles that wouldn't drip into the drain channel anyway). Maybe there is more condensate than I thought, and maybe now I will have to try and clean that drain home, because what seemed to be an intermittent tiny trickle was being soaked up by that cat litter, When I picked the bag up to throw it away the bottom just split open. That was a good enough reason by itself to get the broom out !

  Having cleaned the floor (albeit not anywhere near a deep clean) I then made a mess on it again. I put up another small shelf in there, and I did it because I had the materials rather than an immediate need for it. Having put it up, stood back and admired my handiwork, I found I very quickly filled it up with aerosol cans. Some had previously been on the fridge, and some were on a shelf in the back room. I think at some point I will be putting another shelf up in the kitchen to use up a bit of wood, and some shelf brackets. Once again I am not sure what I will put on it, but I am sure it will soon fill up very quickly !

   After having another quick sweep up of the grit and stuff where I had drilled the wall to put in wall plugs, I was free to relax for a while - but I didn't really relax. I can't remember what I actually did, but it was probably important. Very soon it was time to prepare some dinner. I had it in mind to have a very simple dinner of lightly butter glazed mixed vegetables (that had been in the free for far too long). That dinner didn't turn out quite so simple, and healthy-ish, as intended when I had a sudden urge to put some gravy granules in the bowl after I had finished microwaving the vegetables. It soaked up all the butter that would have otherwise have mostly stayed with the little bit of water in the bottom of the bowl, and made for a very thick and lush gravy. I must say it did make those vegetables taste very nice.

  As usual I watched a few hours of TV, often doing a bit of web browsing at the same time, during the early evening. I think I gave up on TV as early as 8pm last night. By 9pm I made a stupid, but pleasant mistake - I phoned Sue for the first time in possibly several months. I had this really stupid idea that maybe I might be able to finish the call before midnight, but Sue was in a very talkative mood. It followed a very familiar pattern. She had stuff to get off her chest that she needed to say (I guessed she had, and that was partly why I phoned her), but once she had got through that the chat settled down to more usual stuff - gossip, memories and music. I finally hung up at 3am this morning !

  As you might imagine, I was feeling rather tired when I woke up three hours later, at about the time I often wake up. This morning I just went straight to the toilet. Had a rather large wee, and went straight back to bed. For about 15 seconds I lay in bed thinking I wasn't going to be able to get back to sleep - and then I was !  The first couple of hours it was easy to sleep soundly, but I had to work hard to try and get another hour of sleep before getting up considerably later than usual.

  Apart from a nagging feeling that another hour of sleep, even two, would be a nice luxury, I don't seem to feel all that bad. I don't think I am out of the woods yet, and maybe I never will be completely out in the future, I do seem to think I am am over the worst of my latest flare up of assorted aches and pains. I think I may still have a legacy of some back ache. It does seem easy to irritate it now, but fortunately it seems only in terms of short lived twinges rather than any lasting pain when bending down etc.

  There was probably other stuff I was going to do today, but it now feels so late in the day (it's just gone midday as I write these words) that I can't be bothered to do any more than have a shower before I go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink - except today it is more like an actual after drink because we are meeting at 4pm instead of a loose 4.30pm.  I reckon I'll aim for a train at about 3.50pm.
Wednesday 7th August 2019
08:37 BST
  Yesterday turned out to be a dry day, and there was some occasional sunshine, but overall it was a sort of bland day. There was nothing about it hook into a memory. Even the temperature, 22° C in the afternoon, was average.
                    is no weather today
  This was the forecast for today at 5am. Evidently the man who publishes the first forecast of the day had overslept, and there was nothing to show. So I went back to bed, and tried several hours later.....
a reasonable looking day
  The new and shiny forecast for today was bursting with some sort of optimism...maybe. So far this morning much of the cloud is thin-ish, and there are many patches of blue amongst it. It looks as if we should be getting lots of sunny spells, but at the moment the cloud in the corner of the sky where the sun is, is thicker than elsewhere. Fingers crossed that sooner or later we will get the promised sunny intervals, and maybe pure sunshine for the last few hours of daylight. There is a very small chance, 10 to 12%, of rain in the afternoon, but no rain shown on the current forecast. It might be a whole degree warmer than yesterday - a couple of hours at 23° C. Tomorrow should be basically the same as today, but Friday is the start of some truly awful weather !

  I didn't go for a long walk yesterday, but I probably could have managed a couple of miles if I had felt inspired to do so, and if I had the time to do it. What I did do was a circular walk around several shops. I don't think I have ever measure the length of such a walk, but I would estimate it to have been at least half a mile. Hmmm, I just remembered I did a timed 6 minute walk last month, and that was 0.38 miles. The walk I did yesterday could have been getting on for three times that, and if it wasn't three times, it was certainly a very generous twice that distance, and like that times walk, I kept the pace up most of the time.

  I bought a few items from Poundland before walking down the hight street to Catford Mews, and a visit to the the smelly Salvation Army charity shop. I bought one CD, and (unfortunately) one empty CD case. The empty CD case should have had a Bob Seger greatest hits CD in it, and I had to resort to slightly less than ethical means to acquire the songs from it, and burn them to a CD to put in the empty case. The other CD was a Tracy Chapman greatest hits CD.

  After the Salvation Army shop I went into Poundstretcher to buy a couple of packets of Ibuprofen (they have the capsules that seem to dissolve faster, and bring faster relief when my chest is playing up). Finally I went into the SAM 99p shop for a few odds and sods. Among those odds and sods were another couple of racks of 4 coat hooks. Later in the afternoon, as a break from sitting in front of my PC, I put those racks up in my kitchen. Hanging assorted stuff from them makes my kitchen look a bit tidier - but not much because it is generally a mess).
You Oughta Know
    Back to my photography - I was very happy to find that after my earlier problem with my cameras, I was once again using my camera properly to take some nice sharp pictures. Sometimes I even found a good viewpoint like in the picture above. I managed to get all four members of You Oughta Know in one picture. This strangely named band specialises in Alanis Morisette covers. I am not a great fan of Alanis Morisette, but they sounded good, and I liked those tight, shiny trousers !
high view down onto the stage
    As pictures go this one is not very dramatic, but the means of getting it was. I was approached by the manager of the Petts Wood Memorial Hall, and asked if I wanted a unique view. He took me into the managers office, and showed me a close to vertical steel ladder with handrails either side, and said that if I promised not to fall, I could go up the ladder to a little platform at the top with this view down onto the stage. It would have been considerably easier to go up that ladder if I didn't have to worry about my camera crashing into the steel rungs, but I made it up and down without mishap, and took the picture above. It probably wasn't worth it for the picture, but it was a fascinating bit of exploring an area off bounds to almost everybody except for (maybe) lighting technicians.
Subtle Hustle - guitarist
  One band I thought I was looking forward to seeing again was Subtle Hustle. Before they came on I remembered they were very good at The Bromley Beer Festival, but I couldn't actually remember what they did. It took less than half a song to remember that they played classic power rock/heavy metal. Part of me wanted to put the camera down and enjoy it, but the stronger part went on to take a load of pictures - many of which came out rather nicely.
Subtle Hustle - bass player
 Here's the drummer and bass player from Subtle Hustle. They were the last band I saw. I was starting to feel uncomfortable after mostly being on my feet for over 6 hours, and I think that maybe the next band due on didn't enthuse me to stay longer.

  It was with some relief that I finished all my post production work, and uploaded the final photo album. I hadn't quite finished it all before I stopped for my dinner, and I found myself still working while eating my dinner and watching some TV. It was during commercial breaks that I carried on working while feeding my face. Eventually it was all done, TV had finished for the day in my mind, and I could relax. I was soon in bed reading, but that didn't last long.

  I must admit that last night was a bit of a blur, but I think I was possibly asleep by about 10pm, and almost certainly by 11pm. I woke up for a pee sometime after midnight, but I was soon asleep again. The next thing I am aware of is waking up just before 5am this morning - one of the longer periods of sleep I seem to rarely get these days. After a visit to the toilet I tried to take a screenshot of the weather forecast, but there was no weather forecast for today. After a quick look at stuff on the internet I went back to bed, and tried to sleep. It didn't really seem like I was asleep most of the time, but almost 2 hours passed in a flash before I decided to get up.

  So I face a new day feeling moderately OK, and with nothing to do. It is forecast to be a reasonable day, at least in Catford, and so I think I need to push myself to go out somewhere. If I recall correctly, the weather forecast at the end of the London news last night suggested that north of London may not be so lucky, and they could get wet up there. So I don't think I want to travel north today. Maybe I'll go south. Maybe I'll not venture far from Catford. I'll just make it up as I go along !
Tuesday 6th August 2019
09:09 BST
  The revised weather forecast for yesterday, revised after the days weather had started, which feels a bit like cheating, turned out to be close to reality. There was some rain in the morning, but not much, and the afternoon featured lots of sunny spells. The afternoon temperature was around the forecast 24° C.
                    lumpy cloud with gaps in it
  The day has started cloudy, but not dense clouds. These are white fluffy clouds with gaps big enough to show patches of blue. When one of those blue patches lines up with the position of the sun we will have one of the forecast sunny intervals. It hasn't happened yet, but the forecast suggests we should have at least one per hour, all day, until sunset - sort of ! The latest revision of the forecast has reduced the amount of afternoon showers to just light rain possible between 3 and 6pm, although the chance of rain during that period remains quite low. No more than 16%. It will be a little cooler than yesterday with an afternoon high of just 22° C. Tomorrow could be quite similar to today, but with less rain, and maybe an afternoon high of 24° C.

  Yesterday was not just photographic post production work - aka selecting and editing the best, or most interesting photos. I also did some hand laundry. Two lots ! During the morning I thought, almost correctly, that it seemed like good drying weather, and so I tackled a hard hand laundry job - washing a large (but not huge) bath towel. I also did a smaller hand towel at the same time. That hard work, bending over the side of the bath to the two  big builders buckets I use for laundry, certainly made some joints creak, but it seemed to do no lasting damage.

  I hung those towels on the line outside, and while they never got completely dry out there before it was time to bring them in, they did get fairly dry. Later in the afternoon I felt the need to stretch my legs, but ended up stretching my arms instead when I washed a few t-shirts and some underwear. It was too late in the day to hang them outside, plus there was insufficient room on the line. I hung them on a clothes horse indoors with a fan on them to help them dry. Later on, when the sky became so cloudy that I feared it would rain, I brought the towel in, and added them to the clothes horse. Of course five minutes after that the sun came out again, but it didn't last long.

  Much of my day was spent doing photographic post production (I like that description - it makes if feel so grand). I was also keeping an eye out for a parcel delivery. This time I had ordered a couple of more sensibly sized cool bags than the small and cheap pair I had ordered previously. Those previous ones were described as holding 4 cans, and indeed they did, but only 330ml sized cans. Taller, 440ml cans, or 500ml bottles of water were too tall to go in them. The new cooler bags can the larger sized bottles and can - and leave room for ice blocks to keep them extra cold. The delivery was quite late at about 5.30pm.

  Yesterday I worked through all the photos I had taken of Jamie And The Jets, Chain, and Big Red Bus. I had hoped to have taken some excellent photos of all three bands, but particularly of the first two. The reality was that many were spoiled by being poorly focused - not wildly out of focus, but slightly fuzzy when looked at on a big screen. The problem was that I found several of my camera lens appeared to have been switched to manual focus. At first I thought that maybe I had done it myself - either by accident, or not switching back to auto after using manual. In poor light I find it better to pre-focus manually, using the expand/zoom function on the viewfinder image prior to shooting video. The thing is that I didn't shoot any video at Petts Woodstock, and I would only have used one lens for low light video on some previous occasion.

  I could still believe that I had accidently flicked the auto/manual switch on three lens that I found had been changed, although I couldn't imagine how. Then I learned that someone else who had left their camera unattended in the green room also found that settings had been changed on their camera. It was as if we had been got at by a phantom knob twiddler. There are some who are not malicious, but can't help pushing buttons, or turning knobs. Maybe there was one of them around, or it could have been a joker who has very poor taste, or it could have been something completely different. Whatever it was, it reduced my usable pictures a lot - but only for Jamie And The Jets, and for Chain. The bands before were generally in focus, and once I switched the lenses back to auto, the bands after too.
Jamie and his jets 
     Jamie Bull of Jamie And The Jets - taken with a zoom lens that had not been switched to manual focus, or had it ? The focus is far more critical on the zoom lens, and I might have first noticed the lens being in manual instantly, and changed it the first time I tried to use it. The trouble is I was concentrating on the pictures (while trying to disregard any physical discomforts), and I can't really remember everything I did, and when I did it on the camera.
Chris and Jo in the fog
   For some reason I decided I would use both cameras for Chain. I had a zoom lens on one, and a wide angle on the other. If I recall correctly, and I am not sure of I do, I have never had any reason to switch that wide angle lens to manual focus, and yet most of the wide angle shots were very soft when viewed on a big screen (yet looked sharp enough on the postage stamp sized viewfinder picture). I was expecting to make a photo album of about 25 pictures of Chain, but I ended up with just 16 usable pictures from 194 snaps.
Big Red Bus
    The next band after Chain was Big Red Bus, and with the lenses I was using with my Canon EOS 600D camera (better than the 1200D in low light) definitely set on auto focus, any bad pictures were my own fault ! I think I was feeling stressed at this point - partly from the camera lens problems, and partly because I was beginning to feel tired and I was getting the occasional twinge from one of my aches and pain. Had I been less stressed I might have remembered/made a point of, getting a few long shots of the entire width of the stage.
Big Red Bus
Another picture of Big Red Bus. I just wish more of the pictures I had taken of Chain had come out this sharp.

   After Big Red Bus it was a relief to finish photo editing for the day. I think I have another three band's pictures to work on today, and then my job will be over, and I can start to think if I am going to any gigs this weekend. Prior to finishing for the day I was even working during my lunch and dinner breaks...well working as best I could without getting too much grease or food on the mouse and keyboard. Dinner was a strange mix - ham salad followed by (Tesco's) assorted Chinese starters. I have to say those "starters" were quite disappointing. They seemed mostly quite bland, and the little dumpling things were halfway towards being slightly unpleasant.

  It seemed like a great thing when I finally went to bed, but it didn't start well. It seemed slightly too warm to be comfortable, and yet not warm enough to consider using a fan. It took some time before I fell asleep. A couple of hours later I woke up feeling like I might have had some sort of fever. My face seemed to be burning, and yet my left hip and thigh seemed to feel cold (I was laying on my right side, and the left side was uncovered). On top of that I had crunched my ribs while tossing and turning. I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to calm them down while I tried to get back to sleep again.

  The next bit of sleep, maybe a couple more hours, seemed OK, but I was feeling cool all over - cool enough to pull the duvet over a few bits of me. The next bit of sleep took me through to about 7am, but I tried for a bit more sleep, and until 8am I probably got a fair bit of sleep even if it did feel like I as awake a lot. This morning I don't feel all that bad now, although by tradition I was stiff and achey when  first got out of bed. I don't think I feel quite good enough to do any gardening today - which is a shame because the weeds are getting rampant again, there is one patch of ground I want to clear for completeness.

  My priority today is to finish my photography, but I don't feel the need to rush it, and make it my first priority. Having a shower, and getting some shopping is going to be my first priority. Depending on what the sunshine is like, I might go for a wander in the park today, or somewhere else, before the afternoon rains fall. Maybe tomorrow I could go further afield.
Monday 5th August 2019
08:56 BST
  On the whole, yesterday was not too bad a day. It started cloudier than forecast, and there was even a very brief shower, but during the afternoon the clouds started to break up, and although the sky was never clear enough for any long periods of sunshine, there were some welcome sunny intervals. The afternoon temperature ended up around 24° C.
                    and wet
  The forecast has been revised for the better since I took the screenshot above. It still remains very definite about rain for the next couple of hours (and it is raining as I type this), but the latest prediction is that soon after midday we might have sunny periods for the rest of the day, and the temperature will climb to a peak of 24° C. If it is not too humid, which it probably will be after this morning's rain, it could feel nice in one of the sunny spells. Tomorrow should see sunny spells all through the day - except, but maybe with, some showers expected in the afternoon. It will be a little cooler tomorrow, just 22° C.

  After my shopping trip to Tesco, which I described yesterday, I made a start on the photos I took at Petts Woodstock. It is a job that I have doubts I will finish today, and possibly even tomorrow, but maybe I am too pessimistic. Yesterday I made photo albums for the first four bands, plus some shots of people.
Jo Vass of The Dirty
Jo Vass of The Dirty Perks. Sometimes, by random chance, the light is perfect.
The Ferrets
I think this is probably Garfield Ferret - lead singer of The Ferrets (once called Ferdinands Northern Ferrets)
Punk covers and some originals with plenty of attitude.
Musek's drummer
   This is the drummer from Musek - a band who do covers of Muse songs. They might have been good if I knew or liked anything by Muse. The got a black mark from me for the beginning of their second song. It started with what I can only guess was a very overdriven sustained feedback from one of the lower strings on a bass guitar. Maybe they hadn't played through a big festival PA system before, particularly one with quite an aggressive low bass response, and didn't realise how it would sound. I can only describe it as like an Earthquake that seemed to last for 2 minutes. It shook the fillings out the mouth of anyone closer than about 50ft of the PA speakers. Simply put, it was horrible !
The Plus Ones
By comparison, The Plus Ones were very mild - maybe too mild. They were good, but nothing I heard really excited me.
camera v camera
Camera v camera - Rob Dillon, Russell Penn, Chris Mayer and Phaedra Corteen
Fenella and Rob
Fenella Corteen and Rob Todd posing nicely for two different cameras !

  Having started my photography "post production" I only interrupted it for eating, going to the toilet, watching the TV news, and I tried to have a snooze, but failed. The interruption for dinner (mainly while preparing it) was sort of interesting. The night before, after coming home from Petts Woodstock, I had a very protein heavy dinner - aka as loads of chicken. Last night I mostly had carbohydrates. One of the impulse buys in Tesco was a pack of ready to toast garlic bread. I ended up eating the whole pack after trying three different ways of cooking it.

  My first attempt was to pile grated cheese on it and put it in the microwave. It was nice and quick, and tasted fairly OK, but the bread came out very soft, and almost, but not actually, gooey. The next 3 (or 4 ?) slices I covered in grated cheese, and put them in my mini grill/oven. The results were much better, but the bread lacked crispiness, and it took about 20 minutes. The final two bits of bread I gave a longer grilling, just on their own, and then put some squeezy cheese on later. It was an even longer process, but it definitely produced the best results. The entire experiment left me rather stuffed with garlic bread, and there was no room for anything else until much later.

  I'm not sure when I gave up selecting and editing pictures, but it may have been before 9pm. I was probably in bed an hour after that, and I'm guessing I fell asleep an hour after that. I don't think I got a good sleep last night. Initially the room was too warm, and the big fan too cold. I may have got an hours sleep with a small fan on low wafting a bit of breeze over my body, but by midnight my room had cooled off enough to turn the fan off. At 4am (maybe 5am ?) it felt cool enough to actually get under the duvet. I was to wake up at around 7am feeling lightly cooked !

  This morning I have my usual assortment of aches and pains, but typically most fade to a low enough level to mostly ignore after an hour or two. One discomfort flared for a short while, but is now just grumbling in the background. It was the discomfort of feeling hungry. I am not sure whether to find a bit of breakfast, or ignore it until lunchtime...maybe I will compromise and wait until brunchtime.

  Today my plans really only include doing one thing - more photography post-production. The next photo album could be a big one. I took loads of pictures of Jamie And The Jets. The reason was two-fold. Jamie Bull was sounding better than I have ever heard him before, and his dad is John Bull - professional photographer - and of course I am hoping that some of my snaps are as good as his. Once that album is complete I will start on a Chain photo album. I used both cameras for that, and so once again I have hundreds of pictures to choose from (194 if you want to be pedantic !)
Sunday 4th August 2019
14:08 BST
  Yesterday was warm, around 24° C, dry, but not always sunny. There were many sunny spells, but towards the evening it did look like it might rain once or twice.
similar to yesterday, but with real rain
  The forecast for today originally looked like a version of yesterday, but with more sunshine. Sadly it hasn't been that good so far. The sun has broken through the cloud a few times to give a some nice sunny spells, but mostly it has been cloudy. Unlike yesterday we have had one light shower a short while ago. I must admit I only noticed when I became aware of the fresh rain smell wafting through the window. The latest forecast shows more sunny intervals to come, but no periods of sunshine as originally shown for 5 and 6pm. The lack of sunshine means the highest temperature today will only be 24° C instead of 25° C. Tomorrow is predicted to show the same range of temperatures, and at roughly the same times as today, but it is forecast to be a very cloudy day with some rain in the morning. The afternoon might be dry, but probably very dull.

  The headline thing yesterday was Petts Woodstock. Two days prior to it I was feeling so horrible that I didn't think I would even bother going out as far as the corner shop. Yesterday, aided with dosed of both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, I didn't expect to stay there for more than a few hours. That was a bit too pessimistic, but the theory was about right. The first great hurdle was to get to the station with my extra big camera bag. When packed with two cameras, an assortment of lenses, plus other accessories, it was remarkably heavy.

  I thought it would be very difficult carrying it to the station just using the handle on top. It did have a shoulder strap, but it was too short to carry by that strap over my shoulder, plus it would leave me very unbalanced. I wasn't sure if a third possibility would work, but it did - albeit rather uncomfortably. That was to put both arms through the shoulder, and wear it like a school satchel. The pressure on the back of my neck was not comfortable, but bearable. The strange thing is that I don't think it slowed me down much when I walked to the station. In places it might have even help me speed up so I wouldn't have to wear it so long.

  Thameslink's promised Saturday service to Orpington (via Petts Wood) has still not materialised, and so I had to change trains at Shortlands. That is fine when going to Petts Wood because the Southeastern Orpington service arrives about 3 minutes after the Thameslink train, and it is just a case of get off one train, and three minutes later board the next without moving an inch along the platform (not strictly true because the position of the doors is not exactly the same). At Petts Wood station it was time to sling the camera bag back on my back, and walk for a few minutes to the entrance to Petts Woodstock.

  As hoped, rather than assumed, I was given a back stage pass - a pink wrist band. Everyone else got a green wrist band. My pink wrist band gave me access to anywhere I wanted to go. All the better photographers got one - although I am not sure if I was a better photographer. I've seen some nice pictures that others have posted, and seen some rotten pictures that I took while I was transferring pictures from the cameras memory cards to my PC. I know at one time, and possibly twice, I found my lens set to manual focus where I had been using it to take some video on a previous occasion. The outside stage was quite bright, and so I could use a small aperture. That makes focus less critical, and some pictures taken like seemed to look OK in the viewfinder, but on my big PC screen they are horrible and soft !

  There were 16 bands on yesterday, and I have pictures of 10 of them despite being there for 11 bands. There were two bands who I really didn't care for. One I did take some pictures of, without any enthusiasm because they were on the outside stage, and I had nothing better to do. The other band was on the inside stage, and it could be hot and stuffy in there, and I didn't spend much time in there for any band - and zero time for the band I didn't like.
list of band times
  The list of band times, and which stage they were on was only officially available to those who bought programmes, but fortunately for a skinflint like me, they were pinned up in the green room.
Fenella Corteen
  Fenella, Jo's daughter, holding up a card that she usually got others to hold up while she photographed them.
Helen Leslie with her friends
Helen Leslie posing with Panhead and Gobbo, and showing off their "Crew" t-shirts. I had a Crew t-shirt as well.

  I arrived at the festival a few minutes after 12.30. About three hours later I topped up on Ibuprofen, and I was generally comfortable all the time I was there except for one thing - my feet. I had a few other twinges, and at one point my right elbow seemed like it was getting sore, but it faded away again soon after. The Ibuprofen kept my Costochondritus chest aches in check, and a couple of chocolate oat biscuits stopped my stomach rumbling, but nothing helped my feet.

  I wasn't the only one to complain of sore feet, although I didn't actually complain - I suffered in silence. It was someone else who gave me a stupidly obvious clue as to why my feet were aching, and it also explains why they ache so much on a long walk. This person mentioned that in the hot weather his feet swelled, and it made them a tight fit in his boots. With hindsight I am pretty certain that my feet must swell in hot weather, but since my quad heart bypass operation in  2013, there has been an additional problem

  For that heart bypass operation a whole leg length artery was removed from my left leg. That means the blood flow must be less in that leg. On top of that, all the blood pressure drugs I take means that my heart barely has the power to pump blood out of my leg (even if the doctors say that is nonsense - but they are doctors, not hydraulic engineers !). My left ankle, and the bottom of my left leg is frequently swollen, and my right ankle can swell too, but not usually as bad as the left when I am standing for many hours. Although my shoes were not that tight, I do think that the swelling did make my feet sore. My ankles also seems a bit stiff too.

  As 7pm approached I felt I was losing the battle to keep comfortable using another dose of Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, and I decided it to fight it any longer would just make getting home a more and more painful affair. I had intended to stay much later this year, but I threw in the towel, and staggered to the station. I should have checked the train times on my phone because I had quite a long wait, almost 20 minutes, before the next train. At Shortlands, where I had to change trains, it was a 15 or 16 minute wait for a train to Catford.

  After arriving back in Catford it was a painful walk home. I was going to say a long and painful walk home, but despite my painful feet, and the discomfort of the big camera bag on my back, my walk probably only took a minute more - maybe less. It was a joy to get indoors. I dumped my camera case in the living room, and only opened it to take out the still semi frozen bottles of water I had taken with me so I could put them in the fridge. I also took out the special, bottom filling, beer glass I kept as a souvenir (even if it didn't even mention Petts Woodstock on it).

  I had a special treat waiting for me when I got in - peri-peri chicken that I had ordered as part of the takeaway I had the previous night. Three minutes in the microwave, and it was hot and ready to be eaten. It was hardly "extra hot" as ordered, but at least it was warm rather than insipid like the "hot" option. All I had eaten prior to that was maybe 4 chocolate topped oat biscuits, and so I was rather hungry after so much fresh air and rushing around. I think I had a few more of those biscuits after the chicken.

  The last band on at Petts Woodstock were A/C Dizzy - an AC/DC and Thin Lizzy tribute band. By all accounts they were very good, and had been given a double length slot. They were due to finish at midnight. Meanwhile, I was asleep in my bed by, or very soon after, 10pm ! I woke up several times, but I think I got about 6 hours of fair sleep, and then by trying extra hard, maybe too hard, I got as much as 3 hours of really crap sleep. I finally got up feeling pretty rough.

  The first thing on my agenda was to have a good shower - it had been a slightly sticky day, and a sticky night. The next thing was to get dressed, and then go shopping in Tesco. I bought what I thought was a small assortment of stuff in there, but it turned out to be annoyingly expensive compared to buying something similar in Aldi. One contribution to the high price was a 1 litre bottle of Tesco Special Reserve Whisky. After a bite to eat I finally brought my big camera case upstairs, and started copying all the pictures from the memory cards to my PC.

  I face a huge task selecting and editing the best of the pictures I took, and I think it will take up most of today, and most of tomorrow. Fortunately tomorrow is a horrible sounding day according to the forecast, and so there will be no external distractions. It is a bit of a double edged sword though. Dull wet weather does not inspire me to work. Of course it could be worse. If I were to leave now I could get to an afternoon gig in The Morden Arms in Greenwich featuring Lord Algea. They usually make a very nice noise, and it is an easy venue to get to, but as well as (theoretically) being far too busy, I don't think I have the energy to go out again. Going top Tesco was enough for today !
Saturday 3rd August 2019
10:24 BST
  Contrary to what the forecast seemed to predict, yesterday was nearly a sunny day. The sunny spells forecast to start at 3pm, actually started as early as 11am, and some of them lasted long enough to be described as just "sunny". I have a funny feeling that the sun first broke through as early as 10am, but that only lasted a few minutes. The afternoon temperature was around the predicted 24° C, and in the sunshine it felt even warmer.
cloudier than forecast in real life
  It seems cloudier than the forecast predicts, but it is probably that today will be like yesterday, and the cloud will slowly disperse to leave the forecast sunny intervals. The most important thing is that it shouldn't rain today, but some sunshine is very welcome, and like yesterday, 24° C should be good. Tomorrow could be a sunnier, and slightly warmer version of today - assuming today does have some semblance to the forecast.

  Today it Petts Woodstock day, and I have very little time to write much before I have to pick up my huge camera case, and lug it all the way to Petts Wood via two trains. It is just as well that very little happened yesterday, and so there is little to be described. Once again I was waiting for a small parcel from Amazon, and so I was constrained to not doing anything that would take me away from keeping an ear on the front door bell. This time the parcel turned up at about 5pm.

  One thing I did while waiting was to pack my huge camera case. I bought it last year specifically for Petts Woodstock this year. It is very big, and very heavy, and I wonder how I am going to carry it all the way to Petts Wood. I am thinking that I might get a cab back home when I have had enough there. I think I am going to be on a lot of pain killers today. My shoulder, and right arm doesn't seem so bad this morning, but my chest/ribs feel very crunchy.

  I didn't get a chance to get a bit of shopping in yesterday (although I could have gone out late), and so I ordered another takeaway. It included a heap of (alleged) extra hot peri-peri chicken specifically for supper tonight - whenever that may be. What I ate last night was a bit lighter - a couple of fish burgers. I doubt they had anything to do with my bad sleep last night.

  I think I can blame the stress on Petts Woodstock. I certainly had some nightmares about it during the 4 hours of sleep I estimate I did get. As I think I said yesterday, I was going to not bother with Petts Woodstock this year because of all my aches and pains, but I got a message that a back stage pass would be waiting at the door for me (at least I hope it is a back stage pass), and I feel sort of obliged to go. I don't feel obliged to enjoy much of it though. I am sure there will be good bits, but mostly I look at it as work. As much as I enjoy photography, I prefer it in small does. In the very unlikely event that my stamina holds out, I could be there until midnight. That is a full 12 hour shift. I think I'll be leaving that for those a bit younger !
Friday 2nd August 2019
08:18 BST
  The forecast didn't get it quite right for yesterday, but it was probably close. After a cool and grey start, the day warmed up to 24° C, and for some of the afternoon there were sunny intervals (or were they sunny spells ?). As 7pm approached the forecast said the sunny spells would lengthen until the last couple of hours of daylight would be sunny. In reality the sky got very cloudy, and it looked like it could pour with rain, but it stayed dry.
probably the same as yesterday
  Apart from it starting a degree less cool, today looks as if it is going to be almost a repeat of yesterday. This morning the cloud cover looks complete, but as I write this the sun is making an attempt to shine through the cloud. It is bright, but perhaps not bright enough to cast much of a shadow. Like yesterday, the forecast predicts we should start getting sunny spells from about 3pm, and maybe they will continue until sunset. It should be a dry day with an afternoon temperature of 24° C. The forecast for tomorrow, the day of Petts Woodstock has changed little over the last week, and it was shown as having a scattering of sunny spells for much of the day - until now. The latest prediction is that much of the day will be dull until 5pm when there should some sunny spells through to sunset. The afternoon temperature should be a warm, but not hot 23° C. Most importantly it should be dry all day.

  I didn't feel all that wonderful yesterday morning. I thought I felt tired, but most attempts at snoozing failed. I think I was probably suffering from ennui as well as some physical aches and pains. As is often the case, those aches and pains were magnified by having no distractions. I think it was after 11am that I just had to distract myself, and I did it by doing one of the little jobs I mentioned yesterday - putting up some new coat hooks.
new coat hooks
  One thing I hadn't noticed was that these racks of coat hooks only had 4 hooks, instead of 5, and they looked more flimsy than some I had bought and put up in various places many years previously. I guess something had to give to keep the price down to 99p over the years. As you can see in the picture I put up both the racks I bought, and it didn't take long to part fill them up with stuff that was often dumped on the floor, or on a chair.

  The job itself was very quick and simple - just drill 4 holes in the wall, insert decent sized wallplugs, and screw in decent sized screws (instead of the little piddly things supplied with the racks). I will add that I used a spirit level to make sure that they were level and at the same height on the wall (even if the camera lens has added a slight curving tilt to the rack on the left).

  I felt better for doing that little job, and none of my aches and pains got in the way, and nor did they get worse. I was working with my arms slightly raised, and I expected that to aggravate the pains from my right shoulder, and right arm, but I didn't really feel anything. A bit later, maybe after sitting at my PC for an hour or so, my chest was feeling very tender, and I wasn't looking forward to walking to the station for my late Thursday afternoon drink. Almost an hour before going out I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and a couple of Paracetamol tablets.

  The anti-inflammatory action of the Ibuprofen, and the pain relief of the Paracetamol worked perfectly, and the walk to the station was almost pleasant. I think there was one time when lifting a full pint of beer gave a brief twinge to the top of my right arm, but changing the direction of lift was an almost instant cure. Actually, I am not sure what I did, or even if I did much at all, but I did change something to stop the pain as I raised that pint to my lift. I also changed my posture a bit when I could feel my chest starting to ache in a couple of places. I probably need a back brace to keep my chest from slumping. I believe a couple of holly leaves down the back was the Victorian way of doing it.

  I just had three pints of moderate strength beer (possibly just 3.8%) before saying my goodbyes, and going to the station to get the train back to Catford. I allowed myself plenty of time to get to the station, and so I tried walking more slowly than usual. I think I started off a bit slower than usual, but that was boring, and so I sped up as fast as I could. I couldn't bring myself to running up the stairs though, although sometimes I have thought that I could probably run up the first flight if I really tried, and didn't worry about the consequences at the top.

  I had in mind that I would do some shopping on my way back home. I first went into the small Sainsbury's by the station where I bought a couple of Greek salads, and a couple of packs of sandwiches. The latter were reduced in price from something like £2.50 to 59p. That discount makes Tesco look like real skinflints !!! Tesco may have only reduced the price to something like £2.10 !

  After Sainsburys I walked to the Turkish supermarket where I was going to buy some high strength lager. In particular I was after the extra strong Skol lager that I am sure I've had from there before - albeit quite some years ago. The shop has had a refit, and now emphasises itself as a 24 hour off licence. It originally opened as an on the premises bakery, but times have changed. In the end I didn't go in to check their beer section because the place was full of Asian language students, and it looked too chaotic in there.

  Once I got home I watched the end of the London News on BBC1, and ate both Greek salads, and one pack of sandwiches. The news was typically depressing - mostly too little news and too much sport and "the arts". It was good when it finished and I could watch a reasonably OK episode of Star Trek - Deep Space Nine. It was towards the end of that, that I got a little gluttonous, but less that I thought I would. I had already pre-cooked an Iceland budget, £1, beef hotpot before I went out, and it just needed a couple of minutes in the microwave to heat it up again.

  In an ideal world I would have saved the salads for today because having pre-cooked that hot pot, I had to eat it before it went bad. It turned out that hot pot was a less gluttonous extra than it seemed. Somehow it looked much bigger than it actually was. Specifically it looked a lot deeper in it's microwaveable cardboard container. In reality it was a layer of thinly sliced potato on about a quarter of an inch of mince in gravy. It was no more than a snack really.

  I thought I would sleep better if I had a couple of large whiskies before bed, and that was partly true. They made me feel tired enough that I was in bed by 9pm, and asleep very soon after. I have no idea what the actual time was when I fell asleep, although I feel certain it was before 10pm. I slept non stop until about 1am when I needed a wee, and having done that I used the bog brush to destroy a large spiders web that seemed freshly constructed between the toilet pan and wall by a daddy long legs type spider.

  I got back to sleep fairly quickly after that, but I must have crunched my ribs while asleep, and woke up a hour later with my chest aching. It is fortunate that Ibuprofen works really quickly to reduce the inflammation, and I was able to get back to sleep in reasonable comfort after about half an hour. I think I woke up for one pee after that, but I mostly slept OK until about 7am. I guess that by then I had had by 8 hours sleep, and any attempt to sleep beyond that failed.

  This morning I think I feel a bit better than yesterday morning, and maybe I will feel even better (or worse) later on. My main job today is to try and psyche myself up for tomorrow - Petts Woodstock day. It could be a typical case of feeling great once I am there - as happens with quite a few gigs, although they are much shorter - but at the moment I am still not looking forward to it.

  One thing is certain, and that is that I couldn't enjoy it just as a music event. For me it is a photographic opportunity, and that is enhanced by having a back stage pass. To be stuck in the middle of the crowd would be a nightmare, and I couldn't handle that at all. One of the things that is playing on my mind is the camera case I will be taking tomorrow. Last year I think I took a rucksack plus one or two camera cases swinging around my neck, and I still didn't have space for everything I wanted to take. Soon after last year I ordered a huge great case from Amazon, and today I will have to see how much I can stuff into it, and tomorrow I will find out if it is possible to carry it ! I am definitely not looking forward to lugging it around. Fortunately my back stage pass will allow me to keep it in the green room. I just hope it is a back stage pass waiting for me when I get to the gate tomorrow.
Thursday 1st August 2019
07:36 BST
  There were random sunny spells for most of yesterday, it stayed dry, and with the temperature reaching 22° C, it was a fairly nice day.
                    start, maybe nice finish
  We start August, a month that feels like it defines summer, with a rather less than spectacular day. I woke up feeling cold after the morning started at 16° C. The sky is currently grey and miserable, but things should improve if we are patient enough. The latest revision of the forecast agrees with that above, and that by about 3pm the sun should start to break through, and the last few hours of the day should be sunny. At the same time the temperature will slowly rise to a more pleasant 24° C. It is forecast to be a dry day, but there is still a 6 to 9% chance of rain at times. Tomorrow is predicted to be almost the same as today. The main difference is that there may not be the couple of hours of sunshine at the end of the day. They will be replaced by sunny intervals.

  The first half of yesterday was dominated by waiting for my parcel delivery from Amazon. It actually arrived much earlier than expected - around 2pm - which was unusually early, and rather good. While I waited I was quite busy. I washed a couple of t-shirts and a hand towel by hand. I had hoped to dry them on the line outside, but it became so dull outside that I was convinced it would rain. Of course 20 minutes after hanging it all up to dry indoors it brightened up. Not enough for any sunshine to break through, but it was almost there.

   I spent a little time, probably no more than 10 minutes, but it felt longer, doing some washing up. I thought it would be a good idea to get that done while I had the temperature of the water high. It was in the middle of doing that washing up that my parcel arrived. Before I started on the laundry, or washing up, I checked all the video from my trail cameras, and edited together a very short video showing what I think was "my" fox making a return visit to my garden.

  I must confess that if it is my fox then his leg injury has healed so well that it is difficult to tell if he is limping or not. One thing that is very apparent is that the fox in the video is most definitely a dog fox. I was always unsure of the sex of the fox who lived here all winter and spring. Maybe it was a vixen, but there is no ambiguity about the sex of the fox in the video ! I note that he did not enter the earth, and neither do any of the visiting cats. It seems likely that someone is living in there, and maybe it is a vixen. Foxes only mate in winter, but if "my" fox is a vixen then maybe she missed the mating season because of her injured leg, and came into season in the summer. The unearthly noises at night for a week or so suggest something was going on. Maybe I will get some video of cubs playing in the future.

  After taking in my parcel delivery I was free to go out, and after a while I did do just that, but it was only a shopping trip. I actually went to three very close shops. The first was to Savers to get some low dose aspirin. I am prescribed aspirin, but the pharmacist keeps forgetting to issue it. I suspect that someone in the pharmacy has a lucrative black market trade in aspirin and the other drug they keep forgetting to issue. I should have gone back to the pharmacy, as I have done in the past, to demand they issue me these drugs, but I just couldn't be bothered. The most important one, the low dose aspirin, the drug that kept me alive when I had my heart attacks in 2013, only costs 69p a box, and it seemed easier to just go and buy it.

  I next went to the SAM 99p shop to buy some bleach. It is back to being the cheapest place to buy it after Poundstretcher seemed to run out of their cheap, but perfectly effective stuff. I also bought two racks of coat hooks. I had been looking for them for months, but obviously they are a seasonal item (???) and they are back in stock. A little job coming up soon, maybe today, will be to screw them to the wall in the hall to relieve some of the pressure from the existing one.

  My final bit of shopping was done in Iceland. I was quite selective about what I bought in there. I have no room in my freezer, and so I only bought one ready meal that I will probably eat today. I topped on squeezy cream cheese with jalapeños, and bought some crackers to put it on. After buying a few more food items I inspected their booze. They only have a small selection of beer, but one was Skol lager. It used to be a fairly pleasant canned lager once upon a time.
2.8% Skol lager
  I feel sure that the Skol lager I have drunk in the past was more than 2.8% alcohol, but maybe I just never looked before. It was a bit of a shock when I did look, but it still tasted quite pleasant. I also noted that it says the sugar content is 0.0gm, and that is good news for anyone who has to watch their sugar consumption. At some convenient time I ought to either look through my archives, or go to the Turkish supermarket near Catford Bridge station, because I am sure I've bought a super strength version of Skol from their.

  I still had quite a few twinges from bit of my body yesterday, a couple were quite painful for a few seconds, but overall I was feeling much better yesterday. The walk to and from the shops was as it should be - mostly effortless and comfortable. Much of this improvement I attribute to sleeping better, but some could possibly be attributed to more careful eating. With the latter a possibility I did my best to moderate/control my food intake yesterday. It was not perfect control, but better some days.

  I spent the evening watching TV on my PC, or doing other stuff on my PC. As I have noted before, sitting there for too long starts to triggers all sorts of discomforts, and I ended up being torn between wanting to watch TV and go to bed. In the end I compromised. That compromise was helped by the fact that I thought I could remember the edition of QI that I decided not to bother watching. The only flaw in the plan was that as soon a I lay on my bed, and started to read, I not only felt much more comfortable, but also not sleepy in the least.

  I read for maybe an hour, and 11pm was approaching when I put the magazine down, and tried to go to sleep. I think it was almost midnight before I fell asleep. Once I had fallen asleep I don't remember a thing until about 5am when I woke up feeling quite chilly. I can't remember sleeping non stop for more than 5 hours, albeit maybe only 10 minutes more than 5 hours in this case, for ages and ages. The odd thing is that while I needed a pee when I woke up, I wasn't busting. I feel sure I must have had a pee in the night, typically it would have been twice in that time, but just forgot it like a dream when I woke up.

  My chest felt quite sore when I woke up, but I think it has mostly eased off now. That is not the case with my right elbow and right forearm. I woke up with those hurting, and they still hurt now - although it does depend on what I am doing, or how I position my right arm. One thing that is a matter of concern is how I will feel on Saturday - Petts Woodstock day. Two days ago I was feeling so rough that I was hoping it would just pass me by.

  There is at least one band on at Petts Woodstock that I definitely do not want to see, and a few more that I am highly dubious about. In fact, out of 16 bands there are only a few that I think I will enjoy. The idea of not going didn't seem so bad when I looked at it from that point of view. Late last night I received a text message from Jo, who organises the event, to say that she would leave my name on the gate for me to collect my back stage pass/photographers pass. At least I hope it is a pass, and not just an ordinary ticket. It seems that I will be going to Petts Woodstock after all.

  Before that I have to get through today, and apart from one important thing, I have no idea how I will pass the time. I ought to do some more garden clearance, but now I daren't risk breaking myself when it sometimes feel like I am still healing from my last hard work in the garden. Other stuff I might do includes putting up the previously mentioned coat hooks, and also checking my trail cameras to see if anything interesting happened in the garden last night. The main thing on the menu today is my regular late Thursday afternoon drink in Shortlands.