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My Diary/Blog For the Month of December 2019

Tuesday 31st December 2019
08:08 GMT
  It was a delightfully sunny day yesterday. It is a shame that it couldn't be more the 11° C - although with the sun on my back it did feel warmer than that for a while.
                    to gloomy days
 The threatened mist did not seem to happen in Catford this morning, but the thick, dark grey cloud has happened. The sun should have risen 5 minutes ago, but it's like night at the moment. I'm not sure how low the temperature dipped in the early hours of the night, but it is barely 5° C now. With luck it will rise to 10° C by this afternoon, but under that miserable sky it won't feel like much. At least today should be dry, or at least no rain is forecast, and presumably the damp looking road outside is just morning dew. Tomorrow, the first day of the new year, is probably going to be 1° cooler than today, but just as overcast, and probably dry too.
bright blue sky
just a short walk yesterday
  As can be seen in the picture above, it was a brilliantly sunny day with a glorious blue sky. Such conditions meant I just had to go for a walk despite not really feeling much like walking yesterday. It turned out to be the only reason for going out for a bit of exercise. The real reason should have been to meet Angela in the pub during her lunchbreak. I am sure she said she would be back at work yesterday, but I guess she was too busy to go out yesterday.

   So the sunshine was the only reason to go out and get a bit of exercise, and for some reason, despite being fortified with one pint of Guinness, it felt like a hard slog walking home again. Well, actually walking to the pub was not as joyous as it should have been. I would have to admit that not seeing Angela made the walk home harder than it could have been.

  There was one bright spot...at least I think it was a bright spot, but it may have been foolish. On the way home I looked in Cash Busters window, and spotted another camera I wanted. It was a Canon SX420, and a quick Google on my phone, while outside the shop, showed that the specifications looked very good, and the price very reasonable.

  The only downside was that it was the red version of the camera. I would have preferred  black, or white, but you have to take what you can get. I went into the shop, and told the man I was interested in it, and knowing I often try to strike a bargain, he immediately said I could have it for £10 less than the ticket price. That definitely made it a bargain I couldn't refuse !

   Once I had got the camera home I gave it a good going over, and it seems to be in full working order. One useful thing is that it takes the same battery as my Canon Ixus 285 - and I have spare batteries for that camera that I can share with the new camera. I also now have a spare battery charger ... or three. I am sure I have the Canon original that came with the iXus 285, and another that came in conjunction with two spare batteries I ordered.

  The main features of this new camera, apart from it being red (!) is x42 built in zoom. A 20MP sensor, and built in WiFi. Like the Canon iXus 285, I can control the camera from my phone (using the same app). That has limited uses, but now and again it is handy. The one unknown about using the wifi link is what happens if the camera goes into standby, or even if it does. I can imagine a scenario where I would put the camera on a tripod point at, for instance, a birds nest, watching the view remotely on my phone, and then taking a picture when there is some action. It won't be terribly useful if the camera goes into standby after a few minutes, and can't be woken over wifi.

  Checking the new camera was one of three things I wanted to do when I got home from my short walk. The other two were to have some sort of lunch, and to have a snooze. Lunch was the closest I could get to the fabled "turkey twizzler". They were breaded chicken strips with an alleged spicy flavouring. I cooked them before going out, and ate them cold when I got home. They were not nice ! I never had a sleep because I had all the pictures I had taken of MT POckets teh day before to process.
M.T. Pockets playing in
                      The Stag, Maidstone
  The pictures taken on my big Canon DSLR camera were, as expected, rather better than the single snap taken on my mobile phone, and yet I think they still lack some vivacity. My excuses for this include the strong back lighting from the window, and the pub being rather crowded. The latter meant I often had to use my wide angle lens to get everyone in the picture, but I could only use it off to the side, rather than face on to the band.
big smile from Dan
    It is something I hate doing, but as a photographer I just have to deliberately stand in others view to get a few shots. Luckily I think most people understand this, and are forgiving about it providing it is done quickly. To get the picture above I had to sort of elbow my way into position, and stand right in front of several people.

  It was about the same time that I finished the pictures that it was time to prepare dinner. Part of the preparation went on by itself as I left a packet of flattened sausage meat in the mini oven/grill. I had that sausage meet with tomatoes, spring onions and a small tin of "no added sugar" baked beans. I would not rate it as a healthy meal by any means, but it was very nice, and to my surprise I seemed to have lost another couple of hundred grams this morning.
clementine and cinnamon
                      flavoured Coke
  One of the things I tried last night was these two flavoured colas. As can be seen on the label, both are "festive limited editions". I bought them in Aldi yesterday morning (I forgot to say I went to Aldi yesterday morning). The clementine flavour reminded me of a dilute orange liqueur. The cinnamon definitely had a cinnamon flavour, but I don't think it went well with cola. Cinnamon is best used in buns, curries, and as a flavouring in bourbon. I don't feel the need to buy any more bottles of these drinks.

  TV was pretty boring last night. Even Star Trek : Voyager was one of the less interesting episodes. I ended up spending a fair time in bed before trying for an early night. I'm sure I was asleep quite early last night, but I have no idea when that was. I think it probably was quite early because I seemed to run out of sleep quite early this morning. It was still over an hour until sunrise when it seemed I couldn't sleep any more.

  Once awake I checked my blood glucose, and as usual I would have liked it to be a bit lower, but 6.8mmol/l is quite good enough. After a good poo I weighed myself, and once again there has been a small drop in weight. Not only was that good, but quite surprising after eating that big lump of sausage meat last night. My growing excitement about these things would have an effect on my blood pressure. The first reading I took was nice and low, and that pleased me too, but I expected that a second reading would be a little lower still - it usually is. Maybe the excitement was too much for because the reading was higher !

  The gloom outside does not fill me with enthusiasm, but there are a couple of things I intend to do today. The first has to be to do the washing up. I seem to have neglected it for several days now. The other thing is to go for a walk. I can't say I am very enthusiastic about going on a gloomy day like today, but maybe there is a chance of seeing Angela today. One possible plan is going through my mind for tonight. Despite buying lots of food in Aldi yesterday, I have a hankering for a takeway - yet another shish kebab or two (minus the pitta bread that I will discard). The last few times I have eaten these grilled meat and salad meals I have had a good weight loss in the morning. Losing another couple of hundred grams would be very useful for when I see the Hospital Dietician on the 2nd of January.

  Tomorrow sees the start of a new year, and probably a change in these diaries. Many daily diaries are so long that when combined into the monthly page it ends up as a stupidly long page. I think I will only be posting a sort of precis of my daily witterings to my monthly pages, but each day will include a link to the full days writings. Tomorrow will see the first experiment, and I'll fine tune it from there. One good thing, if the new idea works, is that I'll be able to include more pictures without clogging up the monthly pages.
Monday 30th December 2019
08:31 GMT
  The sky seemed clearer than the forecast predicted for yesterday, but only after mid morning. That meant a nice bright, and frequently sunny day, and quite a vivid sunset. It also meant the temperature fell very low in the night. The afternoon temperature was about 9° C according to the forecast, but maybe it was because the air seemed fairly still that it felt like it might have been a little higher than that.
                    more sunny than yesterday
  Despite the forecast saying it should be 5° C, I spotted what looked like frost on some of the neighbours shed roofs, and possibly on some cars out in the road. It was only a light frosting, and maybe it was just sparkly dew. As I write this, my thermometers all seem to agree it is only about 3° C in my back garden ! Also at this time, I see a mostly clear sky. The only clouds are just a few very light misty areas that are so thin as to show blue behind them. I think it's possible that at least some of today will feature sunshine rather than just sunny periods. Maybe if there is an prolonged sunshine it may raise the temperature a little bit higher than the 11° C that is forecast. Today might be a nice day. Tomorrow might be nasty ! Most of tomorrow is forecast to be heavily overcast, but it could still be 10° C.
this is what an overcast
                      sky looks like - apparently !
  One curious fact - the latest revision to the forecast for today predicts that 9am will be overcast. This photo was taken at 08.47am, and so in the next 13 minutes (actually 5 minutes as I write this) the sky will have to be completely covered by at least light clouds to make the forecast correct.

   Yesterday morning I completed the unpleasant task of wringing out the stone cold soapy water from the two things I had left in soak for over 24 hours, and then rinsed them 3 times in warm water. Once hung up to dry that got that job out of the way. I then showered, and washed my hair. All too soon it was time to go and get a bus to Bromley where I could get a train to Maidstone. From Maidstone station it was a 5 to 10 minute walk to the High Street, and The Stag pub where M.T. Pockets were playing at 3pm. A board outside the pub said that there was live music every Sunday at 3pm. It certainly worked - the pub was very busy !
Tickets to Maidstone
  I had previously thought there was only one train an hour to Maidstone from Bromley South. In fact there are two. There is a fast train at xx:30, and a slower train at xx:42. If you miss the latter it is a 48 minute wait for the next train. I was in great fear of missing that second train, and if I had done so I might have got back on a bus to go home again. Ideally I would have got the train from Catford, but the "Catford Loop Line" was closed for engineering work, and the 320 (or 208) bus was the only way to get to Bromley.

  I aimed to get the earlier train if I could. It would leave the second train as a safety net if I missed it, and of course it was a faster journey. My bus arrived just in time to see the first train actually in the station, and about to leave. That gave me just 12 minutes to get a ticket, and get down onto the platform for the later train.

  It was a bit touch and go ! There was a queue at the single manned ticket window. I couldn't use a self service ticket machine because I wanted my ticket to start from Swanley, where the validity of my 60+ Oystercard runs out. I also wanted my Senior Railcard discount. My return to Maidstone ended up as just £8. Without the discount it would have been £12, and that doesn't include the fare from Catford to Swanley. These railcards and 60+ Oystercards are definitely worth having....although it can seem like a long wait to get them when under 60 years of age !

  I needn't have worried about getting the slower train, and in fact it was a better choice in terms of arrival time. I arrived while the band were still setting up. I think I drunk my first pint of Guinness before they started ! It was great to see than band again. It was the first live music I have seen in ages. The only downside is that the pub was surprisingly crowded, and it seemed to take an age to buy another pint of Guinness. I didn't bother trying to buy another after that.

  Being crowded meant I had less room to move around when taking photos, but I think I managed some good shots. The only thing that spoiled it was that the band had a window behind them, and it was bright daylight outside. Despite there being enough light, I had to use flash as fill in light on their faces. I couldn't do that when videoing though, and so I only shot two songs. It was also my first chance to use my steadycam unit at a gig. I still can't control it properly though !

  This performance of "I Feel Good" was my first attempt, and on the whole I was pleased with it. The lighting left something to be desired, but the steadycam unit kept the camera fairly stable. The band did a good job, and on the whole I was happy with it. The second video was not so good. I tried to use the steadycam to steer the camera more, and often lost control of it. On top of that, Dan's vocals were not loud enough, and there was a little musical error in it.

  I did consider staying for the second set, but the crowded bar put me off a bit, and while I could have easily taken a snap of every note that Dan played, I considered I had (hopefully) taken a good selection of pictures. As I write this I have not yet transferred the pictures I took on my Canon to my PC. It is job for later today, and I expect it will be a long job ! All pictures today, including the video, were taken on my Huawei mobile phone.
Dan and Richard
  With a fair bit of touching up, this picture of Dan on the left, and Richard on the right, doesn't look too bad, and looks a damn sight better than many mobile phone pictures of bands seen on social media web pages. Only the later, and hugely more expensive Apple iPhones can take better pictures than this, and even they might struggle with that bright window behind the band.
sunset over
                          Maidstone station
  When I can keep the phone still enough, it actually takes pretty good pictures in dim light. This was the view of sunset over Maidstone station....or actually it's not. The sunset was off to the left of the picture, but there was too much in the way to see it properly. Once my train pulled out the station I had a better view towards the west, and the sky was glowing a fiery red there. The train took 33 minutes to get to Bromley, but the last 20 minutes were in complete darkness.

  Once I arrived in Bromley I only had a 6 or 7 minute wait from getting off the train to getting on a 208 bus. The bus was busy when I got on, and from the next stop it was ram packed. I'm not sure if everyone who wanted to get on could get on. That was certainly the case at the next stop. Having a fully packed bus meant that we waited for long periods at each stop as people shuffled around to let some off, and maybe some on. It meant that the relatively short journey took about 45 minutes - rather longer than the 33 minutes the train took to travel 3 or 4 times the distance !

  As I walked home from the bus stop it was fully night. The sky was clear, and there was a big crescent moon hanging in the blackness. It felt late at night despite it only being around 6pm. My first priority was to get some dinner cooking. I had a two part dinner that was relatively healthy, or at least healthy in the directions I needed it to be. Part one was runner beans and chicken "breast" grills.

  Those grills were described as "sticky". I assume that meant they had been coated with a BBQ flavoured syrup. Syrup is not something I want just now, but while I don't think I initially realised it, I found a solution that rendered the result as a low sugar meal. After having grilled the chicken I cooked it in stock with the runner beans. That stock washed off and syrup, and I threw away the stock at the end of the meal. The chicken did look pale and aneamic when washed clean, but tasted fairly OK.

  Part two of my dinner was three lamb steaks. As I predicted, after grilling, I ended up with three quite small, but very tasty slabs of lamb. I ate them with just some hot chilli sauce - almost like a small lamb shish kebab. Before eating I weighed myself, and checked my blood glucose level. My weight was looking good, and my blood glucose likewise. The proof would come this morning - both were very pleasing !

  I spent what little there was left of the evening editing the photos and videos I had taken on my phone. They included more sunset photos, but I think I have shown the best one here. I also took a few street views. Some came out blurred because I didn't keep the phone camera still in the dim light. The Xmas lights along the main roads were quite impressive, but I am supposed to be not really into that, and besides, I had a train to catch. Like the last time I was in Maidstone, which was at a Chain gig early in the year (I think ?) I do feel that I ought to go back there in daylight, with more time on my hands, because I think there is a lot of interesting stuff to photograph.

  My sleep came in two parts last night. I think I fell asleep before 11pm last night, and I probably got at least 4 hours sleep before waking up, and not being able to get back to sleep for a good few hours. Once I did get back to sleep I think I possibly got nearly 3 hours of fairly good sleep peppered with some pleasant, but not really memorable dreams. As I have already mentioned, my weight, and blood glucose were nice and low this morning. I am not confident I can shed quite enough weight in the next few days to get down to the brief low I had over a fortnight ago, but that was partly dehydration.

  Today I should be transferring what should be the good photos from my Canon DSLR camera to my PC. I want to get a photo album selected and edited as soon as possible so I can go and take more photos, but two things have to come first, and the timing is going to be tight. I need to go to Aldi to get some shopping, and I want to go for a walk in the park today. That walk may well be just a short walk because the real reason is to hope to meet Angela in the pub at lunchtime.
Sunday 29th December 2019
09:26 GMT
  Yesterday was a very grey day without a single hint that the sun might even still exist ! The only positive thing, and it is stretching the definition of positive, was that it was not as cold as it could have been. The maximum temperature was only 11° C, and then only for a couple of hours.
                    chance of some sunny intervals today
  If this forecast holds, and the latest revision slightly improves upon it, we could finally see a few sunny periods today. The latest revision brings the time of the first sunny period forward to 11am. Maybe the last will be at 2pm. An even earlier version of this forecast showed the last sunny period as being at 3pm - which would have suited me better. Any sunshine might take the edge of what is going to be a cool day with a maximum temperature of just 9° C. Tomorrow could see 11° C, and there should be some sunshine for most of the daylight hours. the morning could be particularly sunny.
   The overcast sky was no source of inspiration or "get up and go" (there is a word I am looking for, but I can't quite recall the best one), but I still had a crazy desire to go out, and go for a country walk. I am sure I was inspired to actually go out my front door by a photo I took a few ten of minutes earlier.
weight loss in inches
  While I have been watching my weight very closely for the last few months, my more universal yardstick is "trouser inches", and this picture shows it well. I have no idea when I first used the belt that this section is a part of. It maybe have been 10 years ago, or it may have been 10 months ago. What I do know is that the distance between the signs of wear on the holes for the buckle is nearly 5 inches. At some point in the past my waist was nearly 5 inches bigger, and most of the shrinkage has been in the last few months. Despite my weight yo-yoing on the scales, the trend has been downwards, and so has my waist size. It almost makes it seem that the sacrifices have been worth it.
a walk in the countryside
Even after I had exited my front door, and was walking to the station, I kept glancing at the horrible grey sky, and having second thoughts. It wasn't until I had actually bought my tickets that I was fully committed to a long and muddy walk.

  My route was a well practiced one, although it must be a good few years since I last walked it. One thing I had never done was to walk it in cool/cold overcast weather. I think I may have walked it in spring and autumn, as well as summer, but only on bright sunny days. Yesterday was a new experience. I guess some practice recently of walking on dull days in the park, or around the local streets, made yesterday's enterprise a bit easier, and I suppose there were bit of yesterday's walk that I did genuinely enjoy. Most of it was a bit like going to work - it is something that has to be done, and enjoyment doesn't come into it.

  My walking route was from Eynsford to Shoreham following the footpath that mostly follows the river. That sounds like it is a fairly flat walk, but for some of the route the footpath veers away from the river, and there is a fair bit of hill to cross before getting back to the river.

  I'm glad I put on my comfortable, recently waterproofed, hiking boots because some of the path was a total quagmire. My feet remained warm and dry, and the tread on those boots helped keep me stable on some very slippery surfaces. It was quite an adventure - or so I kid myself to make it sound like I should do it more often. I think yesterday's experience means I am more likely to do this walk, or maybe something similar, on a rainy day - a much warmer rainy day !
entrance to Lullingstone
  The flat grey sky wasn't always very good for photography, but somehow this picture of the entrance to Lullingstone Castle seemed to come out quite well - although the flatness of the light is very obvious. It was handy that the little Canon iXus 285HS, at minimum zoom, has quite a wide angle view. I can't recall getting in all the front of the entrance before, but maybe a lack of obscuring vegetation at this time of year helped.
Entrance to Castle Farm
                      and The Hop Shop
  The Hop Shop, on Castle Farm, was closed, and I was unable to buy any lavender fudge - which is just as well because sweet, sugar laden, fudge is the last thing I want now. Even if the shop had been open I would not have bought fudge, or anything else because I was travelling light without any bags.
a pond in the middle of
                      the path
  One of many hazards on my walk - a pond in the middle of the path ! The churned up verge on the left of this huge puddle shows most people's way around the puddle, but I had faith in my boots, and (carefully) walked through the puddle. My feet remained perfectly dry, and the water did wash off some of the thick mud clinging to my boots.
The George Pub
  Nearing the end of my walk, and a pint of Guinness would have been very nice, but I didn't want to get the bar muddy, and most of all, I didn't dare stop in case I couldn't get started again !  I think at this point I had covered about 3.5 miles, and I was beginning to feel it. It was rather different to walking around the local park - which is mostly flat. This walk was probably worse than my Xmas day walk. That walk featured some bad hills, but yesterday's may have been worse, although there was an additional reason why my legs were starting to feel tired - mud !

  Walking across a quagmire, which I had to do several times, meant taking careful short steps. That seems harder than long strides in the dry. It made my overall average speed speed quite low despite keeping up what I thought was a good pace when I could. The curious thing was that the final bit of walk, from the pub to the station, which is uphill, seemed less taxing than I remember it being. I think I am going to claim, right or wrong, that I am fitter now than I was, and the fatigue I was feeling in my legs was a result of being very careful when walking through deep mud.

  It should have been a great relief when I reached the station, but unfortunately my train got there first, and I had to do even more walking to waste some of the 30 minutes wait for the next train (that extra is included in the 4.01 miles). Once I had got on the next train I could relax for the 30 or so minutes it takes to get back to Catford. Maybe I relaxed too much because as I stood up to get off the train it felt like me legs had seized up ! After a minute or two walking my legs felt OK again. While I was there, I popped into Sainsbury's to buy some Greek salads.

  Once I was finally home I could finally relax - a bit. At this point it is worth realising that as well as the 4 miles walked in the country, I had also walked two and from Catford station, and that walk is about half a mile each way. I claim that my entire walk was really 5 miles.....but I admit that is sort of cheating. I never used to include that walk to and from the station in my earlier country and seaside walks.

  Once I had had a wee, that had been bottled up since Shoreham, I remembered to weigh myself. It was still not as low as it was before everything went wrong before, and over Xmas, but getting close. I forgot to check my blood glucose. I was expecting it to be nice and low, but I was halfway through my second salad when I remembered to check it. It wasn't bad, but not as low as I hoped. Later on, just before I had my dinner, I checked it again, and this time my blood glucose level was low (as in low by my averages, but a long way from Hypoglycaemia).

  I spent a fair time selecting and editing photos I had taken along the way, and then I settled down to watch some TV - but there was almost nothing on that I cared to watch. I did see the last half an hour (or maybe a bit less) of a biopic of Michael Caine, but after that I turned the TV off. For some reason I thought that was at 8pm. I thought that I went to bed to read for a while, and may have turned the light off by, or even before 9pm. In truth I think I was completely unaware of the time. The only time that mattered was when it was time to get up.

  I was awake before sunrise after what seemed like a fair sleep, but I had a nagging feeling I wanted more sleep. I did try for a bit more sleep, but maybe I was too busy yawning to fall asleep. Soon it was time to check my weight, blood pressure and blood glucose. All were very satisfactory, although my blood pressure was a tiny bit higher than usual.

  There are a few things I could or should do before I go out this afternoon. I left a few bits of laundry soaking before I went out yesterday. I meant to finish the wash when I got home, but I couldn't raise the enthusiasm (or was it energy ?). This morning that washing is still sitting there in stone cold water. So my first job is to finish that laundry, and the launder my body under the shower. If there is enough time I might make it to Aldi and back before the highlight of the day.

  M.T. Pockets are playing in The Stag pub today. The pub is in far away Maidstone, but for some unknown reason it is a matinee performance starting at 3pm. I will obviously coming home in the dark, but all my travelling to the pub will be in daylight, and if I am very lucky, some of it could even be in sunshine. The downside is that there are no trains to Bromley South today, and I will have to endure an ultra tedious bus ride to Bromley South station to get a once-an-hour train to Maidstone. If I miss the train by as much as 30 minutes I might turn around and come back home again ! 
Saturday 28th December 2019
07:27 GMT
  The forecast for yesterday suggested the potential for it being another terrible day, but it wasn't. The most important improvement over the day before was that it was, as forecast, a completely dry day. However, unlike the forecast predicted, there were times when the sun either came out, or was behind such thin cloud that it was quite bright out. Sadly they were the exceptions, and most of the day was overcast - sometimes quite heavily. The afternoon temperature was 9° C, but I guess the wind was very light, and it didn't feel too cool.
probably another sunless day
  I haven't seen any mist, as forecast for about now, but it is still dark outside. As far as I can see it is still clear outside. It seems that the first few hours of the day may be heavily overcast, but maybe by 11am the clouds will thin a bit. None is shown, but maybe it's worth crossing fingers and hoping that there might be a sunny period sometime in the afternoon. Even a few minutes of sunshine would make the forecast 11° C feel quite good. It's a shame that the forecast has just been updated, and the 11° C has now changed to just 10° C. Tomorrow is forecast to be similar to day except that tomorrow afternoon may have some sunny periods. The predicted temperature is currently thought to be 10° C again.
   Boxing day, the day before yesterday, was a miserable sort of day, but yesterday was one of the good days - very good ! I started yesterday by washing my hair, and having a good shower. I also put a couple of t-shirts, and some underwear into soak, but I didn't actually finish that bit of laundry until late afternoon. The final thing was to try and psyche myself up for a long walk. I didn't manage that, but by the end of the afternoon I had managed to clock up a few miles.
forgot to pause the tracker again !
 If you look carefully at the map showing my walk you'll notice a bit of a mess at the bottom of the map. Once again I forgot to pause the tracker when I went into a shop TWICE, and it got all confused when it lost the GPS signal inside the shops. The first time I had a sort of excuse, but that, and what I was buying in those shops, a bit later.

  I managed to make my walk exactly 1 mile from home to the pub my walking a slightly convoluted route. I should have done a turn around Lewisham Park, or something, to pad it out a bit more, and also to use up a bit of time. I didn't, and ended up in the pub about 20 minutes early. I had sent a message to Angela to say that I would be in there at the usual time of 1pm, and I was a bit worried that she didn't acknowledge it, and that by 1.10pm she had not arrived.

  One minute later she breezed into the pub and told me that she hadn't seen my message, but wondered if I would be there. She did say that she had a busy morning, and maybe had wanted to finish something before going to the pub. With hindsight I think she was more than wondering if I would be there, and more like hoping I would be there.

  Seduction is not the right word, but it the best I can think of to describe how I have been working my charms on Angela - by doing almost nothing but being a different sort of person to lover boy. Yesterday it showed in two rather different ways. The more direct was a result of a new sweater she was wearing. It was ordinary and plain except that one side was exposing a lot of shoulder. I can't quite remember how, but I ended up stroking that small bit of skin, and remarking how wonderful it felt as part of a general compliment about her skin.
all in red 
   I wish I could remember her exact words when I apologised for maybe being too over familiar, but I think she said it was nice, or of that wasn't her words, it was what she implied. I finished with stroking her cheek and chin. It was all very innocent, and yet it wasn't. A little there came a sort of confirmation that it was OK, and hopefully enjoyed. Angela had mentioned that she was curious about the quiz night they have in the pub some time ago. Yesterday she explicitly said that maybe we should have a go at some future quiz night, and that it would be just me and her.

  Maybe it was being dressed all in red (including red boot laces) that brought out the devil in Angela (or me). Anyhow, pub quiz nights are not my natural forte. I think I possess a wide range of knowledge, but there are some glaring holes in it, and I never remember details like dates. To take part would probably end up as a sort of ritual humiliation, but I think I could take that with Angela as my partner. It is even possible that Angela can fill in some of the gaps in my knowledge. I agreed I would join her, and that she was to let me know when it would be.

  The only bad thing was when I went to the toilet before leaving the pub with Angela. The belt I was wearing with my red trousers (which still feel comfortable despite being as much as a kilogram heavier than when I first ventured out into the world wearing them again) was a belt I had been experimenting with reinforcing the holes with eyelets. One of them hadn't been done properly, and left a very sharp edge which split my right thumb open !

  I had to walk Angela back to work with tissue wrapped around my thumb because it was bleeding quite profusely. Fortunately it was my right thumb, and Angela was on my left. It could have been messy if the other way around when for some reason I felt it appropriate to give Angela a sort of sideways hug as we walked down the road. Outside Angela's work place we had a proper hug - possibly for longer and tighter than usual. I think being injured, even if it was only a scratch, brought out extra love from Angela.

  After saying goodbye I continued walking, but not directly to home. As I walked I couldn't help but thinking that Angela and I, at the same age of 64 and a half, had been acting like teenagers while together. I certainly didn't see that coming when I was a teenager. Compared to the miserable day before, it was like I was walking on air as I headed for my first shopping stop. It was to pop into Poundland to buy a packet of plasters, and then to try and put one on my thumb when I was outside the shop.

  It was quite important to try and stop my thumb from bleeding before I went into the shop I was heading for - Peacocks. There was one particular item I wanted, and two optional items. The one I most wanted was socks. Not just any socks, but long thin socks. My experience of wearing hiking boots with dress socks instead of chunky hiking socks has been very positive, and the pair I had been wearing with my boots had started to wear through, and needed replacement. I think I found some suitable socks in Peacocks.

  The two other items were a very low priority. A spare pair of black sweat pants (as I believe they are called) seemed like a handy thing to have. Unfortunately I couldn't see a similar pair that had an internal lining like the one pair I have and occasionally wear - as just indoor pants/trousers rather than for any sporty, sweaty reason. I did find something similar, and added them to my shopping basket. The other thing was a winter coat. I was more curious as to what they had until I spotted what looked like a good coat, in what should have been the right size, and only £25. I added that to my basket too.
old and new coats
  The orange coloured coat on the left in this picture, was one I bought quite a few years ago, but at the time of purchase it turned out to be a lot smaller than the XXL size suggested. I could barely do it up, and it felt like I was in a straight jacket when I did manage it. There was no way I could wear it at the time, but now I have lost some weight I could wear it if, for instance, we had some very severe weather. In the interim, I thought that the blue coat on the right would be a a more comfortable fit - it being a XXXL size. In reality there is little difference in the size, and I will have to lose a bit more weight before either of these severe weather coats becomes very comfortable to wear.

  When I went in Poundland I didn't exactly forget to pause the tracker on my phone, and I left it running because I knew I would be near the front of the shop most of the time, and the GPS signal probably penetrates a little way inside (although it will lose a lot of accuracy). There was also the fact that I didn't have full use of my right hand until I got a plaster on my thumb. I did forget when I went into Peacocks, and so the tracking trace ends up as a mess, and that mess would add anything from half a mile to a mile to my total walk.

  I slightly made amends to it by taking another un-tracked walk to Tesco and back after I had dumped my shopping from Peacocks at home. The two walks combined possibly come a bit closer to the 2.61 miles shown for the first walk. Neither walk was particularly comfortable. I was testing out another old pair of hiking boots with thin socks. My feet were up to the threshold of pain, and neither were they damaged, but those boots were certainly not as comfortable as the pair of hiking boots I took out of retirement a few weeks ago. I do have one more pair to test, but I don't think I'll chance then on any walk likely to be more than 2 miles long - or maybe less.
first signs of spring
  I didn't take many pictures on my walk through the park. The picture above showing a clump of daffodils just starting to come up, was just one of two pictures. Despite it being very often wet, and very often very dull, I guess we are having a very mild winter, and these daffodil shoots seem to agree. Of course February seems to be a more traditional month for snow, and maybe I'll get the chance to test one or both of my severe weather coats in the sort of weather I bought them for. By February they could even fit better if I can just lose a bit more weight.
fat squirrel
  As I am sure this fat little squirrel would agree, winter is really the time to put weight on, and not to lose it. I really should think more positive thoughts that I am doing well to keep my weight down, let alone lose any. However it seems I am almost back on track to lose some weight again after a few days of madness.

  I have to confess that I did buy some bad things from Tesco yesterday. The big lump of blue cheese (not officially Stilton, but very similar), reduced from £4 to just £1, just had to be bought. I ought to try and make it last a few days ! The two slices of pork and egg roll, also reduced price, seemed too tempting to ignore, even though their calorific value was probably quite high. The Colmans mustard flavoured pork scratchings main failure was probably he salt they contained.

  I also took a good look at the soups on the shelves in Tesco, and selected 4 (or was it 5 ?) of them with what seemed like the lowest sugar count - although they also had to satisfy the criteria of being nice flavours too. Apart from the two bottles of Diet Coke, and the bottle of whiskey, my one other purchase was of a bag of flavoured chicken wings. Within the big bag were three smaller bags containing wings with three different marinades. I am not sure why I dared to buy them after finding the wings I bought from Iceland seemed to contain a lot of sugar. Fortunately the wings I bought yesterday didn't seem to have a sugary glaze like the Iceland wings.

  I was in an extremely good mood yesterday. It was partly from a couple of successful shopping trips. Partly because I had actually gone out on a less than ideal day for a walk, but mostly because of Angela. She really does raise my spirits. The downside, if indeed it can be called a downside, is that my mind was still buzzing when I tried to go to sleep. I thought I felt tired, but I just didn't feel sleepy. It felt like I lay in bed for ages trying to get to sleep, but maybe it was less than it felt like. I can't really remember what time I turned the light out, but it was probably around 11pm.

  I guess I was probably asleep by midnight, but I can't be sure of that. I know it was about 2.15am when I first woke up. I managed to get back to sleep for another couple of hours fairly quickly, but it was by no means instantly. I didn't think the last hour or two was going to happen, but it did - just. At 7am it seemed like I may as well start getting up. I sort of felt OK with what sleep I had managed to get, and apart from my right shoulder, which is still playing up, I feel fairly OK. My blood pressure is it's usual moderately low, and my blood glucose is, as usual, not quite as low as I think it should be, but pretty typical of the last month or two.

  Now comes the bit where I have to try and decide what I am going to do today. The great outdoors doesn't look too attractive right now, but there is hope that it will brighten up in another couple of hours - although the chances of any sunshine are quite low. What I am going to try and convince myself to do is to go for a country walk - specifically the approx 4 miles from Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent). On nicer days it used to be may favourite practice walk. I have often thought about doing it in less pleasant weather, and today could be the day.  At least the trains are running, and that is a good first step.
Friday 27th December 2019
09:08 GMT
  It was bloody horrible yesterday - dull, grey, rainy, and cold. The temperature may have reached 9° C, but it was so horrible I didn't venture out of my nice warm bedroom most of the time, although by mid afternoon even my bedroom felt chilly for a while.
possibly a dry version of yesterday
  Today could be a dry version of yesterday. It is certainly very dull outside now, but maybe it will only be light grey for a few hours around midday. The temperature will probably be the same as yesterday. In other words, under the cold grey sky it is going to feel cold. With bright sunshine, and no wind, 9° C could feel pleasant, almost warm, but not today ! Rechecking the forecast shows one small change has occurred. The cloud cover is now probably going to change from dark grey to light grey at midday, and although we won't be able to see it in the dark, the cloud cover will remain light into the night - but not light enough to see any stars. Tomorrow might be the same as today apart from one small change to the better - it might be a couple of degrees less cold.
   For the first time in untold years, Xmas day was an OK day. Yesterday, boxing day, was not a good day. On the whole it was a bad day. The lousy wet weather seemed to wash away any good thoughts or ideas. It certainly put paid to any outdoor activities - including shopping - even in the corner shop ! I guess I started with some good intentions. I washed my hair, and had a good shower. I also hand washed three t-shirts and some underwear. For a grand finale I did the small amount of washing up that had been left in the sink, and I cleaned the work top and microwave oven.

  It was while working in the kitchen that I started to feel a bit cold. It wasn't bad while working, but after I finished, and went back to my bedroom, I still seemed to be cooling down. It was almost like I had a very mild fever. In the end I could stand it no more, and went back to the kitchen to heat up a can of oxtail soup. I ate that soup with a bit of chilli sauce in it, and it seemed unbelievably delicious. I git carried away at that point, and had two more cans of soup. One was "no added sugar" tomato soup with a good splash of Worcestershire sauce in it, and the other was chicken soup with a small amount of Thai red curry paste in it. The latter should have had a bigger dollop of Thai curry paste in it. I'll try to remember that if there is a next time.

  Three cans of hot soup did warm me up, but also left me feeling lethargic, although I think I was feeling lethargic before eating the soups.  At least I could lay on my bed quietly reading without feeling shivery. An individual can of soup is fairly low calorie, and if the correct flavour and/or make is chosen, fairly low sugar content too. I knew the Oxtail soup was fairly benign, and the tomato soup was supposed to be, but cumulatively they probably added up to more than I should have eaten. Later on I would compound the problem as I disposed of the two Chinese themed ready meals I bought from Iceland before Xmas. Of course I disposed them down my throat.

  On the whole, not counting the bit of work I did in the morning, yesterday was a boring day. I was looking forward to going for a quick drink with Jodie instead of feeling like it was my duty to meet her for a drink. It had been loose arrangement to meet, and both of us said that the weather wasn't looking good for it. I didn't hear from Jodie, and I assume that she was not keen on waiting for buses in the rain, and she probably assumed I would be grumpy about going out in the rain.

  I had to amuse myself the best I could in the afternoon and evening. Now I have to admit that most of the ways I amused myself would have been fine if done in a positive mood, but when you feel you have to force yourself to do stuff it takes away any possible pleasure. Last night's episode of Star Trek - Voyager was not a good episode (only about 1 in 4 episodes were average or better of that series), but if I hadn't forced myself to watch it I would have watched it anyway, and enjoyed it more !

  It was some relief when I felt I had read enough of the short chapters of the book I am reading (Rocket Man - the biography of Nasa Astronaut, and moon walker, Pete Conrad). I put the book down, turned out the light, and despite my right shoulder aching, I fell asleep very quickly. I think I ended up having quite a good sleep, and while I can't really remember anything of my dreams, I seem to think that the "flavour" of them was sort of positive. Maybe not specially happy, but nothing scary, weird, or depressing. They were probably better than real life - which makes it doubly annoying I can't remember anything about them.

  This morning my right shoulder is still sore, but it depends on how I move it, or what position it is in. With care I can try to avoid what makes it worse, and I can forget it until I make a wrong move, and it reminds me, with a fair bit of aggression, that it is not happy. The rest of me seems mostly OK. My blood glucose is not as low as yesterday, but at least I know exactly why - it was the predictable result of the food I ate. I think, but I might be deluding myself, that my weight has stabilised again, and it might still be possible to reach an unknown target when I see the Diabetes nurse and Dietician at the hospital in January.

  Today I might stand a chance of improving my weight and blood glucose level, or it could all go horribly wrong. Things could go well if I meet Angela at lunchtime, and don't drink too much Guinness. It would all go horribly wrong if I don't see Angela, and even more horribly wrong if I hear that Angela won't be available before setting out on a walk that will take me to the pub. On a miserable, grey day like today, I doubt I will actually walk much further than the minimum, but maybe if the sky does turn from dirty grey to light grey by midday, I might be less negative about it.

  I do have a fall back plan if Angela is not available. In fact I have two, and they may not be exclusive to each other. I could do both. I fancy a look around Peacocks to see what menswear there may be in their current sale. I also fancy a look around either Aldi or Tesco. Either of them could have stuff at a reduced price, but generally it is only high calorie/high sugar Xmas food that is reduced to clear it off the shelves. On rare occasions Tesco has some reduced price booze. I doubt either has any good bargains for me, but I could get some socks from Tesco !
St Mary Cray on Boxing
  One of the things I did to amuse myself yesterday was to look to see if anything was moving on the local rail network. Sometimes it is interesting to see what lines are blocked, and where engineering trains are. It seemed that Southern were running something as good as, or better than a Sunday service out of Victoria, but around here nothing was moving. With no tube network in SE London, we were effectively marooned. Anyhow, I was looking around and I came across St Mary Cray, and some bored signalman showed what they thought of Xmas, and/or of St Mary Cray !
Thursday 26th December 2019
10:07 GMT
  The main feature yesterday was bright sunshine, and clear blue skies. It was wonderful even it was still rather chilly. Having said that, the wind was often very light, and the sun on my back did feel quite delicious. If the temperature had been at least twice the actual maximum of 8° C, it would have been an exceptionally nice day.
                    not as bad as it looks
  Today may not be as bad as the forecast predicted. For instance it wasn't predicted that there would enough gaps in the cloud to let through an occasional glimpse of the sun, but I have definitely seen sunshine this morning. Unfortunately the latest revision of the forecast is much worse than the forecast in the screenshot above. Now some of the rain will be heavy instead of light, and it is now predicted that the rain will last right through to 9pm. As I write this the road looks a bit damp, but it doesn't really look like it has started raining yet. Fingers crossed that the latest revision of the forecast turns out to be wrong, and that today won't even be as bad as the early forecast predicted. The one thing that is usually correctly predicted is the temperature, and today should be 9° C - not too bad in sunshine, but pretty miserable in the rain. Tomorrow is currently predicted to be a dry version of today, but still overcast from dawn to dusk and beyond.
   Yesterday, being Xmas day, could have been ultra boring, but it wasn't. For the first time in I don't know how many years, yesterday was a good day. There is nothing really to add to what I wrote yesterday, but to recap; My day started with a very short, but very delicious greetings message from Angela. That set me up to go for a long walk that was nearly 5 miles long, and featured a couple of hill climbs. Maybe not pushing myself to round it up to 5 miles was a wise move because apart from needing a short rest when I got home, I didn't have any lingering fatigue. That was handy for when I got a message from Kevin, and went out again to meet him in the pub for a couple of drinks. I will admit that my legs did feel a bit creaky for the first couple of hundred feet, but after that I didn't really notice anything more until I was home again. It was then that I noticed my feet were feeling a bit sore.

  Yesterday evening, after I had eaten my experimental sprout satay dinner, went by smoothly. I expected I might go to bed early, but to my great surprise there were a few TV programmes on that grabbed my attention, to some degree or another. The final programme was a documentary celebrating 50 years of Star Trek. In parts it was good, but maybe less so in others. It was mainly just talking heads recounting their memories, and some were not terribly exciting. That was a shame because it spoiled my concentration, and sometimes my attention would wander off to the internet.

  That programme ended at 11pm, and I went straight to bed. Initially I started reading, but I discovered there were only a couple of pages left to read in the last New Scientist. Once I had read those two pages I turned out the light, and I seemed to fall asleep really quickly. I'm fairly sure I was asleep before midnight. Prior to falling asleep, and earlier in the evening, I was keeping an eye on the temperature outside, and I saw it fall to just under 2° C. I did wonder if I might wake up to snow, but no, the temperature rose again in the small hours.

  I think I probably slept well last night. Once again I did that thing where I started to get up at sometime after 6am, but ended up back in bed again. One moment I was laying in bed thinking that maybe it was a mistake to try and get back to sleep, and the next moment it was 8.30am, and I could see sunshine through the gaps in the curtains. After a big wee, and a fairly good poo, I weighed myself, and it seemed that I had put on quite a bit of weight since yesterday afternoon. I am now wondering if my scales go inaccurate when left in a cold room. I think it may be possible, but mostly I thought that I was dreading checking my blood glucose. I needn't have worried. It was the lowest early morning reading I have had for a week or two !

  Today I have some grand plans....well, maybe not "grand", but there are a few things I expect I will do. One of the most important is to have a good shower. I knew (or thought I knew) that I would not be seeing anyone yesterday, and so I didn't even bother to wipe a wet flannel across my face. When it came to meeting Kevin, which was unexpected, all I had time for was to spray on a bit of deodorant, and hope for the best !

   Before I have a shower there are two tasks to complete first, although only the first is actually important to do before a shower. I have a few t-shirts, and some underwear to wash. That can be a mildly sweaty exercise (or very sweaty on a warm summers day), and it's best to wash myself afterwards. It doesn't actually matter when I do the other task - a small amount of washing up.

  Later this afternoon it is possible that I will be meeting Jodie for a couple of beers in the Wetherspoons pub, but it depends on how heavy the rain might be, plus other things. So it is not definite, but worth getting ready for.
Pepsi Max - Ginger
  I have a suspicion I've posted this picture before, but maybe not. Pepsi Max, ginger flavour, is another of those weird drinks seen in Poundstretcher. As a rule I don't care for Pepsi Max, but because I was previously unaware of this ginger variant, plus it being sugar free, meant it had to be tried. It is fairly pleasant, but not exciting enough to rush out to buy more, although I may grab a couple of spare cans for a rainy day or something. Incidently, the 59p, or 2 for £1 is not the Poundstretcher price. I think they might have been as little as 39p, and definitely no more than 45p a can.
is it Angela
  Sometimes it is fun (or maybe just interesting) to explore the world via Google Maps. Flicking over to street view sometimes provides more information. I can't even remember why I wanted to check the street view of a bus stop opposite Lewisham hospital, where Angela works. I can't recall seeing Angela wearing a red coat before, but I feel sure this could be Angela waiting at the bus stop to go home. Unfortunately Google have blurred her face, and the picture is not particularly sharp when you zoom in, but her looks right. She is smoking while waiting for the bus, and she definitely has a pair of shoes exactly as seen in the picture.
Wednesday 25th December 2019
19:06 GMT
  Yesterday featured some unexpected rain in the middle of the morning. It was right in the middle of otherwise an pleasant period of sunny spells. As far as I can remember, the rain forecast for 4 and 5pm didn't actually fall. From midday, for a couple of hours, the temperature rose to 12° C - at least that was what was forecast, but I'm not sure it did get that high. I felt it was quite cool.
                    sunny day
  The forecast above turned out to be about right. It was really quite chilly this morning, but the sunshine was glorious. At times, when it was on my back, it actually felt quite warm. Had it been 12° C, like yesterday, instead of just 8° C, it might have been the sort of day for going out without a coat. Tonight the temperature may drop to 4° C (according to the latest revision), and that might be low enough for a touch of frost, but the temperature profile for tomorrow is looking about the same as that for today. The big difference is that there will probably be light rain until after 2pm, and then it may just be heavily overcast.
longest local walk ever
Today has been a busy day, and that was good because it distracted from what this day is. Today could easily have been worse than a really boring Sunday, but it got off to a very good start.
cheering message
  Sometimes I worry that I delude myself about how close Angela and I are, but the above message seems to show me that we are very close. It's a shame that she wants to remain loyal to lover boy despite him suppressing her usual joy-de-vivre, but while he has assorted medical problems, she will never give up on him. It's like when she stuck with John who she originally friended to help out while his cancer got worse - and fell in love with him.

  Despite it being very chilly this morning, the bright sunshine called to me very strongly. I had always intended to go for a walk, but the sunshine was responsible for me pushing myself to follow a route that I have been thinking about for well over a year. It was to take in 5 different parks. Today I managed it. I ended up walking 4.68 miles, and went through part of the Pool River Linear Park, Blythe Hill Fields, Ravensbourne Park Gardens, Ladywell Fields, and Lewisham Park.

  Not only was it a long walk, it also featured a couple of taxing hills. The first was when I left the Pool River Linear Park, and walked up Winsford Road to Perry Hill. That took me extremely close to Angela's house, but I didn't dare try calling there. From then on it was downhill until I started the climb Blythe Hill Lane. That is a bloody steep road that goes up to Blythe Hill Fields. There are some terrific views from up there !
View from the top of
                      Blythe Hill Fields
  This is one view from the top of Blythe Hill Fields. It features all the skyscrapers around Canary Wharf.  In another direction are all the famous named skyscrapers in the city of London - The shard, the cheesegrater, the walki-talkie etc.
The Blythe Hill Tavern
  Before I could tackle the long steep hill to the top of Blythe Hill Fields I passed The Blythe Hill Tavern.  I have to admit, that if it had been open I would have called in for a pint of Guinness to re-hydrate myself. After what was about another hour of walking I came to another pub...
The Jolly Farmers
...The Jolly Farmers - scene of many clandestine meetings with Angela. I had been hopeful that it might have opened at 11am, and by coincidence it was 10.59am when I arrived outside. Realistically I knew that midday is the typical opening time on a Xmas day, and that not all pubs open at all on the day. I suspect that The Jolly Farmers may not have opened at all, but I didn't want to hang around outside for a whole hour to find out. I just carried on walking to my fifth and final park - Lewisham Park.

  My feet were starting to feel a bit heavy as I walked through the park, by the shortest route, but I had some strange idea that I might walk home the long way round. The idea was to pass by The London & Rye, Wetherspoons pub, and see if that was getting ready to open (and to go in if it actually had opened). Had I gone past the pub it would have probably just added enough extra distance to take my walk to 5 miles. However, when it came to it, I crossed the main road, and took a more direct route home. I noted that as I passed the Group Practice that the pharmacy had his "Open" sign outside. That could be useful knowledge for next year.

  When I got home I did a few tests, and found they contradicted each other. My blood glucose level was surprisingly high (although not desperately so), but my weight was almost back down to the lowest I recently achieved. Throwing all caution aside I ate my last two packets of crisps. I then ate two lots of instant noodles. I felt quite relaxed after that, and it felt good to lay on my bed reading. I had only been reading for about 20 minutes when I got a message from friend Kevin. His family situation had stabilised, and he was being allowed out for a "swift half". Would I like to join him.

  I quickly got dressed for outdoors again, and while initially my legs felt a bit stiff, I found I soon speeded up. I arrived at the pub to within 30 seconds of the agreed time - Kevin turned up 5 minutes late ! We stayed for three pints (or 2.5 pints in Kevin's case), and had a good chat. I gave Kevin his Xmas present, and as the bell sounded bar closing, I walked back home again. At last I felt I could rest properly, but I didn't. I had pictures to edit, and dinner to cook.

  Dinner was an experimental meal. It was what could be called, and possibly is called, sprout satay - assuming I am not the first to make it, and it had a name before I invented it for myself. Basically it was sprouts cooked in chicken stock flavoured with too much peanut butter. I think if I hadn't overdone the peanut butter, and had perhaps used normal chicken stock cubes, instead of chicken stock pots, it might have been much nicer than it was.

  Right now it is finally time to upload all this writing, and do some intensive resting. Of course now I have nothing to write about tomorrow morning. It is forecast to rain tomorrow, and so I doubt I will go out walking to give me anything new to write about. I expect tomorrow could be a boring day !
Tuesday 24th December 2019
11:09 GMT
  It was bright and sunny in the morning, and overcast, but dry in the afternoon and evening yesterday. With an afternoon temperature of 11° C it should have been starting to feel warm. It didn't, and as the sun went down it felt really chilly.
  The forecast got things wrong in two ways this morning. The sunny spells could have been called sunshine up to about 10.30am when they could have been called rain ! I wasn't expecting that as I walked through the park ! I'm not even sure the forecast 12° C is right. Maybe it is the wind, but it feels much cooler to me. It now seems that the forecast has been revised to show a shower due at midday, and a possible earlier revision my have showed the shower I encountered earlier, but I didn't see that revision. It seems that there may be more showers after sunset, but the rest of the evening could be dry. Tomorrow is forecast to be dry and sunny, but it could well be a very chilly day with a maximum temperature of just 8° C.

  My walking exercise was not a very long walk yesterday - just 1.81 miles, and I had to deliberately take the long way home to achieve that. It was harder work than usual because I was not feeling too good. The sunshine had given way to sunny periods, and even they were getting a bit thin as I walked home. Despite the predicted temperature it was feeling very to me, and worse than that, bit of me were starting to ache.

  One bit that was starting to feel sore was my right shoulder, and it would get even worse later on. I suspect it, and possibly some other aches, were the result of wearing a ruck sack that I rarely use for reasons I had forgotten until yesterday. It was that the shoulder straps keep slipping off my shoulders. As a result I was forever lifting my shoulders to try and get the straps back in place. I think that triggered off the pain in my right shoulder joint, and probably some lower back pain too. Even my neck was complaining for while last night.

  The reason I used that little used rucksack was in case Angela might need it to take home her Xmas present of two bottles of vodka liqueur. She didn't, but it was useful for me to take home the bottle of whisky she gave me as my Xmas present. It was also useful when I popped into Poundstretcher on the way home. I bought quite a few sugar drinks in there, and one drink that I should not have. It was Fanta grape juice, and it loudly proclaimed "no added sugar", and I have to confess I was suckered in by that. It was later I realised the horrible truth - natural grape juice is not much more than purple syrup. The small print did note that the product did contain a lot of natural sugar, but that no more had been added !
  Despite the later aches and pains, it was all worth it to see Angela. It was a lovely relaxed drink together, and Angela was most reluctant to go back to work. In fact she went back half an hour late because she wanted to spend more time with me. Not only did we part on a very warm hug, but on this occasion we had a little hug in the pub.
ring necked parakeet
  One unusual thing while I was walking in the park, yesterday, was that some of the ring necked parakeets were in the lower branches of some trees instead of being at the top of the tallest trees. Maybe it was just one of those random things, and I just happened to be in the right place, at the right time, for some easy to take photos.
another ring necked
  Another parakeet looking down on me from maybe only 20 - 25ft up in a tree.
a trio of ducks
  These three ducks were on the riverbank on the far side of the river. I assume the one on the middle is just resting it's other leg, and that it has two of them, but I suppose I might have snapped a one legged duck.
squirrel posing on a
  This squirrel posed for me on this wall. Prior to this he (or she) had been on the path, standing up like a meerkat. The photo I took of that did not come out well.

  I felt starving hungry when I finally got home, and I am not sure why...or at least not at the strength of my desire for food. I am usually peckish after a good walk, but yesterday it felt like I was starving. I gave in to it and had a quickly prepared pot noodle while a fish pie cooked in the microwave. After that I didn't dare check my blood glucose before I had my dinner just a few hours later.

  At least the pot noodle warmed me up a bit, but for the rest of the afternoon, and partly during the evening, I felt shivery. It was almost like I had a fever. Perhaps I did. With so many bit aching I took some pain killers before I went to bed. I was in bed early, and maybe thanks to those painkillers, I slept well for a few hours. After that it felt like I was awake for half the night. If I hadn't been keeping an eye on the time, and noticing that odd hours went missing, I might have felt I had been awake for most of the early hours of this morning.

  I had to get up early this morning, or to put it more accurately, I had to be ready to go out earlier this morning than I usually do these days. I had an appointment at the hospital for a diabetic retinopathy scan at 9.10am.
this morning's walk
     I gave myself 25 minutes to get to the hospital, and that allowed me to take a slightly longer route than needed. If I recall correctly I had walked 0.76 miles when I reached the hospital. What is not included in my recorded total of 1.75 miles, there and back, is the walking I did in the long corridors of the hospital, plus going up two flights of stairs (and later, back down them again).
dilated pupils
 A retinopathy scan involves taking picture of the retina inside the eyeballs. to look for any damage caused by leaking blood vessels. To make it easier you are given drops to dilate the pupils. The effect can be seen in the selfie I discreetly took in the waiting room as the eye drops took effect. The 20 minutes spent in the waiting room, waiting for the drops to take effect, is the most boring bit of the visit - even more so when it was closer to 35 minutes on this occasion. The actual photography took no more than 10 minutes, and then it was out into the sunshine !

  At any other time the sunshine would be most welcome, but not with dilated pupils. It is like taking pictures on a camera with the iris wide open. Everything is over exposed, and the wide aperture gives such a small depth of field that most things are out of focus. Even now, three hours after I was given the drops, my vision is still a little fuzzy.

  There was a very vague plan to meet Kevin for an afternoon drink, but he warned my that family commitments before Xmas might mean we would have to put it off until after Xmas. I haven't head from Kevin yet, and so I am going to walk to the pub I meet Angela in. There is a possibility she won't be able to meet me today. We discussed this yesterday, but she knows I will be going, and maybe there might be time for one quick drink together.
Monday 23rd December 2019
08:57 GMT
  The weather was not quite how the forecast said it should be yesterday. The rain finished early, and after that it was much brighter than it was supposed to be for an overcast day. There were even a few short sunny spells before the morning was over. The afternoon was a bit duller, but with just a light cloud covering it wasn't all dull and gloomy. The afternoon temperature was 9° C.
sunshine today
  The forecast says sunny, and indeed it is sunny ! If the forecast continues to be correct the sunshine should give way to sunny periods in the early afternoon, and then the sky will cloud over as sunset nears. The rest of the day will be overcast, but that won't matter too much because it will be dark. Early this afternoon the temperature should peak at 11° C. It looks like the rain will return at 1am tomorrow morning, but it may stop before sunrise, and the rest of the day should be just lightly overcast. It should be a mild day - starting at 9° C, and 11° C all afternoon. We have now passed the winter solstice, and from today the days will be getting longer, although it is going to take a while before it is really noticeable.

  Yesterday could have been another very lazy day, and I have to admit that most of it was, but at least I had a shower, and got dressed properly - but only to go out to do a bit of shopping. I was in the mood for more tasty food, and at first I thought I might go to Tesco, but once I got outside the place, and peered through the windows I saw that it was like a battleground in there. I couldn't face everyone getting in the way, and the long queues at the checkouts.

  A look through the windows of Iceland showed it was a bit busy, but not heaving with shoppers like Tesco. I decided I would go in, and buy some stuff. Some Most of what I bought would not compliment the dieting I had been doing up until several days ago, but I felt a strong urge to buy it anyway. At least one item was from the "Slimming World" range. As such it should be low calorie, although all too often not that much lower than a comparable non-slimming product. I haven't checked the sugar content, but I would not be surprised to find it is quite high.

  After Iceland I had a look in Poundstretcher. Once again it didn't seem any worse than a Saturday, and possibly not quite as bad. So I went in to buy some bleach, and, typically, came out with more than that. I checked their canned drink section, and although I generally don't like Pepsi that much, I bought two cans of sugar free Cherry Pepsi, and two cans of sugar free ginger Pepsi. The latter might be very nice, or very terrible. The cherry Pepsi can hardly be worse than Dr Peppers, or cherry Coke, but I am not expecting to like it....not that much.
weird drinks

   Just along the shelf from the canned drinks I came across these bottled drinks. They proclaim themselves to be sugar free - so that was a good start. I found it very curious that each one says "orangeade" on the label despite none of them being orange. At 45p a bottle I bought these three varieties as pictured.

  When I got home I put them in the fridge to chill, and then later on I tried one of the green versions, but to be honest I can't remember if it was the "gorgeous green" or the "emerald green" first. The first one didn't taste a thing like orangeade, and I didn't expect it to. It did taste of pears, and was quite nice. The second one I tried had a taste I couldn't quite place. It was a very weak taste, and maybe it had a hint of lime about it.

  I haven't tried the "bubblegum pink" but I am rather expecting it to taste like bubblegum. That wouldn't be horrible, but it would not be nice either. I think they had at least one more flavour on the shelf, and it was a dark colour - probably some sort of cola flavour. If they are still in stock the next time I go in Poundstretcher I may well buy a sample of that, plus any other untried flavour. I think I will also buy another bottle or two of the pear flavoured one if I can remember which green it was. (I know it was the first I tried, and the empty bottle may be a little deeper in the recycling bin....may be !).

dumped Xmas tree
  It is not unusual to see Xmas trees dumped out on the road after Xmas, but very unusual before xmas. I saw this tree on my back from shopping. There is a clue as to how it came to be there. It is dumped on the path outside the local primary school next to their big rubbish bin (industrial scale wheelie bin). I assume it came from within the school, and now that the current term has ended, and the kids won't be back until after Xmas, it had no further purpose. It still looks in good condition, and I would not be surprised if it doesn't end up in use somewhere else. Ideally it could have been offered to a charity, or something.

  After getting home from my shopping trip, about the only notable thing I did was to eat ! I had a small fish pie for lunch, and a pile of BBQ chicken wings for dinner. It wasn't until after I started cooking those wings that I became worried about their sugar content. I never did check, but I can imagine that part of the BBQ glaze could have been sugar based. By then it was too late. Fortunately I think I can blame my slightly raised blood glucose on other things this morning.

  For once I had an early night. I think I was asleep very soon after 10pm. On the whole I slept well, but did have a few notable dreams. The first was just before I woke up at around 1am. The bit I can remember was very short. I was standing outside my bedroom door when there was the most mighty clap of thunder you can imagine. It was not that local because there was a small pause after the brilliant flash of lightning that caused it. t had the strength (and brilliance) of a small atomic bomb. I actually felt a pressure wave pass me by. Upon checking for damage I found none at all, but the window in the spare bedroom was open, and rain was coming in. After closing the window I woke up. I wondered if there really had been a thunderstorm, but all seemed calm, and it wasn't even raining.

 The second dream took weirdness to a new level. I can't seem to recall a beginning or an end to it. It featured a half, or even third sized Dalek that was initially in a cupboard. It seemed to be a co-operative Dalek because I sent it into the spare bedroom to try and sort out an infestation of small scorpions - the sort that used to be, and maybe still are found at Ongar station, and (I think) Tilbury docks. In real life, and in the dream that were about an inch long, and pack a sting that is said to be worse than a mosquito bite, but not quite as bad as a wasp sting. I think the Dalek started zapping them with it's Exterminator, but my memory of the dream becomes very hazy at the end.

  This morning my weight is still not going down again, and my blood glucose is higher than desired, but still lower than it was before I started to do something about it. My blood pressure is still low. On the whole I feel fairly good ! My mood, and hence how I feel, is elevated by the knowledge that I should be seeing Angela today. I just hope that nothing unforeseen doesn't happen that will prevent her going to the pub at lunchtime as she was intending to do in her last message to me on Thursday.

  I need the exercise so I shall be walking to the pub by some route or another regardless, and I'll have at least one pint of Guinness with or without Angela, but I think she will be there of she can. I hope she enjoys her Xmas presents. I know she will definitely like one of the two parcels I have for her. Before all that I had better give myself a good scrub, and I think my hair needs a good wash and condition too. I had better get on with it !
Sunday 22nd December 2019
10:12 GMT
  I didn't pay that much attention to the weather yesterday. I know it rained a lot, and there were some sunny spells. The brighter times were in the morning, and the really wet times were later in the afternoon and evening. For a brief time in the morning the temperature may have hit the forecast 11° C, but 9° C is more representative of the day.
                    to start the day again, but maybe less rain today
  I think it may have stopped raining before 9am this morning, but otherwise the forecast seems like it may be correct. The latest revision has not changed anything of note. I should be an overcast day with the temperature peaking at 9° C, and 8° C for almost the rest of the day. The only potential flaw is that as I write this I can see patches of blue sky, and it got very bright just now. It was almost sunny, and from the look of the sky, the chances of a sunny interval seem very possible. Of course it could change to follow the forecast in half an hour, but for now there is some tiny hope of something better - even if only for 2 minutes. Tomorrow should be dry until 10pm when rain may fall again. The morning is predicted to be sunny, and sunny spells should continue until mid afternoon. The afternoon temperature could reach 11° C.

  Yesterday was another subdued day, but I did do a few important things. It was also a day when I didn't fancy going out. Not even to the corner shop, and so it was a day when I only had the most superficial of washes, and never did put on any outdoor clothes. Mostly I just slobbed around in lounge/sweat pants. They are thicker than lounge pants, and so I guess they are sweat pants. I have no idea how they were described on the label.

 The two most important things I did was to do some hand laundry, and to finally, after maybe 5 years, fix my 24 port Ethernet hub/switch. I can't remember how long ago it was that I took it out of service because the bearings in the cooling fans had dried up, and were making an unearthly shrieking noise. I probably could have got away with just disconnecting the fans.It is an industrial grade device, meant to feed loads of data hungry computers. By comparison my usage is very light - which should/could make it run cooler. On the other hand, the two fans in it are to cool the power supply, and not the digital board. Keeping the power supply cooler will lengthen it's life, and so I fitted two new fans. They have different mounting points so I glued them in with silicone sealant.

  While I was re-installing the hub in my back room I took a look at one of my old wireless access points. It had stopped working some time ago, but I never paid it much attention because I have two others that are working. Upon examining the access point the most obvious thing was that it was stone cold. The lights all worked, and the internal power regulator appeared to be working OK. I concluded that the little processor chip had probably died, although that was no more than speculation. The hard fact is that even if I could do a more accurate diagnosis, I lack the tools to do repairs I could do quite easily when I was at work.

  I think that access point may have come out of a skip originally, and so the 5 years or so of service I got from it made it very good value for money. My other two access points give more than adequate coverage, and there is no need for a third. One of them I think I bought for about £30 years and years ago. It was simple to set up. The other is actually a re-purposed Orange branded ADSL modem/router/wifi access point. I bought it from a charity shop for about £10, and it works well. I had very little information about it, but the configuration options seem to make sense, and setting it up to be no more than a wireless access point proved to be fairly simple.

  I mention the ease of setting up the two working access points because I have a third access point that I did pay good money for - but not that much because it is a cheapo Chinese branded thing. I have a vague memory of testing it when it was delivered to work, but for the last 5 or so years it has stayed in it's box. Yesterday I thought I would give it a test - mainly, and erroneously, because I thought it could be used on the 5Ghz band. I thought it would be interesting to see how well that band worked. Firstly, it doesn't support 5GHz as I thought, and second it is a bastard to set up - and I don't know why. I got it to the point where I could configure via a direct Ethernet connection to my laptop, and the wifi was working. I could connect to it from my phone. What I couldn't figure out was why it was routing all stuff on the WAN (Wide Area Network) to the wrong IP address. All data was going down a hole because there is nothing on my network with that address. I gave up on yesterday, but I think I have a few ideas, and may try again today.

  One other thing of note about yesterday was my eating. It was another day when it seemed I was having a rest from my diet. I didn't actually go mad, and still tried to eating nothing that would raise my blood glucose level too high. For instance, for dinner I had grilled Lincolnshire sausages with "no added sugar" Heinz baked beans. One curious thing about those beans was that they are in a sort of intermediate sized tin. It contained more than a half sized tin, and less than a full sized tin. It was actually probably about the right size to serve one person (like me !).

 For my lunch I had a Sainsbury's Greek salad fortified with a small can of tuna, and some mayonnaise. Apart from the mayonnaise, it was still a pretty healthy sort of meal. The bad things were some crisps and some nuts eaten as snacks during the day - the nuts mostly in the evening when I was drinking beer. In some ways it was not that outrageous. I didn't dare weigh myself again this morning, but I did check my blood glucose for the first time in a couple of days. My last reading was quite high compared with what I have achieved most days for the last 2 or 3 months. This mornings reading was higher than I am aiming for, but not much higher than average.

  The peculiar thing about yesterday, and for that matter, some previous similar days, is that while I can't seem to account for the whole day, and what account I can give makes it sounds like I did so little, it seemed like yesterday passed by very quickly with no hints of boredom....well, maybe just a teeny weeny hint of boredom, but that was cured quickly by watching a few more episodes of the 1966/1967 Batman TV series - episodes featuring Catwoman. I can't remember what my thoughts were when those old series were originally shown on TV here, but now, as an adult, possibly a mature adult, but more like a knackered adult, I am totally in love (or lust !) with Julie Newmar (as she was 50 years ago when she played Catwoman).

  I spent the last hour or so of the evening in bed reading New Scientist magazine (it is a special seasonal edition, and so thicker than usual). Once my eyelids started to drop I put the magazine down, turned out the light, and within minutes I was asking myself why I couldn't get to sleep. Another few minutes and I was asleep, and apparently sleeping well. After drinking 4 cans of beer I had to get up a few times in the night, but no more than the new normal.  I think I managed to stay in bed until the first hints that the morning was getting lighter. Sunrise was at approx 8am this morning, and so I guess I started getting up a bit before that.

  This morning I feel generally OK apart from some lethargy. I don't feel terribly keen on running around today, and I almost certainly won't be. I may possibly go to the shops, but at this time of the year (just three days to Xmas) the shops will be heaving, and I am not sure I can be bothered to go and buy stuff that I could buy in 5 days time without any great loss. Tomorrow I will be inspired to get out and do some walking. It may not be a 3 mile epic, but I will be delivering Angela's Xmas presents to the pub, and that is at least a mile in total if I take the shortest route.

  Today I will probably end up doing some housework, and maybe a lot of reading. I may also be a bit more careful about what I eat today - I have to start getting back on the straight and narrow for when I see the Hospital Diabetes Nurse next month (either the 2nd or 14th - I really must remember to check which date it is for the diabetes nurse).

  Finally, since my cable broadband connection came back up yesterday, after some unspecified external fault, it has remained stable, and a check on my download speed shows all is well (the upload speed is always lousy on a Virgin domestic connection).
Saturday 21st December 2019
09:33 GMT
  Most of yesterday morning featured rain, but not all the time. It had stopped by midday, and by 1pm the sky was at least 75% blue, and even where it wasn't blue there were just light fluffy clouds. It looked like a summer sky, but it was only about 10 or 11° C, and the sun was so low in the sky. A few hours later it clouded over again, and the rain showers re-started. By evening some showers were very heavy. The rain continued through the night. It was a day almost completely unlike the forecast for it !
                    a chance to dry out a bit
  I'm not sure what time the rain actually stopped this morning. It was still raining when I first got up, and it seemed so horrible outside that I went back to bed, and slept for a couple more hours it seems. I woke up again to bright sunshine ! We are now in the forecast period of "sunny intervals", but if the forecast bears some semblance to reality today, by early afternoon it will be overcast, and by sunset it will be raining again - probably for the rest of the night. As this morning ends the temperature may reach 11° C for an hour or two, but more of the day will be just 9° C. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be dry after some very early rain, but it may stay overcast all day. The maximum temperature may, once again be no more than 9° C.

  The most important news from yesterday was that late in the afternoon my broadband internet connection died. I feared it was the result of the heavy rain we were experiencing, and I was possibly right. I was hoping that it wasn't my individual connection that failed, because if it were something more general, serving many people, the possibly thousands of Virgin Cable TV customers, who would also be affected, would take the pain of trying to report the fault to Virgin. Meanwhile I could just sit back and wait for it to be repaired.

  I didn't exactly sit back and just wait though. I rushed out to the corner shop to pick up a new 3 sim card, and a £20 top up voucher to get my 3 USB dongle working again. After a bit of mucking around it came up, and I was able to go on 3's web site to enter my top up voucher code. I spent the whole of the £20 on an "add-on" that gave me 12GB of data for the next 30 days. I thought that ought to see me OK even if my cable broadband was out for the whole of the Xmas period.
  By 10am my connection started working again, and although I could have done it using the mobile data dongle earlier, I finally went to Virgin Media's Service Status page. It confirmed that there was a know fault in the area, and that it was estimated to be fixed by 2pm today. Evidently it was faster to fix than estimated, although maybe there could be other outages if the first fix involved a bodge, and a proper fix will be done later. In the meantime, I have registered that I was affected by this fault in case it takes longer to properly resolve, and I can get a rebate on my bill for the downtime.

  Hopefully all that's left to be done now is to think of ways of using up the 12GB of mobile data I have bought. Maybe on some dry day I will take a laptop to the middle of the park, and do an update from there. Maybe I will take the laptop to a pub and do an update there. The latter seems a better idea !

  I'm wondering if I will ever finish writing this. I have just been distracted while making sure my 3 mobile broadband dongle works on one of my laptops. It did, and once again I got a "your computer is not recognised", and one of my accounts was temporarily suspended until I could prove it was really me. It happened yesterday when I used the broadband dongle for the first time with the new SIM card in it. Google went into panic mode, and I had to jump through all sorts of hoops to sort it out again.
brilliant blue sky
  The weather forecast said that it could have been raining, or if it wasn't raining it should be overcast as I took this picture on my way to so a bit of shopping in Aldi yesterday. Evidently the forecast was wrong ! I was in a strange shopping mood when I went to Aldi. I didn't want to buy anything too outrageous, but I did want to buy some stuff that I have been avoiding for the last few months. What I did buy, for instance a couple of Chinese Ready Meals, will do my blood glucose level no good, but I felt like a break. Maybe the cold, wet, and very short days wore me down. Maybe the 5.2% beer in the pub the previous night wore me down.

  Anyway, sitting in my fridge are two chilled, but not frozen "Chinese" meals this morning, and sooner or later both will have to be eaten - probably both as two halves of one meal. They were probably the worst things I bought. Much of the weight of my shopping was made up of liquids. On the small side was olive oil. Slightly bigger was the 4 bottles and 4 cans of beer. Topping the weight was four 2.25 litre bottles of Diet Coke. There are still 4 days to go, but I shouldn't go thirsty over Xmas (although the corner shop will probably be open on Xmas morning if I really need anything).
weird and possibly
                      wonderful instant coffee
  The strangest purchase I made was these three flavoured instant coffees. I don't drink coffee (not even sugar free coffee as the jars proudly claim). I bought these for Patricia to add to the three less weird flavoured coffees left over from her last visit. Now I hope that Patricia will be able to come to England next summer (or spring), and that if it has happened, Brexit won't cause too much problem for her.
Xmas card
  On my way back from Aldi I bumped into my neighbour Michael who was on his way to Aldi. We stopped to chat for 5 or 6 minutes. While there he handed me a Xmas card sealed in an envelope. I didn't see it until I got home, and when I did see it I loved it. It was the perfect card from one miserable old got to another miserable old git. It sums up why I spend Xmas on my own (although it has been many a year since I had an invite I could turn down). I believe that even at the age of 70 Michael still has "family duties", and is expected to drive down to the south coast to spend 2 or more days with family. He says he will be very bored before the first day is over, and will be wanting to go home at the earliest opportunity. I don't blame him.

  My afternoon was mostly relaxed until my broadband connection died, and then as partly explained above, I was rushing around like a blue-arsed fly ! In theory I could have been relaxing right up the time I went to bed nice and early - maybe 9pm, or even possibly earlier.

  What actually happened is that I spent longer watching TV than usual, and didn't get to bed until after midnight ! It was fortunate that I found a few watchable things on TV to watch. It was mostly either QI or several episodes of Red Dwarf. Even when I did finally go to bed I had to read until my eyelids were dropping before I felt relaxed enough to sleep. I think it was as late as 1am before I went to sleep, but once asleep it seemed I slept well.

  In fact I didn't sleep well, because when I woke up at 3am, and then at 5am, I realised I had only got 4 hours sleeps. The silly thing was that I sort of felt wide awake, and partly got up. It was around 7am when I went back to bed, and slept for over 2 hours. I had only been out of bed for about 10 minutes when I first started writing this. Since then I have been running up and down stairs rebooting the Virgin Media router/modem, and I have done lots of other computer related stuff in between writing paragraphs here.

  I think now I can try and work out how I feel this morning. On the whole I think I probably feel generally OK physically. I feel too mentally scared to get on the scales, or to check my blood glucose level. On the whole this is all a bad idea considering it is now less than a fortnight before I am hoping to show the Hospital Diabetes Nurse some good readings (it may be just over three weeks time if I have mixed the date up with an appointment forced upon me to see the Hospital Dietician to discuss how I should be eating. Once again I am hoping to show that I have pre-empted any advice, and my own method actually works - as it has until the last few days.

  I feel I should go out for a long walk today - particularly with the sun out (as it is again at this moment). It would be a lot easier if I had some destination to walk to. I had originally hoped the pub would be a possible destination of I took the scenic route there. I was hoping to see Kevin, but he is probably not available until next Tuesday - if indeed then. I think I might stay in, and do some housework. I probably need to hoover upstairs, and I have a few t-shirts that need washing. If the sun could stay out a bit longer, even if my garden is in permanent shade at this time of year, I could do a bit of gardening. There is the back right hand corner of the garden that still needs sorting out, and I need to finally define the layout of the garden (and use all the bricks and rubble to define things like flower or vegetable beds). Maybe I'll just do some quiet reading !
Friday 20th December 2019
09:35 GMT
  There was less rain than the forecast seemed to predict yesterday.  There were one or two light showers in the afternoon, but instead of heavy rain when I walked to the station at 4pm, there was almost no rain at all. The same was true when coming home again at 6.45pm. However, it did rain well before midnight, and I don't think it has stopped yet this morning. There was actually a bit of sunshine to accompany the 13° C from late morning, but it didn't last for more than a few minutes, and there was a light shower afterwards !
a 100%
                    chance of rain this morning !
  It is rare to see a 100% chance of rain on a forecast, but that was the prediction for 7 and 8pm, and it turned out to be correct ! The rain has certainly slackened off now, and maybe it has actually stopped for the moment. However, the latest revision says there will be a 100% chance of heavy rain again at 10am, but I can see some brighter bits of sky that the more optimistic might think that there is a possibility of 11pm actually having a sunny period. With luck the rain will finally fizzle out early to mid afternoon. From then on it may still be overcast, but possibly dry. It is going to be another slightly mild day, although today's 10° C is poor compared to yesterday's 13° C. Tomorrow may almost be the reverse of today. When it is dry today it might rain tomorrow, and when it rains today it might be dry tomorrow. The temperature will probably be very similar.

  Yesterday felt like it was a good day. The morning got off to a good start, or maybe that should be late morning. The most significant thing is that instead of rain there were 10 - 15 minutes of sunshine. Being as it was also about 13° C it seemed an opportune time to go to Tesco without a coat. It felt really good, like being free, to do a brisk walk with the sun almost in my eyes, and fresh air around my body as I went to Tesco. It was duller when I came back home, and that made it feel a little bit cooler, but not enough to give any discomfort, although I did think I felt a little moisture on my face as if it were trying to rain. It did rain about half an hour after I got home.
light cloud with blue
  The view from the back bedroom window was the easiest to take, but it doesn't show how blue the sky was to the south (the opposite direction to this view). The entire sky wasn't blue, but there were far bigger areas of it, and that is why the sun was shining as I walked to Tesco.

  There were several things I wanted in particular when I went in Tesco. Generally it was vegetables, although I did buy a little bit of meat - mainly sausages. More specifically it was sprouts, and even more specifically it was sprouts with bacon and chestnut. It seems years since they had any in the freezers, but this year they did !
double sprouts, bacon
                      and chestnuts
  I had to make a bit of room in my freezer to fit these two bags in, but I probably don't need any icecubes, freezer blocks (those bottle like things you can put in cool bags) at this time of year. In five days time I can take these bags out of the freezer and they could, and maybe even will be my Xmas Breakfast, Xmas dinner, and Xmas supper. By boxing day I should have enough flatulence to run a gas cooker !!!

   I was a bit annoyed that Tesco appearered to have run out of my favourite whisky - their own brand "Special Reserve" - but only of 1 litre bottles. So I bought a 1.5 litre bottle. I was tempted to also buy a bottle of Haig whisky until I realised that this time they got the special offer round the right way. It was the 70cl bottle that was discounted - and not by that much. More economical was to buy a bottle of Bushmills whiskey which was also on special offer. I think I now have a choice of at least 5 whiskies to get drunk on if I need to.

  A bit more good news came through sometime after I got home from Tesco. I think I mentioned that I had found out the reason Angela was not at the pub on Wednesday was that she had a works Xmas dinner to attend. I was hoping that maybe I might see her today, but rather than waste my breath I sent her a message asking when was the best day to meet to give her a Xmas present. She replied really quickly to say next Monday, and ended her short reply with 5  or 6 kisses. The amount of exes (x) was almost longer than the rest of the message ! I expect she will be going shopping this lunchtime, but she does sound keen to see me on Monday. I shall look forward to it all weekend.

  One of the packs of sausages I bought from Tesco was "Mediterranean flavour" chicken sausages. I was not impressed on two counts, although one count was in reality a good thing. The worst thing was that I could hardly taste any of the promised flavours. The second thing could really be an asset at any other time, and it was that those sausages had a very low fat content. I was relying on them having enough fat to line my stomach before going out for my Thursday drink. I may consider them again as an aid to weight loss, and while they didn't seem to taste of the promised herbs and spices and stuff, they did taste very much like sausages.
the sky at about 4pm
  The weather forecast heavy rain for when I wanted to get the train to Shortlands, but as the picture above shows there was actually some blue sky to be seen. It is dark because it was almost 10 minutes after sunset when I was walking towards the station. It was certainly nothing like I expected.

  It was a good night at the pub. As well as the core drinkers, me, Chris and Steven, Paul, who has had a lot of sickness recently, made it last night. Plus we were joined by Alan, who had come down from Suffolk, and Andy (and Pear, his Thai girlfriend) who had come up from Brighton. Finally there was Jodie, mostly a regular, and Mark who drops by mainly to pick up Jodie maybe every second Thursday. All in all, a really good attendance.
The Thursday night
                      drinking crew
  This picture was taken by Pear on her phone. She sent it to Andy, and he sent it to me. For presentation here I have tweaked it up a bit. The original, taken in dim lighting, was both dim and rather red looking. Some faces now look a little red or yellow, but I think I have made the best compromise possible to get to something near to natural colours - on average ! Around the table, clockwise from the left: Me, Alan, Chris, Paul, Mark, Sarah, Steven, Andy and Jodie.

  It seemed that everyone last night had come prepared with a pre-written set of Xmas cards for everyone. My Mantlepiece doesn't have enough room for them all now, and they have overflowed onto the bookshelves ! I think at the end of the evening I only had three pints of Bexley Brewery's "Crook Log" beer - a 5.2% winter ale. One of them was bought for me by one fleeting visitor. It was Carrie who had dropped by to pick up the photos I had printed and framed of her on stage at the Petts Wood Xmas Carnival. Being an actor and singer, she has no difficulty with liking photos of her, and it seemed she really loved my pictures. She went away very happy - unless it was good acting, but I got a pint of boor out of it anyway !

  I did leave a little later than usual last night, and that was partly because the train I might have got was cancelled. It was when I got back to Catford when those chicken sausages really failed me. I already had a possible plan of popping into Sainsbury's, which is handily right outside the station, to buy some salad, but the beer had affected me enough to lower my resolve to where I felt sorry for the sandwiches left on the shelves with reduce price stickers on them. I guess I still had some will power left because I didn't buy them all, but it was very hard to ignore sandwiches reduced down to just 80p instead of over £2 in some cases.

  The rest of my evening was pleasant, apart from the guilt of eating sandwiches as well as salad and yet more sausages. Unfortunately the pleasant turned to unpleasant soon after as my hangover kicked in hours before I might have gone to bed. I wasn't sure if I was tired enough, but I was in bed by 9pm, and I think I might have been asleep not that long after. I guess I had a pretty average sleep. I had a strange anachronistic dream that I suspect was set in the early 1970s, but featured me using a sort of tablet computer.

  I was awake early this morning - the obvious result of going to sleep early. I tried to fight waking up for as long as possible, but eventually I found I just could not get back to sleep again. This morning, as a direct result of the strong beer, and the sandwiches, my blood glucose was high, and my weight had crept up a bit more. Fortunately the latter has just about been taken care of by three later very productive visits to the toilet. Even my blood pressure has gone up, but only by a couple of points, and still well below target/normal (whatever that is).

  Today I am mainly waiting on a message from Kevin. I messaged him yesterday asking if he fancied an afternoon drink today. He eventually replied to say yes, but only in theory. It seems his mother-in-law dies last week, and his domestic arrangements are in turmoil. So if he thinks he can get out, without rocking the boat too much, I shall be boozing this afternoon, although I suspect that this time it will be closer to the "swift half" that I suggested so Kevin can get back to his household before he is too missed (and probably not in a fit state to do much).
old door - new use ?
  In the last year or three that I have been drinking at The Shortlands Tavern, I have never noticed there being a door on the way through to the toilets. Last night there obviously was one because it was closed (maybe to keep the draft out). It is possible that it is newly fitted. I know that upstairs is being refurbished to make it a bigger performance space. It is possible that the door, as pictured above, was used upstairs somewhere. It is obviously a relic from when the pub had split bars. Probably a public bar (spit and sawdust), and in this case maybe a combined Saloon and Lounge bar (carpets and easy chairs).
Thursday 19th December 2019
09:37 GMT
  While doing some semi-fast walking it felt warm yesterday, but the reality was that it was only 9° C at best, and I soon cooled down once I stopped walking. There was a bit of sunshine, but it was mostly confined to the morning. Late in the evening it started to rain, and that rain was frequently heavy.
                    of rain today
  I don't know what time the rain stopped this morning, but it still looks very damp outside. The latest revision to the forecast has hardly changed since the early morning version in the screenshot above. At the moment the supposedly light cloud should be giving way to heavy cloud. I can't say the cloud has looked particularly light at any time this morning. Sometime after midday we can expect rain. Initially it might be light rain, but when I want to go out at approx 4pm it could be very heavy rain. Once I am safely in the pub the rain will ease off (maybe), but it won't stop until I am back at home (maybe). The day has apparently started off at 12° C, and for a few hours it will peak at 13° C - which would be very nice in sunshine, but nothing to get excited about in the pouring rain. From 9pm we may get a break from the rain for 3 hours, but it will be back after midnight, and the rain will continue halfway through tomorrow.
another 3+ mile walk
   I must admit I got a bit excited about going out yesterday on the basis that surely I would see Angela. It is lucky I had no idea that I wouldn't see her or I may have not gone out at all. I wasn't feeling that good, and I had to really push myself to get out the front door, and push even harder to follow the route I had set for myself.

  It was actually the first part of my walk that was pre-planned (maybe in a vague sort of way), and as usual the end was made up on the spur of the moment. I am currently on a mission to make each walk at least 3 miles long, and when you consider that it usually involves a stop off at the pub about halfway through, it takes some creative thought to add extra distance to what could be as little as half that 3 miles there and back.

  My solution this time was to walk past Catford station, and up Ravensbourne Park Road. In this case "up" means literally up a hill. My general thought is to avoid hills because they are hard work. It was hard going getting to the top of the hill, but it turned out to be less hard going than I had feared. Maybe I am getting fitter after all this exercise. One thing is for certain, I wasn't panting at the top, but my legs were starting to feel fatigued - a feeling quickly forgotten as I started going downhill again.

   Walking through the park could have been really quite pleasant with some sunshine, but while the day often seemed almost bright, I can't recall much in the way of direct sunshine. On the other hand I do have photographic evidence of how bright the southern sky was....and maybe I do have photographic evidence that there was some sunshine.
it looks like it was
  This is the view looking down into the park after entering from the Ravensbourne Park Road entrance. The picture certainly makes it look like it was sunny, and that the sky was blue, but for whatever reason, I don't remember it being that good.

  Although I felt a bit refreshed when it came to walking downhill after walking up the hill, and even if walking up the hill didn't seem nearly as bad as I had imagined, I was still feeling some weakness, and trying to keep my walking speed up was a matter of mind over matter (or something). I did manage to keep my average speed to a little over 3mph for most of the walk to the pub, but it felt like hard work - particularly in two places. The first place was going over the curly-wurly footbridge across the railway. I put every once of energy I could muster at the time to do it as fast as possible.

  It wasn't as fast as I would have liked, but I was quite pleased with my effort. It was only a couple of weeks ago that I had to pause at the top for a second or two to get my breath back. The only pause yesterday was to let the woman in the white coat go first on the other side. I think the video would have been better if I had held the camera higher, but hopefully it still shows why I seem to call it the curly-wurly bridge.

  After going over the bridge as fast as I could manage I seriously considered taking a short cut to the pub, but I persevered and went right to the very end of the park, up the little hill to the Ladywell Road exit, and then down the other side again. A quick glimpse at the time showed that it was still 10 minutes before 1pm, and I decided to walk the longer way to the pub through the hospital grounds.

  I arrived at the pub feeling a bit sweaty, and fatigued after my forced walk. The barmaid knew I did some sort of long walk there, and asked how far it was this time. Initially I said 2 miles, but changed it to 1.92 miles to be accurate. It started up a fair conversation involving a few other in the pub - I think there was only about 5 of us in the pub. That chat distracted me from wondering when, and if Angela might arrive. It wasn't a complete distraction though. On second thoughts it might have been no distraction because I often turned to look out the windows to the road in the hope of spotting her.

  It felt friendly and relaxed in there, and so I stayed for a second pint before I left again. I knew that going straight home would only add about half a mile to my walk, and leave it short of three miles. One thing that would extend it was to walk down to Poundland. I hadn't come prepared for this by taking a bag with me, and had to waste a whole £1 on a sturdy bag in there. I thought that bag might be better than one of the cheap, this, disposable bags considering I had just bought 6 photo frames with glass in them.

  After buying the photo frames, and several other things - including some very naughty, but apparently low sugar pork scratchings - I continued my walk, but not in the direction of home. I walked right down to the town hall, and then approached home from the south. I was quite pleased that it all added up to 3.15 miles. I guess it is cheating to have a 40 - 50 minute rest in the pub, but I was standing up at the bar in there for most of that time. When I got home I felt I could easily have walked another mile or two (on the flat). My fatigue would appear as I allowed myself to relax.
a huge unidentified
  Near the town hall I passed quite a few food shops that have a very African bias (or so it seems to my unschooled eye). They have lots of weird and wonderful stuff in them, but I can't recall seeing anything this weird. That fruit (I assume it is some sort of fruit) in the foreground is well over a foot in diameter, and possibly 18 inches long. I think I may have seen a smaller version, of it, or something very similar to it, but I am sure I have never seen any so gigantic before !

  Not seeing Angela, some fatigue, and it becoming very overcast in the afternoon, left me feeling a bit depressed - not a good state to be in when feeling hungry. I have no mentioned it yet, but the previous night I ordered a takeaway. Once again it was grilled meat with salad - shish kebab with the pitta bread thrown away. I also ordered some grilled wings. In my enthusiasm I didn't read the small print properly, and it seems the only option was for them to come with chips. I intended to throw the chips away. Chip rarely taste good when reheated, but yesterday I was in one of those couldn't care less moods, and I ate the wings and chips after zapping them for 2 minutes in the microwave.

  The chips were actually nicer than expected. I guess absence makes the heart grow fonder, but realistically they were still pretty naff. Later than usual I would have a very strange dinner after my very late lunch. That strange dinner was initally prepared for the previous evening, and at that point it was a fairly safe mixture of vegetable in beef stock. Yesterday I added some of the onion and tomato that were left of some spare salad from my takeaway, and I added a small can of ham. I had bought the ham from Poundland for £1, and it was definitely worth no more. I am very certain it was "mechanically removed meat", and it had a consistency closer to cat food. However, once cooked in with teh vegetable and stock, it tasted like ham even if the texture was not ideal.

  In terms of exercise, yesterday was a success. In terms of my diet it was a failure...or was it ? This morning my blood glucose level is still a bit higher than I would like, but it is slowly returning to the lower readings I am able to achieve a lot of the time. My weight is another matter, and best left at "it's still a lot lower than it was a few months ago". It's just a shame that it is not a lot lower, but at least I can still wear my red jeans - I think.

  There is a simple plan of action today. If I pull my finger out I can go and do some shopping before the rain starts (or before it gets too heavy). Once the rain has reached monsoon levels it will be time to walk to the station to get a train to Shortlands for what is probably the final Thursday drink before the new year. (Next Thursday is Boxing Day, and I doubt there will be any trains running...but I guess the buses will).
Wednesday 18th December 2019
09:03 GMT
  Yesterday's persistent rain made for a very glum day. I'm not sure if it was raining all the time. I suspect it wasn't, but it still looked very dull, and very damp outside. With a maximum temperature of just 8° C, and that only for an hour or two in the afternoon, it seemed wisest to stay indoors all day with the heating often up high.
                    skies - early frost and sunshine
  The forecast for today has got off to a fine start. It neglected to mention the frost, and we seem to be having sunshine, rather than a sunny spell so far this morning. Yesterday's version of this forecast showed a lot more sunshine, or if not sunshine, then sunny spells. When I look out the window it seems like yesterday's version of the forecast may have been more accurate. The other thing that hasn't happened is any mist or fog. There is none to see, there is none shown on the hour by hour forecast, and yet there is a weather warning issued for it. It would be nice if sunny spells, or better yet, sunshine continued into the afternoon, but maybe we will just have to be content that the temperature may rise to 9° C. Tonight it will actually get warmer, and it could be a very mild, but rather wet night. At the moment tomorrow is predicted to have persistent rain, possibly just light rain, but for a moment or two the temperature may reach 13° C.
view from the
                              back bedroom window
  This is not a great picture. It was taken through a hastily de-misted window that needs a clean on the outside, and is the view from the back bedroom window. It is a bit indistinct, but there are patches of thin cloud across the blue background (which doesn't look very blue in the photo, but does in real life). The sun is lighting up the houses on the left, and it is thin and melting, but that is frost on the shed roofs ! If it wasn't for the dirty window pain the picture would be clear and sharp, and it would be obvious that there is no trace of mist or fog. The tops of the most distant trees are still visible.

  I did not feel good yesterday. It is hard to explain why. I hardly knew myself. Some of the more obvious things seemed to be just red herrings. The runny nose and sneezing seemed not last that long. It was probably an allergy to something in the air - maybe some dust I had stirred up from somewhere, somehow. Perhaps closer to the reason was that I felt weary and I had an assortment of mostly mild aches and stiffness. Almost all these things, plus a sort of mild depression could have been cured by a walk in warm sunshine. Sadly that was not a choice yesterday, and may not be one for some months yet.

  The curious thing is that while I hardly did anything of note, I did not feel bored. The one thing I did do was to wash some t-shirts and underwear. That warmed me up, and made me feel better in many subtle ways. The one thing I didn't do was to have a good snooze or three. I did try a few times, but it seems I just wasn't tired enough to overcome the uncomfortable feelings as I lay on my bed in various poses. There were a couple of times when my eyes were really dropping as I was reading, but I found I just could not relax once I put the magazine I was reading, down.

  I've just remembered one other thing I did do yesterday. It was to clear the fridge out. It was full of unused vegetables because I had started eating salads again - even on days when salads were sort of inappropriate - cold and wet days ! Things like beansprouts were beyond redemption, but I did find some usable sprouts. Some needed a good peeling, and many of them I thought it wise to cut in halves to make sure the inside was not rotten. I actually had some sprouts in Bovril for lunch.

  I did have sufficient ingredients to cook a nice-ish dinner last night. In fact my freezer is full of stuff even if the fridge/larder part of the fridge is looking bare. The fact that I could cook a dinner did not mean I would. I was not in a good mood, and decided to order a takeaway. Once again it was grilled meat and salad - aka shish kebab. They have proved good in the past for weight loss and blood glucose control. I am not so sure I was so lucky this time.

   I was in bed, with the lights off at 11pm (I remembered to make a mental note of it this time). It took a while to get to sleep, but I am sure it was well before midnight. I had one of those curious nights where it felt I was not sleeping well, but very large chunks of time went by without me noticing them. Maybe it was because some dreams were so plausible that they felt like I was awake. The strange thing is that I know I had many dreams like that, but I can't seem to remember a single thing about them.

  This morning I seemed to ache less, but other things were not so good. My weight seems to have crept up again, although I have yet to "open my bowels", and that could explain a few hundred grams at least. More realistically my small increase in weight is commensurate with my blood glucose being high this morning, and I am not entirely sure why. I know I ate a couple of things that would have made it worse if eaten in larger quantities, but I only ate small amounts. One possibility was some sort of contamination on my fingers that was skewing the results. I will admit that I didn't give my hands a good wash before pricking my finger to get that tiny bead of blood for the test strip. Maybe this theory does carry some weight because a second reading, taken from a finger on the other hand was 2 points lower (but still too high).

  Today I have to try and fast until at least this evening. That is one plan for the day. I did have a fanciful one for today that I imagined, probably under the influence of drink. It was to get a train to the seaside, to enjoy some sea air, and thin sunshine. Maybe if this morning's forecast for today had shown at least sunny periods until sunset, I might have possibly even have gone to the seaside. More realistically it is going to be another walk around the park - possibly with yet another variant around the core route if I can think of one.

  One part of the route will take in the curly wurly, helter skelter footbridge over the railway (with it's cycle/wheelchair circular ramps). I will have another go of filming going over it using my steadycam unit. On Monday I somehow had the camera on pause as I used all my strength to go up and over the bridge at the best speed I could make. The other essential part of the route will take me past the pub which I will use to rehydrate myself, and hopefully see Angela. I have heard nothing from her since last Friday. I suspect she was having another day off work on Monday, and maybe I'll get that confirmed today. If not I will probably have a miserable afternoon.
Tuesday 17th December 2019
08:42 GMT
  After some early morning rain, the forecast said yesterday would stay dry until about 5pm. I think it stayed dry a bit longer than that, but ultimately it did rain, and it is still raining now ! The day seemed a bit brighter than I was expecting, and for some totally insane reason I think I might have spotted the sun at one point, although if I did, it may have only lasted 27 seconds. One thing that was very noticeable was that for a time the air was completely still and the 9° C, plus some brisk walking made it feel almost like it was warm.
                    couldn't get much worse today
   If this forecast turns out to be correct it is going to be a very unpleasant day. At the moment it is very wet outside, but it may not be raining at this precise moment. It is also exceedingly dull outside, and I need to use lights indoors to see where I am going. It is as if the sun didn't finish rising this morning, and is stuck just under the horizon. Of course there are no pretty reds, pinks and purples - the clouds are far too thick for that. The headline says "Heavy rain and light winds", but at no time during the day is there any indication of when this heavy rain will fall. Every hour, up to 6pm is shown as light rain. I guess that may be something to be thankful for. A dry evening is theoretically nice, but I doubt I'll be wanting to take advantage of it. The highest temperature is predicted to be 8° C, but as yet we are still a degree short of the 7° C predicted for right now. It's all change tomorrow. It should be warmer, 10° C, and there could be some sunshine for a few hours, followed by sunny periods for the rest of the few daylight hours we get at this time of year.
another extended

    I had high hopes of seeing Angela yesterday lunchtime, but it was not to be. Of course I didn't know that until I had already walked 1.7 miles. I had also walked it faster than usual because I didn't stop to take any photos until I got to the bridge over the railway that joins the south, middle and north parts of the park.

  When I got there I had intended to shout some video using my mobile phone clamped into my steadycam unit. As I crossed the bridge as fast as I could I kept wondering why the screen kept going black. I have no idea how I managed to do it, but I must have pressed the record button twice, and put it back into pause. Having made what I consider very good time going up and over the bridge, I was quite disappointed to find I had recorded nothing !

   A bit further along I did successfully do a second take of going up, and down the hill that leads up to the Ladywell Road exit at the northern tip of the park. The first take was done some weeks back before I had my steadycam unit. I did my best on that occasion, but it still looked like it had been shot by a drunken sailor on a rolling ship. Take two, using the steadycam, may not be quite as good as a £10,000 steadycam, as used by movie companies, but the picture was close to perfectly steady.

   I arrived at the pub a little earlier than usual, and sat down with a pint of Guinness to wait for Angela. I finished the first pint, and went to the bar for another. It was about 5 past 1pm, and so I also ordered a double vodka and diet coke  for Angela. Sadly she never turned up, and I had to drink the vodka too. To make matters worse there was some awful music on the jukebox...well maybe it wasn't all awful, although some was too nauseous excess, but even that might have been slightly forgiven if it wasn't so loud. It would have been difficult to have a nice conversation with Angela if she had turned up.

  As yet I have not heard from Angela. It is possible, although maybe unlikely, that the text message I sent her on Sunday annoyed her in some way. I am aware that she went to a gig on Saturday night, and probably stayed at Lover Boys place afterwards. So my message could have come through at a bad moment. It is also a possibility that Angela did not go to work yesterday so she could care for Lover Boy who has some new medical issues recently.

  It seemed very dull when I left the pub, and it was hard to motivate myself to not just go straight home by the shortest route. Before I could do that I quickly decided I would walk in the opposite direction to home, and go and have a look in Cash Converters window. They did have one temptation in there. It was a Nikon D90 camera. It is what is classified as a prosumer camera - somewhere between professional and casual snapper. One thing I was tempted by was that it has an internal autofocus motor that is for lenses without motors in them, and I have such a lens. It is a very nice lens too, but without autofocus it is a pain to use. Maybe the price didn't put me off too much - £249 - but it's low light sensitivity did. Maybe I haven't been to any gigs, in dimly lit pubs, for ages, but once winter is out of the way, I intend to resume my gig photography.
pond or puddle
  My route back home took me through Lewisham Park. There was no special reason for this, but I just thought it might add a few extra yards to me walk. This picture I took in the park shows what I still think of as a big puddle, but Google always shows as a pond on their maps.
                              religious books and video
  Back out on the main road I came across these discarded books and at least one video. They are all religious stuff pertaining to Jehovah's Witnesses. I'm probably wrong, but I like to think that some religious nutter has discovered what more enlightened people have known for ages - that God does not exist, and that it is perfectly possible for humans to have a conscience, and do good without being told to by some invisible sky fairy (politicians excepted !)
free xmas
                              dinners for the poor or lonely
  Who knows what religion the people who run this shop follow. It could be Voodoo for all I know, but once again they will be offering a free meal on Xmas day for the poor or the lonely.

  In the end my walk covered 3.28 miles, and I was sort of pleased I had pushed myself to do it. It would have been much nicer if it had been a warm sunny day, and nicer still if it had not been pounding the local streets. It makes me yearn to get back to the seaside walks I love so much. Looking back, many of the seaside walks I used to do were often less than 4 miles, and I think after all this practice I could do that so easily now - plus I would have the advantage of not wearing a coat, and probably wearing much lighter shoes. Sooner or later I am going to have to grit my teeth and do the Eynsford to Shoreham (Kent) walk that I used to do fairly frequently. It is an average of about 4 miles depending on the exact route taken.

  Not seeing Angela, the gloomy sky, and maybe 2 pints of Guinness plus a double vodka, all took their toll on me. I was pleased I had managed to extend my walk, but otherwise I felt sort of miserable. It also came on top of some poor blood glucose readings. The last nail in the coffin was that I was feeling very hungry. I wanted something to eat that would not raise my blood glucose level, and that was the main consideration. A mixed grill of just steak and bacon, served only with some mustard, would not raise my blood glucose level, but it would do no good for my weight, but that is what I had as a sort of very late lunch.

  I had dinner later than usual, and it too was designed not to raise my blood glucose too much. It was a few vegetable, mostly sprouts, cooked in Bovril. It was one of those meals that is not exciting in any way, but it was hot and filling, and very low calorie. This morning my blood glucose was back to acceptable levels, and my weight....well it wasn't too bad, but it wasn't good either. In theory I need at least several more days of nothing but boiled sprouts !!

  I turned the light out at 11pm last night, but it took a long while to get to sleep because of my latest malady.  The pain I mentioned yesterday that afflicts the top of my left arm, and in particular just one muscle (or so I believe) made for a very uncomfortable night. Trying not to get my left arm in a position that would not hurt that sore muscle (or whatever) often put pressure on other vulnerable bits of me. I crunched my rib cage quite a few times - fortunately with no significant lasting effects. I even managed to briefly revive the right shoulder, and right elbow pain, that I thought had gone away.

  This morning it feels like I had a terrible night, and that another 3 hours sleep would be very nice. Despite all the provocation in the night, none of the night pains has survived into the morning - provided I do nothing stupid. I just had to stretch my left arm out to check that the muscle at the top is still sore. It is, but maybe less than I thought. It would be nice to think whatever the cause was, it is now healing.

  In the last hour or so another potential malady seems to have faded away. For a while my nose was running, and I was frequently sneezing after I got up. I even had a brief tickly cough. I thought I was coming down with a cold, or even worse that I had come down with a cold. As I sit here in the warm all the symptoms have faded away except for a vague feeling of feeling not right.

  At this moment in time I don't think I will be going on any long walks. The weather is against it if nothing else. I may well go out to buy extra sprouts, and maybe some other vegetables, but I feel like resting a lot today. Another thing i will probably do is a bit a hand washing some t-shirts and underwear, but I am in no hurry to do so. Some long snoozes seem to be the most likely, or maybe just the most desirable thing. Tomorrow is predicted to be a nicer day, and maybe I'll feel like trying to push my route to 4 miles, and hopefully I'll see Angela. I need a reason to do these things, and Angela is the best reason I have right now.

  Once again, to finish off, another video. This is the steadycam version of walking up the hill at the north tip of ladywell fields almost as fast as I can, and walking down the other side. I will admit it is an almost pointless video !

Monday 16th December 2019
08:42 GMT
  Most of yesterday was bright and sunny. It was also fairly cold. The afternoon temperature was 9° C, but it felt closer to 6 or 7° C. During the evening, I think it was sometime before the predicted time of 10pm, it started to rain, and some of the rain was quite heavy.
another rainy day ?
   The road still looks very wet despite the rain supposedly finishing after 7am this morning. The latest revision of the forecast shows it being dry until 5pm today, but the hour by hour temperature forecasts remains the same as in the screenshot above.Once again, that 9° C will feel a bit cooler, but today it is supposed to only feel 1° cooler. From 5pm, or thereabouts, it will rain for the rest of the evening, and into tomorrow. Not only into tomorrow, but maybe right through to 2pm tomorrow ! It is predicted that tomorrow will be rather cool with the temperature staying a constant 7° C from the early hours until sunset. It could be a cold night with the temperature dropping to just 4° C by midnight.
one of my longer

    Yesterday got off to a dull start, but soon the sunshine was calling to me, and before long it was time for a bit of exercise. I had an ambitious plan for a long walk, and for a possible diversion along the way. The basic plan was to walk through the Pool River Linear Park all the way to the Sainsbury's Saver Centre (as it used to be called, and apparently still is by those who have used it for years). Then walk around the outside the the place, and start towards home on the far side of the river.

  The possible, but unlikely diversion came when I arrived at the kids playground. It is usually deserted on a cold Sunday morning. I sent Angela a text message acknowledging that she was probably busy cooking lover boy Sunday dinner, but that if she had nothing better to do, she could walk down to the playground to have a go on the swings.  The fact that she did not even acknowledge the message suggests she was not on her own. I hope it didn't cause any trouble.

  Apart from being chilly, and rather muddy in places after the overnight rain, it was quite pleasant in the bright sunshine....well almost. On the way to Lower Sydenham I was facing the sun, and with it being so low in the sky, it was often too dazzling to look straight ahead. I found myself either looking almost at the ground, or off to one side. On the way back, with the sun now on my back, it felt rather nice.

that low sun
                              casting long shadows near midday
 I think this snap I took illustrates just how low the sun was. Long shadows like this are usually associated with approaching sunset, but this picture was taken at approximately 40 minutes after midday when the sun would have been the near to the highest in the sky.
                              stepping stones
  I have shown a similar photo to this one before. I think the last time I suggested the river was running a bit high, and the series of stones that almost form a series of stepping stones across the river were close to being submerged. With all the rain we have had recently, the river was very high, and most of those stones are submerged. it is my plan that I will revisit this spot on a hot summers day. Assuming that we have a dry summer, and it will actually be hot, I want to dare to walk out on those stones and take some pictures mid-stream. If it is hot, and the water is low, slipping in will only be embarrassing rather than very unpleasant !
fallen tree
  This tree fell down some time ago, maybe after some gales in spring. I ought to check earlier pictures that I think I took of it, but yesterday I got the impression that it has been trimmed, and carefully placed to look more like art. I have to admit I sort of like it. It probably looks better in read 3D life than it does in a 2D photo.

  A walk of 3.79 miles is the longest walk I have done for some time. The previous longest was 5 miles back on 15th July when I walked from Shoeburyness station to Southend Central station. By the time I got to the station to make my way home I was seriously knackered. Maybe if I had walked 5 miles yesterday I might have been similarly knackered, but I felt mostly OK after just 3.79 miles. I say mostly because rather unusually I was feeling some fatigue from my thigh muscles. It wasn't that bad though, but it did distract me from thinking that I should have taken a slightly longer route home to take the distance up to a nice round 4 miles. That extra (approx) quarter mile would only have meant a short detour adding little more than a mere 5 minutes to my walk.

  Once I got home it felt good to take the weight off my legs, but I didn't feel so fatigued that I could spent a fair bit of time doing stuff with the photos, and video I shot (more of which soon). I did two brief tests when I got home. The first was to weigh myself, and predictably I had lost several hundred grams - over half a kilogram. Much of that was dehydration, but still quite encouraging. What was less encouraging was that my blood glucose, which was too high in the morning, had not dropped as much as I hoped. It meant I had to be very careful about what I would eat for the rest of the day. In practice I ate stuff that I knew should not increase my blood glucose, but would not be much good for my weight.

  It was a fair bit later before I started doing anything useful. One little job I had been meaning to do was to replace some over-the-door coat hooks that I had on the door to the cupboard outside my bedroom. The weight of the t-shirts hanging from them has actually warped the door over the last 10 years. I have screwed up proper metal coat hooks above the door, on the door frame (plus one extra on the side of the cupboard - the side that is above the stairwell). It would be nice if the door springs back to shape now the weight is off it, but I feel that is a bit too optimistic, but fingers crossed.....

  After that little job I just ate and rested. Dinner was grilled chicken thighs, and nothing else. I should have, but couldn't be bothered to add any green accompaniment to that chicken, but at least it had the desired effect on my blood glucose, and although I wish it were a bit lower this morning, it is more acceptable now. There was very little on TV to amuse me around dinner time, but a bit later in the evening I ended up watching a couple of old episodes of "Allo Allo".  I was about to say "at ?pm I went to bed", but I suddenly realise I have no idea what time I went to bed, and even less idea of when I fell asleep.

  One thing I do know about my sleep is that I had some pretty strange dreams. One concerned laying in a single bed in a room with two single beds. I couldn't see who was in the other bed, but it was either a female friend or my sister. Outside the room it sounded like a riot was in full swing. There were sirens and some big explosions - maybe less riot, and more like war. The odd thing is that while I could hear these explosions, I could feel no shock waves, and yet somewhere a record player, playing a Led Zepplin song, jumped as the result of one explosion. Soon afterwards the dream just faded away without any special end.

  Another dream was really mixed up. I had gone to gig to see some local band in a venue that looked a lot like a telephone exchange with unusually low racks. The people at the back had to look over the racks to see the stage (it was a proper elevated stage). I managed to sit on the floor right at the front. Suddenly it was announced that before the band I had gone to see started, there would be a warm up by the Dutch band Kayak who, apparently, had just been grabbed off the street as they were passing. I was very glad I had taken two cameras, except that both cameras were crap. When the singer did a dramatic pose I was pushing the shutter button so furiously that the button flew off. I think the last bit of the dream was me trying to refit that shutter button.

  This morning my weight is higher than it should, or could be, but as I have already mentioned, my blood glucose is back to being in a more sensible area. Now I just have to keep it that way. my basic plan is to try and eat little but green vegetables today. It is something I should be doing more because it accelerates weight loss, as well as keeping my blood glucose low. There is one flaw in this plan - drinking on an empty stomach.

  My core plan for today is to do more exercise. Specifically, more walking, but this walking will centre on going to the pub, and hopefully, having a drink with Angela. With the latest forecast suggesting it could well be dry while I am out (unlike the rather gloomy forecast made for today 48 hours ago) I might try to make it a long-ish walk, but I'll probably make that decision on the hoof. Before all that I think I'll be trimming my beard, washing my hair, and having a shower.

  There is good news and bad news. I think it was while laying in bed that I came to the realisation that I haven't had any annoying chest/rib pains for quite some time now. It is easy to say when a pain started, but absence of pain is not quite so memorable. I still get the occasional crunch from my ribs, but it seems to leave no lasting pain, although it can be a bit uncomfortable at the time. The thing that made me think of this is a new pain that started sometime after getting home from my walk yesterday. It is a bit like the right shoulder, and right elbow pain I was suffering from for some time (another couple of pains that went away without saying goodbye). This time it is like a pulled muscle at the top of my left arm. Certain movements or positions can be quite painful, although in other positions there is no pain at all. I have no idea what caused this pain, but experience suggests it will hang around, making a nuisance of itself, for a few days, or even a few days, and than someday I will wake up and realise it has gone.

  To finish off, another short video. Once again this was a bit more practice using my steadycam unit. I still haven't managed to teach myself how to use the steering mini-joystick. Left and right seem to be transposed, and I almost mastered that by the end of yesterday, but up and down seem to be the right way round, and because of the left/right thing, I persist in going up when I want to go down. This little video is of where the Pool River and river Ravensbourne meet, and become one. Note the "white water" where the river is running so deep and fast.

Sunday 15th December 2019
08:42 GMT
  I'm not sure what to make of yesterday's weather. It was generally dry when it was supposed to rain, and dull when it was supposed to be sunny. That's not to say it was never sunny, or indeed that it did not rain. During the evening, several hours after rain was predicted to fall, there was some really heavy rain. I don't seem to recall any rain in the morning, but I do seem to recall some brief sunny periods. What is not in dispute is that the maximum temperature was only 8° C, and that it felt much cooler than that when outside because of the cold breeze.
                    should see some sunshine
   Today's weather doesn't seem to be following any variant on the forecasts yet. There have been a couple of times when the sun has nearly appeared, but there is a lot of cloud in the sky, and it is currently quite dull. It actually looks like it might rain - and no rain is forecast until 10pm tonight (by a later revision to the screenshot above). If the forecast sunny periods do start than the latest revision is that they should continue through to 3pm - maybe until sunset, which isn't much later ! Today may see a one degree improvement in the temperature, although the 9° C air temperature in the forecast will apparently only feel like 7° C when outdoors. The current prediction for tomorrow is similar to earlier predictions. It will be wet, but maybe not as wet as was predicted a day or two ago. With luck it will be dry in the middle of the day, and all the rain confined to the morning and evening. Once again it will probably be 9° C, but there will presumably be less wind because tomorrow it may feel like 8° C - an improvement on today !

    I decided I couldn't be bothered to go for a long walk yesterday. For some unfathomable reason I decided I wanted to do some housework. In the end it turned out to be a bit like exercise because it did raise a very light sweat once or twice. Before anything else I went to Aldi to buy some shopping. At only 5 minutes there, and maybe 6 minutes carrying heavy shopping home, it is very mild exercise. One of the things I was hoping to get was the other version of the beer in the black bottle, with the wired cork, that is brewed in France in the Belgium style. Unfortunately they only had the type I had already tried, but I bought another bottle anyway.

  I also bought two packs of fish sushi because it felt like a good idea at the time, but maybe wasn't. The rice made my blood glucose peak quite high for a while. Other stuff I bought was much more benign - at least I hope it is. The way that rice made my blood glucose spike suggests to me that it won't be long until I have to start messing around with insulin.

  Having been to Aldi it was not long before I went out again. I had xmas cards to deliver to three neighbours, and some to post in the post box. I also went to the corner shop to buy a couple of bottles of (sugar free) pop and the latest New Scientist magazine. With that all done I could relax for a bit, but not for long. I felt an irrational urge to do some housework. I started on the living room, and then got a bit carried away.

  It is certainly not definite. Far from it, but I consider there is a chance that Angela will pop in, probably after work, some day, and maybe even before Xmas. To that end I thought it better to tidy the front room. For weeks and weeks now I had my laptop and two camcorders out where I had been transferring video from Hi8 video tapes to miniDV digital tapes for subsequent processing on a PC. I put all that stuff, and all the connecting wires, away before proceeding to the next step.

  The next step was to go around with a duster and dust the TV, mantlepiece, and anything else that looked dusty. Then I got the hoover out and gave the carpets a good hoovering, and the chairs a lighter hoovering. I then hoovered from the front door to the foot of the stairs. I would do the stairs after a small diversion. I thought that while I had the long extension hose on the hoover that I would hoover away all the spider webs inside the porch. Hopefully it will remain mostly clear outside the front door until next autumn.

  With the front room, hall and stairs done I could have done upstairs, but I thought I would try to do a bit more tidying up in the back room, and hoover the areas of carpet I could get at. I also hoovered bits of the walls and ceiling - mainly old bits of web and some fluff caught on the woodchip wallpaper. The final touch was to re-arrange some of the junk in the under stairs cupboard. There are a few things (possibly many) that I really should have thrown away. For instance, apart from it being a museum piece, why am I keeping a truly ancient Toshiba laptop. It can never run anything but DOS on it's feeble 8080 processor, and it's black and white LCD screen is very limited. I think it is destined for the wheelie bin - possibly today. However, just moving a few things around has left enough room in there to store the hoover and it's extra hoses and cleaning heads.

  There was one other bit of housework to do while I was in a strangely enthusiastic mood. It was to wash a bath towel, and a hand towel. The hand towel was definitely in need of a wash, but the bath towel I washed before it needed a wash. The thing about bath towels is that they seem to accumulate soap despite being very fastidious about rinsing myself after a shower. At least that is how it seems. The evidence is how hard it is to rinse the last soap out the towel before a final plunge in fabric conditioner. The fact that it took less effort to rinse that bath towel this times shows that I ought to wash my bath towels more frequently - before they really seem to need it.

  I could finally relax after all that housework. Well almost, I still had to cook my dinner. Dinner was to be smoked haddock salad. It was a bit of an odd combination, and one that ultimately didn't work. There were two problems. One was that I wanted to grill the fish so it would be dry when added to salad. The other was that the fish had been in the fridge a bit longer than it's use by date.

   I carefully opened the packet prepared to gag on the smell, and ready to rush out into the garden to give the fish to the cats or foxes. Fortunately there was none of the pungent ammonia smell I was expecting, although it was a very strong fishy smell - stronger than expected, but not "off". Apart from it not being nice grilled, and served with salad (unless drowned in mayonnaise - which I didn't want to use), cooking it also stunk the whole house out, and it remains fishy even now. I hope the smell completely dissipates before I get any visitors - if indeed I do get any visitors.

  I spent the evening relaxing. There was bugger all on TV, and I resorted to watching four old episodes of the 1966 Batman TV series. On the whole they were enjoyable for stuff seen many times before. Julie Newman as Catwoman is always good to see ! I eventually went to bed to finish the book "Last Man On The Moon" - Gene Cernan, the last man to walk on the moon as part of the Apollo 17 mission to the moon. Like Mike Collins book, it was a fascinating read, although unlike Collins memoirs, it was not written quite as well, and there was a lot more personal relations stuff, and less technical stuff. I have two more books to read about the moon landings, and I'll probably start one today.

  I have no idea what time I finished reading. I was so close to the end of the book that I continued to the end. Then I could put the book down, turn out the lights, and go to sleep. Of course it wasn't quite like that. I had yet another episode of thrashing around in bed, think I would never get to sleep. I think it lasted a lot less in real time than it did in subjective time. The next thing I knew was that I was waking up again at about 3am (or was it 2am ?). One curious observation is that there was definitely small stages in the waking up process. First my eyes opened, and then my ears opened. As my limbs worked out how to move, my nose finally opened up to the stink of smoked haddock !

  I feel a bit stiff after my sleep, and a few joints seem to ache. Worst of all is that my weight has not gone down a bit, and my blood glucose was high this morning. I think I can blame that on some mixed fruit and nuts I ate last night. The dried fruit is very sugary, and last time I had a fistful I seem to recall my blood glucose spiking. I am going to have to finish that bag in very small amounts at a time, or maybe just give the rest to the squirrels.

  If I can finally have a poo soon (I seem to be be possibly constipated again), I intend to go out for a long walk. Although I must admit I don't feel terribly keen about it. I thought I might walk through the linear park between the river and railway towards Sydenham. If I get to the swings, and there are no kids about, I might send a discrete text to Angela to ask of she want to pop down for a swing. If she was on her own I feel sure she would, but she will probably be cooking Sunday dinner for lover-boy. Maybe the second key to this walk, after having a poo, if I can have a poo, is the sun coming out. It is relatively bright at the moment, and blue patches are now appearing in the sky. Maybe the second requirement will soon be met. An alternative plan might be to see if Kevin is free for an afternoon pint. I have a Xmas present for him, and Xmas is now only 10 days away.

  To end, here is a bit of video I shot a few days ago featuring my steadycam unit, and a clip on wide angle lens (which seems to interfere with auto-focus. It was also shot in very light rain, and so there are a few spot on the lens to make it look worse. However the steadycam is doing it's job well - until I tried to use the tilt control, and kept going the opposite way to what I intended - I need more practice. Welcome to my garden !

Saturday 14th December 2019
09:39 GMT
  Although the forecast for yesterday was similar to that of the day before, yesterday was a much better day. Mostly because of the extra sunshine. There were some long sunny periods from late morning until almost sunset. The only problem is that it was a cold day. The forecast said 8° C at maximum, and that was probably right, but it also said it would feel more like 5° C - and it did !
                    duller than expected
   I think I liked yesterday's version of the forecast for today - it showed much more sunshine. The latest forecast for today predicts that it will soon be raining after an hours or so of sunny periods. The rain may continue until midday. It should be followed by sunny intervals, and then finally, just before the sun sets, the clouds will clear enough to give a whole sunny hour - maybe. Various revisions of the forecast all seem to agree there will be light rain from 7pm, and it will continue through the night. It will be another typical cold day today with the temperature only reaching 8° C again. Tomorrow shows some promise with sunny intervals until midday, and a maximum temperature of 9° C. That's only a small improvement, but at least it is an improvement. It should stay dry until 11pm, and then rain will start to fall in the lead up to a very wet Monday.
a shorter walk

  I seemed to get ready to go out very slowly yesterday, and I am not exactly sure why. It may have been because I didn't fancy going for a long walk. If it wasn't that I was hoping to meet Angela I may have not bothered to go at all. There was also a small problem of an attack of really horrible smelling flatulence. I did my best to resolve that before I ended up polluting the pub, although I am sorry to say that did happen just once, and fortunately had completely dissipated by the time Angela arrived. That flatulence would not completely resolve itself until much later in the afternoon.

  If it had not been for the cold wind it might have been a more pleasant walk in the sunshine, but while the wind was not particularly strong, it did feel exceptionally cold from time to time. To add a bit of novelty to my walk I walked down the middle of the north end playing fields. I was surprised at just how waterlogged the ground was there, but at least it provided a new perspective. For instance, apart from at a distance, I had never seen the other side of the skate park, or whatever they call it (the place where kids play with their skateboards or bikes). I can't say that it looks any better from the other side.

 I had made no definite plan to meet Angela in the pub. I had merely said that I would call there as part of my walk, and if she dropped in, instead of going shopping, as she used to do on a Friday, it would be lovely to see her. For a while I thought she was not coming, but it seems she had got bogged down by phone calls at work, and arrived at the pub almost 20 minutes later than usual.

  We had a very enjoyable meeting once she arrived. Once again I was let into certain secrets. These were of a different nature to things she told me on Wednesday. It feels like a great honour to be entrusted with these secrets, and also a great honour to be regarded as possibly her best friend, and someone she can tell them to. Not all our chat was secrets. Some of it was some warm reminisces about things we had done together during the too short time we could have been describes as "being in a relationship".

 The way Angela felt so nostalgic about some of these things, such as the time I called her to meet me in her local park. It was a sort of surprise and dare for her. She had told me that she wanted to have a go on the swings in the park where she would go during her lunchbreaks at work, but at that time, in the summer, the swings were in use by the kiddies they were really intended for. On the occasion she was nostalgic about, it was strangely deserted, and Angela had her go on the swings. Yesterday a sort of plan was made that one day, when it is a lot warmer, that I would call her again, and if she was free (and on her own) she would wander down the hill to the park, and have another swing.

  I think we made other non-commital plans for the future. I don't think I am imagining it, but Angela does seem to want to spend more time with me. I would not be surprised if we had a meeting after work some day in the not too distant future, and she seems quite keen on the idea of me treating her to breakfast in a cafe some morning. Of course the main point of that is for me to celebrate having seen the hospital diabetes nurse, and assuming I have managed to keep my average blood glucose level down enough to meet his hopes, to celebrate with double egg and chips ! I just don't want to celebrate alone, and Angela is a good, and seemingly willing, and possibly enthusiastic candidate.

  After Angela's late arrival we left the pub even later. I think it was almost 2.30pm when we left. After I had walked Angela back to work I decided to lengthen my walk by going home via Poundland. This time I remembered to pause the tracker so it didn't get confused when I went into the shop. I'll admit I did forget to take it out of pause until I had been walking for a few minutes after coming out of the shop. On this occasion it just assumed I had walked through many brick walls to cut across the corner, and it is possible that my walk was really 1.72 miles instead of the measured 1.71 miles.
blue skies and
                              fluffy clouds
  One of just a few pictures taken on my walk. Nice blue sky with fluffy clouds, and deep shadows in the bright sunshine. It's just a shame it was so bloody cold !
party time in
                              the park - probably in the rain
  If it had been vodka bottles I would have said it was Polish people having a party in the park during the rain the previous night, but the choice of beer may suggest it could have been people from Newcastle who are legendary to being impervious to cold and rain like Poles and Russians seem to be. Anyway, I hope they enjoyed themselves, although it is a shame they didn't clear up after the party. There was a rubbish bin just 6ft away, but admittedly it was full of more empty bottles !

  I didn't feel all that good after I got home. I seemed to have a hard time warming up. I could have, and maybe should have had something warm to eat, but I decided to eat the last two salads I had bought on my way home from the pub the previous night.  They changed how I felt, but I still felt odd. It was maybe 2 hours later that my vile flatulence resumed. Not too long after that I had to make an urgent dash to the toilet. Little more than 10 minutes after that I almost didn't make it in time for a repeat visit. I concluded that I was suffering from some sort of stomach bug.

  One peculiarity was that while I didn't think I had eaten anything that might increase my blood glucose level, it had spiked up very high. I have no idea what the mechanism could have been, but I feel sure it had something to do with the stomach upset. It didn't put me off my plans for dinner. It felt like it was time to treat myself to another takeway. Last Saturday I had two shish kebabs - basically just grilled meat and salad, and the next day I had lost some weight, and my blood glucose was very satisfactory.

  Once again I ordered two shish kebabs, and as usual I threw away the pitta bread, and just ate the grilled meat and salad.  An hour or two later I checked my blood glucose level again, and this time it was much lower (probably) thanks to that strange, and apparently rare condition known as "Reactive Hypoglycaemia". The only flaw in the plan was that I tried ordering from a different restaurant, and an occasional mouthful of food would taste a bit strange. I don't think it was rotten, but I do wonder if it was contaminated by something used to clean the grill. I don't think I will use them again.

  One typical reaction to my blood glucose being low was that during the evening I started to feel hungry again. On this occasion I resisted doing anything about it - except having a few large vodkas. I went to bed early to do more reading, and slowly the feeling of hunger died away. I have no idea what time I put the book down, and went to sleep. If I am not confusing it with the day before, it could have been well after midnight before I turned out the light, but I think it was earlier than that.

  I seemed to have a nice sleep, and I seem to feel that my dreams were nice ones, but I cannot recall much from them. One concerned having to change the nuclear reactor in my house. At least I think it was my house, but after having been reading about the Apollo lunar landings, it could have been in a spaceship. There was no drama about it, and the only thing that sticks in my memory, albeit in a slightly hazy form, is that the nuclear reactor was like a a big yellow disc that screwed into the wall. The threaded aperture for the thing was about a yard across. It was like screwing in the biggest bolt you could imagine multiplied by ten !

  This morning my weight is slightly up again, but I haven't had a poo yet. It seems unlikely I will do this morning after that massive purge yesterday ! My blood glucose is now down to a good low level for the start of the day, and my blood pressure continues to be boringly low. Once I have moved around a lot more, and loosened up a few stiff joints, I will probably feel moderately OK.

  With the sun currently shining as I write this, and with lots of blue sky visible, it seems the forecast is wrong again - at least at the moment. I feel I ought to take advantage of it, but somehow I don't feel as if I will. I probably ought to do some housework today. On the other hand, I do want to go to Aldi this morning, and maybe after that walk I will feel like a longer one, maybe....
Friday 13th December 2019
09:24 GMT
  Yesterday was cold, wet and horrible ! There were few times when the rain stopped, and even one time when the sun almost came out, but most of the time it was dark or dull, and it rained, and rained and rained ! The highest temperature was 9° C, but it usually felt much colder than that.
                    be dry after a wet start
   The latest revision to the forecast shows that it should reach 8°C by 11am this morning, but otherwise is very similar to the screenshot above. There was rain earlier this morning, and it is still looking wet outside, but I think the rain has stopped. I am now waiting for the clouds to change from dark grey to light grey - or "light cloud" as it says in the forecast. The cloud should stay light for almost the rest of the day, but rain is now forecast to start again at 11pm tonight. It is going to be another cold feeling day. I guess we should expect nothing else in mid December. The highest temperature is predicted to be 8° C, but when extra information is clicked on, the forecast does say it will feel more like 5° C ! Tomorrow will see a similar range of temperatures, but there could be sunny intervals up to late afternoon. From 7pm it might rain.
last night's

  Yesterday was one of those days where it is hard to remember doing anything because there was so little I did that was memorable. It seems I was not the only one who felt that way. One thing I did do was some more photo printing. That takes a long time because like most inkjet printers it takes an age to print out a full A4 sized, high resolution photo. At least my current printer is a lot faster than my first even colour printer, an Epsom 640. That took more like an era than an age to do a similar print. (An "era" is longer than an "age", isn't it ?)

  That photo printing, and maybe a few other insignificant jobs, seemed to make the day go fast enough, and it was soon time to grit my teeth, and venture out into the raw day to get the train to Shortlands for my late Thursday afternoon drink. It was a happy coincidence that the rain was very light as I walked to the station. After being mostly sedentary prior to go out, I couldn't help but think that my legs were in very good working order as I made my way to the station. I made what I consider to be very good time getting to the station, but I lacked the energy to race up the stairs. I guess I still took them at a steady pace, and didn't have to slow down at the top. In fact I think I launched straight in to a fairly fast walk to the end of the platform. I guess the exercise I have been doing is actually doing something useful.

  Among the choices of beer in the pub was "Sticky Hoppy Pudding". I was a bit wary in case it too laden with sugar, but it didn't taste sweet, and three pints of it didn't seem to do anything negative to my blood glucose level. It was while I was in the pub that I learned that both Chris and Steven had had a similar day to mine. The dark and wet weather reduced both of them to doing very little of note, and we all seemed to agree that somehow time seemed to pass unusually fast on what should have been a boring day.

  I had my usual three pints, and caught the 16:25 train back to Catford. At lunchtime I had lined my stomach with three sausages, and I had another 5 cooked and ready to eat (after a quick warm up) when I got home again. I don't think those three stomach lining sausages worked as well as they should have, and the lure of the 5 to eat when I was home, seemed to fail after 3 pints of 4.3% beer. I wasn't drunk as such, but I couldn't resist going into Sainsbury's on the way home to buy extra food - all salad, or salad like stuff.

  When I got home I ate the 5 sausages, a ham and egg salad, and a sort of salad type thing that included lots of weird grains and other gritty stuff. The latter thing included a mini pot of some sort of mango dressing. I assumed that dressing accounted for much of the high sugar content that I only noticed written on the pack once I got home. I threw away the dressing, and my blood glucose level seemed to thank me for it.

  As I was waiting for my train, on the way to the pub, I sent Angela a message to say how awful it was out, and to suggest that if there was a lift available to take it. I also wished her a pleasant evening. It was some time after I got home again when she replied to thank me. We exchanged a couple more messages before Angela concluded with "thank you my Bill xxx". "My Bill" - that gave me a warm glow inside.

  I went to bed early last night - mainly to read in bed. It was well before midnight, maybe even before 11pm, when I put the book down, turned out the light, and to my surprise, I seemed to fall asleep quite quickly. I had some good chunks of sleep last night, and there was only one period where I took a long to to get back to sleep after waking up for a pee. I guess it serves me right for daring to think about what a disaster the general election could, and apparently did turn out to be.

  This morning I seemed to be sleeping so well that I had a sort of lie in. I think it was about 7am when I woke up, and thought that I could get up, but I would just lie there for a minute. Almost 90 minutes later I opened my eyes again, and this time I did feel awake enough to start getting up. I guess I felt generally OK, and my measurable health indicators agreed. My blood glucose was not quite as good as it can be in the morning, but it seems I have just about recovered from the sandwich excesses of Wednesday. My blood pressure was boringly low. The only slightly weird thing was that my first blood pressure reading was marginally smaller tham the second reading - usually it is the other way around.

  Only one thing is on my mind today, and that is going out for a walk that will put me in the pub at 1pm I am pretty sure that Angela will be there, but I have told her that if she needs to go shopping, instead of going to the pub, I'll be fine drinking my Guinness on my own. Today may not be a long walk. I am expecting two small packets today. One is coming via Royal Mail, and probably delivered by my usual postman. He sometimes does not get here until almost 1pm, and so I'll be keeping my fingers crossed that he is a lot earlier today. The second parcel is coming by Amazon's own delivery service, and past experience suggests it will arrive between 3 and 7pm. So I had better rush home after the pub !

  I guess it would not matter too much if I missed the deliveries. They are nothing terribly exciting - just some eyelets, and a punch tool I want to use to reinforce the holes in a trouser belt. I don't want to buy any new belts while my waist is shrinking - even if it is annoyingly slow doing so !
Thursday 12th December 2019
09:33 GMT
  The day may have started bright and sunny, but ultimately yesterday was not such a good day. Between 11am and 1pm the sunshine started to end, and as the forecast correctly predicted, we still had sunny periods. What the forecast didn't predict was that at a little after midday it would both be sunny, and it would rain on me ! It was only a light sprinkle of rain, maybe only lasting 3 or 4 minutes, but even so !!! By 2pm the clouds completely covered the sky, and it started to feel very chilly even though the temperature hadn't dropped from the rather cool high of 8° C. By 2am this morning it was predicted to be just 2° C, although I wasn't able to confirm that.
                    and lots of it
   The forecast for today looks really horrible, but reality is not quite as bad so far. The road outside looks damp, but not actually wet. I haven't stuck my head outside to really appreciate what it is like, but from indoors it looks like any rain that has fallen was no more than very light drizzle. That remains the case as I write this. One other anomaly is that a few minutes ago the sun tried to come out. There was a tiny crack in the clouds, and for just a few moments it started to brighten up. If the forecast is to have any credibility, the rain should step up to heavy rain soon, and that heavy rain may continue, non stop, until about 7pm when just light rain will take over for the rest of the day. The only good thing that can be said about today is that it should be 9° C for most of the afternoon, but under the dark rainy skies it will still fell cold and nasty. Tomorrow holds a little bit of hope for a better day. At the moment it is predicted that any remaining rain will finish before sunrise, and that after some dark cloud later in the morning, it should end up just lightly overcast, and maybe 8 ° C.
not quite as long
                            as it looks

  I was really looking forward to my walk yesterday, although what I was really looking forward to was seeing Angela. I had some idea for a much longer walk rather than just the usual walk around the park, and once I had seen Angela I did indeed extend the walk by going home the long way around via Tesco (which turned out to be a mistake). Once I got I forgot to stop the tracker, and as usual, once it lost the GPS signal as I went indoors, it went a bit haywire.

  You can just see the odd jagged lines near the red and green markers. The tracker reckoned I had walked 2.92 miles, and that was the sort of distance I hoped to walk, but I think it is probably safer to assume it was really closer to 2.5 miles. Nevertheless, like most of my longer walks recently, it was taxing in any way - while I was walking.

  Of course I was partly cheating because I did have a sit down for an hour in the middle, but on the other hand I could do that when I tackle some longer country or seaside walks once we get winter out of the way. Much of the thanks for making these walks so easy must go to my old, but revived, proper hiking boots - although only when worn with thin "normal" cotton socks. I used to wear them with so called "hiking socks", and that made them bloody uncomfortable.

  To add some novelty to my walk I decided to walk through the new estate of blocks of flats built on old railway land, and the site of the old greyhound stadium, between the two railway lines. Some of those flats are probably less than 30ft from the railway lines - far less than the demanded 1 mile or more that some claim they need to be from the new High speed 2 line in order to prevent instant death, or whatever they are fussing about - mostly trying to carpet bag compensation in my opinion.
railway, road,
                              and flats
  This picture shows several things. It was intended to show the blue sky I could see in front of me while I was rained on from clouds behind me ! It also shows the railway on the embankment to the left, the road, and part of one of the new blocks of flats. As the Catford Loop Line bends around to the left, there is room to build flats, such as the one in the far distance, on the left of the road, and backing up straight onto the railway line. The rails of the Mid Kent Line (and Catford Bridge station) is only 100 - 200ft to the right of this picture.
seating area in
                              the new estate
  I have to say that at this time the new estate is looking very clean and tidy. It probably helps that all the flats were for sale, rather than rent, and so the people living there probably have a lot more interest in keeping the area nice. My fear is that in future it could become home to "problem families", although I shouldn't worry too much because the railway makes an impassible barrier between where I live, and this new estate. Note how close this amenity area is to the railway embankment, with over 8 trains an hour (and sometimes double that) passing by from early morning to beyond midnight.
looking tranquil
                              and almost like summer
  With the sun shining, albeit very low in the sky, this little tranquil scene could almost have been taken in summer, although the leafless trees are a big give away that it was taken at the start of winter.
  With most of the trees now leafless the Lewisham Hospital "Riverside" block is easy to see in almost it's entirety. \my week stay in there in mid August was in 2nd floor (I think) ward on the far side of this building.
  At 1pm I arrived at the pub, and had a drink waiting on the table for when Angela arrived five minutes later. Our meeting continue to get warmer and warmer, and in a non sexual way, more intimate. Yesterday I heard the real reason why Angela's life is not as good as it should be. I already knew it was little to do with lover boy, although I feel he is not being as supportive as he should be if he is her chosen one.
Angela picture
  I felt very positive about being taken into Angela's confidence of what is indeed a difficult problem for her. Apart from maybe 20 minutes where she described her problems, it was a very happy meeting, and I think it could lead to other things - maybe even a home visit (to my home) for an after work drink, and a foot rub. I can only hope. As has been the case for several weeks or more, our meeting ended with a very warm hug, and a happy twinkle in Angela's eye. It is so nice to know that in the middle of turmoil I can make her happy.

  After leaving Angela outside her workplace I continued to walk home. It was now really overcast, and looking very grey. What's more was that in that weather it was feeling much colder despite the temperature being the same as when I was walking to the pub. I think it badly warped my sense of good judgement. I was quite happy to push my walk further, but I don't think I should have popped into Tesco like I did.

  I did buy a couple of innocent things as intended, and I did buy a bottle of single malt whisky that was on discount. That will be a Xmas present for someone. What I should not have done is to sweep the shelf of reduced price sandwiches. Maybe I was dazzled by them all being reduced a lot more than Catford Tesco's miser-like discount os as little as 10p ! I think a couple of them were actually almost half price - maybe Tesco have heard me moaning about them when comparing the much bigger reduction I occasionally see in Sainsbury's.

  To say I swept the shelf of reduced price sandwiches is, I admit, a bit of an exaggeration. In fact I only bought 4 packs, but that was really 4 packs too many, and doubly so when I consumed all that carbohydrate on one day (but not in one sitting !). I've put on weight today, and my carefully controlled blood glucose level has been ruined for 24 hours or more. Those sandwiches were very enjoyable though.....

  One of the things I had to do when I got home was a lot of waiting. It was the frustration of that made my eating worse. I was waiting for a parcel from Amazon. fortunately dealing with the photos I took, plus a video, ate into some of the time I had to wait until that parcel arrived. I was going to show the video I shot on my mini Casio Exelim camera, but to be honest it is not very good, and while it did show 7 or 8 ducks on the river in close proximity, they didn't do much, and it was probably boring, but maybe not as boring as the video I will show !

  The item I was waiting to be delivered was a "steadycam" device for my mobile phone. It has 3 axis motors, and accelerometers to keep the phone steady while my body isn't ! I had had my eye on something like this for some time, and a few days ago I found one heavily discounted because it was last years model. On the web page was a typical Amazon note - "There is a new model of this available", would you like to pay twice the price for something that is basically the same ?  I think I was quite happy paying half the price thank you !

  As yet I have had no time to make a decent demonstration video, but a quick play with it shows it works really well for at least one particular scenario. In the past I have attempted to take some video of me moving about. One particular video, shot maybe 5 or more years ago, was the mad dash from Waterloo East to Waterloo Mainline station as part of my commute. It sort of showed what it was like in terms of speed and crowds, but it made me look as if I were a very drunken sailor on a ship in a heavy swell !  Here is what it looks like going down dimly lit stairs with my new Steadycam.

  It is far too wet to go out and make a demo video that should show off the steadycam in a better light. I had been thinking of a video going up and down the footbridge in the park with its helter-skelter up and down ramps. Unfortunately I will have to go out in the atrocious rain for my Thursday drink. I hope they have some stupidly strong beer today so I can blot out the rain on my way home again.
Wednesday 11th December 2019
08:45 GMT
  Yesterday morning's pink and purple start, just before sunrise, fulfilled the old saying "red sky in the morning, shepherds warning". It wasn't long before it became dark and damp, and then even darker and wet ! The fact that it was 10, or even 11° C was completely lost under the dark skies and falling rain. A thoroughly miserable day.
brighter and colder
   By my reckoning it is only 4° C, and not the predicted 5° C, but the more important thing is that lots of the sky is blue, and once the sun has hauled itself high enough in the sky to shine over the nearby houses, it should be a sunny morning. Sadly it may not last too long, and the end of the morning is likely to be just sunny intervals. By 2pm we will probably be back to lightly overcast, but maybe relatively bright. With a top temperature predicted to be just 8° C, it is going to be a very cool day, but hopefully light winds will not make it feel too much colder. We probably barely dodged a frost this morning, but at the moment it is looking far more likely tomorrow morning. Tomorrow is currently predicted to start dry. If it wasn't it would be cold enough for snow. It will soon warm up, if you can call 8° C warm, and by 10am it could start to rain. Later in the afternoon the rain could be very heavy.

  Yesterday morning I gritted my teeth, and strode out into the rain...the horrible rain....the icy cold rain that was blowing straight into my face. The object of my walk was to collect a small packet from the sorting office. I had not gone far when I began to question my own sanity about this walking in cold rain. I may have been wearing a waterproof coat, but my jeans weren't waterproof, and I had nothing to cover my face or hands. I got as far as the 320 bus stop after 4 minutes of walking, and noted a 320 bus was due. I had my 60+ Oystercard in my pocket, and getting the bus would not cost me a penny. It was hard to argue with that, and I got the bus there, and also back again.

  The packet was indeed the battery charger that I had originally ordered on the 11th of November. Despite Amazon's predictions of just a week or two, it had taken almost a whole month to come all the way from China. There was a hint that maybe it was actually lost/delayed once it got into the Royal Mail system. Anyway, it is here now, and works as expected. I think this means I will have to make a bit more use of my Casio Exelim EX-S10 camera now. Unfortunately the camera has several annoyances.

  The biggest annoyance is that as far as I can tell it is normal that it wants the date reset every time the battery is changed. This appeared to be the case with the very cheap Canon Rebel (aka EOS 300D) DSLR camera I bought last spring (or last year ?), but I found the backup battery in it, and changed it. I have looked as closely as I can, and cannot see any backup battery in the Casio, and after downloading, and consulting the use manual, it seems that this is normal behavior every time the battery is changed. I can only guess that there was no room for a backup battery when they did their best to make it as tiny as possible - and being so tiny is another annoyance.
Casio camera
                              compared to a packet of cigarettes
  I was try to describe how small it was yesterday, and remembered I have a packet of cigarettes in my bottom drawer waiting for 2035 when I take up smoking again on my 80th birthday. The side my side comparison gives a good idea of the size in two dimensions. In the third dimension, the thickness, it is thinner than a "standard" packet of 20 cigarettes. It makes it a bit difficult to handle for someone with big hands like mine, and even harder to use the tiny controls on the back of the camera. One final annoyance is that it is not very good in less than bright light.

  My walk may have ended up 20 times shorter than intended, but it still left me feeling rather tired, weary, or drained. That was probably made worse by having a late breakfast of grilled, smoked bacon medallions. I have a nasty feeling that the bacon may have included sugar in the curing solution. Later on my blood glucose seemed to be experiencing a small peak. I am sure my feeling of fatigue, or ennui, was also made worse by the sky being almost black. I spent several hours just laying on my bed reading, but I can't seem to recall having a snooze even though I felt like I wanted one.

  At 4pm I took my afternoon/evening medication. Maybe the action of popping the pills out of their little bubbles woke me up a bit because I suddenly burst into action. Well, it wasn't quite that quick, but I had been thinking about today, and what I was going to wear when I go out, and hopefully have a quick drink with Angela at lunchtime. I decided I wanted to wear what I wore on Monday - my red jeans, and a purple t-shirt. That meant I had to wash the t-shirt there and then to give it a chance to dry overnight. I did that, and included 2 more t-shirts, plus some undewear while I was at it.

  Eventually it was time for dinner, and I wanted to keep it simple. I ate the last two salads I had bought the day before. I ate the Italian salad with some extra cheddar cheese, and the Greek salad with some extra ham. The one thing I forgot to do was to take a reading of my blood glucose level before eating. I remembered to do so as I was eating the first salad. I did it as soon as I had finished it, and the result was really nice and low when it should have been higher. This is probably another demonstration of "Reactive Hypoglycaemia", but without the before reading, it proved nothing.
Guinness for pudding
  I washed down my two salads with some delicious glasses of Guinness. During the course of the evening I drank two cans, although before the Guinness I did have the last bottle of Hobgoblin Ruby Ale. One day I must acquire a full sized Guinness glass. Drinking Guinness from a Lowenbrau glass doesn't feel quite right.

  Last night was like many recent nights. I watched less TV than usual, and went to bed early to read. If I haven't mentioned it before, I am now reading Eugene Cernan's "Last Man On The Moon". He was the last NASA astronaut to walk on the moon in 1970, having flown there on Apollo 17 - the final Apollo flight. The rest of the series were scrapped. Like the Michael Collins book I read recently, it is a fascinating read, although Eugene Cernan hasn't quite got the style to make some of the background information, or perhaps less technical stuff, quite so interesting as Michael Collins.

  I can't remember what time I put the book down, and turned out the light, but I think it may have been before 11pm, but maybe not much before then. I think I feel asleep fairly quickly, but it certainly wasn't instantly. I then slept until about 1.30am when I woke up and went for a pee. I got back in bed, and suddenly my brain kicked in, and went into a sort of loop. For some reason I was thinking about how I enjoyed giving Angela foot rubs. It may ultimately have been a gateway thing that later lead to more intimate stuff, but it was hardly erotic in itself. After giving it too much thought when I really wanted to go to sleep, I concluded that it was just pleasure to give pleasure. It may have been 3am before I was able to get back to sleep.

  The rest of the the night was pretty typical - sleeping for a couple of hours, and then needing a pee again. Actually I am glad my body knows more about my bladder than I apparently do. Most times in the night when I wake up there appears to be no urgency at all about going for a pee, but the amount of urine produced conforms it was actually needed. I think it was about 7.35am when I had my last pee, and decided it was probably time to start getting up.

  Fifteen minutes later I was back in the toilet having a poo. After that was the perfect time to weigh myself. To my annoyance it seemed that I had put on some weight. The good news was that the units digit on the scales (whole kilograms) was still the same, but the tenths of a kilogram had increased. Another 15 or 20 minutes passed, and I went back to the toilet, and had a very small poo, and also a trickle of wee. Back on the scales, and I was now very close to the units digit dropping by one. I had actually achieved that, probably by dehydration after my long walk on Monday, but on Monday I ate far too much crap, but while the process has fits and starts, the occasional bounces up and down, it is still working - just maddeningly slowly !

  I am very much looking forward to seeing Angela today. I really hope she makes it to the pub at lunchtime. I have been accumulating lots of little clues that something is happening with her relationship with lover boy, and against all odds it does seem there is hope for me yet. The most curious thing is that her son, who has mostly had a fairly cold relationship with me, has actually made a few positive comments of stuff I have posted elsewhere. In my heavily biassed, and probably deluded mind, it is as if someone has been singing my praises !

  So today I will put on my read jeans, and purple t-shirst again, and go for a long walk. I don't know how long it will be yet, and may not know until I have actually started out on it. I will dynamically alter the route so that I can arrive at the pub at 1pm. To a great extent it depends on when I actually leave home, and that time is set by whatever may happen between now and then. As yet I have no idea what I will be doing for the rest of the day once I get home again. If it a long walk I may just get lazy, and spend hours reading.
at the Spa
                              Valley Railway in 2006
  I came across this picture in my archives when looking for something else. As well as being clean shaven, it looks like I am doing a fine job of sucking my gut in. The occasion for this photo, taken in 2006, was my first date with Aleemah. It didn't work out as a love affair, but we are still friends 13 years later. My memories of the time are quite hazy, but I can fill in the biggest blanks with guesses filled in from other experiences. I was, to put it colloquially, "on the pull" at the time, and had put in a lot of work to shrink my gut, and the picture suggests I had been quite successful. What I can't remember is how long it took, and what the starting point was. My aim this time is to improve on this photo, although I think I'll probably keep my current beard - I am convinced, rightly or wrongly, that it gives a better shape to my face.
Tuesday 10th December 2019
09:03 GMT
  It may have been bright and sunny yesterday, and it might have been 9° C, but the strong and gusty wind often made it feel something like 4° C. If not for that wind it might have been a nice day - it certainly looked it, even if it didn't feel like it.
                    dear, the return of rain
  This morning showed great promise, but also a threat about 10 minutes before official sunrise time at 07:54
10 minutes before sunrise
  Of course the old saying "red sky in the morning, shepherds warning" would seem to apply today. The sky is now very grey, and rain is forecast to start at 11am, and it may not finish until almost midnight. Some of that rain may be heavy, but with luck, most will be just light rain. After a dry summer our reservoirs must be brimming over by now ! Update: The forecast has now been revised to say the first rain will fall as drizzle, and it could start any minute now !! The afternoon temperature should be 11° C, but that is little compensation for another washed out day. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a lot colder, just 8° C, and then only for a couple of hours in the afternoon, but the morning should feature bright sunshine. That will give way to just sunny intervals towards the end of the morning, and the sunny intervals may fizzle out around 1pm. So it will be bright, but cold - probably better than rain !

a long walk Yesterday was a day that featured quite a lot of good, but also some bad. The first good thing was that my daily exercise took me on a 3.83 mile walk. It included quite a hill climb as I walked from the centre of Catford up to the windy heights of Mountsfield Park. It was windy in Catford, but more like a howling gale at the top of the hill. To make matters worse, it was a very gusty wind. Sometimes it would go calm for a few moments, and then another huge gust would blow away any heat that the sun might have imparted.

  Another good thing was that for the entire walk I was wearing my red jeans. The last time I wore them outside was possibly as long ago as 2010. Even then they always felt a bit tight, and soon I couldn't even do them up. After my recent dieting, and even though it doesn't always seem that I have lost much weight, those red jeans fit as well, or maybe even better than they have ever done. I can't recall any discomfort once I started walking, or even as I sat down in the pub to enjoy just a single pint of Guinness to rehydrate my body after walking a couple of miles.
wearing my red jeans

                                      from the top of the hill
This was the view from the top of the hill. I was looking down onto most buildings in Catford, and beyond Catford is Crystal Palace to the left, and Honor Oak to the right. The tower block to the right of the picture is one thing as high, or higher than me, and that is on the main road almost opposite the end of my road.
Hither Green CoOp
  My walk took me along Hither Green Lane, and past the Co-Op. The significance of this is that before I moved to my current house I used to live around the corner from this Co-Op. I rarely if ever used it. That was mum's domain. To be honest it was sort of scary. Of course now shopping in supermarkets is second nature (except in Lidl where it can be a pain in the arse). Now the thing about the Co-Op in the 1970s is that their own brand baked beans were the best in the world. Their consistency was more like that of re-fried beans, and they were great for making baked bean sandwiches !

  I think I had walked over 2 miles when I came to the pub. I was hoping that I might see Angela in there, but it turned out that she was taking a day off work. So we exchanged some very friendly text messages, and after I had drunk a single pint of Guinness I set out out again. It must have been a touch of masochism that made me take the long way home. It started out as just a decision to walk back through the park, but halfway through I decided to cross the railway, and walk all the way to Catford station.

  As I approached the far end of the park I decided I would probably buy some ready made salads from Sainsbury's. This decision was double decided when I noticed through the shop window that some of the salads had reduced price stickers on them. I ended up buying two reduced price Italian salads, and two full price Greek salads (plus another carrier bag because I hadn't come prepared to buy anything.

  I ended up eating quite a lot of salad yesterday, and it should have been more than enough for me. One home made salad included a whole pack (which was bigger than I thought) of chicken sizzlers - sliced chicken breast marinated in some spicy stuff. The chicken was quite nice, but nowhere near as wonderful as I hoped, although to be honest I am not sure what I was hoping for.
  I was in contact with Angela several times yesterday. The first time when I was in the pub, and then later when I was home. She is sounding ever more friendly lately, and I think her relationship with lover boy is cooling off, but off course I am terribly biassed to think that way. One ever so encouraging thing was when I said I didn't know how she could manage it, but after I have had my next appointment with the diabetes nurse at the hospital in January, I wanted to have a minor celebration - assuming that the nurse is happy that my blood glucose is now well controlled. I said I wanted to take her for breakfast in a cafe so I could have a celebratory double egg and chips. With no hesitation at all Angela came straight back to say yes, we must do that.

  It wouldn't be the most romantic of meals, but I know that Angela enjoys a cafe breakfast from time to time. It was often the highlight of the day when she was with John, that man she nursed through his cancer until he died. I don't hear of her having breakfast with lover boy. Maybe it is another thing he doesn't do. I can't remember when it came through, but Angela sent me this smiling picture yesterday. She has also posted a similar picture on social media - something else that lover boy doesn't really approve of. In fact Angela has been posting quite a few pictures on social media recently - and none of them shows him !

  All the salad I ate, plus some of the snacks I ate, with the mixed nuts and raisins definitely being the worst offender, really messed up my good run of low blood glucose yesterday (and this morning too). While my extended walk seemed easy, and it really feels like I am just about ready to tackle some longer walks once the weather improves, all the good it did was negated, and more by what  ate yesterday. Of course such a long walk in a cold wind would increase anyone's appetite, I was also not on guard because I was distracted by feeling good about so many things - actually doing the walk, wearing those red jeans, and in particular the warmth I was feeling from Angela. I guess I took my eye off the ball, and will have to try harder today.

  One of the things I didn't do after my walk was to have an afternoon nap. I was busy editing photos, exchanging messages with Angela, and even have a chat with Sue over the phone - a call that lasted less than an hour - but only just, and still a record ! By mid evening I was in that curious state where I was weary, but not actually sleepy. I was in bed quite early, but spent a long time reading, and it wasn't until midnight that I turned the light out to begin what seemed like a bad sleep, but probably wasn't.

  It seemed to take ages to find a comfortable position to go to sleep, but that subjective 5 hours was probably less than 10 minutes. After a few hours I woke up feeling like I had hardly slept, but the clock told a different story - it was something like 3am. I had two more long, but short feeling blocks of sleep, and then it was just getting light outside, and I rushed to get the photo of dawn that is at the top of the page.

  This morning I can feel my legs worked a bit harder than usual yesterday, but I don't think they will impede any walking today. My blood glucose is a bit higher than I would like, but nothing too terrible, and if I am careful (if !) it should be back on track by tonight (I hope). My weight was a disappointment. It is as if I have put on about 400grams since yesterday. I have been to the toilet once, and judging by the way I am starting to pass wind, I'll be back on the toilet again soon. That may shift a bit of the 400 grams.

  Today I am more or less forced to go for a walk, and it is going to have to be in the rain unfortunately. When I got home after my walk yesterday I found a card on the door mat. It seems the postman tried to deliver an Amazon order that I thought had been lost. It is nothing more than a cheap battery charger for the Casio camera I bought quite a few weeks ago now. I didn't realise it was being shipped from China. It appeared to have a tracking number, that did track it up to the pint when it was said to have been transferred from China mail to Royal Mail, and then it all went quiet.

  In the meantime I had given up on ever receiving it, and had bodged a way of charging the batteries for that camera. It seems today I will have a proper charger in my sticky hands once I have endured a walk in the rain. I don't know what I will do after my walk to and from the sorting office. Possibly it will be very little, but maybe I will end up doing something useful, but whatever it is, it will be indoors, and not out in the rain !
Monday 9th December 2019
08:03 GMT
  Yesterday didn't turn out quite like the forecast predicted - except the hastily put together revision that reflected reality almost after it happened. The morning was bright and frequently sunny, but just 11° C doesn't feel warm at all in a howling gale ! By midday the wind had dropped, and the clouds thickened. There was no hint it was coming in the morning's forecast, but it then started to rain - and it was almost heavy rain ! The rest of the day was rubbish - dull, sometimes wet, and getting cooler.
                    start, but sunshine promised
  According to this forecast the sun has already risen, but there is no sign of it hear. The clouds that dropped the rain an hour or two ago seem just as thick, and it is exceedingly dull outside. If the forecast has any creedence the clouds should start to break up any minute now, and we should get some sunny spells. They will might be followed by up to four hours of solid sunshine. If the breeze really is moderate, and in my book that should mean almost none at all, the forecast 9° C may not feel too bad in the sunshine, but I don't really believe that. After sunset the temperature starts to drop a lot, and tomorrow might start with a frost.....or maybe not. The latest prediction is that the temperature will be lowest at around 2am tomorrow. By 6am the temperature may be 5° C, and it will continue to rise to 10 or 11° C. The only trouble will be that from mid to late morning rain is expected, and that could last until the end of the day. 
posh beers from Aldi

  I'm not really sure what sort of day yesterday was. After the morning rituals I had some breakfast as I occasionally do on a Sunday. On this occasion it was grilled salmon, and nothing else. The choice was simple - I was worried that the fish had been in the fridge a bit too long, although I think it was probably still a day or two until it's "use by" date.

  After breakfast I felt ready to go out. I wanted to get some shopping in Aldi. With the sun shining I wanted more salad ingredients. I did make a bit of a bad choice to walk to Aldi without a coat. The sun pouring in through my front room windows was warming the rooms up nicely, and my front porch was trapping all the heat from the sun. Beyond that it was a different matter. I had not factored in the strong wind. When that occasionally dropped for a few seconds it did feel OK, but otherwise it was a rather chilly walk. I probably should have turned back before I had gone 20 paces, and grabbed a coat.

  The highlight of my purchases in Aldi was a couple of bottles of beer. It was the one on the right of this picture I "borrowed" from Aldi's web site. I bought one for me, and one for my neighbour Michael. I put it in the fridge, and had it with my dinner in the evening. It wasn't quite what I was expecting. It was brewed in France in "the Belgium style", and I expected a thick dark beer. It was actually more like a pale wheat beer. That was less enjoyable than I hoped for, but still pleasant. Apparently, as shown in the picture, Aldi are supposed to be stocking two different flavours. I had the one on the right. I shall keep an eye out for the other on a future shopping trip to Aldi.

   One thing I couldn't find in Aldi was any laxatives. It wasn't essential to get any, but it seemed a good enough excuse to go out shopping again. By the time I was ready to go out again it was pouring with rain. I waited until there was a lull in the rain before going out, but it wasn't long before it was pouring again. I found two types of laxatives in Savers, and bought both types along with some shampoo, conditioner, and some shower gel.

  I then crossed the road (well it used to be a road in the 1960s, but is now pedestrian only) to Poundstretcher, and completely forgot to look to see if they had any big (approx A4 size) photo frames, but I still came away with a bag full of other stuff. That included "floral" scented bleach - it is the same cheap make as the alleged Pine scented bleach I have been using. I say alleged because it smells more like lemon to me.

  I was quite pleased that more and more of the canned drinks that Poundstretcher sell are now sugar free. I bought a couple of cans of Barrs sugar free cola, and it's not bad, but that is not to say it tastes good. It probably means it is a drinkable alternative if nothing better is available. Some "colas" can be truly undrinkable ! I also bough a couple of cans of raspberry and watermelon drink. I am sure I have tried it before, and it is nice - but only as an occasional novelty.
hemp toothpaste
  I found this toothpaste in Poundstretcher. I thought it was a novelty worth trying. The hemp shampoo and conditioner I bought there a week or two seems good, and has a light but pleasant smell. I wondered what this toothpaste could be like. I have tried it twice now, last night and this morning, and I am not sure I like it. It is very foamy, and the taste is a bit strange. I will finish this tube, but I see no reason to buy another, although I may well get more of the hemp shampoo and conditioner.

  Yesterday was one of those days where time slipped away easily. Looking back it is hard to see how I filled the time, but I don't remember feeling bored. I do remember feeling hungry though, and I was looking forward to my dinner. After my second shopping trip I decided to weigh myself off stripping off my outdoor clothes. I am not sure why I thought this would be a good idea, but it was ! I seemed to have lost a few hundred grams, and I was the lightest I have been in years (and years !).

  Before I had dinner I checked my blood glucose. It was about my current low average. Dinner was designed not to increase it. It was more grilled salmon and salad. Unfortunately I started feeling peckish again a couple of hours after eating it. Eating so many chilli flavoured roast almonds was not really a good idea, but they went well with my posh bottle of beer.

  I had dinner about half an hour earlier than usual, and once that had settled down I finally felt ready to do the one thing I said I would be doing - changing my sheets and duvet cover. Once I had stripped the bed it was easy to see why it had got so lumpy. I currently have two mattress toppers on my bed, and the one under the top one was almost folded in two. How that can happen is a mystery, but I expect I thrash around in bad far too much on most nights.

  I don't know where I found the enthusiasm so late in the evening, but I washed the sheet and pillowcases next. I hung them to dry on the clothes horse in front of a fan heater on it's lowest setting. They should be dry now. Sooner or later I will have to wash the duvet cover, but it is a fairly thick one, and is going to be a bugger to wash by hand. The worst bit is wringing it out. In late spring, summer, or early autumn, when it is feasible to dry it outside, I can leave it dripping, but not indoors. There is no real reason why I don't leave washing it until next March (for instance) - I have plenty of other duvet covers, but I'll probably do it sometime in the next week or two.

  It felt much more comfortable when I got into bed last night, but sometimes I still could not find a position where all of me was comfortable, and sometimes it seemed to take a long time to get to sleep, but in reality it was probably far less time than it seemed. Once I did get to sleep I seemed to sleep well until I woke up for a wee or something. Then I faced trying to get back to sleep again.

  This morning I feel mostly OK, but I do seem to have a small stomach ache. I think it was something to do with the laxative pills I took yesterday. Maybe they are reacting badly because I didn't really need them, or maybe it is just one of those variabilities of life. It didn't seem like I needed any help from pills when I went to the toilet this morning. Afterwards I weighed exactly the same as yesterday - which is probably good. My weight could drop further because I think another visit to the toilet is coming soon.  My blood glucose and blood pressure were both unremarkable this morning - about as expected.

  Today my only plan is to go for a walk in the sunshine - wearing a coat this time. I'm not sure of the route I will take yet, but I feel sure it will intersect with the pub at lunchtime. Hopefully I will bump into Angela. Before all that I need to wash some whites that are currently soaking in detergent, and then have a shower. After my walk I don't know what I will do, but I probably ought to do something !
Sunday 8th December 2019
10:15 GMT
  It wasn't warm, but I guess I could describe yesterday as mild. There was probably a fair bit more sunshine than forecast. This was most evident from about midday to approx 2pm. The forecast for the day didn't mention any sunshine. In fact it begrudgingly only predict a few sunny spells in the morning, but the start of the afternoon was often gloriously sunny. It was still cold outside, but even that weak winter sunshine streaming through my front windows can make the front rooms feel pleasantly warm. It may have been after midnight, and so technically today, but there was a lot of rain in the night.
                    start, maybe sunny day
  Yesterday's afternoon high of 10° C was beaten by this morning's 11° C ! It seems there is a fair bit of cloud this morning, but it is broken enough to let through the sun quite frequently, and is thin enough to keep the day bright even when there is no direct sunshine. With luck this will continue until 1pm, but after that it will get increasingly cloudy. As that happens the temperature will drop from 11° C, and by 8pm it may be down to just 7° C. As midnight approaches the temperature is predicted to rise by a degree or two, but it will be at the expense of more overnight rain. Of course that is the best time for it, and by tomorrow it should all be over. Tomorrow is currently predicted to feature a lot of sunshine, but the highest temperature may only be a disappointing 9° C.

  Yesterday was dominated by a relatively short lived inconvenience. It was both good and bad. During the morning I mostly occupied myself with tidying up the files on my PC - mainly moving some to archive hard disks. It took a bit of time, but freed up quite a bit of hard disk space on my computer. Once I had finished that I lay on my bed catching up on some of my reading. While doing so I would occasionally rub my belly. This was not some strange sort of sexual thing, well not exactly. I was actually feeling the end of my rib cage, and other underlying superstructure. As my belly shrinks more and more reveals itself. It feels good to know the process is working.

  I then noticed my guts were starting to feel sore, and it seemed like a good time to go to the toilet. This was good on one level, and should have been good on another. It was only about an hour away from when I was planning to walk to Hither Green to see The Entourage Band playing a sort of outdoor Xmas thing. I knew I hadn't been to the toilet properly in the morning, and my weight was looking too high. After this afternoon visit to the toilet I knocked off  a 100gm or so from my weight, and I thought that having gone to the toilet I would not feel uncomfortable during my walk.

  Unfortunately, like on Friday, I seemed to be suffering from a weird gastric anomaly. With 10 minutes of going to the toilet I was starting to feel uncomfortable again, and ended up back on the toilet again. It is possible that all the salad I have been eating has had so much indigestible fibre in it that I have more to excrete than possible in one sitting. Anyway, after five visits to the toilet I was feeling fairly empty, and my weight had dropped back to where it should be ! All that was good except it felt too late to start walking, and it took some time to be confident that I really had been to the toilet enough for one day.

  That was a bit after 3pm. At 4pm I took my afternoon medication as usual. but then nothing really happened until dinner time. I think I had already fixed in my mind that I was going to have another takeaway. Of course this was originally on the basis that I would have been out for a large chunk of the afternoon, and would have walked (I estimate) close to three miles. Nevertheless, I ordered two kebabs, but nothing more on this occasion.

  One kebab was a chicken shish, and the other was a lamb shish. Ignoring the pitta bread, which I did, and three away, I basically had grilled meat and salad. The salad was probably dressed with a bit of oil, but not enough for it to taste oily. Without the pitta bread it is a (mostly) carbohydrate free, fairly low fat, and moderately low calorie meal. The only trouble was that being all those things, I did feel hungry a few hours later.

  Fortunately I resisted that hunger, and just satiated myself with three cans of Guinness. By 10pm I was ready for sleep, and I think I was actually asleep very soon after 10pm (although I must admit I do feel a bit vague about it). I seemed to sleep quite well last night apart from one strange thing. It was around 1am, possibly 2am when I woke up with a mouth so dry I could hardly breath. I guess I must have been snoring really heavily or something.

  I needed a wee before I could go back to sleep, and I walked to the bathroom as soon as I had taken a sip of drink to wet my mouth. As I was standing there weeing I thought I had a slightly strange, metallic taste in my mouth. So I spate what spit I had out into the washbasin, and there was blood in it. The last time that happened I had managed to chew a hole on the inside of my cheek while asleep. On that occasion it left a painful reminder of how I had produced that blood. Last night there were no pains or apparent leaks in my mouth. Perhaps I coughed that blob of blood up, and I am now dying of cancer or consumption. Oh well, time will tell.

  This morning things were looking good. My blood glucose was nice and low (although as always, lower would be better), and my weight was about where expected. One good poo and it is possible I might have reached a new low weight, but this morning I seem to be constipated, I am farting a lot, and so something is there, but maybe still moving towards the "exit".

  I have a few loose plans for today. I have already started on a sort of plan - having a shower, and washing my hair before sitting down to write this. It is the obvious order to do things because my hair is drying as I sit here typing. Once I have finished writing I can move on to the next thing I will be doing - going shopping. I plan to go to Aldi, and while doing so, I will test another old pair of hiking boots that I extracted from the back of the wardrobe where they have probably been for 10 years.

  These disused hiking boots are marked as one size too small for me, but they seemed to fit OK when I tried them on yesterday. Maybe with suitable socks, thin cotton ones instead of the chunky "walking socks" I used to try and use without much success, they will turn out to be just as comfortable as the last pair of hiking boots I cleaned up. I chose those boots for every walk now. I am sure I can remember them being incredibly uncomfortable when walking some of the longer distances I used to walk, and I am pretty sure it was the socks rumpling up, and crunching my toes and stuff. Even on some of the slightly over 2 miles walks I have done recently, they have been perfect with thin cotton socks.

  My shopping list for Aldi includes most of the usual, although with a couple of nice days happening, today and tomorrow, I think I may get a bit more salad in. I need to replace my can of Guinness, and so I can look forward to one heavy bag to lug home.  I think I may look and see if they have any laxatives in stock. It can't do any harm to try some and see if I can re-regularise my visits to the toilet. A good early morning clear out, before I weigh myself would be ideal !

  Next on my list of things to do will be to change my bed sheets. They have been on far far too long now, and I expect they are getting quite smelly. I know there are a few sweat stains up where  would lay my chest. So some new bedding would be good, and while changing it I can see if I can beat the lumps out of the memory foam mattress topper ! I'll probably make a start on washing some of that bedding today - maybe just the sheet and pillowcases. I'll have to do the duvet cover tomorrow by itself because manhandling a wet double duvet cover takes a lot of hard work !

  Next on my list is a long blank space......although eating dinner must be on it somewhere.....
Saturday 7th December 2019
09:12 GMT
  The great about yesterday was that by comparison to recent, and seasonal temperatures, it was warm. In reality you would not want to go out without a coat - not least because of the ever present threat of rain. There was probably less rain than expected (or at least that I expected), but those cold grey skies cast a feeling of dampness even when it wasn't raining. The temperature in the afternoon, and also for an hour or so before midday, was 13° C. Under blue skies and sunshine would make just wearing a t-shirt very tolerable, but not yesterday, not at all !
probably dry, but overcast again
  The one sunny spell shown for 9am in the screenshot above has now been moved to 10am, and it seems unlikely it will happen then either.  There were some gaps to be seen in the clouds at daybreak, and I guess even now some clouds are thin enough to appear white among the much greyer clouds, but there is no sign of any blue patches in the bits of sky I can see from my window. So it looks like it is going to be at least lightly overcast all day, but it should stay dry, and the afternoon temperature should rise to 10° C, which is possibly mild for the time of year. The latest prediction for tomorrow is that it could be a pleasant day. After overnight rain it could be 12° C by daybreak, but then the temperature will fall to about 11° C until sunset. By 5pm it may only be 8° C, but it is thought to stay there all night. There is a small chance of rain around daybreak, but the rest of the day is forecast to be dry with sunny spells.
the northern sky just
                        as it was getting light
  This was the view from the back bedroom, looking north, just as it was getting light this morning. It almost looks like the area near the top of the picture could turn blue once the sun had risen a bit more, but it is not like that now. At the moment the sky is just a mottled mess of greys. Some greys are close to white, and some a bit darker, but mostly they could be said to be light grey. I took this picture on the 3.2MP Toshiba camera I bought from the British Heart Foundation shop. Now it has it's own Smart Media memory card it seems quite usable. I still want to see how it performs on a bright day, but my expectation is that apart from the low pixel count compared to even mobile phones these days, it will be able to take some very nice pictures.

  I was happy to find my blood glucose level was fairly low yesterday morning (lower would have been better, but it was still within the "normal" range). I was less happy with my weight. It seemed I had put a fair bit of weight on - almost a kilogram in fact. I knew that could not be completely right, and I was fairly sure I knew what it was. In literal terms, but not in a derogatory way, I was full of crap. During the morning I went to the toilet five times. Each time my weight dropped by a couple of hundred grams. It was one of those mornings, which happen too often at the moment while I am on my special diet, where a good laxative, maybe the type given to those about to have a colonoscopy, would clear me out in one gigantic purge. Doing it slowly, in five small steps did the trick, but it did leave me feeling uncomfortable.

  Some of that discomfort, as happened not too long ago, turned out to be hunger pains, and not a bowel problem. It had been my intention to go for a walk, maybe a long-ish walk, that would pass the pub at lunchtime. Had it happened I only thought there would be a small chance of seeing Angela in there. She often goes shopping during her lunch break on a Friday, but it would have been a chance worth taking. In fact she was in there, and if I could have held my nerve I could have had a drink with her.

  I did get dressed ready to go out, but I only got as far as the corner shop before I went in, bought a couple of bottles of pop, and a magazine, before going back home again. I think it was about then that I concluded the rumbles from my stomach were nothing worse than hunger. It seemed to be a good time to eat one of the salads I had bought from Sainsbury's after my Thursday drink. I thought it was a Greek salad I was opening, but it was the single Italian salad that I had actually grabbed. It went nicely with some BBQ flavour chicken slices. Before the hour was out I decided to have the rest of the chicken slices, little discs of "mystery meat", with one of the Greek salads.

  Eating did perk me up, and for a while I was quite productive. I did two lots of laundry by hand. Initially some t-shirts and underwear, but after that I washed a hand towel and a tea cloth (and another pair of underpants that seemed to have escaped going in the first wash). Doing all that warmed me up a lot, and with the weather being unusually warm, even if grey, wet and horrible outside, I felt comfortable enough to do some work in the downstairs back room.

  The job I finally did was to build what I hope will be my next network firewall. I stripped own, and cleaned out the case of a PC that had an Athlon based motherboard. I could have used it as it was, but I wanted something that ran a lot cooler, and consumed less energy. Those Athlons were fast in their time, but needed very good heatsinks because they would run so hot. The 733MHz Intel Coppermine processor runs a lot cooler - if my memory serves well.

  I took out the Athlon motherboard, and fitted the motherboard with the Intel processor on it. and the wired up the front panel connection. The next thing was to fit a spare power supply unit that is rated a lot higher than I think will be needed, and in theory should last a lot longer because it should run cooler. Next came the hard disks and a floppy disk drive. The firewall operating system can make a back up of it's configuration to floppy, or as a rather strange downloadable image file. If that floppy drive actually works, I think it best to use that.

  Finally I fitted  the hard disks I had selected. My intention is to copy an image of the working hard disk to a spare hard disk so that I can swap them over if the working hard dish fails - the hard disks I am using are not exactly young ! It is a good use for some old hard disks that are very small by today's standards. The one thing I didn't do yesterday was to power the newly rebuilt machine. That was partly because I didn't have a keyboard and monitor ready to be used, but mostly because time was getting on, and it was getting to the point where I wanted to be cooking my dinner.

  Just before dinner I checked my blood glucose level. It was still suitably low, and maybe would have been lower still if I had not eaten the salads earlier. My dinner was more salad ! I had one of the Greek salads with a fairly lean, and thus not too tasty, steak. A little later I had the last Greek salad as a snack (or was it "pudding" ?). After that it was time to relax for the rest of the evening.

  There was one other job I was doing, but my part in it took very little time or effort. I started a backup of my home directory on the PC I am writing this only - the PC I do nearly all my work on. As I write this the backup has been running for 21 hours as it copies gigabytes of information across to a portable 2 Terabyte hard disk. I think if this PC had a USB3 port it would be a lot faster. Fortunately it is not a race, and the most important thing is to have that backup ready in case the hard disk fails in my PC. I am not sure, but sometimes I think there are signs that parts of the disk are hard to read. I notice that the transfer rate on the backup sometimes falls quite low as if there is some difficulty reading the hard disk.

  I didn't want to use my PC much last night to avoid slowing down the backup speed. I ended up going to bed earlier than usual. Initially it was to do a bit of reading, but I think I was asleep around 10pm - plus or minus half an hour ! Whenever it actually was is fairly unimportant. What was important was that at about 1am I woke up. As usual I was not what you might call uncomfortable, but I was aware that going for a pee might be a good thing. One long pee later and I was back in bed - and completely unable to get back to sleep for over an hour. My bed felt uncomfortable. My limbs felt uncomfortable - my right hand kept going numb because of what I believe is carpal tunnel syndrome. Worst of all was that my brain would not shut up, and I couldn't stop thinking about all sorts of things.

  Eventually I got back to sleep, and my next two periods of sleep were satisfactory. After getting up I went back to bed, but after 10 minutes I realised I didn't seem to need any more sleep despite the idea being so nice. I checked my blood glucose, and it was sufficiently low to just carry on being a bit careful without having to do anything extreme. My weight was initially a bit disappointing, but half an hour later I went to the toilet, and my weight was still disappointing, but improved. It does seem like I did put on a little bit of weight in no time at all some days back. I think (fingers crossed) that the overall trend is still down despite these occasional hiccups. It has been suggested (by Angela) that I should quite weighing myself twice a day or more, and just weight myself perhaps just twice a week. That is a good idea, with one flaw for the paranoid like me. If the day I chose to weigh myself is one of the days when I have put a few hundred grams on I could end up depressed for several days until I can get a (hopefully) better reading.

  My plans for today are quite simple. I shall be walking to Hither Green, and back. It is more than just exercise. I shall be going to see The Entourage Band playing a short gig, possibly on the pavement, as some sort of Xmas event in Hither Green. They are on between 3 and 4pm. I want to get there a bit before incase someone is performing before them, and possibly stay a bit if someone is on after them. I think after several hours of fresh air, and a fair walk, I might treat myself to a similar takeaway to the one I had last Saturday. That didn't seem to do me any harm, and in fact, if it wasn't just some sort of strange coincidence, actually did me some good !
Friday 6th December 2019
08:49 GMT
  Yesterday ended up warmer than the previous few days, but it came at the cost of it being dull and overcast most of the time. Although the day ended warmer, about 11° C, it was a bitterly cold morning. By daybreak it seemed like the earlier very thick frost had melted, but even by 10am the temperature was struggling to reach 4° C.
comparitively warm, but very, very wet
  The fact that it is not terribly cold this morning, apparently 12° C, but I haven't checked that, is very offset by it being so dull that it almost seems that the sun didn't rise this morning, plus there has been a lot of rain this morning. Rain, and the dark grey clouds, will be the main feature today. The mainline headline feature says heavy rain, but thankfully there is not a single hour that is described as heavy rain, and the latest revision has reduced the amount of hours when there will be light rain, but it is all a bit random. Tomorrow looks a nicer day (but definitely not an actual nice day). It may be a degree or two cooler, but apparently the cloud will be a lot lighter, and one or two sunny intervals may be possible.

walking to and from the sorting office
  Yesterday was another busy day....well "busy" by my current standards. I went out fairly early, perhaps 10am, to go and pick up a small package from the sorting office. I treated it as another bit of daily exercise, and as can be seen in the pictures to the left, it was a 1.83 mile walk. That is a little bit short of the recent average, but not that far short. My average speed was 2.93mph. There were two reasons for that. Firstly I wasn't treating it as a race. The second reason was that I chose to walk the longer way home via the high street. It seemed to be full of brain dead shoppers wandering around, not knowing where they were going, or even why they were doing it. There still seemed to be people getting in my way even as the shops thinned out.

  My packaged, as I had correctly guessed, was the two "Smart Media" memory cards I had ordered via Amazon Marketplace. (Amazon Marketplace being, in my opinion a much safe place than Ebay, but still offering a lot of similar tat). My only disappointment with those memory cards, apart from their price (but then they always were quite expensive compared to SD cards) was that they had been very thoroughly cleaned. I attempted to recover any deleted files, just out of curiosity, but there was none to be found.

  I don't think I tested both in the Toshiba camera I had bought them for, but the one I put in it worked perfectly. The other read OK on my PC, and so I assume it too would be OK in the camera. Just taking a couple of test snaps inside my bedroom was not a great test of the camera's capabilities, but it did strongly suggest that in daylight, and maybe even indoors in high summer, it can take some excellent pictures. Despite the different makers name on the outside, I suspect that the electronics were designed by the same company that designed the electronics for my Olympus C100 camera (which also uses a Smart Media memory card). That Olympus camera, despite being only 1.3MP, punches well above it's weight.
A spaceman waving his
  One of the sights I saw when walking to the sorting office was this spaceman apparently airing his oversized Y-Fronts. It is yet another prop on display outside the company that makes film and stage sets on Thomas Lane. The spaceman is posed standing on a meteorite - another stage/film prop that has been on show (through a fence) for many months now.
nice beer
 Time seemed to fly by very quickly once I was home from the sorting office. One of the first things I did when I got home was to start cooking. I had bought a 6 pack of German sausages (I think they were Bratwurst), and cooked all six along with some mushrooms. It must have been about half past midday when they were cooked, and I had three of them for lunch. This was to line my stomach before going out for a beer.

  At 3.55pm I did the half mile walk to Catford station to get the train to Shortlands for my late afternoon beer. By the time I got there (about 4.20pm) it was almost as dark as night, and I guess until the days start to get a lot longer, I could say it was a night time beer, or at least an evening beer.

 I had two pints of the beer pictured on the left. It was rather tasty. I know nothing of New Zealand "Rakau" hops, but I assume it was the hops that give a just perceptible hint of ginger to the flavour. It was probably a popular beer, and that is why after I had just two pints it ran out. My last pint was distinctly cloudy, but still tasty. After that I had one last pint of "Table Beer" - also from the Bexley Brewery. That was very acceptable, but a bit thin by comparison.

  At the end of my third pint I checked the train, and realised that it was going to be a short wait for the next train home. I had plenty of time to go for a wee, and to have a final double Jameson's whiskey - just to keep me warm on the way home.

  The temperature was at least double what it was in the morning, but while I had put on a long sleeve short to go to the pub, I was wearing a much thinner coat. So it did feel a bit on the cool side when going to and from the pub. Having tose three sausages earlier did not seem to stop me feeling very mildly drunk....well, not exactly drunk, but it certainly weakened my will power.  That is not a good thing when dinner time is approaching. At least I didn't give in to buying what I really wanted - something hot and greasy, like fried chicken and chips. I bought something far more healthy !
four lots of salad
  As well as the salads in the picture above there was another one that was a ham and egg salad. I had that as a sort of starter before my main meal - something I could describe as being German Sausage Chow Mein ! It was actually a sort of stew of diced Bratwurst cooked with mushrooms, bean sprouts, and 5 spice powder. The sausage was probably not a very healthy choice, and so it was double unfortunate that the whole thing didn't really work, and was not very nice - although some way off being horrible.

  I was determined to get to bed early last night, and although I spent some time reading before I turned out the light, I did manage to get to sleep well before midnight last night. I seemed to sleep quite well too. I think it was almost 3am when I woke up needing a wee - but only slightly, and I could have ignored it. I'm glad I didn't because it was like I was draining off all three pints of beer at one standing !

  When my dreams turned less pleasurable I realised it was time to get up. That was about 6.30am....at least I think it was. I know it was fairly early because I was considering going back to bed after attending to a few things. One thing was a visit to the toilet, where I was happy to also have a poo. After that it was straight on the scales, and a big disappointment. I seemed to have put in a lot of weight in the last 24 hours. Happily enough, it was only 10 minutes later that I had to have another poo. This time it showed my weight was back at the average it keeps getting stuck at.

  It may be that I will need yet another visit to the toilet before long. My guts feel a bit odd at the moment - a sort of mix between hunger, bloat and something else. While my weight was disappointing, my blood glucose was back to my sort of average for the morning. It was 6.8mmol/l. 6.0, or even 5.x would be better, but it was still better than the sevens, eights, or even nines I was getting some weeks back. The system is working even if the weight loss is disappointing. My blood pressure was nice and low this morning. Last night, a little while after eating, it dropped low enough to cause some light headedness when I got up to go downstairs. The Systolic pressure, the higher number, was down to 89. That is really quite low.

  Today I have to do one thing, and I want to do another. The thing I have to do is to finish doing some laundry. I have a couple of t-shirts plus underwear soaking in what is now freezing cold detergent, and I have to finish the laundry process before I can use the bath to have a shower ! I meant to do it after coming back from the sorting office yesterday, but I kept putting it off until it got left overnight. That cold soapy water is going to feel really horrible !

  The other thing I want to do is to go for a walk through the park - in the rain ! Well, I would prefer not to walk in the rain, but if I have to I will. There are reasons to not go out today - I have loads of little jobs around the house that I could do - but I want to see Angela if she turns up in the pub at lunchtime. She very often goes shopping during her lunch break on a Friday, and so there is a fair chance that she won't be there, but until I check I won't know for sure. Besides, all this walking is good for me - or so I have to keep convincing myself.
Thursday 5th December 2019
08:55 GMT
  There was loads of blue sky, and dazzling sunshine yesterday. It was a very minor inconvenience that the sun is now so low in the sky that walking towards it really id very dazzling. It was a rather bigger inconvenience that the temperature probably didn't go much over 4° C even during the middle of the afternoon, and at midnight it was very much lower - when I peeped out of the curtains I could see all the parked cars covered with a thick frost !
overcast, but starting to warm up a bit
  At this time of year it is all trade offs. Clear days bring extreme cold, and overcast days, like today are a little warmer. Despite the forecast saying it should have been 2° C, all the frost seems to have melted, but the cloudy skies part of the forecast is very true. It is so dull outside that I need the light on just to type. Hopefully the two hours this afternoon, shown as having sunny spells, will actually happen before the clouds thicken again, the temperature continues to rise, and ultimately it starts to rain. Tomorrow is predicted to be warm and wet. It might not feel that warm in the rain, but tomorrow could start with it being 12° C, but only rising one more degree by the afternoon. In the meantime there could be lots of showers through the day. 
a longer walk than originally intended
  The first thing I did yesterday was to go to Aldi, and that allowed me to judge just how good or bad I was feeling, as well as buying groceries. I did have enough in the fridge for some good meals, but for some reason I had a desire to have some fish. It was the "need" for fish that inspired the whole shopping trip, but of course I bought a lot more than a couple of bits of fish/

  Apart from shopping, yesterday ended up being mostly dominated by my daily exercise. I wasn't feeling that good yesterday morning. I felt rather stiff and aching, and that put me off trying a more testing walk that I was originally going to do. A couple of Paracetamols helped me get out the front door, and the combined effects of seeing Angela, and two pints of Guinness saw me walking just as far as the original route I was thinking of taking.

  It only has to be a few times a week, although more would be better, but seeing Angela seems to give some sort of meaning to my life. Every time we meet there seems to be a natural warmth between us. Even the barmaid at the pub notices this. If Angela had not, unwisely in my obviously biassed opinion, chosen lover boy as her "official" partner, then we would be back as lover again. There are days, like yesterday, when I think there is only a paper thin touch of guilt that stops us being lovers again.

  After walking Angela back to work my spirits were so high that I was determined to make sure I did a longer walk than I thought I would. To that end I walked all the way to the middle of Catford, circled around, and approached my house in the same direction I had started out originally. The end result was a 2.15 mile walk at an average speed of 2.81mph - a bit slower than my faster speed the day before, but I did stop to take a few photos, and I didn't want to rush the part of the walk from the pub back to Angela's workplace.
ingredients for a hot
                        meal when I got home
  For me, and probably many others, winter time is a time when the primitive parts of my brain call out for more calories to fight the winter weather. It is a hard thing to ignore, but it can be sidestepped with variable success. It was so cold yesterday that it was hard to ignore. I got home with my fingers tingling with the cold, and after doing the last mile with my coat undone, my chest was starting to complain as well. I had predicted this when I went to Aldi earlier, and bought some stuff, pictured above, to make a sort of hot soup - a sort of crunchy, non-soupified soup. It was nice and warming, but still left me feeling a bit unsatisfied. What I really wanted was something like chips, and lots of them, but I currently don't eat potatoes.
blue sky and bloody
  This was my view as I walked through the park on the way to the pub. The sky was a most beautiful shade of blue, and because I was walking to the north the sun was behind me. I could feel a bit of warmth from it as it fell on my black coat, but not on my bare face or fingers. They both remained bloody cold !
Heron and rat
  One thing that reduced my average walking speed was when I saw the view above. Until yesterday I thought herons only ate fish, but it seems they eat rats too ! It was a gruesome sight, and one I didn't wait through to see it's ultimate conclusion (mostly because I was cold, I knew the clock was ticking on my average walking speed, and Guinness and Angela was calling), but I did watch for long enough to try to get better pictures. I could have done with one of my better cameras with a good zoom lens on it, but all I had was a pocket snapper. I'll say one thing for that heron, it wanted a clean rat to eat, and kept dipping it in the river to wash it.
more "save your
                        local" beer mats
  I noted that there was a different design of beer mats on the table yesterday. They continued the theme of "save your local" I had seen last Monday, but with a different flip side. I didn't collect a couple of samples like I did on Monday, and I wish I had done so. I had to take the picture above in the rather dim lighting of the pub.

  There were things I was going to do when I got home - such as fitting fresh ink cartridges in my printer, and printing the picture of Chris on stage properly - but I felt in a most lazy mood. Once I had gone through the few photos I had taken while out (about 12 in total) I lay on my bed to read, and ended up snoozing. Before I knew it, it was 4pm, and it was just about dark outside, and also time to take my afternoon medicines.

  Before long it was time to start preparing my dinner ready for 6pm. Like the "soup" I had when I came home, it would be nice, but somehow not satisfying. It was cod, mushrooms, and cauliflower cooked together in chicken stock. To be honest it was rather bland, but it seemed to do the trick, and I ate very little after dinner (although "very little" does not equate to nothing) !

  I had told Angela the sort of dinner I was going to make - at least I think I did. It must have been a little after 7pm, perhaps nearer 8pm when I got a message from Angela asking if I had enjoyed my dinner. I think she just wanted to talk, but only by text for some reason. Through the medium of txt message we seemed to share a lot of warmth. The final message from Angela was "Bless you bill Xxxx".

  I was looking forward to a good sleep last night - for no better reason than that the previous two nights had featured bad sleep. Last night was sort of half an half. I found it a tiny bit easier to get comfortable, but my brain still wouldn't shut up at first. It was past midnight when I fell asleep. With hindsight I am unsure just how bad my sleep was, if indeed it was that bad. I probably only woke up about three times in the night, and that is about average these days. It seemed like I had not been asleep for very long every time I woke up, but the clock said different. It seemed to take an age to get back to sleep again, but I suspect the reality was a lot less than how it felt at the time.

  I woke up at about 6.30am, and went for a wee. I refreshed the weather forecast so I could (later) take a screenshot. I did contemplate actually getting up then, but still felt tired. I got back in bed, and after a while I sunk into a deep sleep...or maybe it wasn't so deep because it ended with a pleasant dream that featured Angela. It wasn't of a sexual nature, but was probably heading that way when I woke up.

  Today my day is dictated by two things. I missed the postman while I was out yesterday, and I have a small packet to collect from the sorting office today. It needs a signature, otherwise I suspect it could have gone through my letter box. It is almost certainly the two very small "Smart Media" memory cards I ordered the other day. Walking to and from the sorting office adds up around 2 miles, and that will do very nicely for my daily exercise.

  Later this afternoon I will be off to Shortlands for my regular Thursday drink. I had planned to meet Carrie there to give her some photos before she rushed off to an actors agency dinner party, but she now tells me she has to attend a rehearsal for something she is acting in. It is all go for our up and coming celebrity !

  Like yesterday, I don't feel that wonderful this morning, and if I wasn't quite so keen to get those memory cards, and to give my new, ancient, Toshiba digital camera a good testing, I could quite happily forego a walk this morning. On the other hand my blood pressure is nice and low this morning, and my blood glucose, after peaking a bit high the other day, is back to a decent morning level of 6.5. Nearer to 6, or even 5.5 would be better, but I can accept 6.5 OK. I have yet to "open my bowels", as the nurses so delicately put it, and so I can't accurately judge my weight, but I think that after a small glitch the other day it is back on track, and maybe that units digit will drop by one soon. I just wish it would happen a lot faster, but in some ways I feel amazed it is happening at all in the winter (it feels like it even if winter does not officially start until the 21st this month).
Wednesday 4th December 2019
07:32 GMT
  Yesterday's weather forecast got it all wrong ! It said it would be lightly overcast all day. It wasn't ! It was bright, and there were many sunny periods during the hours of daylight. That didn't stop it being cold though. Maybe the early afternoon was the forecast 8° C, but it felt like a couple of degrees less than that - except indoors, with the sun shining through my front windows. I estimate that was the equivalent of having a 1kW heater on in the room.
another frosty start, and maybe fog later
  The sky is just starting to light up, and it seems very clear. There is a good chance the temperature is less than the 3° C forecast judging by the thick frost on the cars outside. I think there is a chance we will see better than sunny periods once the sun has risen a bit higher. On the other hand there is the weather warning for fog. If fog rises it will blot out the sun, and the official weather warning says it could last for much of the morning, but right now it seems clear outside. The forecast has been revised since I took the screenshot above. The only change is that sunny periods are shown up to 1pm now, but it is still thought that the maximum temperature will be a chilly 7° C. Tomorrow may start with another frost, but sunny intervals are shown to last most of the daylight hours, and the afternoon temperature could be 10° C - that could be almost warm in the sunshine !
 speed walking - almost !
  I was out a lot earlier than usual to attempt a more demanding sort of walk. I didn't take a camera because I wanted to see what sort of walking speed I could sustain. The plan was to walk to Ladywell and back, through the park, and then possibly do another circuit. The first part of the walk, from home to Ladywell, was the fastest at 3.69 miles per hour. That is a little bit faster than my old walking to work speed of about 3.3 miles per hour on a good day.

  I next checked my speed, and the distance covered when I got back to the entrance to the park nearest home. The distance was 1.14 miles, and my average speed had dropped slightly to 3.61 mile per hour. I then faced the possibility of doing another lap, and I did start one, but I was only a third of the way to Ladywell when I felt bored with doing the same route again, and I veered off.

  I ended up leaving the park, and heading for the high street. That gave me the opportunity to see if Cash Busters was open (the shutters were down in the middle of the day the last time I passed). It was, and I spent a couple of minutes looking in their window, but there was nothing to tempt me on this occasion.

  After Cash Busters I took the most direct route home. My entire walk was 2.09 miles - only a few tenths of a mile less than if I had walked a double circuit around the park - and I had managed to do an average of 3.34 miles per hour. I think I was satisfied with that !

  While I was out I had left sausages cooking in the oven. It was nice to come home to some warm food because while my upper arms, and my face was sweating (more so once I got into the warm), my fingers had been tingling cold while out walking. If I do something similar today, I may well wear gloves ! On this occasion those sausages might not have been good for me, and something like some hot soup would have been better, but maybe the blame lies with some of the other stuff I ate before dinner.

  After my sausages I had a lie down, but I don't think I had a snooze....or did I ? The rest of the afternoon, and a bit into the evening, was taken up with photography. Specifically I was re-editing a few of the original snaps I had taken at Petts Wood on Saturday. I was re-editing them specifically for printing on photo paper (and then mounting in cheap photo frames). I think they look pretty good.

  I have arranged to give them to Carrie (and possibly Stephen Blessing) tomorrow. Carrie is off to some actors agency dinner, but said it would probably be easy for her to stop by The Shortlands Tavern while I am having my regular late Thursday afternoon drink (although now, with it getting so dark, so early, describing it as Thursday evening, or even Thursday night is hardly stretching things). I hope she likes them, and I hope she doesn't get pissed at her dinner, and leave the photos in a cab, or something similar.

  Before I had my dinner I checked my blood glucose level, and it was not as low as I hoped. It wasn't that high, but after a run of mid sixes, it was annoying to see it just over seven. I think I will blame it on the two little tins of fish in a mustard sauce that I had as a snack late in the afternoon. I fear this cold weather is making me want to eat a lot more, and it is hard to resist these primitive instincts.

  I spent a bit more of the evening printing out a couple more photos. There was one of Jo and one of Chris from when they did their special Fleetwood Mac set at The Fellowship And Star pub. Jo's print came out OK, but I had trouble with Chris. I had trouble getting the size right for the photo frames I was using - they seemed to have wider bezels that the ones I had used for Carrie and Stephen. I just got the picture of Chris about right when my printer ran out of coloured inks - specifically blue ink. I'm not so sure that the black ink hasn't run out as well, but the printer is only complaining about the colour cartridge needing replacing.

  I guess I knew this would happen sooner or later because, at great expense, I recently bought two more packs of inks. I have to say that I am a bit disappointed by how quickly a bit of photo printing has used them up. Later this afternoon I will fit a fresh colour cartridge and try again. Maybe I'll change the black ink cartridge as well, but I'll try it without at first.

  By 10pm I thought I was ready for bed, but I appeared to be suffering from insomnia again. I thought I felt tired, but maybe I have been getting up so late that my sleep time has shifted. It's why I got up before daybreak this morning. I think it might have been getting on for 1am before I got to sleep. I know I was definitely asleep when my phone bleeped to let me know I had received an email from Amazon.
part of a message from
  This is a slightly edited screenshot of the message from Amazon. When I ordered the two Smart Media memory cards from a private seller, via Amazon, they charged me two lots of postage, and it was quite a bit of postage considering the two memory cards, with a wrap of protective cardboard, would easily fit inside an ordinary DL envelope needing just a first class stamp on it. I don't know how much extra recorded delivery costs, and if that accounts for the rather expensive P&P. Anyway, Amazon's great computer realised that I had paid double postage (or maybe the company I was buying from confessed to Amazon), and one lot of postage is now being refunded.

  Being woken up with this good news did little to help my sleep. On the whole I seemed to have quite a bad night. One, if not the main difficulty was finding positions where some one or more bots of my body would not complain. Several times I almost popped one of my dodgy ribs when trying assorted positions. One position that seemed comfortable for a bit ended when I realised my right hand was going numb. I also managed to get cramp in my left foot at one point. On the whole it was not a satisfactory night.

  It was not a very satisfactory morning once I got up deliberately early. My blood glucose was still a bit higher than most recent morning, and it seemed that I had put on a whole kilogramme ! It turned out to be less than that once I had a fairly good poo, but even so it was still high, and made me wonder what had been the point of my 2 mile walk yesterday. I think today demands a new strategy.

  This morning I want to go to Aldi. I need a few vegetable because with these frosty mornings I seem to have lost my love affair with salads again. I also fancy having some fish. Later in the morning, or perhaps at about midday, I will go for a long walk. I have it in mind to walk up to the top of Mountsfield park, and then along Hither Green Lane before coming down the hill into Lewisham Park. If I time it right I will be in the pub at 1pm, and with luck I will have a drink with with Angela.

  Then it will be back home for maybe a sort of home made soup to warm me up again. The home made soup will quite probably be something like bean sprouts cooked in chicken stock, and not really a soup at all. Maybe I'll then have a siesta before changing that (or those) ink cartridges before having another go at printing out the picture of Chris. Once that is done I can probably completely relax, and maybe listen to some music.
CDs listened to
  I almost forgot - while working yesterday I was listening to these CDs bought from the British Heart Foundation charity shop. All were good-ish. I found the Chris Rea and Joe Jackson were good to work to. They were not exciting enough to cause any distraction, and there was nothing to annoy about them. The Carly Simon CD was nice. It had all her more popular songs on it, plus a few that are possibly less well known to most, but which I knew from the one or two LPs I used to own. The bit surprise was Blondie - Autoamerican. It is very different from their punk/new wave stuff. I suspect it was mainly a vehicle for Debbie Harry to experiment with her vocals. I am not sure what music category to put it in, but it was pleasant to listen to - mostly.
Tuesday 3rd December 2019
08:45 GMT
  Yesterday morning was sunny, and the afternoon had a good selection of sunny spells, but it was a very cold day. The forecast said the maximum temperature, for just a couple of hours in the afternoon, would be 7° C. I never saw my thermometers get much about 4° C, and the frost in more shaded places didn't melt until early afternoon. (I'm not sure that some of it maybe not have even melted by then).
                    sunshine, but it might be warmer then yesterday
   I don't have a lot of confidence in the forecast for today. It is about 3° C right now, and maybe the afternoon may see 8° C, but as I write this I am waiting for the sun to come out. By my reckoning it is less overcast than the forecast says. I can see lots of blue patches of sky, and if one of those crosses the path of the sun we will have sunshine ! The highest chance of rain today is going to be just before midday, but with only a 6% chance it seems highly likely to be another perfectly dry day. Tomorrow is going to be almost a re-run of today, but with two possible differences. There could be some sunny spells for a couple of hours in the morning, and the afternoon temperature may be 1° C less at just 7° C. The day after may be similar again, but Friday looks like it might buck the trend with the temperature rising to 13 or 14° C. The reason for that will be thick clouds and it is certain to rain - possibly heavy rain.

  Yesterday was an odd sort of day. It didn't turn out quite how I imagined it would. Before I went out for my walking exercise (and meeting Angela) I went out to do a bit of shopping in Poundstretcher. I basically just wanted some bleach, but got "Toilet Gel", which is just a thicker version of bleach, and I wanted, and bought, some photo frames. However, before going in Poundstretcher I went into the British Heart Foundation charity shop.

  Their turnover of CDs seems to be quite quick at the moment, and I found another 5 CDs that interested me (at 99p each). Blondie, Chris Rea, Carly Simon, and Joe Jackson are all known quantities, but I took a chance on a Smashing Pumpkins double CD. I don't really know if I like Smashing Pumpkins or not. I certainly don't recognise any song titles, but the name of the CD, "Mellon Collie & The Infinite Sadness" somehow seems familiar. Maybe I read about it in a music magazine many years ago, but if I did I can't recall a single thing I read.

  The two cameras I didn't even look at the last time I was in the shop were still there, and this time I thought I would take a look. Both looked nasty and plasticky, but one had a flash gun attached to it by a bracket that included a hand grip. I thought that might be useful even if the plastic (film) camera wasn't worth bothering with. Another bonus was that it came with a small camera case that could be quite useful. Unfortunately someone had left the batteries in the flash gun, and they had leaked. It has rotted away the battery contact, but if the circuit board inside is not too badly damaged it could be repairable if I could find the patience to do it.

  The other camera was more interesting. It was a Toshiba digital camera. It must be quite old, and is only 3.2mp, but if it is as good as the nearest contemporary camera I have to it, my Olympus C100, which is only a 1.3mp camera, it could be quite usable. I did take a couple of indoor test shots, and considering it has not been set up in any way, the results seemed OK. The bad thing is that like my Olympus C100 camera, it uses a Smart Media memory card, and they are now very rare. It was a memory card format that never caught on. I found a couple of second hand cards on Amazon, and ordered them. They are a bit expensive compared to SD memory cards - incredibly so when you compare them price-per-byte. I think the biggest Smart Media cards were only 128MB. I routinely buy 32GB cards for my big cameras.

yesterday's walk
 All this shopping, and playing with cameras meant I was too late to go for a long walk, and barely had time to get to the pub by the shortest walk possible. It was still worth trying, and I think I surprised myself by walking direct from home to the pub in just 11 minutes. When I put the tracking app on pause I noted that my average speed had been 3.3mph - a bit faster than when I am stopping to take photos along the way, and maybe very slightly higher than my usual walking pace. Walking pace is often quoted at 5mph, but very people reach that by my observation, and even fewer manage to sustain it for long. I felt quite pleased with my performance.

  I had no idea if Angela would turn up at the pub or not. She didn't know I would be there, and we had had no contact since before the weekend. I was in the pub a good 5 minutes before 1pm (much to my surprise), and I was well into my first pint of Guinness when Angela arrived at about 10 past 1pm. She was surprised, but happy to see me.

  We had a good chat together, but I really can't remember just what most of it was about. That didn't really matter because it was warm and friendly, and I do remember there was smiling involved. I guess it was just all inconsequential small talk - the sort of thing I didn't think I could do, but it seems easy with Angela. I guess being the same age, having broadly similar music tastes, and both living in or near Catford all our lives, gives us so much in common.

  One thing I do recall was Angela telling me how my weight loss was beginning to show. That felt nice, and gave me inspiration to carry on. As usual we left the pub together, and I walked Angela back to work. We parted with another very warm hug with smiles all around. The walk back to Angela's work was a bit slower than my walk to the pub, and I picked up the pace again once I had said goodbye. Even at a fairly hard pace to catch up a bit of time, I became aware of just how cold it was feeling. I am not sure why I noticed it less when out shopping, or going to the pub.

  During the afternoon I felt really cold, and turned the heater up full to compensate. What I should have done was to have a hot soup or two, but instead I ended up snacking on all sorts of things - both bad and not so bad. The main consequence of this was that my blood glucose level was higher than than my current average when I checked it before having my dinner at 6pm.

 At least my dinner was designed to be healthy (I hope). Like the day before it was a pile of salad stuff with grilled chicken on it. On this occasion I used skinless/boneless chicken thighs, and before grilling them I poured some extra hot chilli sauce on them. It gave them a bit of a tang, but I am sure I could do better (and hopefully will tonight). I grilled just three thighs out of a pack of about eight, and so I have more to experiment with. One thing I will do is to give them a bit more time under the grill. They were cooked through properly, but still seemed a bit "wet". Another 10 minutes under the grill would have improved the texture, and should drive off a bit more fat.

  I was very tempted to snack more in the evening after I had eaten dinner. I don't think I was actually hungry, but feeling cold earlier had invoked some sort of primitive survival instinct in me - possibly ! It is fortunate that I didn't have that much to snack on, but I did get through a lump of cheese, and I even ate two packets of crisps ! I was most surprised to find my blood glucose was almost back to normal this morning, and I didn't seem to have put on any weight, but I am not complacent about these matters.

  I had a reasonable, not great, but not bad, sleep last night, and I seem to feel generally OK. This morning, and perhaps after no more than wiping a damp flannel across the smellier bits. I intend to go out for a longer, and faster walk. My idea is to see how fast I can walk a complete circuit of the northern part of the park - up to Ladywell and back - non stop unless I see something that just has to be photographed.  If that doesn't kill me then I might even try to do two laps. Somehow I don't think that will happen, but I'll decide on the spur of the moment.

  While walking I will cook some sausages in the oven/grill. It does seem that a good dose of sausages for lunch does seem to keep he cold out, and reduce the desire to snack. Previous experience shows it hardly effects my blood glucose level, and although I must have been mistaken, it has seemed that it has actually helped me lose a bit of weight. Perhaps it just distracts me from eating something worse.
beer mats with a
  I saw, and "borrowed these beer mats in the pub yesterday lunchtime. They show a message I very much approve of !
Monday 2nd December 2019
09:05 GMT
  I seem to think that there were more sunny periods yesterday than were forecast. On the other hand, most of the day was probably lightly overcast. It was another cold day with the temperature only rising to 7° C, but at least it was dry.
                    last, a sunny day !
   Today has started with blue skies and brilliant sunshine. Unfortunately that sunshine does not carry much heat at this time of year, and today will be another cold day. The maximum temperature may only be 7° C again, and then only for a couple of hours in the afternoon. At the moment the cars outside still have frosty roofs. It seems the sunshine will fade to just sunny spells in the middle of the afternoon, and then the sun sets anyway. Tomorrow is currently forecast to have lots of sunny spells, and the temperature may briefly hit an amazing (!) 8° C, but 6 or 7° will be more common.
morning view through
                        dirty window
  This was the view through my in-need-of-cleaning bedroom window just now. The sun is to the left, and very low in the sky. The road itself is still in shadow, but the flats in the background are brightly lit by the sun. Meanwhile, it's not glaringly obvious, but the cars have a rime of frost on their roofs.

  It seems a big part of my day, yesterday, was editing photos and video I had taken at the music stage of the Petts Wood Xmas Carnival. Before that I went to Tesco to buy some food and drink. Drink included Absolute Vodka which was on special offer. I still haven't tuned my taste buds to vodka yet, and so find that all vodka tastes pretty much the same whether a supermarket own brand, or a well known label.

  My food purchases included lots of salad - which may seem strange on cold winter days, but I have enjoyed the last few salads I have made and eaten recently - including last nights. I bought a small amount of meat. One thing was a pack of skinless/boneless chicken thighs. Until now I have been boiling/stewing them to eat hot, but the diced chicken breast I bought the previous time I grilled with some spices on it. It came out nice, and went well with salad. I hope the chicken thighs will be just as good, or even better.

 There was one slightly dubious purchase, and that was sausages. In fact it was two packs as part of a 2 for £3 promotion. I just fancied some sausages yesterday, and I grilled a whole pack, and had them for lunch. My instinct says that was a bad idea, but maybe it wasn't. On these occasions when I have an all meat lunch I am far less likely to want to snack on anything during the day, and sometimes the evening too, although that does depend on how bored I might get. If those sausages have any effect on my blood glucose it is an effect for the better. My readings seem to have stabilised to an average of about 6.5mmol/l for some time now. I also noted that my weight had dropped a few hundred gramme this morning - and I haven't had my morning poo yet !
Carrie in the snow
  One of the pictures I worked on yesterday. One of the stage effects was a snow machine, and I captured this shot of Carrie in the middle of what looks like a blizzard ! I send Carrie a high resolution shot of this, and another picture featuring both her and Steven Blessing. They, as The Cazbar Duo, have used them for their bands official Xmas greetings.

  One thing that took up a bit of time for me, and a lot more for my computer, was correcting the one big cock-up I made when videoing - not getting my tripod level. I have now learned a few more options in my video editor of choice (kdenlive - an application for the Linux operating system). That little lesson may be the key to some more creative options, but ideally I need a much more powerful PC. It took just over 40 minutes for my computer to process 4 minutes of video as it took each frame and rotated, and slightly expanded it to lose the rough edges.

  This song is by Adele, a singer I have heard of, but have never really listened to before, and the song is called "Rolling In The Deep". It is not really the sort of song I like, but Carrie and Steven did a good job of singing/playing it. The only bad thing is Carrie's tendency to bellow out each song. I am sure she could sound really good in front of a studio microphone with a producer to tame her wilder vocal excesses.

  The effect of my lunchtime sausages was that I ended up having dinner over half an hour later than usual. It was a huge salad - the sort that the miserable old Cardiac Rehabilitation did not want to understand. It was huge because one bell pepper, a couple of tomatoes, some spring onions, and three, yes three, sticks of celery make a big pile when on top of a heap of salad leaves. For all that, even including the grilled chicken breast, it is, I believe, a low calorie, and low carbohydrate meal.

  I did eat some flavoured peanuts during the evening, and I really shouldn't have. They do contain a lot of energy, and the flavoured coating adds unwanted carbohydrate. Nevertheless, I think I felt very slightly hungry when I went to bed, or maybe it was some other deficiency. I do know that it took a long time before I fell asleep. Maybe I should blame it on the book I was reading. Last night I finished Michael Collins "Carrying The Fire". It was most enjoyable and thought provoking. I think that thinking about the book probably stopped my brain switching off when I wanted to sleep. It certainly coloured my dreams, although right now I can't seem to remember much about those dreams.

  This morning I would have liked a few more hours sleep, but it was sort of pointless with the sun shining brightly. Quite some time before sunrise, around 5.30am I think, I was awake and aware of the frost outside. It got me thinking about how I ever managed to get up at 5am on a morning like this morning, and then while it was still dark outside get the 6.33am train to work. I guess I could do it again if I had to, but the idea has very little appeal !

  I seem to feel mostly OK again this morning. My blood glucose level was probably a bit lower than expected, but was actually about average for morning for some time now (excepting occasional anomalies). Best of all was my weight. As I mentioned above, I have still not had a morning poo (although I have farted a lot), but my weight seems to be a few hundred grammes lower than yesterday. It doesn't seen that unlikely that by the end of this week I could possibly drop down to the next whole units digit !

  There are a couple of things I want to do today, but they rely on timing - mostly on getting ready to go out early. I want to go to Poundstretcher to buy some photo frames, and probably other stuff too. Then I want to go for a long walk, but one that will pass the pub at 1pm to see if I catch Angela in there. It seems the new tradition is to only "officially" meet her on a Wednesday, but to bump into her on other days if I can. Later this afternoon I want to do some photo printing - not something I do often, but maybe I should.
Sunday 1st December 2019
09:32 GMT
  Yesterday was cold, no more than 7° C, but it was mostly bright, and it was dry. That made all the difference. It would have been horrible under a sullen grey sky with rain falling.
                    and almost bright
   We start December with the sun doing it's best to shine. At the moment the sun is a glaringly bright patch between two clouds, and is only able to cast a very weak and fuzzy shadow. There are some blue patches of sky, and maybe we will get some real sunshine. The latest revision to the forecast has extended the sunny spells to 11am, and maybe they might continue after that. Sadly the sun just doesn't have the heat to warm thing up beyond 7° C today. The sky might be clear for a lot of tomorrow, and we should have the luxury of loads of sunshine, but once again it may be no warmer than 7° C again.

  Yesterday was a busy day, or at least it was quite a different day to the previous week or two...or three.  After some of the usual morning things my day got off to a nice start when I had a midday meal of "buffalo wings". Actually, it wasn't that nice a start. Those chicken wings were nice - ish, but not as enjoyable as they should have been. Maybe it was just guilt, although later evidence was that there was worse to be guilty about, and even later evidence would show that maybe I had no reason to feel any guilt.

  The highlight of the day was going to Petts Wood to take some snaps of the live music stage as part of the Petts Wood Xmas Carnival. I correctly predicted that there would be room to use a tripod when shooting a bit of video, and so I carried not only my heavy camera bag, but also a tripod as I walked to the station to get the 1.40pm train. There are no through trains to Petts Wood (and ultimately Orpington) at the weekend, which is sort of annoying, and I had to change trains at Shortlands. Fortunately it is only a 3 minute wait fro the next train.

  I arrived at Petts Wood nice and early, but that was by design. The first thing I wanted to do was to get some cash out of a hole-in-the-wall cash machine. I was rather pleased when I saw my balance after the transaction. It somehow seemed unlikely, but my expenditure in November was not significantly more than my BT pension pays me. It seems my prediction from when I was starting retirement, that if I was careful I could almost live on that small pension, was about right. Of course there have been occasions when I have attacked my saving viciously to but some trinket or another, like a new phone or camera, but on the whole I am doing well.

  The music still wasn't due to start for another 20 minutes, and it could have started even later. I had time to kill, and the best way was to go into the pub, out of the cold, and have a pint of Guinness. As soon as I walked into the pub I was greeted by Carrie Mae with a kiss on the cheek. Nice ! It was Carrie I had come to see singing with her partner Steve accompanying her on guitar. By the time I had finished my Guinness they were ready to start.
Carrie Mae
  It is good to know Carrie. As well as a singer she is also an actress, and I think she was recently accepted to host some sort of quiz programme on TV. I suspect it is just on some sort of tin pot satellite channel, but it seems she is slowly working her way up the show business ladder. It would be nice to think I have a selection of pictures I have taken if she does someday become a household name.
Carrie and Steve
  Carrie and Steve Blessing. Steve is a very talented guitarist, and his praises were sung by friend and neighbour Michael - a mostly ex-guitarist himself. He marvelled at how Steve could play some quite complicated stuff, in a way that made him sound bigger than than just a single (electro)acoustic guitar while playing with frozen fingers. My fingers were getting a bit tingly as we stood around in the cold, and could have had a small impact on how I operated my camera. I certainly couldn't seem to get my tripod level on the sloping ground !

  This was one of three bits of video I shot using my mobile phone. My Huawei P20 Lite has proved to be almost very good for recording live music. The definition is fine, and the audio, although sometimes obviously compressed, doesn't sound distorted. The only bother is the focus. I don't know why, but every now and then it momentarily loses focus. I suspect it was being distracted by one of the lights or something. It is annoying because it spoils what could have been a good video....or good if I had managed to get the tripod level !

  We stayed outside until the end of Carrie's set, and then went into the pub to warm up, and to have what I think was actually a third pint of Guinness. I didn't feel any rush to go out again because I didn't think I would like the next set. It was from a solo performer called (if I recall correctly) Paul Brown. He was good at what he did, but I did not find it enjoyable. I don't think Michael was over enthused about him either. I took a few photographs of him, and the we left to make our way back to Catford.

  We had about a 10 or 12 minute wait for the first Victoria train to take us to either Bromley South, or Shortlands station where we would change trains. I am not sure why, but I tend to change trains at Shortlands. One good thing is that the timetable seems to have been changed in Autumn to make the wait shorted when changing trains there. It used to be a very annoying 20 minutes, but now it is just 13 minutes wait - unless the train we want is running late - which it was  !

  It was obvious that Michael was feeling uncomfortable, and so we left the station to go to The Shortlands Tavern where Michael could use the toilet, and we could have another beer. I was very fortunate to get the last pint of 6% Suffolk Strong ale. It brought a nice interior warming glow to my body ! We timed our exit a bit better, and had a much shorter wait for the next train back to Catford.

  I was feeling good in some respects, and less good in others when I got home. I definitely seemed to have more energy than expected, but I was feeling very hungry - a feeling made worse by the beer. I was also feeling impatient, and yet somehow patient. In short I didn't fancy cooking, and did fancy a takeaway. I expected it to have dire consequences to my diet, and blood glucose, but I ordered a couple of kebabs (a single kebab would have done, but I had to meet the minimum delivery charge).

  Maybe I should not have worried too much because apart from the size of the meal, grilled meat (they were shish, and not greasy donner) with salad is what I would have been cooking for myself anyway. Maybe the peri-peri wings were going overboard a bit, but they seemed like a good idea at the time. I went to bed several hours later feeling rather full. Perhaps that was good, or perhaps it was because I was due to make up for some poor sleep in the previous couple of night, but whatever, I had a pretty good night last night.

  This morning I feel quite reasonably OK. Not perfect, but I doubt I will ever feel perfect again ! Apart from all my usual aches and pains being on minimum, my blood pressure was nice and low. To my great surprise, my blood glucose was also nice an low. In fact it was among the lowest morning readings I have been taking these last few months. The most amazing this of all was that my weight had not gone up at all, and there is hope that  have now permanently dropped down to the next units digit down. If things proceed as expected my weight will annoying hover around the mid point for some days, probably a week, before the units digit (kilogramme) drops one lower.

  Today I have two plans. One is to continue going through the photos I took yesterday, and select the best for a photo album (and maybe the very best to send to Carrie for her portfolio - if she has one, and if she wants to include them in it if it does exist). The other thing is to probably go to Tesco to buy more salad. While it is bright, and tomorrow should be very sunny, I can sort of blank out the cold to enjoy some salad instead of the alternative of boiled vegetables.