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My Diary/Blog For the Month of January 2019

Thursday 31st January 2019
10:04 GMT

  Yesterday was another bright day with quite a lot of sunshine. For a while it got slightly cloudy, and that reduced the sunshine to sunny intervals. After sunset the sky cleared, and that allowed the temperature to sink from an afternoon high of 5° C, which still felt very chilly, to just 1° C by midnight. That would have been bloody chilly if I had dared venture outside. Fortunately I was in bed, possibly under my duvet, with my fan heater going full blast !
an excruciatingly cold morning !
 bloody cold 
 In the early hours of this morning the temperature continued to fall, and as my crappy picture shows, at 6:48 it was minus 3.6° C. Outside there was a thick frost on everything. At the moment there is bright sunshine outside, and that will slowly warm things up to an afternoon high of 4° C - thickest coat and gloves time when I go out at lunchtime !

 It is this evening when things get interesting. Earlier forecasts said there could be heavy snow, but the latest says just light snow now starting at 9pm tonight. The light snow will continue falling until 4am tomorrow morning, when, despite the temperature still being 1° C, it will turn to sleet or rain. It is still possible we will wake up to snow on the ground tomorrow morning ! There could be more sleet tomorrow. It is forecast to be a very grey day, and with the maximum temperature being similar to today's 4° C.

frosty cars
I wasn't dressed to go out to take pictures before 7am this morning, and so I took this very poor quality snap through my bedroom window. It was starting to get light, but the streetlamp opposite provides a good percentage of the illumination. The frost on the red car is not terribly obvious, but that on the black car across the road is !
frost everywhere
This picture was taken through the back bedroom window a few minutes ago. It shows three things. A lovely blue sky (with a few wisps of cloud). The bright sunshine on the houses, and block of flats to the left, and frost. Lots of frost - including the very frosty roof of the lower, back part of my house.

 Unlike the day before, yesterday was very slightly exciting. There was the drama of waiting for my parcel to arrive, and the excitement of opening it up. I have to confess it was a panic pre-Brexit purchase of a spare trail camera. It is difficult to predict what will happen to all prices, let alone the prices of Chinese imports after Brexit, but I think we can be pretty certain they won't be going down. There was also a practical reason for buying a second trail camera - maybe more than one. Sometimes views from different angles can be nice, but more important was that I was not very happy with he quality of the daylight pictures of the first camera. The night time pictures seemed great, but the daylight ones seemed a bit fuzzy to me. I think the second camera takes better pictures in daylight.

  Once I had my new trail camera in my hands I was free to go out to the pharmacy to see if my repeat prescription was ready. It wasn't, but the prescription had been issued, and they made it up as I waited. For some reason there was a problem with the prescription for one of my drugs. I am unsure what it was, but the pharmacist issued them anyway, and said they would sort it out without me having to worry about it.  That wasn't the case for the new drug that I was prescribed at the start of December. It was, apparently, an "acute drug", and hadn't been noted for repeat.

  After the pharmacy I went next door to the group practice reception, and made enquiries about the missing drug. First of all the receptionist said it was an acute drug, and so wouldn't be prescribed again without a visit to a doctor, but she had the presence of mind to read further down the page, and read something that made her think it should have been on repeat. She has put in a request for a new prescription, and I'll have to wait 48 hours, or in practice, Saturday morning to find out if it was prescribed or not.

  I forgot to mention that my parcel from Amazon arrived later than recent parcels, slightly after 3pm. By the time I had finished at the pharmacy, and got home again, it was getting late....well late for this time of year with it's early sunsets. The next thing I did was to go to Tesco. I went in daylight, but it was getting dark when I came home with my bottle of whisky, and several ready meals, and other stuff.

  I didn't have all that much time after getting in before it seemed to be time to cook one of those ready meals in the microwave, and another in the oven. I will be very glad when some warmer weather arrives. I must have lost a pound or two over the Xmas period, and maybe a week after that. Then it went from cool, but not freezing to bloody cold, wet and frosty and sleety, and since then I've been having double dinners, and put those pounds back on. I wouldn't be surprised if it was worse than putting those lost pounds back on.

  I didn't really care about that last night. I was more interested in getting some good sleep. To my amazement I seemed to get it. I was asleep quite early last night. I am unsure of the exact time, but I feel sure it wasn't long after 9pm. I woke up again at about half past midnight this morning, and I was starting to feel a bit uncomfortable. So I took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets, and maybe they helped keep my asleep rather than helped me to get back to sleep - unless they worked a damn sight faster than I thought. I reckon that I was asleep again by 1am, and as far as I can remember I didn't wake up again until about 6am.

  This morning I don't feel too bad. None of my usual aches, pains, or stiffness seem to be of any great significance this morning, and I hope it will stay this way all day. Perhaps the first big test was when I went out into the garden to bring in the trail camera. I wasn't expecting great photos because both camera were encrusted with frost. I wasn't wrong. The first camera recorded some very foggy video of my fox. I am not sure why the other camera didn't see it, but it could have been more affected by frost because I had it at full height on my tallest tripod so it would be shooting from a very different angle. I think I will have to wait until better weather to do a proper comparison between both cameras. The good thing is that going out into the freezing garden didn't seem to trigger any negative health effects.

  Today I have the great joy of meeting Angela at lunchtime. That will mean a walk through the frosty park. Much of the frost will be melting where it is in sunshine, but maybe some will remain in more sheltered spots, and maybe it might be good subject matter for a couple of photos....or maybe not if it is too sheltered. After my drink with Angela I will probably have an afternoon snooze. After that....???????
Wednesday 30th January 2019
10:02 GMT

  Yesterday afternoon saw a few more unscheduled sunny intervals, but the cold spell continued. The morning was very cold, and I would be surprised if the afternoon temperature reached the predicted 6° C ~ well maybe it did on the south side of the house, but not in the shade of the north side. At sundown it got colder and colder, and by 9pm there was a lot of sleety rain falling. At some unknown time that stopped, and the temperature continued to drop.
bright but bloody cold
   When I glanced at one of my outdoor thermometers half an hour or so ago it said the temperature in my garden was minus 0.6° C. At sunrise, or maybe a little before, the cars out in the road appeared to be covered in ice from last night's rain and sleet. It was like frost, but obviously different. It has been bright and sunny since sunrise, but the forecast predicts the sunshine will give way to just sunny intervals soon. By sunset the temperature may rise to 5° C, but it will plummet after that. By 1am tomorrow it should hit 0° C. Tomorrow is predicted to be even colder than today. At 6am it will be -1° C, and at best it will rise to just 4° C. Things get interesting after midnight tomorrow.The early hours of Friday could see some heavy snow !

  Yesterday was a very unexciting day, and while I did manage to do some useful stuff, it was not very entertaining. It didn't help that I didn't feel very dynamic yesterday...or maybe I did, but the cold weather put me off going outside. This was particularly so in the evening. I wanted to go out for a change of scenery, and the feeling was so strong that I was contemplating all the way to Locksbottom, up to an hours bus ride away, to watch an open mic happening there. That feeling was quickly, and thoroughly over-ridden when I had another check on the weather forecast. The temperature was enough to put me off, and the falls of sleet and rain irrevocably sealed my fate to be another night at home.

  The one thing I did do was to do more video archiving. At the end of the day I had all my home made/shot video up to the end of last year transferred to an external hard drive called "Video Archive" - a boring, but descriptive name. I don't trust all my hard work to just one hard drive, and so I made a copy to another external hard drive with the unimaginative name of "Video Archive Backup". Toward the end of 2018 I was starting to shoot high definition video on my Canon camera, and that meant transferring 6 or 7GB of files over to the archive disk. That is not a quick process - and that was just for one gig ! It meant I spent at least 8 hours of yesterday on this project. It would be more true to say that it was my PC that spent most of that time. I just had to start the process, and then find little things to fill in the time while the computer got on with it.

  It might have been bloody cold yesterday, but once again the sun shining through my bedroom window kept it very comfortably warm for several hours from a little before midday to mid afternoon. It inspired me to make up a salad for lunch. It was a good opportunity to use some of the salad stuff in the fridge that is fast getting towards the end of it's useful life. In fact I considered that the third of a cucumber I had was past it's best, and to toss it on the food recycling bin. My salad was a ham salad with one strange extra - raw sugarsnap peas cut into halves or thirds depending on their size. They tasted quite nice, and added extra crunch.

  By dinner time the sun had set, the temperature was falling, and the rain was imminent. That demanded hot food, and so my evening meal was rather less healthy than my lunch. I ate two small ready meals - well I call them small, but I guess most people would call them "meals for one". One was a Chinese chicken curry, and it was most disappointing. It seemed almost bland until I pepped it up a bit with some chilli sauce. Part two was a lamb rogan gosht curry, and while it was better with some chilli sauce, it was still very nice without.

  Whether that food had any bearing on my difficulties getting to sleep last night is unknown, but I would say probably not. I couldn't stop yawning, and my eyes were almost going blurry by 11pm last night, but I could not get to sleep because I could not get comfortable. There was a bit of the too hot and too cold problem with the duvet, but that was mild compared to other things. The bigger problem was my chest. My preferred side to start my sleep is to lay on my right side, but as I did that last night I quickly developed painful areas in/on my chest. The position of the pain depended on how I tried to distribute my weight.

  The obvious thing was to lay on my left side, but as I did so I felt two pop/crunch sensations from different parts of my chest. That cured the previous pains, but added some new ones, although maybe milder. I should have been in a good position to go to sleep then, but I had other pains. For some unknown reason my right knee started to ache. Even worse were the two semi numb fingers on my left hand. That numbness was probably caused by crushed nerves in my elbow while I was being operated on back in 2013. I must have been putting pressure on the damaged nerve area again because those two fingers started to feel quite painful. I haven't had that pain, at that level, since the first week or three after I got out of hospital. Back then it seemed to coincide with getting some sensation back in those fingers, but I can't say I noticed any improvement after last night's pain.

  I could describe other bits of me that were uncomfortable too, but those were the main areas. I took a couple of paracetamol tablet at about half past midnight, and I don't know if they finally worked, or if it was just exhaustion that got me to sleep as 2am approached. Even when I did sleep I don't think it was good sleep, and yet at this point this morning I don't feel too bad. Maybe I'll be overcome with tiredness this afternoon, but for now I feel moderately OK. To my surprise, even my chest feels mostly OK at the moment.

  Some of my plans for today are very simple. I had a small parcel delivery due today. That should typically arrive between midday and 3pm, and so I will have an eye glued to the road outside waiting for the delivery man. Once my parcel is safely in my grubby little hands I will go to the pharmacy to see if my repeat prescription is ready. After that I could go to Aldi, but I think I fancy going to Tesco for some supplies. I ran out of my favourite whisky almost a week ago now, and I fancy getting some more, and my favourite is Tesco Special Reserve. I also need some tomatoes.

  I am fairly sure I won't be going out tonight, but it could still be a possibility. Some of my afternoon may be used to carry on transferring video from my PC to my archive disks. The next year to do will be this year, and I don't think that is going to amount to much. When I think of it, it will probably take hardly any time at all !

  Two lots of good news: My usual Thursday evening drink is cancelled this week, and with luck it will be replaced by an even better bit of social interaction. The intention is confirmed, although the final confirmation will not be until late tomorrow morning, but I should be meeting Angela for a quick lunchtime drink tomorrow. The other good news is that my fox was out again last night. She (or he ?) didn't come out at all the previous night after I did my bit of "gardening" earlier in the day. Last night she was very wary, didn't touch the food I put out for her, and was back underground after a few minutes. I hope she will be out for longer tonight, and will have some food.
Tuesday 29th January 2019
08:44 GMT

  It was wonderfully sunny yesterday. From about 11am until 4pm I warmed my bedroom purely by the sunshine streaming through the windows. Outside it was almost a different matter. There was a short period of time when I was standing in the sunshine, and the sun was really warming up my black coat....then the wind blew. Unfortunately the wind felt bloody cold. The afternoon temperature was just 6° C - warm enough that my fingers didn't go numb, but still cold !
back to overcast skies, and maybe even a bit
                      of snow
This morning the temperature is not quite zero, as the picture on the left shows, but there is still plenty of frost to be seen on parked cars in the road, and on neighbours shed roofs. It is also a very dull morning. Despite the forecast showing a few rays of sun at 3 and 4pm, it will probably stay overcast all day, and the afternoon will be even more heavily overcast. The temperature will creep up to 6° C  by early afternoon, but will soon drop down low enough for some sleet showers by 8pm tonight. If the forecast is out by as little as one degree that sleet could easily be snow !

  The current prediction for tomorrow is that it will be another very cold day with a maximum temperature of just 5° C, but closer to zero at the extremities. I hope the forecast turns out to have some credibility because lots of sunny intervals are forecast. It is the day after, Thursday when the clouds cover the sky, and sleet is possible. It is looking like we may get through January with no snow this year, but snow has arrived as late as April in the past, and so we may get to experience the beauty of snow, and it's embuggerance yet !
a light frost this
It may not have been a heavy frost, but it definitely was frosty this morning.

 I wasn't feeling too bad yesterday, and I made loose plans to possibly do three things. The first was to pop into the group practice to request a repeat prescription. It was while on the way there that the wind seemed to go still while I was in direct, and unobstructed sunshine. With the sky looking a lovely shade of blue, it seemed to be completely wonderful. Of course it didn't last. First of all a cold gust of wind blew all the heat away, and then I turned a corner and had to walk in shadow.

  I put my repeat prescription request in, and then walked around the corner to Aldi. In simplified terms I did not want to buy much, but it turned out to be two bagfuls, plus a full rucksack. The rucksack had 6 litres of soft drink in it, while the bags had stuff like a big bag of dogfood in one of them. It was because of the cold weather that I bought a selection of ready meals, and no salad stuff. I did buy a couple of packs of rice cakes though. They seemed to have disappeared off the shelves to make way for Xmas stuff, but thankfully they are back again.
dog food for my fox
black pudding sausages
  Two of my purchases from Aldi. On the left a 3kg bag of "meaty chunks" dog food for my foxy neighbour. On the right a pack of black pudding and apple sausages. As far as I am aware, black pudding sausages are rare in these parts, but they are very common in Argentina, and so I sent a picture of them to Patricia in Argentina. I incorrectly described them as Mortadellas, but they are actually a pink version of black pudding. The correct name in Argentina is Morcillas. It wasn't very long before Patricia replied to correct the name I used, and to send me a picture of what she was having for her lunch - a big Morcilla - possibly cooked on an Asado - what we would call a barbecue.

  While exchanging messages with Patricia I had some good news. She has an interpreting job booked for July in Oxford, and so will be staying here for a few days then. There is also a possibility of an even earlier visit, but no date was suggested, and it is only a tentative booking. In the next few months she will be following the birds, and flying north to Italy for the northern summer. Imagine that - escaping winter again !

  Yesterday afternoon I carried out the third part of my plan for the day. While my black pudding sausages cooked in my mini oven I went out into the garden, and did some "gardening". I first picked up some broken brick and masonry, and disposed of it in a way that the bin men would disapprove of (but hopefully they will not notice a small bag surrounded my much bigger bags of rubbish). I also raked the pile of earth outside the fox earth flat, and continued raking to pull up some weeds and stuff. I ended up with quite a large patch of cleared ground...and I use the term large in relative terms. It seemed large to me, and it was knackering work !
even clearer
  Apart from the right hand side of the garden (not shown in this photo) a lot of my garden is now looking quite clear. If I could dig out, and dispose of the two stumps nearest the camera, it would look even better, and would start to become usable for something. That usability ought to be growing vegetables before the great Brexit famine descends upon us. The only problem is that all my work seemed to have disturbed my fox. I had hoped it wouldn't, but when I examined my trail camera this morning there was no sign of the fox all night, and the food remains untouched. I hope it is out tonight.

  The good news was that when I came in after about 20 minutes of hard work, I had my black pudding sausages cooked and ready to eat. They were rather nice, but maybe they could have done with some supporting vegetables or something, so I could eat less of them. The last one or two seemed to have lost the charm that the first few did. After my late lunch I went into a semi vegetative mood. I wanted to have a snooze, but all that raking seemed to have disturbed my chest a bit, and although mild compared to how bad it can be, it was bad enough to stop me snoozing. Most of the time it didn't actually hurt at all, but it seemed to feel sensitive, and as if one wrong move could generate a lot of discomfort.

   I did contemplate going out to an open mic night, last night, but it never happened. Several things made me change my mind about going out, and it didn't need much to change my mind. The venue was The Old Whyte Lyon pub in Locksbottom. I can get there on a single bus, but that takes the scenic route, and it rambles about all over the place. A better way is to get two buses that each go half the way in a more direct route. It is still a long journey though.

  Once the sun went down, or in fact before that when the sun was too low in the sky, and too far to the west to shine through my front windows, it began to feel cold very quickly. With my chest feeling sensitive I didn't fancy exposing it to temperature close to zero. That was one reason not to go out. It must all be in the head, but despite what my room thermometer said, it still seemed cold indoors last night. It's was a sort of psychological cold I guess. It made me want hot food, and hot food is what I had ! I didn't fancy travelling on a full stomach, and the was another reason not to go out last night.

  I spent the evening fiddling with stuff on my PC and watching TV. By 9pm I thought I was beginning to feel tired. So I retired to bed with a book, and read until 10pm. I then turned out the light, turned over, and totally failed to get to sleep until after midnight ! Once I did get to sleep I probably slept OK, although I did wake up before dawn, and I would have preferred not to have woke so early. I didn't feel all that good when I woke up, and I waited for at least half an hour before I went to get the memory card out of the trail camera. I was rather disappointed, but perhaps not surprised to see nothing of interest on it. It's just as well that I have some interesting stuff to show from the previous night.

  In this video, mostly shot in the early hours of yesterday morning, there are four basic segments. The first section of the first segment is speeded up to show the fix dancing around, sniffing the air, and doing other stuff before it finally grabs a full serving of dog food pate in on go. The second segment shows a visiting  dog fox (probably). This was the first time I've seen it go into the earth. About 45 seconds later it comes out again, and very quickly disappears. The next segment starts in slow motion. Look carefully at the right of the picture and you can see the fox leaping down from the tree trunk (which can be seen in the picture above). My fox is beginning to get quite agile even with an injured leg/paw. The final segment is the fox retiring back to it's earth for the rest of the night.

  Today is another day where I have even less plans than usual. If it was warm and sunny, and much nearer July I might have done some spring cleaning in the spare room in preparation for Patricia to stay here for a couple of nights, but it is cold and miserable, and so I won't be doing that. It is possible I might get the hoover out, and maybe even hoover the stairs, but I wouldn't want to strain myself. Ideally I would like to get out the house for a bit, but I can't think of anywhere I want to go in this wintry weather. I guess I'll just be making up stuff as I go on.
Monday 28th January 2019
09:48 GMT

  Yesterday morning was bright and dry, but rather chilly, although yesterday I described it as feeling extremely "fresh". The sunshine probably distracted me from feeling it was freezing cold ! Later on it clouded over, but the sunshine still managed a couple of very brief, and perhaps slightly hazy appearances in the afternoon. The temperature only crept up a bit in the afternoon, and probably reached the forecast 7° C. After dark it started to get cold again, and in the early hours of this morning it was predicted to fall to 3° C.
Sunny morning, but colder than the forecast
  It certainly is very sunny this morning, but I reckon the temperature was a bit closer to freezing than this forecast predicts, but I wonder if it is worth arguing over a single degree. With luck this brilliant sunshine will last right through to sunset this afternoon. Sadly it will only raise the afternoon temperature to 6° C. Oh well, at least it crosses that undefined threshold between it being cold enough for numb fingers, and cool but comfortable fingers. I think that threshold is probably 5° C, but I've never stopped to measure it, or even think that much about it before.
what does this mean ?
  Tomorrow morning is going to start very icy, but it will eventually "warm" up to maybe 5° C. It's in the evening, when it cools down again, when things get interesting. All through the day there is a small chance of rain. During the morning a 10% chance is predicted. If it does rain it will almost certainly fall as snow until about 10am. Later in the evening the chance of rain gets much higher, and sleet or snow is predicted. It is what will happen on Saturday that confuses me. Consider the picture on the left. It suggests there will be a big black cloud, but the sun will be shining around the side of it while that cloud drops both rain and snow. I guess this confused symbol means it won't be foggy !

   I didn't feel that good yesterday, but some of it was a very specific form of depression. The sunshine in the morning made me feel hints of the joys of spring, and I wanted to do "something". What I actually had to do was to spend much of the day juggling media files, and while it gave a type of satisfaction, it wasn't the same satisfaction as the mysterious something that I wanted to do. I think it was something like frolicking in the sunshine, but of course it was too cold for that. So I stayed in and ploughed through not just the 200 pictures, and 2 videos that I took at Chain's gig in Beckenham, but also all the videos taken overnight by my trail camera.

  After inspecting all the bits of video my trail camera took I decided to edit together two short videos. The one above I called "Freeloaders". In the first segment a magpie helps itself to the foxes dinner. It was the best bit of several videos that showed a magpie eating dog/fox food. Whether it was the same magpie, or whether there was more than one, is unknown. The second segment surprised me. If you look in the bottom left of the picture you can see a mouse scurrying around. I was quite pleased to see the infra red motion sensor was sensitive enough to catch it. The last segment is one of the local cats helping itself. There isn't really room here for two videos, but you may be able to see another video by clicking HERE. Watch out for the fox using it's injured front leg for digging. It uses it quite a lot, and that gives me hope that it is healing, and hopefully it won't be too long before it is able to get about on all 4 legs.

  Out of all the pictures I took at Chain's gig on Saturday night, only a small proportion seemed good enough to show publicly. There were plenty more than were still far better than even some of the best mobile phone snaps that are uploaded to social media, but you have to pick the best, or most interesting to show off your art. The fist picture I took used just whatever light was available, and a few of them were rather good..or so I choose to believe. The second lot were taken with flash, and that meant most of them were OK-ish, but only a small proportion looked interesting to my eye.
a sort of reverse
                          shadow effect
This picture, taken without flash, looked better in black and white. There was quite a lot of clutter on the left of the picture, and so I painted it out, and to balance the picture I did the same on the right.
Jon and his fancy bass guitar
The last time I saw Jon play was in Maidstone a week or two ago. I tried to get a good picture of his bass guitar because I think it looks really nice. By leaning around the side of one of the PA speakers, and using flash, I finally got a good looking picture of it.
Jon, Jo, and John
The three Js - Jon, Jo and John !

  It sometimes seemed that I didn't have time to do anything else except sit at my computer juggling media files, but in fact there were some long periods of time when I could do other stuff. For instance my video editor took about 54 minutes to render the video clip I showed yesterday. Unfortunately during such natural breaks in the proceedings my thoughts turned to food. I felt in the wrong mood for salad. I didn't have any breakfast or lunch, but I did have brunch. It was the bacon, beans and horrible mini sausages I described yesterday. I also had a few snacks during the afternoon, and then for dinner I had two small hot ready meals. In theory I shouldn't eat at all today, and maybe even tomorrow too ! (Of course I will !)

  Once I had finished all my picture and video editing I could try and relax. Fortunately there were a few TV programmes to vegetate to. My time keeping gets quite hazy in the evening. Maybe it can be blamed on a few large vodkas I had to aid my relaxation. What all this means is that I have conflicting ideas about what time I went to bed last night. I have this idea that I had turned off the TV by 10pm. When I went to bed I read the last few pages left of the latest New Scientist magazine. That could only have taken 15 to 20 minutes, and then I turned over and went to sleep. My only trouble is that I keep thinking that was after midnight.

  Although there seems to be some time that can't seem to be accounted for by a last minute check of stuff on my PC, and brushing my teeth, what I am fairly sure about is that I fell asleep very quickly, and very easily. I slept for at least 3 hours before I needed to get up for a wee, and then I was soon asleep again for another 3 hours of what I think was more deep sleep. After that I think I got another hour of much lighter sleep.

  I seem to feel better for my good sleep, and my usual morning aches and pains are quite mild for a change. I have already been a bit productive this morning. After changing the memory card in the trail camera, I finished washing a medium bath towel that I left soaking in detergent yesterday afternoon. Yesterday I finally did what I have promising myself to do for years - washing my bath towel well before it has a chance to get clogged up with sweat and soap. If I can keep doing this it will make the job of washing these towels easier, but with the downside that I will be washing them far more frequently. Oh well, it's all good exercise, and my upper arm muscles, whatever they are called, look slightly like I have been working out. This morning that towel, because it had only been used for about 4 or 5 days, only needed 3 rinses before the water ran almost clear.

  I can think of three things I will do today, although the last think may only be a half heartened bit of work. I need to go to Aldi to get a few things, and I need to drop off my repeat prescription request at the surgery. I can do both as one outing. The third thing is to do a bit of "gardening". I really prefer not to disturb my injured fox, but while the sun is shining I might clear a bit more of the garden. I will leave most of the right hand side of the garden so the fox can have some privacy, but I think I will try and clear a bit more on the left hand side. Some of it will be pulling up some weeds that I left in the ground during earlier work. I also want to try and rake the ground up a bit, and level off the earth around the fox's entrance to it's earth. The disturbed ground should yield some nice juicy worms on damp nights, and I am pretty sure foxes like a juicy earthworm.
Sunday 27th January 2019
13:16 GMT

  I must admit it did feel fairly mild yesterday, and contrary to how the forecast looked, there were some sunny intervals. The cloud wasn't always the thick cloud that the forecast predicted. Rain was forecast to start at 4pm, but it was several hours later before I noticed any. By, or maybe even before 10pm, the rain seemed to have stopped, and I wasn't aware of any in the night. The afternoon temperature was 10° C, and even the 8 or 9° C when I was coming home from a gig, felt OK - more sort of very fresh rather than cold.
nice sunny morning, but duller later
  It seems like this morning's forecast for today contained the right ingredients, but not in the right order, or mixture. At 8am it was between 3 and 4° C, and when I went out to bring my trail camera in to swap memory cards it felt "fresh" in the extreme ! There was lots of nice sunshine this morning, and it is only recently, perhaps since 12:30, that the clouds seemed to have completely sealed off the sky. It should be approaching 7° C right now, but it feels chillier than that - even when indoors ! The latest revision to the forecast says there should be showers now, and while I don't think there is any rain at this precise moment, the road outside is very wet. It is going to get very cool tonight because the sky will be clearing. This also means that tomorrow should be a gloriously sunny day - albeit it still a rather cool day. There is now a "weather warning" for snow on Tuesday, but at the moment it doesn't look like a very big threat.

  I can barely remember what I did during the day yesterday. Maybe I didn't do anything memorable. That is actually probably quite true. I felt lousy yesterday. My "twisted ribs"/costochondritus was really playing up yesterday, and I didn't fancy doing much at all. Once again the aches and pains were similar to a heart attack, but two clues suggested it was nothing that sinister. Pain killers (Paracetamol) and anti-inflamatories (Ibuprofen) did a lot to quieten the discomfort down, and the second thing was that my blood pressure was rather good when I checked it a few times during the day. Maybe it wasn't as low as I can frequently get now, but still in the range that is considered healthy - which is sort of surprising when feeling under stress.

  I think I spread my time between reading, doing stuff on my PC, and having a snooze or two. The pills I took sometime mid morning seemed to keep my chest on the very edge of comfort until very early evening. Then I took another dose so I would feel comfortable enough to go out. My destination was to be The Coach And Horses pub in Beckenham for Chain's gig. Thanks to a call from Lee I was a bit late starting out. It seems Lee has bought an Alexa Dot, and couldn't seem to follow what were probably very simple instructions to set it up. The device is sold by Amazon, and they are big enough to write in plain English - at least so I would surmise, and there would be no difficulty trying to unravel the "Chinglish" that some imported equipment manuals are written in. I didn't have time to visit Amazon's web site to read the instructions so I could explain them in words of one syllable to Lee, but I hope I managed to describe what I thought the process was going to be, and to encourage him to actually read the instructions presented before him.

photo of me taken by Chris Mayer  Once I was out my front door, and walking to the bus stop I felt far better than I had for most of the day. Although some twisting motions can really upset my chest, the posture I use when walking seems to benefit is a lot. I was still aware of some tenderness now and then, but generally I felt perfectly OK. Of course I was being helped by the Ibuprofen and Paracetamol, but their role would be overtaken by 5 or maybe even 6 pints of Guinness. I even had my brand new Guinness t-shirt on !

  My original idea was that I would only go for Chain's first set, but that was not to be. They finished their first set just before 10pm, and at that point they were not sure what time the pub expected them to finish. When asked, the governor said "11pm - ish". With only an hour to go, and feeling good, I thought I might as well stay for the last hour. Towards the end I seemed to start feeling a bit tired, but worse was that I didn't fancy any more Guinness.

   I was going to say that I grabbed my coat and camera bag, and left straight after the last song had finished, but it was quite as quick as that. It was a very clean finish, and I stayed long enough to say goodbye to everyone, and even have a quick hug from Jo. That was very nice !

  My exit timing was very good. After wandering down the road to the bus stop I looked up how long until the next bus was going to be, and by the time I had opened the app, and typed in the name of the bus stop, it came straight up with "due", and indeed it arrived 30 seconds later. It always seems quicker going home than it does going there, and with less traffic about it almost certainly was. When  was back in Catford I couldn't resist crossing he main road to the fried chicken shop to buy some supper.

  When I got home I ate my supper, and then checked my camera. I had taken exactly 200 images, and two videos. I was tempted to start working on the photos, but I was feeling very relaxed, and that seemed to be a good idea for getting to sleep without tossing and turning too much. It was, and although I woke a few times in the night, and gradually seemed to run out of sleep earlier than I would have liked, I seemed to get through the night without crunching my ribs.

  I must admit I didn't feel all that wonderful this morning, but it was more like super lethargy than actual pain. Since getting up I have realised that I have an awful lot of work to do today...or perhaps some of it should be done tomorrow. One of the first things I did this morning was to change the memory card in my trail camera. There was a lot more activity yesterday/early this morning than usual, and I have a lot of video to choose from - and some of it doesn't include my fox. There is some daylight video of a magpie eating the foxes dinner. Then there is some night video of a cat also eating some of the foxes dinner. I was very surprised to see one bit of video was of a mouse running around. I didn't think the passive infra red motion detector was sensitive enough to see a little mouse, but evidently it is.

  So far today I have transferred all the pictures and video from the trail camera, and from the Canon camera I used last night, to my PC's hard drive. They took an awful long time to process in high resolution, but I have prepared the two songs I videoed last night, and I've uploaded them to social media. I have also done a lower resolution version for here ....

  I now have to consider if I am going to work on last nights 200 pictures taken at Chain's gig, or to work on possibly two videos from my trail camera. I must admit that I think I might try for a snooze first before I do anything else. I am also tempted to have something else to eat, but I have to resist that if I can. I think it was probably only about 11am when I had some brunch. It was a Sunday morning (late) breakfast treat of grilled bacon and baked beans with sausages. It was really nice, but I think it might have been nicer with chilli sauce instead of mustard, and very much nicer without the little soggy sausages that come in cans of baked beans. I guess that are more unpleasant than nasty, and I wonder why I ever buy them. I even wonder why I opened the can in the first place. It was supposed to be part of my emergency food rations to help me through the big "no deal" Brexit famine.
Saturday 26th January 2019
09:06 GMT

  After a damp start that seemed more drizzly than the forecast misty, yesterday gradually dried up. I'm not sure if the afternoon temperature hit the forecast 11° C, but I guess it got close to it. By mid afternoon the cloud had thinned, and the sun mad a valiant attempt to shine through a few cracks. The temperature did not drop that low last night. It was supposed to no lower than 8° C, and it certainly made a difference to the level of heating I needed last night.
not quite as tepid, but still overcast
  I didn't actually check when I walked past my thermometers when I went into the garden to put food out for my fox, but I can well believe it was 8° C. It obviously wasn't warm, but there was no "bite" from the air. It just felt nice and fresh. The forecast says heavy cloud, and it certainly isn't light cloud, but it's not that heavy as I write this. It still doesn't look like there is any chance of the sun breaking through though. There is a low chance of rain at any time today, but the forecast says it will definitely start to rain as sunset approaches, and then continue until midnight. It probably won't be heavy rain. The top temperature today may be 10° C, and like many days, the temperature will rise during the morning, and fall at the end of the afternoon. Tomorrow the temperature is forecast to be up and down all through the day. The highest temperature may only be 7° C, but there is a very small chance of a couple of sunny intervals. There is also a good chance of more light rain.

   Having flatly stated that there didn't seem to be any chance of seeing the sun today, I now recant that ! Just as I finished the last paragraph the sun almost broke through a gap in the clouds. It was enough to cast a distinct shadow even indoors, although in reality it was a blindingly bright patch of sky rather than the disk of the sun being visible. Maybe there is hope for other bright, or even sunny intervals later. It would not be the first time the forecast was wrong. It would be a rare occasion if the forecast got it 100% correct.

  I finished writing yesterday hoping that I would get an OK from Angela to meet at lunchtime. Thankfully she did, and after getting myself clean and tidy I set off with plenty of time to spare to walk through the park. It might almost have been nice except for one thing. My chest felt a bit tender, and it wasn't long until it felt like I had a bad stitch on my right hand side. I'm sure that must have meant something, but I have no idea what. I do know that it was a relief to stop every now and then to take a picture of a duck on the river (it seems I have forgotten to prepare those couple of photos to show one or a couple here). The pain was so annoying that I began to feel glad that I was heading towards the hospital, but of course the closer I got, the less the pain !

  By the time I got to the hospital the pain was just about gone, and it didn't bother me when I walked the last 5 minutes to the pub. I was soon joined by Angela, and we shared a very nice 50 minutes with each other. I guess we really were enjoying our time together more than usual because we both ended up drinking less than usual. When these meeting became routine last spring I would often drink three pints of Guinness. Yesterday I only had a pint and a half, and it seemed quite enough. I have a feeling we will be meeting once a week again soon.

  All too soon our time was up, and Angela had to get back to work. I walked her back to the hospital, and then continued to home. I don't recall having any discomfort during that walk, although I did feel a reluctance to walk as fast as I typically walk, but then again, I didn't walk slowly. On the way home I called into the corner shop for a bottle of pop, a copy of New Scientist, and two very naught bags of Sizzling Thai Chicken, or whatever it called, flavoured crisps. They became my lunch, and I didn't eat again until the evening.

  After my "lunch" I lay on my bed to read New Scientist, but it wasn't long before I put the magazine down, and had a snooze. I think I must have been asleep for at least a whole hour because it wasn't long after waking up that I took my afternoon/evening dose of prescribed pills. I usually take them at about 4pm now (it used to be straight after I got home from work a little after 4.30pm on a good day). To get my body moving again I did a little bit of hand laundry. Apart from a t-short and a couple of pairs of underpants, I washed the small towel and flannel I had left in my bag at Sue's place since last October. It was amazing how they smelled of cigarette smoke and dog despite being sealed in the bag.
Sue's picture after a bit of photo editing

 Lots of things happened last night - most of which were fairly inconsequential. One thing was that Sue posted a picture on social media before she went out to a gig last night. Compared to how I saw her on Thursday afternoon she was looking bright and happy. Unfortunately her photo had been taken in poor lighting, and was looking very yellow. So I copied the photo, and did a bit of photo editing on it. It wasn't high enough resolution to do much cosmetic work on it, but I thought I had improved it a fair bit. Evidently Sue did too because before the day was over she used my version of her picture for her profile picture.

 One of the things I was looking forward to last night was the peri-peri chicken I had ordered the night before as part of a takeaway. It was nice, but it was also disappointing. I had specified it should be extra hot because from many place I find "Hot" to be quite mild. From the restaurant I used on Thursday night it seems "extra hot" also means very mild, but with a few pickled chillies thrown in for good measure. I was also a little concerned that the chicken was not properly cooked. There were one or two slightly pink areas near the bones, They weren't actually raw, but it was still of some concern. Fortunately it didn't seem to have any consequences.

  I had a mild desire to go out last night, but the gig was in a pub that I am sure is too small to be comfortable, and I would have needed to get a bus and a train to get there. I probably would have gone on a warm summers evening, but not in the cold and damp, and not after eating a moderately big dinner. I was probably also discouraged by the pain I had while walking through the park at lunchtime.

  I am still keeping a close eye on my blood pressure to see if anything interesting comes up when I have days when my chest is playing up. I don't think I felt any particular discomfort after that stitch went away, but I sort of expected my chest to be a bit tender. I don't think it actually was yesterday evening, but pain can make you very wary. Last night I think it took three goes to get a really surprising blood pressure reading. The previous readings were still satisfactory, but I wanted to see how low I could go....
I've never got it this
                      low before
 I don''t think I have ever seen my systolic pressure this low before. I am sure it would earn a gold star from my doctors ! Even the diastolic pressure is very good. I had been concerned about some apparently high diastolic pressures recently, but when I checked my records from previous readings that I had given to my doctor they seemed pretty typical, and the doctor seemed to be quite happy with them. I guess in one small aspect I am pretty healthy. Of course in a thousand others I am desperately unhealthy !
part of last night's entertainment
 It feels like that on Friday evenings BBC4 plays more music than MTV did in it's final years (I think it has ceased broadcasting - maybe only in the UK). The screenshot on the left is just one of a whole evening of music. This one was undoubtedly best, and there were others I didn't really care for.

  Unfortunately it started really well, and deteriorated towards the end. They played a horrid sounding track from Rage Against The Machine that had no memorable riff in it that I could discern. The same was true of tracks from The Pixies and The Stone Roses, but at least those two were merely completely ignorable rather than an assault on the senses.

  At 11pm, when "Great Guitar Riffs" had finished, and the next programme was about the Mississippi Blues, I decided to go to bed. I tried reading for a bot, but I soon gave up and went to sleep. I had a medium night - neither particularly good, nor particularly bad. I guess I woke up a bit too often, but at least my dreams were pleasant and entertaining. At least I think they were. I can't seem to recall any of them now. All I can do is report my first impression as I got up.

  Unfortunately there was one thing that was bad during my sleep. I didn't notice it until I woke up for the final time at about 8am (or thereabouts). I must have really crunched my chest in those last hours of sleep. I do have vague memories of thrashing around a lot trying to find an extra comfortable position to try and extend my sleep for as long as possible. This morning I had to take some Ibuprofen and some Paracetamol to calm it down. It's not so bad now, and hopefully it will further improve once I finish here, and walk around a bit.

  I am rather happy that it wasn't icy cold when I retrieved my trail camera, and put out fresh food for my fox. Going out in icy air would really have irritated my chest. It actually felt very fresh, and I have no idea what I could have done to extend my stay out in the garden if my chest wasn't feeling so horrible, but it did feel sort of nice out there. Anyway, the good news is that I have some nice video of the fox. I was worried that it was going to be another night of lousy pictures. I certainly missed some action around 11pm because light rain just comes out like fog when lit with infra red light. There was more action at 4am this morning, and that was very clear. It is going to need some heavy editing to make it look less boring.

  That video editing is one thing I have to do today, but I have no idea what else I might do. Well there is one thing I ought to do today, and that is to plan my eating and get a snooze or two in sufficiently early so that I feel OK to go out to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham tonight. The pub is too small, and the small area around the band gets very crowded, but on the plus side, the High Street now has two way traffic again (and has done so since at least a few months before Xmas), and the 54 bus is no longer on diversion. The nearest bus stop is again just 2 minutes walk from the pub, and not at the bottom of the bloody hill ! I want to try and go tonight.
Friday 25th January 2019
09:03 GMT

  The weather forecast first suggested sleety rain for 9am, and then changed it's mind to just rain at 11am, and there was a sprinkle of rain then. The rest of the day was overcast, but basically dry until maybe 8pm when it looked like there may have been some fine misty rain. I suppose it was the lack of any significant wind that it didn't seem to feel quite so cold yesterday. The afternoon temperature was just 6° C according to the forecast (I wasn't in a position to check it myself).
a deeply grey day with a damp and nasty
  Apart from the afternoon temperature, which could be a tepid feeling 11° C, today could be an awful sort of day. It has certainly started very awful. The sun rose 90 minutes ago (approx), and yet it is only twilight outside. To add to the misery it is very damp, and what the forecast describes as mist seems to be more like fine drizzle to me. It was too fine to see, but was rather more obvious when I went out into my garden to retrieve my trail camera earlier on. I haven't been out since, but the soggy appearance of everything outdoors suggests it is still falling now. The chances of rain fall off to minimal, but not zero, by about 2pm, and at that time two things may happen. The temperature should be up to 11° C, and the clouds should thin out a bit, but the chances of seeing any sunshine seem to be zero. It is looking like it might be a mild noght, tonight. Tomorrow could start at about 8° C, and then during the day it could reach 10° C, but sadly it seems as if tomorrow will also be a very dull, and quite probably a wet day too.

  Yesterday, despite the weather, turned out to be a good day. I finally finished washing the bath towel I mentioned yesterday. It took another 5 or 6 rinses before the water started to run acceptably clear. After one more bout of pummelling in fabric conditioner, and some powerful wringing action, I was able to hang it up to dry. With the bathtub clear of washing I could have a good shower. By the time I was clean and dressed it was almost time to phone Sue. She was as good as her word, and must have been keeping a special eye on her phone because she answered within a couple of rings. She confirmed that she was in, and I told her I would see her in about 90 minutes.

  I think I had one brief, and rather mild twinge as I walked to the station. That one was centred towards the bottom edge of my man boob. Other than that I almost enjoyed the walk to Catford station, and kept up a reasonable pace all the way to the platform itself, although I did slow a little bit going up the long flight of stairs to platform level. There was one moment of concern when we were held by a red signal in Bickley station. I have no idea why because the drivers announcement was so quite an muffled that I am not even sure it was red light that was holding us up. For all I heard the driver could have been waiting for a pizza delivery.

  That short delay of a few minutes was actually good in one way. It meant a shorter wait for the R6 bus at St Mary Cray station. The R6 seems deliberately timed to miss the Thameslink trains when arriving there, or going home from there. It still gave me time to pop into the convenience store opposite and buy some beer and sandwiches plus a bottle of Exotic Mango Diet Coke. The latter did taste slightly like I expect dog pee would taste like, but you get used to it after a few sips. The sandwiches was because I hadn't eaten anything since quite early in the morning, and I would soon be drinking.

  I didn't drink the nasty Carling Black Label I bought for Sue. They were just a gift to her while she is in dire financial straits. One of the sandwiches was for her too. It was quite strange, but rather good that having not seen her since a brief meeting at Stretchy's Open mic, a week or two before Xmas, and then not since the beginning of last October, it was like no time had passed. Sue was warm and friendly, and we chatted for about an hour before I left to get a bus to Orpington station, and then a train to Shortlands station. As I left, with the courier bag that I had left there last October, and looked after by Sue, I gestured to Sue that I would give her a hug, and she readily accepted. Sue seemed in no hurry to end it, and in the end I had to stop it before I missed my bus.

  One thing I learned yesterday was the R6 buses arrival at Orpington seems nicely timed for the Southeastern trains to Victoria that start there. About 5 minutes after arriving there I was on my way to Shortlands. I think the Thameslink service to Blackfriars and often beyond, follows the Victoria train to Shortlands about 5 minutes later. Their routes then diverge there. It was still very early when I got to the pub, but to amuse myself I picked up a copy of The Metro on the train, and I had finished the quick crossword before arriving at Shortlands. I then started on the cryptic crossword, but I only managed to solve about 5 or 6 clues. I think I am badly out of practice !

  It was probably only about 15 minutes after I had sat down with my first pint of beer before Chris arrived. He announced that Steven had called in sick, and we knew that Alan is out the country on his holidays. It wasn't long before Paul sent Chris a message to say he was calling in sick. That just left Jodie unaccounted for, and i think that she may have been at a gig. So last night it was just Chris and myself at the pub. I ended up having four pints of beer last night. I had at least a half pint start on Chris before he arrived, and I didn't want to leave him on his own too early. He may have stayed for an extra pint, or left soon after me.

  Even with four pints of beer swilling around inside me it still seemed comfortable walking to the station, and up the stairs to the platform. The only annoyance was the the train before the one I wanted to get was running late, and I arrived on the platform just as it's door were closing. If I had got there even as little as 10 seconds later I could probably have caught that train. I felt very peckish on my way home, and despite having a choice of ready meals that could have been "cooked" in 5 minutes or so in the microwave, I decided I wanted a take away. Being mildly drunk does that to me.

  I ordered a large bit of cod and a small portion of chips plus some salad, and a peri-peri chicken to eat today. The cod was nice, but the chips were a disappointment in a very special way. If that was a small portion then a large portion would use all the potatoes in a farmers field. My small portion was huge. I should have left half of it. I expect the fox would be happy to eat some chips. I ate far too many of them and went to bed feeling stuffed. It was very early when I went to bed, and I didn't expect to fall asleep so quickly, but I did.

  I was asleep before 9pm, and seemingly slept soundly for only 2 hours. I felt quite surprised when I woke up and saw it was still Thursday. I did have a bit of a difficultly getting back to sleep then, but not after the several more times I woke up in the night. I don't think I slept for longer than 2 hours for any of my periods of sleep. I did have a few pleasant dreams...or maybe pleasant is not the best description for most of them. Non-threatening might be a better description. I must have activated some sort of safety mechanism in my brain because even when I wanted to be daring by going down a very tall, ricketty looking, fire escape, I was diverted through a different door in the old factory building I was in.

  This morning I didn't have a hangover, but I did feel bloody creaky when I went downstairs, and into the garden to retrieve the trail camera ti see what it had recorded over the previous 24 hours. In fact it had recorded very little. It seemed the fox only came out once last night, and having grabbed a whole block of pate dog food, it went back to the safety of it's earth to eat it. It wasn't even good video because the misty rain had lightly fogged the front of the camera lens again. It wasn't as bad as the previous night when the lens was covered in frost, but the picture still looked very foggy. I am hoping for some better pictures tonight when it should be dry, and not too cold.

  About 90 minutes now since getting up, and I guess I feel fairly OK. My main plan for today is to meet Angela at lunchtime, but that assumes she is available and wants to meet. If she doesn't then I don't know what I'll be doing during the day. If I can find the enthusiasm to go all the way to Bexley (or is it Bexleyheath) I could go to a gig tonight. On the plus side it will be a long time since I last saw M.T. Pockets, and they are very good. On the negative side it is a pokey little pub, and if you lose your place at the front for any reason you are doomed not to be able to see the band. If I do get there I suspect I'll bang off a pile of pictures, and possibly leave before the first set is over. If it is not too crowded I may try and shoot a bit of video too.
Thursday 24th January 2019
09:53 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday forgot to mention some sunny spells in the morning, but essentially was right for the rest of the day. It was cold and grey. The temperature barely reached the forecast 3° C, and before the day was over the temperature dropped to zero, and below zero very soon after.
cold, but not as cold as yesterday
  This morning started with a frost, and at 9am there was some sleet - except someone forgot to remind the clouds to drop sleet over my part of Catford. It is dry here if you disregard a bit of melted frost. It seems that we will be under thick cloud for most of the day, and will have to turn on lights to read indoors. It is good that the afternoon temperature should be 6° C, although that is still so cool that it is only good by a very limited subset of definitions. Apart from at 9am, when nothing happened anyway, there is a very small, but possible chance of rain at most times today. There shouldn't be a frost tonight if the forecast 4° C happens.

Update: The forecast has just been revised. The latest guess is that at 11am there is a high chance of rain, but the forecast hedges it's bets by using that peculiar pictogram than no one has yet deciphered. It shows a raincloud with a drip of rain, and sunshine peeping around the side of it. The rest of the forecast remains very similar to the earlier version. Not only will tonight be a little less cold, but that should feed into tomorrow, and with the chance of a couple of hours being at 11° C it could almost be described as almost warm....or almost tepid. Unfortunately there seems to be a medium chance of rain at any time tomorrow, although none is specifically forecast.

  I had to start yesterday with some pain killers and anti-inflamatories, but that one dose of each seemed to keep my chest under control for the rest of the day. The one thing I still missed out on was some extra sleep. With the news that I had an imminent parcel delivery, I couldn't allow myself to relax until it arrived. From about midday I stayed in the front room keeping an eye on the road while doing some more paper shredding.

  My parcel arrived earlier than expected, although my timing is based upon the arrival times of some parcels before Xmas when I guess things were a lot busier. Typical arrival times then were between 2 and 4pm with a bit of a bias towards being closer to 4pm. My parcel arrived at about 12.30pm, and that was a similar time to the previous parcel from Amazon. My parcel contained three items. Item one was a 1TB external, USB, hard disk which is now the backup disk to my video archive disk. I must admit I thought I had ordered a 2TB drive, but when I checked the original order it was indeed a 1TB disk.

  Items two and three were for my trail camera. A set of AA batteries only last about 4 days, but it depends on the weather. In warmer weather I think they will be good for 5 days. To avoid traipsing back and forward to Poundland I ordered a pack of 40 AA cells from Amazon. It did cost an extra 9p compared to Poundland, although it is tricky to do a direct comparison. Sometime the packs of 4 Kodak Extralife AA batteries have one extra free, and one pack has 4 extra free ! They seem to keep them behind the counter now, and it seems too pernicketty to get the person at the till to sort through them to find the best bargain. The final item was, if you are pedantic, actually three identical items - 16GB memory cards.
40 AA cells - they
                      should last a few weeks !
40 AA cells - they should last a few weeks !

  With the early arrival of my Amazon parcel I was free to go and visit Sue - but I couldn't get an answer on Sue's phone. I knew there was a possibility that she might be seeing her doctor, or possibly out collecting a prescription from the chemist. I opted not to go there on the chance she was in, and decided to do other stuff instead. One task that took my ages to complete, but didn't take me long to set up, was to copy the contents of my Video archive disk to the back up disk. It probably took me little more than 20 minutes to set it all up, and then something like 5 hours to copy. That is one penalty of not having USB 3 ports on my PC. They are much faster than USB 2, or so I am lead to believe.

  One task I started, but never completed, was hand washing a medium sized bath towel. After 5 rinses the water was still coming off hazy and soapy. I decided to take a rest, and get back to it later. I didn't really mean later to be this morning, but that is how it turned out. I blame it on the hot food I had for dinner making me feel too relaxed for hard work. I should have had another salad like I had at lunch time, but the day was brighter than, and it felt warmer. The dark and cold made me want a hot dinner in the evening.

  I did have one short snooze in the afternoon, but I still felt the need to try and get to bed early after my very poor sleep the night before. In last nights case I think early was about 11.30pm - which is not early at all, but I had been reading in bed for some time before putting the book down, and turning off the lights. As soon as I turned off the lights I lay in bed thinking that I wasn't going to get to sleep again, but the next thing I knew was that I was waking up from some dreams, and needing to go to the toilet. I think I probably slept OK last night.

  One of my first tasks in the morning, after I've been to the toilet, taken a screenshot of the weather forecast, and checked my email, is now to go and fetch my trail camera indoors to get the memory card out. Unfortunately I found the camera covered in frost this morning - and that included frost on the lens. This time there was no doubt about it because I could see it glistening there with my own eyes. Like the last time, when I only suspected the lens had frosted over in the night, the video was like looking through a thick fog, and there was no video worth using.

  Once I had finished with the trail camera for the morning, and had some time to calm down again, I checked my blood pressure again. Since I decided to check it when my "twisted rib" chest pains were rather bad, I have been trying to do a twice daily record again. It is always useful to keep my doctor or nurse quiet should I be unfortunate enough to have to see one or the other. Sometime in the next week I have to apply to the surgery for my next repeat prescription, and there is a chance they may call me in for a routine check. I'll have some good blood pressure readings for them if my reading continue like they have been for the last couple of days. At least I think they are good. My systolic blood pressure is certainly nice and low, but I do wonder of my diastolic pressure is a bit high sometimes.

  My plans for today are very simple - I think. Once I have finished writing I will finish washing the bath towel so I can clear the washing buckets out of the bath, and have a shower. At 1pm I will try and phone Sue again to check she is in. I think this time I will to her place regardless of whether she answers the phone, although if she does answer, and says she is not available I obviously won't waste my time going there. After seeing Sue for maybe half an hour - possibly less, possibly more, I'll get a train to Shortlands either from St Mary Cray or Orpington. It will depend on which direction the next bus is going to when I leave her place.  At Shortlands I will have my typical 3 pints of beer, or maybe 4 if I should arrive there earlier than intended, and then come back home for some hot dinner.
Wednesday 23rd January 2019
10:01 GMT

  The most significant thing about yesterdays weather was the snowfall just after 7pm. Sleet had been forecast for 6pm, but I am sure that what fell an hour later than forecast was snow. For a while it lay on the garden like snow, but it gradually melted sometime in the early hours of this morning. Earlier yesterday there was some nice sunny intervals, but with the afternoon high only being just 5° C it has to be described as a cold day.
another bright start
  I forgot to check, but I suspect that at daybreak this morning the temperature may have been higher than 2° C, but maybe not. What I do know is that the sun is shining as I wrote this. There is plenty of cloud in the sky, but I can also see some medium sized blue areas right now. It would be nice to think the sunshine would warm the day up, but apparently the afternoon temperature will only rise to a meagre 3° C. The cloud should stay light, and so presumably it will be a bright day even when the sun is not shining. The early hours of tomorrow morning are predicted to be very cold with the temperature dropping to minus 1° C. There seems to be a very small, but creditable chance of rain tomorrow, and if that happens it will probably fall as snow in the very cold morning. By the afternoon the temperature may hit 5° C, and at 4pm there is a shower predicted.

  My chest was behaving itself OK yesterday, and I must admit that for most of the time I felt generally OK.  Maybe hand washing a few t-shirts and underwear helped. I must admit it I didn't have a particularly productive day yesterday - at least I didn't do much that would be publicly visible, but I did achieve a fair bit of tidying up of my computer files. I am slowly moving my video files, although only stuff I have shot myself, onto an external hard disk, and at the same time filing them in better described and dated folders.

  The desire to tidy up my video files came about when I realised that using the video capabilities of my Canon 600D DSLR camera to shoot high resolution video was taking up huge chunks of storage space that was nominally for still photography. It is a situation that could get worse. Yesterday I investigated my Canon 1200D DSLR camera, and I found that it too had the most important option in the menus of setting the sound recording level manually. That is an essential requirement for recording music. Automatic control can make the music sound weird as it constantly changes the recording level.

  I had never really investigated the video option on that Canon 1200D before, and I was happy to find it's capabilities are identical to the 600D. That prompted me to check my Nikon D3200 DSLR camera. I actually had to check the manual to find out how to get it into video mode. With hindsight it is obvious ! It too has the facility to set the sound recording level manually. I then went on to investigate my two "bridge cameras" - camera that bridge the gap between simple pocket cameras and a full DSLR camera. My Canon SX40 can shoot high resolution video the same as it's bigger brothers with manual recording level. Unfortunately my Nikon Coolpix P500 can't. One thing about both Nikon cameras is that they seemed to be fixed to American 30 frames a second, and so could possibly suffer from flickering effects when the scene is lit by British 50 cycles per second lighting. Perhaps I'll only be using the Canons, but I think I will be shooting a lot more video in the future.

  It was a measure of how good I was feeling yesterday that my lunch was a nice healthy salad. I did fear that it might be unhealthy in a particular way. It was a chicken salad using (alleged) chargrilled skinless chicken lumps found with a reduced price sticker on them in Tesco. They were reduced price because the were on their use by date when I bought them. That was probably 3 or 4 days earlier, and when I opened the packet there was a momentary smell that I didn't like. It seemed to pass, and may have just been a "protective atmosphere". The chicken itself tasted OK-ish, but I was not 100% sure about it. Nothing bad happened, and so that was OK. I still have two more packs of that chicken (at half price they had to be bought), and I think my fox will be having them for supper tonight.

  I did get some good footage of my fox last night. There is quite a lot of it, and it will take some time to edit down into a nice compact video. Hopefully I'll get that done later today, but this morning I am supposed to be a bit busy, although my plans have already gone awry by the news that the back up hard drive for my new video archive disk will be arriving today along with a box of 40 AA batteries for my trail camera. I suspect that package will arrive after I had originally planned to go out. In the meantime here's a still picture of my fox.
fox in the snow
This picture was taken just before the snow started. The later video shows it fallen, and starting to cover the ground, and in particular, the vegetation in the foreground. By the way, pay no attention to the temperature readings. The internal thermometer seems to go haywire once the temperature drops too far !

  Last night was a bit of a disaster. As midnight approached I didn't seem to feel tired at all. It was almost 2am before I got to sleep, and in getting there I was tossing and turning, and I did it so much I managed to trigger off my wonky chest by putting too much pressure on my right hand side - my favourite side. It effected my sleep all through the night, and sometimes it seemed I was more awake than asleep. Maybe my heaviest sleep was between about 7am and 9am. Had I been comfortable I would have liked to try for more sleep after 9am, but I was not comfortable, and I had/have things to do.

  When I got up I took my usual morning pills, and then I also took a couple of Ibuprofen tablets to reduce the inflammation of my dodgy "soft tissue" of my chest. I also took a couple of Paracetamol tablets to lessen the pain. I don't feel too bad now, but my chest still feel tender, and I would love to sleep for a few more hours. Unfortunately sleep is off the menu for quite a long time now.

  My original plans for today were to get up slightly early. Edit some fox video. Get washed and dressed, and go and get some shopping. Add all the times for that together, plus writing this, and having a small rest after shopping, plus possible having some breakfast, brunch or lunch, and I would be ready to go and visit Sue - if a call confirmed that she would be in this Afternoon. That plan is now in disarray partly because I got up so late, but mostly because Amazon sent me a message to say I had a parcel arriving today. The last one arrived a lot earlier than expected at around midday. If that is the case today I can probably do most of what I had planned, but in a different order.
Tuesday 22nd January 2019
10:07 GMT

  Yesterday morning was fairly bright. There was even a couple of brief sunny spells, but before the morning was half over the greyness resumed. I guess I would have to say it was a light grey greyness, and so not quite as depressing as a dark grey greyness ! More significant was that it was another very cold day with an afternoon high of just 5° C - or less !
some sunshine followed by sleet showers
  Today started, as in just after midnight last night, with the temperature as high as 6° C - and with rain ! By 8am this morning, the first time I checked, the temperature had fallen to just 1.2° C according to my thermometers. It is set to be another cold day. At the moment it is bright and sunny, and these long sunny spells might continue until midday. By then the temperature is predicted to be 5° C. There may be another flash of sunshine at 4pm just before some light rain starts. By 6pm the temperature is supposed to fall to 3° C, and the rain will turn to sleet. Of course if the temperature should drop an extra degree that sleet could fall as snow, and with the temperature expected to be 0° C by 1am tomorrow, that snow could settle. There is only a tiny chance of rain tomorrow morning, and maybe that is just as well because tomorrow is forecast to be even colder. The temperature tomorrow could peak at as little as 3° C !!!

  On the whole, I felt pretty lousy yesterday. My chest was really playing up. The worst of it was in the least I think it was, although there were a few occasions when it was very annoying in the afternoon too. As I have explained before, many times, the pains are similar to a heart attack, but with subtle differences. Those differences, the knowledge that they are probably the result of inflamed "soft tissue", aka Costochondritis, plus long experience told me I was not about to die, but there was enough doubt to make me want to check my blood pressure.
good systolic pressure
  At 4.31pm (I have set the clock properly now) my Systolic pressure, 115, was very good. Maybe the Diastolic pressure could have been a bit lower, but overall it seems all the drugs I have been prescribed, plus the vitamin D tablets I take, seem to be working well. Although to be honest I would prefer my blood pressure to be higher. I seem to have more brake horsepower, and faster acceleration when it is higher !

  One thing made my chest feel better, and that was semi hard work. I decided it was high time I washed the duvet cover I had taken off my bed quite a few weeks back. Washing a double duvet cover by hand is quite taxing - and more so at this time of year. Wringing it out at the end so it doesn't drip on the carpet indoors when drying is quite difficult. In the summer I would only put half the effort into it, and just hang it outside to drip in the garden.

  Washing that duvet cover was not the only housework I did. I did some overdue washing up - not that there was a lot of it - and I took out the bins. The latter included the stinking food to go into the food recycling bin. The kitchen smells a bit fresher for it. I also spent another half an hour (perhaps more - I wasn't timing it) on a project that has been going on for some time now. At last the end is in sight, but it is still going to be a good few more hours of tedious work. This tedious work is hand shredding old bills. Some date back to 2002. Some possibly earlier !

 Oddly enough, while hand washing the duvet made my chest feel a lot better, shredding that paper made it worse. One reason is probably posture. To do the shredding, or ripping to pieces to be more accurate, I was perched on the edge of the settee, and reaching out to my left to pick up more paper, and then reaching to my right to put it in the bin. It does seem that moving my arms sideways is a prime generator of chest pain for me. I had a couple of twinges as I was cleaning the counter top in the kitchen, and rubbing a cleaning pad to back and forth, left and right.

  Despite being mostly in the warm, it still seems that the cold weather makes my chest pains much worse, and that combination of chest pain and the cold, has temporarily killed my desire to eat healthy salads and stuff. I am still aware of how bad some of the stuff I am eating is, and I do my best to moderate it, but last night I failed. I had thought I might be going out last night, but Sue contacted me to say she was feeling too rough to go out, and much of the reason for going out was to meet her, and retrieve my purple courier bag.

  Once I got Sue's message I decided I had no reason to try and refrain from eating, and I set to work having a hot dinner at about 6pm. I had two ready meals in the fridge that I had bought for half price in Aldi because their use by date was fast approaching. I thought I had better use them first. They looked very small, and so I thought I would eat both of them. In fact they had a fairly dense content, and maybe one, perhaps with something small to follow would have been enough. I didn't even dare look at the nutritional labelling.

  Later on I gave in to curiosity. I have been buying some French cheeses recently. Unfortunately only common supermarket types. My reasoning may well be faulty, but I suspect they may become rarer, and probably much more expensive after Brexit. Last night I tucked into some Camembert with rice crackers. The rice crackers have very low amounts of anything I try to avoid eating, but the cheese....well cheese is cheese. Lots of fat, and probably lots of salt. It might have been worth it if the taste was as strong as the smell. When I bought the cheese I could occasionally smell it when walking back from the supermarket - and that was with it being sealed in it's packaging. I expected the taste to be just as strong, but it seemed quite mild. That is why I ate rather more than was called for !

  Last night I was in bed, and I think asleep by 11pm. If I recall correctly, I slept solidly until almost 5am, and I don't recall dreaming during that section of sleep. I definitely dreamed when I went back to sleep again, and I woke up at least once before finally waking up, and getting up in daylight (I think it was about 8.30am). I felt quite stiff and creaky at first, but now, a couple of hours later, I seem to feel quite good.

  One of the first things I did, after attending to the essentials, was to retrieve the memory card from my trail camera. The camera was dripping with water, and I am not sure how much was from earlier rain, and how much from condensation (or dew). The lens was covered by condensation, and I thought that all the pictures would be crap, but I was wrong. The lens must have been clear during most of the night, and I got some almost good pictures - almost because I had tried a new position for the camera, and I hadn't pointed it down enough. In consequence all the action takes place at the very bottom of the picture.

  The first part of the video shows the visiting fox. Although the plate of 99p shop dog food is just out of shot, it is fairly clear that the fox sniffs it, and turns it's nose up at it. That was at about 11.30pm last night. At 4.30am this morning my fox came out of it's earth, and it was obviously very hungry because it does manage to eat about half the dog food. It is looking like I ought to stick to more expensive Tesco dog food in the future. There was one bit of video that I didn't include because it was very indistinct, and I was not sure it wasn't just my imagination. It looked as if my fox tried to use it's injured leg/paw to scratch at some dirt. If that was what I saw then it is good news because the injury is healing.

  I have no idea what my plans are for today. It is bloody cold outside, but I still have a desire to wrap up warm and get out into the sunshine while it lasts - which may not be that much longer. I have sent a message to Angela about meeting at lunchtime - either preferably today or Friday, or less preferably, tomorrow. As yet I have had no reply. I am thinking that my day might actually end up with doing a bit of housework followed by a bit more paper shredding, and then spending the afternoon reading or something.... Oh, there is something I almost forgot. I have started a project to get all my home made videos backed up onto an external hard drive. That could consume quite a few hours today.
Monday 21st January 2019
10:37 GMT

  There was a lot of nice sunshine yesterday - more than expected for just "sunny intervals". Sadly it did nothing for the temperature. It seemed to be a very cold day, and I am not sure that the temperature even reached the 5° C forecast. I think it was at least a degree short of that. By 11pm there was already a frost forming, and my trail camera was definitely complaining about it (there may have been frost on the lens).
another very cold day, but at least it has
                      started bright
  At about 8am, when I retrieved my trail camera from the garden, the temperature was still almost a degree below zero, and the frost on everything sort of confirmed what the thermometers said. There has been a bit of sunshine this morning, and while the sun has gone in now, it still seems fairly bright. The forecast says the cloud will remain light until 8pm. The cloud will then thicken, and the temperature will rise from an afternoon high of 5° C to about 6° C by midnight. Very soon after it is supposed to start raining, and by 2 or 3am tomorrow it could be very heavy rain. Tomorrow was originally went the first snow was supposed to fall, but that forecast ran out days ago. The latest thought is that while there could be the odd shower through the day, there may also be lots of sunny intervals. It will still be another cold day with temperatures between 3 and 5° C. At the end of tomorrow the temperature will fall low enough for a "Weather warning" of ice from morning to midday the day after.

  On Saturday I felt really lousy, and spent much of the day baking myself with the heat turned up to "tropical". I felt much better for it yesterday. I felt perfectly OK to hand wash a few t-shirts and some underwear, and to go shopping to Aldi. In the morning I did feel slightly tender - or at least I thought I did, but it seems these two physical chores had no negative effect on me at all. Maybe, as has appeared to happen before, doing that laundry was actually beneficial to me.

  I think it was about 1pm when I got to Aldi, and it was very busy in there. I don't think that had any bearing on what I bought though. I considered I had enough salad already in my fridge (although some of it is starting to spoil), and after the way I was feeling on Saturday, I was not in the mood for salad anyway. Instead of lots of fresh healthy vegetables I bought some naughty, but nice, ready meals. Some insanely unhealthy peanut butter varieties, and some chicken thighs.

  The special flavour peanut butter was very interesting. One was a jar of peanut butter with cocoa in it, and the other had coconut in it. Both reported bad things for the nutritional values. The one with cocoa had quite high levels of sugar in it. What was most annoying about that was that it was not very nice. It wasn't horrible by any measure. It was more that it didn't really taste of anything except peanut butter. The coconut peanut butter did have a nice coconut overture to it, and despite the high food values, I will probably be tempted to but more if it is still available when I have finished the jar, but like the jar of cashew nut butter I bought at least a month ago, I am only using it on rare occasions.

  My food yesterday mostly consisted of assorted peanut butters on rice cakes, and the pack of 6 chicken thighs I bought. I also had a couple of rice cake bars that had orange flavoured chocolate on them. I wished I had paid more attention to their sugar content before I put them in the shopping trolley. Their sugar levels are hideous, and I wonder what some clown decided it would be a good idea to sell something where "rice cake" appears in big letter across the package. Rice cake seems to imply it should be something fairly healthy to eat, but in this case it is the exact opposite.

   I gave the chicken thighs a very long time in my mini oven to get them cooked through, and to help them absorb the spices and stuff I had covered them with. At the end of it they were not as nice as I had hoped for. I think I am going off chicken these days. In one way that was good. Instead of gnawing all the meat off the bones, like some starving animal, I left a fair bit of meat on the bones, and put them, plus a lot of the grease and liquor given off while cooking, for the foxes. Some say not to give foxes cooked chicken bones, and some say otherwise. I wouldn't give them to domestic cats and dogs, but there are so many documented cases of urban foxes almost living off discarded chicken bones discarded by people eating fried chicken in the street, that I don't think I did that much wrong.

  The cold, and probably the frost itself, seems to spoil the images I got from my trail camera. I speculate that that frost actually formed on the lens of the camera at 11pm last night because the picture looked lousy. Fortunately the images cleared a bit at 2am when there was another period of fox activity. Maybe the food I have been putting out, despite a lot of it being taken by a visiting fox, has been beneficial for my fox. It is still incredibly jumpy, but seems to be far more agile now as it moves around on just it's three good legs. It is hard to make out, but I think it is occasionally trying to put a bit f weight on the injured legs. I hope it is not just my imagination, and it is getting better.

  My afternoon, and the evening were mostly uneventful yesterday, but I did find a couple of TV programmes on last night to partly amuse me. I didn't feel any great need to go to bed early last night, and spent some time in bed reading. It was at least half past midnight before I had put the book down, and I was asleep a bit later. This morning I sort of wish I had got to sleep a lot earlier. I seemed to sleep solidly for nearly 4 hours, but I woke up with rapidly fading memories of lots of dreaming. I suspect a lot of my sleep may have been very light sleep.

  One dream was about some sort of travel, and involved railway stations, but I can hardly recall any details. One very peculiar flash of dream I can remember, but I wish I could put some more detail to it. Once again it involved travel, and maybe it was inspired by the book I had finished reading the night before. That featured all sorts of trams and subways inside a giant alien spaceship. In this flash of dream I half remember, the transport looked like a plimsole big enough for one person to lay in as it moved from you to some unknown destination, by some unknown means. Another theme to my dreams was being back at work. My workplace had suddenly become a high security place, and all my usual exits and entrances could not be used. It was most perplexing.

  I first got up at about 6am this morning. I still felt a bit tired, but otherwise fine. After attending to a few things I went back to bed. As soon as I lay down I felt terrible. I was uncomfortable, and it seemed like any movement would cause my wonky ribs to pop. To make matters worse a plug of mucus had silently made it's way to my throat, from who knows where, and until I could cough it up, it felt like being asthmatic. With my chest feeling like it did, I was hoping I would not have to cough any harder than I did. It still hurt my ribs though. It seemed like I had suddenly fallen asleep, and it was bright daylight when I woke up next.

  I quickly put some warm clothing on, and went out to bring the trail camera inside so I could take the memory card out and copy it to my PC. While I felt warm inside the fleece top I had pulled on, just breathing in the icy air made me feel rotten, and I had to do it three times. Once to bring the camera in, Once to replace the plates of food out there, and one more time to put the camera outside again. I think I am only getting over that cold air now, several hours later. Incidentally, I have put the camera in a different place in the garden for a bit of variety. I hope the view turns out OK.

  Beyond having a shower, and washing my hair, I haven't got any plans for today until tonight. It is possible that I will go to an open mic night in Bromley for a few hours tonight. It is possible that Sue will go too to meet me there, hopefully with my purple courier bag. If she does confirm she will be going then it will be almost certain that I will go, but if she doesn't confirm it will probably be 50 - 50 that I will go. At least tonight promises to be only cold, and not freezing cold !
it is so annoying
                          when a candle seems to drown it's own wick
  One of my annoyances is when a candle decided to part drown it's own wick. For once I remembered to take a snap of when this happened. This picture is a view looking down onto an "apple pumpkin" scented candle. The flame at the bottom is tiny because over half the wick is submerged in the molten wax. It burned like this for several hours, hardly producing any light, until gradually it managed to consume enough wax for the flame to grow a bit. About 15 hours later an it is still burning, but once again, as I write this, the flame is very small, and there is a thick rime of wax around the inside of the glass jar. Most of that wax will remain unburnt. This candle has a very feint, but quite pleasant smell. It is made by the same people who do the excellent Hazelnut Cream scented candles that I now have two spares as well as half the original one to enjoy at some later time.
Sunday 20th January 2019
09:07 GMT

  It was cold and grey yesterday. The forecast said the afternoon high would be 5° C. I'm not sure it even reached 4° C ! There are units to define how grey it was, but "dark grey" is close enough. The forecast a medium high chance of rain in the morning, but that tapered off to a low, but still credible chance in the afternoon, but it stayed dry all day.
starting off fairly bright, but another cold
  Today's forecast says we will be blessed with some sunny intervals a little later this morning, and maybe through the afternoon. This seems possible because the sun is almost breaking through as I write this. It should be a totally dry day, but it's going to be another cold day. I would suggest that the temperature is a little less than the 2° C forecast for right now, but maybe only by a few tenths of a degree. By midnight the temperature will fall to zero, and priming tomorrow to be another very cold day. No sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, and the afternoon high may only be 5° C. Late at night the temperature is predicted to rise again, and the chances of rain increase. This coming Tuesday could be wet, but no snow is expected now. Earlier forecast had predicted sleet or snow on Tuesday.

  I felt lousy for most of yesterday. The only times I felt OK were after taking painkillers, and having the heating up high enough to make it feel tropical in my bedroom - which is where I spent most of the day. I'm not sure what caused the discomfort. The chest pains I could account for, but the sore, and arthritic feeling joints, particularly my right wrist and left elbow, felt like I had 'flu again. Even the intensity of the costochondritis in my chest seemed amplified like it did when I did have 'flu in October last year. I even had a few mild headaches to strengthen that theory. However I don't think it was 'flu, although I am at a loss to say what it was.

  There is a theory that the 'flu virus can become dormant, and not leave the body for ages. In such a state it can spring up again, and attack you. This is definitely true of some viral infections such as Mumps(or is it measles ?) where outbreaks of shingles can occur many years later. I know someone who had Mumps/measles as a kid, and developed shingles in his 50s, but I have never heard of someone having recurring attacks of 'flu. Normally the body develops good defenses once it has met a particular strain of 'flu - that is, of course, how vaccines work.

   It was fortunate that Sue had called off our planned lunchtime meeting yesterday because I didn't really feel up to it. There is of course the possibility that had I forced myself to go out, as I would do when I was at work for at least the first morning of feeling bad, I may have felt a lot better while I kept my body moving. That was often the case in the days when I was at work, although it did sometime feel like I was dying soon after getting home again, and I probably ended up taking  more time off work than if I had done the sensible thing and stayed in bed the first morning.

  I can't seem to recall doing anything of any note except for finishing the book I had been reading. It was the final part of the Rama series originally started by Arthur C. Clarke, and with the final three books of the series co-written with Gentry Lee. I have to say it was a most annoying read, and I am glad I have now read the entire series. It was annoying in that there were long series of pages that were almost boring in their stodgyness, and they had to be read to get to the exciting bits. The last book had a very unsatisfactory ending. The thread that ran through the last book was the last years of life of one of the main characters, and when she died so did the story. We never did get to hear what her surviving relatives and friends got up after arriving at what was effectively a gigantic alien space station. It would be nice to hear if they ever saw a planet again, or if they lived and bred purely in outer space. I can't recall the aliens, who were acting in some ways like ultra humane zoo keppers, ever saying what their final outcome would be. The story didn't even end with the traditional "and they lived happily ever after" !

  I think I probably had a short snooze or two yesterday, but I felt too uncomfortable to do more, and I can't actually say with any great conviction that I had any snoozes. I guess it was a combination of tiredness and a couple of Ibuprofen tablets that helped me get what was probably quite a reasonable sleep. As a consequence of that I feel much better today. However, much better is not the same as better. My chest still feels very tender, and a few of my joints feel like they are only inches form aching. I ought to take care of myself today.

  What I ought to do, and what I might do are possibly two completely different things. I think I am going to have a go at something I couldn't face yesterday, and that is hand washing a couple of t-shirts, and some underwear. It will be one way of keeping warm. I turned the temperature up of the hot water yesterday because it was feeling a little cooler than I wanted. I have a feeling I might have it up too high now, but that won't matter until I try and shower under it. So doing that washing will be hot work, and that could be good, and it often happens that the upper arm exercise actually helps pull my chest back into shape. It could be kill or cure !

  I forgot to mention an episode from last Thursday that illustrates how cranky my chest can be. I had been out shopping, and I was feeling about as good as you can carrying heavy shopping back on a very cold day. I took the shopping into my kitchen, and started unloading the shopping bag. It was a big "bag for life" type bag which was stiff enough to stand up by itself on the counter top. The top of the bag was not that much lower than my armpit, and as I reached over the top, and pulled out a ready meal, I suddenly had a terrific pain down my side, centred on an are just below the bottom of my man boob. It was the sort of pain that almost takes your breath away, and makes you very reluctant to make a single movement. It was a lot like cramp, and previous experience was that the only thing to do was to work through it. After a few minutes it had subsided to just a tender reminder of how it started.

  Apart from doing the previously mentioned laundry, I think I want to get a bit of shopping in today, but apart from those two things, I can't think of any definite things I might do today. I think I'll pass on getting the hoover out, but one thing I may do is to carry on scanning, and in some cases, re-scanning my old negatives. I rather wish that when I got my negative scanner I had started scanning not just a few select pictures, but all the negatives in each pack of pictures. It feels stupid that I was halfway through the job before I decided to give each pack of negatives a serial number. In a few rare cases there are important pictures I would like to re-scan after giving the negative a better clean, but I have no idea what pack of negatives they came from. Oh well, at least I have learned my lesson now.

  I was hoping to have another video of the foxes this morning, but the batteries ran out in the camera just as the action started. I knew the batteries were starting to fail yesterday morning, but I thought if I kept my fingers crossed.... It wasn't until 2am this morning, when the temperature must have been close to, or below zero, that the batteries finally gave out. I did get some nice video earlier on of the visiting fox that is helping itself to my foxes food. At about 2.30am my fox triggered the camera, but all I could see was the glow from it's eyes from the infra red illuminators. Those infra red LEDs were so dim that even the tree stumps that are in the foreground of the pictures are looking very dim, and the fox was all be invisible. I was pretty sure it was my fox by the way it's eyes moved as it hobbled around on three working legs. The camera now has fresh batteries, and a fresh memory card. There is also fresh food out for the fox. Hopefully it will come out sometime this morning for a nibble.
Saturday 19th January 2019
09:51 GMT

  There was some diffuse sunshine yesterday morning, but it didn't last all that long. Most of the day was overcast, but the threat of rain didn't seem to materialise. It was another cold day, and I have my doubts that the temperature rose enough to hit the prediction of 6° C in the afternoon. I think it was closer to 4° C.
another cold and grey day
  There was a 51% chance of rain forecast for 8am, but it remained dry, and the latest revision to the forecast assigns a very low chance of any rain today - but not a zero chance !  It is going to be another very grey, very cold day today. If we are lucky the afternoon temperature may reach 5° C, but most of the day will be closer to 4° C.  Tomorrow brings no reason for cheer. The temperature range is forecast to be practically the same as today. The only slightly better thing is that the cloud may be lighter in the afternoon.

  Yesterday was quite a boring day. I spoke to Sue at midday, and she called off meeting in the early afternoon. That left me with a large amount of time to get bored, and I filled in much of that time just reading. That wasn't so bad, although the later consequences may have been. I spent some time catching up on some technology news at https://www.the, and time reading more of the big Arthur C. Clarke book, "Rama Revealed", I am currently reading.  It is a rather annoying book in one way. It has long bits that are just background, and get boring. Then, just as you think "I can't be bothered to read any more" the tempo changes and it suddenly comes good again.

  There was one other thing I did early in the afternoon, and that was to go to the SAM 99p shop. I was specifically after buying a few more the of hazelnut cream scented candles. They do smell really nice - a bit like butterscotch Angel Delight/Instant Whip. I bought too more of them along with a couple of other scented candles - making sure I left any allegedly scented to "Fresh Linen" scent. They smell like a faulty gas boiler - all nasty and smoky.

  As well as a few other minor bits and pieces I decided to check their pet food shelves. I had never given it any attention before, but I found they did large tins of dog food at two cans for 99p according to the shelf label, but actually three cans for 99p according to the man at the till. So I came away with 6 tins of highly dubious dog food which only contains a small percentage of the meat described on the tin. Fortunately foxes are not fussy eaters, although having said that, a visiting fox decided the old chicken bones (left over from my recent peri-peri chicken) were better than the dog food.

  Much of my afternoon was boring, and I felt bored into the evening. Maybe bored is not totally an accurate description, but it is close enough for now. To add to that I started to feel quite chilly despite having the heater on. I first turned the heater up, and then decided I wanted hot food. I ended up having two small ready meals, and I washed them down with a large glass of whisky. That warmed me up, but I didn't feel much like going out after that.

  It was still early, and I could easily have rested for 90 minutes before going out to Chain's gig at The Elm Tree in Elmers End, but it was not due to start until 9.30pm. If I had left by 7pm to get to a gig starting at 8pm I may have been OK, but leaving home at 9pm seemed absurd, and so I just couldn't be bothered to go out. I stayed in watching TV, and it was just as pleasant as going out.  I didn't turn off the TV until midnight, and then I read in bed for the next 45 minutes.

  It is hard to say whether I slept OK or not. I woke up too early, and so that was one argument against sleeping well. The other argument is more persuasive. I feel terrible this morning - or at least I did, but it is not so bad now. I had all sorts of aches and pains at first. My neck and shoulders, mostly, but not exclusively my right shoulder, felt really stiff and sore. Even the muscles at the top of my left arm felt sore. All that combined with my chest playing us did feel a bit like classic heart attack symptoms. I am mostly sure it is not that, but there is always some doubt at the back of my mind. Some paracetamol has calmed things down a bit, and that tends to suggest it is nothing serious.

  My neck still feels very stiff, and slightly sore now, but that has now been joined by a strong feeling of hunger. I am now torn between having some breakfast and going back to bed. Today could be another boring day unless I can force myself to find some amusements. I did have an arrangement to see Sue today after she cancelled yesterday, but at 6am she sent me a message calling it off again. She did suggest that we could meet at Chain's gig in Orpington tonight, and said I might go, but that I probably wouldn't. It is a local gig as far as Sue is concerned, but for me it is a pain in the arse to get to because there are no direct trains to Orpington at the weekend, and the venue is still a bus ride away from the station.

  My trail camera captured some interesting video in the last 24 hours. My fox came out of the earth during daylight in the morning, and had a sniff at the food I had out out. It took one grab at it, but I think something spooked it, and it dived back into it's earth again. It wasn't until it had got dark in the early evening that it appeared again - but not for long. It made another grab for the food, and picked up the whole lightweight disposable plate, and dived back into it's earth again. Until I saw the captured video I wondered where the plate had gone. I doubt it will be seen again until some archaeologist digs up the gardens in a 1000 years time. Later in the night another fox appeared from somewhere. This one is bigger and healthy. I will assume that from it's size it is a dog fox, and that my fox must be a vixen. It did try and enter the earth, but was presumably repelled before it had gone even a third of the way in. It initially shunned the 99p shop dog food, but happily tucked into old chicken bones.

Friday 18th January 2019
09:46 GMT

  The forecast predicted sunny intervals, but what I saw was sunshine, and lots of it. Thanks to the generally clear sky, there was even quite a bit of light for a while after sunset. The penalty for that was that the temperature fell from an afternoon high of 5° C to just below zero by midnight, or maybe a little while after.
a frosty start, and a cold day to follow
  As I write this the sky is sort of misty, and the sunshine is rather diffused, but at least it is nice and bright - for now. If the weather proceeds as forecast it will soon cloud over, and we'll lose any hint of the sun. There is a very small chance of rain at any time before 10pm tonight when rain seems to be a definite thing. The afternoon high is predicted to be 6° C, but by the time the rain starts it will be just 4° C, and were a degree or two low that rain could fall as snow. Tomorrow is going to be a cold day with the temperature being just 4° C for almost the whole day. A few hours in the afternoon may see 5° C. The chance of rain for most of the day is higher than today, but a splash of rain is currently only forecast for 6am tomorrow morning.

  My day, yesterday, was essentially split into just two events. The first was getting shopping in Tesco. I bought a wide variety of food that included some fruit, a couple of ready meals, and some dog food ! The dog food was to feed the fox. The fruit was a bag of "easy peelers" oranges, and they obeyed the rules for small oranges. Maybe it is just me, but every time I have these little oranges I pull three out the bag at random. The first two always taste nice and orange like. The third one always tastes completely different, and usually mildly unpleasant.

  The second event yesterday was going for my late Thursday afternoon drink. It was nice to walk to the station in the sunshine even if it was bloody cold ! It was nice to walk from the station to the pub in daylight - there was still a bit of sunshine, but not on the side of the hill that the pub is on. It was nice to sit in the pub with a pint of beer with it still being daylight. By the time I had finished my first pint it was dark, but it was a good start, and a sort of reminder that it won't be more than a couple of months and I will probably be going home again in daylight.

  I don't think there were any excellent beers last night, but the two I tried were both nice, although the second pint did leave a bit of a slightly bitter after taste. My third and final pint was the same as the first.  After my three pints I headed back to the station to catch the 18:45 train home again. I was particularly keen to get home to try the peri-peri chicken I had bought as part of the takeaway I ordered on Wednesday night. It might have been better if I had chosen the extra hot option when ordering it, but it was still very nice. It didn't seem too greasy, and I think a lot of it was skinless. That meant it wasn't a huge departure from my attempts to eat more healthily. What completely ruined that was the potato wedges I had with the chicken !

  After eating I mostly read before getting to sleep earlier than recently. I was particularly keen to go to sleep because I was eager for morning to come to see what I had captured on my train camera during the day, and during the night. I was asleep not all that long after 10pm if I recall correctly, and although my sleep was not perfect, it wasn't that bad. Only once, possibly at about 4am, and after getting up to go to the toilet, did I feel uncomfortable when I got back in bed. I think I narrowly avoided crunching my chest when turning over. I stopped just in time to cause some short lived aggravation that soon faded away.

  I slept until it was light, and then wearing only lounge pants I went out to bring the trail camera in, and take out the memory card to transfer the files to my PC, and inspect what it captured. I was not disappointed. I did a bit of rough and ready video editing, and while the video editor was rendering the edit to the output file I went and took the camera outside again, and then put another plate of dog food out. It was stunning cold out in the garden with no shirt on ! I don't know why I didn't put a short on, or even put the old decrepit fleece on the I have used a few times when gardening. I guess it was because I didn't think I would be outside for more than a few seconds.

  The fox came out several times after dark, but it seemed very nervous, and the first time it didn't touch the food. There is a very good reason for it to be nervous. With it's injured front leg, or paw, it is essentially trapped in my garden unless there is another exit from it's earth. The second time it came out it did a lot of sniffing and looking around before grabbing a mouthful of food, and then taking it back underground to eat. Several ours passed before it appeared again. This time it took less time to go for the food, and it grabbed a very large chunk to eat underground. That is the first section of my video. The second section is once again a few hours later, and having some good food seems to have made a big difference. It is still nervous, as most foxes are, but it is bold enough to move around a bit more, and I chose a segment of video where it almost does a close up on the camera.

 Once again there could be two main events for me. Provided I can get through to confirm our earlier plans, I will be going to meet Sue in Orpington for a lunchtime drink. I hope she will be bringing my purple courier bag that has been at her place since last October now.  It will be nice to get that back, and even nicer to get back the camera that is in the bag. Assuming I don't end up drinking too much, and fall asleep for the rest of the afternoon, and wake up with a hangover in the early evening, I should be going to see Chain play in The Elm Tree in Elmers End. It's an easy pub to get to by train, but I don't like the place. It is frequently far too full for my liking, and I hate the bouncers on the door.  I also hate that gigs there start really late, and go on until midnight (and sometimes beyond). I intend to only stay for the first set, and perhaps not even that long if I feel I have take some good photos.
Thursday 17th January 2019
10:24 GMT

  It was dull, gloomy and wet yesterday. The predicted temperature of 10° C was probably never reached - the highest I saw on my thermometers was almost 9° C, and not much more than 7° C seemed to be more typical. During daylight hours there was not that much rain, but just as the sun was setting it seemed like a strong wind blew up for a while, and the rain was quite noisy as it hit the window.
a brighter, but colder day
  The very heaviest rain seemed to be at about 3am this morning. My trail camera picked up the fox in my garden just coming part way out of the hole under the fence, and it was like filming through a thick fog ! As I type this the sky is almost clear of clouds, and we are having a very prolonged sunny interval. It looks like it could last for hours. The sunshine seems wonderful after the gloomy day we had yesterday, but the catch is that it is going to be a very cold day. The highest temperature is predicted to be just 5° C, and by 10pm it will be down to just 1° C (which apparently will feel like -2° C !  Tomorrow may not be as sunny as today seems to be, but it will be a couple of degrees less cold. Late in the evening there could be rain, and with the surface temperature just 4° C, I would not be surprised to see some sleet mixed with the rain.

  I don't know why, but I felt very uninspired and mildly depressed yesterday. That would have consequences later. Yesterday morning I suggested that I would do some "housework" on my PC, and I did. I also suggested I might do some housework around the house, but that never happened. The "housework" on my PC was to go through all my pictures and deleting some duplicate folders, and renaming some folders to give a better idea of the pictures inside that folder. It was doing something similar that caused many duplicates when I did a back up - the backup software was set to add picture in either direction - from the PC to back up disk, and vice versa. So it copied back the original folder names from the back up disk to the PC. To prevent that happening I have designated my back up disk as an archive disk, and edited that directly. It now hold my entire photo collection in what I hope is sensible folders. During the night, and it is still going now, I copied everything from the archive disk to another portable hard drive that I have labelled archive 2.

  It seems that weeding out duplicate folders and files, and renaming some folders, took up most of my time up to about 6pm last night. I had eaten a bit of this and a bit of that during the day, but nothing that you could call a meal. By 6pm I was feeling sort of edgy, and I didn't fancy the idea of another salad despite having a fridge full of salad ingredients. I don't think it being a cold feeling gloomy day helped either. It rather undid a week of careful(ish) eating, but I ordered a takeaway last night, and I indulged myself in a rather nice large cod and small chips. I also ordered some peri peri chicken to make up the minimum price for delivery. I haven't inspected that chicken, but I am hoping it is possibly skinless, and not too oily.

  In the evening I watched a couple of hours of TV, and then retired to bed to read. I have no idea what time I fell asleep - I'm tempted to think it was before midnight, but maybe it wasn't. What I am more sure about is that I managed to sleep fairly well last night. I woke once or twice for a pee, and then woke up around 6am. I took my morning pills then, but it seemed too early to get up. It was still at least a full hour until even the first hints of the coming dawn. So I got back in bed. It was one of those occasions where it seemed I wouldn't get back to sleep, and then it was bright daylight, and after 9am !

  One of the first things I did was to go and inspect my trail camera to see what pictures and video it might have taken during the day, and through the night. I was also obviously interested to check it had survived the heavy rain. It is rated to IP66 which I think only makes it splash proof, but I guess that just means you can't use it underwater. It seemed absolutely fine after the heavy rain in the night. I was a little surprised at how little it had taken. Something triggered it in the middle of yesterday afternoon, but there was no pictures or video to show what it was - maybe something like a bird flew through it's field of view, and it was so fast it was out of the picture in the half a second that the camera takes to wake up.

  It did capture two videos of the fox. One was at about 3am, but the video is useless. There must have been very heavy rain, and it was like looking through thick fog. The other video was surprisingly early in the evening - only a little bit after sunset, and when there was still a faint bit of light in the sky. It shows the fox just out of the hole, and apparently eating grass or leaves. With it's injury to its leg or paw it can't be easy hunting anything. One of my tasks today is to go out and buy some cheap dog food that I'll put out for it. Hopefully that it will help it rest that leg, and it should recover a bit faster.

  I have now set the trail camera to take a 3 minute video when it is triggered. That seems far more sensible that the default 10 seconds. It also takes a sequence of three pictures as soon as it is triggered, but it feel like I may as well just set it to video only in future. The still might be useful if I wanted to count how many different animals there were going down a trail. That might be useful if I was a hunter or something, but I just want to keep an eye on the fox that has it's front door in my garden. What I really hoped for, before I realised the fox was injured, was that the hole under the fence had been cleared out for a mummy fox and her new cubs. I was hoping that sometime later in the spring I might get some pictures/video of the cubs playing in the garden, but I have doubts that will be happening now.

   I have a few definite plans for today. Sooner or later I must go to Tesco to buy some dog food, and probably some human food too. Later in the afternoon I will be going for my regular early evening Thursday beer. If the cloud remains thin enough for it to stay bright I reckon I will arrive at the pub before it gets completely dark. That will be the first time since the days were growing very short back in December, or even last November. If it happens it will be a reason to feel good - I hope. It will still be a long wait until I can go home in daylight though. At least tonight I will have peri peri chicken to look forward to. I hope the restaurant I ordered it from did a good job when cooking it.
Wednesday 16th January 2019
08:26 GMT

  The weather was nothing to get excited about yesterday. It was cold and grey. The afternoon temperature may have reached the forecast 10° C, but it seemed to feel much colder than that. Maybe it was just the wind chilling when I was out, and something unexplainable when I was indoors.
a rather damp day
  The forecast says it is going to rain today, but not until 1pm. In reality it is wet outside now. It may have only been a very light sprinkle of rain, but it made the road and pavement look damp. The temperature should be similar to yesterday, but for some reason it doesn't feel quite so chilly at the moment. It seems like there is an insanely improbable chance of a few rays of sunshine just before the sun sets at 16:22 today. That should set the tone of tomorrow. The latest revision to the forecast says tomorrow will have sunny intervals from late morning until sunset, but it is going to be a very chilly day with a maximum temperature of just 5° C.

  Yesterday was an interesting, and partly enjoyable day. Two pieces of news came through that threatened to cause some consternation, but ultimately didn't. The first news was that Angela was back at work, but suffering headaches after her fall on Sunday night. Considering that she had a black eye after apparently hitting her face on the glass of water she was carrying, I feared that the headaches may have been a symptom of something potentially serious. I strongly suggested that she walk the 5 minutes from her office to A&E, and get it checked out.

  The second bit of news was that my new trail camera was due to be delivered yesterday. Parcels from Amazon typically arrive between 2 and 4pm, and if I met Angela at 1pm I would not get home to something closer to 2.30pm - potentially after the courier has arrived and got no answer at my front door. The most excellent news was that I was totally surprised when the parcel arrive at about midday, before I went out. That meant I wouldn't be in any pressure to rush home after a drink with Angela, and I also had time to set the trail camera up. I read a bare few paragraphs of the manual, just enough to get started, and left it in the garden while I was out.
trail camera watching my
  The camera has both passive infra red and motion triggering. My very quick set up was all wrong...well not wrong, but I hadn't selected the best options. For instance the maximum camera resolution is 12 megapixels, but it is only a 5 megapixel sensor, and so the 12 MP option is, in effect, just a poorly enlarged view of the native resolution of the sensor. The other thing was that the default video time was just 10 seconds. I later set it to 30 seconds, and even that seems a bit short. Even with less than ideal settings it still took an interesting picture.
local siamese cat
  Had the video been set to record for longer I might gave captured a more interesting clip of this local Siamese cat exploring my garden. This is the same cat I have seen go right down into the foxes earth, and later come out head first. I have no idea if the fox was in at the time, and what may have happened if they met face to face !

  While the trail camera was busy watching out for movement in my garden, I took a walk to meet Angela in the pub. She had decided not to go to A&E, or if she did she may have conformed her suspicion that the waiting time could have been very long. Her black eye was not a big shiner, like she had been punched in the eye, but was just along the side of the eye by her nose. It was partly hidden by her glasses, but when she took them off for a better look it did look pretty bad, and must have been very painful. I don't think she remembered the initial pain because she was concussed, and in shock.

  Angela told me that she had been feeling mostly OK since her earlier message when she complained of a headache. She certainly never complained about anything while I was with her. It was wonderful to see her. I could almost kid myself that we are moving closer to each other again. I think we will start meeting more frequently again, although maybe no more frequently than once a fortnight, or something like that.

  All too soon it was time for Angela to go back to work. I must have been drinking very slowly or something because I still had half a pint left from my second pint of Guinness when Angela had to go, and so I couldn't walk her back to work. We still had a nice hugging goodbye in the pub though. Once I finished my Guinness I walked home via the park. I had only come out in a light jacket, and on the return journey it felt bloody cold in the park. It was as if the temperature had dipped by a good few degrees since I had gone out.

  By the time I got home I was feeling really chilled, and I decided that I needed hot soup rather than the salad I though I would be having earlier. I had two cans of soup, and that did warm me up a bit, but I still left the heater on full blast while I checked the trail camera memory card, and when I lay on my bed for a snooze. Eventually I warmed up, and turned the heat down a bit for a while. I didn't really do anything of note for the rest of the day except for make a call to Sue. I have made a tentative arrangement to meet her for a lunchtime pint on Friday, and I hope she will bring me the courier bag that I left at her place last October.

  The snooze I had in the middle of the afternoon, although fairly short, probably made getting to sleep a bit harder last night. Two other things contributed to my difficulty in getting to sleep, and both were a form of excitement. I was excited about the prospect of finding some interesting video on my trail camera  this morning, and I had got to an exciting part of the book I am reading. I rather lost track of time while reading, but I think I was fast asleep before 1am this morning. I woke up twice in the night to go to the toilet, but each time I seemed to get back to sleep again with no difficulty.

  I woke up just as the first pre-dawn light was beginning to show.  By the time I had been to the toilet, taken my pills, taken a screenshot of the weather forecast, and checked my email and stuff, it was fully dawn - even if the thick cloud made it rather a dull dawn. I then went out to retrieve the trail camera, and take out the memory card to see what was on it. I wasn't disappointed - there was some footage of the fox who I believe accesses his or her earth under next doors garden via the hole under my side of the fence.

  The quality of the picture using infra red illumination was not bad, but I wish I had set the video recording time to 2 or even 5 minutes. I was saddened to see that the fox seems to have an injured paw or leg. Fortunately it still seems very mobile, and looks to be well fed. I'll be making some changes to the settings of the camera later, and I'll see what it records during today, and probably more interestingly, tonight.

  This morning I don't feel quite as sleepy as yesterday morning, and maybe I even feel a bit physically better. Even my chest feels less tender than recently, although these days it seems to be balanced on a knife edge, it it takes so little to trigger it off. I am keeping my fingers crossed that it will improve a lot in the warm sunny days of summer - maybe even late spring of it's sunny. I now face a dilemma choosing what I might do today. It is gloomy outside, and sooner or later it is going to be more wet than the brief sprinkle of misty rain we have already had. I think this dictates that I will probably be staying in today.

  One exception to staying in might be to saw up a log or two in the garden. I think I want to avoid too much time spent laying on my bed reading or dozing off - although I must admit that apart from some assorted negative effects of doing that, it does seem quite appealing. What I think I might do more of today is overdue housework. That might include some housework on my PC. I need to take some backups, and before I do that I need to go through my picture files to weed out some duplicates (Once upon a time I renamed some directories to more logical and informative names. Upon doing a back up, the back up process restored the old names as well as backing up the new names. The directory worst affected was that of 2011, and I think every directory in that year is duplicated. It will be a slightly tedious job straightening it all out, and there is always the worry about accidently deleting something I want to keep, but it is a job that has to be done. Maybe today will be the day for that job...or maybe not. I'll just make it all up as I go along.
Tuesday 15th January 2019
08:39 GMT

  The weather forecast for yesterday didn't mention sunshine. The morning was bright with the sun trying to squeeze through some thin areas of cloud, and then in the afternoon the sun finally broke through and we had a few short sunny periods. They didn't last long, and then it seemed like an act of spite when the clouds really thickened up again to make the rest of the afternoon really dull. At it didn't rain at any time yesterday, and the afternoon temperature was 9° C.
one degree warmer than yesterday
  The forecast weather for today improves on yesterday by just one very minor difference, and is worse in several ways. First the good bit - it should be whole degree higher than yesterday. The predicted high will be 10° C. The bad bits are the rather cool feeling start (but that might just be me), and that it is very dull right now, and it looks like that won't change. For a short while around sunset the chance of rain goes up to 5%. By 8pm the cloud is supposed to really thicken up, but it won't be until after midnight that the chance of rain rises a lot. Tomorrow should see similar temperature to today, but the cloud will probably stay very thick all day. As the morning progresses the chances of rain rise higher and higher. Finally rain is forecast from about 1pm onwards.

  Yesterday was a day when I wanted to do stuff. I think there were probably three reasons for it. For one thing I seemed to be feeling relatively OK. All the usual aches and pains and stiffness were there, but maybe at an ignorable level. The morning being brighter than the forecast seemed to suggest was probably a second reason. Finally there was not getting to see Angela. That was a disappointment, but maybe with hindsight it spurred me on to be busy, and distract me from that disappointment.

  I did have some fantasies where I got the hoover out, but that didn't happen, although maybe it might happen today - particularly if Angela does not go back to work today, or if after taking two days sick, she is snowed under with work and can't meet me this lunchtime. While I didn't get the hoover out, I did do quite a lot of other clearing up. I emptied a few rubbish bins, and I cleared up the kitchen. I even washed a small bit of the kitchen floor ! The reason for that was that I had a spillage when gathering up all the food waste to take out to the food recycling bin. I have to confess that some of it was getting quite smelly, and I couldn't have put it off any longer even if I had been feeling really rough.

  With the kitchen clean(er) I put on my coat, grabbed my special rucksack, and took a walk to Aldi. I bought just one ready meal in there for the next time I do any serious boozing. Most of the rest that I bought was stuff for salads. One unusual buy was a 2 litre bottle of sugar free Irn Bru. It is not something I drink very often, but I do enjoy an occasional can of it. At the moment Aldi have the 2 lire bottles on promotion at 99p a bottle. I feel I ought to buy a few spare bottles while it is still at that price. If kept cool they should last many months. The single bottle I did buy says best before June 2019, and I reckon it will still be OK another month or two beyond that if I really wanted to push it, but I expect I would drink any bottles I bought within a few weeks, or a month at the longest.

  I think it was before I went to Aldi that I was thinking about buying some plastic containers to make storing salad ingredients in the fridge a bit tidier. I gave myself half an hour to get my breath back, and then went out again to the 99p shop. They are possibly the cheapest place to buy nasty plastic containers. They are nasty in the sense that they seem to end up with colours that do not seem to please the western eye. Not many of us want to store food in a container with a slime green lid, or lid the colour of decaying leaves. Fortunately I didn't want, or couldn't use the lids because the containers had too much in them to put the lid on. For the moment I have kept the lids on one side, but if the experiment works out OK I'll put them in the recycling bin.
closed down Poundland in
                      Catford Mews
  Before going in the 99p shop I went to my bank to draw out some cash. That meant walking past Poundland, and I was going to pop in there just for one item - or specifically 4 lots of the same item - extra power AA batteries. I wanted them for the "trail camera" that should be arriving soon, and that I want to use to see the comings and goings of the wildlife in my garden - mainly after dark. I had heard that Poundland was closing, and even that they had a closing down sale, but I hadn't realised it had happened already. The picture shows what was my favourite Poundland in the Catford Mews shopping precinct.
Poundland on the high
  Fortunately the Poundland shop on the high street is still there and open. Despite the wider frontage it is not as deep, and generally feels much smaller than the closed store, and seems to have less in it. I walked home the long way round from the 99p shop, and popped into this Poundland to buy my 4 packs of "Xtra Life" Kodak branded AA batteries. I use them in my flash gun, and they do indeed seem to have "extra life".
nice smelling candle
 While I was in the SAM 99p shop (to give it it's full title) I couldn't just buy a few plastic containers. I had a good look around to see what was new, and first of all I found some big scented candles. I ended up buying 4 of them. Three of them were like the one in the picture, and they are all made with 50 to 60% American parts. Maybe they have all be sold off cheaply to the 99p shops because the distributors got too embarrassed by the blatant Trumpism of the label.

  This Hazelnut Cream scented candle does smell rather nice. It reminds me more of butterscotch flavoured Instant Whip (or Dream Delight). The other two are fruit scented, and are possibly not going to be as nice. The fourth candle was by a different manufacturer, and was alleged to be lavender scented, but it didn't have any lavender in it that I could detect. It did have a faint stale perfume hint to it, but mostly it just smelled like a faulty gas boiler with a dangerous smoky flame. After lighting it I put it out again after 30 minutes, and I think I will throw it away (although I may try and separate the glass jar from the wax if I can).

 Another new thing in the 99p shop was rice cakes. They are obviously meant to be posh rice cakes because they are smaller than most I buy, and have added seeds. At two for 99p they seem a very good buy, but they do have one unfortunate attribute. Compared to most rice cakes they are incredibly brittle, and one bite can almost shatter them. It makes for very messy eating ! They also have a stronger, more intrusive flavour than most rice cakes. For some that might be good, but not me. Nevertheless, I will probably be back at the 99p shop soon, and I'll stock up on more of them - they do have a very long shelf life. I'll also be buying a few more Hazlenut Cream candles while they still have them. Maybe some more of the other flavours too, but I'll have to test them first.

  The final productive thing I did yesterday was to wash a medium sized bath towel. With that done, and hung up to dry I could relax and put my feet up. I could also have done the hoovering, but I didn't ! I did do some more CD ripping to add to my growing third playlist in my pseudo radio series that I listen to in preference to broadcast or internet radio. My relaxation was later disturbed by a call from Lee that was shorter than some, but still rather long. Amongst other things he urged me to call Sue.

  Sue is on hard times with some of her benefits stopped, and while I had been mostly trying to ignore her since last October when I felt I wanted to walk out of the pub - not because of her, but because of one of her so called friends - I do feel sorry for her. Prior to my last job I went through a period on the dole where I was so skint I had to borrow money just to get to work on the first day, and it was a huge relief when my first pay came through, and I could pay off my ever rising bank charges - charges that were starting to exceed my dole money !

  I would like to help her, but my financial situation, while fairly healthy, is too delicately balanced while I wait for the additional income I should get when I attain state pension age in another couple of years. In the meantime she can't understand why I haven't picked up the bag I left at her place, with an expensive camera in it, back last October. To be honest I am not sure why I haven't done it. Much of it is laziness. I have asked Lee, who is a frequent visitor to Sue's place, to pick it up for me, but if I understand correctly, she won't let him take it. It looks like someday soon I will have to meet her somewhere, and it could even be tomorrow for a lunchtime drink, but no arrangements have been made yet.

  My call to Sue when on for quite a long time, and then her phone mysteriously cut out. I suspect the battery went flat on it. I'll try and call her later today to try and make arrangements for meeting her. Her phone cut out just before midnight, and I was going to go straight to bed, but then another complication arose. The brand new, daylight white, bright LED bulb I had fitted in the bathroom decided to fail not much more than a week after I fitted it. It was pitch black in there, and while I could have brushed my teeth by torchlight, I decided I would fit a new bulb - and by new I mean the old bulb I had taken out to fit the new bulb. With light restored I brushed my teeth and went to bed - only to end up reading until almost 1am !

  I did get to sleep soon after that, and on the whole I slept well. I even woke up, and half got up at about the sort of time I aim for - at the moment. The aim is to get up at daybreak. That is still quite late at the moment, but things are improving slowly now. Sunrise was at 7:59am this morning. I do feel a bit tired this morning, but apart from one other minor malady, I feel basically OK. That minor malady could have been the result of eating some smoked mackerel that was some way past it's use by date. I gave a good microwaving to exterminate any bugs, but maybe there was some toxin on it. All but one mouthful tasted perfectly OK, and the one that didn't only had a hint of the flavour of something nasty. I think it was possibly a bit of onion skin rather than the fish (I had the mackerel with a newly invented red salad - rad cabbage and red onion).

 A little while after eating that fish my tummy felt a bit odd - sort of a bit gurgly, but no more. This morning I went to the toilet once, and that seemed normal. Maybe an hour later I went again, and that was sort of normal, but extensive. Literally one minute later I was back on the toilet again, and while it wasn't very dramatic, I do feel sort of empty now. My plans for today have gone up the creek again. Angela made it into work today, but she says she has bad headaches. The reson for going sick yesterday was another fall. That time it was going upstairs to bed carrying a glass of water. She somehow tripped going up the stairs - which was far better than tripping downstairs, but it seems her head came down on the glass, and she initially ended up with a very black eye. Now she has bad headaches. I have told her to go straight to A&E to get herself checked for damage (she works in the hospital, and so A&E is just a few minutes walk away).

  I hope she is OK, and have asked her to let me now how she gets on. I suggested that is she decided to go home after being checked that maybe we could meet in Catford, and she could rest her eyes in the subdued lighting of The Black Cat. The only fly in the ointment is that I have just had an email to say my trail camera is being delivered today. Typically it will arrive between 2pm and 4pm. That could make popping out to see Angela rather tricky. Hopefully it will all work out OK one way or another.
Monday 14th January 2019
08:33 GMT

  After an early splash or rain, and a really deep grey morning, to my great surprise, the sun finally broke through the clouds yesterday. It happened in the afternoon, and by sunset the cloud seemed very thin and broken up. It gave a rather glorious sunset. The late afternoon temperature was 12° C, but it still felt a bit cool when I went to the corner shop.
colourful sunset
This was what last night's sunset looked like.
not a warm day, but a brighter start than
  It is not going to be a warm day today. The afternoon temperature will only be 9° C. Contrary to how it looks in the forecast, it is actually quite bright this morning, and it looks like the sun could come out once it rises above the roofs of the houses to the east. The chance of rain is forecast to rise to 9% as sunset approaches, and I guess we could see a bit of rain if we are unlucky. It looks like it could be a very cool night, but tomorrow could be a degree less cool than today with the temperature peaking at 10° C. Unfortunately it is probably going to be another very cloudy day. By the end of this week we could see the temperature drop low enough that sleet or snow becomes a distinct possibility.

  My main pre-occupation yesterday was to go through all the pictures I took at Chain's gig on Saturday night. I had actually taken less pictures than I would usually take, but still managed to select enough decent snaps to make up a photo album that was very well received on social media. I also shot four video clips on Saturday night. One I may, or may not use because it is of a guest singer. I decided that rather than use the other three individually, I would edit a minute of each together to make a sort of medley video.

  I had probably finished all my photography/video tasks by late afternoon, and from then on I didn't have much to do, and although I did practically nothing of any special note, it seemed to take all my time to do it. One such time filling non-job was to go through and rip more of my CDs to mp3 files to add to my "pseudo radio 3" playlist. Maybe I should describe is "3rd pseudo radio playlist" because it has nothing to do with the BBC radio station "Radio 3".

  I did my best not to eat too much during the day yesterday, but obviously failed. I mentioned yesterday that I was going to have some bacon. I didn't mention that it was a whole (small)pack of bacon I ate because I noticed it was well past it's use by date. I was going to have a steak, but that too was well past it's use by date, and unlike the bacon, it was starting to smell a bit gamey when  opened the sealed pack it was in. I put it outside in the back garden for the fox to eat, but this morning it is still untouched. Have I really got foxes living in my back garden ? Maybe I will find out more when a "trail camera" I have ordered turns up -probably later this week. It has a motion sensor and can take video and still pictures using infra red lights if needed after dark.

  Not only did I eat that bacon, but I also had some rice cakes with cheese and onion on them. I was a little bit sparing with the cheese, but they were still delicious. The only drawback was the lingering taste of the onion all afternoon. When evening came around I found myself wanting something more substantial than a salad. Maybe it was because it was a Sunday evening, and like most Sunday evenings, I was a bit bored. I decided that what I wanted was a kebab, and with some supporting bits and pieces to meet the minimum delivery charge, I ordered a takeaway. Most of what I ate was grilled skinless chicken, and salad (including more raw onion !). So the whole things wasn't a complete disaster - maybe just a minor one.

  Last night was another night when I intended to have an early(ish) night, but totally failed to do so. I was in bed reading a magazine fairly early, but somehow I failed to feel sleepy. I also felt slightly uncomfortable after turning out the light, and turning on my side. Apart from the usual too hot/too cool feelings, I also managed to somehow end up with my right hand going numb. I guess I kinked the nerves around my elbow when laying on it or something. It was around 1am this morning when I finally fell asleep, at least I think it was then, but it might have been later still.

  Once I got to sleep I seemed to sleep well. I only remember waking up for a pee once in the night, but I did wake up sooner than I would have liked this morning. I was awoken by two distant booms that sounded like two peals of thunder, or two explosions from far away, or more realistically, two car doors being slammed. It is possible I just dreamed the noises because by the time I was awake enough to look and listen for more clues there was nothing to see or hear.

  I must admit that I do feel rather sleepy at the moment, and later it will be difficult to turn down the opportunity for a snooze. Other than that I seem to feel fairly OK. My chest feels a bit delicate, but that is nothing new. The rest of me feels in tolerable condition, but I do feel a little sad. I was hoping to see Angela today. She had originally suggested meeting at lunchtime today so I could give her a memory stick with the videos I had taken of her daughter Miranda fronting Back To The Fray some weeks ago now. They are high resolution videos that look good on my 40" TV, and should look good on Angela's 50" TV. Unfortunately Angela is not feeling well today, and won't be going to work.

  I now have no particular plans for today. If against all odds it should stay sunny, like it is as I write this, I ought to do something outdoors despite it being rather cool out there. However, I am sure I can find plenty of things to do around the house. Maybe I ought to do some housework. I guess the living room could do with a hoover, and it wouldn't be a bad idea to hoover the hall and stairs too if I get the hoover out. I think maybe I need to find something to distract me from housework !!!
Sunday 13th January 2019
09:35 GMT

  Yesterday's weather forecast turned out to be about right, although I don't think it really conveyed just how gloomy a lot of the day would be. There was a brief period of light rain sometime in the late morning, or early afternoon that was not in the forecast as such, but was a very vague 7 to 9% chance of "precipitation" stated from late morning to mid afternoon. In the evening the forecast drizzle did fall, but it was very patchy, and certainly didn't fall non stop from 8pm to 10pm as the forecast predicted. The only good thing about yesterday was that it was 10° C for most of the day.
grey and almost warm
   Today should be 2° better than yesterday with an almost, but not really, warm 12° C ! Unfortunately it is going to be another very dull day. At the moment there is a bit of light rain blowing about on the breeze, and it is so dull I have to turn the lights on to do anything. The rain should dry up soon, and then it might get a bit lighter outside. The temperature will fall tonight, and tomorrow is going to be a bit cooler with an expected high of just 9° C. It will probably be another grey day with a small, 6 to 7%, chance of rain in the middle of the day.

  Yesterday was another day where I did a few odd jobs to keep myself amused while I waited for more exciting things in the evening. Hand washing a couple of pillow cases, plus a fitted sheet, was one such job. I wasn't not feeling all that good before I started, and I expected it to be a real slog of a job, but once again it didn't seem to be terribly taxing, and I hardly even worked up a sweat. I think I have now fully convinced myself that much of my feeling bad is just the result of inactivity, and that had I still been going to work everyday I would probably be feeling far better. Whether I learn any lessons from this remains to be seen. The chances are that I will just stick to the seasons, and aim to be super active (somehow) in the summer.

  Another thing that passed a fair bit of time yesterday was ripping more CDs. I decided to go through some of my old CDs, and try to see if I could remember any song from some of the less used CDs. In at least one instance I surprised myself when I looked at the track listing on the Metallica "Garage Days" double CD. It is all, or nearly all covers of songs, and I don't think I realised there are so many good songs on there. It is also surprising that Metallica, while still adding their own stamp on the songs, do cover them quite sympathetically, and don't attempt them as out and out thrash metal.

  A little bit of this, and a little bit of that slowly took me to early evening, and time to go out. About the only thing I didn't do was to snooze. I did try a couple of times, but I just could not get comfortable. I decided to blame it on the memory foam pillow suffering from amnesia. Before I went out I grabbed a couple of ordinary pillows, stuffed them into clean pillow cases, and left them on my bed. Then I grabbed my camera bag, and went out to meet Michael, my neighbour from near the corner shop, to take the bus to Greenwich.

  I sent a text to Michael saying I would meet him by the corner shop at 7:20pm, but he suggested meeting at the bus stop might be better. So I replied that I would see him at the bus stop at 7:26pm. He replied that 7:28pm would be better. I think he was just being funny. I left home just 1 minute late, and caught up with him not far past the corner shop, and we walked to the bus stop together. I estimate that we got to the bus stop at 7.28pm - and missed a bus by just 1 minute ! He suggested we should get the next bus into Lewisham where we could change buses to any of the two routes that go to Greenwich. It turned out to be a good idea, and we probably shaved 5 minutes off the total journey time.

  One surprise when we got to the pub was how expensive their drinks are - particularly lager. I ordered my usual Guinness plus a pint of lager for Michael, and handed over a £10 note to pay for it. I was taken aback a bit when asked for another 40p ! That lager was nearly £5.50 a pint - outrageous !! Despite that I think I bought about three rounds, and Michael may have bought 3 himself. I felt almost sober at the end despite possibly drinking 6 pints of Guinness !

  There was a good feeling in the pub as Chain played their first set, and I felt encouraged to stay beyond their first set. It was in their second set that the drunks started appearing, a bit later than usual, and they spoil it for me as they go lurching around, dancing, cluttering the place up, and almost falling over the monitor speakers. Not to mention invading the stage as if it were a karaoke night. Maybe 4 songs into Chain's second set I told Michael that I would be going home soon. He concurred with my thoughts and decided to call it a night too. We may not have seen it all, but we both very enjoyed what we did see. Hopefully I got a few good pics, and a bit of good video out of it. I've only had time to check a few photos so far, but it looks like there may be a few good, and a few medium good ones amongst the bad ones.
close up on Jo
One of those pictures that I am apparently famous for - capturing a specific look or mood. In this case, Jo with a big smile on her face. It is a shame the picture looks a bit wishy-washy. I could have turned up the contrast a bit, but I probably edited the picture with my eyes still half closed early this morning.
Another smile on Jo's face
Wide angle shot of the whole band - Geoff Paice on bass, John Sutcliffe on drums, Chris Mayer on electric guitar, and jo on electro-acoustic and another smile on her face.

 We were quite lucky when we got to the bus stop to go home. We probably waited less than 5 minutes before a 199 bus arrived to take us back to Catford. I was looking forward to some supper when I got home. I had eaten a salad much earlier in the day, but late in the afternoon I had a sausage and mash ready meal because I felt it would soak up the Guinness better than more salad would. What I had waiting for me when I got home was a chicken jambalaya ready meal. It is a sort cheap imitation American version of paella without any seafood or style.

  I had bought it specifically as a lure to keep me out of the fried chicken shop after the gig, although on this occasion I was saved by any temptation by the presence of Michael. I still ate that ready meal, and with a bit of chilli sauce on it, it went down a treat after that booze ! It wasn't all that long after eating that I went to bed. I didn't even get my camera out of it's bag to take a quick look at any of the photos I took before going to bed. As soon as I got into bed I knew that changing from the memory foam pillow to just a couple of old, beaten up, conventional pillows made all the difference. In a completely mysterious way they even made the sheet and duvet cover feel softer and more luxuriant. It wasn't long before I was fast asleep.

  At 3:16am I woke up needing a pee. Apart from needing that pee I felt rather good. The stiff neck I had been suffering from the last few mornings hadn't re-occured, and it made getting back to sleep so much easier. At 3:16am I woke up again needing another pee. It wasn't until I got back in bed that I realised something strange was going on. So I got out of bed again and inspected my PC. It was displaying the clock screensaver that it displays all night, or whenever it is idle. It turned out that my PC had frozen for some unknown reason, and that it was almost 5am.

  I restarted my PC, check my email, and made sure all appeared to be working OK, and then went back to bed. In my enthusiasm to get back to sleep, I jumped in and turned on my side far too quickly. My chest went crack, and I had my nasty chest pains for the rest of the time I was in bed. I had to take a couple of Ibuprofen to calm my chest down before I could get back to sleep. My chest is not actually aching now, but it does feel sort of tender, and on the edge. I am hoping some bacon will cure it....

  ....Yes, bacon ! I've just had my second breakfast. The first was some rice cakes with peanut butter on at about 6am this morning. I guess the grilled bacon, and some grilled baby plum tomatoes could be called brunch. Later on I shall revert to just salad, but depending on how things go I may try and hold out until this evening before having a salad. I think my next salad will have walnuts in it instead of meat or cheese, but it will be completely different to a Waldorf salad. It won't have any apple in it for one thing.

  My plans for today were very simple, but against all odds the sun has come out, and if it can stay out for a while I may feel the urge to go and frolic in the sunshine. Obviously my main task is to go through all the photos I took last night, and select and edit the best for a photo album. I also shot 4 videos last night, and I have quickly sampled them. I think I might end up doing something with all 4 videos. I'm just wondering if I should make a compilation video featuring a few minutes from each song. That would be one way of cutting out a few gaffs made during shooting.
Saturday 12th January 2019
09:02 GMT

  There were a couple of light splashes of rain yesterday, and there were a few occasions when it was fairly bright, but generally it was another rather cool, and dull day. I think the prediction of 8° C for a few hours in the afternoon was about right. The rest of the day, and well into the night, was probably the predicted 7° C.
not quite as cold today
   Today should be a little less cool than recently. Much of the day is forecast to be 10° C, but at the same time there is a risk of rain for most of the day. It is dry now, but very dull outside. It should brighten up later, but the forecast seems certain that there will be at least drizzle from 8pm for a few hours. Tomorrow morning, literally at 1am, is predicted to start warmer than today at 11° C. Then it seems the temperature will drop a degree, and the rest of the morning will be 10° C. From midday the temperature will slowly rise, and for a couple of hours after sunset the temperature may peak at a glorious 12° C !

  Once I was washed and dressed, which was later than I would have hoped for, I went out on my quest to buy a couple of spare fan heaters from Poundstretcher. They had two slightly different types, and lots of them, less than a week ago, but had completely sold out yesterday. Although they were a Pound or so more expensive, I had seen some in Tesco more recently, and so I went in there and grabbed a couple while they were still available. I don't need two, and at the moment I don't really need one of them, but these cheap Chinese heaters don't have very long lives, and after Brexit they may be a lot more expensive, and possibly not even available. It feel good to have two spares ready to use if one of my current heaters fails.

  While I was out I popped into the Sue Ryder charity shop for a rummage through their £1 CDs. I ended up buying 5 CDs from there. I don't think I would have paid more than £1 each for those CDs. They would not be my first choice for music, but three of them did have a track or two I could add to my "psuedo radio 3" mp3 "mixtape" that I am slowly putting together. Two of the CDs had no recognisable tracks on at all, but at least I knew of the two bands, and I knew that each had recorded at least one good song sometime during their career. I now await a good time to sit down and listen to those CDs to see if there is anything I recognise, or that grabs my attention.

  With hindsight I guess I wasn't feeling that bad yesterday. I still had a few aches here and there, and being out in the cold air triggered off a bit of coughing for a while. Fortunately it was not a hacking cough, but just an occasional one to cough up a frog in my throat. Aside from that I felt good enough to do not just one bit of hand laundry, but two lots ! First of all I washed a big hand towel. I am pretty certain it was one I brought with me when I moved her from mum's place back in 1983.

  I imagine I used that towel as a stop gap until I had bought more towels. Then at some point it became disused, and ended up in a plastic storage box along with another towel, and some other stuff. That towel lived in that box during my heaviest smoking days, and it was amazing how much smoke it had soaked up while sitting on a box that looks as if it could almost be air tight. I got it out because the cheapo hand towel I had been using recently was shedding so much fluff that I threw it away, and I thought the smoky towel might as well be used again - but not until I gave it a good wash.

  I gave it a wash in hot soapy water, and then, I think, 5 clean water rinses, and one rinse with fabric conditioner. After all that it is bright and clean, fairly soft and fluffy, and still has a slight hint of tobacco smoke about it. I started that wash late in the morning, and finished early in the afternoon. Later in the afternoon I did another bit of more ordinary laundry - a couple of t-shirts, some underwear and another small hand towel. Two lots of laundry seemed quite enough physical activity for one day !

  Following my discovery on Thursday that I could do up one of my trouser belts tighter than it had ever been done up before, and needed a new hole punched in it, I felt a bit of extra enthusiasm to continue eating little more than salads yesterday. I had salad for lunch and for dinner. It was in my lunch that I tried adding some raw mange tour for a bit of variety. It worked well, and gave some nice crunch as well as a nice flavour to an occasional mouthful.

  The lunchtime salad had chopped ham slices in it, but my evening salad was almost pure vegetable apart from very few cubes of feta cheese in it. They came from a Tesco "reduced price" pot of green and black olives with Feta cheese. For added crunch I included some red cabbage in with the salad. If I had added some sliced onion it might have turned out like a kebab shop salad. It was a very nice salad, and I enjoyed eating it, but it left a very "green" aftertaste in my mouth that I quickly got bored with. That was my downfall.

  To take away that taste I dug out the rice cakes, smeared horseradish sauce on them, and topped them with corned beef. I can't describe how wonderful they tasted. It was so wonderful that I went back and finished the little pack of 5 slices of corned beef. I expect that doubled, or trebled my fat intake for the entire day, but in the long run it probably doesn't ruin anything - just makes the long term results a bit slower coming in.

  I have to admit that yesterday evening was a bit boring. I could have gone out, but I didn't feel like it, and I thought I probably wouldn't like the gig that I could have got to easily if I had decided to go out. I thought an early night would be a good idea. I have a pile of fresh stuff to read, and reading in bed is my favourite way of reading, and more importantly I had changed the linen on my bed earlier in the day, and I was looking forward to getting into a freshly made bed.

  The only trouble was that I didn't get to bed early, and when I did go to bed I couldn't seem to get comfortable for yet another night. There were two main problems. My chest had been generally well behaved during the day, immediately played up as soon as I turned on my side - both sides. I had to be very careful about how I laid in bed to avoid inflaming my chest too much. The second problem was with my pillow. I think I accidently swapped it for the other memory foam pillow I have. For some reason it seemed to be just half an inch too high...or something like that.

  It may have been 1am before I finally fell asleep, but once I did get to sleep I probably got a fair amount of sleep - 2, or maybe 3 hours at a time. Against all expectations I even managed a small lie in once I had done my usual routine - take my pills, go to the toilet, and take a screenshot of the weather forecast. I feel mostly OK for the moment, but I wouldn't be surprised if I had a few long snoozes today.

  I haven't got a lot to do today anyway, so a snooze or two would help the day pass more quickly. Tonight I definitely want to go to Greenwich where Chain are playing in The Mitre pub. One thing I probably ought to do today, if I can raise the enthusiasm, is to get out into the garden and saw a few more manageable logs off the felled tree trunk. If I felt really enthusiastic I could also fill up the brown wheelie bin with more weeds and stuff, as well as small logs. One thing I will have to be wary of is disturbing Mrs Fox. I noticed yesterday that the entrance to the earth has more fresh soil outside it. The foxes are either clearing it out, or extending it further under next doors garden.
fresh soil outside fox
                      earth entrance
Friday 11th January 2019
08:54 GMT

  Yesterday was another very dull and depressing day. To make it worse it rained at least twice ! The forecast gave a percentage chance of rain for each hour, but didn't actually say it would rain at all, but it did. There was a short period of light rain sometime in the early afternoon, and similar short period of light rain when I left the pub to get the 18:25 train home from the pub. On top of everything else it was a rather cold day - just 5° C from midday until mid evening.
more grey cloud and some rain
   Today's forecast brings no joy. It says it will be very overcast, and it is. It also says there would be a splash of rain a bit earlier, and there was. The chance of further rain seems unlikely, and the temperature should rise to a slightly more comfortable 8° C, but it still looks to be a horrible day. Tomorrow may not be quite so heavily overcast, and the temperature could make 10° C, but there is a small chance of rain at any time. Sunday might be 12° C, and that might be pleasant if the forecast changes to show any sunshine, but it looks like we will be trapped under another thick layer of cloud again.

  My main distraction yesterday morning was a shopping trip to Aldi. Top of my shopping list was salad leaves, and anything else I could add to a salad, and so I got a couple of packs of "continental" ham. I think it is rather more tasty than the thin pink and watery ham that is our indigenous supermarket offering. I also bought a pack of mange tout to see what it is like as a possible salad ingredient when raw. I suspect it will rather depend on how young and fresh it is.

  I did buy a few things that were not salad related. I didn't want to go to the pub with just a load of green stuff in my stomach, and so I bought a small "beef hotpot" ready meal. If nothing else is felt better going out in the cold with something warm in my gut - except I ate that meal several hours before going out, and it doesn't really count. I also bought two other ready meals, and I think that was probably a mistake... Although both might be useful tomorrow when I intend to go out to a gig.

  I am trying to think if I had a snooze after eating my lunch yesterday. It would seem likely after having a crap night, and not sleeping nearly as much as I would have thought necessary, but I don't think I did. Maybe my eyes just closed for a few minutes while I was reading or something.  I know I did do a few small jobs in the afternoon. One of which is part of an ongoing project to make up what would have been called a mixtape many years ago.

  My modern equivalent to a mix tape is a collection of mp3 files that can be put on random play on my PC (with a subset on my tablet for playing elsewhere). The first collection was something like 2000 songs, and in theory it could be played for a few days without a song repeating - rather better than most radio stations ! In practice the randomisation wasn't quite good enough to really shake the list up. That first selection kept me going for over a year I think. It was certainly my only music entertainment at work for my last year there. It was probably just after I left work that I made up collection 2. It had less songs in it, and after using that for many months I combined that with collection 1 for an even longer playlist. Now I am making collection 3, and every now and then I pull some CDs off the shelf and rip a dozen or two songs to add to it.

  There was some good news yesterday. Thameslink seem to have re-instated the elusive 16:20 service from Catford to Orpington. Whether it is now a permanent fixture, or whether yesterday was just a one off, it was still potentially useful. When it first ever appeared in the new timetable last spring it seemed to be perfectly timed to get me to the Shortlands Tavern for 4.30pm - the notional start time of our Thursday drink together.  Then it stopped running because the new timetable seemed to be a catastrophe. Thameslink had seriously over reached their capabilities. Maybe now they have caught up with themselves. While it was good news, it was really only theoretical news because I caught the 16:10 train as what has become usual now.

  That 16:20 train is still useful as a back stop if the 16:10 is cancelled, or if circumstances happen that I can't get to the station in time for the 16:10 - a situation I thought was going to happen yesterday. With my gut filled with "beef hotpot" I thought I wouldn't be able to keep up the pace as I walked to the station, and I had left it a bit late when I left home. What I seem to forget is that my legs are in very good working order, and are mostly (but not completely) unaffected by my cranky chest. A little heavier breathing can make my chest ache a bit, and perhaps more so when the air is cold, but my legs carry on almost unaffected. Instead of missing the 16:10 train by mere seconds, as I thought might happen, I was at the station, and up on the platform with 5 minutes to spare !

  I had my usual three pints of beer before announcing I was getting the 18:25 train home. I don't think it slowed me down, but those three pints on top of the "beef hotpot" did make me feel a bit uncomfortable as I walked to the station, and then from the station to home after the train got me back to Catford. That discomfort didn't seem to slow me down though, and I was soon home and looking forward to my special supper. I think I likened it to soup yesterday when I ate the first half of it the night before. Last night it was better described as a stew. the added tomato purée thickened it up a bit, and the sprouts added a bit more body to the bacon and beans. After a diet that has been mostly salad for a few weeks it was really delicious, and wonderful to eat.

  The one thing it didn't help me do, and may have even hindered me, was getting to sleep, and having a good nights sleep. I was in bed by 10pm and in the belief that I was sleep deprived, I expected to fall asleep very quickly. Nothing could be further from the truth. It must have been midnight, and maybe later before I fell asleep. Even then I didn't seem to sleep very well at all ... or did I ? I know I woke up at least twice in the night, and it felt like it took ages to get back to sleep, but I am wondering if that is how it really happened. I feel sure that I had a dream that felt like I was awake, but there were a few clues that suggested it was a dream. The trouble is that I can't really remember the dream(s) now, and I can't remember what those subtle clues may have been. I guess they were people or things that were out of place.

  As I write about my night I just can't stop yawning. It suggests I need more sleep, and maybe I might give in to that suggestion if I can. There is certainly nothing stopping me from sleeping of I can. Today is another day where I have nothing planned, and I'll just have to make up things to do as the day progresses. In the back of my mind there is an idea that I might go to a gig tonight, but having checked the usual lists I can see nothing on that interests me. There is no pressing need for it, but I expect I'll take a walk to the shops at some time today. I might go looking for more CDs from charity shops, and I feel it would be a good idea to buy a spare fan heater while they have them in Poundstretcher (and also in Tesco a few quid more for what looks like the same model in a posher box).
Thursday 10th January 2019
08:49 GMT

  There were a couple of very brief sunny intervals yesterday that the forecast didn't seem to predict. Maybe the forecast can't be bothered with events that last little more than one minute. The forecast seemed to underestimate how cold it got last night. By 8pm the temperature seemed to be down to 2.8° C, and a frost was already starting to appear on the cars out in the road. Maybe at that time it was just condensation, but it would certainly end up as frost before the night was through, and probably before midnight. I can't remember what time it was, maybe around 1pm, but perhaps a little later, when there was a brief light splash of rain. There were several hours marked as having a very small chance of rain in yesterday's forecast, but it was no great surprise that the time it rained was not one of them !
another cold and grey day
just 1.4° C

   The forecast still says 3° C this morning, but the reality is probably closer to the 1.4° C one of my thermometers says it is...although admittedly another does say 1.7° C. The thick frost on the cars in the road, and on people's shed out the back is probably a better testament to how bloody cold it is this morning (and how cold it was through the night). It will slowly warm up until the afternoon, and evening should reach the heady heights of 5° C. There seems to be a real chance of some rain this afternoon ~ where real is as probable at 17%. I reckon that if it does rain it could fall as sleep. At the moment it is lightly overcast, according to the forecast. I would say medium overcast, but from this afternoon it is set to get worse, and may well be very heavily overcast. Maybe tomorrow will see the temperature rise to 8° C, but it will still be heavily overcast all day long, although it seems the chance of any rain is a lot less than today.

a frosty morning 
This was the frosty view out of my back bedroom window at approx 8am this morning.

  Yesterday was a day when I was very busy doing very little of any great importance to the world. It was really quite surprising how lots of little jobs took up so much time that much of the day went by with no time to spare for a snooze. The one exception to all this busyness doing little of great importance was when I washed a pair of jeans - by hand. A sodden pair of jeans can be surprisingly heavy, and so my task was physically taxing just pulling the jeans out the big, builders sized, bucket of hot soapy water, 3 rinses, and then fabric conditioner. It was also quite taxing trying to wring the water out of those jeans ... well maybe not that taxing because it was, in practical terms, impossible to do. At the end of the wash I had to hang the jeans on the line outside the back door to drip for an hour or so before bringing them in to dry.

  Most of the other little tasks that kept me busy during the day were doing stuff on my PC and laptop. The laptop was doing rip after rip (each one taking 5 or 6 hours) of the Naked Gun DVDs I had bought from the charity shop. By the end of the day I had two of the DVDs ripped with the correct sound track, and had deleted all the rips with the wrong sound track. I started what I hope was the last rip yesterday evening, and if I managed to select the right sound track the rip should be waiting for me on the laptop in the living room when I am dressed and can go down there.

  A little of my time was spent in the kitchen. I had some washing up to do, some salad to prepare, and some actual cooking to do. The more significant of these, but only because it represents a departure to what I have been doing recently, was the cooking. I had some bacon lardons in the bottom of the fridge that were beyond their use by date, but still looked, and even smelled fresh. My first thought was to cook them with sprouts, but then I had another idea - bacon and beans !

  It was originally my intention to go out last night, and I fancied coming home to a hot supper - something that would lure me away from the fried chicken shop. Somehow that turned into the idea of bacon and beans. I first boiled the bacon in beef stock using the microwave oven. I added a sliced, de-seeded, big finger chilli to give some extra flavour (it didn't !), and when I thought it was cooked enough I added a can of cannelloni beans and a good squirt of tomato puree. I didn't go out in the end, but I did try the bacon and beans, and it was nice except for one thing. Generally speaking I don't use salt in my cooking, but one of the stock cubes I used seemed to be based on salt instead of fat (or whatever). It did make it taste a little more salty than I like, but only slightly.

  As the evening approached I kept an eye on my thermometers, and saw the temperature dropping all the time. Although the cough I reported yesterday morning had all but stopped, I was wary of aggravating it with cold night air. I was also concerned about what that cold night air would do for my "twisted rib", costochondritus, or cranky chest. I decided that it would be safer to stay in the warm. That would give me the chance to try for another early night as part of my desire to start getting up earlier in the morning.

  This morning I did get up earlier, but not because I got to sleep earlier. I had a pretty lousy night, and although I did try to get to sleep before 11pm, it wasn't until sometime after midnight that  finally fell asleep. A couple of hours later I woke up and I had to take some painkillers before I managed to get back to sleep for maybe 3 or 4 hours - maybe only 3 ! One problem last night was that my bedroom was at the wrong temperature - it was neither too cold to pull the duvet around me, and too cool to not need the duvet. I have a theory that I spent half the night fighting with my duvet.

  I can remember, usually in vague form, quite a few dreams from last night, and all the dreams seemed to have an element of confusion about them. What is much more vivid was how uncomfortable I felt when I woke up around 3am this morning. Not only did I need the toilet but my back, front and neck felt totally mangled. I am not a great suffer of back ache, but I certainly had it then. My chest was definitely crunched and complaining, and my neck and right shoulder felt really stiff and sore. I took doses of both Ibuprofen and Paracetamol together before I could get comfortable enough to go back to sleep.

  It is possible I was awoken by the dustmen outside just as it was about to start getting light. I think that was just after 7am, and it seemed like the sort of time I was aiming to get up at - in anticipation of when the day comes that it is full daylight even before then. Had I been feeling comfortable I would have gone back to bed again after going to the toilet, and taking a screenshot of the weather forecast, but I thought I would get up - where get up means sitting here unwashed and naked writing this ! By the time I finish it will be far too late to go back to bed - probably !

  I am not going out tonight, but I will be going out in the late afternoon for my regular Thursday afternoon drink with the lads. I will be coming home again in the night though, and I will be looking forward to having the other half of my bacon and beans "soup" - a very lumpy soup, but still soup as defined in the laziest, vaguest definitions going. Maybe it won't be soup if I fortify it with some sprouts - which I think I might well do.

  Long before I go out for that drink I think I am going to get some shopping from Aldi. I am out of salad leaves, and although I can't seem to derive enough satisfaction from them in the cold, and dark days, I still want to keep in practice, and make at least one of my meals a salad. I have no idea what I will do between Aldi and going out. Maybe I will have a long snooze !
Wednesday 9th January 2019
09:50 GMT

  The forecast said there would be sunny intervals yesterday, and real life seemed to go a bit better than that. There were extended periods of sunshine. The downside was the wind from the north made it feel very cold. I think it was just me, but it seemed to feel exceptionally cold in the afternoon when the measured temperature was actually close to 9° C.
this forecast doesn't seem to shw it, but it
                      is fairly bright this morning
   The forecast did, and still does say "light cloud", and maybe that is a way to describe it. I would add that the cloud is broken up enough to leave small gaps where the sun occasionally peeps through. Maybe there has only been one occasion when there were just a few seconds of strong sunshine, but generally it is a brighter morning that the forecast seems to suggest with it's pictograms of grey clouds. Whether the cloud thickens or thins, it seems like it will be a very chilly day with a maximum temperature of 6° C. Once again the wind is from the north, and it may well feel several degrees colder when outside. There is also a very small chance of a shower today, with maybe right now being the favourite time with a 9% chance, but it remains dry for now. Tomorrow could be similar to today, but with a slightly higher chance of rain. As tomorrow ends the temperature starts to climb a little, and by the weekend the temperature could hit 10° C or higher.

   My day turned out a bit different to how I expected yesterday to be - assuming I actually had any valid expectations. After washing my hair, and having a shower, I got dressed and went out (after leaving some time for my hair to dry a bit). Before I went out I had some ideas for a walk that might have been a couple of miles long, but I decided against that. Instead of that I just went to the shops. I went to Savers where I think I bought the last 2 bottles of Alberto Balsam sweet strawberry shampoo, and the last 2 bottles of matching conditioner. I had been wanting to get more of it for the last 18 months, and I was happy to see that Savers had found some old stock somewhere when I was in there previously, and decided to stock up yesterday while they still had a few bottles on the bottom shelf.

  After Savers I crossed to the opposite side of Catford Mews to go in the British Heart Foundation charity shop. I found three CDs and a DVD in there - all priced at just 99p each. The DVD in particular was a good buy because it was a triple DVD set of The Naked Gun movies. As a rule I don't really like American comedy, but these movies are funny enough. I'll have more to say about them soon.

  The next, and final shop I went into was the SAM 99p shop. I bought quite a bit of stuff in there. It included two twin packs of bleach, and several packs of scented tea lights. I also took a chance on some strange things....they were described as crisps, but they were nothing like crisps as the illustration on the pack showed. They were actually like micro-slices of toast. Each one was about the size of a large sized postage stamp, and maybe an eighth of an inch thick. Each slice was had some dried fruit, nuts and herbs or seeds in it. I bought two varieties and as yet I have only tried one. They are vary moreish, but I have to restrain myself because the do contain a fair amount of sugar. Not a huge amount, but more than I like to consume at the moment.

   My rucksack was bulging full at the end of my shopping, and although I didn't really notice it until I got home, it was quite heavy with all that leach and shampoo and conditioner in it. Although heavy it shouldn't have slowed me down, but when I got home I felt exhausted. I was very glad I hadn't tried my earlier idea of going for an extended walk. One thing that added to the effort of my walk to and from the shops was the socks I was wearing. I don't know how they could differ so much from the socks I had been wearing with the same shoes previously, but they didn't feel comfortable, and made each step hard work.

  I was amazed at how knackered I felt after that short walk. It must be an indicator of something or another that I didn't even feel like making some lunch. After a lie down, and possibly a snooze, I did make up quite a big salad. 90% of it was typical salad ingredients like leaves, spring onion, and even celery. Just for a change I think I left out any tomatoes. The last 10% (or possibly less) was some fairly lean ham. It was to be my only proper meal of the day, but certainly not all that I ate yesterday !

  I didn't feel like doing much in the afternoon, but I had two tasks I wanted to get done. One was very easy, and I could have done it on my death bed. The other did involve some physical work. It certainly wasn't cutting up logs - one thing I thought I might do. It was to wash a few t-shirts and some underwear. I had already started that laundry job by putting the stuff in to soak in detergent in the morning. In the afternoon I had to find the energy to do three rinses, and then fabric conditioner. It was rather strange because it did and didn't feel like hard work. I can't really explain that. Maybe it just wasn't as hard as I expected it to be in the condition I thought I was in.

  My other task was a simple task that was to rip the Naked Gun DVDs so they were easier to play on my PC as mp4 files. It is usually a very simple process, but it does slow my PC down a lot. Instead of using my PC I did it on a laptop whose specification suggests it should be a very slow process, but in fact it is not - mostly because I don't have many other programs running on it at the same time like I do on my desktop PC.

  The first attempt on the first disk came out really well except I seemed have chosen the German sound track. On my second attempt I somehow chose the directors commentary sound track. On the third attempt I got it right. Having thought that I had learned a valuable lesson, and thinking that I knew how the sound options worked on these DVDs I started ripping the other two disks - one in the laptop, and one in my desktop PC. I ran them overnight, and looked forward to the complete rips this morning. Disaster ! Both had the wrong sound track, and I have to start them again.

  One of the thing that became apparent yesterday was an increasing tendency to cough. It was as if I was having a relapse of the head cold I had before Xmas. It would start with some irritation in my throat that caused an almost, but not quite, dry cough. Sometime later, where sometime could be from a few minutes to maybe 30 minutes, I would feel a frog in my throat, and just a very small, light cough would dislodge a little splodge of mucus. It was usually infrequent enough to not be bothersome, but still sort of worrying.

  One of my plans for yesterday was to try and get back in the habit of getting to sleep earlier so I can get up earlier. The first bit worked. I was in bed by 10pm, and had turned the light out by about 10.30pm. This wasn't quite as early as I had imagined, but it was a good start. The very useful thing was that this new cough didn't seem to disturb me last night. Between turning the light out and midnight I was in a strange state. I don't think I was fully asleep, and it felt like I was having a mixture of day dreams and real dreams. It was as if I was hovering between sleep and awake.

  At midnight I woke up for a few minutes and considered this, but it wasn't long before I fell into deeper sleep. I don't think I woke up again until a little after 4am. At that time I was feeling a little cool, and so I turned the heat up a bit, had a wee, and went back to sleep again. I had this vague idea that I wanted to get up, and get up enough to do stuff just as it was getting light, and that was about the time that I woke up, but I didn't get up - except to go for a wee. After that I went back to bed and entered the same state as I was in before midnight. I was never sure if I was awake or asleep, but I do know that almost another hour easily slipped by without me really noticing it.

  This morning I am not sure how I feel. One thing is very odd because it is the exact opposite to usual - now I am upright that cough is back, and it seems that I am having to cough up little gobs of mucus more often than yesterday. My nose feels a bit stuffy too, but that is nit that unusual first thing in the morning when I am yawning a lot. I guess the erst of me feels moderately OK. Even my chest feels less sore than yesterday. I also feel like maybe I did get some good sleep last night.

  My plans for today are very simple - I have none. I do have an aspiration though. There is an open mic session on in the dreaded Elm Tree pub in Elmers End tonight. If the pub is not too crowded it might be pleasant to visit it. It is very easy to get to by train, and if I don't leave it too late, easy to get home again by the same route. I don't think the open mic goes on as late as normal gigs go on there, and I have a feeling I would probably leaving early anyway. I definitely will only stay as long as I am feeling comfortable - assuming I even get there in the first place.

  Halfway through writing that last sentence I went away for a poo. Now sitting on the toilet is always a great place to think, and I have had many inspirations while doing so. Just now I thought of one thing I think I will do today. It is a very rare thing to do because it scares me a lot. I think I will wash a pair of jeans. My current favourite jeans probably badly need a wash. They are a currently a loose fit, and I don't think I need to be too worried about them shrinking too much. I have others that any shrinkage could be a disaster ! Although, having said that, I did try on a few of the jeans in my reserved pile. Apart from one pair that has an unfortunate rip in them,  they are generally too tight to wear (or even get on despite their supposed measurements being identical to pairs that are almost loose). One pair that was very marginal seems wearable now. I didn't think all the salads I have been eating had been doing anything. Sometimes I have even felt bigger, but maybe I am am shrinking a tiny bit.
after sunset last night
I took this picture at 4.45pm, 35 minutes after sunset, and thanks to the sky being mostly clear there was quite a lot of light still left on the western horizon. It gave so much hope of longer days, and better times to come.
Tuesday 8th January 2019
09:54 GMT

  The forecast said there was a very small chance of rain yesterday, and the rain took advantage of that small chance. There was a very light sprinkle of rain while I was inside, and if it wasn't for a few drops of rain still on the cars outside, I would have never had noticed it. It wasn't actually warm yesterday, but it wasn't that cold either. I took a chance by going to Tesco without a coat on, and provided I didn't stop it was reasonably comfortable. The only thing missing was some sunshine - which we get today !
at last, a sunny day !
   This morning it seems sunnier than the mere sunny intervals that are forecast. It will be nice if the sun can put in some very long appearances all day long. The only problem is that the afternoon temperature may only reach 9° C. That doesn't sound all that bad, but there is a sting in the tail. The wind, coming from the north, will be fairly strong today according to the forecast, and that is going to blow any warmth away, and the wind chill factor is going to make it feel really chilly - or so we were told on last night's TV weather forecast. Later today will see those winds from the north really cool things down. Tomorrow, and the day after are predicted to be really chilly with the afternoon temperature around 5° C. To add to the misery those days will be very overcast and grey.

   As I mentioned in my comments about yesterday's weather, I went and did my shopping trip to Tesco yesterday. I think I went just after midday when the temperature was almost up to the afternoon high. It probably was a very bold move to go out without a coat. To be honest it wasn't really warm enough for it, but as I mentioned earlier, it was generally comfortable provided I didn't stop moving. In another aspect it did feel liberating to not be encumbered with a coat, and I can't wait until the weather starts warming up so I can do it more often. I suspect I'll have a long wait, but once the day time temperature is around 15° C it should be fine for shopping trips provided it doesn't rain. I may wait until days when the temperature is nearer 20°C before I go longer distances without a coat. I can't wait !

  The second significant thing I did was to do some hand laundry. I thought my laundry bag had a pile of t-shirts in it, but to my surprise it was mainly underpants. I have no idea why that should be a surprise. It was me who put them in there ! The only big item, although still small compared to a bath towel, was a pair of lounge pants. It was rather strange that I was quite keen to get started doing that laundry, but I couldn't wait to finish it once I started.

  Shopping and laundry were the only two notable things I did yesterday apart from eating. It was inevitable that while I was in Tesco I would pick up something outside the range of how I am trying to eat at the moment, and yesterday it was a couple of reduced price egg and mayonnaise sandwiches. They looked so nice, and yet even with some chilli sauce on they were actually quite average for some reason.

  There were two other things I bought that were edge cases. Both came off the reduced price shelf, and they were some loose corned beef, and some loose haslet.  Both do contain rather more fat than I am trying to eat, but I thought they might have made for some more interesting salads. I did have the corned beef, and there was quite a lot of it for 50p, in a big salad. Plucking a figure out from where the sun doesn't shine, it may have been the case that the corned beef accounted for something like 90% of the calories in that meal.

  I do sometimes wonder why I bother with my current eating regime. Sometimes it feels like I fail every single day, but sometimes it does feel like using precision scientific instruments some detectable change for the better is happening to my body. There did seem to be a bit more slack in a pair of jeans I haven't worn for a long time when I put them on yesterday, but at the current rate it could be many months before there is any change visible to the naked eye.

  Another failure yesterday concerned the haslet. I like it, but it is very greasy, and I ate the whole lot sliced onto 6 rice cakes. The rice cakes are alleged to have very small food values, although I sometimes have strong doubts about this assertion. What I do know is that eating that haslet on the same day as eating the corned beef did me no favours. Well maybe it did me one possible favour. Without it I could have been tempted to eat something far worse for supper.

  I filled in all the other unaccounted hours doing a bit of reading, having a snooze, watching a bit of TV, and talking on the phone for ages to my friend Lee. The one thing I didn't do, mostly because I thought it would be a pointless exercise, was to try and go to bed earlier last night. I am slowly becoming conscious of sun rise becoming earlier in the morning. The change at the moment is quite small, but it will appear to be accelerating in the not too distant future. I would like to be up and active earlier in the morning than I have been recently, and the only way to do that is to get to sleep earlier.

  That is not so easy when you are sleeping badly, but last night I seemed to sleep well. I had some now forgotten vivid dreams that I could remember for a few minutes after waking up, and they suggest my sleep was not always that deep, but I only remember waking up once in the night. That is very unusual for me in recent times. I next woke up just as it was starting to get light - maybe half an hour or so before sunrise. If I had got to sleep earlier last night, and had the amount of sleep I think I ought to get, it would have been a perfect time for me to wake up. I did a quick mental calculation and concluded I couldn't have got any more than 6 hours sleep, and so I tried to go back to sleep for another 2 hours. I tried, but it didn't happen.

  The one thing that has changed all the rules about sleep and stuff was that I was very much looking forward to today being the sunny day that had been forecast earlier. I would much prefer to be out in the sunshine, and I did have some thoughts about going out somewhere, but it is beginning to feel too late to get something organised (I haven't even washed and dressed yet). It is possible that I might still go out on the spur of the moment, but even sunshine poring through my front windows is very enjoyable, and noting today forecast temperature, a much more comfortable way of experiencing it. One possible, if not probable compromise would be to spend a bit of time in the garden sawing up logs. If only I could pace myself, doing half an hour here, and half an hour there, maybe 3 or 4 times through the day, I could probably get quite a bit of sawing done. Before anything else I need to go and take a shower, and washing my hair would be good too.
Monday 7th January 2019
10:47 GMT

  There was a bit of hope that yesterday's weather forecast might have been wrong. A few times in the morning a very bright area in the clouds appeared as if the sun were about to break through. Once, and just once the sun did break through, but that was in the afternoon. Generally speaking he day was as dull as the forecast predicted. With a top temperature of just 8° C it was a cold day, but fortunately not a very cold day.
another dull day, but at least it will be
                      almost mild
   The forecast for today leaves no room for any sunny intervals, and a quick glimpse at the steely grey sky confirms the forecast is right at the moment. The other negative thing is that the forecast shows there is a very small chance of rain at any time up to a few hours after sunset. The positive thing is that the afternoon temperature should be 10° C. The even more positive thing is that the latest revision to the forecast says that at about sunset the temperature will go up by 1° to 11° C, and that it will stay there for 3 or 4 hours before dipping down again. The latest revisions thoughts about tomorrow are that it will be a mild afternoon with the temperature around 10° C, and from about 9am there should be sunny intervals right through to sun set.

   My prediction that I might find the energy to go to the corner shop was about right. It was the most energetic thing I did all day yesterday. It is only a short walk, perhaps not much more then 2 minutes there, and the same coming home again. So it is hardly taxing, but maybe a combination of cold air, and the vibrations of walking, seemed to shake my chest up a bit. I could feel what I can only describe as aching patches across my chest. Maybe once upon a time I would be worried about these, but these days it just pisses me off because I know it is the start of more costochondritis pains. The worst of which would be at night.

  My main job yesterday was to go through the silly amount of pictures I took at Chain's gig on Saturday night. At about two thirds through them I already had enough decent pictures to make a photo album - or in fact too many. I let through a few picture that were rather marginal. I plodded through the last third looking for anything exceptional, and I think I found a couple more pictures that I used, but in reality with just 4 members of the band, all pulling standard poses*, there are only so many picture you can take.

* I think when learning to play electric guitar there are also lessons about how to pose with it, and while there are a few minor variations, they are the same whether you play heavy metal, jazz or blues.
Jon and his beautiful
                      bass guitar
  I think it was within the last third of the pictures that I found a picture I was hoping to take, and it is the picture above. It is still not perfect, but it is the best shot I could get of Jon's beautiful bass guitar. I am not a great guitar afficionado, and I do not see the minor differences between guitars that have true guitar lovers waxing lyrical over. Apparently one digit difference in the serial number is enough to make a huge difference to those in the know. In the case of Jon's guitar it is not the make or model, but the artwork on the guitar body, and the contours of it that look so good to me.
  Unless artificially posed, it is hard to get a good picture of the whole band together in reasonable lighting. The more I see this picture the more I wish I had taken something better.No one is looking at the camera, and the lights are causing isolated patches of colour - John the drummer's head is bright pink, and Jo has greenish hair ! It would also have been better if taken from a lower angle. The strange thing is several people liked it when uploaded to social media.
ticket to Maidstone East
 I mentioned the journey to Maidstone East, where Chain's gig was on Saturday, but although I mentioned them, I didn't really extol the virtues of the discount tickets I used. On the left is the outward half of the pair of tickets I bought. First you'll notice that the ticket starts at Swanley. This is because my 60+ Oystercard allows me to travel that far for free. Further down the ticket it says "with Senior Railcard". The Senior Railcard is available to anyone over 60 and currently costs £30 for the one year version, and £70 for the three year version. I would recommend the 3 year option because you save £20 over three 1 year tickets - plus you are isolated from any price rises in the next couple of years. The discount is one third off using the railcard. For a short journey like this the saving was only £4, but for the journey I did to Bournemouth last February, I saved £15. Two journeys like that would pay the £30 for a single year Senior Railcard, and after that you are saving money on any journey.

  I suspect it was because I was sitting down so much that I began to feel crappy yesterday. Some of it could also have been hunger, but only in a minor way - probably. In deference to my fried chicken eating excesses after the gig on Saturday night, I did try to eat as little as I could yesterday. By mid afternoon I was sort of suffering for it, and I made myself a big salad with a small can of pink (or was it red?) salmon. Just for a change I dressed it with some American mustard as well as balsamic vinegar.

  American mustard is usually pretty horrible, and I have no idea why I bought it. It was probably curiosity. In this case it did seem to work, but I am wondering if it would have been even better if I had mixed it with the balsamic vinegar before using it. I think I might try that sometime using proper English mustard. That salad seemed to fill a hole, and kept me going until early in the evening - perhaps when I might have a slightly later than usual dinner. To keep me going I had some cheese on rice cakes. On 2 of the rice cakes I put a smear of mustard under the cheese, and on the other two a few drips of super hot chilli sauce under the cheese. During the day I did have some nuts to nibble on. Mostly they were walnuts with the nonsensical idea that they are better for you, as in less harmful, than peanuts. Nevertheless, I was feeling hungry again at 3am this morning !

  As well as buy a couple of bottles of pop, I also bought two magazines, Fortean Times and New Scientist, while in the corner shop.....and, err, I have just reminded myself that saying I was eating extra carefully yesterday was complete lies. I also bough a couple of small packets of snack things in the corner shop too. I don't know how evil spare rib flavour Knick Knacks are, and I don't think I want to know. I hope that baked cheesy Watsits are not as evil as the non baked variety. The magazine provided some entertainment once I had finished my photo editing, and in fact I was reading New Scientist until I turned out the light, and tried to go to sleep just before midnight.

 My eyelids were drooping, and I felt very tired, and so falling asleep should have been easy, but it wasn't ! I seemed generally comfortable laying on my back reading, but as soon as I turned on my side I could hear/feel several cracks, scrapes and groans from my chest. So I tried on my other side, and as I did so all the first lot of pops and scrapes undid themselves, and reconfigured themselves again on the other side. It is a strange pain to describe because it is not very strong, and diffuses out from several vague places, but it is still very intrusive.

  It took a long while to get to sleep, and then only a little less than 2 hours to wake up again. I woke up from some weird dreams, and it seemed that I had inflamed my chest even more. Once again it was still not a strong pain, but it was even more intrusive. Anyone feeling it for the forst time would believe they are just starting a heart attack. Even with plenty of prior experience to say that was not the case, there is still that worry in the back of the mind that maybe this time you are mistaken. You have to trust and hope you are not making a mistake by trying your best to ignore it.

 During that first bit of sleep my dreams were about some sort of plague hitting London, and old hospital wards having to be re-opened. I was considered immune from this plague because of the 'flu and head cold I had suffered (in real life) earlier. I have no idea what position I was in to view the re-opening of the old hospital wards. One was in a big, almost Victorian looking, high ceilinged room with old fashioned beds and privacy screens. The other was in a sort of cave under the hospital. That was for high isolation cases, and once the first patients arrived I was no longer allowed in there.

  The dream (or dreams) were entertaining, and probably carried a message that went right over my head. I was too busy trying to get to sleep again. In the end I had to take a couple of pain killers, and get up for a while to give them time to work. They were partly effective, and by 4am I managed to get back to sleep again. Once again I started dreaming, and the one dream I remember something of was very unusual. I don't think the ream actually started there, but he main setting was a park, and walking through the park was a famous science fiction author. Famous enough that he was continually being confronted with people who would praise his writing.

  I could tell that this was starting to annoy him, and decided to make my approach different. I told him that I didn't like  most of his output, but quoted a few lines from one book I did like, and asked him why it was different. This seemed to please him, and we walked together for sometime discussing writing and stuff. This morning I can't remember who he was, although I do remember he appeared very young in the dream. I also can't remember what it was I quoted at him, but it feel like a quite pleasant dream.

  This morning my chest feels very delicate, but while I am just sitting here writing it is not bothering me. Later on I plan to do some washing. Contrary to what you might think, all the hard work doing hand laundry - kneading the clothes in hot soapy water, pulling the heavy dripping clothes out the water, and wringing them out - and the same with at least three rinses, plus again for fabric conditioner - often resets my twisted ribs, or whatever, into a more comfortable position.

  Laundry is one task for today. Another, perhaps slightly more pleasurable in one sense, is to go and get some shopping. I could do with more supplies of salad leaves, and I have run out of celery and spring onions. There may be other stuff to use in salads as well, although I think I'll avoid beetroot because despite it's earthy taste, it has a lot of natural sugar in it. I'll probably see what protein is available to put in salads as well - maybe some ham from the reduced price shelf.  Other than shopping and laundry, I have no idea how I will spend the rest of today.
Sunday 6th January 2019
10:24 GMT

  Yesterday's forecast predicted sunny intervals, but I had seen none, and worse than that was that they seemed highly unlikely when I was writing yesterday morning. The sky did seem brighter in the afternoon, but yesterday was, as far as I remember, a grey day. It was also rather cold with the temperature only about 5° C at best. At least it was dry.
maybe there is hope for a sunny interval
   Today the forecast predicts a very overcast start to the day, and yet it is possible that there might be a sunny interval. As I write this the sun has almost broken through the clouds twice that I am aware of. Towards the west the clouds look thinner, and streaky. To the east it just looks rather dull and grim. At least today may be slightly less cool than recent days. A lot of the day should reach 8° C. There is a very small chance of rain at midday, but only a 6% chance.  The chance of rain is still low, but at least twice as high tomorrow, and that is the forecast for most of the day. It looks to be a very dull day, but in compensation the temperature could climb to 11° C for a few hours tomorrow.

   I wasn't feeling very good yesterday. This was partly because of another bad night's sleep, although maybe the bad night's sleep was just another symptom of whatever reason it was that I wasn't feeling good. The trouble is that I don't know why I was feeling bad. There was no specific pain apart from a very low level, dull feeling of diffused pain in all of my torso. Maybe it was some leftover effects of my strenuous garden clearance a few days earlier. That certainly left a few mild aches and pains - but of the type that don't matter, or if they do it is as a sort of merit badge to all the hard work you did.

  It was because of this feeling of yuckyness that the most significant thing I did in the first half of the day was to have a shower and wash my hair. I just didn't feel like doing any more except for eating a Tesco (or was it Aldi ?) "fishermen's pie" ready meal. I didn't fancy another salad because I knew I would need buffering against a later inflow of Guinness. The rest of the time I rested until it was 3.30pm, and time to go out to Chain's late afternoon gig in Maidstone.

  It took a lot of willpower to get out of the door, and I didn't feel OK until I was well under way on my long journey to Maidstone. It wasn't until I had drunk my second pint of Guinness until I was actually feeling fairly good. Getting to The Market House in Maidstone was relatively simple. There was the usual 10 minute walk to Catford station, a very boring 1 hour and 15 minute train ride which would have been far less boring of it had been done in daylight, and then a 6 or 7 minute walk to the pub. The train ride was actually two trains. I had to change trains somewhere, and Swanley seemed the best place because that is as far out of London as I can travel on my 60+ Oystercard for free. The return fare from there, with senior Railcard discount, was £8.

  The gig was supposed to start at 5.30pm, but as is usual it was probably about 10 minutes after that. Chain were on good form, and I took quite a lot of spectacularly bad photos of them, but fortunately I took a few good snaps too. I'll probably be spending a lot of today going through all the photos I took, and picking out the best to make up a photo album. One good thing about the pub was that it had good, but variable lighting. Some of the worst snaps I took was when the lighting was funny, and some of the best was when the lighting was funny too !
Jo with just her face
  In this picture the light is just falling across Jo's face. Her face is a little overexposed, but maybe that is actually good.
  This is Maddy. It would be easy to write her off as just another drunken weirdo, but I talked to her a bit, and she has more depth than that. The thing that boosted her credibility most was that she knew she had drunk too much, and decided to stop and go and get something to eat. I think she was hoping that I would go with her, but I had a job to do, albeit a self imposed job to photograph Chain, and didn't want to leave the pub until my job was done. I was hoping to see her again before I left to go home, but she never re-appeared.
pristine toilets with a
                      map on the floor
  The pub itself was rather nice. I think it had been recently refurbished, and maybe that was why the toilets were clean and shining. They had plenty of toilet paper, soap and hot water. There was even a map on the floor to help you find your way home ! The only let down was the hand driers, but since time immemorial most hand dryers have been pretty useless - maybe only if you have hands like mine. Having said that, they did dry my hands if I managed to keep them in the right place. Why is the strongest airflow in a different place to the hand detector that turns it on ?

  Chain's gig ended a little earlier than I thought it was supposed to. There was a second band on after Chain, and they were due to start at 9pm, and not chain finish at 9pm. Obviously time had to be left for the second band to set up. I saw a couple of guys holding guitars towards the end of Chain's set, but I didn't stay to see them even start to set up. Had it been summer it would have been great to be back at Maidstone East station for the 8.28pm train. Unfortunately it is mid winter, and it felt like going home from any gig late at night.

  I think the knowledge that much later in the year I could be doing the same trip in daylight made the long journey home even more boring. On the way home I changed trains at Otford. Changing there is both good and bad. From there to Bromley South the first train I was on skips quite a few stations, and takes less time to get there, but then I would have a long wait for the second train to turn up. At Otford the train that would take me back to Catford is only 3 minutes behind the first train. The penalty is it feels a much slower journey as it stops at all stations.

  The overall journey time is still the same wherever you change trains, and so it was getting on for 10pm before I was back walking through the street of Catford. I knew I was a bit drunk, too drunk really in one particular aspect. I couldn't resist buying some hot chicken and fries on the way home. In an ideal world I would have had a salad when I got home. In an even more ideal world I would have had nothing, but I did rather enjoy that greasy chicken and fries ! It might have had a positive use too. Although I stayed up for another hour or so, transferring pictures from my camera to my PC, and even doing the first couple of picture edits, when I went to bed I slept far, far better than I did the night before.

  This morning it feels like I had an adequate amount of sleep, although maybe not so much that I won't give in to any desires for a snooze later. Now I've been out of bed for an hour or so, and I've had a stretch, I don't feel that bad. Even if it is light grey this morning, the grey sky still saps my energy, and I definitely don't feel like running a marathon today, but I might find the energy to go to the corner shop for a bottle of pop.

  As I mentioned earlier, (I think), my main thing today will be photo editing. I don't think I can, or want to, do it all at one sitting - I took 325 snaps last night, and I have to whittle that down to maybe 20 of the best to show publicly. Some of my choices will be easy because I know the amount of lousy snaps far exceed any with merit. One thing I was hoping to try and do tonight was to go to Stretchy's open mic, but it has been cancelled for this month. A lot of pubs cancel open mic nights, or don't book bands in January. It is something to do with the brewery's balancing their accounts. Let's hope it all starts up again next month. For now though I am a little relieved that I don't have to go out tonight. On the other hand I was hoping to say hello, and maybe even "happy new year" to a few people. Oh well, another time.
Saturday 5th January 2019
09:58 GMT

  It was lovely bright and sunny yesterday - more sunny than the sunny intervals forecasted. The only downside was that it was a very cold day. Just after 2pm, when the forecast said 4° C, one of my outside thermometers said just 2.7° C !
this does not match reality
   The forecast says we should be seeing sunny intervals right now, but I can barely read the forecast without turning the lights on. It is so grey outside that I would not be surprised to see snow falling ! The chance of any sunlight piercing the dense cloud seems as close to zero as zero itself. Maybe some miraculous parting of the clouds will happen in the next few minutes, but I rather doubt it. In the meanwhile it is almost as cold as forecast - my thermometer actually says 4.5° C. As usual, the forecast seems to have got the temperature right, but the amount of cloud wrong. Only by tomorrow will we know what today's weather was like. Dense clouds are forecast for tomorrow, and it should be a little less cold. The afternoon high is currently predicted to be 8° C.

   Yesterday was a day of two halves - just like all days, except these halves were rather different. In the morning I had the excitement of my lunchtime date with Angela to look forward to. Soon after I finished writing yesterday I got a reply to my text message. She confirmed she was looking forward to meeting me at 1pm in the usual place. Before doing anything else I gave myself a good scrub under the shower, and washed and conditioned my hair. It was while doing this that I had my second scare of the year.

 My first scare was on Thursday as I was getting ready to go out for my late afternoon Thursday drink. I was putting on my jeans, and the belt seemed unusually tight. That seemed so wrong considering I had been modifying my eating in the direction where my belt should be getting looser. It wasn't until I sat down on the train, and found I was very uncomfortable, that I realised that my belt had a big twist in it. Once I was able to discretely undo the belt, get the twist out, and do it up again, I found that it was probably looser than before. It is possible I have lost as much as a half inch around my gut, but maybe a third of an inch is more realistic.

  My scare yesterday happened after I had finished under the shower, and I was towelling myself dry. I glanced down and saw what I initially thought was a big dribble of blood down the outside of the bathtub. I had to do a double take before realising it was some spilled Sweet Strawberry flavour shampoo. It must have dripped off my hand when raised it to get it on my head. That stuff is bright red, and although transparent like blood isn't, it does look remarkably like blood.
freshly excavated earth
  Before I left to go and meet Angela I looked out the kitchen window and noticed a lot of freshly dug earth outside the hole into the old fox earth that starts under my garden fence, and disappears somewhere under next doors garden. I assume the Mrs Fox is clearing out the old earth to use it again, and that later in the spring I might have the pelasure of seeing fox cubs frolicking in my garden....or maybe not.

  In the afternoon I saw a big Siamese cat in my garden. I have seen it pass through my garden many times before. This time it boldly went down the hole. I was worried it would get trapped down there, but after a while it came out again head first. It then seemed to excavate a bit more earth from the entrance to the hole. Then it started back filling the hole. Finally it dug a hole in the loose earth furthest from the hole. It then crapped in it, and covered it over again ! Having done that it wandered off for new adventures elsewhere.
a bright and sunny, but
                      very cold day
  It was gloriously sunny as I walked through the park to meet Angela. The only trouble was that it was absolutely freezing. I had barely got half way before my fingers were going numb from the cold. As I walked near the river I saw several ducks swimming in the river, and while I knew intellectually that the river water was probably several degrees higher than the air temperature, the sight of those ducks dangling their bottoms in the cold water still made me shiver !

  I only had a short wait for Angela to arrive at the pub, and like our meeting before Xmas we met with a hug. I am unsure if Angela was being very diplomatic, and didn't say much about her Xmas and new year, or if there was actually not much to say about them. She just kept it to a few simple words about Xmas. She had stayed at her daughter's place for Xmas, and did say it was very nice, but never went into any details, and didn't mention lover boy once. She did mention that she and lover boy went to a New Years eve event at The Elm Tree, and that she hated it. It was predictably too crowded, too hot, and the toilets were a complete mess.

  Most of our chat yesterday was about medical conditions. I learned a bit more about lover boys operation. It seems he did have a heart bypass operation, but they were able to do it by using a length of artery from elsewhere in his chest. So he doesn't have the full length scar on his leg where a long bit of artery is most commonly taken from. They were also able to do the operation by going up and under his rib cage somehow. So he doesn't have a big scar down his chest like I do. Despite his operation being far less invasive from mine, he seemed to have taken far longer to get over it.

  It was so lovely seeing Angela yesterday. One of the nicest things is that she is so positive about these rare meetings, and was saying to me a lot of the things I would be saying to her. I find it feels so good that we just feel so relaxed and natural with each other. In a fair and just universe we would still be lovers, but Angela has this affliction where she seems to be, or thinks she is in love with someone who so often fails to make her happy. I guess they have their times when they share some happiness, but I think, probably wrongly, that it is a very tense happiness.

  Finally the clocked ticked over to when Angela had to get back to work. We finished our drinks, and I walked Angela back to work in the dazzling sunshine. Once we got there we hugged again, and semi plotted the future. I made a tentative suggestion that we would meet again in about a fortnight, but added that if Angela wanted to meet before then she contact me. She seemed positive enough about it that I would not be surprised if we met before the fortnight is up. Her parting gift was a kiss blown towards me !

  After walking home I decided not to be a slave to the 2 pints of Guinness I had drunk, and so not have some lunch straight away. A combination of the sunshine and the exhilaration of seeing Angela did help me feel less hungry even considering I had eaten no breakfast before going out. I lasted maybe half an hour, or enough time to transfer the few pictures I had taken while out to my PC, and edit them, before deciding I really did want some lunch. Once again I had a light salad. This one was Italian inspired, and so alongside heaps of salad leaves and stuff, I added some shavings of Parmesan cheese. It was nice, and momentarily filling.

  I had not slept properly the night before, and so after eating lunch I lay on my bed and snoozed. I also read for a bit too. An hour or two later I decided I wanted more to eat, and so I had three rice cakes with some peanut butter on them. That rather broke my intention to try and severely cut down on the amount of nuts I have been snacking on recently, but those three rice cakes seemed to do the trick.

  I was intending to go out last night, and I was strongly considering changing my plans to accidently, on purpose, bumping into Angela again by going to the same gig she was considering going to. She would have been out with lover boy, but being chaperoned by her daughter, Miranda. It could have been an interesting night if it happened. It didn't - for two reasons. Angela had decided to visit her son and not go to a gig. I was feeling too rough to go out.

  I had a fair amount of time to kill before going out, and the easiest way to pass it was to have another snooze. By that time the sun had set, and with no sun shining into my bedroom is started cooling off in there. I still had the heater on, but I woke up feeling icy cold, and also feeling horrible. I came to the conclusion that maybe the salad I had for lunch was too severe, and that maybe the rice cakes and peanut butter was also more insubstantial than I feared. Instead of getting ready to go out I prepared a much more substantial salad featuring two small times of tuna in a garlic and herb sauce - except it is not sauce, it is oil.

  Eating that salad did perk me up a lot, and I was soon feeling warm again, but by then I considered it was too late to go out. Seeing as I would not be seeing her I thought I would send Angela a message saying that I hoped she would enjoy herself. She replied that she was, but that she had gone to her son's place instead of a gig. A little while later I felt hungry yet again, and I decided to have something nice, but more healthy. It was Marmite on rice cakes. I thought I would try the reduced salt version with the blue cap that I bought months ago. It seemed more gloopy than the normal Marmite, but tasted the same. In fact it tasted so nice that I ended up having 6 rice cakes with Marmite. I couldn't be bothered to check the figures on that, but I chose to believe, rightly or wrongly, that it was still OK for my reduced most things diet I seem to be following.

  One of the things I did yesterday was start on the fourth and final book of Arthur C. Clarke's "Rama" series. After my earlier snoozes I didn't seem to feel very tired last night, and I ended up reading until almost 1am. When I did put the book down, and turn the light off, it took ages to get to sleep, and it seemed impossible to stay asleep. I seemed to be very uncomfortable, but at first I couldn't decide why I felt so uncomfortable.  By 3am I decided I had trapped wind, acid indigestion, and possibly constipation.

 A couple of antacid tablets did seem to help, and a series of belches seemed to deflate the top of my body. I made three visits to the toilet where I found I was not constipated at all, but I probably did have some trapped wind. The first visit ws very productive, the second less so, and the third was almost, but not completely negligible. Even after that I still felt uncomfortable, but I was starting to feel better. Eventually I got to sleep, but maybe only for an hour before I had to get up to do what it seems I had forgotten to do earlier while concentrating on other things - have a big pee.

  I don't remember what time it was before I fell into what I think was a proper deep sleep, but I do know it was gone 9.30am when I woke up. This morning I don't feel very wonderful, but I am hoping I will feel up to an interesting adventure later today. Chain are playing a late afternoon gig at a pub in Maidstone. It is part of a two band gig for a birthday celebration of what I think is the pubs landlord. The pub is about a 5 minute walk from Maidstone East station, and Maidstone East is the easiest of the three Maidstone stations to get to. It should be simple to get there and back, and the only downside is that the train journey, including a change of trains, will take about an hour and a quarter each way.

 The clear skies gave a nice sunset last night. I can't decide which of these two pictures are best. The first was taken at about 4.10pm yesterday, and the other maybe 5 minutes later.  It is very slow progress, but the day are getting longer !

sunset 2
sunset 1
Friday 4th January 2019
09:23 GMT

  Perhaps it was the wind direction, or it's low strength, but yesterday didn't seem to feel quite a cold as the forecast, and indeed the real temperature seemed to suggest it should be. That's not to say it wasn't chilly. It was, but not mind numbingly chilly. With a top temperature of just about 5° C (possibly 6° C for a few minutes), and it being grey and overcast, it did nothing to excite the soul.
at last ! Some sunshine !
   Finally, after a very long wait, it's a sunny day ! At the moment it is rather better than the forecast sunny intervals. The sky is clear and blue, and the sun has been shining non stop for some time now. If only the temperature was about 20° higher it would be a very nice day, but with a top temperature of just 4° C it is too cold to frolic in the sunshine with unbridled glee. Tomorrow is probably going to be an awful day. It is currently forecast to start at just 1° above freezing, and it should rise to the glorious heights of 5° C. If we are incredibly lucky we might see one brief burst of sunshine in the midst of grey dreary day.

   I felt sort of strange yesterday. There were two occasions when my legs wanted to walk far faster than the rest of my body could cope with. The first happened when I went to get some shopping in Tesco. I think I was a bit surprised at how easy it felt to be walking there. At that point I wasn't tempted to push the pace up. I seemed to be keeping up a fair pace, and that seemed enough. It was after I had done my shopping, and I was walking home that I tried to walk faster, and my legs responded nicely with no complaints, but it felt like my lungs couldn't keep up with my increased demand for oxygen. Maybe it wasn't like that at all. It might have been my own reluctance to breathe deeper and more frequently to avoid upsetting my costochondritis - once known as my twisted rib. It was like I wasn't gasping for air, and was reluctant to get to a point where I was.

  My shopping was mostly very simple ingredients for salads. This time I remembered some fresh herbs to add a bit of extra flavour. If you don't count the reduced price cheese in Xmas packaging that I will probably leave in the fridge for weeks, or even possibly months (it is extremely rare to find a good use for Wensleydale with apricot cheese), and two ready meals, everything else was just fresh salad stuff. The two ready meals were for a specific use I had in mind, and were also because I was curious about them.

  After buying loads of fresh stuff didn't have any of it yesterday. I wanted something a little more substantial for lunch to help mop up the beer I would be drinking several hours later. I had a couple of cold tuna based ready meals. They proudly proclaim on the wrapping around the foil container that they are low in fat and calories, but when you examine the fine details they are not quite as good as their headlines shout. They aren't too bad though.

  Yesterday was one of those situations where there both didn't seem enough time, and time dragged by slowly. Between eating lunch and went I went out to get the train for my late Thursday afternoon drink was probably about 3 hours, and if I was in the right frame of mind I could have probably done a lot in that time. I guess I was just too excited about going out for a drink to relax - even if didn't seem to feel like that.

  When the time finally came to walk to the station it was like when I was going to Tesco - I kept up a reasonable pace with no bother, but I didn't feel like pushing the pace up. Perhaps it was because I knew that for this walk I had to keep a little in reserve for walking up over the hump of the road bridge across the railway, and then when that was done, to walk up the three flights of stairs to the platform at Catford station. It was rather good that going up those stairs did seem relatively easy, and I did speed up a bit going up them just to see if I could.

  As usual the pub had a reasonable selection of beers on. One of them was called Greedy Goose from the Hook Norton brewery - although there is some doubt about it. The first pint of it I had seemed very nice. For my second pint I had a pint of "Scarlet Macaw". It was a beer made in the new American IPA style (they have discovered the delights of some hops, and being American, tend to over use them). It was a strongly hopped beer made from (I think) Cascade hops - the hops that give a sort of citrus taste to beer. It was very refreshing, and the first half pint was a delight to drink. The second half began to leave a rather sour after taste, and I decided to go back to the Greedy Goose beer for my third and final pint. The simple explanation is that our pints had got mixed up, and what I was drinking was not reedy Goose. The other explanation is that the strong hoppiness of the Scarlet Macaw had messed up my taste buds because it was like drinking a different, and not so nice beer.

  I must admit it was nice to sit down and natter with a few friends after being isolated for much of the Xmas holiday period. I think it was also nice that we were joined by my neighbour, and fellow music lover, Michael. He usually claims to have a bad memory, but perhaps only when it suits him. It must have been ages ago when I last told him about our Thursday night drinks, but maybe it is my memory that is failing, and it was more recent. Anyway, out of the blue he turned up and had a couple of pints of lager with us ale drinkers.

   He left to get the train back to Catford before mine, and so I didn't have to slow down to his walking speed. I felt unusually good when I walked to the station, and that was good because it was only at the last minute that I saw the train I thought I would miss was delayed by just 2 minutes, and if I rushed I could get to the station in time. I did indeed rush compared to my normal pace, and once again I found going up the long staircase to the platform fairly easy going. Having said that, as soon as I got to the top and swivelled my body around just a bit so I could walk slightly to the right, I got a shocking pain in my right hand side. It felt like a stitch, and maybe even acted like one in that it mostly went away again when I had walked another 10 or 15 paces without really slowing down.

  It is easy to walk through the new class 700 Thameslink trains, but I preferred to try and step up the pace to reach the far end of the platform where I wanted to get on the train. I could see the train in the distance as soon as I reached the platform, and that is why I didn't slow down when I got that stabbing pain in my side. I made to my preferred door of the train at the back just as the train came to a stop - perfect ! When teh train arrived back at Catford I was a bit wary of pushing myself too hard as I walked up and over the hump of the road bridge, but I did pick up the pace a bit more as I approached home.

  Once I was indoors the forst thing I did after taking my coat off was to pop one of the ready meals I had bought in Tesco earlier into the microwave oven. The whole idea of those ready meals was to act as an attraction away from the fried chicken shop. I actually had two ready meals because they seemed such small portions. They were made, possibly exclusively, for Tesco, and may even by a subsidiary of Tesco, because I have never seen them elsewhere. Their brand name is "City Kitchen", and their aim is to make "ethnic" ready meals.

  Sometime in the past I tried a Chinese dish from them, and it was actually horrible. An Indian dish was not horrible, but not worthy of further consideration. Out of the two I tried last night I was only expecting one to be possibly interesting. The first one I had was an alleged Korean BBQ chicken with rice. The rice wasn't bad, but it was rather tasteless. The BBQ chicken consisted of some not really BBQ flavoured lumps of something that might have been chicken in a brown gloop. It wasn't horrible, but there was not a single positive thing I could say about it. The other ready meal was a Malaysian chicken and coconut curry. It was nice in a mild sort of way. It was as if my taste buds had been turned down to one as I ate it.

  Not having any exciting flavours was a good enough reason to consider the experiment done with no desire to ever retry it. There was also the problem that the portions seemed to be very small. 4 beers can make me ravenously hungry, particularly if any of them was a strong beer, but three pints of moderate strength beer only makes me a little peckish. I considered that the beer only had a small effect on my hunger, and was not that responsible for me feeling hungry after eating two of those ready meals. I ended up eating a small bowl of mixed nuts to fill up some of the gap left in my appetite.

  There was about an hour of TV still on when I got home for the pub, and I watched that. Then I entertained myself by reading in bed. I finished reading The Garden Of Rama before I turned out the light, and tried to sleep. I have to say it was a very lumpy book with exciting bits between many boring bits, and the ending was about the vaguest ending possible. It was almost like a "cliff hanger" ending - the sort of thing only possible when following book was already planned. I am unsure, as I write this, how long it was before the fourth and final part of the story was published after the third, but I suspect it was possibly as small as a year - rather longer than the 10 or more years between the first and second books !

 The final book, which I shall start reading soon, is called "Rama Revealed", and I have read it before - although I can't be sure I read it all the way through. I have a vague memory that without reading the third book first, it didn't seem to make sense. I am wondering of I read as much as I could before getting totally confused and giving up on it. Once I start reading it I may remember more from when I first read it.

  I seemed to have a lousy night's sleep last night. I am sure I kept waking up in the middle of dreams, and then found it difficult to get back to sleep because I felt uncomfortable in bed. It was one of those nights where it was both too hot and too cold, and where the pillow and mattress grew strange lumps that weren't there earlier. It is also possible I dreamed some of these difficulties - as I think back my memories of the night do seem a bit surreal. The thing that is hard reality is that I do feel rather creaky this morning, but the longer I am awake, the better I start to feel.

  Three things might make today a good day, and one of them could also be a bad thing. The good or bad thing is that I might have a small parcel delivery from Amazon today, and it is possible I could be annoyed by being out when it comes. The reason for not staying in, keeping a keen eye out for the courier, is that I hope to have a lunchtime date with Angela today.  I am just waiting confirmation of it as I write this.

 The final thing I might to, and want to do if the beer at lunchtime doesn't affect me too much, is to go to a gig in Greenwich tonight. Once again Lord Algea are playing in The Morden Arms, and it is ages since I last saw them, and maybe 20 years since I last went into The Morden Arms - if indeed I ever did. I know where it is, and the frontage looks sort of familiar, but maybe I only went past it to get to another pub little up the hill from there. Maybe I'll get there, and maybe I won't, but at least I am considering trying for it.
Thursday 3rd January 2019
09:12 GMT

  It was cold yesterday. The highest temperature was about 6° C. As if that wasn't bad enough it was also grey for most of the time, but not all the time. Occasionally it seemed like the sun might breath through at any moment. I can't recall it actually doing so, but there was at least one time when it came tantalisingly close to being sunny - even if only a few seconds. A few seconds describes the period of time when it rained yesterday. The morning forecast didn't mention the possibility of any chance of sunshine, and it said the chance of rain was just 1%. A much later revision did admit there could be a shower. Maybe 3 or 4 seconds of rain doesn't count.
an even colder day
   Yesterday was cold, but today will be colder still. The afternoon may reach 5° C, but this morning, and after sunset it would be cold enough for snow if any precipitation for predicted. The closest to it might be at midday when the chance of any precipitation will rise to just 4%, but by then the temperature would probably be too high. In the screenshot above there seemed to be a chance of a sunny interval or two just before sunset, but that is omitted from the latest revision. It also says that maybe the temperature will now peak at 6° C for a couple of hours in the early afternoon. Another change in the forecast concerns tomorrow. It is still probably going to be a bitterly cold day, but at the moment lots of sunny spells are predicted.

   I couldn't seem to make any predictions about what I might do yesterday morning. I did express a vague desire for a bit of fresh air, and once I had showered I made a decision about what I was going to do...or specifically one thing I was going to do. Yesterday was a Wednesday, and today, a Thursday, is when the wheelie bins should be emptied. It seems that is not the case this morning because, presumably, the schedule is up the creek because of Xmas and New Year. I didn't think of that yesterday, and so I thought I would have a go at filling up the brown wheelie bin with garden waste.

  It was just 6° C when I went into the garden in just jeans and a t-shirt, and I have to confess it did feel damn chilly at first. Once I got working I soon warmed up. The first thing I did was to start sawing up some of the felled tree. Previous efforts have meant I am now having to tackle some of the thicker branches, but I made some progress before resorting to pulling up weeds and stuff. The most visible sign of this is that the start of my garden path is now being exposed.
garden path now being
  It wasn't exactly intended, but I have part rotated, and moved the felled tree trunk, and that obviously made clearing the old path a bit easier. It isn't visible in this picture but I have also cleared the topmost layer of weeds and stuff behind the tree. It seemed an impossible task at first, but it now begins to look like I will eventually clear the garden ready to start again at trying to make it more garden-like, and ideally keep it that way. The biggest hurdle at the moment is still the trunk of the felled tree plus several assorted stumps that I'll have to try and dig out somehow. The big stump may have to be left until it eventually starts to rot, but the smaller ones, like the remains of a huge buddlia bush, to the left in the above picture, should be removable with enough blood, sweat and tears.
the start of a cut
                      through a thick bit of a branch
  For now my biggest challenge is cutting up that felled tree. In the picture above I thought my hand and finger would give some idea of the scale of the picture - they don't seem to ! The visible saw cut is as far as I got trying to saw through a branch about 5 inches thick. I had been outside for possibly 90 minutes (although I didn't actually time it, and it could have been as little as an hour). I wasn't gasping for air, but I was breathing quite deeply, and I was also sweating a lot from the hard work. Trying to saw through that thick branch finally broke me.

  I felt exhausted when I went back indoor, but also very satisfied. I didn't expect to be able to do as much as I did. It was ultimately knackering, but I was surprised at the amount of sawing I could do without my arm falling off. Once I stopped work the nature of my fatigue seemed to change a lot, and it seemed to change for the worst. While I was still buzzing I made myself a simple lettuce with tinned fish salad lunch. I ate that, and very soon after I felt completely exhausted. I laid on my bed, and was soon asleep. It wasn't a long least I don't think it was. I still didn't feel terribly energetic after it.

  I did have an idea that I might pop out and get some shopping in the afternoon, but I just couldn't face it. Even into the early evening I still felt fatigued. By then I was getting a few reminders from some muscles that they had been used a lot. It wasn't exactly pain, but those muscles still made their presence notable. So I just had a quiet evening watching a bit of TV, re-scanning photo negatives, and thinking about bed a lot. When scanning the photo negatives it suddenly came to me that I was being stupid. Although I was often rescanning a whole pack of (usually) 24 exposure negatives, instead of a few selective pictures, and marking the packet as fully scanned, I was not giving each packet a serial number so that I could come back to it of I wanted to rescan a particular negative (perhaps after giving it a better clean). I have started now, but I probably will want o go back to the beginning again, and if nit re-scan them again, at least mark each packet, and note it on the files of scans on my PC.

  Although I felt very fatigued last night, it wasn't quite the same as feeling sleepy, and so once I went to bed I read for quite a long time. I must admit I was torn between a desire to go to sleep, and reading another interesting chapter in the book. Eventually I came to a good point where I could put the book down, and fall asleep fairly quickly. I don't think I slept that well last night. At least I can remember times when I woke up, and it seemed like I wouldn't get back to sleep again. Evidently I did get back to sleep, and it seems like I slept for quite long periods. One moment it seemed to be sometime between 2 and 3am, and the next moment it was just getting light outside just after 7am.

  It felt much too early to get up, but that is what I did - albeit in slow easy stages. This morning a few bits ache after my hard work yesterday, but maybe not nearly as badly as I imagined they would. In fact I seem to have come through it relatively unscathed. I thought that I would have a sore back after all the bending over I did to pull up weeds, but my back seems to be fine....well maybe not "fine", but acceptably OK ! The worst ache is probably some assorted muscles in my right arm from all the sawing I did, but even that doesn't seem to be too debilitating - I am very certain that I could still pick up a pint glass of beer, and drink it with no problem - and that is how such things are measured !

  My plans for today have not altered too much after an email that arrived just a short while ago. It seems a book I pre-ordered ages from Amazon will be delivered today. It is coming from their Dartford depot, and packets from there generally arrive between 1pm, and 3.30pm. That should give me plenty of time to have a shower, and then go to Tesco for a bit of shopping. Hopefully the book will arrive before 3.50pm when I shall take a wander to the station to go for my first Thursday evening drink of the year. I want to make sure I have some suitable food here so I am not tempted to get a takeaway on the way home after drinking beer. So my shopping trip this morning is rather important. I am anticipating an early night tonight. Whether it happens is anyone's guess, but it would be nice to be all fresh and raring to go tomorrow - I have a lunchtime date with Angela !
Wednesday 2nd January 2019
08:49 GMT

  It reached 11° C yesterday, and that was a degree more than the previous day, but it was still another mostly dull grey day. It was a bit brighter in the afternoon for a while, with the sun trying to break through the clouds, but it didn't make it.
a much cooler day
   It is possible that today has started off a little less cold than the forecast predicted. By my reckoning it is 5° C now instead of the predicted 4° C. Not that it makes much difference. With a forecast high of just 6° C it is going to be a cold day even if it was one degree higher. On top of that it is going to be another dull grey day. At least it should stay dry today. It gets worse. Tomorrow may only reach 5° C, and the day after could be really cold. Maybe it is good, or maybe it is bad that all these days are predicted to be dry. If they weren't we could have been treated to snow. As it is we will probably see a thick frost on Thursday morning.

   Having spent all yesterday morning on the phone I seemed to lose any inclination to try and think of things to do. It ended up one of those days where I was too busy doing nothing to be bored, and to find time for more productive pursuits. That's not to say I did nothing at all. I did quite a big load of laundry by hand. It had been left soaking for 24 hours, and I made sure I gave it two extra rinses to try to avoid it going smelly when it next gets damp, from sweat perhaps, the next time I wear one of the t-shirts. I hope I succeeded.

  There was one other little job that I did soon after the laundry, and one that is only notable because even I surprised myself by doing it. It was a job that I had noted needing doing some time ago, but it seemed like a job to do during spring cleaning. I suddenly had this impulse to take the lampshade off from the hall light, and give it a good wash to get the dust and cobwebs off it. I have to admit that if you happened to glance at it when coming through the front door it did look very grubby. Hopefully it will look bright and pristine the next time I come in.

  That is all my achievements described for yesterday. It is strange how there didn't seem to be time to do anything else. maybe there was time, or I could have found time if I was inspired to do something else, but somehow spending some time of the internet, and watching a little bit of TV kept me occupied until I decided to go to bed. Initially I went to bed to read, and I found that after a very dull bit of the book I was reading, I had reached a more exciting bit. I think it was 1am when I put the book down, and went to sleep.

  I feel I also ought to record two other micro triumphs, and a general failure of the day before I move on to today. Yesterday I had salad for lunch and salad for dinner. The former was "Greek inspired", while the latter was an Italian inspired salad. To be honest the only difference between the two was that the salad for lunch included some diced Feta cheese, and the salad included shave Parmesan cheese instead. Both salads were, hopefully, nice and healthy, and very low in calories and fat. Unfortunately I couldn't seem to stop myself snacking a lot yesterday. Maybe I was bored after all, and just didn't seem to realise it.

  As usual there is a lot of confusion about whether I slept well last night or not. I certainly got to sleep very late after reading until 1am. I remember dreaming a lot, and it sort of felt like I was close to waking as I dreamed, although while I should feel that way is a mystery. I know I woke at least twice during the night, and I remember thinking I would never get back to sleep again the last time I woke up because I had crunched my chest, and I had difficulty finding a comfortable position. I was therefore rather surprised to open my eyes again, and see it was daylight outside.

  This morning there seems to be no specific discomfort from where I crunched my chest in the night, and to be honest I can't really describe any other specific ache or pain. It is easier to fall back on what seems to be one of more common sayings now - " I don't feel very dynamic". I think if the sun were shining I would have grand plans to go out and do some photography somewhere. It is possible that I may still do that. I do have a specific area of Lewisham in mind that I would like to take some snaps of. Maybe I'll do that, or maybe I won't. I think I'll have a think while showering, and washing my hair, and see if any ideas come to mind.
Tuesday 1st January 2019
07:48 GMT

  Yesterday was yet another very uninspiring day. It was grey through all the daylight hours, although I have to admit that usually, but not exclusively, it was a light grey day. The afternoon high was around 10° C, and it was dry all day.
another dull, sunless day - a degree warmer
                      than yesterday
   The start of this new year is no more inspiring than yesterday. Another dull grey day is forecast, and the only minutely positive thing about it is that the afternoon high should be 11° C, and that is one degree more than yesterday. It would seem that no rain is expected. Tomorrow sees the temperature fall a lot, and the start of several days of rather cold weather.

12:26 GMT: Thanks to a very long phone call, a lot of time has passed. During that time I am sure I could see the sun trying to shine through the closed curtains for a few minutes. I can't currently see any blue areas of sky, but the clouds do look sort of lumpy and broken up a bit.

  Yesterday was another day when I felt mostly OK, but very non-dynamic. However I did raise the energy to do the little shopping trip I had been intending to do for several days prior to yesterday. I fist went to Savers where I found two of the shower gel flavours I wanted more of. One is a zesty citrus sort of flavour - very fresh feeling ! I think the other was lavender and tea tree oil flavour. I also spied, at the very bottom of a shelf some bottles of sweet strawberry shampoo and conditioner. I haven't seen that for over a year now, and I used to like it a lot when it was available. So I bought a bottle of shampoo and conditioner, and I think I ought to go back soon for more before it disappears again.

  After Savers I crossed to the other side of the precinct and went into Poundstretcher. It is an odd place. They sell lots that is priced a lot more than £1 - probably most things are more, but they also sell stuff that is also found in the Poundland shop a couple of shops away, and sometimes they sell it cheaper than £1 !  I found another couple of shower gels in there that I bought for, if I recall correctly, 79p per bottle. Savers charge 99p for the same thing, and Poundland charge, as you might expect, £1 per bottle ! There were other "bargains" to be had too !
                      from Poundstretcher
 On the left of the picture above are a couple of very lovely purple/blue bottles with what turned out to be still water with flavourings. On the left is mint flavour still water. I have drunk this bottle, and it was not wildly exciting. In fact it was a bit disappointing when I realised it was still water, but it was pleasant enough to drink. I haven't tried the lavender flavour water yet, and I am not expecting that to be very good. The good thing, and what induced me to buy them, was that they are on the clearance shelf for just 10p a bottle. On the right of the picture is what I thought was a bag of scotch bonnet flavour crisps. At the moment I am trying to avoid crisps when I can, but I thought that this flavour has to be tried. It was with some delight that I realised they were not crisps but popcorn, and far more healthier for me. They were a lot like popcorn - which of course is what they are - neither nasty nor nice. They did have a feint taste of chilli, but that is all. There was none of the fierce molten lava heat of scotch bonnet chillies to be found. They were just 39p per bag.

  Once I had finished my shopping I came home and had some lunch. It was a very simple lunch, but maybe not as simple as I should have had. It was most of a small Romaine lettuce with a couple of tins of mackerel in an alleged hot chilli sauce. I felt quite annoyed that I had allowed myself to eat much of the oil that the fish came in just because it was supposed to be hot chilli sauce. I'm not sure it had any detectable chilli heat or flavour, and I consumed all those extra calories for nothing.

  I almost wrote that I didn't do anything significant for the rest of the day yesterday, but I suddenly remembered that I did. For a couple of hours in the afternoon I had a visitor. It was from my neighbour, and fellow live music fan, Michael who lives around the corner from me. he had a Xmas present for me - a 70cl bottle of Haig Whisky - which was a very nice present indeed. He stayed for maybe two hours as we swapped gossip.

 A little later, after Michael had gone home again, I started watching two episodes of Star Trek - one from the original series, and one from the Enterprise series. While that was going on I ate a big salad that had too much Feta cheese in it, and too many olives, but was otherwise very healthy. The too many olive was because after dishing out a small portion I realised there were not enough left for another portion, and so I just threw the whole lot in. Star Trek kept me amused until 8pm.

 After that I made a start at transferring some digital video from my old camcorder to my PC. It was some almost aerial footage of Lewisham taken in 2002. It was taken from the top of the multi-storey car park on what must have been the windiest day of the year. I had the camera on a tripod, but the wind was so strong that the camera still wobbled, and if I recall correctly, was almost blown over during a very strong gist of wind.

  It was originally intended to be part of a trainspotting video, but now I think it is more interesting as a view of how Lewisham has changed so much. It was taken before the railway lines, and indeed many roads too, were boxed in by flats and houses, with the high rise flats being most intrusive. Once upon a time the train used to travel on a big airy embankment, but now it is like going through a canyon in some places. It spoils whatever pleasure you might derive from the views of travelling by train.

  It didn't take long to copy sufficient digital video (which from a DV camcorder has to be done in real time) to make a very short video clip looking at the Lewisham skyline, but I knew it would take a fair bit of time to select, and edit together the best bits. I was starting to feel too tired to have the patience for the editing. I had not had a nap all day, and so I decided I would go to bed. Some would consider that being asleep by, or very soon after, 9pm on new years eve to be an almost criminal act, but it suited me OK. Anyway, I did wake up at midnight, and saw the new year in by taking a pee before going back to bed.

  I woke up a few more times in the night, but overall I felt quite pleased with the sleep I got. At about 7am I got up for what I thought might be a short time to take a screenshot of the weather forecast, and to check my email etc. It was probably approaching 8am when my thoughts of going back to bed were interrupted by a phone call from Lee. Calls from Lee normally go on for ages, and this one was almost no exception despite the reason for his call was to ask me to phone Sue as quickly as possible because she was feeling really depressed, and was in tears earlier.

  So once I got Lee off the line I phoned Sue. It was difficult to tell if she was glad to hear form me or not, but she certainly had a lot to say bout all her recent misfortunes. It does sound like her life has taken a turn for the worst, and it was always a bit precarious beforehand. I talked, but mostly listened for hours, and I have no idea if I did any good or not. I suggested that she might want to come over to me tomorrow afternoon for a few beers and a chat, but she declined that because she has some very important paperwork to do. I suggested that maybe she would like to come here next week instead, and while she didn't say a definite no, she showed no enthusiasm for it. I think I have done all I can for her the moment, and I'll leave it there unless she requests more.

  Today I had grand plans for doing something, although what that something might be has never been resolved. One thing it won't include is a ride on any train from Catford station - there are replacement buses today. There are still trains from Catford Bridge, but I don't really feel the urge to go anywhere at this time in the afternoon. One thing I have to do is to finish some laundry I left soaking since early yesterday afternoon. I fear after this time I should start off with fresh hot water and detergent. Once that is out the way I could finally take a shower, and get dressed, but seeing as how it doesn't look like I am going anywhere today, and the chances of visitors are close to zero, I may not bother to wash and dress properly. I think I am going to have another very lazy day.