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|My Diary/Blog For the Month of February 2019|
|Thursday 28th February 2019
| 10:18 GMT
Yesterday was the last day of the psuedo summer we have been having. It was warm and sunny with a top temperature of 18° C somewhere around here. I only saw 16° C on my thermometers, but I may have been looking at the wrong time, and/or my thermometers are mounted next to the brick walls of my house, and they slow temperature changes down. Whatever it really was, it was nice, and it still felt quite nice a little while after sunset. Then things started to go slowly downhill.
We end this month on a downturn in the weather. This morning was not exceptionally cold, but there was no hint of any sunny spells as predicted by the forecast. By this afternoon it should warm to 13° C, and that is still not that bad. What is really unknown is whether the little pictograms on the forecast mean rain or shine between 2pm and 5pm. It seems to mean both, but when used here it usually means rain, and not rainbows. Tomorrow, the 1st of March, may have a similar spread of temperatures, but not a single ray of sunshine is forecast. No rain is specifically forecast either, but the chance of rain still remains. After tomorrow it first of all gets much wetter, and then gets much colder - maybe.
I had no idea what I might do yesterday, and even today I don't really know what I did...sort of. One thing is for certain, and that is I didn't even go out to the park. However, I wasn't completely sedate. I did go to the 99p shop, and to Iceland. I was mainly looking for the Hazelnut Cream scented candles, but it seems that have all been sold now. That is not surprising considering how nice they smell. I did buy a vanilla scented candle, but it was from the same maker as the "fresh linen" scented candles that smell like a sooty, faulty gas boiler. I suspect it will not be as pleasant as some vanilla scented candles.
Among a few other items bought were a couple of bottles of lemon juice. According to the ingredients they are almost pure lemon juice with no sweeteners, and just one preservative. I hope they will go nicely on something like fish salads. I also bought a big(ish) jar of pickled chillies. It will be interesting to see what happens when I open them. Sometimes they seem to go off very quickly, and I suspect these will too because they are pickled more in brine than vinegar. I have an opened jar of sliced jalapeño chillies, and they seems to be lasting well. I note they are pickled in pure vinegar.
After the 99p shop I went across the way to Iceland. I couldn't resist getting a couple of ready meals in there, but I was principally after sugar free chocolate digestive biscuits and sugar free chocolate cookies. They are probably a little expensive, but they are very nice and almost, within reason, guilt free. The "controlled calorie" ready meals were not so nice. The aloo gobi side dish was sort of wet and watery, and not nice at all. I think I could possibly make someting with potato and cauliflower with similar or less calories in, and better tasting. Of course I would have no way of confirming the lack of calories and stuff.
It was while on the way to the shops that the course of my afternoon was to change. I bumped into my next door neighbour, and he was curious about my train cameras. It may have been 10 years ago now he told me how he loved watching the family of foxes playing in my garden. He, and his wife, are both very pro wildlife (except rats), and so I knew he would be interested that I was videoing my new resident fox. He does not have a PC or tablet, and so I said I would make a video compilation on DVD of the best video clips of the fox. Although it was the computer that did most of the work, it still kept me occupied for the rest of the afternoon.
For most of the day I was feeling generally OK, but from about sunset I slid back into the head cold that has spoiled my sleep on Tuesday night/Wednesday morning. My nose started to drip more and more. It wasn't long before my throat started getting sore, and shortly before going to bed I was coughing. It was not a nice cough. With the sore throat, and my dodgy chest, it was quite a painful cough, but it was bringing up a small amount of mucus. I couldn't settle in bed after going to bed, and I was going through tissues at an alarming rate. In an ideal world I would have wrapped myself tightly in the duvet, and sweated it out, but that was far too uncomfortable.
Instead of that I turned my heater up to full, and cooked myself that way. It also had the unfortunate effect of cooking my PC, and it took me some time to realise the clock screensaver I leave running all night had frozen. I couldn't be bothered to re-start the PC, but I did power it down. I guess I was sleeping for 30 to 60 minutes at a time before waking up for 10 to 30 minutes at a time. On one of those occasions my cough felt so uncomfortable that I got up and had a couple of squirts from my emergency inhaler. As usual it open up my airways, and I was able to cough up all the mucus with relative ease.
On the whole I had a pretty bad night, and that could have been unfortunate considering I wanted to be up early today to go and give a blood sample. There were two main things being tested in this blood sample. One was cholesterol level. Since I started to take my Statin tablets again my cholesterol should have reduced a lot if they do what they are supposed to do. The other things was my long term blood glucose level (or how the blood deals with it). For the last couple of months I have tried to keep my sugar and carbohydrate consumption low, and while there were exceptions, I think I hope I have succeeded well enough to pass that test.
Of course now I have given the blood samples (two test tubes full of it) I can have a feeding frenzy...sort of. There was one thing I would have loved to have had last night when my throat was feeling rather raw, but I had to wait until after getting home this morning before I could indulge myself in some ice cream. You'll note in the picture that it was a controlled and considered frenzy ! Despite the claims on the tub it is not that much lower in calories and sugar as ordinary ice cream, but at least it is a step in the right direction.
The picture on the left is the pad of cotton wool to soak up any leakage of blood after the samples were taken. On the whole it was a fairly good experience. I arrived at the vampire department 2 minutes after they start doing walk in service at 8.30am, and I got ticket 6. At 8.45 I was out again and walking around the corner to Aldi. My luck held even more than being in and out quick. This morning I was lucky and got the sharp round needle. I hardly felt it break the skin. I can't remember if it was last time, or the time before that, but it was really rather painful !
Now I am home, and I have eaten my ice cream, and also a bacon, lettuce and tomato sandwich, I still feel a bit off. My nose is only occasionally dripping, and I am not coughing much, but I do feel rather tired, and generically ill. It is hard to say whet "generically ill" actually is. It is a sort of melange of assorted mild aches, something like eye strain, and something which is totally dissimilar to toothache, but comes from somewhere in the tooth region. What I would really love to do is to have a snooze in some warm, but not too strong sunshine.
In reality I will be lucky to feel OK to have a nice snooze on my bed. That is what I will,try to do though. If by some miracle I feel very much better later on I may chance going out to my late Thursday afternoon drink, but I don't feel like it at the moment. I think I'll just put my brain and body in neutral, and see where the currents take me. To finish off some video of my fox. It was while making the compilation DVD for my neighbour that I realised just how much well it's injured paw/leg has healed in the last 6 or 7 weeks. The first videos showed it never let its paw touch the ground, but the latest show it walking on it. It still looks to be slightly sore or stiff, but basically healed enough for it to leap around. The video I was going to show was it appearing to leap the side and back fence, and thus gain the freedom of more than my back garden. Unfortunately I chose the wrong video. This video shows it almost using it's food bowl as a frisbee, and seemingly having fun leaping on, over, and off the tree trunk.
|Wednesday 27th February 2019
| 08:46 GMT
It seems records were broken yesterday - the warmest February day "since records began". I don't think it got any warmer than the 17° C forecast for here, but maybe 10 to 15 miles to the west, in Kew, it was reported on the news to have hit 21° C. It was non stop sunshine here all day !
Maybe it is possible that it will hit 18° C today, but it has started off colder than the forecast shows. My thermometers agreed it was a smidgen under 4° C less than 20 minutes ago, and while it could have been dew, it looked an awful lot like frost on some of my neighbours shed roofs. Today could be the last warm and sunny day until Spring officially starts at the beginning of March. Tomorrow could see some sunshine, but some rain is more likely, and the temperature will only rise to about 12° C. A few days later and the weather will be back to the seasonal average of about 10° C with grey, and occasionally wet skies !
I mentioned that I didn't fancy going far and wide yesterday because in the morning I didn't know if I was coming down with a cold, and indeed I was, but that would not affect me until the evening. I did have another reason to be cautious that I didn't mention. To celebrate the warm sunny days I started to eat salad and fruit. A sudden change of diet like that has been known to cause some disturbance in the aether....It didn't this time, but it was only with the benefit of hindsight that I realised that it would have been safe to be miles from the nearest toilet.
I did get a little bit of walking in yesterday, but it was little more than 15 minutes (maybe 20). Once I was up and dressed I took a walk to Cash Busters, the pawn and secondhand shop on the high street. Unlike the day before, when I took a look through the window on my way to fail to intercept Angela in the park, it was open yesterday morning. In ultimate terms I wasted some more money in there, but I did get a very good deal on the two items I bought in there.
The first item was in the window for £50, and it was a semi-pro wireless microphone system. It intrigued me, and it could potentially have a real world use in conjunction with my camera when used in movie mode. It was interesting that the instruction booklet that came with it mentions using it as a wireless guitar link as well as a wireless microphone. It is possible that I might try and sell it on to someone in a band. It was in the window for £50, but I paid £40 for it. I could possible sell it for £60.
The second item was another camera. It had a price tag of £65, but I paid £50 for it. It is an interesting camera, but I don't think it is very good. It is a Pentax K-x camera, and it is a Digital Single Lens Reflex camera, and in it's time it was probably quite an expensive bit of kit. It came on the market 10 years ago. They are still listed on Amazon, probably "second user" for almost £200. So I potentially got a bargain, but I am not so sure. I haven't taken it out to see how it performs in real life, but I was not too impressed with some indoor test shots I took yesterday.
It may well be that I should take the time to learn about it's use. Now I have had some practice using the Canon Rebel camera that I also bought from Cash Busters for £50, I am starting to get good pictures out of it. Some reviews say that the Pentax is good in low light conditions, and that might have potential. The big negative thing with it is that it has either been used in a greasy atmosphere (a chip shop ?) or someone's attempt to polish it up for sale have caused a few problems. The inbuilt flash was stuck down, but seems OK now I have washed it out with some alcohol. It also seems that a rotary dial has had some ingress from some contaminant, and it can be intermittent. Without stripping the camera down it is difficult to clean it, but an occasional squirt of Isopropol Alcohol seems to be having a positive effect.
I think this camera is just going to be a curio, but I will try and use it a bit. One negative thing is that Pentax lenses are rare and expensive. One positive thing is that this camera runs on AA batteries, and so apart from problems of leaking batteries, there is no worry about a mega expensive battery pack failing after being unused for months or years. Probably the best picture taken with the camera so far is a picture taken this morning. I am sure my mobile phone camera could have done better, but at least this rather flat looking picture shows what might be frost on a few shed roofs.
My major distraction and exercise yesterday was doing some more garden clearance. I was reluctant to do it because I didn't want to upset my resident fox (although it's really a resident of next door - only the entrance to it's earth is in my garden - most of it is under next doors garden). However I needed to get more clearance done, and leaving the brown wheelie bin unused for weeks on end seemed like a waste of the £65 a year I pay for it. Not only that, but I wanted to get out into that sunshine and warm air.
It was certainly warm enough to work without a shirt - but only by a small margin. Unfortunately it is still a few months away until the sun is high enough to do any more than fall obliquely onto the back fence, and little where else. So I didn't really stand much of a chance of a topless tan ! That lack of sun meant that the garden was still quite muddy despite no rain for quite a few days now (a fortnight maybe ?).
Once I got started it was quite enjoyable work, and it sometimes felt that I was making good progress. Since the last time I did any work out there the weeds have hardly grown at all, and so I filled the wheelie bin to the top with old growth, and revealed a few more bit of ground. The most noticeable is another 2ft of garden path now revealed. I did some work at the back of the garden. It included pulling more ivy off the back fence, and the start of disposing of what looked like old tre trunks, but is actually thick plaited ivy stems that must have come off the trunk of the tree that the con men cut down for me.
The other area where I am starting to make some progress is in reducing the pile of crap against the right hand fence. There is all sorts of crap there including the remains of two old chairs plus a roll of old lino. Much of it is old rotting wood from the time I cut a tree down, but there is also a lot more builders rubble than I realised. I blame the men who put up the fence for that. I think they just pushed anything in the way into my garden no matter what side it originally came from. Oh well, it will all mysteriously disappear little by little every fortnight....
This picture shows the weeds and stuff on the right slowly beginning to diminish, but more obviously is the still damp and muddy paving stone on the extra bit of garden path now revealed.
This picture shows the extent of the sun in my garden yesterday. It doesn't reach much further than the back fence, and that is a pity because the glare hides the fact that I have pulled off almost all the ivy from the fence.
I felt that good sort of hurting after I had finished in the garden yesterday. I'm unsure how long I was out there, but it might have been as long as 90 minutes. There was also a bit of preparation time and clear up time as well. I definitely felt like a rest afterwards, but I probably spent quite a bit of time playing with the Pentax camera instead of snoozing. One of the first things I did after getting cleaned up was to have some lunch. Yesterday, and it could be the same today, I had nothing but fruit for lunch. I am sure my bowels will love me for ever after that treat.
On the whole, ignoring a few obvious aches from my physical activity (pulling up weed and sawing wood) I felt fine until about sunset when my nose started to get a bit wet. It wasn't actually drippy then, but that would come later. One positive thing about my health was that my blood pressure was still nice and low yesterday evening. I have resumed taking Bisopropol, and my pulse rate has slowly started to fall back towards a better rate. I have now stopped taking Indapamide, and my systolic pressure has risen by a small amount, and that is in keeping with my hopes. I was not happy when I was getting the occasional reading of below 100 even when I still seemed to feel OK. I think a figure between 110 and 120 would feel right.
I celebrated (?) by having two salads for dinner last night. I had a mixed salad with some ham in it, but it didn't seem to hit the spot, and so I had a second salad of nice crunchy Romain lettuce with sardines with an oil and vinegar dressing. In some ways that was rather more satisfying despite being so simple. What I really wanted after that was some of those sugar free chocolate cookies that they seem to stock in Iceland now. I must pay them a visit soon - maybe today.
Maybe my desire for something that appeared to be sweet, even if it wasn't, was something to do with feeling like I was definitely ill. A few hours before bedtime and my nose was virtually pouring ! It made going to bed a bit tricky because I was starting to need a new tissue every 5 minutes. It is difficult to get to sleep with a nose full of snot that one wrong sneeze could spread all over the bed clothes ! Fortunately that didn't happen, and I did manage to get to sleep fairly quickly.
I woke up 3 or 4 times in the night. Sometimes for a pee, but always to blow out several gallons of snot. Two strange things seemed to happen last night. It felt like my sinuses were full to bursting point, and making my teeth itch. One time I woke up it was almost like I had toothache on the top left of my mouth. The next time I woke up it seemed to be on the top right. On no occasions was it ever from my lower teeth. By 4 or 5am that feeling, which was closer to itchiness than toothache in some ways, had gone.
The next time I woke up I had something new. The inside of both nostrils were really itching, or was it tingling. I am not sure which, but it was quite unpleasant, and made me wonder if it was an allergy rather than a cold. Maybe one clue that it was just a cold, and also why it seems to be getting better even while I am sitting here typing, is that at about 4am I woke up sweating like I had just had a fever. A fever is a good sign that the body is fighting back, and while it is probably unrealisticly optimistic, it does feel like the worst of this cold is now over.
I am unsure what to do today. Today is the last warm and sunny day until Spring really starts, and it would be a shame to waste it. Once again I don't feel comfortable going to somewhere like the seaside, and maybe I don't fancy any more than a walk in the park. Maybe I might see if Angela fancies a drink at lunchtime. That is a good excuse for a walk through the park, and I could take my Pentax camera out for a "test drive". Or I might decide to do something completely different once I am washed and dressed.
|Tuesday 26th February 2019
| 08:12 GMT
Some say it could be a false spring, and they could easily be right, but yesterday was another delightful day. It was warm and the sun shone all day long. The highest temperature was forecast to be 17° C. I'm not sure if it actually reached that, but I'm sure it came to within a couple of degrees to it.
The temperature didn't fall as far as it did the previous night, and there was no frost or mist this morning. The sky may have been a bit cloudy at sunrise, but it cleared very quickly, and it has been sunny since than, and it is forecast to be sunny until sunset. The afternoon high should be 17° C....In fact the latest revision says 18° C !! Tomorrow may be almost as warm, but there will only be sunny intervals in the morning. The day after would still have seemed rather good a few weeks back, but compared to recent weather it may be awful. It is forecast to be grey, sometimes wet, and only 12° C.
I started yesterday by saying how little I had seemed to do the previous day, although when I thought about it while writing about it, I did come to the conclusion that maybe I hadn't been sitting around doing nothing, and even video and photo editing is doing something - something that doesn't need any physical exertion, but can still be very tiring. For yesterday I have to scrape the barrel even deeper to justify my day. Going to Aldi was definitely a thing to do, and was quite physical. Perhaps the only negative thing is that once the food has been eaten, and the drinks drunk, there is nothing to show for it.
I definitely shopped with spring in mind. I bought stuff for salads, and another 8 cans of the rather delicious Innis & Gunn lager. I now have 16 cans of it ready for the next time I have a lager frenzy (or something like that). "Next time" could be anytime between tomorrow and the end of next month - perhaps even longer. I also bought some fruit - plums, strawberries and nectarines. I have to be careful how I eat them because too many will upset my blood sugar level. In the normal course of events I wouldn't worry about it too much, but on Thursday I will be going to give a blood sample. There have been plenty of exceptions, generally mild ones, but for the last two months I have been avoiding anything with sugar when I can. Once the blood sample has been taken it doesn't matter - within limits !
After getting back from Aldi I resisted the temptation to start eating anything I had bought because after a short rest I went out again. I was principally stalking Angela again. I did send her a text to say that I would be at her favourite park seat at about 1pm, but it was about half an hour after that she replied to say she wouldn't be there. I wonder if there was a genuine reason, or if she just didn't want to see me. I suggested that maybe we would meet in the pub later in the week - which could be tomorrow or Friday.
As I was heading to the park I thought I would look into Cash Builders (or whatever their name is). There were two items in there that I might have been interested in - mainly to waste my dwindling money ! They have a rather cheap (£50) wireless microphone system. I could potentially use on very rare occasions when videoing, but once my curiosity had been satisfied I would probably try and sell it on to one of the singers I know.
The other item that intrigued me was a white bodied Pentax 14.2MP camera. It looks like it could be a DSLR camera, but it might just be a fixed lens "bridge camera". It was priced at £65, but I reckon he would knock off at least £5. It also stated it comes with no warranty, and potentially that is worrying. I thing the main problem is that things like spare batteries, and lenses are probably rare and very expensive compared to far more common cameras like Canons and Nikons. Nevertheless I was prepared to buy it out of curiosity, but unfortunately the man from the shop was nowhere to be seen. A sign on the door said back in 15 minutes, but a man outside said he had been waiting 20 minutes for the shop to re-open. It was still closed another 20 minutes later after I had waited fruitlessly in the park for Angela.
I guess that the walk to Aldi and back counted for at least 20 - 25 minutes of walking if you include walking around inside the store. My walk to and from the park, via Cash Busters, must have been another 30 minutes of walking. I think I had probably done my exercise for the day. I came home again and had some lunch - and it was just fruit. All the fruit seemed a bit under ripe. The strawberries looked deliciously red, but of course they had been force ripened, and were not sweet and juicy. They weren't horrible, but I am glad I had no more than three of them yesterday. An extra day of ripening should make them taste better.
During the afternoon I felt a bit odd. I found it hard to concentrate, and for a while I felt strangely cold. The two things could be related, and maybe I will be finding out about it later today. I had planned to do a complicated two camera editing job of footage of my fox over the last couple of nights, but I couldn't face the fiddling around. What I did do was to edit a few pictures I had taken in the park on my Canon Rebel (aka EOS 300D) camera. It seems to be my camera of choice for simple landscape photography in the park - well, I did pay £50 for it, and it has to earn it's keep, plus it would not cope with the low light at most gigs.
As well as the blue sky and sunshine, there were plenty of signs of spring in the park.
I love those deep violet flowers.
The last time I tried taking this picture, the view across the big dip in the ground, as seen from Angela's favourite park bench, the exposure was all wrong. I think that my Canon Rebel camera has a tendency to underexpose pictures, but I am learning to compensate for that.
It would be nice to say that I did something worthwhile for the rest of the afternoon, but I found I wanted to lie down and relax a lot. I seem to have an afternoon nap most days now - except for days when I am out somewhere. It was during the nap, with the window open, and the sun pouring through the window, that I started to feel almost shivery. The previous day, in similar conditions, I was feeling very comfortable laying on my bed, reading then snoozing. It wasn't until much later that I noticed another symptom.
Yesterday was the first time in a couple of weeks that I have had a salad for dinner. It didn't turn out to be a very nice salad for a few reasons - maybe just one reason. I don't think the black pepper and lemon, low fat, salad dressing was very nice. Maybe if it hadn't been so fat free it might have been more protection against the sliced seedless chillies I added to the salad. Maybe it was a foolhardy thing to do because I also had hot pepperoni as the centre piece of the salad. Towards the end my mouth was burning. It was so painful that I couldn't be bothered to scrape the last bit of salad from the bottom of the bowl.
That salad actually left me feeling hungry, and during the evening, while watching some TV news, some Star Trek, and some QI, I had several snacks. I started with three rice cakes with Marmite on them, and they were mostly innocent. A bit later, another three rice cakes with peanut butter on them were rather less innocent. I'm not sure how to describe the mixed nuts with raisins which were my last snack of the evening.
I think it was about 10pm when I went to bed. As usual I read for a bit, but because of the weight and awkwardness of the big hard back book I am reading, I didn't read that much before I turned out the light. It was like many nights - seemingly unable to fall asleep, and then before I knew it I was fast asleep. There was one difference last night, and I think it follows on from my almost shivery period of time in the afternoon. I had a very sore throat. It was often feeling dry and tickly. So I was intermittently coughing too.
That sore throat didn't seem to interfere with my sleep - at least the few times I woke up I needed a pee - but every time I did wake up my throat felt worse. I was also getting the beginning of a stuffy nose and high feeling sinus pressure. At about 4am I decided to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to see if they would calm things down. They did seem to, and only now, perhaps because I am thinking about it, or because the tablets have worn off, I am getting the first feelings of discomfort back in my throat. Perhaps there is reason for hope. I expected my nose to be pouring now, but apart from a little sneeze inducing tickle a minute ago, my nose seems fine for now.
It does seem that apart from what may be a hopefully short lived head cold starting, I have been feeling mostly OK recently. My coctochondritis chest pains seem to have mostly gone away for a few days now. I would have to bore myself by reading everything I have written over the last week or so to see when it was that I turned over while stretching out in bed, and said that it felt like a line of poppers had popped down the middle of my chest. I think that maybe that was all my ribs, sinews, cartilage, and "soft tissues" getting back where they should be. Allowing perhaps an extra day for the inflammation to subside, might have been when I ceased any major chest annoyances.
So apart from the likelihood of a cold starting, I feel fairly OK, but obviously not completely OK this morning. I had some ideas about travelling to the coast somewhere to enjoy the sunshine, and get a bit of exercise, but I am not so confident about that now. Maybe I might do some work in the garden to enjoy a bit of sunshine, and then if my nose starts to pour I can just drop tools and come in. I feel there is probably a fair amount I can do in the garden without pissing of the fox too much - although the last time I did anything she (I think it is a she) didn't come out the earth for 48 hours !
|Monday 25th February 2019
| 09:08 GMT
Yesterday was another in a series of bright sunny days. The temperature probably hit the predicted high of 15° C, although I didn't actually consult a thermometer to see if it definitely rose that high. After dark the temperature fell a long way. When I peeped out the window at 3am this morning, after a visit to the toilet, I am sure I could see frost forming on my neighbours car.
I feel sure that at 8am it was closer to 3° C than the 6° C shown on the forecast, but it is warming up nicely now. The sun rose on a clear sky this morning, and if the forecast holds it should be clear skies and bright sunshine all day. This afternoon we could see 17° C - and that is definitely t-shirt weather ! The temperature shouldn't fall quite so low tonight - maybe only as low as 6° C in the early hours of tomorrow morning. The rest of tomorrow is forecast to be very similar to today. The day after sees a decline in the weather with increasing amounts of cloud, and this time next week could see a rather chilly and soggy wet day - or the forecast could be completely different by then.
Yesterday was one of those days when it seemed like I didn't do much, but I was quite tired by early evening. Not only tired but feeling like I had accomplished something despite having little to show for it. There was basically just two things I did. One was to hand wash 4 t-shirts plus some underwear. It was an opportunity to test the new orange rubber gloves I had bought. They performed like.....well, rubber glove really. They kept my hands away from the detergent and fabric conditioner, and that was their prime purpose. It was nice to see orange at the end of my arms instead of yellow...at least I think it was. They were a slightly tighter fit, but still comfortable. The only negative thing is that they have a smell like old wood smoke - like they had been stored in a house that had partly burnt down. I expect that smell will fade after a few more washes - assuming they turn out to be robust enough to survive several washes. I have had 99p shop rubber gloves rip on the second use !
The other much more time consuming thing I did was to go through all the pictures, and the single video I shot at the gig on Saturday night. It may not need the muscle power that hand washing clothes needs, but it does need long spells of concentration. At least I think it is concentration. It is certainly something that is tiring after a time. I was a bit disappointed by my video. It was the usual problem of the camera finding it hard to focus in the dim lighting. There were several times in the video where I swing the camera around, and had to refocus. Maybe I should have attempted manual focus, but I am not very good at that, and so I relied on the camera trying to autofocus - and it disturbed the picture when doing so. In brighter light the autofocus would correct itself in a blink of an eye instead of hunting around and being generally annoying. Fortunately I got a good selection of still pictures.
Wide angle lens plus flash, and all The Belles look sharp.
The locals could not believe it when their pub was besieged by cameras. It was like the paparazzi were in town.
I would have liked to have taken more action shots like this, but I had tucked myself into a corner, and couldn't easily get myself more centre stage. Plus I think it is a bit rude to block everyone's view of the stage as a couple of photographers did all night.
It was getting on for 6pm when I had finished all my photographic "homework", and I was feeling quite drained, and also rather hungry. I would have liked to have gone to Stretchy's Open Mic in the evening, but the call of dinner was strong, and I rather fancied pouring myself a large glass of whisky, and putting my feet up - after eating dinner. That is basically what I did, although once my dinner had settled I had a play with some of my cameras. It seems I only have two cameras, the Nikon D3200, and my favourite Canon EOS 600D, that have external microphone sockets. I had been hoping that my little Canon "bridge camera", the SX40 would have one too. Several of my cameras have the facility to set the sound recording level manually when in video mode, and while that is very good, it is less useful without the facility to use a better quality external microphone.
As a footnote to that last paragraph: One of the things I tested on Saturday night was an external mic when videoing The Belles. The microphone was one I had bought for my camcorder many years ago. I had hoped it might have a better bass response than the built in microphone. It may have been very slightly better in that respect. It might have also sounded slightly better in other ways, but the biggest, hugest improvement was that it was impossible to let my finger slip and cover the tiny holes in the camera body where the internal microphone is located.
I'm not sure what time it was, but I was in bed slightly early last night. Initially I went to bed to do some quiet reading, but as I mentioned a few days back, the huge great had back book I am currently reading is not ideal for reading in bed. After a while it leaves my chest aching where I rest it when reading the tops of the pages. I have to hold it higher than my chest to read the bottom of the pages, and holding the book up makes my arms ache. As I say, it is not an ideal bedtime read ! I read just one of the short stories in the book (a collection of short stories written by Arthur C. Clarke), and then decided to turn out the light, and go to sleep.
It sounds so simple to say "turn out the light, and then go to sleep", and it turns out that is actually what happened. It didn't feel like it would happen though. For unknown minutes I lay there trying several sleeping positions, and thinking I would never get to sleep. I don't think there were many of those unknown minutes though - possibly as little as 5 even if it seemed it would be an eternity. The next thing I knew was that it was 3am, and I needed a pee. I was asleep again maybe 10 minutes later, and didn't wake until about 6am. I definitely didn't expect to get to sleep again after that, but I did even if only for just after an hour.
I woke from a dream that I recall being pleasant, but unexciting - it definitely wasn't the fabled part three of the two part dream I mentioned a few days ago. I can't really remember much about the dream this morning, but it seemed to involve photography. I woke up feeling slightly groggy, but mostly OK. One of the first things I did after taking my morning medication was to wash my hair and have a shower. I have to confess that I never did get around to washing myself yesterday, and I must have been stinking by this morning. It did seem strangely like hard work showering, and drying myself after. It was nice to sit down and do a quick edit, just shrinking the size really, of the photos I have used here today. I did all the hard work on them yesterday.
There are two conflicting things I would like to do today. I would like to get a bit of shopping in, but I would also like to go out into the warm sunshine and do something in it. I guess I could do both if I rushed around a bit. I almost have an urge for another visit to the seaside, but I don't think I'll end up doing that. Maybe it will be just a walk in the park. Perhaps I'll try and intercept Angela in the park at lunchtime. I'll see how I feel after getting dressed, and getting some shopping. I must admit I feel rather hungry at the moment, although I would prefer not to eat if I am going to walk very far today.
|Sunday 24th February 2019
| 08:37 GMT
It was a lovely bright sunny day yesterday, and it was also just about warm in the afternoon with the temperature probably hitting the predicted 15° C. It was a few degrees cooler in Hastings where I had gone to see a gig, and it seemed to cool down a lot in the evening. Back in London the temperature had fallen to below 6° C by midnight - and kept falling.
Yesterday's forecast warned of mist in the morning, and it was a bit hazy. There was no warning in the forecast for this morning, and it is closer to fog than mist ! It is also considerably cooler than 7° C at the moment. at about 8.15am I noticed one of my thermometers was saying 2.7° C, and a bit earlier than that I am sure I saw frost on the shed roofs when looking out the back of the house. The mist/fog is quite close to the ground, and by now the sun has risen enough to shine over it. It is still a little hazy, but getting stronger all the time. It seems very likely that today will see wall to wall sunshine, and I think it probably will warm up to the forecast 15° C. Tomorrow could be similar, but at least a degree warmer !
It seemed like the morning, and part of the afternoon went by in a flash yesterday. I didn't seem to have time to do much at all, but I don't really know where all the time went to. During that time I had two parcels delivered - bot of which came sooner than expected. The first contained a packet of micro-fibre lens cleaning cloths, and two microphones for attaching to a camera using the flash gun mount. Buying two was probably extravagant, but they were relatively cheap, and both were of different construction, and yet like many Chinese products there was a strong hint that their internal electronics were probably the same.
One microphone has two moveable microphone capsules that can be adjusted for a wide of narrow stereo field. The other microphone is of an all-in-one design, and from a distance it does look more professional - even if it is really of cheap consumer grade. Over the coming weeks I hope to test both microphones in a variety of situations, although I primarily want them for gig use.
The other small parcel must be an indicator of how brain damaged I must be. Every shop for miles around (or at least on the high street) only seems to sell yellow rubber gloves, and I have got bored with them. Aldi used to sell red rubber gloves, but I haven't seen them in stock for at least a year now. I do get through rubber gloves faster than most because wringing out clothes while wearing than does put a lot of stress on them. So if I can't get red rubber gloves on the high street than I just had to order them from Amazon. They also did orange gloves, and I ordered a pack of them as well just for extra novelty ! They are described as strong, but I reckon I'll rip them after no more than half a dozen washes. They definitely seem more flimsy than Aldi's "Power Force" household gloves.
Before long it was time to go out and starting heading towards Hastings. Before doing that I actually had a call from Sue. She asked if I was going, and could we meet so we could have a bit of company on the long train journey. Also, could we leave a bit earlier than I had originally intended ? I could leave earlier, and I did, but it was a close run thing because, as usual, Sue's phone call went on for too long. The plan was to meet at Orpington station where I would change for a local to longer distance train. Orpington station is also a fairly short bus ride from Sue's home. The ultimate reason for meeting up was because Sue is useless at navigating on trains, and has been known to wait on the wrong platform before.
Our travel plans started to unravel before I had got very far. My first change of train was to be at Shortlands, but the train I was waiting for there was running late, and then with about 30 seconds warning they announced a platform alteration. There was no way I could get from the far end of the platform I was on back to the subway stairs, down the stairs, along the subway, and up the stairs to the new platform. I did my best, but I heard the doors closing when I was only a third of the way up the stairs. So it was back to the original platform, and a long wait.
I wasn't the only one to get to Orpington late. Sue had only been there about 10 minutes when I arrived half an hour late. Had I been on my own I might have made the first train to Hastings that I originally planned to get, but it would have been a close thing with seconds to spare. So I stayed on the train, which was going to Tonbridge, and Sue joined me on it. We would change trains at Tonbridge for a Hastings train, but while we were there Sue could pop outside the station for a smoke, and I could do some train spotting !
A class 73 dual powered (diesel or third rail electric) loco heading a Network Rail engineering train.
I think we had a 15 to 20 minute wait for the Hastings train, but eventually we were on our way. All the way to Hastings the sun was getting lower and lower in the sky. My original plan was that there would be enough daylight left to do some exploring before the sun set, but we reached the beach at about sunset. It was a shame that there was a bank of cloud on the horizon that spoiled the sunset, but I partly managed to fulfil one ambition to take picture of sunset by the sea. Before getting to the beach we had to stop for Sue to take a selfie by the station.
Sue taking her selfie in the fading light.
Over to the east the the sky was looking very dark. It was almost a thrill to be at the seaside after dark. I can't recall a similar occasion until I stretch my memory back to about 1967 when I was a kid !
This was a good and bad picture. I used my mobile phone camera to take it, and it decided to do a long exposure to make it seem brighter. That was not the effect I wanted, and the long exposure has left some motion blur. Fortunately it does show Sue's backlit bright red hair, but the rest of her should have been more like a silhouette.
The time was 5.48pm, and this was the last picture I took outside. The sun has probably set at this point, and has just left an afterglow on the western horizon. A small gap in the cloud has revealed a long red streak.
It was soon after taking that last picture that I began to really hate Google maps. To use a simple map Google makes all sorts of demands on your phone. It obviously wants GPS turned on, and that is completely understandable, but virtually refusing to work unless you have WiFi turned on is aggravating. Having WiFi on can speed up getting the first GPS fix, but only because Google has mapped the location of every WiFi point - including yours ! Once the GPS has found your position it needs no further help. All that is merely aggravating, but what is infuriating is Google then giving a half page ad, blocking out half the map, when you ask it to find something like a pub. It made the app basically unusable. As I write this I am installing Open Street Maps on my phone, and I hope I will be able to use that in preference to Google Maps.
We eventually found the Jenny Lind pub that we were aiming for. It seemed to be on the opposite side of the road to where Google said it was, but with just two sides of the road to watch it wasn't that hidden ! We arrived a little later than intended, but it didn't matter. The gig was supposed to start with a couple of hours of open mic before The Belles took to the stage for a proper gig. I thought I spotted quite a few musicians there, but it seems only two wanted to take part in the open mic, and the rest wanted to see what these weirdos from London would be like.
The weirdos from London weren't weird at all, of course, and went down very well when they took to the stage at least an hour before intended. That turned out to be be a very good thing because we saw the whole of the first set, and could hang around for a short while longer before making for the very last train back to our part of London. Sue was quite reluctant to leave so early, and tried to find a cheap B&B to stay in overnight, but none seemed available so late in the evening. She then said she would sleep on the beach or in a bus shelter, but at least 3 other people helped convince her that would be stupid in February. (If there was a frost here this morning there probably would have been a thicker frost in Hastings !).
We made it back to the station with about 10 minutes to spare, and didn't have to rush - just the way I like it. Our train was waiting for us when we got on the platform - It had terminated there after it's journey from London a little bit earlier. It could have been a semi pleasant journey back with some company, but they say three's a crowd, and some ex-con and ticket dodger, made for a somewhat irritating journey. He wouldn't shut up ! When the ticket inspector came around he apologised for not having a ticket, and said he didn't have much money. The ticket inspector/guard took pity on him and sold him a ticket from Sevenoaks to Orpington. He was very lucky because like us, he had boarded at Hastings. He then took the piss by not getting off at Orpington, and continued towards London Bridge or further.
I did suggest to Sue that I get off at Orpington, and accompany her home (and stay the night with her), but now she has her son living at home she was not keen on the idea. So I stayed on the train to London Bridge where I could then get a train back to Catford Bridge. It was a bit irritating that the train passed through Catford Bridge on it's way non stop from Orpington. When I finally arrived at London Bridge there was about a 15 minute wait for a train back to Catford Bridge - which wasn't too bad.
Back in Catford I was starving. I hadn't eating anything all day except a small lunch. It was inevitable I would end up going home via the fried chicken shop. I took my rather late dinner home, turned the heating on, and munched through it. It was a bit bigger than expected because there was an extra portion of chicken. I think I am favoured by the man who usually works in there. He obviously knows his stock levels, and avoids wastage at the end of the night by giving a few freebies to those he favours. It is not hard to be favoured. You just have to have a happy and open face, and say please and thank you. Many of his customers go in there with faces hidden in hoodies, and just grunt and argue about what pieces of chicken they want.
I think I arrived home at 20 past midnight. I didn't get to bed until a little after 1am, but once in bed I think I went out like a light. I thought I should stay asleep until at least 9am, but my body had other ideas, and I was out of bed soon after 7am. Since then I have decanted my cameras onto my PC, and edited the photos I have shown above. I have many more photos of the gig to go through, and that is going to take a big chunk out of my day. Like yesterday, I don't seem to feel too bad today, and ideally I should be out frolicking in the sunshine today, but I think I'll be mainly seeing my PC screen. There is the option of going to Stretchy's open mic in Bromley tonight. I think I will wait until much later before I even consider that. Before anything else I might go and lay on my bed again, and see if I fall asleep - it feels like I probably could.
|Saturday 23rd February 2019
| 10:45 GMT
Once again yesterday's weather forecast skimped on the amount of sunshine we had. It started off right by saying it would be a misty start, but it failed to say how quickly that the clouds would dissipate after the mist had lifted. It took a little longer than the day before, but the afternoon saw some more glorious sunshine. For some reason it didn't seem to feel quite as warm as 13° C had felt the day before.
Once again it was a misty start, but now the sun is out, and the forecast predicts sunshine for the rest of the day - although there may be a few times when it is only sunny intervals. Today the temperature (in Catford) should peak at 15° C, and today should set the pattern for the next 3 or 4 days. Some of those days could hit 16 or even 17° C !
This was the view from my open bathroom window just before sunrise this morning. I had to hold the camera against the window frame because it was a very long exposure in the dim light. My biggest annoyance is that it has come out looking like there is hardly any mist at all. There is just a sort of softening of the background.
My hoped for plans came to nought when I heard from Angela to say she had taken the day off work, and so would not be around at lunchtime. I had to think of other things to do. One thing was to go to Tesco to buy more whisky. I was probably going to do that anyway, but what I didn't think I would be doing was buying two bottles of whisky ! When I got to the whisky section I found that Club Haig was on special offer again - £13 off a litre bottle. So I had to buy one of them, and also a bottle of Jameson's Irish Whiskey which was also on special offer, although the discount was not so big. There are both drinks that I very much like.
When I came home from Tesco I could have eaten all sorts of things, but I managed to partly restrain myself. I did have a nibble of something for elevenses, and later I had some fish fingers for a late lunch. For some reason I can't remember what my early nibble was. What I do remember is that I deliberately put off eating the fish fingers because I thought it would be better to have them after going for a walk. The only problem there was that I didn't go for a walk. I washed a big (but not very big) bath towel for exercise instead. I had to do it in two shift because it needed double the amount of rinses to get the water to run off clear and not still soapy. When I think back on it, it was probably more than double the amount of rinses that, say, a t-shirt would need. That big towel was bloody heavy when dripping with water !
With the towel washed, and hanging up to dry, I looked around for other things to do. One of the first was to change the configuration of my web server so that it is displays my customised "error 404 - web page not found" web page. Like many of these things it was simple to do with hindsight, but sometimes the information about how to do it is not easy to find. I worked it out almost by myself when I saw some information that said how to do something else ! (Similar, but not the same).
The other thing I have to do with my web server, which is a re-purposed old laptop, is to "install" it somewhere other than on the coffee table in the living room. My intention is to put it on a shelf in the back room - the room that one will end up for it's old use - the dining room. There is heaps of clutter in that room, and much of the time it is like a puzzle where you have to move stuff around to get at stuff you want to throw away. Little by little, partly paced by how much I can dispose of at a time in the wheelie bin, I am making progress. Yesterday I cleared nearly everything off the shelf I wanted to use, and some stuff off the shelves above it. The higher shelves are now full, but the lower shelf has plenty of room for the server, a big Ethernet hub, and the firewall. That shelf is also cleaned and polished !
As part of my clearing up I made some space in the old chest of drawers that lives in the back room. I made a fair bit of space in one drawer by throwing out a heap of ancient carrier bags. The carrier bags pictured above struck my eye as being sort of historical. All three record shops have long gone, and all three were once quite special because they stocked loads of great stuff when other shops were mostly stocking just very recent stuff, and most of that was horrible "disco" music. Each place also had it's drawbacks. Shades was a very long journey from Catford, and 101 records was also not easy to get to. Beanos was for a time easier to get to once the trams started running, but it was sometimes too overwhelming. There were millions of record and CDs in there, and sometimes you wanted to come out with an overflowing wheelbarrow of them - but obviously you couldn't !
I'm sure there was other stuff I did that taken together made me feel like I had used the day well. As usual, at 6pm I went into resting mode. I had some dinner, and watched Star Trek. Once again it didn't seem to be all that long ago since I last saw the episode being shown. I had a 2 part dinner. My starter was actually classified as a starter. It was "fiery" Korean chicken wings. They were quite nice, but I'm not sure I would bother with them again. My main course was like chicken hotpot in a big Yorkshire pudding - it's not actually called that, but the name is similar.
There was a bit of comedy on to amuse me later in the evening - repeats of Have I Got News For You, and QI. That took me nicely to 10pm, and that seemed to be a good time to go to bed. Before I went to bed I thought I would check my blood pressure because I had forgotten to do it earlier. I was very surprised to see it so low !
I have checked, and most sources seem to agree that a systolic pressure of lower than 90 might be bad, and that 98 is fine provided it is not a sudden fall, and it doesn't cause any obvious difficulties. In my case it is not a sudden fall, but part of a long term trend, and I haven't experienced any dizziness, or similar, for ages now. (I used to get a little bit when standing up, or getting out of bed the first times my systolic pressure started nearing 100. I am a bit concerned about the fast pulse rate, and I could feel my pulse racing while I was in bed trying to get to sleep. Like all these things, the more I thought about it, the worse it felt ! This morning my blood pressure is a more typical 124/76 with my pulse rate being 68.
It took ages to get to sleep, and I didn't seem to sleep well even when I did get to sleep. I was hoping I would dream a third part to the two dreams I had the night before. If a third had carried on from the second it would have taken my relationship with the mystery woman from romance to erotic. Curiously enough, while trying to prime my brain to have that third dream, a name popped into my head from nowhere. It seems that the mystery woman of my dreams might be called Brenda. Where that name came from is a complete mystery. I don't know of anyone called Brenda.
I first woke up early this morning, but then I managed to get some more sleep, and got up a bit late. One of the first things I had to do was to have a shower and wash my hair. I could have chanced to do it later, but I was expecting a delivery from Amazon this morning. In practice it wouldn't have mattered. I received an email to say my parcel had been left with "reception" I don't have a reception here like I used to have when at work. I went downstairs and there was a card on the doormat, and it said my parcel was behind the wheelie bin !
My parcel could have been relevant to what I am going to do today, but on further consideration I think it is a bit premature. The parcel contained two cheap(ish) stereo microphones to use on my camera. They should be better than the old stereo microphone that I will probably use today. It is my intention to go to a gig in Hastings ! It is a 2 hour or more journey there, and the same coming back. The reason I am going is two fold. For a start it should be nice and sunny.
I won't be seeing much of the sunshine though because I aim to get there at about 5pm. The second reason is that the gig starts at 6pm. It actually starts as an open mic session hosted by The Belles, and then at some unspecified time it will turn into a Belles gig. The very last train home is at 9.50pm, and so I won't get to see the whole gig, and depending on how I feel I might even get the train before that at 8.50pm, but it could still be worthwhile going. It is possible that Sue will go as well, and at one point I was going to go with her, but she will want to stay until after the pub closes, and will have to shiver on the beach or street until the first train in the morning (when her train ticket will probably not be valid). I expect to be home just after midnight, and hopefully fast asleep in my bed by 1am tomorrow morning !
|Friday 22nd February 2019
| 08:06 GMT
This picture shows the reality of yesterday's weather ! The forecast said there would be light cloud all day, and gave no hint that there could be any sunshine at all, all day. (Although a very late revision did begrudgingly add a sunny interval at 3pm.) The first bit of sun broke through the clouds sometime around mid morning, and before midday the sky was blue, and the sun was shining at full strength almost non stop until sunset. The forecast for a maximum temperature of 13° C was approximately right, and it felt very nice in the sunshine.
This morning the forecast has got off to a good start. The temperature prediction is about right, and it is very misty. What happens next is anyone's guess. It most probably will warm up to 13°C again, but it seems we will have to wait until 3pm before the first rays of sunshine make break through the cloud to make that 13° C feel nice...or maybe the forecast will turn out to be wrong again, and the sun will come through once the mist lifts. Apart from some heavy condensation from the mist, it should at least be a dry day. The next 5 days are forecast to be sunnier and as much as a couple of degrees warmer.
Yesterday was another of those strange days that for no particular reason, except maybe the pleasant weather, seemed to be a satisfying sort of day. Perhaps it is the lengthening days that are now having a positive impact. I have been waking up earlier recently, often as soon as it gets light, and that has meant I have wasted less of the morning. I'm not sure what time it was exactly, but it was no more than mid morning before I was washed and dressed, and had gone out to do some shopping in Poundland. Of course you don't just do "shopping" in Poundland. You may go in for one thing, and always come out with many things !
I think the only thing on my shopping list when I went into Poundland was some hay fever tablets. I bought those plus some Paracetamol tablets - I get through a lot of paracetamol these days - days when my chest aches). I also bought a crappy looking stapler that will probably break if I try and staple more than 4 sheets of paper together. I do have a good quality stapler somewhere, but I couldn't find it when I want to use it. I use it extremely rarely these days, and so a £1 stapler may last for many years.
It occurred to me that it might be a good idea to stockpile toilet paper before Brexit, and so I bought an unneeded 6 pack of poor quality, but usable toilet paper - just in case. One purchase I now regret because it was not what I thought. It was a large packet of salt and vinegar crisps that I thought contained smaller packets inside. Last night's beer gave me the munchies, and I ate the whole pack last night. The last item of note was a DVD of The Life Of Brian - in widescreen format. It should make for better viewing than my old and knackered VHS copy.
I had an early lunch yesterday so that it wouldn't interfere with my drinking later in the afternoon. To pass a bit of time I laid on my bed to read for a while. The picture on the left shows what it was like in my bedroom. It was rather glorious ! Even with the window open the sunshine pouring through the south facing windows raised the room temperature to 24.7° C !
It almost felt like a summer's day, and I decided to treat it as such. Earlier on, before the sun had really come out, I went to Poundland in a t-shirt and no coat. That felt OK, and so I took a chance on going for my later Thursday afternoon drink without a coat. Going there felt perfectly OK - maybe even better than that because it feels like taking off shackles to go out without being encumbered with a coat. It was, of course, perfectly comfortable in the pub, and nice not having to worry about a coat. It was a typical Thursday drinking session - a bit of banter, and (for me) three pints of ale.
The last pint I had was a 5% brew, and that little bit of extra alcohol may have kept a bit of the cold out as I made my way home a little after 6pm, and when it was only just dark when I started out. The temperature dropped quite a lot after sunset, and it would have been nicer to be wearing a coat, but even without one it wasn't desperately cold. It may have been more bearable because I was heading for home, and it was definitely nice to get back indoors again !
I was obviously in a hurry to get home, and I picked up the pace quite a lot after I got off the bus, and was walking down to road towards home. It was lucky I still kept my eyes open, and my wits about me even after 3 pints of beer. Look what lay in wait for me, pictured on the left, when halfway between the bus stop and home. Some might try and say it was just a bramble, but look at it - a tendril curled up and ready to grasp any passing leg. It is no common bramble. It is an alien invader that landed during the last meteor shower....probably.
These alien Triffids are very clever, but have different eyes to us. It didn't realise that it's trap was set right under a lamp post, and easy for us to see. 20 - 30ft further along the road the pavement is almost in darkness !
It was good to survive that trap (unlike the one a couple of month back), and it was good to get indoors and out of the cold. The first thing on the agenda was dinner. I had precooked some barbecue chicken wings before I went out, and they just needed warming up. It was during the five minutes that they were warming up that I decided a few, just a few, salt and vinegar crisps would be nice. It was a stupid mistake to open the packet of them - doubly so considering that I was also cooking a mini shepherds pie as a second course after the chicken wings. It turned out that those wings had more meat on them than I thought they would have, and I would have done better to have had something like a salad with them to make a complete meal.
I only had a few crisps at first. Then I ate the wings, and followed those with the little individual shepherds pie. So far so bad, but I was watching TV, and all the programmes failed to get my full attention. I had got in too late to see the BBC national news, and the local news is always punctuated with total crap about dance studios or football grounds. The episode of Star Trek on The Horror Channel seemed to be a very recent repeat. (It is as if they only have access to about a third of the episodes made). After that was Star Trek - Deep Space Nine - a series that had some good episodes, some bad episodes, and many just plain boring episodes. I very rarely watched it when first shown, and I struggle with it now. The inevitable effects was that I started munching on more crisps until the packet was empty.
There were no more crisps, and no more TV programmes after 8pm. I checked a few things on the internet, and then retired to bed to read. By 9pm I had turned out the light, and I might have even been asleep by then. One of the things about yesterday was that I mostly felt quite well for a change, and it seems that had a positive effect on my sleep, and on my dreams. I slept quite well until 4am when I woke up from a rather pleasant, and promising dream. The dream was too complex to describe, and I hardly understand most of it anyway, but it ended on a positive note.
I think I was probably a lot younger in the dream, and that was good, but best of all was that I met a young woman, and we seemed to get on very well. It was not an erotic dream, but more like romance. It was a shame to wake up just as it was getting good, but maybe I had exhausted the imagination gland in my brain. What was even more annoying was that I couldn't seem to get back to sleep again. I don't think it was anything on my mind, but just the usual conflict between being too warm or too cold depending on how I arranged the duvet. There was also the usual thing of the mattress and pillows growing lumps and bumps that weren't there before I went to sleep.
After tossing and turning a few times, with my chest starting to complain, I got up for an hour and looked at some stuff on the internet. Finally I had another go at getting to sleep. When I woke again it was light outside. Not particularly bright light because the mist made everything subdued. The very best thing thing was that I had woken from a dream that was more-or-less a continuation of the dream I had earlier. That was a very strange thing to happen. No matter how much we wish for it, it hardly ever happens.
The dream featured the same young woman, and in this part 2 we were far more intimate in as much as there was a lot of kissing going on. If there had ever been a part three it would have been after the cab ride back to my place that she had agreed on with great delight as part 2 ended. I have a strong feeling that part three would have been very erotic ! The only thing that baffled me was who the woman was. It was no one I recognised at all. Maybe we had passed in the street and my brain remembered her, and used that as a template, or maybe she was a composite of other women I know. I do know one thing, and that is that it would be wonderful to meet her in real life - assuming she had the same characteristics as the dream woman.
I don't know yet if I feel as good as I did yesterday, but it seems possible. Nothing much hurts again this morning. The only difficulty is that I really don't know what I am doing today. I sent Angela a message yesterday suggesting that if she wasn't shopping this lunchtime we might meet for a drink. I said to contact me this morning if she wanted to meet, but knowing Angela she will have forgotten about the message by now, and I will sit in all morning waiting for an answer that will never come. She is not the woman from my dream, but then again I am probably not the me in my dream either !
|Thursday 21st February 2019
| 07:52 GMT
Yesterday's weather forecast was wrong until about 2pm. Through the whole day the forecast, and later revisions of it, said there would not be a single glimpse of sunshine, but the morning turned out to be nice and sunny, and it wasn't until after 2pm that the clouds completely covered all the sky - although the sunshine was starting to get rare from as early as midday. In the sun, the highest temperature of 12° C felt nice, but once the sun was hidden by clouds it merely felt "not cold", but not warm either. The cloud cover kept the temperature up during the hours of darkness.
It is still cloudy this morning, but it is quite mild. I suspect the temperature in my back garden, in the shadow of my house, may be a bit lower than the 9° C forecast, but it certainly doesn't feel super chilly in the bathroom this morning ! If today's forecast turns out to be right then we can not look forward to any sunshine today. That is a shame because it would have felt rather nice in sunshine with the temperature around 13° C. There is always hope that the forecast is very wrong like it was yesterday.
The picture above was taken at around 11am, but it could have been taken a couple of hours earlier, or an hour later. Inset on the left is what the forecast predicted. It just shows grey cloud, but the reality was very different. Reality did start to catch up with the forecast after midday, and by 2pm it was 99% there. I think there were still patches of blue sky visible to the north some time after that, but the sun was completely obscured in the south. Fortunately we have some sunshine to look forward to on Saturday, although tomorrow might be another dull day. It looks as if the temperature will stay above 10° C every day from now on, and some days could see 15° C in the coming week.
Yesterday felt like an odd sort of day. I guess the delight of finding it sunny when the forecast said it wouldn't be, motivated me in strange ways. I didn't feel all that good for a lot of yesterday. My right shoulder seemed very sore - as it often is these days - but is usually overshadowed by the more dramatic chest aches and pains I get. Yesterday my chest was mostly OK. That is not to say it was perfect, but like other bits of me, there was enough creakiness that I would have decided to do very little compared to what I actually did do.
One of the first things I did yesterday was to have a good shower, and wash my hair. That made me feel good after a couple of days of only slapping a wet soapy flannel here and there. Once my hair felt dry enough I got dressed and went out into the sunshine to walk to Aldi. I am pleased to report that the Innis & Gunn lager that I discovered was really nice, was not a Xmas special, and I was able to buy 8 cans of it. It did look like their stocks of it were getting low, and maybe it is something I ought to do some "Brexit hoarding" of.
Obviously I didn't just buy lager, but much of what I did buy was pretty crappy. Once again the "Southern coated" chicken thighs and drumsticks were OK, but it seems I am going off chicken. Even fried chicken from a takeaway sometimes seems rather less than exciting these days. Tonight I have some Kentucky barbecue marinated chicken wings to eat. I hope they excite me. One thing I looked at in a drooling sort of way, but didn't buy, was ice cream. I dare not have any yet, but I think I have been good enough about what I have been eating for the last 2 months - well, except on one or two occasions - that I feel confident enough to give a blood sample at the end of this month. I am hoping it will give much better results than the last one I gave in July last year. Once I have given that blood sample I will probably have a very short lived frenzy of eating something outrageous - most probably ice cream !
I bought a few things I could have eaten as soon as I got back from Aldi, but I decided to leave them all for later because I wanted to do a bit more walking. When I say I wanted to I mean I didn't want to, but I forced myself to do it because it would be good for me. I lured myself out with the idea that maybe it was sunny enough to find Angela in the park during her lunchbreak. Normally I would stop and take some picture on my way, but I left a little bit late, and so I had to walk non stop to get to the park in time. It wasn't a very fast walk, but it was no gentle stroll either. The same was even more true when I came home again without seeing Angela.
I sat in the park for about 10 minutes waiting for Angela, and the sun was only out for about half that time. I didn't have a coat on, and when the sun went in it went from feeling comfortable, maybe even warm, to rather chilly. Keeping up a fairly good pace helped warm me up again during the walk home. There was one thing that might have made for a faster walk, and that was different shoes. It is another story that doesn't make sense. I have two identical pairs of shoes - identical except one pair is a blueish-grey colour, and the other pair are turquoise. The turquoise pair seem far more comfortable than the blueish-grey pair I wore yesterday. Apart from the colour, I can't see any difference at all between them, and yet pair seems very comfortable, and the other mildly uncomfortable.
Apart from two walks, I did a little bit more physical exercise yesterday. I hand washed a couple of t-shirts, a hand towel, and some underwear. At the end I concluded I must be quite well, almost healthy. Some indicators, in particular my low blood pressure, seem to indicate I am sort of healthy. It is such a shame that it hurts to be healthy ! I used to feel 10 times more healthy when I was, by many measures, ten time less healthy than I am now. Apart from bringing on the angina in 2013, it seemed the route to happiness and healthy feeling was to smoke 50 fags a day, and do lots of exercise. Life is weird.
All my "exercise" during the day left me feeling tired in the evening. I could potentially have gone to a gig, but after sunset the thought never really crossed my mind. What did cross my mind was going to bed. I didn't end up having a particularly early night, and even when I was in bed it seemed to take a fair while before I fell asleep. From the little I can remember of the night I seem to think I probably slept quite well. I'm sure I must have woken for a pee once or twice, but I have only the very vaguest of memories of doing so. I woke up at about sunrise, or at least it was light outside, and I woke from a mildly erotic dream. That must be a good sign of something.
This morning I feel I should be feeling wonderful, but of course I don't. Nothing specifically aches, but it does feel like my whole body needs a good oiling. I have already checked my blood pressure this morning. Many mornings I never even get around to doing it, and when I do I sometimes get readings higher than I like. Having said that, I am not sure what readings I do like. The first reading I took showed my systolic pressure as being 133. That seemed very high, except a year ago I would have called that low. After between 30 seconds and a minute, and maybe a bit, some intense relaxation brought the systolic pressure down to 120, and that seemed much better. If I could have bothered to try even harder to relax, which sounds like a contradiction, I might have got it down to something like 115, but 120 will do for now.
I only have one thing on today's agenda. It's Thursday, and that means late Thursday afternoon drinking with the lads. The one thing I have to remember is that today we are drinking in the Wetherspoons pub in Bromley. It is to use up at least half of our CAMRA vouchers for 50p off a pint of real ale in Wetherspoons pubs. I don't particularly like Wetherspoons pubs in general. They are OK, but too often busy, noisy, and crowded. In the case of the Bromley Wetherspoons there is the added hardship of it being a tedious bus ride to get there, and because of the timing it is when the roads are very busy, and so are the buses. It makes for an unpleasant and much loner journey compared to getting the train to Shortlands. Today I have to remember to leave about 45 minutes earlier than I would going to Shortlands.
I have no idea what I will do for the rest of the day...except for one thing. I shall pre-cook the Kentucky Barbecue chicken wings before I go out so I just have to warm them up when I get home feeling hungry after the beer.
|Wednesday 20th February 2019
| 08:12 GMT
The weather forecasters had several goes at trying to predict yesterday's weather, and I don't think any of them were right. A revision at about 10am showed the sunshine we were having, but said it would only last until until 10am, and then after that there would be sunny intervals popping up all through the rest of he daylight hours. The sunshine lasted a bit longer than 10am, but the following sunny intervals were a bit disappointing. I guess that 5 minutes of sunshine in a whole hour is a sunny interval, and some hours had more than 5 minutes, but some hours had none. I guess it was still fairly bright, and the afternoon temperature of 11° C felt reasonably pleasant. It stayed dry all day, and so I would award the day 6 out of 10.
The forecast makes it look like it should be a dull day, and maybe that is how it will turn out to be, but right now there are enough gaps in the cloud to allow bursts of sunshine - sunshine that feels warm on my back as it comes through my window. Maybe the cloud will remain broken, and the forecast will be hastily revised, or maybe it is going to end up as a dull day. The afternoon temperature is forecast to be 12° C today, and the forecast temperature is usually close to reality. Tomorrow is forecast to have sunny intervals happening through all the hours of daylight, and the temperature could hit 14° C. Friday and Saturday could be similar, but a degree or two warmer, but then the temperature drops a bit for the following days.
One of my problems yesterday was that I decided to go through all the pictures and video my trail cameras had taken over the previous 4 or 5 days. There was a lot of it, and it took ages to review it. I selected a few sequences that I was going to, and probably still will edit into a quick video clip. The brief synopsis is that my resident fox still limps, but is using it's injured paw, or leg much more now. Although the video of it was very poor, and basically unusable, I did see the fox jumping down from the tree stump several times, and I think it won't be long before it feels competent to jump the back fence. It will be good news to see it increase it's range. The bad news is that I got a lot of video of the rat stealing food. If there was any good news on that front it is that I only ever saw one rat at a time, and although it is a stupidly optimistic idea, I hope that means there is only just the one rat around instead of hordes of them.
It was just about midday when I finished going through all the trail camera video and picture. At that point I hadn't even showered, and I felt a but yucky. There didn't seem to be enough time to wash, cool off, get dressed, and be in the park in time to bump into Angela even if she did go there. So I resigned myself to doing other stuff - except I didn't have any clear plan, or even a vague plan of what I might do next - not counting having a wash. For some reason I couldn't be bothered to have a shower, and wash my hair, but I did attack my body with a flannel, hot water and soap. I think I made the smelly bits clean, but I hardly sparkled, and my hair was still pretty yucky.
I felt good enough to pull on some outdoor clothes, and take a wander to the corner shop. At that time the forecast sunny intervals had dwindled to not happening ten times more than they were happening. It was bright but not shining when I went to the corner shop. The fresh air felt nice. It was very slightly better than tepid, but still less than warm, and it felt fine in just a t-shirt. It left me in a sort of dilemma - I wanted to go out and experience more of it, but I couldn't motivate myself to do it. However it did somehow motivate me to do a bit more to a DIY job I had started weeks, if not months ago.
The start of the job was to put up the rails for the moveable shelf brackets as seen in the picture above. That was as far as I got whenever it was that I started this project. What I was putting off was cutting the shelves to the right lengths, and screwing on a bookend to the end that was not flush with the wall on the right. In the grand scheme of things it was not that much to do, but it generated some real sweat when I was sawing the shelves - which I did in the garden. By the time I had screwed the shelves to the brackets, and put the books on them, I was definitely feeling that I was glad I didn't do this sort of thing for a living, or maybe just how out of condition I am. The best thing was that I felt I had done something useful, and got the pile of books off the floor ! At some later date I can add one more shelf for more books.
While it didn't seem that I had done much preparing the shelves and putting them up, it did turn out that I spent a fair time doing it - at least a couple of hours. By the time I had finished, and cleaned up afterwards - including cleaning me - I had barely time to read one short story in the huge great book I am reading (see yesterday's picture) before it was time to take my second set of pills at 4pm (an arbitrary time that now seems a habit). After that I didn't have much to do while waiting for dinner time. What I probably should have done was to start editing the trail camera videos, but I didn't.
I spent more time reading, but while I read I had ideas that I hadn't eaten a great deal during teh day, and that it would be wonderfully nice to have a takeaway of some description. In the end I decided against such nonsense, and started cooking my own dinner. It was a very simple dish of bacon and beans - except the bacon was described as smoke pork medallions, and the beans had some special treatment.
To describe the why of the special treatment of the beans, and the results wanted, we have to go back about 40 years. At that time I was living with mum, and the nearest supermarket was a branch of the Co-Op. The baked beans they sold there were like no other. They were cooked for long enough to be very squidgy, and they only had a minimum of tomato sauce. It made them perfect to use in baked bean sandwiches ! A few days ago I experimented with microwaving beans for long periods of time. The first time was two zappings of 10 minutes each. That was too much. The beans were very dry, and on the point of burning. Nevertheless, it proved the potential of the idea.
Last night I cooked the beans for 12 minutes, and that was about right. It boiled off a lot of the excess water to leave a very thick sauce, and the beans were soft and squidgy. I had all but replicated the Co-Op beans of 40 years ago. They went well with the smoked pork (or was it bacon ?) medallions. I'll admit that a bit before I ate my proper dinner I had tucked into some rice crackers (very healthy) and garlic and herb cream cheese (very unhealthy). The slightly unconventional starter (or snack) plus the bacon and beans, not only satisfied me straight after eating it, but strangely enough for the rest of the day. I felt no desire for even the smallest snack all evening.
I wasted the next few hours watching TV, and then at 9.35pm I went to bed and read for a while. At 10.10pm I turned the light off, and went to sleep quite quickly. (For some reason I thought I would try and remember the times I did these things for a change). I slept soundly until about half past midnight when it is possible my first experiment with baked beans may have come back to bite me ! I felt a bit uncomfortable, and I wasn't quite sure why. After considering all the possibilities I thought I would try going to the toilet.
It turned out that I did need to go to the toilet, but at that time it didn't seem a desperate desire, and everything seemed very normal. In fact better than normal. I went back to bed, and within a minute of laying down I felt uncomfortable again, and this time there was more urgency to it. This time my visit to the toilet was more, ahem...explosive ! I finished that session, and once again went back to bed....and once again realised I was still not comfortable. One more visit to the toilet was needed. This time it was probably 90% gas.
After three visits to the toilet I had completely woken up, and it took another hour or more to find that magical comfortable position in bed, and to finally fall asleep again. I can't describe the rest of my sleep as being that good, but maybe it was better than I think it was. I generally feel OK this morning apart from a dread that last night's beans are going to cause similar problems tonight, or maybe even sometime during the day tomorrow.
Once I have finished writing this I really must go and wash my hair, and have a shower before I do anything else. I did take the precaution of reducing the temperature of the hot water a bit, and it should be a far more comfortable process than the scalding process I was probably scared of yesterday morning. It is what happens after that, that is a mystery. If the sun continues to defy the forecast I think I ought to take advantage of it. Maybe that will just be a walk to Aldi and back, or maybe it will be a walk in the park. Maybe I might try to to bump into Angela today. I'll see how I feel after I am clean and sparkling (?) again.
|Tuesday 19th February 2019
| 08:30 GMT
The weather forecast for yesterday made it look like it was going to be a horrible day. I am desperately trying to remember anything that might make it sound less horrible. One semi-good thing was that at it's warmest it was 11° C, and maybe another was that there might have been less rain than seemed to be forecast. It was a little tricky to say if the latter was the case without actually being outside to experience it in the raw. The rain was too light to see from indoors. It was a case of only noticing the road was wet every now and then. During the evening the cloud thinned, and the temperature dropped a fair bit.
I expected the temperature to be a little lower than 5° C earlier this morning, but maybe the forecast was right...or maybe not.
Yesterday morning I reported feeling a bit fragile, but otherwise quite comfortable. Maybe for a while I felt slightly better than that. Once I had washed and dressed I went out with both a camera and my shopping bag. My route took me past The Black Cat pub. There was nothing of interest there, but next door to the pub was a planning application notice for the old Brookdale Club. I had never been in there before it closed down, and I assumed I never would because the entire premises and grounds were bought by Lewisham Council as part of a grand regeneration project.
I can only guess that the money ran out for that, and the place has been leased out to new operators. They want a licence that covers all sorts of things as well as selling booze. There are such odd things as film shows and plays on the list, but what caught my eye was "live music". It might be, and probably is, pure fantasy, but I hope that some bands appear there in the future that play "approved" music. Maybe one day I will get to see inside The Brookdale Club.
This is another venue that might have some bands on one day. It is the old Black Horse And Harrow. It has gone through several changes of ownership, and the latest owners had probably wanted to turn it into flats, but the council put their foot down, and insisted that it had to stay as a pub. The owners were reported to be looking for a management company to run at least the ground floor as a pub, and it seems they have finally found one - one with some pretty psychedelic ideas about how to decorate a building. I know of one band, who are quite good, and who say they will be playing there some time, but I have a fear that most time there will be "disco music" and "disco DJs" playing there. That will, of course, mean that they will have to have SAS trained armed bouncers outside !
If I had thought about it a bit more I could have gone shopping in Lidl yesterday. It is a bit of a walk to Lidl for an ordinary shopping trip, but I do like to check it out now and then. While I was checking The Ninth Life I was only a couple of minutes walk from Lidl, and I even had my ruck sack and a big shopping bag with me, but I thought I would press on with my original plan to check a few charity shops for CDs and DVDs.
I bought three CDs, and two of them were a disappointment for very different reasons. The third was a novelty, and probably worth less than the £1 I paid for it. It was a CD of songs performed in various episodes of The Simpsons. The next CD was Alanis Morrisette's "Jagged Little Pill", and I like a few songs on it. The only major problem is that I found I already had a copy of it bought on some previous trawl of the charity shops.
Then we come to the CD pictured above. I remember the Righteous Brothers having a hit with "You've Lost That Loving Feeling". It's not that wonderful, but acceptable when mixed in a playlist with a bit of Motorhead, and Sex Pistols. There were many other titles that I recognised listed on the CD, but...oh dear, oh dear, oh bloody dear...I wanted to shove a skewer through my ear drum when I heard some of them. This was definitely the dark, smelly underside of the swinging sixties. Their truly awful covers of some of the great soul tracks might have been liked by a few old grannies, and those who thought buying "Music For Pleasure" LPs (not original artists badly covering famous songs) from Woolworths was a good idea. I'm not even sure I like the title track to the CD anymore.
My other rummaging around was OK. I found one more Hazelnut Cream scented candle in the SAM 99p shop, and they had a few more of the mildly pleasant Woodland Cornucopia scented candles back on the shelf too. Then I went into Poundstretcher to seek out some new bathroom mats. I found a couple of suitable mats, and they are now ready to put down to replace the smelly mats when Patricia visits in, or before July. I would also put them down of I thought there was any chance of a visit from Angela, that seems highly unlikely at the moment.
I felt good while out walking, and I don't recall having a single twinge. I arrived home feeling like I had just had a short stroll. I must admit it wasn't that much longer than a long-ish stroll. It was around 1pm when I git home, and I felt like a bit of breakfast. I had been thinking along the lines of having a salad, but I decided to eat a couple of sandwiches I had bought the previous day in Aldi.
I probably wolfed them down too quickly and ended up with what must have been heartburn, but it was in a very funny place for that. It was the return of the pain mostly just under my left man boob. It was the same pain that spoiled so much of my Sunday. It is interesting that it seemed to be caused by eating, and it was interesting that ant-acid tablets didn't provide any relief to it. It is a very localised pain - unlike the more widely spreading pain that seems to be the signature of my costochondritis, but I think it was/is just another facet of that.
Yesterday evening I had an impulsive idea that I wanted to drink lager. I had 8 cans of lager in the fridge that were bought in the expectation that Sue might come over one afternoon for a bit of photography, and possibly to go on to a gig together. It was a loose plan that was made with Sue probably before Xmas, but it now seems unlikely. I am fairly sure I bought these Innis And Gunn cans of lager before Xmas in Aldi, and last night seemed to be a good time to finally try them. They were very good, and tasted more like a beer than a pissy lager.
One strange thing is that the first three cans went down quite quickly, and the first half of the fourth can went down a little slower. That would have been about three pints worth (each can being a little less than a pint) - my usual ration at my Thursday evening drinks. The last half of the last can went down very slowly. It was still very nice, but I seemed to have lst my desire to guzzle down booze. Maybe I was satiated.
Even before I started drinking the pain in my chest had waned a lot, and the lager finished the job. I was worried that eating my dinner might bring it back, but it did no more than just remind me about it. I watched some TV last night. It included watching some of the news. That made my blood pressure go up a bit, and I waited for something more relaxing before I checked my blood pressure again. I was a bit dismayed that my first reading seemed so high despite it would have been a reading I would have been very happy to get 12 months or so ago. After a bit of extra relaxation I got it down to a level I wouldn't have dreamed of a year ago (or was it 2 years ago ?).
My bedtime reading has recently got very difficult ! The book I am currently reading is the book on the left in the picture above. I have pictured it next to a typical paperback book. The latter is very convenient for reading in bed. The big slab on the left is not ! Luckily most of the stories in it are just a few pages long, and I can read an entire story, and then put the book down, and allow the blood to drain back into my overstressed arms !
I'm not sure what time it was, but I think it may have been about 10pm when I put the book down for the last time, and turned out the lights. I lay down on my right side, and stretched out. As I did so there was a sensation like a series of poppers had popped open down the middle of my chest, for the entire length of my operation scar. It didn't hurt at the time, but past experience warns me that my chest could be very sensitive after sensations like that. In last night's case I am wondering if what I felt was more or less the opposite of what it seemed like. It is possible that what I felt was all my misplaced joints and twisted ribs settling back into their right places. Well, that was the optimistic idea, and for the moment it seems like it was possible.
I somehow doubt I will ever sleep the perfect sleep ever again - a sleep where you close your eyes, and wake up again 8 hours later feeling comfortable and rested. Last night was a typical neither good nor bad night. I woke up 3 or 4 times in the night, but I was mostly comfortable until I woke up for the last time. After that the bed, the pillows, and probably my entire body felt too lumpy and uncomfortable to even consider trying to get more sleep. I probably did get about 6 hours of decent sleep in all the time I was in bed.
This morning I feel something close to refreshed, and nothing actually hurts, but I do feel a bit creaky. It feels like a day when I should do a bit more walking, and ideally go a bit further than the 2.8 miles I did last week. I must admit I don't feel very keen to actually try it, and maybe I will have to force myself to get started. I have a few things I need to do first though. I have a backlog of washing up in the sink to get through before I turn down the temperature of the water heater. Now that was have left the frosty days behind the temperature of the water coming out of my shower has got painful. Sometimes that is good on my aching shoulder, and maybe other bits of my body, but it is now approaching unendurable !
Once I have had a good shower I can get dressed for the outside world, and can go out. It will be a bit easier if the sun continues to shine. Just now the sun went in for about a minute, and that was the first time this morning as far as I am aware. I guess I am going to time things to be in the park at about the same time I would expect Angela to be there. Maybe this time I will get lucky, but somehow I don't feel lucky. Maybe if I have any luck today it will be in finding something wonderful to do later this afternoon. At the moment my plans for the afternoon are a complete blank.
|Monday 18th February 2019
| 08:01 GMT
It was nice to see the sun back yesterday, even if only for the morning. The clouds slowly started to thicken at about midday, and the last the sun was seen was about 2pm. In the early evening there was a small threat of rain, although none was actually forecast, but it did look as if the road was a bit damp when I peeped through the curtains sometime in the evening. The highest temperature was during the first part of the afternoon when it was 13° C. It only cooled to 10° C by the end of the day.
It is dull and miserable this morning, and this is despite the forecast's optimistic sunny interval for right now, but at about 9° C it is not really cold. The road definitely looks damp like it has rained in the last few hours, but the first rain is forecast for this afternoon. It should be just light rain, and with the afternoon temperature forecast to be 11° C, it shouldn't be too much hassle. The cloud is supposed to thin out tonight, and the temperature could drop to 5° C by tomorrow morning. The cloud is supposed to stay thin and broken enough for some sunny periods tomorrow, but the temperature will only go as high as 11° C - maybe.
On the whole, I felt pretty lousy yesterday. There were few hours when I wasn't in pain, and even when I wasn't in pain I felt tired and had a sort of headache. The headache was probably because I was trying to concentrate on my work instead of resting, dozing, sleeping, or any of the other things I wanted to do. Most of the pain I suffered was centred in just a small area of my chest, just below my left man boob. I have a theory that it was a subset of my costochondritis, and was possibly brought on by carrying my heavy camera bag to and from Saturday night's gig. That bag does seem to get heavier and heavier as I add more accessories. On Saturday I definitely made it heavier by taking an extra lens. That lens, a fixed 100mm with a wide aperture, has a lot of glass in it, and it feel quite heavy all by itself.
In the morning I washed some t-shirts and underwear, and that usually makes my coctochondritus feel better. I have a theory that lifting all that heavy, water sodden clothing, and then wringing it out by hand, pulls my chest back into shape, and reduces, and sometimes even eliminates any pain from my "twisted ribs". It didn't seem to yesterday. If it did anything it just concentrated the pain in just the one small area. I next hoped that a short walk to Aldi and back might help. It didn't. That got me wondering if the source of the pain was something more sinister.
It was probably because I was in pain, although it was less intrusive when out shopping, and also the tiredness that made me less selective about what I bought in Aldi. It featured several ready meals, and some sandwiches. I did buy a few good things like some fruit, but it wasn't a shopping basket to be proud of. Probably the worst things I bought were some ready to bake meat pies. I didn't even bother to check if their nutritional content to see how bad they were - probably terrible - but the worst thing is that they were so unfulfilling. They didn't taste horrible, but then again they didn't seem to taste of much of anything. The very worst thing is that I still have another packet of two pies in the fridge that I will need to cook soon because I didn't have any room in the freezer to keep it until later.
I'm not sure how many hours I spent going through all the stuff I had taken on my camera on Saturday night, but including the video, it must have been quite a few hours. Doing stuff with the video doesn't take me that long, but it does take my computer quite a while to render the finished edit to the final file - and I did each clip twice - once in big format for playing on my 40" TV and a mobile phone version. Selecting and editing the photos was far more demanding on my time, but it could have been worse. I took some really awful photos on Saturday night. It didn't seem to be as dark as many venues, but I remember my camera really struggling to focus.
I was tempted to turn my flash gun up to full power, set the ISO setting on the camera to maximum, and then select a really small aperture for a huge depth of field. Like that the focus would be very insensitive, but I suspect teh picture would still look horrible, and my flash gun would be very intrusive. I took 100 snaps on the night, and about 80 were completely unusable. Some of the other 20 could be made to look almost OK, but I think I ended up with about 8 that seemed presentable. A bad night for photography !
I took three picture in rapid succession when I realised what was happening here. Two were terrible, and only this one was usable with a bit of sharpening, and a few other tweaks. It is Dan's mum delivering him a pint of beer.
I only managed to capture this moment by the skin of my teeth, and even then it is best to not look too carefully at this picture ! Apart from being a brilliant guitar player, Dan is also very expressive on stage, and does these wonderful poses.
It was while sitting down at my PC that the pain in just that small area of my chest was often worse. It was often accompanied by a more general low level ache that is very typical of my costochondritis. I managed to convince myself, rightly or wrongly, that is it was while I was resting all my body except for my brain and eyes, it couldn't be a heart problem, and so I just endured it the best I could. An occasional couple of Paracetamol or Ibuprofen gave some short lived help.
By about 5pm I think I had done all I needed to do, and tried to relax. Watching TV was hard work because there was hardly anything worth watching last night. I watched most of a programme about the building of Crossrail. It included the training for new train drivers who would be driving the new trains when Crossrail finally opens in December if I heard right. For a while I was distracted from feeling uncomfortable. When that programme had finished there was a choice of the BBC news channel, but that was mostly annoying, or a ten fold repeat of an episode of M*A*S*H. Some episodes are still worth a watch, but last night's were not.
I then spent a bit of time on the internet before laying down to read. Once 9pm started to approach I brushed my teeth, took a couple more pills, and tried to go to sleep. It wasn't long before I was successful. I woke up, usually from some interesting, sometimes slightly unsettling, dreams quite a few times in the night. Maybe half those times I needed a pee, but for some strange reason, never urgently. A few times I just woke up with a bone dry mouth. I guess I had probably been snoring heavily.
I think it was around 6.30 am when I woke up thinking that I had probably had enough sleep. Whenever I woke up in the night I was probably only awake for no more than 10 minutes, and all told I probably got close to 8 hours of sleep. That still didn't make me stop thinking about the possibility of going back to bed again. It is still an option now, but I don't think I could get back to sleep if I tried.
This morning I feel quite fragile, but nothing really hurts - for now. There is the potential for today to be a bit boring, but there are a few things I will probably do. Two of them I will probably combine into one thing. I want to go and get a few pictures of The Black Horse And Harrow pub, or Nine Lives as it is now called. For months and months the place had been clad in scaffolding after it closed down. If I understand correctly it had been bought by some property speculators, but they didn't realise that the planning department would only approve of any rebuilding that would not affect the outside of what is, or should be, a listed building that was built hundreds of years ago, and that they would not approve of any use except as a pub on the ground floor.
The new owners of the building claimed that they would seek a new operator to run the pub, and maybe that has happened. The place is reported to have re-opened a week or two ago, and bills itself as a music and event venue. Their first offerings included appearance by so called DJs - presumably the type that play awful music (most of them), and usually need SAS trained armed bouncer at the doors to stop tribal warfare breaking out. There is hope that some bands might appear there, and a tiny bit of hope that some bands may be worth watching - but I am not holding my breath.
I intend to take a few pictures of the outside of the place, and while I am out I will go into Poundstretcher to possibly buy some new toilet/bathroom mats. My need for them is not great now, but with the likelyhood of Patricia staying here some time in July, it would be nice to have new, clean, odour free mats in the bathroom for her. I feel that I might also have a wander into a couple of the charity shops for a rummage through their CD and DVD collections.
|Sunday 17th February 2019
| 10:31 GMT
It was a gloomy old day yesterday, and that made it feel much colder than it really was. With no sunshine coming through my front windows I had to leave the heating on despite it being as high as 13° C in the afternoon. It was different at night. It was forecast to be 10° C last night. I am unsure what it actually was, but it did feel sort of mild as I came home from a gig just after 11pm.
The latest revision to the forecast looks slightly better than the screenshot above. The best difference is that the sunny intervals should continue to 2pm now. Also, it might hit 14° C by 1pm. At the moment there is solid sunshine, and it has been shining since sunrise. The sun streaming through my front windows is once again all I need to keep the front rooms comfortable. Later this afternoon it will cloud over, and we'll lose the sunshine, but the temperature doesn't fall very fast. No rain is forecast, but it seems there is still a 10 or 11% chance of rain in the early evening. If it does rain it will be practising for tomorrow. The forecast only shows a maximum temperature of 10° C tomorrow, and there will be little chance of any sunshine, but quite a high chance of rain in the afternoon.
Yesterday was a hectic day. I was constantly feeling tired, but I had to fight that to get my new, replacement web server up and running. As I mentioned yesterday it is actually an old Toshiba Satelite Pro laptop, and it seems a good way to give it some extra life. As a web server it should have a very light usage in it's dotage. I stopped looking at the logs for these web pages years ago, and for all I know YOU are the only person who looks at them. That laptop is going to sit there doing absolutely nothing for 22 hours out of 24, and the 2 hours when it is busy is when I am writing this !
When I wrote yesterday I still needed to put the finishing touches to the server. The most important thing was to get all the files backed up again, and to arrange for them to be automatically backed up at 1am every morning. I did the first back up manually, but (fingers crossed) it will do that 1am back up as intended. Nothing will have changed since the manual backup - until now, and so I'll have to wait until tomorrow to make sure the back up worked.
I really wanted an early night last night, but I had sort of promised myself that I would go out to see M.T. Pockets at The Swan in West Wickham. It is relatively easy place to get to - usually - and so I got myself cleaned up, and headed out to get the 8.25pm train to West Wickham. I stupidly thought that just because I had walked 2.8 miles the other day, it would be an easy walk to the pub, up the hill from the station. When feeling like I haven't got much energy, or at times when it is very warm, and I don't want to get the the pub all sweaty, I get off the train at Eden Park, and wait for a bus.
Last night I thought I would dare try the walk up the hill. It didn't work out well ! Just getting out of the station to the main road involves a walk either over the footbridge, plus a gentle slope, or out via the car park, which on reflection is a longer way, and seems a long climb up a gentle slope. I felt knackered before I had even started on the main part of the hill up to the pub. Fortunately I saw a bus coming, and even though it was only one stop, I waited for the bus, and went that one single stop to the pub.
I arrived in time to say hello to a couple of people, and I even had a pint of Guinness bought for me. Pretty soon the gig started, and it was most enjoyable. The only trouble I had was that my camera was having trouble focussing in the dim light. It would often decide to focus on something other than the subject of my photo. A little later it got worse when the lighting was turned down. Unfortunately M.T. Pockets didn't bring any lighting with them. I ended up using flash, but even then my camera still had a lot of trouble getting initial focus - and then sometimes on the wrong thing ! Arrrggghhhh !
It was good to hear Dan playing again. He is a great guitarist. If he, or the band, has any fault it is a tendency towards the soul end of the music spectrum, but their set still has some storming rock in it.
One surprise, that maybe was less of a surprise than it could have been, was a "guest" appearance of Jamie Bull. It was less of a surprise for two reasons. One was that Jamie lives very near the pub, and second that he and Dan have often played together, and even had/have a side project called Stone Blind.
I was tempted to stay later than I did because I wanted to get the second to last train back to Catford. In fact I got the third to last train at 23:03. There was another at 23:18, and the last was actually at about 23:33. I had forgotten about the middle train - it is a Cannon Street bound service, and I think it has only been added to the timetable in the last year or so. Walking down the hill to the station was considerably easier than walking up it !
Once I was back in Catford I bought some chicken and chips to take home. I hadn't eaten a lot during the day, and I never managed to get out to a supermarket to get something that might tempt me away from a takeaway. I hadn't really noticed it until I had been in the chicken shop, but my fatigue seemed to re-appear in a special sort of way. I wanted to race home to eat my food, but the best I could managed seemed to be a slow plodding pace. I am sure it wasn't as slow as it felt, but I was very glad to get home.
After tucking into my supper, and de-greasing myself, I checked to see what I had taken on my camera. I shot a fair bit of video, and some came out OK. There was one song that could have been good, but I decided to move around a bit, and the camera lost focus a lot, and the sound was all over the place as I moved between PA speakers. I was reasonably pleased how Jamie's guest spot singing "You Really Got Me" with the rest of the band turned out.
It was about 1am when I went to bed last night, and I was soon asleep. For the first three hours I seemed to sleep well, but after that my sleep seemed very poor. I ended up getting up feeling still tired and aching a lot. I did attempt to go back to sleep, but I felt too uncomfortable to sleep. So I washed three t-shirts and some underwear, and somehow doing that didn't seem to make me feel any worse. Another little thing I did was to dig out a couple of stereo microphones that I once used on my camcorder. They were covered in fluff, and needed a bit of clean before I could try them on my camera.
One of the microphones is powered by a little mercury cell, and the electronics inside it is supposed to widen the stereo field. I was never convinced it worked very well, and I ripped out all the electronics in one of the microphones. It was that one I tried on my camera. It seemed to work well, although it is anyone's guess how well it will work in a very loud gig. One thing is for certain - I won't be able to cover this microphone with my finger like it is so easy to do with the 4 tiny holes on my camera that let the sound into the microphones. I am also hoping that the external microphone will have a better bass response.
This morning it is bright and sunny, and ideally I would like to go and frolic in it, but I have other things to do. I still have a load of photos from last night to go through. I want to go to Aldi at some point, and I want to have a snooze or three. I think that should fill up the day nicely. I guess that if I went to Aldi in the next couple of hours that could a bit like a frolic in the sunshine....sort of !
|Saturday 16th February 2019
| 15:15 GMT
I only need to edit this to change 13° C to 14° C and I can reuse this ! It was a beautiful warm sunny day yesterday. Maybe the temperature only rose to 14° C, but the sun was out for most of the day, and when in the sunshine, wearing black jeans and t-shirt, it felt very warm !
The weather has changed ! It is still fairly mild, although I haven't noticed the temperature any higher than 11° C yet, but I will admit it could be over an hour since I last looked. The big difference, and it makes a real difference, is no sunshine. It looks horribly gloomy, and that makes it looks a lot cooler. Yesterday my front rooms were heated by sunshine, and I had to open the window in my bedroom to stop it getting too hot, but today I have the heating on again. Tomorrow could be reasonable with some sunshine, and some sunny intervals until the beginning of the afternoon. Tomorrow it should reach 13° C in the afternoon.
Lots of things have happened in the last two days, and some of them have not been good. On the other hand some things were good. It was another bright sunny day, and maybe it was a degree warmer than the previous day. I sent a message to Angela asking if she would like to meet at lunchtime. She didn't read it until gone 5pm, and even then didn't comment on it. I went out regardless, although I did go and sit on Angela's favourite park seat at about the right time. She didn't appear, and the reason was that she went to The Fox And Firkin without me (and possibly on her own). The silly thing is that I saw her heading in that direction through my zoom lens, but for some reason I thought it was a case of mistaken identity. I later learned that it wasn't !
Angela walking to the pub without me !
I had a mostly very nice walk. The only thing that spoiled it was a few twinges. At one point I had some upper back ache. I have no idea what that was about unless it was raising my camera to take some high level shots. My upper back only aches the once, but like a few other twinges, it seemed to happen when I slowed down - usually to take pictures.
I tried to take a lot of picture of birds yesterday. The day before, which got lost when my server crashed, although I still have the original pictures, I concentrated on taking pictures of spring flowers. I have to admit that most of them were pretty boring, or at least not very dynamic. At least they were better than my pictures of birds. When I got home an examined the pictures it seemed like the sharpest, and least obstructed pictures were mainly of bird bottoms ! That is the penalty for trying to take pictures standing at the base of a tree.
Yesterday I remembered to turn the tracker on, on my phone. The day before I didn't, and I sort of regretted it because it felt like I had walked a fair distance. Yesterday I walked 2.81 miles, and that was probably about a mile further than the day before. I did feel rather weary at the end of it yesterday, more than the day before, but I think I am slowly getting back in practice. I could have walked a fair bit further if needed, but what I did walk seemed quite sufficient at the time.
Inside the park looking out !
Thameslink Train crossing the park on it's way to Crofton Park and points north.
One of the things I did on Thursday was to pop into the new Sainsbury's Local by Catford station on my way back from my drink in Shortlands. I bought 4 of their very nice ready made salads. I ate two of them on Thursday night (with added cod fishcakes), and I ate the two Greek Salads after my walk yesterday. Later in the evening I had some more substantial food, but it wasn't a heavy meal.
Tonight I want to go out, but I am in very bad practice for it. For instance, last night I went to bed at about the same time I should be arriving at a gig tonight (or in practice the very latest I should be arriving there). I was asleep soon after. For some reason I didn't sleep that well. One possible reason is that all the sunshine during the day had warmed my bedroom up to that unreasonable temperature that was neither hot nor cold. I turned the heater off to go to sleep, but then woke up feeling very cold sometime in the early hours of the morning.
I put the heater on again, wrapped the duvet around myself, and got back to sleep again. I probably woke at least one other time, but if I did I can't remember it now. What I do remember was waking from a nightmare of a dream. In this dream I had agreed to go to an aunts, or some other relatives place for Xmas day. I have no idea who I had agreed with, but I found myself somewhere in North London with no transport running, and hating every minute of it. I had no idea who my relatives were, but there seemed to be hordes of them. I wanted a quiet lie down in what was to be my bedroom, but that seemed to be filled with people. I can't remember many details now, but I do remember the end of the dream. I was wondering if I dared call, and pay for a cab home - presumably extortionately expensive on Xmas day, or whether I should attempt to walk the 26 miles that I believed I was from home.
That horrible dream was just the start of my nightmares. The next nightmare was when I tried to transfer the pictures I have used today to my web server. It wouldn't connect, and when I checked I found the machine was dead. I knew it was on it's last legs, and that it would soon die, but I didn't expect it just yet. The problem was that the fan in the power supply had been choked with dust. It overheated once a week or two ago, but I got a lot of the dust out, and it resumed working, but I don't think the fan was going around. That server was sitting in direct sunlight yesterday, and it must have cooked.
Today I have had to get a new server running. I intended to use an old laptop, and after trying a couple I finally ended up using what must be among the youngest old laptops I have. It was a Toshiba with a Spanish keyboard that was designed for Windows XP. It took quite a long time to make some alterations to it's file structure, install new software, and configure it all to work. Then I had to copy across all the files from the old server. I have a nasty fear that the old servers hard disk has died, but fortunately I automatically backed it all up to an 8GB USB memory stick each morning at 5am. Unfortunately all yesterday's work was lost before 5am.
I still have some missing files to transfer, and then I have to set up a new backup regime for everything. Once that is done I have to find a new home for the laptop that isn't in direct sunshine. That inevitably means the back room where I had always intended it to go once I had cleaned it up, and moved the furniture around - which I haven't done yet. For the moment it connected via a 30ft Ethernet lead and sitting on the little table in the living room !
I really want to have a good rest now, but there is important stuff to do - including having a shampoo and shower and getting dressed ! I guess there is plenty of time for that still, but time is flying past, and I would like to get out to a gig tonight. M.T. Pockets (brilliant) are playing in The Swan (boo, hiss) in West Wickham tonight.
15th February 2019
| xx:xx GMT
It was a beautiful warm sunny day yesterday. Maybe the temperature only rose to 13° C, but the sun was out for most of the day, and when in the sunshine, wearing black jeans and t-shirt, it felt very warm !
The weather was pretty much as forecast. It was another very lovely day, and after spending 90minutes in it I thought I detected the first, very light, tingle of sunburn on my forehead.
Unfortunately everything else that I wrote about today has been lost after my server crashed. All I can say is that I went out in the sunshine hoping, or trying to "accidently" bump into Angela, but she was too busy being given a rose in the cafe next to her work.
|Thursday 14th February 2019
| 08:47 GMT
Yesterday was not as sunny as hoped, but it was still sunny. It's just that quite often the sunshine was rather hazy as it filtered through thin clouds. Those clouds got a little thicker in the afternoon, but it stayed bright, and it was very close to warm. The afternoon temperature just hit the 11° C that was forecast, and although not particularly high, it did seem sort of nice, and together with the sunshine we did get, it seemed to need very little heating to keep it comfortable indoors.
The forecast says 4° C, but my thermometer says 1.3° C, and the frost on the cars out in the road, and the frost on all the shed roofs when I look out the back of my house, seems to agree that it is bloody cold this morning ! However, the sun is shining, and the forecast says it will continue to shine all day long...well during the hours of daylight ! That should raise the temperature to a pleasant 13° C, although if the forecast is right it will be more like 12° C for most of the afternoon. With hardly a cloud in the sky it will be a dry day.
The same should hold true for tomorrow, but maybe the temperature will top out at 14° C, and stay there for a bit longer than today's brief visit to 13° C. Once again, tomorrow is forecast to be a dry and sunny day. That may not be the case for the day after, Saturday. It might be just as warm, but it seems it will be an overcast day. Maybe Sunday will be better with lots of sunny intervals.
One of the cars in the road outside with it's top surfaces covered in frost. It occurs to me that today would have been one of those nice days at work where you go in shivering, but cheered by the bright sunshine, and go home, also in bright sunshine feeling warm. Maybe 13° C is not really warm, but it is close to it, and very different to 1.3° C !
To save time I have started to write this yesterday. It means I have to try and keep track of my tenses, and it is inevitable that at some point I will slip up. All I have to do is to try and remember that today was yesterday...or something like that ! I felt quite keen to get out, if only to a supermarket, yesterday morning. What's more, I wanted to go out without a coat. I have to admit that when I went out the day was still warming up, and it was a little bit close to being uncomfortable without a coat, but not actually uncomfortable. I ended up going to two supermarkets. The first was Tesco to buy a couple of 2 litre bottles of Diet Coke.
The second supermarket was Iceland, and they only sell 3 litre bottle of Diet Coke. The problem with the 3 litre bottle is that it won't fit in my fridge, and that is a shame because I think it is cheaper by litre to buy it from Iceland. I bought an assortment of stuff from Iceland. I bought a couple of their controlled calorie ready meals, and a couple of uncontrolled ready meals. Usually the calorie controlled meals are fairly nice, but the beef madras I had last night was almost unpleasant. Rather more pleasant were the sugar free chocolate chip cookies. I don't think I have dared to check their calorific content. The fact that they are sugar free is the most important thing.
Other stuff I bought was a mistake that I hope I never repeat. The chicken and bacon pasta in a creamy sludge was sort of tasty, but I can't help but think it was bad for me. The two, or maybe one of the two Jamaican Patties I bought was bad for me. I ate the pasta and the patties for a sort of crossover brunch. Neither pattie was that nice, and one of them kept repeating on me whenever I burped. It left a nasty onion sort of taste in my mouth. After eating the pasta and patties I felt quite ill, or if not ill, very tired, and I very quickly gave in to the idea of having a lie down.
I'm not sure what was going on there. I do know that I felt quite energetic when I went out shopping a bit earlier. I lay on my bed, and initially started to read, but it wasn't long before I dropped off to sleep. I'm not sure how long I managed to sleep before I was woken up by the only phone call of the day ! It was my friend Lee, but for once it was a fairly short call that didn't meander all over the place. Once the call was ended I lay on my bed for a short while, but I felt more uncomfortable laying down than I did standing up. I didn't really feel like it, but I decided it was time for action.
I went down into the living room, and resumed a project that I had been doing intermittently for as much as a couple of weeks. It was the hand shredding of old bills and other similar paperwork. The last time I did it I reported that I was getting very near the end. Yesterday I actually reached the end ! I wasn't sure I was going to make it because it was getting boring, but the closer I got to the end, the more determined I was to finish. Once finished I also collapsed the cardboard box I had that paperwork in, and I was able to put the whole lot in the recycling bin.
While I had been shredding I couldn't help but look at the TV and notice how dusty it was. I think I must have been feeling quite a bit better by then because I got a couple of yellow dusters, and a can of furniture polish out, and dusted the TV, and the area around it - including the shelves with DVDs and a few old VHS tapes on them. With that done I got out the hoover, and hoovered the living room floor, the hall and the stairs. Sadly the hall and stair carpet has seen better times, and I don't think any amount of hoovering is going to make it look clean. At least it looks a bit better now - even if just to my eye.
At the end of all that hard work I felt quite satisfied, and quite knackered. The first thing I did was to treat myself to 4 sugar free chocolate chip cookies - and they were very nice ! One of the nice things was that it had gone 5pm, and it was still light - not for that long though. It seemed no time at all before it was dark, and it was time for Star Trek on the Horror Channel. Unfortunately they seem to be repeating the same series as they had recently shown - or so it seemed to me. It was not a good story, and I ended up watching a bit of the news instead, but that was too miserable, and I found something else to watch. In fact there were a couple of channels I was switching back and forth between a few minutes here and a few minutes there.
By 6.30pm I decided it was time for dinner. For a starter I had a chicken curry by itself - no rice or anything, just chicken in a curry gravy. It was a bit underwhelming. For the main course I had the calorie controlled beef Madras that I mentioned earlier. It seemed very wish washy, but not much more wishy washy than the non calorie controlled chicken curry. I am wondering if I am going off Iceland ready meals ! For "pudding" I had another 4 sugar free chocolate chip cookies. That made 8 in total, and that was all there was in the packet.
Those ready meals really disappointed me, but at least they didn't leave me feeling ill. The rest of my evening was a bit of a blur - probably because I was just aimlessly passing time before going to bed. I flicked around the TV channels, and I read some stuff on the internet. I even scanned another packet of photo negatives. I wish I could put a date on those negatives because it was obviously a day out on the railway, and I got some nice pictures of old trains. Eventually I went to bed, and I seem to think I fell asleep very quickly. I think it may have been around 10pm.
I seemed to sleep really well last night. Maybe it was all the physical exercise, doing the hoovering and dusting, that set me up to sleep properly. For some strange reason I think I woke up in the night less frequently than usual. What I do remember is having some dreams about railways and being at work. Those dreams have now practically evaporated from my memory, but the end of the last dream I had is still fairly fresh in my memory.
I had left what I believe was London Bridge station, and walked straight into a pub (that doesn't exist in the real world). I stood at the bar and the bar tender asked what I wanted. I wanted a pint of lager, but I couldn't remember the name of a single lager. It was a bit embarrassing. I don't think I did it consciously, but I must have decided that when you can't remember the name of your drink, it is time to wake up and face the real world. Of course the process may have been helped by the dustmen clattering around outside.
It occurs to me that as the days grow longer the mornings are getting light at about the best time now. When I woke up it was light outside, and it seemed like the perfect time to wake up. It is still going to be sometime in the future before the sun sets at a good time. At some point along that journey it will all be mucked up when we change from GMT to BST. I think that will be at the end of next month.
This morning I have already trimmed my beard, shampooed my hair, and had a shower. Once I have finished writing this I will be free to do anything I fancy, and I will be able to do it a lot earlier than most mornings. (This partly because I did half this writing last night). The only problem is that it is still perishing cold outside at the moment, and I can't think of much I can do with the time I have available.
It is possible I might have ventured to the seaside today, but at just one 4pm I want to be on my way to Shortlands for my late Thursday afternoon drink. What I think I might do is go for a wander with my camera, and "accidently" bump into Angela. I won't try and arrange a meeting with her because she is probably too loved up with Lover Boy today, but with the sun shining, and it probably feeling warm in the sunshine, I think there is a fair chance I will know where to look for her during her lunch break. If she is not there then I can just write it off as exercise and probably a bit of photography !
|Wednesday 13th February 2019
| 08:25 GMT
Yesterday was more like a spring day than a winter's day. There were many sunny intervals in the morning. Sometimes the gaps between them were only a minute or two, and it was as good as being sunny. It was also very mild - mild enough to go out without a coat. The afternoon became a bit duller, and sometimes it seemed like it might rain, but it stayed dry. The afternoon temperature was about the forecast 12° C, and that felt good in the sunshine.
As I write this there is a very hazy sun in the sky. It's light is mostly too diffuse to make a decent shadow, but it still makes for a friendly feeling bright morning. It shouldn't be long now, if the forecast is correct, before we get some real sunny intervals, and today they should last until sunset. Sadly the temperature will likely be a degree less than yesterday at just 11° C. After dark some clear skies will allow the temperature to drop quite a lot, and in the early hours of the morning it will be down to a chilly 4° C. Once the sun rises tomorrow it should warm up quite quickly. The prediction is that there will be lots of sunshine, and the afternoon temperature may hit 13° C for a short while. Spring is not here yet, but it is getting close.
The day got off to a splendid start when Angela posted the picture seen on the left. It was the first time she had been to "her" park since last autumn. It was a bit muddy, but Angela herself was looking wonderful. She had composed the picture like a professional, and the light was hitting her at exactly the right angle.
I sent her a message saying that I thought the picture was so good that I had printed it out, and framed it. I also remarked how young and beautiful she looked, and not just as cheap flattery. A few messages were exchanged. One of which said she was bored at work. It was one of those days when not much was happening. It seemed to be the perfect excuse to ask if she wanted to meet at lunchtime, and she did !
At that point I was hardly ready to go out, but fortunately I had plenty of time to get myself ready, and to get one of my cameras ready. I decided to give my Canon "Rebel" (aka EOS 300D) an airing. I think I paid something like £5 for just the camera body and a couple of faulty batteries. It is quite an old DSLR camera, and it's spec is quite poor compared to my Canon EOS 600D. In particular it is not very sensitive, and would be useless at poorly lit gigs, but it is fine in daylight. It did suffer from a very specific problem, but I solved that yesterday afternoon. I left home earlier than usual to meet Angela so I would have time to take some photos, and also so I didn't have to rush...or so I thought !
I was pleased to take this photo. As far as I can tell it was the first daffodil to open in the whole park, and it definitely felt like spring was now almost upon us. It was 51% bravado, and 49% comfortable that I had treated it as a spring day, and gone out with no coat, and only a t-shirt.
These snowdrops have actually been flowering for a couple of weeks now, and if anything they are now past their best, but even so, flowers seem good after a miserable winter.
I was only halfway through the park, and expecting to have a search around for more photo opportunities when I got a message from Angela. She had left work early, and was already in the pub, and that there was a pint of Guinness on the table waiting for me. I do love my Angela ! Any idea of a slow stroll through the park, and more photography, went out the window, and it was best foot forward for a rather faster walk to the pub.
Angela was looking radiant when I got there. I had estimated that I was 10 minutes away when I replied to Angela, but she said it seemed only like 5 minutes before I arrived. We had a wonderful lunch break together, and I think it lasted more like 70 minutes instead of the more usual 55 minutes. We parted outside Angela's work place with both of us very happy, and once again with Angela initiating a nice warm friendly hug.
I had drunk two and a half pints of Guinness, and that must have been about right. I didn't feel full and reluctant to move, and the alcohol must have damped down some tendency for aches and pains, particularly of my chest, and I walked home in a spirited way - maybe not top speed, but I didn't hang around. I arrived home feeling fine except for a desire to eat. My lunch was a bit tricky. It was grilled chicken wings and salad, and part of the takeaway I had ordered the night before. I couldn't be bothered to try and separate the chicken from the salad to heat the chicken up, and so I took a chance on microwaving it all for just 1 minute. With hindsight a minute and 15 seconds might have been better, but the chicken was almost warm, and the salad had not been cooked. I munched that, and then had some revelations.
The first revelation concerned the Canon Rebel camera I had just used. One of the problems with that camera is that it would lose all it's settings when the battery was changed. Previously I had made two wrong assumptions. The first was that maybe the camera had no backup, and the second was that if it did have something like a back up battery it was hidden deep inside the camera. As I took out the main battery to put it on charge there was sunshine streaming through my window at just the right angle to light up inside the battery compartment, and it lit up some letters and numbers. Those letters and numbers were "CR2016", and I recognised them straight away as the number of a little lithium coin cell. They were on what looked like a little clip, and so I pulled it out, and there was the little coin cell - and it was in back to front ! I put a new cell in, the right way around, and suddenly my camera regained it's memory, and has become a far more useful tool - not that I shall be using it much with better cameras available, but for walks in daylight it seems fine.
The second revelation came to me about the same time as the first. It concerned Angela, and I think it explains why she is so happy to see me, but stays faithful to her miserable, and in my opinion, occasionally abusive boy friend. I think her main drive is to have a "husband", and past experience, plus maybe upbringing, makes her think that a husband is just like her boyfriend. To counter this she wants a "playmate" - someone she can have a drink and a laugh with, and share intimate gossip and stuff. That appears to be my role. It's not ideal, but still very enjoyable, and now I have this theory of what our statuses are, I feel it worth exploring the possibilities of this new look at our relationship.
The rest of the afternoon seemed to pass very quickly, and before I knew it I was taken my evening medication (which I usually take at about 4pm). I deliberately didn't eat much more than the grilled chicken wing salad so that I would feel OK to go out in the evening to Stretchy's Open Mic on Bromley. I got as far as brushing my hair, brushing my teeth, and getting fresh clothes selected and ready to put on when my stomach gurgled. It would turn out to be real hunger this time, but I had memories of just 24 hours earlier when I had exploded into the toilet twice, and suddenly I didn't trust myself to go out.
Not going out rather dashed my evil desires to have a takeaway to top off the Guinness I would have been drinking, and so I popped a small ready meal into the microwave. Once I had eaten that I felt much better, and my stomach no longer gurgled in a threatening manner. By then it seemed too late to go out, and I passed the time with a few large whiskies, some TV, and some reading (both online and a real book). The book was Arthur C. Clarkes "Glide Path", and I was getting near the end, and so I read on to the end. It was still a bit earlier than I would have got home from the Open Mic, but not by much, when I turned the light out, and was soon asleep.
I think I slept rather well last night. I had a few unremarkable dreams, and I think I got up twice for a wee, but mostly I just slept. I think it was just after 7am when I woke from almost 8 hours sleep, and it was light outside. I think it was just before official sunrise, but even so the light had a certain nice quality to it. It was that quality that said winter is over. I realise I am getting a little over-enthused by this, and that there is still plenty of time for the weather to turn rogue on us, and dump a foot of snow on us, but I have seen the face of hope, and I like it !
By now we should be having sunny spells, but the sun is still just a bright, hazy area of sky. I don't think this affects my plans because I don't seem to have any specific plans for today. I think I will visit a supermarket at some time, and do feel an urge to get outside with my camera again. What I actually do, and even which supermarket I might visit are still a mystery. I think I'll consider all the possibilities while having a nice shower !
|Tuesday 12th February 2019
| 09:20 GMT
It was mostly bright, and a dry day yesterday. The maximum temperature was only 9° C, but that was high enough for it not to feel chilly, just very cool.
The day has got off to a fair start. It was a cool start, but bright one. There is some intermittent sunshine even as I write this. Nothing has changed between the screenshot above of the 7am revision, and the latest, and while it is probably stupid to think so, I am going to assume that this forecast is probably going to be right. That means there should continue to be sunny intervals until 1pm, and that by 2pm the temperature should hit 12° C. I do hope that there is more sunshine between 2 and 3pm because that would make that 12° C feel warm ! Without sunshine it will still feel good, but not good enough ! The thicker, but maybe still light cloud should stop it getting too cold tonight, but will spoil tomorrow. It should be at least 11° C tomorrow, but the present prediction is that it will be 2pm before the sun breaks through the cloud, and even then it will only be for brief sunny intervals. Maybe I am looking forward to Friday when it might be sunny intervals all day, and the temperature staying at 13° C for most of the afternoon.
Yesterday I boasted (boasted ?) that I had text-book poo the previous morning. I was pleased that the same thing happened yesterday morning - at least for the first visit to the toilet. Later in the day it would not be so good. As for the rest of my health...I probably spent a lot of the morning trying to decide if the pain in my left elbow I had suffered in the night really was something to do with nerve regeneration. What I was actually trying to decide was really whether there was some sort of improvement in the light numbness of my little and ring fingers of my left hand. For some time now, maybe the last couple of years, I have either grown used to the lack of proper sensation, or the amount of sensation has gradually improved. I can't say there was any dramatic improvement the night before last, but for the sake of optimism I am going to say there was a small improvement. Most of the tingling has gone when I tough or rub those fingers, but it still feels like I am feeling everything through a rubber glove. It is hard to put dates on these things, but maybe a few years ago that would have been a washing up type rubber glove. Now it is more like a slightly thick surgical rubber glove.
I don't think I felt quite as good as the day before, but I don't have too many complaints about yesterday. One oddity was that I seemed to feel very hungry before lunchtime. I deliberately waited until it was getting late for lunch before making a big salad. I don't know if there was something in that salad that I am allergic to, but after eating it my throat felt mildly constricted - not constricted in the sense that it was interfering with my breathing, it wasn't, but it did feel like something had swollen up and felt wrong.
One possibility for an allergen was the precooked, flavoured chicken slices I had in that salad. I think the package may have warned about the possibility of traces of nuts. I know I am not allergic to nuts, even the nuts that are actually peas, like peanuts, because I eat far too many nuts in all varieties with no reaction, but maybe "traces of nuts" are something I am allergic too. Maybe I'll find out today because I have another packet of that chicken (buy 2 for just less than the price of 2 any way).
Yesterday was another day where time slipped quickly and easily by without me having to feel bored in any way. This is getting to be a bad habit, and one that I hope some of the warmer days coming up will stop, or at least reduce. Once again I did a bit of hand laundry. This time it was just a couple of t-shorts and some underwear. Doing it in small batches is easier, but not as challenging as it could be. I look forward to when I can open the bathroom window and enjoy some refreshing air as I do my laundry. I could open it now, but it would be chilly if left open too long, and it is annoying to have to go all through the aggro of leaning over the bath tub, and fiddling with the security latches to open and close it. Maybe though, with the temperature probably reaching 12° C today, I might open it for a couple of hours to let the spiders and flies in !
Although it was spread through the day in small segments, I spent some time studying the pictures and video from my trail cameras yesterday. They had been out, untouched, for three days non stop, and I was curious as to what they had seen. To my surprise they hadn't seen much - at least much that was novel. There was one brief visit from the Siamese cat that patrols the neighbourhood, but it was really only passing through. I hadn't put out any food for a couple of days. "My" fox had hidden a lot around the garden, and I wanted it to eat some of it before I put any new down.
Maybe it was the lack of any fresh food, just sitting on the ground, ready to be picked up, but I didn't see any sign of the rat that appeared some days previously. That rat had almost entered into the foxes earth, and while I didn't capture it on camera, I wonder if it did enter the earth, and got eaten by the fox for it's impertinence. I believe foxes do eat rats as part of their natural diet, although I will admit I have not seen that mentioned in any authoritative source. Last night my fox should have been dining on Dylan dog food - 33p per tin in the SAM 99p shop !
One thing I did see that was very pleasing was that my fox is increasingly using it's injured leg/paw. I guess it is still tender, but it is now occasionally using it when bimbling about in the garden. It also seems to have no real trouble using it to dig now. If it carries on healing like it appears to be, it can't be long before it is able to leap over the fences like a normal fox can. Once that happens I can imagine it will mate, and I will end up with some nice footage of the cubs playing in the garden. Here's the latest video compiled from three days of watching by my train cameras, and edited down to just 3 minutes. Pay particular attention after the first 10 seconds. I have slowed down to next 2 seconds to make it more visible. From just beyond the stump on the right, what looks like a huge moth, flies up and out of the frame on the right. Also look at the fox walking on both front feet - perhaps a bit gingerly yet, but doing it.
First there was a feeling of hunger, or what I thought was hunger at around lunchtime - the sort of time when hunger might be expected. My salad had appeared to quench that, but later, as even approached, I had a slightly strange feeling that wasn't quite hunger, and wasn't really like anything. It wasn't painful in any way, but it was there, and it made me think of food, and not just any food. It made me think I wanted food that I could really enjoy. In reality I somehow completely misunderstood these feelings. At first I decided the only way to cure this strange feeling was to order a very tasty takeaway, and that was what I did.
As the clock ticked towards delivery time that something feeling turned more into a "I want to go to the toilet" feeling. So I did that, and it was far from text-book ! I barely had time to sit down before an overwhelming to run to the toilet came over me. I made it with just 0.03 seconds to spare !!!! Whereupon I exploded ! I can only think that maybe my "washed and ready to eat" salad I had eaten earlier, maybe even the day before, wasn't washed as well as it might have been. Fortunately that seemed to be the end of it all, and I was able to enjoy my takeaway when it arrived. I have to confess I enjoyed it too much, and ate some of it that I had originally imagined eating today.
I went to be later in the evening feeling quite stuffed, and expecting to have a rough night. To my surprise it was almost a good night's sleep. I didn't wake up in any sort of pain the couple of times I woke to go for a pee, and I only had the normal creakiness and the like when I finally got up this morning. I have to admit that my chest does feel delicate this morning, and that it feels like it wouldn't need much to upset it, but for the moment it is comfortable. It is probably irrational, but I will continue to believe that everything will be fine once spring fills the air with mild breezes, and the sun shines down on us.
There could be one fly in the ointment. I had two dreams last night that incorporated snow ! One I have all but forgotten, but seems to have been about snow stopping me getting to a pub. The other dream featured an idea that is impossible, but is also impossibly rare. I have personally experienced being right on the edge of a downpour such that it is raining on one side of my house, but not on the other. Many people have said they too have experienced something similar. I guess it is because snow is a quite rare occurrence that something similar has not been observed. In my dream a road running parallel to mine was almost impassable because of snow, but my road only had a very thin covering. Of course the big mystery was why I had not just one, but two dreams about snow ? Is this some form of cranky clairvoyance, or just too much whisky before going to bed ?
Today, being bright, and threatening to be almost warm, although unfortunately not at the same time, means I ought to.........? I probably ought to go and stretch my legs somewhere. I am sure I have said this every morning when it wasn't raining for the last few weeks now, and as yet I have gone nowhere. Maybe I will today, but probably I won't. Ah well, plenty of stuff to do here. I shall go away and contemplate it while leaving you a portrait of a handsome fox in landscape mode because foxes are landscape shaped !
|Monday 11th February 2019
| 09:30 GMT
Yesterday should have been horrible, but somehow it didn't feel that way, possibly because I stayed indoors all day. There was a lot of rain of varying strengths and descriptions in the morning, but it did seem to dry up earlier than the forecast predicted. Once the rain stopped the sun peeped out a few times. None of them very long, but enough to brighten up the day a bit. It is after dark where things get a bit hazy. The forecast said it should be dry, but I feel like it was rain, and yet I can't actually remember seeing any. One good thing is that the daytime temperatures of 6 or 7° C didn't seem to cool the inside of my house. Even in the unheated back rooms it didn't feel that cold, but maybe, as I'll describe soon, it was just me.
The screenshot above was taken before 6am this morning. The latest revision to it makes one nice change - the sunny periods should now last all through the afternoon until sunset - which is now 17:08 - the days really are getting longer now! Another positive change is that the afternoon temperature of 9° C should now be reached at least an hour earlier. There is no way of telling now that the early morning temperature was just 3° C, but it felt like it wasn't that low. Tonight the temperature is forecast to fall to 5° C, and at 6am tomorrow it may be just 4° C. It will soon warm up, and it is going to get close to warm at 11° C for a lot of the afternoon. The thing that will spoil it is if the forecast about a complete lack of any sunshine turns out to be true.
There can be no doubt about it, I was feeling the closest to some form of healthy for some time yesterday. My aches and pains seemed to be minimal, and I even did the perfect, text book, poo in the morning (one smooth movement with only the need for one sheet of toilet paper). It must have been the combination of a big healthy salad, and just a bit of junk food. With my new improved relaxation techniques, and cherry picking the times, my blood pressure was very good yesterday.
So what did I do with this new almost healthy feeling ? The answer is sadly, "very little", but very little doesn't equate to nothing. I washed the new sheet and pillowcases I bought in the sale at Poundstretcher for one thing. Unlike a thick double duvet cover, a double fitted sheet is easy to hand wash, but impossible to fold up neatly once dry ! It is with the benefit of hindsight that I realise what my brain was trying to tell me to buy in Poundstretcher - it was a non-fitted sheet that I could use as a photographic back drop, although it is seeming unlikely that I will ever be able to do the photography I want to do due to lack of models. Visits from Angela or Sue seem unlikely, but I live in hope.
The thing that occupied a lot of my attention yesterday was waiting on a parcel delivery from Amazon. I estimated the delivery would take place after midday, and before 4pm. I think my parcel actually arrived at about 2pm. While I waited in the living room, where I could keep an eye on the road outside, I continued on a project started some time back. Shredding old bill and other paperwork - by hand. A machine would do it so much quicker, and I did mean to buy one. I could have got on in Aldi a week or three ago, but for some mysterious reason they put the only one on display inside the glass case that is usually reserved for small, high value items, and I could face the embarrassment of holding up the checkout while a "manager" went and found one from the warehouse area.
My hand shredding is now getting very near the end after yesterday's shredding. It is possible that one more slightly extended session could finish it all, and it is possible I might even do it today ! Yesterday it all came to a stop when my parcel arrived. It had three things in it. One thing was actually two bottles of isopropol alcohol. Since discovering it at work I find it so useful for all sorts of special cleaning. De-greasing surfaces before putting on labels is a frequent use, and lately I have been using a lot to clean greasy fingerprints off old negatives that I am scanning.
The second item was yet another external USB hard disk for making backups of archive disks. This disk was a 1TB disk, and it wasn't long before I started the back up. Rather than clog up my main PC I chose to do it on my laptop via a powered USB hub. That does slow things down to maybe half speed, and the laptop is hardly the most speedy of machines. I started that back up 15 hours ago, and it is still going now ! There are faster ways. It could have been very speedy of I had a PC with USB3 ports on it, but speed is not important here. The important thing is to protect against data loss by doing the back up.
The third and final thing was a double CD. It was the Hitchhiker's Guide To The Galaxy - Hexagonal Phase - as broadcast on Radio 4, and just recently available on CD. When I read about it I believed I hadn't heard it broadcast before, but with hindsight I think I may have heard the first episode. It seemed clever how old recordings of some voices had been blended with their new replacement voices, or at least it did at first. I have an idea that I didn't enjoy the first episode, and didn't listen to any more.
The "Hexagonal Phase" was made many, many years after what was to have been the final episiode of the HHGTTG, and it was based on the book written by Eoin Colfer. That book seemed a reasonable read, and came close to Douglas Adams eccentric writing, but like all the other radio series, the storyline diverged, omitted, and invented different storyline threads to the books. I can remember being excited about the news of a further series of the HHGTTG on the radio, but evidently the reality was a disappointment - as is these CD recordings of that radio series.
The thing that jarred most of all was the voice of Marvin (the paranoid android). The new voice seems terrible, but maybe not as bad as the audio and visual travesty of Marvin's portrayal of that dreadful American movie of the HHGTTG. If there was any justification for nuclear war, and turning America into a sheet of glass, that movie was it ! Meanwhile, after enduring three episodes of The Hexagonal Phase I went into my archives and listened to both the entire Quandary and Quintessential phase. Several hours later I came to the conclusion that the final episode of the Quintessential Phase was a perfect end to the entire series. Like most sequels and remakes, it seemed like a good idea at the time, but the Hexagonal Phase should never have been made.
Listening to radio recordings took up a big chunk of my day in the end, and I went to bed not much more after listening to what should have been the final episode - from the Quintessential Phase ! After brushing my teeth I read for 10 or 15 minutes before getting to sleep quite easily if I recall correctly. That was close to midnight (I had listened to over 6 hours of radio recordings !). Unfortunately I didn't stay asleep.
I woke up at about 4am in pain. It wasn't the usual pains, but one I hadn't had since the first month or two after getting home from my quad heart bypass operation. It seemed to be nerve pain centred on my left elbow. During my operation some nerves in my right elbow had been sort of crushed, and that caused two things. The small finger, and the one next to it on my left hand were left partly numb, and for a while I had some annoying pains from about the elbow downwards in my left arm. I think they were phantom pains coming from the damaged nerves, and there was little I, or my doctor could do about it. Paracetamol helped a bit, but strangely, pure codeine did nothing.
I am fairly sure that what I experienced at 4am was nerve pain again, and the clue was that it seemed like a little bit more feeling had come to my numb fingers. There have been several small improvements in the past, and this morning I think I detect another very small improvement, There is no easy way to measure how numb those two fingers are, but I am sure there is a change for the better. The best improvement was probably a couple of years ago when the pins and needles sensation when touching those fingers went away. I keep touching those fingers to try and decide if I am imaging a small improvement or not. I think there is, but it is on the limits of perception.
I can't remember if it was before I woke up at 4am, or during the next sleep I got, a good hour after waking up, but I had an interesting dream. It may not have explicitly featured in the dream, but it was probably inspired by Brexit. It was set in an approximation of one or two of my old workplaces. While at work I had kept visiting a Poundshop, or similar establishment, and had been buying food - a lot of food ! I had filled up racks with boxes of various foodstuffs, and even some drink. With retirement looming I seemed to spend a lot of the dream trying to work out how I was going to get it all home again.
This morning, after some initial discomfort, I seem to feel reasonably OK. I'm not sure I feel as good as yesterday, but maybe today I will put it to the test by doing something or another. I feel I ought to make a determined effort to go out, stretch my legs, and take some pictures. Whether I will is anyone's guess. Once again, I have written so much that it is now getting very late in the morning, and although the day is still warming up, it feels like I have missed the best of the day. Sooner or later I will decide not to write this in the morning, but to write it after I have been out somewhere. It will probably be on a warm morning, and so may not happen for a while.
One other thing I did yesterday was to spend a few minutes here and there scanning more of my old negatives. I have found another couple of pictures which deserve to see the light of day again.
Neither of these early attempts at wildlife photography were very successful, and so I am showing them at reduced size to make them look better than they really are. I would guess that both could be from as early as 1984, but 1985 is more likely. Until I scanned the negatives I had forgotten that the family who lived next door, when I first moved here, had a pet rabbit. I don't know what happened to it, but I would not be surprised if a fox hadn't taken it. The second picture came out almost right, but I think the colour dyes in the negative have deteriorated because I had to do a lot of colour correction. It must have been taken on a hot summers day when even the butterflys slowed down enough to have their pictures taken - either that or my reactions have really slowed down in recent years. I just can't seem to find a butterfly that stays still for long enough to get a decent snap in recent times !
|Sunday 10th February 2019
| 09:03 GMT
Yesterday started out good, but then the weather departed from the forecast ! It was bright and sunny in the morning, and by 11am it was 10° C, and I dared to go to the corner shop with no coat on. At about midday it was starting to get a bit dull, and by 1pm (or thereabouts) it was raining. By 2pm it was as if someone at the weather centre had looked out the window, and hastily changed "sunny intervals" to "rain" for the rest of the afternoon. In the evening when it was originally forecast to rain it did, but I seem to think it was a lot later than forecast.
It seemed a slightly mild night thanks to the heavy clouds that are now making it both dull and gloomy, as well as wet outside as I write this. If the weather follows the forecasts script we are first due some heavy rain soon, and once that has passed by there is a chance of a sunny interval popping up at any time during the rest of daylight hours. Unfortunately the first hours of that are likely to see continued showers. At the moment it is almost 7° C, but probably dipping down a degree before rising again to 7° C again. That is the best we can expect today. Tomorrow is forecast to start at a rather cool 3° C, but it could rise to as high as 10° C if we are very lucky. It is currently forecast to be lightly overcast most of the time, but the occasional sunny spell is possible.
Yesterday continued with the theme of it being slightly strange, but maybe in a different way to the day before. The prospect, and indeed the early morning actuality of sunshine had quite an effect on me. It raised my spirits, and may, or may not have improved how I physically felt. It is still possible that I had some sort of low level bug recently, and by yesterday I was on the winning streak.
The first manifestation of everything being good was when I went to the corner shop. It was bright and sunny, although a little windy, and the temperature was about 10° C. I took a chance and went out without a coat. I don't think I would have been comfortable for any walk lasting more then 2 minutes, but in the 2 minutes, and the same on the way back, it felt wonderful to be not weighed down or constricted by a coat. I was slightly apprehensive about doing it, but I walked there at almost top speed, and didn't suffer any consequences of doing it.
I think it was just after middy when I went to get some shopping in Tesco. By then it was looking a bit dull outside. I think the sun was out a few times as I walked to Tesco, but on the way back home again it was definitely very dull. It was maybe 10 minutes after I got home that I realised that reality and the weather forecast had departed company in a big way. The forecast, until it was revised an hour or so later, said it should have been sunny, but it was pouring with rain !
That rain put a dampener on the rest of the day, but I still felt mostly OK. I hadn't suffered any consequences of my walk to and from Tesco, and that was good. Apart from the weather turning traitor, another oddity yesterday was that my hinger levels dropped a big notch. I ate far less than I had on previous days. It wasn't that I was not hungry, but more that smaller meals seemed adequately satisfying.
While I wan in Tesco I bought quite a bit of stuff for salads, but also some ready meals for those cold wet nights. The morning sunshine made me think I would have a salad for lunch, and possibly for dinner too, but I had salad for neither. At lunchtime I had what could be called a cold ready meal. It was a sort of chicken and bacon pasta salad. It probably had too much of everything I try and avoid when I can, but maybe because of that it seemed sufficient for me until dinner time. I'm not sure if I snacked on anything until a sort of starter before my dinner.
That starter was some Port Salut cheese on rice cakes. To be honest it wasn't that good, but it acted as a stop gap until my little fish pie ready meal cooked. Maybe that fish pie was not ideal, but ten again it wasn't bad, and seemed to be all I needed for the rest of the evening. It was probably better than the takeaway that I was considering buying at first. It feels unlikely that I didn't have something, maybe something like some nuts, to nibble on later in the evening, but I can't seem to remember doing so.
My only other activity apart from two shopping trip (one of which was so brief that it hardly counts) was to wash the new hand towels I bought the previous day. Initially I was going to wash them one at a time because washing towels by hand can be hard work, but I decided that they were only hand towels, and I might just as well as do both at the same time. The first thing I noticed was that compared to the cheap and cheerful towels I had bought from the 99p of Pound shop, they soaked up water as soon as they got near it. That bodes well for the future. The cheap and nasty towels I bought don't seem to soak up much water at all. I look forward to using those new towels in the not too distant future.
I know I spent some time reading some pages from the most recent New Scientist Magazine, but what I can't seem to remember was if I went from that to an afternoon snooze. I am sure I probably did, but the biggest mystery was the length of that snooze. If it was just closing my eyes for a few minutes then it doesn't count, and it wouldn't be worth remembering, but if it was half an hour or more I should be able to remember it. I am either suffering from short term memory loss, or it was just not important enough to remember. There is some validity in the second option. It was a day where I started it with the idea that I would be making it up as I went along, and anything was valid if it stopped me being bored.
I certainly didn't really feel bored. There was stuff I could have forced myself to do if seriously bored - stuff that I am generally reluctant at doing like hoovering ! Instead of that I filled in the day with lots of little things. Scanning another couple of packs of negatives was one such little task that will keep me going for some time. It is sometimes nice to see some of my old photos in digital form - which I can sometimes improve with some light editing. Occasionally one pops up that is worth showing.
I can put no date on this photo, but it possibly dates back to 1985 plus or minus a couple of years. What I can say is that it was very likely a Sunday, and the leaves on the trees suggest that it was probably between very late spring, and very early autumn. On the face of it it looks like some track workers working on the rail just north of Catford Bridge station, but it shows more than that. Starting on the left of the photo. That is Doggett Road on the left, and when this picture was taken the side nearest the railway had no pavement. It was just wild grass, weeds, mud and dog poo.
In the foreground it is easy to see that the picture was taken from a bridge. It was one of two footbridges that gave access to Catford Greyhound stadium across the other side of the railway. The other bridge was long disused, but this one provided a bit of a shortcut to get to Catford station without having to go up and over the road bridge at Catford Bridge station. I don't think the Greyhound stadium was in use when this picture was taken, but the infrastructure was all intact, and while it is not easy to see it, the car park was still in good condition. Fast forward to today, and the car park, the old sidings by the station, and all the land back to the main road has new blocks of flats built on it - including where the actual stadium itself was.
There was no particular gig I might have liked to see last night, and so the idea of staying in, keeping warm and dry, was a very easy one to make. I watched a bit of TV, not that there was much on, read for a bit, and was finally in bed, and asleep, by 11pm. I can't remember if I woke up before, but I definitely woke up at about 4am, and it was from a very intriguing dream. In this dream I dreamed I was just waking up to check an incoming message on my phone. In doing so I accidently called someone who I wouldn't want to speak to at any time, and particularly at 4am ! The fact that I don't think I even have his number is another oddity, but far less important.
The important bit is that my conversation with the man I had accidently phoned was obviously in the form of an apology, and I told him not to worry because this was probably just a dream. I can't remember my actual words but I came out with something convoluted about my call was just in his dream, and that I was dreaming he was dreaming. It all sounded logical at the time ! It seemed to be a variant on lucid dreaming in as much as I knew I was dreaming, but I didn't seem to be able to exercise any control over the dream - except to wake up, but I can blame my bladder for that.
It took some time to get back to sleep after that, but sometime night time hours are actually night time minutes, and I was probably fast asleep again much quicker than it seemed. It was sometime after 7am when I woke up next, and I felt too uncomfortable to try and get back to sleep again. It was a typical case of lumps growing in the pillows and mattress that weren't there last nigh, and won't be there tonight (where do they come from ?). On top of that my legs felt stiff and sort of painful.
Since getting out of bed, and doing a few things, I feel mostly OK. Even my chest feels about 75% OK this morning. In theory I could do all sorts of stuff today, but I won't. The gloomy weather doesn't inspire me to do anything, but more than that, I am constrained about what I can do because I am expecting a parcel delivery today. I estimate it might come soon after midday. Once it has arrived I could be free to go out, but nothing in the gloom and wet is calling to me. I might go to Stretchy's open mic in Bromley, but at the moment I'll just leave that as a possible option.
|Saturday 9th February 2019
| 09:53 GMT
The weather was pretty grim yesterday, but maybe it wasn't quite as bad as the forecast predicted. The rain was generally quite light from morning through to mid afternoon, and it was also very intermittent. I'm not sure what 40 mph winds are actually supposed to feel like, but while I did experience a few strong-ish gusts of wind, it didn't feel all that remarkable. I think it was around 2pm when the forecast shifted from light rain to heavy rain that the sun came out for 10 minutes or so, and the rain apparently stopped completely for an hour or two. The afternoon high was 11° C, but with no sun, and in the wind, it still felt rather chilly.
Until well after dark, when rain is forecast, it should be a fairly nice day today. It's been a fairly mild start to the day, and it has been nice and bright. When I first started writing this is was bright and sunny, but sadly it is just bright right now....but wait, the sun seems to starting to come out again. This is probably going to be the pattern for much of the day. More strong winds are forecast for this morning, but while sitting in doors I can see or hear anything that suggests there is any wind at all ! Most the afternoon should see the temperature up at 11° C, and maybe in the sunshine it might feel nice. A couple of hours after dark the weather will be rehearsing for tomorrow. The temperature will drop to about 7° C, and there will be lots of showers, and that almost describes the forecast for tomorrow too - except that there could be some sunny intervals during the day.
Yesterday was a strange day. During the morning I felt passably OK. I was maybe a bit creaky, but I did a bit a hand laundry with no particular stress, and then a bit later I went shopping. I felt OK during that too. I first went to Savers for my vitamin D tablets, and then I went into the SAM 99p shop where I made a beeline for the scented candle section. I was elated to get what seemed to be the very last Hazelnut Cream scented candle, but also saddened because I was hoping to buy 3 or even 4 of them !
I bought a few other odds and ends in there before going into Poundstretcher to but more stuff I probably didn't need. I noticed, and bought a new fitted sheet, and a pair of pillowcases that were in their sale - both reduced from something like £7.99 to £4.99. There was a similar reduction on a pair of hand towels that I also bought. I spent a little time looking at the food section in Poundstretcher. They have a few oddities that I decided to buy out of curiosity. They had some things that were a bit like crisps, but were actually based on very thin rice cakes.
I neglected to check their nutritional values, but I suspect they were probably all fairly low - you could almost tell by the texture. They are not a substitute for crisps, but could be used as an emergency snack or something. Another oddity was black lentils in a masala sauce (or something like that - I can't be bothered to go to the kitchen to check). They were in tightly sealed, but still microwaveable containers, and while I didn't check the best before date, I am pretty sure they will have a very long shelf life - 10 years or more. I bought a couple as "emergency food rations" - could be useful after Brexit !
Despite buying quite a lot of edible stuff I hardly touched any of it at first. I concentrated on the figure of 11° C, and tried to ignore the gloom and wetness outside, so that I would be happy with a salad instead of hot food for lunch. I made up a rather large salad, although 75% of it was just leaves. Those leaves included basil, and they went well with the tomatoes I added. The final thing was a Feta cheese salad, and the cheese did give it a sort of creamy texture that partly offset the balsamic vinegar dressing (no oil).
After eating that salad I started to feel really weary, and maybe a bit strange in a way I can't describe. It seemed easiest to lay down and read for a bit before having a snooze. I continued to feel bad until I had some hot food. With hindsight it could possibly have been caused by my blood sugar dropping too low, but that seems unlikely. If nothing else, the 4 small (but not baby) tomatoes I had in the salad should have provided enough energy for a 5 mile walk. I have had similar, but less severe feelings a few times recently. The next time it happens I will try to remember to check my blood glucose level. In the unlikely event it is unusually low it would be the perfect excuse to crack open a packet of Jaffa cakes that have lain untouched since the last time Patricia was here.
After feeling so weary, and with the night being cold and wet, I cancelled any idea of going out to a gig quite early last night. I toyed with the idea of indulging in a takeaway of some description, but in the end I opted for a couple of small ready meals from the fridge. It is possible a carefully chosen takeaway might have been healthier, but the ready meals seemed to be what I needed to perk myself up. I didn't feel great for the rest of the evening, not even after adding some whisky to my life, but at least I didn't feel terrible. I certainly had the stamina to talk to Sue on the phone until 3am !
Before calling Sue I tried to amuse myself with a bit of TV. The episodes of Start Trek being shown on, of all silly places, The Horror Channel, seem very stale. It feels like they do not have access to all the original Star Trek, and just have a few of the seasons. After that there was Star Trek - Deep Space 9. It was a very "bitty" part of the Star Trek canon. Some episodes were good, and there was even one that was excellent, but many story threads were boring. Sadly there was worse to come....
After Star Trek - Deep Space 9 had finished the only thing I could think of watching was one of the Top Of The Pops compilation that appear on BBC4 every now and then. Some of them show some show some brilliant stuff, but last night it was dire. I estimate that the final ration was something like one good song to five vomit inducing songs ! To spare me the strain of seeing some of the worst bands I let my attention drift to doing some stuff on my PC. I am unsure if I managed to leave the TV running until the end of the programme, or whether I shut it down before the end, and went back to listening to my own choice of music.
I must have been feeling really relaxed in the middle of yesterday evening. I measured my blood pressure, and the first reading was unusually not very high. So I did my usual relaxation for a minute and tried again, that would have been an excellent reading. A further minute of relaxation, or maybe you could almost call it meditation, and I got the reading above. The systolic pressure was almost too low, although my pulse rate was unexpectedly high. I'm not sure what it all means beyond an idea that my medication is working too well. After a string of low readings I decided to reduce my dosage of Bisoprolol from 5mg to 2.5mg. Two days of that and my pressure and it did seem hard work trying to get nice low pressure reading, and I went back to 5mg. After last night's reading I am back on 2.5mg again this morning.
After not going to bed until 3am last night, I seemed to sleep OK. I did it in two stages, and finally woke up/got up at 9am. If I had gone to bed at a more sensible time I would have hoped to have got up at least a couple of hours earlier because I did have some crazy ideas about going out to frolic in the sunshine. I am not sure I will now. Until the couple of paracetamol I took earlier starting working, I don't think I would have felt capable of any frolicking. I'm not sure if I do even now !
In practical terms I think I will have to reduce my frolicking to a shopping trip to Tesco, or maybe, just for a change, to Iceland. Iceland do quite a nice range of alleged calorie controlled ready meals. There are some valid arguments that says it would be cheaper and healthier to cook these things from scratch. That's OK if not cooking for one. To get some variety you would have to do impossible things like trying to buy half a potato when cooking for one !
Another project for today is to wash the two hand towels I bought yesterday. I hope they turn out to be a lot better than the towels I last bought from Poundland. They seemed OK, but no matter how many times I wash and fabric condition them, they still seem rather rough, and don't dry my hands properly. Other than that I have no idea what I will do today. I think it will be another day where I just make it up as I go along. Maybe with the sun shining through my front windows I might be inspired to get the hoover out....well it's possible !
P.S. As per usual I have found some real howlers of spelling and grammar in what I have written today. I expect that many more have slipped through the net. Sometimes, in my haste, I miss out complete words. It must be a sign of increasing crapulence...although a very slowly increasing crapulence ! Oddly enough, my spell checker has never heard of a word like "crapulence" before. Maybe I just made it up ! Anyhow, my apologies for writing so much every day with only the flimsiest checks on my grammar and spelling before uploading it. Please forgive me my sins :-)
8th February 2019
| 09:43 GMT
There was some nice sunshine yesterday, and with the temperature reaching 10° C in the afternoon, it didn't feel too bad. It was spoiled a bit by being fairly windy - except indoors when the sunshine pouring through the front windows was enough to warm the rooms up to a fairly comfortable level.
As far as I am aware, there has only been some drizzle so far this morning, but apparently there is much worse to come. Some of yesterday was a bit windy, but today it could get very windy. To make it worse, it will probably be accompanied by very heavy rain. The temperature could hit 11° C this afternoon, but the wind will probably make it feel sub zero, and the rain will finish the job off ! A small update from the latest revision of the forecast: The worst of the rain is now though to start just as the wind starts to die down. I think we can write today off as a crap day, but tomorrow offers some hope. The current forecast, which of course could completely change, probably in the middle of tomorrow, shows sunny intervals all day long, and an afternoon high of 11° C. That could have felt good, but it will be a bit windy again.
Yesterday seemed to fly by. I must have spent a couple of hours or more playing with my trail cameras, and then editing the video I showed yesterday. Once I had done that I spent over an hour writing yesterday's blog/diary, or whatever this loads of words is called. I then did some laundry before getting showered and dressed. By then it was only a couple of hours before I should have been going out for my (mostly) regular late Thursday afternoon drink.
There was nothing I particularly wanted to do in those spare couple of hours, but I passed a bit of time researching possible ways of updating an old mobile phone. It wasn't the Samsung I recently bought from Sue, but my old ZTE Blade-S, otherwise known as a "San Fransisco" phone as sold by Orange. I think it was back on something like 2012 that I "de-branded" to get rid of all the Orange bloatware, and also allow it to be used on any network. In it's time it was a good little phone, and what drew my attention to it again yesterday was when I was looking at some of the pictures I had taken on it. Those pictures were very good for a cheap Android phone - at least outdoor pictures were very good. I'm not sure I ever tried it at any gigs.
After playing with the phone for a bit, and finding that I couldn't do an upgrade without using a file browser, and I couldn't install a file browser until I had done the upgrade, I realised that I was wasting my time. So I put the phone away again, and went to have a quick snooze to pass 20 minutes or so. I woke up again rather more than 20 minutes later. It was 4.09pm, and I wanted to get the 4.10pm train ! There was no way I could even fly to the station in one minute flat. That didn't matter too much because there was a train at 4.20pm, but before I could go out I had to go to the toilet. That meant I would not have enough time to get to the station for the 4.20 train, and so I had to go for the 4.40pm train.
Even then I got distracted, and had to rush to the station to get that 4.40pm train. After a few days of feeling very rough I was not sure how I would cope with rushing to the station. I was able to do it non stop, and it seemed like hard work. It was uncomfortable, but didn't hurt. Mainly I was a bit short of breath, but I seem to recall all effects of that rush had worn off by the time I got to Shortlands station 10 minutes later.
Last nights drink was about average - definitely worth going, but not an exciting session. After my late start I left a little later than usual, but not unprecedentedly so. I was able to get the 6.45pm train because it was running 4 minutes late. If I had missed it there was another train only 6 minutes behind it. I was soon back in Catford, and wondering how far to push myself when walking home. I decided it was not a race, and didn't aim for top speed, but it only seemed to take about an extra 20 seconds to walk home like that.
I arrived home without any chest discomfort - which is what my main worry was. As soon as I got home I starting "cooking" some dinner - where "cooking" means zapping a small ready meal in the microwave. I also put another ready meal in the oven to cook. The strange thing was that both these ready meals were described differently, and came from different supermarkets. They were basically beef in gravy with cubes of potato, but the one with the posher sounding name had a few baby carrots in it. Otherwise they were more or less identical.
I allowed a bit of time for the food to settle before I measured my blood pressure. It was very good. That made a change because for the previous few days, when I was feeling ill, although I hadn't thought of it as "ill" at the time, I struggled to relax enough to get a nice low blood pressure reading. Last night it was easy, and when I tried it a bit later it seemed easy to relax enough to get a very low reading (for me). It seemed to be a bit of a clue that all the aches and pains I had for the first days of the week were not just the weather, but maybe something like a light 'flu. A "light 'flu" is almost certainly impossible, but I would not be surprised if the 'flu virus that attacked me last October is still hiding in my body somewhere. Maybe it is not complete fiction to believe that it could have had another go, but this time my body was primed to fight it off before it caused too much trouble. Maybe that is impossible fiction, but it sounds good to me.
My sleep last night had one novelty thing about it. At the end of my first block of sleep I was having a dream about cooking bacon, one strip at a time in some sort of strange cooker that was neither grill nor microwave. That is not the most interesting thing. I strongly suspect I made it up in the first second after waking up, but it seemed that in the dream I knew I was asleep, but wanted to finish cooking the bacon before I woke up. Perhaps it was fortunate I didn't stay asleep dreaming until the last rasher was cooked, because 2 seconds after waking up I realised that a visit to the toilet to drain off some of last evening beer was necessary !
I was back asleep soon after that visit to the toilet. At that time my chest felt OK, and so did most of the rest of my body. Three or four hours later when I woke up it was just starting to get light, and quite a few bits of my body ached - including my chest. Several hours have passed since then, and most of those aches and pains have faded, but like a lot of yesterday, my chest still feels tender. I'm not sure if "tender" is actually the best description. What I feel is more like an old wound that doesn't actually hurt, but occasionally gives of warning signs if you mistreat it. After my quad heart bypass surgery in October 2013 you could say that much of my chest is like an old wound.
The weather today is so foul that it probably doesn't matter if I have any aches and pains because I very much doubt I will be wanting to go out in it...or at least not far, if I do go out. I do have a mild, very low priority, desire to go to the shops, and maybe I might put on a raincoat and venture out. I would like to go to a gig tonight, but I think I will decide whether to be foolish or not later. In the meantime I have a bit of laundry to do, and salad to eat. I had a fish and mostly green leaves salad yesterday lunchtime, and maybe that did something positive for me.
|Thursday 7th February 2019
| 11:29 GMT
I had hoped that the forecast 11° C for yesterday afternoon may have felt good, but I am not convinced it ever reached that, although the consensus among my three outside temperature sensors was that it did just about reach 10° C. Maybe the grey skies sapped any goodness from the afternoon, and the evening rain just about killed the day. Overall, taking all the few pros, and many cons into consideration, I didn't like it !
There was no sign of any rain at 8am this morning. As far as I was aware it was bright and sunny. It has certainly been sunny since, although there are some nasty looking clouds drifting across the sky now, and there seems to be potential for a shower. The latest revision of the forecast does show a shower coming at 2pm, but otherwise still shows sunny intervals right up to sunset. Apart from the shower that might, or might not happen at 2pm, it is currently shown to be dry right through until about 2am tomorrow morning when drizzle is forecast. Once again my thermometers showed that it was at least a degree cooler than the forecast, but when I went out to check my trail cameras I found it didn't feel very chilly - but it did feel some chilly ! With luck, 10° C in the afternoon may feel pleasant in the sunshine. One coming weather feature coming soon is strong winds. With winds of 41mph combined with some heavy rain tomorrow afternoon, it could make for a lively day. That wind will probably make the predicted 11° C still feel very cold.
Yesterday was a day of two halves. In the morning I did some hand laundry - some t-shirts and underwear - and it felt mostly OK. I think it was about midday that I went to Aldi to stock up on toilet paper before the post Brexit shortages start...or maybe I just needed toilet paper. I also bought some salad stuff, and other miscellaneous groceries. I had a look out for some cheese that I heard might be on sale, and which was specially made, and named after some rock groups. Sadly, I didn't see any this time, but I live in hope for a future visit.
I also spotted these in Aldi - micro rice cakes, although they don't describe themselves as such. You get 4 of these packs in a bigger packet, and each pack contains 4 rice cakes. The headline feature is that each pack only contains 71 calories. This is not surprising because I have seen old coins that are bigger than these rice cakes. Even the smallest mouth could easily fit in two quite comfortably. I would probably have to eat a whole packet of 16 to even fill the hole in my tooth. Looking more carefully at the nutritional values reveals what looks to be a scary amount of sugar, but look again and it is the value per hundred grammes, and each pack only weighs 14 grammes - so not so scary after all.
Soon after getting back from Aldi I made myself a nice salad for lunch. It was quite a big salad, but most of it was just green vegetable - lots of salad leaves, and even for the first time ever, some diced broccoli. However it wasn't a vegetarian salad because it included corned beef - quite a lot of it. In fact it was a whole supermarket pack of 5 thin slices, and the reason why I used the whole lot was that it was over a week after it's use by date. It smelled fine, and tasted fine, but with hindsight, and for reasons I'll explain soon, I wonder if it was alright.
After lunch I laid on my bed to read for a while, and I had a snooze. Before that I was feeling basically OK. Doing the laundry in the morning warmed me up a bit, but didn't seem to tax me. Walking to and from Aldi didn't seem to knacker me, although I did feel a bit creaky walking there. For some reason my ankles felt stiff and sore when walking there, but at some point they stopped complaining, and I can't recall them being any bother on the walk back.
After my snooze I began to feel quite rough. My chest, that had earlier been a bit cranky, but not actually painful, seemed to have started to ache, and my right knee seemed stiff and sore. A few muscles seemed to ache too. It felt worryingly like the start of 'flu. Maybe the worst thing is that I couldn't seem to concentrate on any task, and I began to feel very weary. I had been hoping to go out in the evening, but with the way I felt, plus the rain that started in the evening, I decided I would definitely not be going out.
I watched a bit of TV in the evening, and the last thing I saw was Star Trek - Deep Space 9. That finished at 8pm. From then on times get a bit hazy. I know it wasn't long before I decided to have a lie down, and read New Scientist magazine. I don't think I managed a full page before my eyes closed, and I dropped the magazine onto my face. That woke me up, and so I put the magazine down, turned out the light, and very soon I was fast asleep. I am very sure that was before 9pm, and possibly as early as 8.30pm.
At about 11.30pm I woke up feeling both better and worse. I felt much more alert, but my chest was really giving me a hard time - particularly when in bed, and trying to get back to sleep on my side. It was that pain that feels almost, but not exactly like heart attack country. Just to add to the joy, I was sure I could feel my heart doing something strange. It probably wasn't, but the imagination thinks up all sorts of things in the dark. After about 15 minutes I decided to get up, and read some of the various comedy web sites on the internet.
I was up until about 1am, and feeling tired again, but not ready for bed. I then did what I should have done a lot earlier - take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets. They are not a complete cure, but do help. I think it was getting on for 2am when I finally fell asleep. To my surprise I was still alive when I woke up next at about 6am. I wasn't quite sure how I felt. I certainly didn't feel worse, but I didn't feel much better. I did feel different, and maybe that different was a sort of better feeling. I visited the toilet twice, and took my morning pills before going back to bed.
I had also visited the toilet for more than just a pee sometime after 1am this morning. That occasion, and the two visits later in the morning were not violent, or particularly notable apart from in their timing. I wonder if that old corned beef I had in my lunchtime salad was just starting to go bad, not bad enough to give me the runs, but maybe bad enough to mildly poison me, and make me feel so ill last night. It is a bit early for it all to have passed through yet, and so I'll have to see if anything untoward happens to my guts later.
This morning my chest feels very tender, but the rest of me doesn't feel that bad, and I do seem to have some energy back this morning. So far this morning (although I note that it is now afternoon as I write this) I have had a bit of extra sleep, and I have retrieved my trail camera for the first time in 2 days. It could have been a stupid thing, but I went into the garden with no shirt on, and while it was quite cool, it didn't feel uncomfortable for the few minutes I was out there. Both camera had some interesting video on them, and I spent quite a lot of time condensing it all down to the most informative bits.
My plans for today, in simple terms, are quite simple. Once I have finished here I shall have a much needed shower. By then I will only have to full in a couple of hours before I go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. I expect it will just be a three pint session, but you never know... To avoid temptation on the way home I have a choice of several (hopefully) very nice ready meals I can zap in the microwave in minutes. Perhaps a couple of hours later, and with luck I will be having a night full of pleasant dreams. I reckon I am very long overdue a very erotic dream - maybe tonight I will get lucky, but my pessimistic thought is that I will be lucky to even get to sleep properly. Oh well, I'll just have to take it as it comes.
This video is a condensed version of two days and nights in my garden. It starts with a pigeon who managed to place him(or her)self right in the middle of the frame like a star on the stage. The next section is an unwanted, but inevitable visitor freeloading on the foxes dinner. Next is "my" fox having a look around the garden. After that is the visiting fox, that I believe is a dog fox. He seems to have found where the rat has stashed some of the food, and eats some, or hopefully all. Shame he didn't catch and eat the rat too. Finally a bit more footage of "my" fox.
|Wednesday 6th February 2019
| 09:10 GMT
The weather forecast usually gets the temperature right even when the rest of the forecast does not match reality. Yesterday it was the other way around. The forecast showed thick dark cloud, and that was exactly what we got all day long. The forecast said the temperature would rise to 9° C in the afternoon. From what I saw, it barely hit 7° C. During the late evening the temperature rose, and it is possible that it hit 11° C. It did seem to be a mild night.
I have three temperature sensors outside my kitchen door. At the moment, when the forecast says it should be 10° C, they are reading 7.4°, 7.8° and 8.2° C. They are not high precision instruments, and come with no certificate of calibration, but they all seem to agree that it is not 10° C, and that taking the average of all three, it is as close to 8° C as makes no difference. The reason may well be that the cloud is a lot thinner than the "light cloud" in the forecast. I guess there is no symbol that says "thin streaky cloud that has enough gaps to let through occasional bursts of sunshine", but there probably ought to be for days like today.
If reality catches up with the forecast (or should that be the other way around ?) then maybe it will warm up 11° C by the end of the morning. If the breeze is very light, as it looks like it will be, it could almost feel warm, and certainly would if standing in sunshine. It is a bit unfortunate that it would appear that it is going to get wet this evening - I might be going out in it ! Tomorrow is going to be dry, and generally cooler, but there could still be a few hours at 10° C in the afternoon. The big plus point is that lots of sunny intervals are forecast to happen throughout the hours of daylight.
I am trying to decide if yesterday was boring, and while I would say it was far from exciting, I don't think it was boring. I must admit that I am not sure how I come to this conclusion when considering I hardly did anything of note yesterday. It was one of those days where I was so busy doing nothing that I didn't find the time, or indeed the need to even have a shower. Of course I would have had one if I expected to meet anyone, or even if I had any intention of leaving home to go shopping.
It was another day where lots of little or mostly inconsequential jobs, plus a couple of long phone calls, seemed to fill in the day more than adequately. One little job was scanning a couple more packets of negatives. As I have probably mentioned before, possibly several times, I decided to do the job properly this time, and scan all my negatives, and not just a few where I was after a specific picture. It is a fairly slow, and unexciting process, but it fills in odd bits of time, and that was exactly what it did yesterday. I have to admit that it did even bring a bit of excitement...just a tiny bit !
This was a picture that I now remember taking (in a vague way), but I had forgotten about. It was probably taken in March 1995. It is the view taken from the northern end of the platform of Hainault tube station, and shows the "little red train" that was still in service as the train used on the Epping to Ongar shuttle. That was only a peak hour service, and so the train would "rest up" in Hainault depot during the middle of the day. The thing that makes this picture so good, or rare, is that it was just an ordinary day, and at the time it was just a mundane view that anyone could see any day, and so nobody bothered to take a picture of it - except for me. That little red train is now in preservation, and the preservation society "liked" my picture, and generated a few positive comments when I shared it to their web presence.
There were a couple of other pictures that I haven't done anything with yet, but when I can show them in some sort of context they could be useful. One that springs to mind is the half finished station building for Canada Water station - once a purely Tube station that opened in the late 1990s (I think), but now part Tube and part "Overground" station. There was also at least one picture where I feel inspired to go back, now with a digital camera that I can take almost unlimited pictures on, and take a series of far better than my one original snap on precious film. That will be for a warmer and drier day though.
My two phone calls help pass quite a lot of time. One was my friend Lee who has made a complete mess of using Facebook. He has managed to upset quite a few people by some recent drunken rages. His solution, and it seemed to be a wise one while he is going through some stress, and too much booze, and can't trust what he writes, was to deactivate, and delete his whole Facebook account. He wanted to know how to do it. It is actually very simple if you read what it says on the page, but he was evidently too stressed to do that, and I had to talk him through it. He was just about to do it when he was interrupted by another call, and he said goodbye to me so he could deal with that call. Evidently he must have forgotten how to do it, or what he wanted to do, because his account is still there and active this morning.
The other phone call was with Sue, and it typically went on a very long time. Some of that call was about comparing notes regarding Lee, but other stuff was much more general. Some of it gave me some hope for the future. I think our friendship is back on track to resume, with some limits, where we left off as last Autumn started. I am less keen to go to gigs with her where she has this really annoying habit of wanting to hang around until the pub has locked it's doors and turned the lights out....and the last train has run, but the first night bus is not due for 45 minutes. Quite what she thinks she will gain by hanging around in the cold and dark is anyone's guess. So maybe I won't be accompanying her to many gigs, but I think I can look forward to some lunchtime/early afternoon drinks in a country pub like the time we visited Shoreham or Eynsford a few very enjoyable times last summer.
If I hadn't stopped it, that call could have gone on well past 1am this morning. Five minutes after I hung up the phone I was in bed. Five minutes after that I thought I would never get to sleep, and then it was suddenly almost 5am ! On reflection, I seemed to sleep well again last night, but like the night before there is still a feeling that another hour or two of sleep would have been nice. I did feel very tired yesterday afternoon, but somehow I didn't seem to be able to have an afternoon snooze. It may have been Lee's call that interrupted me just as I was beginning to feel comfortable.
Today there are a few things I definitely would like to do. First of all I definitely need to have a shower, and while I am at it, it would nice to wash my hair. Once my hair is dried, and I have cooled down, I want to go to Aldi. Yesterday I had to suspend my belief about what it was really like, and imagine it was more like the 10° C the forecast said it would be, but with sunshine, and force myself to have a salad for lunch. It wasn't the healthiest of salad because I added far too much Polish ham (I was finishing the packet), but at least it was a start. I am going to force myself to have another today, probably with some naughty, fat containing corned beef, but I need some extra ingredients like "salad leaves".
Tonight I would like to go to an open mic night at the dreaded Elm Tree pub - easy to get to, but with nothing else in it's favour, and much against it. I would imagine that tonight it will be a lot less crowded than when a full gig is on. I think the main deciding factor will be the weather. Rain is forecast, and if it is too heavy, and too persistent, I might give it a miss. There is also the question of how I feel. Maybe I will feel crap, perhaps only slightly crap, but even that could be enough to hold me back for an event that is only slightly an attraction. What I will do between shopping in Aldi, and possibly going out tonight, is an, as yet, unanswered question, but I guess I'll find something to do.
|Tuesday 5th February 2019
| 08:50 GMT
Well, well, it seems the forecast got it about right for yesterday. The morning was pretty wet, although possibly not quite as wet as the forecast predicted. By the afternoon it has mostly dried up, and it was feeling fairly mild, but once again maybe not quite as mild as I was expecting. I think I was probably expecting too much for 10° C. The worst thing was that the whole day was very grey, very grim !
Most of today is predicted to be dry, but it is going to be a very dull day in the extreme. It is so dull at the moment that I have to have the lights on indoors, and the black clouds featured in the forecast suggest it will be this dull all day. At least it will be a mild day with the temperature around 9° C in the afternoon. Then it will fall by a degree before climbing to as high as 11° C just after midnight. It seems that rise in temperature will be associated with more rain. Tomorrow could be almost warm, or at least the closest we have come to it for some time now, with the temperature hitting 11° C, but once again it will be a dull day with more rain starting just before sunset.
Yesterday was both good and bad in a variety of ways. After writing I finished the laundry I was doing, had a shower, and then went to the pharmacy to find if my repeat prescription drug for Empagliflozin had been approved, and the prescription sent through to the pharmacy. This was the new drug that the doctor decided to try on me last December. I was initially only given a 28 days supply, and it ran out before my other drugs. I decided it would wait until my next repeat prescription to order more, but that didn't happen, and I had to order it separately. One of the interesting things about it is that it has a side effect of weight loss. The timing is all wrong - I really needed it when it was severely cold, and I couldn't stop myself from eating excessively. Now it is milder I shall be trying to get back on the salads...although the grey skies don't really inspire me to do so.
A little after 12:30 I took a walk to the station to get a train to go and see Sue. It wasn't a nice walk. I had to grit my teeth to keep up the pace because my chest was popping and clicking as I walked, and starting to get sore. On top of that I felt mildly asthmatic. I wasn't gasping for air - it was more like I was wishing I could breath more deeply. It all combined to make me feel like my heart was racing. Maybe it was, and maybe I did wonder if worse was to come, but it didn't. I did feel sort of shook up for the entire train ride to Orpington, and then halfway along the ride on the R6 bus. Then suddenly I felt OK again. Incidently, getting the R6 bus from Orpington is the way to do it - a much shorter wait for it than at St Mary Cray station, and it is a shorter, and flatter walk too !
The main purpose in seeing Sue was to buy an old mobile phone from her. It was initially a sort of charitable thing, but the reality was that it ended up as a very charitable thing ! She had been given the phone by a presumably well meaning, but stupid friend. While the phone was in very good condition, it was also very old, and the version of Android it was running was incompatible with most modern apps. It also has so little working memory that there is very little room for adding any apps. For me, even knowing a few tricks to eke out a little extra from it, it is really no more than a curio. I will experiment with trying some non Samsung versions of Android on it which are stripped to the essentials. That could have one or two outcomes. I may get a usable, but limited phone out of it, or I will end up bricking it. The former outcome is obviously more desirable, but no matter what the outcome, the phone will probably spend most of it's life in a drawer, half forgotten.
It was nice to see Sue again. She is still ill, but much better than when I spoke to her a day or two previously. I probably stayed there for between about an hour or 90 minutes before getting the R6 back to Orpington station. Some of our chat was about her appeal against losing her disability allowance. If what we read in the papers is correct, many people who are judged fit to work get their disability allowance re-instated just after they have died from hunger, or other aspects of deprivation. Just before I left I said "come here you filthy diseased creature". I know of some who would not get away with that, but she knows my ways, and came and hugged me. That was as intended, and it felt nice.
Five minutes later and I was on the R6 bus heading back to Orpington. The timing of the trains are not quite as good when changing from train to bus, but it was still quicker than at St Mary Cray station when the bus arrives just as the train is leaving. That means a 25 minute wait on the platform for the next one. At Orpington there is a choice of a 6 or 7 minute wait for a Victoria train, or a 15 minute wait for a Thameslink train straight to Catford. I opted for the Victoria train. That calls at Bromley South station where I can change trains to a Thameslink train coming from either St Mary Cray or Orpington. Unfortunately a quick bit of research while I was on the train showed that the first Thamslink train would be the one I could have waited for at Orpington !
When I got back to Catford I wondered if I would have a repeat of the discomfort I had when walking to the station. My chest did still feel a bit tender, and I could feel it clicking and popping again as I walked up the hill that is actually a road bridge over the railway lines for Catford Bridge station. I decided not to slow down until I actually felt some bad discomfort. Once again I ended up breathing quite heavily, but far from the point when I wouldn't be able to speak properly if I had to speak. I don't think I walked that much slower compared to my best, and I was not really in any discomfort at all when got home in about 8 minutes (I think I can only shave less than 30 seconds off that even on a very good day).
It was just after sunset when I got home, and there was still a little light in the sky, but not much. That made it feel too soon for dinner, but I did feel hungry. What I did have were a few reduced price sandwiches form Tesco in my fridge. I think I bought them for about 54p a piece, and on reflection I think I was overcharged even at that price. They were made with tasteless white bread, very little butter, if indeed any, and I doubt that it would be even be butter if anything was used. One "flavour" was almost tasteless very thinly sliced chicken, and the other was a thin slice of cheese. At least the cheese had a bit of flavour, but otherwise these packs of sandwiches were bland in the extreme, and maybe worth about 20p in the real world.
Later on in the evening I had a lamb rogan ghosht curry, and even later I had melted cheese on Marmite flavoured rice cakes. The latter is something I invented recently, and it is really nice, and possibly only slightly unhealthy depending on how much cheese you use. Apart from eating I passed some of the evening watching a bit of TV, and a bit ore talking to Sue on the phone - I just had to tell her how disappointing she would have found that Samsung phone if she had tried using it as a replacement for her broken iPhone (broken but still usable).
Sometime after 10pm (if I recall correctly) I began to feel very tired. I went to bed, and tried to read for a bit, but my eyes kept trying to close. I put down the magazine, turned out the light, and the next thing I knew was that it was gone 3am, and I needed a pee. Very soon after I was back asleep. I don't really recall dreaming last night, and that suggests I was sleeping quite deeply. I am unsure when I woke up again, but I know it was light, although at the time I thought it was before sunrise, but later I realised it was just bloody dull outside !
Until I started to think about it to write that last paragraph I felt fine. Now I
Another task is to see what is on my trail cameras. They have been out for 48 hours now, and it is time I inspected them. Other stuff I could usefully do is to do more negative scanning. Since I decided to do every single negative regardless of what was on it, and to add and record the serial number of every packet of negatives, I haven't even got halfway through them, and I started the project weeks ago ! I expect I will find other distractions through the day, but that is enough to start with. It won't be an exciting day, but when I look at the gloominess outside my window, I don't think an exciting day is possible.
|Monday 4th February 2019
| 08:50 GMT
As the forecast predicted, and as the sunset the night before suggested, it was a nice bright and sunny day yesterday. There were long periods when the sky was blue, but maybe less than the forecast predicted, but even so, when clouds spoiled the blue sky there were still sunny periods. The thing that really spoiled it was it seemed colder than the forecast 6° C. It seemed that for most of the day the temperature was actually 2° less than the forecast temperature. That was certainly true in the early morning, but maybe the temperature did reach the forecast 5° C in the early evening.
I haven't checked the thermometer yet this morning, but the idea that it could be 7° C doesn't seem far fetched. I can't say it was warm when I went to the bathroom earlier this morning, but it definitely wasn't the bone numbing cold that it has been in there in recent mornings ! Even the most recent revision hasn't change the prediction that it should reach a slightly mild 10° C this afternoon. Of course the penalty paid for this respite from the cold is that it is going to be a very cloudy, grey day, and the morning is, and will continue to be, very wet. The worst of the rain might be over by midday, but there will probably be an encore of drizzle at 2pm. Today we have started a possible trend of warmer days for at least this week. Tomorrow may start rather cool, but from then on the afternoon high for tomorrow and the at least the next few days should be 10 to 11° C. Some days will be wet, but not all, and there may even be some sunshine during the week..
As I reported yesterday morning, I felt a bit off colour until it revealed itself to be nothing more than a mild stomach upset with some added bloat. Once that passed I felt a lot better. That gave me renewed energy to continue doing the photo selection and editing of the pictures I had taken on Saturday night. With that done I was free to generate a strange desire for fish fingers.
Before I could indulge in a feast of fish fingers I had to go and buy some. I decided I would buy them from Tesco, and so I set off on the 6 or 7 minute walk to Tesco. Maybe it was just 5 minutes because I seemed to be able to walk faster than expected. Like when I went out on Saturday night, I was expecting my chest to complain, but I couldn't seem to slow my legs down. My walking speed would have fell far short of most popular descriptions of speed walking, but would just about qualify for "fast walking". Anyway, the good thing is that I suffered no discomfort while walking to Tesco.
The expected discomfort actually happened when I was in the checkout queue. I suddenly felt some light pain just below, and to the side of my left man boob area. It is a typical place where the pains start. On reflection, it was probably caused by carrying, and in particular, lifting the wire basket I was using up to the level of the checkout conveyor. I can only imagine that something, maybe a rib or something else, dislocated after being stretched while carrying the basket, and finally "popped" when I swung the basket up to the checkout conveyor belt.
I had feelings of dread that I would have an uncomfortable walk home again, but as soon as I put my ruck sack on, with the two 2l bottles of pop in it it, the change of posture or loading made whatever it was go back to where it should, and all the discomfort magically faded away. My walk back home was painless, and still fairly fast. The only short lived legacy at the end was some slightly deep breathing.
I actually bought three packets of 10 fish fingers. Two I put in the freezer, and one I put in the oven/grill (by which I mean the contents of the packet rather than the actual packet in the oven !). The one I cooked and ate was haddock fish fingers. I ate them by themselves with just a sprinkle of salt and vinegar, and while they satisfied my strange urge for fish fingers, they were not very nice. A couple of then did taste slightly unpleasant, but generally they were just very unexciting. I expect they would have tasted better if fried to within an inch of their life, but my oven does not get hot enough to lightly char them.
The other two packets were also a bit experimental. One packet was Tesco own brand cod fish fingers, and I think they will be little different to Birds Eye or Findus fish fingers. The other were from Tesco's ultra cheap range - "Hearty Foods". I can imagine they will be tasty by the use of additives despite being made form whale offcuts or something. On the other hand they may be tasty because they are made of diced whale and shark off cuts.
The reason I ate the fish fingers on their own is because I had eaten a couple of other things before them. I found two ready made salad like dishes on the reduced price counter, and unlike the reduced price sandwiches still on the sandwich shelves, these salad like things were almost half priced instead of a very miserly few pence off. Both were what you might call a bit "poncy". One in particular, if it hadn't contained chicken, may have been suitable for vegetarians, and if it also didn't have boiled egg in it, suitable for vegans. Without the chicken and boiled egg it had all the right ingredients for vegans - raw broccoli, a couple of almonds, a few cashew nuts, and loads of a gritty gravel like substance. I must admit that with a sprinkle of thin chilli sauce to liven it up a bit, it was a nice "starter" for my fish finger main meal.
My main accomplishment in the afternoon was to have a snooze. I tried closing my eyes a few times while laying on my bed reading, but most time I started to feel uncomfortable. However it worked the last time I tried it, and I was surprised to see that as much as an hour had passed before I knew it. Between waking up from that snooze, and going to bed, I didn't really do anything notable. I read a bit more, watched TV, and had a remarkably short phone call with Sue.
I don't know if it was needed or not, and I'll never find out, but just before going to bed I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets because they do seem to calm my chest down if my costochondritis pains get triggered when laying on my side. Perhaps they did work because I seemed to sleep solidly for 4 hours.Unfortunately it seemed to take ages before I could get back to sleep after that. It almost felt like I had sufficient sleep, but ultimately I did fall back asleep, and I think I slept for at least another couple of hours.
My chest did feel a little sore this morning, but not enough to stop me starting off washing a few t-shirts and some underwear. As usual it seemed to improve my chest, rather than make it worse. That is good because I have a busy sort of day. I still need to do put that laundry through some fabric conditioner before can hang it up to dry. Once that is done I can have a shower. Then, once I am clean and dressed, and possibly cooled down after the hot shower, I need to go to the pharmacy to find out if the missing drug from my repeat prescription was approved, and a new prescription generated. I guess I could phone them up and ask, but it's only a 5 minute walk, and stretching my legs is a good thing...or would be if it wasn't pouring with rain !
A little later, in the early afternoon, I will be going to see Sue for a short while. She has a surplus Samsung mobile phone in nearly new condition that she was given as a possible replacement for her broken, but still working, iPhone. Having been weaned on iPhones, Sue finds it difficult to learn new skills to use an Android phone. I offered to buy it from her for more money than she might get at a second hand shop, but also a lot less than I would have to pay to buy it from a secondhand shop. It will satisfy my curiosity about Samsung phones, which are very popular, and being a genuine trade, it won't embarrass Sue by seeming like charity when she is in an impecunious state (although it actually is partly charity - I don't actually need a new phone, and I may not even like it, but I do like to satisfy my curiosity when the opportunity presents itself).
|Sunday 3rd February 2019
| 10:29 GMT
Yesterday was cold, but somehow it didn't seem to feel as cold as the thermometers said it was. The maximum temperature was about 5° C in the middle of the afternoon. I seem to recall a couple of brief sunny intervals yesterday, but grey and horrible sums up most of the day - except at sunset. That was rather glorious, and set the tone for today.
I saw minus 2.3° C on my thermometer at about 8am, and the thick frost suggests that was about right. The forecast said minus 1° C, and I guess that was not too far off. The sky was very clear earlier on, and we have had some nice sunshine. There is still a lot of blue sky to be seen, but as I write this a cloud has just passed in front of the sun. The sun should come out again soon, but that could be the pattern for the rest of the daylight hours of today even if the forecast still insists that the sunshine won't be replaced by sunny intervals until about 2pm. Just after 2pm the temperature should rise to 6° C - which is a tiny bit better than the last few days. It seems the temperature won't drop below 5° C until midnight when it is supposed to rise to 6° C again. Tomorrow should start at 6° C, but it is going to be a wet day. The good thing is that the afternoon high could be 9° C. That's taking it into the low tepid region !
As I predicted, I did a bit of this and a bit of that yesterday, and somehow the day passed by relatively smoothly. The one thing I didn't do was to go out in the cold. In fact I didn't get washed and dressed, and ready to face the public until about 5pm last night ! Basically I had a very lazy day. It was the evening when I became alive (if you use a very loose definition of alive !). My chest was still feeling very delicate when I stepped out the door at about 7.30pm to go to Greenwich for Chain's gig in the Mitre pub.
I wondered how I would fare with my chest feeling so delicate (or tender). At any moment I expected some nasty pain, but it never happened, and that was despite failing to walk as slowly as I wanted to. With a bus to catch, I wanted to get to the bus stop as quickly as possible. Without bothering to check on my phone how long ot would be until the next bus arrived, it was a rather stupid philosophy. I could have run and still missed a bus by seconds, and then have a long wait for the next. It was actually a 10 to 12 minute wait for a bus - probably closer to 10 minutes, and definitely less than the first estimate of 15 minutes on the countdown display.
It is difficult to describe how I felt when I got on the bus. My chest was definitely not hurting, but I was sort of short of breath, and my heart rate was up. The latter was only to be expected, but the former was quite strange because I was barely breathing deeply a minute or two after arriving at the bus stop, but I still felt something like being short of breath that wasn't like being short of breath. As I said, it is difficult to describe it. I arrived at the pub a little later than expected, but I think I only missed the sound check. Pretty soon I was halfway down my first pint of Guinness, and feeling just about perfectly normal.
The Mitre tends to be quite a dark pub, and at first I didn't use my flash gun. That made for a few useful, and possibly nice photos, and many useless photos. The picture above of Chris is a bit of a mixed bag. His head is over-exposed, and his guitar was a bit under-exposed. The latter I brightened up a bit, and I think the picture sort of works.
After reducing the size of the aperture a bit, I took another picture of Chris, and this time his head is not over-exposed, but the rest of the photo looks a bit dark. Soon after I decided to stop messing around, and used my flash gun. By setting the flash gun output to low I tried to, and in some cases succeeded in preserving some of the atmosphere of the pub.
In this picture of Jo I managed to light her well, but the background is still quite dark. I'm actually only half way through selecting and editing photos I took last night. There should be some where I used the remote trigger for my flash gun, and sometimes the offset flash can give an extra impression of depth to a photo. I hope it worked last night. The one thing I totally failed at was shooting some video. I wanted to use a wide angle lens because I couldn't get far from the band, but my wide angle lenses don't let much light in, and while it didn't seem so bad in the viewfinder, it was obvious when looking at the video on a big screen that the camera was having a hard time focussing - and often didn't at all !
I stayed through the interval, and for a couple of songs into the second set, but by then it was getting rather boisterous up at the front. So I picked my camera away. Left it with someone I trust, and went to the toilet in preparation for going home. I was only downstairs in the toilet for a few minutes, but when I came back up the crowd in front of the band had thinned out a lot. I could have stayed longer, but having made up my mind I was going to go, I went !
I must have timed my exit well because I didn't have to wait much longer than 5 minutes for a bus. Once I was sitting down on the bus my chest gently reminded me that it was quite ready to make me uncomfortable...or did it ? Was it all in the mind. It seemed to feel a little tight, but maybe that was just my coat zipped up on 4 or 5 pints of Guinness. Once again, I tried to walk back home from the bus stop as slowly as I could - and completely failed ! This time I was looking forward to my supper, and so I kept the pace up - not exactly top speed, but faster than I usually walk back from Aldi laden with shopping, and even that is fast enough to overtake about 75% of the people.
My supper was the last, but one, part of the Indian takeaway I bought on Friday night. It was a chicken pathia, and not quite as fiercely hot as the Vindaloo I had on Friday. It was delicious, and it was quite a big supper too because I had it with a standard portion of pilau rice. It made me feel nice and full, and ready for sleep. I was probably asleep before midnight, and I slept well even if I did wake quite a few times to "drain off" all the Guinness I drank !
My only complaint this morning, and it is one of the usual ones, is that I seemed to wake up before I believed I had had enough sleep. Some intense yawning this morning suggests I might have been right this time. Maybe this afternoon I can have a long snooze. I did try to sleep more, but I felt a bit uncomfortable, and maybe I was impatient to check through the photos I took last night. Maybe I was also a little keen for some breakfast. Breakfast was the final part of my takeaway. It was just a mixed vegetable curry side dish. I made it a bit bigger with some melted cheese on top.
All this curry seems to have contributed to some further discomfort this morning. I started to feel some discomfort a bit lower than my chest. Somehow it didn't feel like the obvious reason that it turned out to be. I think my guts were revolting...by which I mean in a state of revolt ! It turned out to be more than just wind, although there was plenty of that too. How can I put this delicately ?....I can't really, but I can try. Lets just say that though it seemed to be a bit overdue, the Vindaloo did what Vindaloo does, and soon the discomfort in my belly transferred to my bottom. (c.f Johnny Cash "Ring Of Fire"). With all the Guinness emptied from my system, and all the Indian food, possibly including last night's supper, emptied from my system, after a series of visits to the toilet, I feel a lot less bloated now !
All that unpleasantness was nearly an hour ago now, and at the moment I feel reasonably good. This could also be because the sunshine pouring through my window has heated the room up to very warm or more, and my Costochondritus is generally well behaved when I feel hot. Feeling like this means I could decide to think up some grandiose plans for the day, but I think that would be taking things far too far. For one thing I still have about 100 more snaps taken last night to consider. On average there could be another 10 to 15 good snaps in there that just need a quick(ish) touch up to look presentable. When that is all done I will have to see what is on my trail cameras, and probably edit up some fox footage.
|Saturday 2nd February 2019
| 10:05 GMT
It was bloody cold yesterday ! I'm not sure that the temperature reached the forecast high of 3° C, and it night have barely made 2° C. On top of that, I can't recall seeing a single ray of sunshine. In the afternoon the cold outside seemed to suck the heat out of the house in a way that it hadn't in previous days. Of course it could have just been me, and the thermometer in my bedroom strongly supported that ! It was a rather wet day, with odd bits of drizzle falling now and then. Late in the evening that drizzle turned to something that maybe only the Eskimo's have a name for. It's sort of transitional stuff halfway between sleet and snow - too dry for sleet, and yet too wet for snow ! There was enough to leave a slushy deposit on car roofs that later melted, and later still, refroze.
The weather may be improving a bit - and so may the forecasting. The forecast above, issued at 7:07 this morning, says sunny intervals at 10am, and as I write this there are indeed nice bright, friendly sunny intervals ! From then on things change a bit in the latest forecast revision. At 11am we could get a bit of sleet, but once that is out of the way there could be more sunny intervals. The predicted high is still shown as 5° C, but it may last a few more hours in the afternoon compared that that shown above. It should be a dry, but cold night, and tomorrow morning could start very cold with the temperature as low as minus 2° C. However, it is predicted to be a sunny day, and that should raise the temperature up to 6° C by the late afternoon. The following days may see the temperature rising to 8°, 9°, and then an almost warm (if there is no wind) 11° C !
I ended up doing very little yesterday. The morning seemed to go by in a rush for some reason. I had done little apart from inspect my trail cameras, and copy the pictures and video from them. I then spent a lot of time writing here, and it was approaching midday before I had a shower, and got dressed. I then waited with baited breath to see if I would get a call from Angela about meeting her for a drink at lunchtime. It might have been good in one respect, that I'll explain soon, that I didn't get an invite from her, but I did get a phone call from her a little bit later.
It was probably about 1.30pm. She had done a quick bit of shopping, and had called into the Fox And Firkin pub on her way back to work. I think if it wasn't for her needing to do a bit of shopping we would have met for a drink - her phone call was just to have a chat - something that would have been easier face to face. One thing she mentioned was that there were a couple of bands playing in The Fox And Firkin last night, and sort of hinted that she might go there in the evening. I said "presumably with lover boy", and she replied that possibly not. She also said she would phone me if she was going alone so I could join her.
Once we finished the phone call I did a bit of research. I don't think Angela had checked the listing in the pub very carefully, or maybe it just didn't say, but the bands that were on were rather extreme metal bands with a tendency to "grind core" and "death metal". I am pretty sure Angela would not like them, and I am pretty sure it would have been too much for me as well. I sent Angela a link to the pubs facebook page with a description of the gig on it, and later on she responded to say she wouldn't be going !
As soon as I realised I wouldn't be going out at lunchtime I had some hot food. It was a Tesco curry ready meal. For a while it warmed me up. After that I lay on my bed, and read for a while. I wanted to have a snooze, but I don't think I had one because I started to feel almost shivery. The cold, or imagined cold, was making my chest feel very sore. Everytime I breathed in or out I would hear/feel a series of clicks and crunches as my ribs and/or connective tissue did weird things. The pain it generated, while not very severe, did make me wonder if it was something far more serious, but I trusted that it was only another episode of my costochondritis - albeit rather more severe than usual.
I turned the heat up full, and still the room did not seem to warm up (I am sure it did in reality), and so I dug out one of my old work issued jumpers (issued by the 2nd of the three companies I worked for during my working life - and so something like a 20 year old jumper !). With the jumper on I gradually started to warm up. A few whiskies helped a lot, and by early evening I was almost feeling too hot.
I decided I wanted more hot food, and this time I wanted it extra hot - spicy hot, and not just how it would seem on a thermometer. It would be another nail in the coffin of the diet I had been doing successfully over the Xmas period, but I ordered an Indian takeaway. My main meal was a Chicken Vindaloo. It is a long time since I've had a real Vindaloo, and I had forgotten how hot they can be - very much hotter by a factor of 20 compared to the Tesco Vindaloo ready meal I had recently. That Tesco Vindaloo was almost bland !
The real Vindaloo, with rice, and onion bhajis, definitely warmed me up, and I turned the heating down when I went back up to my PC. I turned the heating back on full before I went to bed though. Some of my evening I spent watching either TV or some internet stuff on my PC, and quite a bit of my evening I spent on the phone to Sue. She has gone down with severe 'flu, and needed cheering up. Alongside all the aching limbs and headaches and fever, she also has a cough that sounds totally atrocious.
By 10pm I decided I had to end the call or it could have gone on late into the early hours of the morning - call to/from Sue tend to be like that ! I was in bed soon after, although initially I was just reading. After the trouble I had with my chest earlier I decided to take a couple of Ibuprofen tablets before going to sleep. That seems to be becoming a bit of a habit now, but once again it worked, and I seemed to sleep fairly well again.
This morning my chest felt a bit cranky when I was going into the garden to deal with the trail cameras. I thought I had wrapped up fairly well to enter the world of (just about) sub-zero temperatures, but obviously I couldn't help breathing in that icy air, and chilling myself from the inside out. Once I was back in the warm, and warmed up again, my chest felt OK. In fact, apart from that short period of chest aches, I seem to feel fairly good this morning.
Despite feeling good now, I am wary about exposing myself to more icy air. That shouldn't be a problem a bit later on when it warms up a bit outside, but what bother me is how I might feel if I go out tonight when the temperature is back on it's way to below zero again. As I sit here my only plan for today, or perhaps "desire" might be a bit more accurate than "plan", is to go to Greenwich tonight to see Chain playing in The Mitre pub. One good thing about gigs there is that they start early, and don't go on past 11pm. I think I'll probably be going, but I have no detailed idea about what I will do for the rest of the day. I might do a bit of this, or a bit of that, or nothing at all !
Last night my new trail camera didn't seem to take any pictures at all ! Not even the usual pictures taken as it triggers as I shut the case up, and mount it on the tripod. I think I might have accidently left the three position power switch on the middle position - test ! This morning I made a point of double checking that it is definitely on the ON position. The other trail camera took some video, but none of it was particularly exciting. So this morning I did something with the video taken in the early hours of yesterday morning. I was going to use video from both cameras to make it more interesting, but for quickness I just used the rather nicer looking video from the new camera.
|Friday 1st February 2019
| 10:38 GMT
The morning sunshine was nice yesterday, and it did seem to help to raise the temperature from minus 3° C to plus 4° C by midday. Unfortunately the sky clouded over at midday, and the temperature slowly fell to just 1° C by 8pm. Eventually, but much later than forecast, it started to snow. Earlier forecasts warned of heavy snow, and I believe that is what North London got, but here the snowfall was very light.
By the early hours of this morning there was maybe half an inch or less of snow on car roofs, and maybe about the same on the ground in my garden. Any snow that fell on the road and pavement on the south side of my house just melted as it hot the ground. I'm not sure what time the snow stopped, but it may have been around 1am this morning. Later in the morning it was just sleety rain that fell. The forecast doesn't show it, but there have been several light showers, that have been more rain than sleet, in the last few hours since sunrise.
Yesterday morning I did almost nothing except to prepare to go and meet Angela at lunchtime. At 20 to 1pm I was just about to leave when I suddenly had to go to the toilet. I ended up leaving a bit later than intended, and had to walk at top speed to get to the pub in time. It was 15 minutes at a fast pace, rather than top speed. I don't think I can do top speed any more, but I don't remember getting to that pub any quicker before. I was breathing rather heavily, and was just starting to raise a bit of sweat on my forehead when I got to the pub. The good thing was that I got there a few minutes before Angela did.
I had a lovely hour with Angela. The only thing that spoiled it was a couple of people on a nearby table. Considering it was otherwise quiet in there, there seemed to be no reason why they should talk so loudly, and one of them had an extra loud laugh ! It made me miss some of the important stuff that Angela was telling me. The best thing was that Angela really enjoyed our meeting, and was reluctant to go back to work, but of course she did, and on time too. Apart from a very warm hug, initiated by Angela, we parted on the idea that I would not be asking to meet again today, but that Angela has my number, and I would be very open to an invitation to meet today if she wanted to.
When I got home I had some hot food to warm me up before having a snooze. As 4pm approached I wondered if another off the cuff suggestion made earlier would come to fruition - that of meeting Angela again after work. I wasn't really expecting that, and so I was startled when my phone rang ! It wasn't Angela but Jodie. She was enquiring if I fancied a drink locally because our regular Thursday evening drink was cancelled on account of too many people not being available for various reasons last night.
I said yes although I wasn't ultra keen on the idea. I said I would meet Jodie in the Wetherspoons at 5pm, and once again, and for the same reason as when I was going to meet Angela, I had to dash to the toilet just before I would have been leaving. Once again I had to rush to the pub at top speed. I think I made it the Wetherspoons pub in 5 or 6 minutes, and I am sure that is a record ! I'm not sure where I am getting all this energy from because it certainly doesn't feel like I am capable of such feats as I sit here typing.
I only had two pints last night, and these were the two beers I tried. I think I preferred Absolutely Fuggled.
She doesn't look happy, but she was - Jodie in the 'spoons last night.
After my two pints of beer I rushed home, but not as fast as I had rushed to the pub, and had some hot food for dinner. It was a two part dinner again. Part 1 was a "lamb hotpot". It was from the Tesco "Hearty Meals" range, and cost just 65p if I recall correctly. At that priced I didn't expect much, and I didn't get much. It was mainly some slices of potato swimming in some gravy with a few bits of carrot, and a tablespoon of minced lamb. I probably wasn't, but I felt justified having a second course after that.
Dinner part two was a couple of jacket potatoes, or more accurately two halves of the same potato. I saw them on the reduced price shelf at Tesco - reduced from £2.35, which would have been a total rip off, to 65p, which was still a bit expensive by my reckoning. The thing is, I was seduced by the picture on he packet. Those potato halves looked so nice and all cheesy. The reality was that the cheese was probably more like a cheese sauce, and it was very bland. They were pleasant enough to eat, but there was no hint of excitement about it.
I tried for another early night last night, and almost succeeded. I think I was asleep before 11pm, but not by much. I was awake again a little after midnight, and I was feeling rather achey in places. I took a couple of Ibuprofen, and managed to get to sleep again, and I guess I slept reasonably well, but not continuously until 6am. I didn't actually hear it, but I think I was woken from a fairly deep sleep by my phone ringing. It was Angela ! I sent a text massage back to her as soon as I could say that she could try again.
All she wanted to do was apologise for not answering her phone when I called her last night. She had gone to bed much earlier than me - not long after 8pm ! She also wanted to say that she didn't want to go to work, but would have to anyway. I asked her to take extra care when getting to work because there were bound to be slippery patches of wet slush, if not actually snow, and to let me know when she had arrived safely at work - which she did !
Once it was light I went out and retrieved my two trail cameras. Last night was the first real test of my new trail camera. The previous night both cameras got covered with thick frost, and only produced the foggiest of images. Last night both captured some fox action. I was hoping that the newest trail camera might produce some better images than the first one I bought. They were both roughly the same price, and it is very obvious that they are based on the same electronic design, but the new one has better firmware on it, and it's pictures are far crisper and brighter.
As well as the images being better, the inbuilt thermometer seems far more accurate than the other trail camera. The other symbol, on the left of the black information strip, is the phase of the moon. The moon was hidden behind thick clouds last night, and I have no idea if it was correct or not. The new camera took some good video too, and one of my tasks today will be to edit together the best bits from both cameras.
This was the scene outside my back bedroom window just before daybreak this morning. Snow is still laying on the shed roofs, and along the top of the tree trunk in my garden, but even then it was melting. There is no hint, apart from the road looking very wet, that it snowed at all now when I look out the front windows. Maybe we will get more later today if the revised forecast turns out to be correct.
Apart from the video editing I just mentioned, I have no particular plans for today. There is a very feint possibility that I might get a call from Angela about another lunchtime drink, but time is running out for that, and I am not expecting it to happen. I was contemplating a gig tonight, but there is nothing particularly exciting going on tonight, and even if there was it would have to be very exciting to get me out in the cold and wet, and snow, and sleet ! I will most probably stay in and ruin my diet even more with a takeaway !