Pages composed using
site map

July 2019
Mon Tue Wed Thu Fri Sat Sun
1 2 3 4 5 6 7
8 9 10 11 12 13 14
15 16 17 18 19 20 21
22 23 24 25 26 27 28
29 30 31

My Diary/Blog For the Month of July 2019

Wednesday 31st July 2019
11:05 BST
  As the forecast predicted, there was a fair amount of rain yesterday, but maybe it finished for the day earlier than predicted. I don't recall any noticeable rain in the early evening, but I guess there may have been some light rain that wouldn't draw any attention to itself while I was indoors. There was also some sunshine, bit that was mainly confined to late morning/early afternoon. The most annoying thing was that the occasional bursts of sunshine seemed to warm my bedroom up, but the wind, which was also a feature of yesterday's weather, now I think of it, felt really chilly if I opened the window. The highest temperature was probably the forecast 20° C.
starting off brighter than predicted
  I note the forecast has been revised to show sunny spells this morning - a feature not shown on the earlier forecast above. There are a few times today when the chances of precipitation may hit 10%, but no rain is actually forecast. Today could actually be a fairly nice day. There seems to be just a mild breeze, and it makes the current temperature of about 20° C feel pleasant. Later on the temperature may peak at 22° C. With a bit of sunshine that could feel nice. Tomorrow could be overcast, but dry until late afternoon when the sun could break through. That may raise the temperature to a warm 24° C.

  I have already written about not feeling very good yesterday morning, and the story continues - I didn't feel very good for the rest of the day, but maybe I didn't feel quite so bas as evening approached. It all really depended on what I was doing. Sitting at my desk, reading or writing on my PC would seem make my chest ache more. I guess I was sort of scrunching all the ribs and stuff because of not being able to keep a very stiff backed, upright posture for too long.

  Not doing more physical stuff is often the enemy of many of my aches and pains. Sitting at my PC for too long can not only affect my chest, but it makes me knees more stiff and painful. It's best not to think of repetitive strain injury on my right wrist, and other consequences of typing and stuff ! To break the day up a bit I washed a few t-shirts and underwear yesterday. It was too wet to hang them outside, but they should have dried OK indoors with a fan on them to stir up the air. (I haven't checked them this morning, but I assume they are bone dry now).

  The one thing I didn't do yesterday was to take out time to lay on my bed to read and snooze. It's the first time that hasn't happened for ages (not counting rare days when I am out). It was both annoying and good that there were a few interesting programmes on TV last night, and they went on longer than I wanted. I think it was extended versions of QI and Have I got News For You that kept me glued to the PC until later than I preferred. Of course when I say I was glued to the TV that is not 100% correct. Both programmes, and Start Trek - Deep Space Nine before them, are on channels that show commercials, and during the commercials I checked emails and stuff on the internet.

  I think it was 11pm when I turned off the TV and went to bed. Before trying for sleep I read for a while before falling asleep quite easily. I think I found a position that managed to satisfy the conflicting demands of keeping my right arm, and my chest both comfortable for long enough to go to sleep. Maybe I slept like that a lot because both my right arm, including the often painful right shoulder, seem to be much improved this morning.

  I remember having one dream in the first hours of my sleep that was rather novel. It had hardly any action, and it was mostly thinking about how I might go about designing a synchronous, three phase, power inverter that could be connected directly to the grid, and paying particular attention to gate turn off time of the power mosfets that did the switching in an H-bridge configuration. Had it ever been built, and connected to the grid (straight up a pylon in my dream) I think it would have been a case of hit the switches, and run like hell before all hell was let loose !

  I can't remember if it was 2 or 3am that I woke up with a barely noticeable discomfort. The bigger clue was the amount of farting I was doing. A visit to the toilet was most productive, and the one 10 minutes later possibly even more productive. Despite the inconvenience of it in the middle of the night it was a good thing. Yesterday I had beans for lunch, and bacon, sprouts, and chestnuts for dinner. Sooner or later something had to give - and it did - unless there is more to come later.

  This morning it feel like I had a reasonable amount of sleep, and many of my traditional aches and pains seem fairly minor, but not actually gone. When I gave the toilet bowl a good scrub a bit earlier, my right shoulder, and some assorted muscles in my right arm complained a lot ! My chest has not really complained of anything yet this morning. With the amount of sunny intervals we are getting at the moment, it might have been a nice day to go out, but I am not completely sure I could trust my guts. It is possible the sprouts are still to come....

  The rights and wrongs of my guts are now neither here nor there. I have a better reason to stay in today. I am now expecting an order from Amazon today. I thought I had timed it to arrive on Friday, but apparently it has left the depot in Dartford, and is on it's way even as I type this. The last few deliveries have arrived after 5pm, but once they were before 4pm. Maybe it will be early today as well...but probably not.

  I guess it is rather irrational to get excited about a delivery, but I do anyway. None of the items I ordered have an immediate use, and so it wouldn't really matter if they came next week instead of today - except for perhaps one item. That one item is a mini tripod that might be useful for my trail cameras. Another item could also be used in the trail cameras - non-rechargeable 1.5V AA lithium batteries. They are most wonderful things - their lifetime must be at least 5 times the very best alkaline batteries, and they will work at full voltage in the coldest of a winter night. The final item in today's delivery is Isopropyl Alcohol spray. A cleaner I discovered to be so useful at work, and now so useful at home. It's great for getting greasy fingerprints off photographic negatives.

  I haven't done anything with them yet, but I checked the memory cards in the trail cameras earlier. At first I thought it was just more cat footage, but the fox appears a few times, although neither the cats or the fox have entered the fox earth. It makes me wonder if there is another inhabitant in there. Having two trail camera getting two views of the same action can be very useful. From one angle I am sure it shows the fox having a slight limp - most probably "my" fox. The other angle shows very clearly that it is a male fox !!

  Editing a video of last night's garden action will be one task for today. Another is to design (or slap together) an August page for this website. This year seems to be flying past so quickly, and it feels I have done so little that is memorable. Maybe next week I'll finally get to Southminster, and I can tick another destination off my (imaginary) railway stations to visit list.
Tuesday 30th July 2019
13:44 BST
  Yesterday was pleasant, but there was a bit more cloud than the forecast predicted, and so less sunshine. The temperature reached the predicted 25° C, and the best of the sunshine was in the late afternoon/early evening. There is one thing I can't be sure of. I have a sort of nagging feeling that there was a light sprinkle of rain sometime late in the morning, but I can't really confirm or deny it.
a very
                    mixed day
  Before commenting on today's weather I thought I ought to re-check it, but the forecast doesn't seem to have changed much since I took this screenshot at about 8am. For once that silly symbol of the rain drop, black cloud, and rays of sunshine seems to be appropriate. We have just had a short but moderately heavy shower, and now the sun has come out. Maybe this pattern will continue until sunset, and then there will be a few hours of drizzle. It is about the forecast 20° C, but there is some gusty wind that can make it feel rather cool when it is blowing. No rain is forecast to fall tomorrow, although the prediction does say there could be a 10 to 19% chance of "precipitation" for much of the day. There could be sunny intervals, but not until the afternoon. The afternoon temperature could be 23° C - a bit warmer than today, and potentially nice when the sun comes out - assuming it does.

  I didn't feel very good yesterday morning, and it was a challenge to convince myself to do anything. I thought, rightly or wrongly, that too much idleness was a potential cause of many of my aches and pains. So I pushed myself to do more - not always with good results. One of the first things I did was to wash the double duvet cover that I had taken off my bed after weeks of use in some of the sweatiest weather known to man ! To improve the wash I turned the water heater up to scalding. After the actual wash phase I turned the temperature back down to cool.

  One of the oddities I find about washing stuff by hand is that while it is hard work, sometimes very hard, it can sometimes make some of my aches and pains feel better. That is mostly so for when my chest is having a flare up. I'm not so sure it was so helpful this time, but I certainly didn't feel worse after washing that double duvet cover. At least I don't think I did. I did the wash in two stages - leaving the duvet cover soaking in detergent for a fair time before going back to do three rinses, and then treating it with fabric conditioner. I seem to think it was quite late before I got it hanging on the line, but in the warm afternoon it was bone dry by mid evening.
double duvet hanging
                        on the line
  You can tell the sun was out, and shining almost onto the lens from a very high angle - it's shows the dust motes on the lens as the bright circles of light on the photo. While I was out in the garden with a camera I checked the foxes earth.
entrance to earth
  I think I mentioned yesterday, or the day before, that it had been unsealed. The first sign was that some of the soil had been dug out, but the rubble I had put in there was still intact. During the night most of the rubble had been dug out, and I was thinking along the lines that maybe a mummy fox was going to move in.
excavated rubble from
                        foxes earth
  It would seem that only a fox could have dug all that rubble out, but it might be possible that a cat could have done it too if, for instance, it was trying to get to a rat. I must admit that although it might have possibly been a cat, a fox is the most likely culprit. During the previous week the foxes had been making a lot of noise at night, and I saw several chasing each other around. It is possible it was some sort of territorial dispute, but it reminded me a lot of mating time - which is usually in winter. Maybe it is not just a coincidence that the night time hullabaloo finished a day or two before the old entrance of the earth was dug out again.

  I think it must have been almost 4pm when I finally went out for a walk. I couldn't bring myself to just go for an almost aimless walk just because it might make me feel better, but eventually I decided that what I should do was to walk to Cash Busters - the second hand/ pawn broking shop. I wanted to see if they had any old VHS machines to replace my broken one. It seems that one day I will have to get my concentration and place and repair the old one because the man in the shop said he hasn't had one in for ages now. I remember seeing one in there much earlier in the year (possibly even late last year) and thinking maybe I ought to buy it as a spare. I wish I had now.

  I wasn't attempting to break any records as I walked to the shop, and probably because I was empty handed, I think I walked back a bit slower - maybe 6 minutes there, and 7 minutes back. On the way I did call in the corner shop to buy some pop and a couple of magazines. I don't think the walk made me feel any better, but fortunately it didn't make me feel any worse - except for while I was actually walking. I didn't really enjoy the walk, and it felt mildly uncomfortable to do it.

Peach flavoured Coke  Once I was home again  I could have a lie down and do some reading, but that didn't last long. Maybe it was a delayed positive effect of the walk, or maybe just a stray cosmic ray striking a certain neuron in my brain, but I had the urge to wash the rest of the bed linen I had taken off my bed a day or two earlier. It was helpful that the double duvet cover was already dry, and I could take it in to leave room on the line for the sheet and pillow cases. They were rather simpler to wash than the double duvet cover, and I had them hanging on the line in time to watch the 6pm news on TV.

  The news was typically a disaster area - stupid politicians trying to do things they don't understand lead by stupid people. I predict it won't be long before the IRA, who are already doing low level activity in Northern Ireland, start a terrorist campaign in London as a result of our wonderful prime minister, and his zombie advisers tinkering with the Irish border as part of his bumbling about with Brexit. Some of thought that Brexit would be a complete disaster with Theresa May at the helm. With Boris Johnson it is going to be a clusterfuck with bells on.

 One little treat, or diversion, if you can call it either, was to try some peach flavoured, zero sugar, Coca Cola. I had bought a 4 pack when I was shopping in Aldi recently. I thought it was high time I sampled one. Hmmmm, it is not nasty, but it is also not very exciting. 5 out of 10 for effort, but I don't think I will be buying any more, although I will finish the other three.

  After giving up on watching TV - rather later than I imagined somehow - I retired to bed to continue reading from the new magazines I had bought. I was actually reading Fortean Times, but only "shorts", and I didn't have to try and concentrate on the long articles. It was not my intention, but it did mean it was easy to put the magazine down, and go to sleep - which I did rather easily no later than midnight.

  It was too cool outside to leave the window open, and only just not too warm inside to need a fan on when I went to sleep. I didn't have a single drop of booze last night, and yet I still fell asleep easily, and mostly stayed asleep. Even the few  time I think I got up to pee were dreamlike. I am sure I had some dreams, possibly nice dreams, but all memory of them has now evaporated. Whether I had a good sleep is open to debate.

  For a lot of the morning I felt really bad, and it is difficult to describe why. Maybe if it were easy I would tell a doctor about it. Many bits of me ached. That included many parts of my chest, my elbows and upper arms, my right wrist, my upper and lower back, and assorted places around my belly. Many pains were/are only evident when making certain movements - but not always the same movement - almost all are very mild pains that taken individually would be generally ignorable, but together add up to misery. I suspect that most of the pains in my torso are some sort of cancer eating away at my insides. I wouldn't mind if they did the decent thing and ate away at the fat tissues first !

  I ended up having a very busy morning. Last night I put out my trail cameras to find out what was going on in my garden at night. One of cameras slipped on it's mount, and the lop sided video was not very useful - although it did give me a fair idea of what was happening. The other camera had a much better view, but there was a problem with the memory card in it. It somehow got corrupted, and my Linux PC just said there was an unidentified partition on it. Now the peculiar thing is that Linux can be very tolerant of odd formatting, but it was definitely no go.

  One thing that gave me hope was that the camera itself still seemed to be able to play it's own recordings. So next I tried plugging in a USB lead, but Linux just recognised that as an external drive with that same unidentified partition on it. I tried using a photo recovery app that had worked wonders on some hard disks, but it didn't seem to find any media for some reason (although I may have not fed it the correct parameters with hindsight). The next thing was to get out my laptop, and boot it into Windows XP (instead of Linux Mint).

  Windows recognised the partition, and showed the DCIM directory on the card, but would not let me read it. The next step was to do a disk check, and while it seemed to almost lock up the laptop, it did seem to work, and I finally, after rebooting, I was able to recover 12 good video files. These showed no sign of a fox, but plenty of activity from a cat. At one point the cat does some digging, and it made me wonder if it was this, or another cat that had dug out teh entrance of the foxes earth again. It would have been hard work moving some of the bigger chunks of rubble, but maybe not impossible if they were just rolled rather than picked up.

  It has now gone 3pm, and at this time I haven't even had a wash !!! I somehow doubt I will be doing much for the rest of the day. By now I would have hoped to have read half a magazine, and had several snoozes, but it feels like I have been stuck to either my desktop PC upstairs, or laptop downstairs, since I got up. A few hours ago I started washing a few t-shirts. I had better finish washing them before I fall into complete slothful behaviour for he rest of the day.
Monday 29th July 2019
09:28 BST
  Most of yesterday was overcast, and even when it wasn't, it was so underwhelming as to be ignorable. At least it was a dry day, although with no hot sun to dry things out it seemed like my garden didn't need watering after it's soaking the day before. With a maximum temperature of only 21° C it never felt more than "comfortable".
                    to summer - for one day only !
  It seemed to get quite chilly in the night, and the forecast temperature of 15° C at 6am may have been optimistic (but was probably right). As I write this there should be full strength sunshine, but there are some clouds in the sky that occasionally block the sunshine. It is still bright out though, and maybe we will get some long periods of sunshine today - as the forecast promises. As the afternoon comes to the end the temperature should peak at 25° C. Tomorrow could see the temperature drop back to something similar to yesterday, and while there could be some sunny spells, it seems that light showers will dominate.

  There were three things I suggested I might do yesterday, and it turned out that I did all three - and just about nothing else. One thing was to change the linen on my bed. I have to confess that it should have been done ages ago, but it is done now, and maybe if the temperature doesn't go over 25° C the current sheet and duvet cover might last a bit longer than those I changed - they had to endure the temperature hitting 36° C. That was not a dry night !

  Another thing I thought I might do, and did do, was to go shopping in Aldi. Before going I felt so rotten that I thought I was on death's door, but the walk there, and back, carrying my shopping, felt perfectly normal. That was all the more surprising considering I decided to test a pair of trainers I had long neglected because I thought they were uncomfortable. What might have made a difference yesterday was wearing thinner socks with them. They still felt a bit stiff, and maybe a little tight in some areas, but they didn't actually hurt - which is probably the best you can hope for.

  As I went around Aldi I seemed to have chicken on my mind, and I bought several packs of chicken. It was almost all I bought except for some ready prepared fruit, and lots of drink. As well as a twin pack of Diet Coke I bought a 6 pack of Aldi's diet lemonade cans, and I was suckered into buying a 4 pack of peach flavoured, sugar free, Coca Cola. The latter was out of curiosity. I have yet to try a can - maybe because I have doubts that it will be that nice.

  I also bought just one 500ml tub of frozen Greek yoghurt flavoured with papaya and mango (or two fruits that didn't sound very Greek to me). I don't know if it was originally intended to be, but it became my treat for going out when I didn't feel well enough to go out (but evidently was). It was probably at the ideal temperature when I tucked into it after getting home - just starting to melt, but still mostly solid. Being frozen yoghurt it was supposed to be low calorie, but I sort of doubt that, and I am very sure that it was far from low sugar. I didn't dare look at the nutritional values, but I am sure I could feel my pancreas creaking under the load after eating it.

  Before eating the ice cream I started cooking some (alleged) BBQ flavoured/marinated bits of chicken. I only had room for the legs in my mini oven, and I cooked the thighs in the microwave. Both ways seemed to produce similar results, but maybe the microwaved chicken tasted better because I had overcooked it.  One thing is for sure, whichever way I cooked it the chicken shrunk a lot. It must have been really pumped up with extra water and fat while being prepared for sale. Perhaps that worked to my advantage in as much as it kept my total food intake down. Until much later in the evening I had only eaten the chicken and the ice cream.

  I had slept quite well during the night - thanks to the more comfortable temperature - but that didn't stop me snoozing for as long as  could yesterday afternoon. It was surprising I found the enthusiasm to go out last night. Somehow I did find that enthusiasm, and enough of it to overcome some reluctance to go for reasons apart from not feeling that good. Those extra reasons for being reluctant to go were all about people I would rather not see there.

There are three people who particularly irritate me, and keep my away from gigs in and around Bromley, and none were all that likely to go to Stretchy's Open Mic, but another who I wasn't keen to see, had already indicated that she would probably go. That person was Jenni who I fell out with after the stupid kerfuffle about the picture taken at the Bromley Beer Festival which included her daughters friend - who was not a child, but very much acted like one. To be honest I was not sure who was avoiding who, but it turned out that Jenni seemed to be avoiding me more than I was avoiding her. The final evidence was that her dog, Willow, was also avoiding me despite me having dog treats in my camera bag.
The Swan & Mitre -
                        the venue for Stretchy's Open Mic
  The picture above makes it look like the venue was almost deserted, but the turn out was actually quite good. Unfortunately I didn't enjoy that much of it. There was the obvious difficulty of keeping my distance from Jenni, but that was minor compared to some the "entertainment". There was a man with a Ukulele who started with the novel idea of singing the Sex Pistol's "Pretty Vacant". By itself it was amusing enough to have some value, but another three songs accompanied by ukelele was more than I could stand.

  The ukelele man was followed by a slimy man singing crap songs to a backing track on his laptop. It is not an uncommon thing these days, although an iPhone is probably more common than a laptop. I think I hated every song he sung - not because his singing was bad, and not because he was singing karaoke style, but purely for the hateful songs he sung. He was followed by Rob Todd, and thankfully he was playing an acoustic guitar. Many of the songs he sings do not go well with Rob's playing style on an electric guitar - even less so when he uses an effects pedal that boosts the treble, and adds distortion. It can sound a terrible !

  After Rob had finished I said a few goodbyes and left almost an hour early. Avoiding Jenni was depressing me, and whether connected in some way, I was also starting to feel physically uncomfortable. I am still going through a mild, but annoying, costochondritus flare up. It is hard to describe because there was no actual pain, but my chest felt tender. Later on, while in bed, I turned over in bed and it was like all my ribs popped one by one in very quick succession. Even that didn't hurt, but it does feel bloody weird. Unfortunately the pain sometimes comes hours later.

  Apart from my chest I also seemed to be developing a bit of a stiff back. Once again it was not exactly painful, but seemed to be a warning that it could be (fortunately nothing came of it). Finally I had a very vague stomach ache. That was a sort of dull ache that was not exactly from my belly, but in that general area. It was probably my pancreas about to explode after the amount of sugar I have consumed recently. Once I started walking to the bus stop I felt a bit better, and I felt mostly OK (by comparison) all the way home.

  When I got home I didn't feel particularly hungry, and so I avoided all temptations of the fried chicken shops (for instance), but I still felt like eating something. I had sort of prepared for this, and maybe I was just following an earlier plan like an automaton. Nevertheless, the ready prepared melon, and ready prepared fruit salad went down nicely - helped by a large whisky - something else I rarely drink if I have drunk sufficient Guinness (which I didn't after my early departure).

  After eating I went to bed, but initially I just read because I didn't feel sleepy. I think I read one short story before I put the book down, and fell into what I think was a deep sleep. I can't be perfectly sure about it, but I think I slept solidly from midnight to 4.30am this morning, and maybe I only woke then because I was starting to feel a bit cool. For some reason I couldn't get back to sleep then, and so I got up and copied all the pictures I had taken to my PC, and did the usual selecting and editing. I had only taken 29 pictures in total, and so there weren't many to go through.

  The last thing I did was a very simple "top and tail" editing of a video I had shot on my phone. I left my PC crunching that, and went back to bed around 5.30am. It was light by then, and at first I didn't think I would be able to fall asleep again, and maybe for the first hour I didn't sleep, but suddenly I was waking up from what felt like  long dream, and another couple of hours seemed to have passed without me noticing (except for the dream time).

  This morning the usual bits hurt, and my chest seems very volatile. I am having to be careful with my posture as I write this to avoid inflaming it. I am in three minds about what to do today. I feel like going back to bed again, but that would probably be unneeded, and a waste of time. What I probably ought to do is to go out and have a good walk to stretch my legs. It should be warm and sunny today, and ideal for a nice walk. On the other hand I have the stinking bed linen taken from my bed yesterday, and today would be excellent drying weather if I were to start washing it. I have no idea what I will do at the moment. I guess I'll have to reveal the outcome tomorrow.
Sunday 28th July 2019
11:21 BST
  The weather was pretty grim yesterday. With the amount of rain that fell the garden certainly didn't need watering ! The forecast included a couple of hours when there might have been sunny periods. As far as I am aware those never happened, although now and again it seemed like it was brightening up a bit. The afternoon temperature reached 20° C, but it seemed to fall away fast in the evening.
                    dry, but still mostly overcast
  It is, or was a fairly cool morning. The morning is running out now as I write this, and the temperature is very slowly rising. Maybe it will reach 21° C by mid afternoon, and that will be the highest it will go today. Today doesn't seem quite as dull as yesterday, and yet the cloud cover seems complete. There is a small chance that we will see some sunny intervals as the afternoon gives way to the evening. Meanwhile, the latest revision says that for the next hour or two (as I write this) there is a 17 to 19% chance of some rain ! Summer should resume tomorrow with lots of sunshine, and 25° C.

  I felt extremely un-motivated yesterday. It was a combination of the grey skies and rain, plus I wasn't feeling all that good. I couldn't quite put my finger on why I didn't feel good until later in the afternoon. Until that revelation came I hardly did anything at all. About he best I did was to prepare another video taken of The Entourage Band. It required little work from me, and after 10 to 15 minutes it was time to let the computer munch through the binary digits for 30 minutes or so. I spent much of my time just laying on my bed mostly reading. I tried to snooze, but couldn't seem to fall asleep.

  I'm not sure what time it was in the afternoon that I became aware of a pain in my lower guts. I went to the toilet, and 5 minutes later I thought my troubles were over, but I was wrong. It wasn't long before there was some serious rumblings and gurglings from my belly, and another visit to the toilet seemed prudent. 10 minutes later much had passed, and I thought I would feel better, and to a limited extent I did, but that was not the end of the story.

  I remember having some doubts about some potato salad that I had no room for in the fridge on the hottest day ever ! The day before yesterday I cautiously opened it, and sniffed it. It seemed perfectly OK, and maybe it was, but I still blame it for what was obviously food poisoning yesterday. It was bad enough that I went to feeling quite warm to almost, but not actually, shivery for a short while. I had one more visit to the toilet, which was more like a usual visit, before I felt basically OK.

  I was quite wary about what I ate yesterday, but I was in no mood to actually fast - even if that may have been the sensible thing to do. Instead, I had two unusual elements in my arsenal - or cupboard and fridge. I had bought a pint of milk, and a packet of strawberry flavour Jaffa cakes (as well as packets of lemon and lime, plus standard orange Jaffa cakes). My late lunch, and later afternoon snacks were of milk and cookies. I had a more substantial dinner, but I resisted the temptation of covering it with chilli sauce. After that I started on some neat whisky to help kill off any bugs in my system (possibly). I had also felt good enough to start going through the pictures I had taken on Friday night.
The Entourage Band
  I had tried to take pictures without using flash at first, but much of the light was behind the band, and it was generally of one strong colour. I did manage a few semi-reasonable snaps, but using flash made things a lot easier.
The Entourage Band
  Kornelia can be a most expressive singer ! I have a theory that before becoming a singer she had some experience in the theatre, and so likes dressing up for gigs. She also decorates her face, and it can look good, but it was so hot and sticky in the pub that her face was covered in a thin sheen of sweat, and her decorations slowly slid off her face !
close up on Kornelia
Close up on Kornelia singing very expressively.
Steve Cox
  It was Steve Cox, the bass player's birthday on Friday, and he was excused from playing bass while the rest of the band sung happy birthday to him.  He later used this picture as his profile picture on social media.

  I was watching some TV while I finished the last of the pictures. It made it a slow process because there was stuff on that I actually wanted to watch, rather than just hear. Some programmes on TV can be quite adequately enjoyed just by sound, but some need to be watched. One programme was semi convenient because bit had to be seen, but a lot of it worked on sound alone. It was the much repeated Fleetwood Mac documentary.

  I think you get a different message every time you watch that documentary...or maybe not a different message, but a more complete message. There was much in it that can resonate with personal experience, and when it does you can understand it better. The core of the documentary must be about the recording of the album Rumours, and how it was recorded with the band somehow still performing together despite tension being so high because some of their love lives being in such a volatile state.

  I think on this viewing I was much more receptive to the trials and tribulations of relationships going wrong at an older age. There is a special tragedy when you find the years are running out, and the chance of finding a new partner, particularly one who if of a similar age, is not a wrinkled old prune, and if you do find a new partner the limited amount of years you might have together. Very often it doesn't seem worth it, and life becomes rather meaningless.

  The cool wet day allowed my bedroom to cool down too, although not as cool as it was outside. I think it was still 25° C when I went to bed. It was actually a nice temperature, and I was able to sleep on top of the duvet, uncovered, without feeling hot or cold. I think I had rather a good sleep last night, and if it wasn't good enough first time, the extra two hours I got after first getting up, must surely have topped up my reserves nicely.

  I am trying to work out how I feel this morning. My right shoulder, elbow, and some of the muscles seem to be a bit sore, but I am sure I could easily cure that with a couple of paracetamol. The rest of me seems no more stiff and creaky as most mornings - nothing to worry about, but enough to take away any desire to do anything energetic. I expect I could be quite bored by the end of the day, but there are a few things I might do. Maybe one of them I had better do. That will be to change the linen on my bed. I have poured so much sweat on it one some of the very hot days that it must stink - although I don't really notice it !

  Tonight presents a dilemma. I could go to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Swan And Mitre in Bromley. It easy to get to, apart from a tedious 20 minutes on the bus, but being in Bromley there are likely to be people there I would rather not see - or in some case people who would rather not see me - possibly. It can be a fun evening - in a sort of low level, non laughing kind of fun. I guess I'll just wait and see how I feel when the time comes. If nothing else I could stratch my legs with a shopping trip to Aldi.
Saturday 27th July 2019
09:23 BST
  Yesterday wasn't always as wet as the forecast predicted. There was a bit of rain in the morning, but it didn't really amount to much. It was barely enough to water my potato plants.  The forecast said there would be sunny intervals in the afternoon, and there probably was, but they didn't seem to be good enough to leave any special memories of them. The forecast said there would be some light rain from about 9pm last night, but it arrived almost an hour earlier than that. Fortunately, because I was walking through the park, I reckon I only got hit by a drop every 2 seconds. It didn't seem to last for long, and didn't start again until some unknown time in the small hours of this morning. It was a considerably cooler day than the day before, peaking at 27° C, but it still felt very hot and sticky indoors.
                    be non stop rain today
  I have no idea why they put those little sunbeams around the clouds on forecasts. Many are shown today, and so far it has seemed that the chance of seeing a single sunbeam is close to zero. Outdoors (but not indoors) it has been a fairly cool morning - barely making 18° C despite the forecast saying 19° C. The forecast is 100% right about the rain. I am not aware of it being very heavy at any time, but it is certainly persistent. I don't think it has stopped for the last 3 hours. Maybe we will get a respite for a few hours around 6pm. I am unsure how low the temperature fell in the night, but for the first time in about 3 days it became too cool to sleep with the fans on. The highest temperature today is predicted to be 20° C, and that will help the interior of the house to cool down after it's roasting on Thursday, and to become more comfortable.

  The weather forecast is very volatile at the moment. When checking about tomorrow I see that the latest for today is that the temperature may only reach 19° C, and that until 9pm, when the rain may finally stop, the only respite from the rain could be at 7pm, and only 7pm. Tomorrow will be slightly warmer. The current prediction is for 21° C. There will be a small residual chance of rain, but the day is predicted to be dry. Unfortunately it will still be overcast, with almost no chance of seeing any sunshine. Monday could see some sunshine, but after that there might be several more rainy days.

  It still felt very hot and sticky indoors, and wet and sticky outdoors yesterday. It wasn't an ideal situation to do anything, and I almost didn't, but although it would mean drying everything indoors, I decided I would do some laundry. I cranked up the water temperature to high because I wanted to re-wash the towel that I had used as a pillow protector when I was sweating a lot on hot nights. I also had a white t-short that had what I think may have been a curry stain on it, plus another t-shirt that had got soaked with sweat. On top of that I had some underwear to wash.

  I let it all soak in frazzling hot water for an hour or two before doing the rinsing and conditioning in cooler water. Before putting in in the wash I gave the curry stains on the white t-shirt a good spray with "Vanish". I think that helped, but I am wondering if I will ever get that t-shirt pure white again. Maybe I will, after many such washes, but for mthe moment I just have to live with it being better than before.

  That laundry was about the only thing I did during most of the day. For some odd reason, I don't think I even ate much - which is sort of odd, although I didn't eat nothing at all ! Mostly I was just very lazy. I tried to catch up with some of my lost sleep, but I don't recall getting any more sleep than the occasional 10 minute snooze. I have to admit that for much of the time I was not watching the clock, or caring about the time, and maybe I did have a longer sleep without realising it.

  The only bit of clock watching I did was to do with going out in the evening. I think it was around 6.30pm that I had a second shower to freshen myself up, and to wash my hair.  I intended to leave home a little after 8pm, and by then I was feeling almost fresh, and almost dry. The only thing I didn't have was any great enthusiasm. It felt like an unneeded chore to go out, and yet I knew I would probably enjoy myself to some extent or another.

  The band I was going to see were The Entourage Band, and they were playing in The Ladywell Tavern. There were potentially several ways of getting there, but walking through the park seemed like the nicest option. I set out walking quite fast. There was no reason to walk fast, but I can't seem to walk slowly, although I probably could have walked a little bit slower - and benefited from it too. It is about 0.8 miles from home to the Ladywell end of the park. I don't know if it was the thick humid air, but I felt knackered when I got that far. From there to the pub takes the distance up to a figure that must be close to a full mile. I have no idea how fast I walked, but I think the walk took about 20 minutes, and that equates to about 3mph - which seems to be my average for all but short walks.

  When I arrived at the pub I was almost dripping, but I don't think it was just me on this occasion. My blood temperature probably went up a notch when I found that Guinness cost £5.05 there.  Some places still manage to charge just under £4 (maybe £3.95), and the average seems to be about £4.50. I could stomach £5 exactly because it makes getting change from a £20 note tidy, but that added 5p was annoying !

  I was highly fortunate to grab a seat near a stand alone air conditioner, and so suffered less than others. Ashio, the drummer was on his second t-shirt and second bandanna after setting up his drum kit. Meanwhile, Kornelia, the singer, had the glitter and stuff she likes to put on her face, sliding off as her face became wet with sweat.

  After thinking it was a chore going out to see the band I did, as I knew I would, find myself enjoying the gig. Maybe not enough to stay to the very end, but quite close to it. I later heard that the gig stopped at exactly 11pm, closing time. I left not long before that to get the 10.55 train from Ladywell station. I had decided that I didn't really want to walk through the park after dark while carrying over £1000 worth of photographic gear. Getting the train would save me from that, and save 10 to 15 minutes of walking.

  Not having to walk so far was very welcome because the moment I stepped out of the pub my feet started to ache. They didn't ache walking to the pub, nor while I was in the pub, but within 5 paces from pub it felt like I had walked 5 miles on them. That was a bit weird. I had one little mini adventure at Ladywell station. As I walked up one side of the footbridge, to get the the other platform, a fox was walking up the other side. We met at the top, near the far side (from my perspective). The fox didn't panic, and was seemed quite relaxed, but wouldn't pass me even when I stepped to the side to give it as much space as possible. It casually walked back down the stairs, and went through the fence to wait for me to pass. Once I had walk a few tens of feet down the platform it came back through the fence, and walked over the bridge. It is rather amazing that the foxes have learned to use the bridge. The bridge is only 20ft from the ramp, at the end of the platform, down to track level, and it could cross that way, but it chooses the safer route.

  I was home again at 11:05pm, and I had a treat waiting for me. I could have got a takeaway from the fried chicken shop, and I could even have bought fish and chips from the shop I passed on the way from the pub to the station, but I had pre-cooked a couple of steaks before going out. I just needed to heat them up, and I served then with some coleslaw. They were nice, but I didn't seem to enjoy them at the level I hoped to.

  It was probably about midnight, or maybe a little later, that I went to bed. It still felt very hot and sticky in my bedroom, and so I had the fans on - one pointed at my chest and face, and the small fan blowing over my feet and lower legs. I fell asleep easily enough like that, but at 2 or 3am it seemed that my room had cooled of a fair bit, and I turned off the big fan. Maybe an hour later I woke up and my legs were feeling too cold, so I turned off the small fan. I guess I had a pretty disturbed night, and didn't get enough quality sleep.

  Maybe that lack of sleep doesn't matter because the cold grey light, and all the rain outside does not inspire me to do anything. I predict I will be spending a fair time today laying on my bed reading, and snoozing. I am in a quandary about tonight. There is a performance, at The British Oak pub, by Back To The Fray, but it seems it will not feature Miranda on vocals. It might be nice to pop in to see Brain Bath on guitar, but without Miranda I am not sure if I can be bothered.

  I am forgetting that I have a load of pictures that I took last night. I will be spending a good few hours processing them, and thus less time reading and snoozing. I also shot two videos last night. One was on my big camera, and so might be a bit better, but one was shot on my Huawei P20 Lite mobile phone, and it is one thing it does rather well. Here's The Entourage band covering The Red Hot Chillie Pepper's "Under The Bridge".

Friday 26th July 2019
09:05 BST
  Yesterday was every bit as hot as the forecast said it would be, maybe as high as 38° C - except the rest of the forecast was wrong ! The forecast said sunshine all day with the chance of any rain no higher than 4% until almost after midnight. Until about 1 or 2pm the sun was beating down unmercifully, but then it clouded over, and there was a little sprinkle of rain. So little that you could see each drop hitting the ground, and then evaporating away....well maybe that is a slight exaggeration, but there really wasn't enough rain to keep the ground looking wet. Once that rain stopped, and I doubt it lasted more than a few minutes, it stayed overcast to some degree or another, dry but very humid until about 6pm when there was some heavier rain - enough to leave puddles. While that rain was falling, and maybe for a while after, there were distant peals of thunder, but nothing local. After sunset it seemed dry, and the temperature started very slowly decreasing - except in my bedroom where it felt like a furnace until after it was light this morning.
                    and much wetter
  It is taking forever to cool down indoors, but outside it almost feels chilly right now. This morning's forecast has started off right, but I find it hard to believe that there will be a single sunny interval at 10am... Although when I look at the sky I can see a few small blue patches. At the moment the rain continues to fall, and there is more thunder coming from the distance. Maybe the afternoon will feature sunny spells, and maybe it won't. It seems likely that the afternoon temperature  will hit 27° C, but it won't be that high for long. The temperature will gradually drop until sunset. That is when the rain is forecast to return, and that is predicted to cool the air quite quickly. It could be (or I hope it will be) quite a fresh night with the temperature falling to 19° C just after midnight. Tomorrow is predicted to be wet all day, and only 20° C maximum. Sunday will start off wet, but the latest prediction is that the rain will stop during the morning, and the rest of the day will feature sunny spells.

  It was already very hot when I went out to buy the last bit of shopping in preparation for Patricia's visit.  After that I sat back, and tried to stay cool while waiting for Patricia. She arrived earlier than expected (although she did give me progress reports along the way, and her arrival was not a surprise). Originally I expected her about 2pm, but she arrived an hour earlier. She had had to do the last bit of the journey on a 185 bus, and I am told it was like an oven in it.

  I had kept the window closed, and the curtain drawn in the living room, and with two fan running, it felt quite cool in there. A chilled can of ready mix gin and tonic, in glasses I had left in the freezer for an hour, provided a nice cool drink for Patricia. After Patricia had checked her mail, and told me all her news, she inspected my garden. I was almost stunned to find there had been a shower while we were indoors, and that it was only just finishing while we were outside.

  It is only 3 or 4 weeks ago that Patricia stayed here for a while, and yet she said the garden looked completely different. The potato plants were one thing that was very different, but maybe I had cleared a lot more in those 3 or 4 weeks. The work is still far from over, but now it has changed from a small amount of big stuff to a big amount of small stuff. Of course there is still one very big job to consider, and probably do, and that is to convert the middle of the garden back to lawn. I'll need to try and remove the roots of a lot more root, remove a lot of the big pebbles, and assorted rubble, and try and level it out before planting some grass seed. Maybe, just maybe, I'll have a lawn next year, and all the bloody maintenance that will need !

  It was so nice to see Patricia again, and to spend a couple of hours with her, but ultimately she had some bad news. Here partners mum, who lives in Wales, is quite sick (terminally so I think), and Patricia has decided it would be better to stay with, and support her partner rather than stay in London. One deciding factor is that the interpreting job she thought she would do was cancelled, and so the real reason to stay in London had gone. She may be able to visit again for an hour or two, depending on timing, when they come through London to go to Stanstead Airport (I think) for their flight back to Italy. There is also a chance of another flying visit in September when they travel to Argentina for our winter (Argentina's summer) via one of the London airports.

  After Patricia left I didn't have much time to get myself ready to go out for my Thursday drink - not that I needed much preparation apart from a change of trousers, and a fresh t-short. I still somehow managed to leave it until the last minute before leaving to walk to the station. In fact it was after the last minute for any normal day, and many minutes late on a fiercely hot day. It was probably lucky that I had drunk a can and a half of gin and tonic before making a mad dash to the station. On a record breaking hot day I managed about my fastest walk to the station ever.

  In one respect that was not unsurprising. I have done some of my longest walks ever on some of the hottest days - although none recently. The difference is that I have been feeling very sub par recently. Assorted bits seem to ache more these days, and I've been going through a flare up of what may, or may not be Costochondritus. The reality was that after my mad dash in the full afternoon super heat, I arrived at the station in plenty of time (further aided by the train being a couple of minutes late), and apart from sweating a lot, I felt perfectly OK. Maybe I even felt good - sort of exhilarated !

  I arrived at the pub 10 minutes early of the special earlier time of 4pm - suggested as a way of better securing a table on what might have been a very busy afternoon/evening in the pub. In reality the pub was not busy at all. After a couple of pints I started to keep a close eye on the train times. There were lots of cancellations because of speed restrictions caused by the very hot weather. Thameslink trains seemed to have less trouble with the rails south of London, and most of the cancellations were caused by lack of rolling stock. Lots of their trains were trapped north of London by failed overhead wiring. I didn't hear of any problems on the third rail network, although there could have been some. but I most definitely heard of overhead wire failures on almost all routes out of London to the north.

  I was just finishing my third pint when I noted that in between a load of cancellations there was one train running, and I decided to get that one. It was still 20 minutes away, and so I had an extra half pint before going to the station. I think it was a wise move because the next train might have been as much as 90 minutes later (although one might have slipped through while I wasn't paying attention).

  The new class 700 trains that Thameslink use do have air conditioning, but the temperature is never set very low. So you never feel anything near the shivers when getting on a train. It did feel sort of comfortable on the 9 minute ride back from Shortlands, but I never really felt I was being cooled down until we got to Catford. When the doors opened at Catford it was like being hit in the face with a hot, wet towel. The air seemed thick and hot. Although I could hear distant thunder as I waited for the train at Shortlands, there was no rain, but the first rain started to fall soon after I got on the train. At Catford, as well as the hot sticky air, it was raining, and instead of it being refreshing, it was like being under a hot shower !

  It was only a 20ft diversion to check the Sainsburys local store by the station to see if they had any of their salad left. They did, but not the very nice Greek salads. So I popped in a bought a couple of salads, plus a few reduced price items. Once again the reductions were far more generous than Tesco usually manages. After that bit of shopping I made very swift progress walking home. Most of the walk was in the dry, but I was dripping with sweat when I got indoors. It should have felt wonderful to strip off, but my bedroom was about 32° C, and I didn't really stop sweating until this morning !

  I had an assortment of stuff for dinner, and watched a bit of TV. Dinner included a reduced price ham and egg salad from Sainsburys. I've never tried one from them before, and for some reason it was in a completely different aisle to the other salads - it was with the ready made sandwiches. I also had a rather nice 500ml tub of ice cream. It didn't seem to cool me down as much as I hoped, but it was very nice.

  The heat and the booze, not that I had a lot of booze, took it's toll on me, and by 8.30pm I felt very tired. I brushed my teeth and lay on my bed. I tried to sleep, and maybe I did for a few minutes here and there, but it seemed that for a full hour, or more, I just lay on my bed unable to sleep in the heat. At some time in the evening, and I think it might have been around 10pm, a little bit of a breeze sprung up, and it pushed some very slightly fresher air in to my bedroom. I doubt it dropped the temperature more than a degree though, but it did give hope, and maybe it was enough to get me to sleep for a few hours. I was awake again just after midnight, and probably every 2 or 3 hours through the night. At midnight the breeze had gone, but there were tantalising hints that it was cooling down outside, but my bedroom still retained much of it's daytime heat.

 As I write this my thermometer says it is 23° C outside, but it is still 27° C inside my bedroom - and that is with all the upstairs windows open. ... I've just popped downstairs to open the living room window, and now I am sure I can feel some cooler air beginning to circulate. It was while opening the window downstairs that i noticed how quiet it was outside. I can hear the occasional car, sometimes only in a nearby road, but no one seems to be walking about. Perhaps everyone is catching up on several days of lost sleep - quite a good idea, and one I may do.

  This morning I don't think I feel quite as bad as I feel on many mornings, but I still don't feel very good. It makes me wonder how I could have rushed about so much yesterday without feeling any negative effects - maybe I am feeling those negative effects now.  And so on to Today.... With Patricia not staying I have no need to do some of the bits of housework I was going to do. Some of them were very little things like changing the shower curtains. The 99p shop grade shower curtains I put up 6 weeks ago are every bit as good as you might expect - although I wouldn't expect the printed pattern on them to start to wash off ! Changing them to fresh 99p shop shower curtains would be easy now I have installed proper support wires for them, but I shan't bother changing them now until the unlikely prospect of anyone else but me wanting to use my shower until maybe next summer if Patricia stays in London for a week or two.

  If think my entire plans for today end up as trying to raise the energy and enthusiasm to go to a gig tonight. Tonight's gig is interesting in that it is so close, and yet involves a long(ish) walk there and back. The Entourage Band are playing in The Ladywell Tavern. There are a couple of rather circular and indirect bus routes there, but the simplest way is to walk through the park. If it is not raining, and not too humid, it might even be a nice walk. The walk back in the dark may be interesting !
Thursday 25th July 2019
09:41 BST
  Yesterday was hot and sunny, and also rather sticky ! The top temperature was possibly 32° C = 1° higher than forecast.
hottest day ever
  Today records may be broken ! The is a hot plume of air coming to us all the way from Africa, and it is predicted that some places may see the temperature exceed the highest ever recorded figure of 38.5° C. Maybe in Catford it will be a little less - just 36° C, but apparently that will feel like 42° C ! I have just re-checked the forecast, and there has been a development in the last few hours !
hotter than hell
  It seems the latest prediction is that it will be 38° C, and I have expanded the information for 4pm when it will be hottest. It shows that the temperature will feel like the 42° C that I mentioned. By midnight there could be some thunderstorms, and maybe they will help to cool things down a bit. Tomorrow could end up more than 10° C cooler than today, and will probably see more rain, but also some sunny intervals. The weekend could almost feel cold compared to today - maybe just 22° C, and dull, overcast and wet - maybe.

  There were a few things I should have done yesterday, and a few things I wanted to do. One of them was to go back to the pharmacy to complain that once again my repeat prescription was incomplete. The paper work clearly stated that I should have both low dosage aspirin, and a drug called Empagflozine, but neither were in the bag of drugs when I checked it. I should have rushed back there first thing in the morning, but it seemed too hot to be rushing around, and so when the need arises I will just buy some 75mg low dosage aspirin, and just do without the drug that helps keep my blood glucose level a bit lower - mainly on days when my sugar consumption goes us, such as yesterday !

  I did go to Tesco at about midday, and it felt good and bad. It seems to be taking quite a long time to get over the effects that hard work in the garden does to me. The last time I was out there I tried not to stress myself too much, but I hadn't recovered from the time before that, and that time was when I had a fight with the tree root, and it won. My chest is still very volatile after that, and silly things can trigger off the odd unpleasant twinge. Just stepping down from my front door step caused a little bolt of pain centred around the top of my left man boob. Walking into the car park by Tesco means doing a little sort of wiggle in an otherwise straight line walk, and that set off a few aches. These aches are generally short lived, but there were more, and cumulatively they spoilt what should have been a pleasant walk.

  Whether I can blame those little bursts of pain for forgetting two important things is open to conjecture. I was 50% buying stuff for Patricia's visit, and while I remembered the Jaffa cakes, I totally forgot the milk and fresh orange juice. I did buy some more salad for me, and so cold sliced meat to go with it. I managed to make an error there though. I was sure I picked up a packet of sliced corned beef, but I seemed to have sliced roast beef - rather poor quality sliced beef I discovered when I ate it !

  Another mental aberration was to buy two pots of ice cream. One of them claims to be low(er) calorie, but both probably contain far more sugar than is good for me. To eat those while not having a drug that helps my body deal with excess sugar was not the most sensible idea, but I did it anyway, and yesterday afternoon I enjoyed one of those tubs. Maybe I'll be eating the other sometime later today.

  I only managed one particular bit of tidying up yesterday, and it was to clear away the VHS player, VHS cassettes, and my Samsung camcorder that I had been using for VHS to mp4 video transfers. Before clearing it away I had a go at getting out the VHS tape that had become stuck in the machine, and preventing me from doing any more transfers. Almost 20 years ago when I used to do that sort of thing for a living, and more importantly I could call on the experience of several well practiced engineers, such a job would have been easy.

  Yesterday, in the heat, and without a proper bench to work on, I gave up really quickly, and with the screws I had taken out in a plastic bag shoved into the mechanism, and with the lid of the machine just resting on top, I shoved it under the TV for another day. I might give up completely if I find another VHS video recorder in a second hand shop somewhere - for little more than £10 !

  I spent the rest of the day just dripping. Actually I did do more than nothing. I watered my potato plants, and I did some cooking...sort of. Lunch was a salad with too much potato salad on it, and what should have been corned beef, but it turned out to be poor quality sliced beef. Obviously none of that needed cooking, but my dinner did ! Dinner was another bowl of Brussels sprouts. This time I made no pretence of them being a side dish to some meat, like I did they day before. Last night I just had sprouts, glazed with some butter, and nothing else.

  Of course they didn't really fill me up, and it wasn't long after that I had some savoury biscuits with cream cheese on, and not long after that, some German salami. I don't think there is anyway I can pretend that was a three part healthy meal ! I washed it all down with chilled water. I have two empty 2l drink bottles I fill with tap water, and keep in then fridge. In this heat they don't stay chilled for long when taken out of the fridge, but for a while the water is delightful to glug down.

  I lay on my bed, with the fan blowing over me, reading last night. I wasn't paying too much attention to the time, but I think it was before 11pm that I put the book down, and fell asleep. Two hours later I woke up almost feeling like I had enough sleep. I didn't feel particularly uncomfortable, although I was rather sticky, but the fan blowing on me seemed to stop me overheating, and there seemed no reason why I shouldn't get back to sleep, but sleep would not come.

 Between 2am and 3am I gave up trying to sleep. I turned on my bedside lamp, picked up my book, and started reading again. After an hours reading I tried for sleep again, and managed to fall asleep. I don't think it was good sleep though, and then at 5am the dustbin men turned up for the first of three visits - one for general waste, one for recyclable waste, and one for kitchen and garden waste. From about 5am to gone 7am it felt like I just had my eyes shut rather than sleeping. I guess I probably was asleep a lot of the time, but it didn't feel like it.

  This morning I don't feel all that good, but at least I have some distractions later. I think sleeping with the fan blowing across my body has left me with a few stiff muscles, and not enough sleep has left me feeling edgy. Then there is my my edgy chest with it's creaks, and pops, plus little pains here and there. One good thing is that my right shoulder still seems to be fairly free of pain, but my right elbow is a bit stiff and sore. In short, this body of mine is wearing out.

  Today's distractions from the aches and pains include another shopping trip to Tesco to buy milk and orange juice. A short visit from Patricia - probably between 2 and 3am. She will be off to Wales with her partner after seeing me, but she should be back in a day or two to stay for 3 or 4 days. After Patricia leaves I will be making an early start to get to Shortlands for an even earlier Thursday drink than normal. We are meeting at 4pm today, and if it is not full of screaming kids, we may be drinking in the garden.
cat in the bush
  Yesterday afternoon I looked out of the kitchen window, and although I didn't have my glasses on, I could see what looked like grey fur under the last bit of uncleared garden (except for the thin strip along the back fence). My first thought was that it was my fox come back, and that maybe it was hurt and had tried to get back down the hole I had blocked off. I had seen evidence that a half hearted attempt had been made to dig it out again. I grabbed my camera, and cautiously approached. Once I was about 5ft away I could see that it was just the Siamese cat that often visits my garden. It probably wanted to shelter from the sun down in the fox's earth, and it was possibly who had tried to re-open it. I don't think a fox would have stopped at the small pieces of rubble I had tossed down there.
Wednesday 24th July 2019
09:09 BST
  The forecast for yesterday was almost spot on. It was a hot, bright, and sunny day. The late afternoon temperature reached 32° C, and it was basically a nice day. The only thing wrong with the forecast concerns 2am this morning.
another hot and sticky day
  There is gap in my screenshots of the forecast between 2am and 9am this morning, and that misses out on what really happened. The forecast for yesterday included a single rain drop for 2am this morning. It was a bit more than that. I was woken up sometime between 1am and 2am by a peal of thunder. It wasn't from nearby, and a bit later I saw a single flash of distant lightning that was so far off that I never heard any thunder. As a thunderstorm it was underwhelming, but there was quite a lot of rain - enough that I don't need to water my potato plants this morning. The weather forecast for today includes a helpful weather warning warning of thunderstorms from 2am to as late as 9am. I am sure there is some spacial names for warnings that are issued after what they are warning about.

 At the moment the sky is not perfectly blue because of some very high cloud that makes the sky look very pale, but the sun is shining, and it is going to heat things up to 31° C - which is actually 1° less than yesterday. So, another very nice, but sticky day coming up. There are no warning of any rain or thunderstorms tonight, but the heat could brew something up. It is tomorrow when the temperature will really peak. 37° C is the predicted peak afternoon temperature. Now that is HOT ! Needless to say, it is predicted to be a very sunny day. After tomorrow things will calm down, and Saturday could even see some rain.
maybe records have
                        been broken
  Still on the subject of weather (well there was a lot of it yesterday), I think records may have been broken yesterday. According to the forecast the highest temperatures may have happened after I took these pictures at 3.30pm yesterday. My small red writing that shows the location of the sensors may look a bit indistinct, but the important reading is the one that says 31.4° C. That was the temperature in my bedroom where I spent a lot of yesterday. I can't swear that is the highest ever temperature I've recorded there, but if not, it must be very close. It was certainly very sticky, and it made the 25.9° C in the downstairs back room feel quite cool ! I have to add that I kept my bedroom curtains closed to keep the sunshine out, and make it even hotter !

  I didn't do that much yesterday. It was too hot most of the time, but I did go out before midday to the pharmacy. I was going to order my next repeat prescription, but found it had been done automatically, and was ready for collection. As seems almost usual, they had missed two of the drugs I need, and I have to go back there this morning to sort it out again. After visiting the pharmacy I walked a circular route back home via Poundstretcher in Catford Mews. I am increasingly realising that some of the stuff they sell is actually cheaper than the 99p of £1 of the respectively named shops. My only disappointment was that they didn't have the 46p a bottle bleach that I wanted more of, and I had to buy branded Domestos for 89p.
potato plant flower
  I was quite glad to get home again after buying stuff in Poundstretcher. I liked walking in the hot sunshine, but I was feeling some after effects of doing garden clearance the day before. It also didn't help that I had put on some shoes that were not comfortable - probably because of the heat. It was nice to get home and relax in the shade. I couldn't completely relax because I had to water my potato plants. They were starting to wilt in the heat.

  I took the picture on the left in the morning before the potato plants started to wilt in the heat. The last picture I took of a potato plant flower was a bit out of focus, but this one is sharp. As I mentioned yesterday, I think that after flowering the flower head will just shrivel up and fall off rather than produce a small green fruit - very much like a mini tomato, but poisonous.

  Watering the potato plants was just about the last thing of any note that I did yesterday. I never heard back from Angela when I sent a text message to her about the idea of meeting in the park for an ice cold vodka. I guess she has never forgiven me for totally blanking her and lover boy in The Catford Constitutional Club earlier in the year. I think that is more likely than the possibility that she was not at work, and was with lover boy, and so could not reply to me.

  My other plan to go to Southminster, and the Mangapps Farm railway museum, also came to nothing. When it came down to it I was not feeling up to it. It was partly because of the after effects of the work I did in the garden, but there as another factor that was worse. That other factor was a feeling of being bloated, and it turned out that I was. I was suffering from a condition related to constipation, but rather different in as much as I didn't even consider it could be like that until it was all over. It was like I hadn't been to the toilet enough the previous day, and maybe even the day before that. During the morning I went to the toilet perfectly normally, but three times spaced about an hour apart. After that I felt almost thin, and more comfortable. Although by then it was too late on the day to capitalise on it.
low blood pressure

  Although my next medication review date is now next year, I am still taking my blood pressure twice a day - when I remember to do it. My morning reading, actually taken just after midday, was nice and low, but some said that blood pressure goes down in hot weather. I don't think I had ever noticed that before. Someone suggested it would soon go up after drinking some cold beer.

  I had a nice hot dinner last night. It was boneless, and skinless spicy chicken, and Brussels sprouts. It may sound an odd combination, but it was very nice. It was partly invented to use up some frozen sprouts to free up space in my overloaded freezer. I find I like sprouts now that I could have had nothing but sprouts for dinner - albeit cooked with a laze of butter so they were not too healthy !

  After dinner I opened an icy cold can of Stella Artois lager, and it went down nicely. It was then that I took my evening blood pressure reading. As can be seen in the photo on the left, it was even lower !

Brussel sprouts
 This picture, on the left, is what I had after my Brussels sprouts and spicy chicken - more Brussels sprouts

  With or without spicy food, it was a very hot, sticky evening, and I spent some of it watching TV, and when that became boring I started reading. All this time my bedroom was still close to 30° C, and it was still about 25° C this morning ! As 11pm approached I felt tired enough to try for sleep. I had the fan on, and last night it didn't chill, but cooled me enough that I was able to get to sleep quite quickly - which surprised me.

  I was woken up again, not by wanting to wee, but by thunder. I think, but I can't be sure, that the first part of the peel of thunder was incorporated into a dream, and it took a moment for me to realise what I was hearing when I woke up. It was almost over by that time, and it feels sort of weird that it was so instantly recognisable as thunder, and not an explosion, or something.

  Having woken up I went for a pee more by habit than need. I had probably sweated out most of the beer I had drunk earlier. During that time I saw just one very distant flash of lightning, but heard no more thunder. Feeling happy that the garden was being watered, I was soon back to sleep.

  Considering how hot and sticky it was, I seemed to sleep reasonably well, and I am sure I frequently have worse nights even when it is not anywhere near as hot. This morning I feel in an undecided state. Writing about sleep has left me yawning like I haven't slept for a fortnight, and I feel tempted to go back to bed, but I must resist that. I am getting into a state of mind where I am thinking it is too hot to do anything, and that is wrong.

  I have had some definite timing from Patricia, but still with a bit of an unknown. Her flight definitely arrives tomorrow, and she definitely wants to see me early in the afternoon to pick up her new bank card that was sent here after she want back to Italy at the end of June.  She will not be staying here at first because she and her partner will be going to Wales first. She will leave him there, and come to stay here a day or two later, but I am not sure which day.

  My house is basically presentable for her quick visit, but I probably ought to get some milk (for coffee) and some Jaffa cakes in. I want to do a fair bit more housework before she actually stays here, and that could be from Saturday. It will be cooler by then - Friday may be 10° C cooler than tomorrow, but still very warm, and Saturday only 22°  (possibly with rain). I still feel I ought to try and get some of the hoovering done as soon as possible. In today's heat it will be a very sticky job, and on tomorrow morning it will be worse ! The best thing would be to go out, and keep moving. Maybe I will, and maybe I won't.
Tuesday 23rd July 2019
08:03 BST
  After a dull start, yesterday started brightening up faster than the forecast predicted. The first sunny intervals probably started by midday, and gradually the dull periods became shorter, and the sunny periods became longer until it was just sunshine until the end of the day. It was a very warm day. The temperature went up to about 27° C, and it became humid.
getting hotter
  There was a very pink sunrise this morning. That would usually mean bad weather, but I think the nasty bit passed to the west of us. The forecast for today may change a bit during the day, but essentially it is going to be a very hot, and very sunny day. The temperature may hit 32° C, and there is more to come after today.
feels like 42° C !!!
  It is Thursday when it will really sizzle - if the forecast holds. The screenshot above is how Thursday was predicted last night. The air temperature could be 35° C, and the humidity will make that feel like 42° C ! Now that is HOT !!

  Yesterday was my last chance to get anything done before it got too hot. At least that was the idea, but by midday any hard work had me dripping in sweat. The original idea was to get some of the housework done that I wanted to do before Patricia comes back to stay for a few days. All I managed to do was to make up the spare bed, and that was because I got sort of sidetracked. At midday I was toiling under the midday sun in the garden !

finally uprooted
  I'm not really sure what I expected to do in the garden yesterday, but I ended up doing quite a lot - even though I only half filled the brown wheelie bin. The first thing I did was to continue trying to get a small tree stump out of the ground. It was the one that nearly broke me last time. It tried again this time, but this time I applied a bit more thought, and less brute strength. I dug out enough soil around the roots until I could use my loppers to cut through the thickest roots. The smaller ones put up a fair amount of resistance, but I got it out - and not before time. It was still trying to sprout even when cut down and half out of the ground !

 After that little triumph I went on to clear another square yard of weeds. It was the area around the entrance to the fox's earth. Since the fox with the injured leg had recovered, and moved on, the earth has been disused, and the entrance was getting clogged with weeds and brambles. It seemed like a good time to fill it in. I started by raking most of the weeds up, and cutting the brambles before tossing in some assorted rubble, and covering it with soil.

  In the hot sunshine it was hard work, and I was dripping everywhere, but I still hadn't finished. I did my best to pull up as many roots as possible in the recently cleared areas. Some of those root systems were very deep or long. I think it was probably the nettles that seemed to go everywhere underground, but some may have been bramble roots, and some may have been other things.

  I did have one problem doing that weeding job. I'm not sure if it was a minor inner ear problem (possibly wax), or low blood pressure, but I am currently suffering from occasional light headedness, or maybe dizzyness. For the last few nights if I turned over in bed too fast it would occasionally take the world a second or two to catch up with my eyes. I think that is an inner ear problem. Bending over to pull up roots made me feel slightly light headed from time to time. I speculate that that was a low blood pressure problem (although I suppose it could have been a high blood pressure problem, or something completely different). The good thing is that I still managed to pull out an awful lot of roots, and the ground is one step closer to maybe become a lawn again.
the garden -
  Maybe when it is cooler, sometime next week, I will tackle the area right by the back fence. There is still quite a lot of work to do there even though it seems to be quite a small area. There is also the little clump by the left hand fence to clear - but not totally clear. Growing amongst that knot of vegetation is what might be a wild rose. I had a wild rose or two growing in my garden 25 to 30 years ago, but by the right hand fence. This plant looks similar, and I want to try and leave it intact when I clear that area.

  Over the other side of the garden, off the right hand edge of the photo, my potato plants continue to grow strongly. I think they have all had flowers on them, but the first flowers have essentially shrivelled up, as the book says normally happens, and I don't think I'll be seeing any fruits on them. However, with luck, a good crop of spuds will be developing underground. I must watch out for any spuds that come to the surface, and cover them before they go green. The only problem there is that the foliage is so thick that it is difficult to see the base of the plants.

  When I came in from the garden I was very sweaty, and slightly muddy in places where dry soil had got on the sweat. It was all rather unpleasant, and made a shower I had later very satisfying. Before showering I wanted to cool off a bit, and it seemed the perfect excuse to have some (alleged) low(er) calorie ice cream. I guess it probably was lower calorie because while it was still cold and still fairly tasty, it's texture was not what you expect ice cream to be like. A small tub of it cooled me off just enough to go and have a shower - a hot shower ! I must adjust the temperate before I have a shower this morning. I think "just tepid" would be suitable for today. I'm not sure I am bold enough to go for cold.

  After my shower I lay on my bed, read for a bit, and then had my afternoon snooze. Before I could relax enough to snooze I needed to take some painkillers. I had jarred my chest again, and although it didn't feel like it at first, I had probably jarred it even more than last time. It was later on, after the Paracetamol was wearing off that my chest became particularly painful. Not all of it though. The pain was concentrated along 2 or 3 inches of my sternum, and unusually it actually felt sore to touch there. It was probably my imagination, but it felt like there was a crack in my sternum.

  It used to feel like that soon after I did some sort of damage just a week or so after coming out of hospital from my quad heart bypass operation. My doctor(s) assured me that it was impossible to have cracked open my sternum, and that it was just soft tissue damage that would clear up after a month or two. That was back in September 2013. I am pretty certain that they sliced my sternum in two to open up my chest, and I still think that I managed to partly undo whatever the surgeon used to stick it back together. Of course no one will believe that possible, and so 6 years later I continue to suffer.

  Paracetamol is not perfect, but it does reduce the discomfort a lot. Ibuprofen is the better choice because it reduces the painful inflammation. A couple of Ibuprofen tablets left me comfortable for the rest of the evening, and even into the night, although I might be inclined to take a couple this morning. I have felt a few twinges that will probably be fine if I nip it in the bud now.

  On the whole I slept reasonably well last night. It was rather warm and sticky when I first went to bed, and I slept for an hour or two with the fan on, but that started to feel a bit chilly. During the night the temperature seemed to drop faster, and lower than the forecast said it would, and I felt cool enough to partly cover myself sometime after 4am. My sleep was rudely interrupted by what I assume was a police helicopter buzzing around above the neighbourhood at 5am. I didn't really get back to sleep properly after that left half an hour later. One thing I did notice while trying to spot the helicopter. was that the inside of the window that swings outwards in my bedroom was covered in condensation. It can't have been that warm out there.

  The day is now warming up fast, and I might end up doing one of two things. I have just sent a text message to Angela to see if she wants to meet for an ice cold vodka in the park at lunchtime. I am not holding my breath that I will even get a reply. If I don't hear from Angela then I may well go on my expedition to Southminster and the Mangapps Farm Railway museum today.
Monday 22nd July 2019
09:36 BST
  I think  yesterday's weather forecast actually gave a fair indicator of what yesterday's weather was like. It never promised anything better than sunny intervals, and although the sunshine was usually quite hazy, that is all we got - except for part of the afternoon when the forecast said it would just be lightly overcast, and it was. At 23° C it would have felt much warmer with some sunshine, but it was perfectly comfortable without it - except in the evening when it seemed to feel cool quite quickly.
a warm
  Today starts almost bad, but at the end it should be very good. This morning the forecast says the day starts overcast, and indeed it is, but every now and then the sun almost makes it through a gap in the clouds. The first "official" sunny periods are not due until 3pm, according to the latest revision of the forecast, by late afternoon the clouds should have dispersed to give non stop sunshine until sunset. It is going to be a very warm day, and some say quite a humid day. The afternoon temperature will peak at 27° C, but in the next few days it is going to get much warmer. Tomorrow should be hotter, and then it gets hotter still. On Thursday the temperature could hit 34° C, but that is the day Patricia arrives from Italy, and will be bringing slightly cooler, and more cloudy weather with her.

  Yesterday went very quickly despite not really doing much, or at least doing very little that required any physical effort. Mostly I rested my body, but I did hand wash a few items in the morning, and hung them on the line outside to dry. I think there was just a tiny bit of damp left on the waist band of a pair of underpants, but everything else seemed bone dry when I brought it in at around 6pm.

  It was between finishing that laundry, and starting a small opened ended project mid afternoon that I did least of all. I even had a nice least I think I did. As usual I was paying no attention to the clocks, and I could have slept for 5 minutes or a couple of hours. I suspect it was a full hour, and maybe more. I probably woke up feeling bored, and had to make a decision about what to do. One of the things I had to do when moving the chest of drawers around the day before was to move a box of old VHS tapes that I thought I might try and transfer to mp4 video files before disposing of the tapes.

  Late yesterday afternoon seemed a good time to make a start on this work. The basic procedure was to use my Samsung MiniDV camcorder as a converter between analogue and digital video. That camcorder was an "official" grey import bought from Currys, and unlike almost all camcorders didn't have the external record function disabled to get around the extra tax/duty charged on video recorders. I had to record the video from my old VHS player in real time onto the camcorder.

  Once the recording was made I could then transfer the digital video from the camcorder to my PC for further editing (usually just trimming the ends of the recording to the actual start and end of the programme). That transfer also had to be done in real time. The quality of the transfers is usually really good, and seemingly always better than various ways of recording direct onto my PC. It helps that my VHS machine was a top quality machine even if it came out of a skip with the front panel with most of the controls on it missing ! Unfortunately it has developed a mechanical fault that means using it can be tricky !

  I managed to transfer two short tapes before the VHS machine took exception to a possibly broken cassette, and seized up, but the two short recording, 12 minutes and 15 minutes, would occupy my PC for much of the rest of the evening. The transcoding from DV files to mp4 files took place at slower than real time ! I think there are several reasons for this. I expect it would go a lot faster if my PC had more RAM in it. I have a suspicion that the encoder algorithm is a slow one, and I ought to look into how to use a different one. I can remember how slow mp3 encoding used to be on one of my old PCs (20 years ago ?) until I tried a newer encoder. The speed up was about 5 times - maybe more.

   It would possibly help if I installed a newer version of the operating system on my PC. The current installation dates back to spring 2014, and it has only been turned off for occasional maintenance since then (not including a very occasional re-start when something very weird has happened). Tradition has it that a Windows PC would be on it's knees after 5 years of use, but this one, with Linux Mint 17.3 as it's operating system plods along really nicely most of the time. The most recent release is 19.1, and sooner or later I will bite the bullet and install it.

  The final mp4 versions of the tapes look good, although the colours on the first look a bit wishy washy. That is unfortunate because the tape I chose to transfer first was a nice short, 12 minute, advert for the Minolta C1E camcorder. It was a VHS tape stuck to the front of a magazine back in 1987. It showed what seemed to be quite an advanced VHS-C camcorder about the size of two housebricks, and probably weighing almost as much. How technology has moved on ! Many high end mobile phones could do most of what that camcorder could do, and probably cost less too - an awful lot less when 1987 prices are translated to modern prices !

  The second tape lasted 15 minutes, and was a promotional tape for Thameslink 2000 - the grand scheme of 1988 to revolutionise the Thameslink rail service. What was predicted for the year 2000 mostly became a reality about 15 years late, although a few minor turned out to be different to the original plan. Much was made about how great the interchange with Crossrail would be at Farringdon. Crossrail is now called the Elizabeth Line, and is close to being finished. It could open any time in the next 10 years.

  That Thameslink tape finished rendering to an mp4 video file just before I went to bed. I got on my bed, and read for a while, but well before midnight, and possibly before 11pm, I was fast asleep. On the whole I slept well last night for the first 5 or so hours, and then thrashed around a lot for another 2 or 3 hours. I had been sleeping on top of my bed, but by sunrise it was feeling a bit cool, but maybe not cool enough to get under the duvet (or not all of me). The next few nights could see it getting too warm to sleep without the fan on !

  This morning I can't work out how I feel. I know my chest feels a bit edgy. I do remember it crunching once or twice in the night, and so it continues to be sensitive, and ready to ache after making a wrong movement. I think the rest of me feels no worse than usual. I feel like I am on the cusp where it feels like doing anything, such as taking a walk, would be too much like hard work, and would be initially uncomfortable, but would actually make things a lot better in the long run.

  It remains to be seen what I do today, but one thing may guide my decisions. At this time I am unsure what day Patricia will be coming to stay for another 4 or 5 days. If I recall correctly her flight from Italy is on the 25th, but she will be with her partner, and they will initially be going to his family in Wales. I think the plan is to leave him there, and for Patricia to come here a day or two later. Although my house and her room is basically ready for her, I should do some basic housework, and make up the bed and stuff before her arrival. After today it is going to get uncomfortably hot to push a hoover around, and do the other stuff, and so I probably ought to try and get it all done today while the temperature is less fierce. Maybe tomorrow I will go out in the blazing sun for my walk around a little bit of Essex when I visit Southminster, Mangapps Farm railway museum, and Burnham On Crouch.
Sunday 21st July 2019
09:23 BST
  Once again the weather forecast gave very little useful information about what the day would be like. There was some rain early in the morning, and that, enough to keep the garden watered, is almost all we got. There were certainly no thunderstorms ! From as early as 9am, and maybe even before, the sun kept trying to shine. All it could manage during the morning was brief spells of attenuated, very hazy sunshine. I think it was around midday that it suddenly got quite dark, and there was a brief shower, but after that the clouds started to break up, and we had some real sunshine - but only now and then at first. I'm not sure of the time, but I'll say it was 7pm when most of the sky was blue, and there was some cheery evening sunshine. The maximum temperature yesterday was 23° C.
                    sunny start and end
  It certainly feel fresh this morning, cooler than the 17 or 18° C forecast, but I think the forecast is probably right. At the moment there is little more than some very thin, very high cloud adding some milky streaks to a fairly blue sky, and sometimes the sunshine is a little hazy, but it seems more like "sunshine" than "sunny intervals". The latest revision of the forecast says we will lose any sunshine from 11am right through to 5pm when sunny intervals will resume. I have a suspicion that the earlier forecast, as in the screenshot above, may come closer to reality, but we will just have to wait and see. One other change in the latest revision is that the afternoon temperature is now thought to be just 22° C instead of 23° C. Tomorrow may start overcast, but that should quickly give way to sunny intervals, and just sunshine for the last 4 hours of daylight. It could be quite a warm day with 27° C predicted.

  I did not feel terribly enthusiastic yesterday morning, and I struggled to really do anything at first. While I initially thought I didn't feel that bad, I noted that while towelling myself dry after washing me and my hair, my right elbow was more sore than I thought, and the inflammation, or whatever it is, appeared to be making the muscles that attach to the bone either side of the elbow were sore too. This is becoming a far too frequent occurrence. Fortunately there is a partial cure that involves Ibuprofen and some form of exercise.

  In yesterday's case, that exercise was to do some laundry by hand. I washed two small towels, and small tablecloth, and two tea towels. I did this around midday, and during the time the sky almost went black. I made mental preparations to hang it all up indoors to dry, but by the time I had finished the sun was out, and much of the sky was blue. So I hung it all on the line outside, and it was as good as dry by 6 or 7pm.

  That almost sudden change from a dark sky, with a shower of rain, to blue sky and sunshine had an unexpected outcome. It was a painful outcome because it distracted me from a lesson I had learned a day or two previously, and had managed to follow when drunk, and when bleary eyed in the middle of the night. It all concerns the extra shelf I added to the bookshelves at the top of the stairs. They mean unlearning what I had been doing for the last 30 years.
the new trajectory
  It is best described using the diagram above. When moving from the bedrooms to the bathroom I would take one long stride across the landing at the top of the stairs. I would aim for the middle of the passage to the bathroom. Now I have to aim to the left, where the spare toilet rolls are, if I want to avoid clipping the corner of the new bookshelf. Failure to do so is very painful, and draws blood. I thought doing it once was a good enough lesson, but yesterday I did it again !
scraped back
  This picture of my back was difficult to take, and the relevant bit is out of focus, but it still shows damage to my back from scraping it on the corner of the bookshelf. The slightly higher scrape has almost healed, but the one half an inch below shows fresh blood seeping out. I have now used some white duct tape, which matches the white Contiboard nicely, to cover the offending corner. It will still hurt if I scrape across it, but it shouldn't be sharp enough to draw blood. Since my second lesson I have been most careful, even when crossing at speed, and maybe I am getting close to being able to do it without thinking.

  With the washing hanging on the line, and the corner of the bookshelf covered with three layers of duct tape, I took a rest, and that rest turned into a long siesta. I enjoy an afternoon nap, but sometimes it feels like more than just a mere nap. I am unsure how long I was asleep for, but it may have been a couple of hours. I woke up feeling like I was wasting the day. I hadn't really planned to do anything in particular in the afternoon, but I thought I might pop out to Iceland and/or Tesco to get a few bits - some of which would have been to make a more enticing dinner.

  I didn't get to go out because I started on a small bit of a project, and ended up getting close to completing it. Ignoring a few minor details, I did complete a full phase of it.  It all concerned my long term project to rehabilitate my back room, and get it into a state where it could be used as a dining room again. At the moment it is more like a tip. One phase of it was to move a chest of drawers through a right angle, and park in the alcove next to the chimney breast. I had already done a fair amount of preparation for it, and I think I expected I would do some more preparation, in small stages, before attempting to move the chest of drawer. Yesterday I did the whole thing !
chest of drawers in
                        it's new home
  It was hot sweaty work, and it involved emptying the hoover twice ! At the end I had the chest of drawers safely tucked into the corner, and that left room for a spare armchair to be moved from the front room into the back room. So now I have more room in the front room. At this rate I will have enough room to manoeuvre in the front room to risk painting it - something that Angela thought would be a good idea. It is a shame she is unlikely to ever see it if I do it. Maybe without her influence it will never happen.
  When I had finished all my hard work I retired to my bedroom for a lie down, but when I got up there I realised there was something stuck to my foot. It was the item in the picture above. It is a microcontroller - an all in one chip low power computer. They were never powerful enough for use in even a simple "home computer", but this particular one was very popular in all sorts of control units, and in things like CD player and TVs - although the latter would probably use a version with the program on an internal ROM (read only memory), and only need 28 pins instead of 40. Quite how it got to where it was that I trod on it is anyone's guess. I think I have another couple of them somewhere - probably taken from some old junk I was dismantling for spares or something.

  All the heavy lifting I did was not without it's consequences. Perhaps the worst was later in the night when trying to sleep, but I was feeling the effects quite early in the evening, and that did two things. The first was that I no longer fancied going out to a gig. The one I was going to was nothing great, and while I would have liked to take a few pictures, I didn't feel I was missing out on much.

  The second was maybe more a consequence of the first. If I wasn't going out then I could have proper dinner at the proper time. I hadn't really planned for that except for a vague idea that I would pick something up if I went out shopping - which I didn't. It was another extravagance, but I ordered a Chinese takeaway. It was very slow arriving. The web page initially suggested 30 to 50 minutes delivery time, but the prediction when the order was accepted was a full hour, and that actual delivery time was almost 90 minutes later. I think it was probably still worth it because it was very tasty - plus, as usual, I have enough for a second meal today. In fact it could be a small lunch and a small dinner.

  After a few hours of watching TV I went to bed, but it took ages to get to sleep. While watching TV my eyes were starting to droop, and I was expecting to fall asleep very quickly, but from the moment I got into bed I felt wide awake. I don't think it was caused by multiple sources of discomfort, but they couldn't have helped. For the first time since I had done it I could feel how sore my back was where I had scraped it. At the time it had been a couple of seconds of agony that seemed to subside to nothing in the space of a few minutes.

  My back was one specific and easily understood sore spot, but everything else was much more general, and individually very low level, but the cumulative effect was enough to make relaxing very difficult. All those tiny little aches and stiffnesses were the result of manhandling the chest of drawers and armchair. Most were built on well known areas of difficulty, and the worst of these was my chest. No matter what position or side I used to lay in bed, some part of my chest would ache.

  This morning there is a tiny little bit of a possibility that something happened to my chest that I mentioned quite recently. Some, what I shall call an anti-strain, may have reset the damage I did recently while doing garden clearance. It would not be the first time that some reason for discomfort has been popped back into place, and once that particular discomfort has settled down, my chest is as good as gold until next time. It is too early to say if this has happened, but my chest does seem to feel less clicky and poppy so far.

  It was not long after 10pm when I went to bed, and it must have been as late as 2am before I got any meaningful sleep. Even then I was only managing to stay asleep for about an hour. Everytime I woke up I would find a new pain, or a hand had gone to sleep after laying on my arm or something. Gradually my sleeps got a bit longer, and the last period might have lasted for almost three hours, and seemed close to normal. I had quite a variety of now all but forgotten dreams. My overall impression was that they were mostly happy sort of dreams. One was definitely erotic, but mostly they were about things like the happier aspects of being at work - although as I write that down it starts to sound unlikely, but with no actual memory of the content of the dream I just have to go along with the overall impression that they were more inclined towards nice and not nasty.

  I am still probably under the influence of some Paracetamol that I took sometime in the night, and it does feel that my usual aches, pains and stiffness are not that bad this morning. I have already mentioned that my chest, which is best calmed down with Ibuprofen, and not Paracetamol, is feeling almost benign this morning. I guess this means I should feel fit enough to go and ruin it all again by doing something like some more garden clearance.

  I have no specific plans for today, and being a Sunday it is tradition that it should be a very boring, and pointless day, and yet... Maybe I will do some garden clearance, and maybe I will go to Iceland and Tesco. (I am definitely missing Jalapeno cream cheese in a squeezy tube, and that means I will have to go to Iceland sooner or later). I suspect I will be having a long siesta this afternoon, and once that it over I can get down to the serious business of moaning about what a terrible dull and boring time Sunday afternoon and evening is !
Saturday 20th July 2019
09:55 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday was right in essence, but wrong in details. The overall impression was "what a damp, dull, and awful day", and that is exactly what it was, but there was less rain than shown, and during the first half of the morning the sun made a couple of attempts to find thin areas of cloud. Once or twice there was just enough weak and hazy sunshine to cast a shadow. For all the valiant efforts of the sun to shine, and for the clouds to retain their water, it was generally a dull and damp day. At just 20° C in the afternoon, it was a cool feeling day as well - cool enough for me to keep my bedroom window closed for most of the day.
                    sunny afternoon - maybe ?
  So far this morning we have had zero thunderstorms, and here weren't any in the night either. There was some rain in the night, and my garden won't need watering today. At the moment it is dry, and like yesterday the sun is trying to shine between gaps in a rather cloudy sky. Some clouds look a bit dark and heavy, but most don't look like rain clouds - at least I don't think they do.The latest revision of the forecast says there should just be grey skies now, and no thunderstorms. The forecasters are still holding out their hopes for a thunderstorm at 11am, but once that is out of the way they still seem to think there will be sunny periods for most of the rest of the daylight hours. At the moment it is about as warm as it was yesterday afternoon, and this afternoon the temperature should peak at a warmer 23° C. Tomorrow sees the slow start to some very hot days next week. Tomorrow is currently thought to be only as warm as today, but there could be sunny spells all day long.

  Yesterday was a very uninspiring day. I was tempted to go for a walk in the park just to stretch my legs, and to go even if it were raining. I even thought it could be fun to walk in the rain - provided it was a short walk, and never far from home. In the end I just never got around to it. Maybe I was waiting to see if the hints that there may be some sunshine, and those sunny intervals never happened.

  I only did one thing of note yesterday, and that was to wash a towel. I had to - it had been soaking in detergent for 24 hours in an attempt to loosen a nasty greasy stain. I should probably have sprayed it with Vanish before putting in in the wash, or I should have turned the water temperature up to scalding to help loosen the grease. I did neither. The actual grease in question came from sweat where I had been using the towel as a pillow protector during some of the very hot nights we had recently (except in this weather they seem to have been ages ago).

  I dried the towel indoors using a fan to speed the drying. The greasy area is fortunately not so visible now it is dry, but I have a cunning plan. Now it is washed and dry I am currently using it as hand towel in the bathroom. I am unsure of the exact date, but in about a weeks time Patricia will be back to stay for a few days, and I'll put a fresh towel in the bathroom, and I'll be washing the greasy towel again in maybe 5 days times - which is a fairly short time for my bathroom towels when only I am using it. Visitors have the pleasure of a freshly washed towel in the bathroom.

  I wasted much of the day just reading and resting, although the emphasis was more on reading, and a lot of that was online. On most days I just don't have the time to read all the web pages that I once followed diligently when at work. This morning I still have two more news stories from The Register to read, and those two may be of little interest, and I may just skip through them. I also finished reading the Arthur C. Clarke book I had been reading. It was another book of short stories, and most have appeared in many anthologies, but sometimes in slightly different versions. The last story in the book was a story I had read comparatively recently, but the version I was reading was the full version where a dozen or so pages provided a setting for a shorter version. Once I had read far enough into that story to confirm that I knew the rest of it I declared the whole book to have been read. I still have another 4 Arthur C. Clarke books to read/re-read before I move on to another author - possibly Isaac Asimov.

  My evening posed a small dilemma, or maybe it didn't because I think I had made up my mind after studying the weather forecast. Basically I had two choices - Going to see Chain in a pub I don't really like, and possibly travelling in rain, and maybe even during a thunderstorm, or fiery habenero sausages and assorted canned beers from Aldi.
my two choices
grapefruit IPA
  By early evening I didn't even consider seeing Chain as a possibility, and cooked the sausages. I would like to say they were absolutely heavenly, but I would only go as far as saying they were good, and if they turn up again in Aldi, sometime in the future, I would buy another pack, but I won't be getting any more the next time I go shopping in Aldi.

  The beers were very enjoyable, and one in particular stood out as being rather different, and maybe only for one 330ml can, was very nice. It is the beer pictures on the left - William Brothers "Robus" grapefruit IPA. I come across, and quite like quite a few beers that us (I think) Challenger hops. Those hops impart a citrus taste that I liken to the taste of grapefruit. Most of my Thursday drinking partners do not like the taste, and they probably would not like the taste of Robus. I never bothered to do any research, such as reading what may be written on the tin (although there is another in the fridge that I could check), but my taste buds seem to tell me that in this case the taste of grapefruit is from the addition of real grapefruit juice to the beer.

  The strange thing is that I don't like grapefruit as a fruit. I find it far too bitter in most cases, but it does seem to go with beer. It is also strange that some of the beers I prefer to pass over, like bitters brewed by Youngs and Shepherd Neame, seem too bitter for my palate. There is no accounting for taste...or something.

  Anyway, I enjoyed my sausages and beer, and as I let the sausages settle down I watched some TV (and drank more beer). TV was not awful last night - which was a bit weird. They even showed Wallace And Gromit after the 6pm and London news. There is usually some old rubbish on at that time. I watched Deep Space Nine while it was on - even though Deep Space Nine is back in the doldrums again - It never was the best part of the Star Trek canon.

  I then watched a repeat (from November 2017) of Have I Got News For You, and that was followed by a repeat of QI (both on Dave). The start of QI was good, but maybe 10 minutes in I realised I could remember most of it from the last time it was repeated. I was feeling tired by then, and switched the TV off to go to bed. As is sometimes the case a thought popped up in my head to distract me.

  I was thinking that next week we have some very nice days forecast, and I ought to do something with at least one of those days (maybe 2 if I take both easy). I have an old unfulfilled desire to visit Burnham-On-Crouch, and Southminster railway stations. Burnham-On-Crouch is like a very small, very toned down version of Southend - a seaside resort that is actually on a muddy river bank instead of on the sea. I don't think it has been thought of as a seaside resort since Victorian times, but remnants remain including a small pier. The "front" (or muddy river bank) is about a quauter of a mile from the railway station.

  Southminster station is almost in the middle of nowhere - as is Southminster village - and it is a terminus station that may be deserving of be photographed. I think it has already been modernised/stripped of any charm, but maybe a few bits remain. It would be little more than 2 miles to walk from Southminster station, unfortunately probably by roads rather than foot paths, to Burnham On Crouch station. The interesting thing is that the walk passes the Mangapps Farm railway museum - a wholly artificial small railway network built to show off some old rolling stock and other memorabilia. I had always believed it be completely inaccessible with using a car, but 15 minutes spent studying a map last night showed otherwise.

  I finally went to bed feeling almost excited about this future day out, but it didn't seem to stop me falling asleep quite quickly - or at least I can't seem to remember anything after my head hit the pillow. I seemed to sleep well, but I have memories of dreaming a lot, although I can't recall what part of the night I was having these dreams. Maybe I didn't sleep well because I was most reluctant to get up this morning, and tried for more and more sleep. Maybe it is because I feel I might feel bored for a lot of today. Eventually I could sleep no longer, and got up...or at least out of bed.

  Today my first great plan is to wash and dress !! After that it is all rather hazy. I think I might end up doing some odd little jobs, although it is impossible to predict what they may be - one job may trigger an idea for another. The only slightly definite thing that I may do is to pop along to The Mitre in Greenwich for an hour or two so I can at least say I have been to one gig this weekend, and to take some snaps of Out The Box who are playing there.
Friday 19th July 2019
09:10 BST
  There was sufficient rain to water my potato and tomato plants yesterday morning, but it was mostly from one heavy shower rather than the light rain spread over as much as 5 hours as predicted in the weather forecast. By the afternoon it was dry and bright, but I can't remember any time that featured the strong sunshine that was forecast. I think the sky was never perfectly clear, and varied between heavy clouds in the morning, when it rained, to some thin cloud cover that showed the sun, but made the sunshine hazy. The temperature probably reached the 24° C forecast, but it didn't seem to feel particularly warm. I would describe it is just "comfortable".
                    of rain forecast
  As you can plainly see, it is now pouring with rain, and even the very latest forecast says there is a 99% chance of rain.
view outside at 9am
  This is a picture of reality taken at 9am. You can see the damp patches on the shed roof towards the bottom of the centre of the picture. Those damp patches suggest there was some rain earlier in the night, but no rain seems to have fallen in the last few hours. As I write this the sky does look rather grey, but somehow the sun has found a gap in the clouds, and is shining enough to cast deep, but slightly fuzzy shadows ! This seems to leave the weather forecast in tatters, but I expects elements of it to be right. There is quite enough rain forecast, including the possibility of some thunder and lightning after midnight, that some rain is bound to fall. The bad thing at the moment is the temperature.

 It is supposed to be 16° C at the moment, but after having the window open all night, I feel freezing ! I am writing this with long lounge pants on instead of shorts, and I have a t-shirt on. I can't remember the last time I had to wear a t-shirt indoors because I felt cold. Eventually the temperature should rise to 20° C, and it should feel more comfortable. Tomorrow it could rise to a more pleasant 23° C, and there might be some more sunshine, but there may be rain in the morning. Some of it may be heavy enough for an occasional flash of lightning, and peal of thunder. If the forecast has any validity we could see a nice sunny and dry afternoon and evening. After tomorrow we may see the return to proper warm summer weather.

  I had hoped that yesterday might have been a nice, and possibly even enjoyable day, but I was wrong. It started with rain, which always dampens the spirit, but at least that doesn't make me feel angry, or even annoyed...well not that much, and at least now, with a few plants growing in my garden, instead of weeds, I knew it was very useful. The bigger downside, apart from the gloominess, was that the damp was making my usual aches and pains worse. My right elbow and shoulder were (and still are) rather sore - depending on how I was using them.

  In practice, those aches and pains didn't really do more than leave an unstable layer on which to build worse things on. They  didn't form any impediment to my shopping trip to Aldi... Well, OK, I did have a few twinges, but they didn't amount to anything, and although I slowed down a bit while carrying my heavy shopping, I generally felt as good as can be expected. Nothing to moan about there, but still there was this faint background of discomfort ready to react with little provocation.

  When I got home I had a couple of sandwiches, and then rested for a few hours until it was time to go out for my Thursday, late afternoon drink. We were drinking in the Bromley Wetherspoons, and so I knew I had to leave plenty of time to get there by bus. What I didn't know was just how much time I had to leave. After laying on my bed for an hour or so my muscles and joints had stiffened up a bit, not much, but a bit, and that made my first minute or so of walking to the bus stop seem like hard work.

  It is fortunate that the stiffness did dissipate well before I got to the bus stop, because what I found there was not encouraging. Instead of the buses I would expect to see, the 320, 160 or 336, I saw three 171 buses, and another at the end of the road. The 171 does not terminate there, and so I asked one of the drivers what was going on. I wondered if the 171 bus route had been changed, and it had, but only as a temporary measure while for some unknown reason the traffic through Catford was almost in gridlock. The bus driver suggested that if I wanted to get to Bromley my best bet was to go to the high street, and get a 208 bus.

  It is an all too well worn route taken when I just miss a 320, or almost well worn. On this occasion I decided to walk all the way to the first stop that is served by both the 208 and 320. It is the stop just after the old cinema (now inhabited by God botherers). Not a single 320 was shown on the Countdown display, and not a single one passed going the other way. I think they were all being turned around at Catford Bus Garage. The Countdown display did say that there was a 208 coming, but that it was 22 minutes away !

  When a 208 finally arrived, possibly only 20 minutes later, it was inevitably packed, and it was probably as wee approached Downham that I saw some people coming down the stairs, and I was able to get upstairs to find a few empty seats. It was a very slow ride in a very full bus, but my troubles were not over when I got to the pub. The service was typically abysmally slow, and I was seething by the time I had got my first pint. It had taken 70 minutes to get to the pub after leaving home, and maybe over 5 minutes before I was served.

  My pints after that were free because Chris thought he owed me some after backing up the data on his old laptop, and ultimately finding out the reason for it being dead was that the battery in it was flat ! I calmed down a little bit after my first pint, and then went on to have what I thought was two more, but I am told it was three more. It wasn't a very strong beer I was drinking. In fact it was very average, but 4 pints seemed to be enough to act drunk once I was safely home.

  My first drunken thought was that I was never going to Bromley ever again after that horrendous journey getting there. That of course is unrealistic because some times I have to change trains there, but maybe more realistic when it comes to gigs in Bromley. There are other reasons for avoiding pub gigs in Bromley. I think there are now 5 or 6 people I would rather not be in any pub that I drink in.

  Another aspect of being drunk was rather more serious. I felt insanely hungry. The start of my dinner had been laid down in stone since the night before. It was a box of spicy chicken wigs ordered as part of the takeaway I had the night before. They were more spicy than I had hoped for, although still quite mild in the grand scheme of things. I hadn't intended to eat it at any particular time, and when I bought it I was thinking of the more distant future, but I could not resist topping off the chicken wings with a tub of honey and frozen Greek yoghurt. To compound the problem, I ate it with a ready prepared fresh fruit salad.

  After eating I settled down to watch a bit of TV. There was nothing of any great interest, and I was going to give up early when I noticed there were the last two episodes of the series of programmes about the 1979 moon shot. When I commented about the last two episodes I saw I said that I didn't really remember any commentary, and that the story was adequately told by the careful editing of new clips, and other historical footage. Last night I paid a bit more attention, and there was some commentary, but it was so low key that it just blended in so well that it was almost unnoticeable despite providing useful information. Compared to some of the documentaries aired on cheap satellite TV stations, it was masterfully done.

  Towards the end my attention was faltering as I struggled to keep my eyes open - another effect of that booze. I don't think that in this case the booze can be blamed for me not really remembering much about going to bed. I think it just happened very fast. One minute I was brushing my teeth, and the next minute I was fast asleep. It was a big shock to wake up at about 1.30am, and to realise I had been asleep for several hours. The next few hours of sleep were not so deep. I remember having a strange dream where I was at a pub with a friend. The strangeness was that the pub was in Kendal, a place I only know off because of the famous Mint Cake, and the pub was huge.

  The pub seemed to be like several old pubs joined together, and as you wandered from bar to bar the decor changed every time. The poor service at the Wetherspoons pub obviously help write the script for this dream because there didn't seem to be anyone serving at any of the multiple bars. I'm not sure what inspired the other thread in the dream - getting home. I checked the times of the trains from Kendal station, and the only trains were at 2.05am and 3.05am. It was evidently late in the dream because I thought the 2.05am was a realistic choice, but I/We had no idea how to get to the station.

  After a few more sleeps I finally got up. I felt pretty lousy, and it wasn't a hangover, although I couldn't deny that I was free from a hangover. Mostly it was the usual aches and pains, but it does seem I am still going through a flare up of my chest aches. I can remember turning over in bed and my whole chest going crunch again. It feels unpleasant, but never actually hurts at the time. There is then something like a 70% chance that it will feel sore later, and this morning it feels sore. I fear I may have to wait until the day comes when turning over in bed, or some physical action will pop whatever bit is popped out, back in again, and then, after a little bit  more pain I will be fine again - until it happens again.

  Today is not a good day on so many levels. The feeble attempt by the sun to shine against all the odds the forecast offered is now over, and it is deeply gloomy outside - although it is still dry outside (apart for some underlying damp from previous rain). No doubt it will be raining sooner or later. It doesn't inspire me to do anything at all apart from the temptation to turn the heater on. Just a few degrees higher would be nicer if I was to lay on my bed to read, and enter a fantasy world that has no connection with the gloomy real world around me.

  There is stuff I could and possibly should do. In about a weeks time Patricia will be back to stay for 3 or 4 days, and although little needs to be done since her last stay, things like hoovering the stairs would be a nice thing. I guess that is one of several little household task that can wait until nearer the time because I doubt I could raise the enthusiasm to do anything like that today. Ah ha, in the last couple of minutes it has started to pour with rain ! Now I feel even less inclined to do anything today.

  The real problem is tonight. Should I or shouldn't I go to Chain's gig in The Swan in West Wickham. I hate the pub, and there is good chance that there will be someone there I would rather not share a pub with.  On the other hand it is relatively easy to get to - just 15 minutes on the train if I don't the 5 minute uphill walk from the station. I guess it is probably less stressful if I don't even think about it now, and worry about it nearer the time.

  That rain only lasted for a few minutes, and although the sun hasn't managed to break through the cloud, it is a lot brighter. It is as if someone has tuned off the 40 Watt lamp, and turned on the 100 Watt light. If only they would turn on the 500 Watt photoflood light !
Thursday 18th July 2019
09:17 BST
  Yesterday was bright, but it was rarely sunny despite the various revisions of the forecast saying it should be bright sunshine. The last revision I saw was in the early evening, and that finally conceded that maybe there would only be sunny spells. Of course by that time there was hardly any hint of sunshine. It seemed it was only after sunset that the sky finally cleared, or at least cleared enough for the moon to shine brightly. The afternoon temperature did hit the predicted 25° C, and it felt quite humid and sticky in the slightly grey light.
                    change, but maybe not as bad as it seems
  It's all change today, but it may not turn out as bad as it looks. By now my garden should be well watered, but it still looks dry. I think there was some of the predicted drizzle, but not much, and while the sky looks quite threatening at the moment, it is not raining now as it should be. Maybe there will be less rain that this forecast predicts...In fact the latest prediction shows no rain from 10am onwards, and even moves the first sunny periods up to 1pm. I don't think even the latest forecast can be trusted, but I live in hope that it will be dry and bright from about 3pm until 7pm - so I can go out unencumbered with a coat. It's probably not going to be quite as warm today, but maybe only a degree less than yesterday. It is tomorrow when the temperature will be dropping a lot. Much of tomorrow may be less than 20° C, but late in the afternoon/early evening, when there is the possibility of heavy rain, and maybe even thunder storms, it might reach 21° C.

  Yesterday was one of those days that turned out completely different to anything I might have imagined. On the premise that it would be bright and sunny I thought I would go out for a walk in the sunshine - possibly to try and catch Angela in the park at lunchtime, or possibly a longer walk somewhere. The only problem is that there was little in the way of nice sunshine, and the idea of going out was eventually downgraded to just a walk to the corner shop and back.

  One thing I did do was some laundry. I assumed that even without the sunshine it would be good drying weather, and I am not sure I was right. I hand washed 2 t-shirts, some underwear, and a bath towel. The latter made it a very physical job, and was hard work. The odd thing is that at the end of the day the towel seemed bone dry, and ready to be used this morning, but the t-shirts didn't feel 100% dry, although close to it. The underpants seemed to be very slightly damp around the waistband. I brought everything in at about 7pm last night, and I assume (or hope) that the last damp areas have dried out overnight.

  That laundry used up a bit of time, maybe three quarters of an hour, although I didn't time it, and it could equally been half or double that time. The good thing is that it felt a useful use of my time. Catching up on my reading is also a good use of my time, and I did finally catch up with my New Scientist reading. I'll be ready to start reading the new issue when it comes out tomorrow - and if the weather is anything like the forecast the idea of staying in reading is an attractive one.

  Although the lack of sunshine did not really enthuse me, and maybe the disappointment of reality compared to the weather forecast had the potential of a very negative effect on my enthusiasm, I still wanted to do something useful. I decided it was high time I finished the rack of shelves at the top of the stairs. I had put the brackets, and two shelves up months ago, and it was about time I put the third shelf up.
third shelf
  All I had to do was to saw off the end of a piece of Contiboard, and re-attach it at right angles to act as a stop on the open end of the shelf. The Contiboard had once been shelves in my living room until I changed things down there years ago. It was not exactly hard work doing the "carpentry", but it felt warm and humid, and that made for a quite sticky job ! Putting that shelf up gave me somewhere to finally put my collection of Ordnance Survey maps. The downside is that it sticks out just enough that I have to re-teach my muscle memory to alter my angle of attack when doing the wide leap from across the step down and step up when going from my bedroom to toilet. I almost scraped my back on it twice before I started to remember to take more care.

Instant update:
It is now raining, not heavily, but enough that I shouldn't need to water my garden (or the small part of it where my potato and tomato plants are growing nicely.

  On the subject of potato plants; I have been doing some research. It seems that tomato and potato plants are very closely related, botanically speaking. My potato plants are growing very strongly, and are coming into flower. I wanted to find out if it was better to remove the flower head to stop it taking water and energy that could better be sent to the growing spuds. Some say yes, and most say no. Apparently it is common for the flowers to wither and fall off them selves, but if they don't they will go on to produce a small fruit that looks like a small green tomato.

  Unfortunately it is poisonous, and so can't be eaten, but I am going to leave the flowers intact in the hope I will see one or more of these small berries. Apparently the seeds in them will grow to potato plants, and for some unexplained reason they will produce different potatoes to the host plant - weird ! There is a warning that it is a very slow process growing potatoes from seeds, and that doing what I did, planting cut up spuds that are already sprouting is the quick and easy way.
potato flower -
                            not quite open yet
  This shows one of the flower heads that is closest to opening. It does look a bit insubstantial, but fingers crossed it will go on to produce a fruit - even if it is an inedible fruit. Apparently, once the plants have flowered they are ready for harvesting if you just want small new potatoes. I feel inclined to leave them until I get bigger spuds. I would also hope that the tomato plants can catch up soon, and give some sort of hope that I will be able to get a crops of tomatoes. If the chillies I hoped might sprout had sprouted, and if I had grown some garlic, I would have had enough ingredients to make a version of Bombay Aloo.

  One of the things I thought I might do yesterday was to go to Aldi (or possibly Tesco). I can't think why I didn't. Maybe I just didn't feel like it, but it did leave me with a very small range of options/ingredients for dinner last night, and maybe I just couldn't be bothered to use what I had to cook something. I admit it was another extravagance I should have resisted, but I ordered another takeaway last night. This time, by using a restaurant I had used before, and so had some predictable qualities, my order was a bit more frugal, and a bit more healthy. It was a couple of shish kebabs - grilled meat and salad. A lot of the oil/grease soaked into the pitta bread, which I didn't eat, and so it was more or less a healthy meal.

  Maybe it was a bit too healthy because I felt hungry again an hour later, and had to fight to resist the temptation to start on the box of chicken wings I had ordered, and which I intend to eat tonight. I will confess I had a handful of peanuts while I watched a bit of TV last night, There should have been a fair bit of TV entertainment on last night, but the edition of QI, on Dave, seemed to be a recent repeat. There was one programme that grabbed my attention in a way I was not expecting. It was one of a series of programmes looking back on the build up to the Apollo 11 landing on the moon 50 years ago.

  Last night's programme was about Apollo 8 - the first ever flight when men left Earth orbit, and travelled out into outer space - albeit still a tiny distance compared to going to Mars. The crew of Apollo 8 looped around the moon and came back to Earth. It was the first test of the navigation systems for such a long trip, and paved the way for the moon landings. As expected, the programme was mostly old news clips and bits of contemporary documentaries, but it did seem to be edited together in an intelligent way, and on the whole it told it's own story without some hyped announcer, more interested in his own announcing, being used. In fact any commentary was so low key that I am not sure if I remember any at all. With hindsight, I wish I had watched the earlier episodes of what I think is a 6 part series.

  When I finally went to be I started to read, but very soon I felt tired. I turned out the light, and if I recall correctly, I was fast asleep in minutes. I probably slept well except for one interruption. I think it was around 2am when I woke up with an itchy foot, and I had to get out of bed, and spend 15 minutes on the internet to distract me while the itch faded. Once back in bed I fell asleep again easily enough. I can hardly remember dreaming at all, and that probably means I was getting some good deep sleep...or maybe it doesn't. Who knows ????

  Today I have some definite plans for an indefinite day. If, as is should, the rain we are now experiencing dries up early enough I want to go to Aldi (or Tesco - I still haven't decided) to get a bit of shopping. A bit later it will be time to get a very boring and tedious bus to Bromley for my late afternoon, Thursday drink. Tonight we are drinking in the Wetherspoons to try out the new style CAMRA vouchers for 50p off a pint of real ale. They now look different because there are other outlets they can be used in besides Wetherspoons - the only trouble is that we have no idea of any other participating pubs. Maybe they exist beyond London somewhere or something.
Wednesday 17th July 2019
09:21 BST
  Yesterday was warm, but there seemed to be far less sunshine than we were promised. Although they weren't heavy looking, low clouds, all too often there was enough cloud to either dim or block the sun. It felt like we had been cheated...or at least I had been cheated, but I was in a bad mood anyway. I think the temperature still reached the predicted 25° C.
another sunny day !
  Today is forecast to be a slightly better version of what yesterday was supposed to be, but wasn't. I fear today could also not be as good as the forecast predicts. As I write this it is supposed to be sunny, and in a way it is, but it is really attenuated sunshine. There is a lot of high cloud that is making the sky look a very pale blue, and it is filtering the sunshine, making it look rather hazy. Maybe the sky will clear later, and we will get the full strength sunshine we deserve - and we deserve it a lot because the next few days look to be pretty horrible and wet. Tomorrow in particular could end up hot and steamy.

  Yesterday started off quite good. My legs felt a bit stiff, and my feet were still a bit sore after my 5 mile walk the previous day, but those things were expected. Those things served more of a reminder of a very satisfying achievement than a problem. The weather forecast made it seem like it would be an excellent day, and on the whole, everything seemed fine. It's a shame that it was actually a rather bad day.

  In the morning I went for a walk to the 99p shop. There were a couple of things I wanted, and more that I didn't, but bought anyway. As I walked there and back I was very aware of my stiff legs and sore feet. They weren't anywhere near agonising like at the end of my 5 mile walk, but enough to take any pleasure from walking. I had second thoughts about going for a walk in the park after that, but I might still have gone if reality was a bit different.

  The first negative thing was the lack of real sunshine. There were a few times when the sun went behind a thicker cloud that wasn't supposed to be there, but far more frequently was the sun shining through thin cloud, and the sunshine being very hazy. It was still sort of nice, but it lost that extra factor that made outdoors so enticing.

  The second negative thing was purely negative emotions. During the morning I received very similar e-mails from my bank and credit card companies. It seems that under the latest banking regulations, usually invented by those bastard paranoid Americans, from some date in the near future, all online transactions will need extra authentication by means of a one time code being sent via SMS (text message) to a mobile phone. I do realise it is a good way to stop fraud, but it still really pisses me off. I'm not even sure if my credit card company has my mobile phone number. You see I only give my phone number out to my friends, and I consider the credit card company to be an enemy. A friend would not demand money with menaces every month !

  I know it was irrational, but I felt really pissed off by those emails, and it messed with my whole day. I just shut myself off from the rest of the world. I didn't go out, and didn't communicate with anyone. I spent most of the rest of the day reading. I had (and still have) quite a backlog of stuff that I would normally have read at work off the internet. I also tried to get up to date with my magazines, and I had more luck there. I should finish the newest New Scientist before the next one comes out on Friday.
  I only had one distraction when I remembered I had a couple of pictures on my phone that needed transferring to my PC. One picture was of my train tickets. My travel to Shoeburyness was free as far as Upminster thanks to me 60+ Oystercard, and the rest of the journey would be discounted using my senior rail card. The cost of my return journey was just £9.50. The train I was on when coming home had a computer fault, and was not displaying any information. The display constantly showed "ELECTROSTAR" - the generic name for that type of train (a class 357 if I recall correctly).

  As 6pm approached it seemed like it would be good to open a can of beer, and I made a determined effort to drink a lot of beer. Drinking beer on your own is never so good as with friends, but I was doing it as a protest against life, the universe and everything, and I know I drank 4 small cans of extra hoppy beer, and I think I also drank the last 4 cans of the 6 cans I had intended to drink on Sunday night of the Stella Artois. I didn't really enjoy them, or not the later cans, and I didn't seem to get drunk. I don't even seem to have any particular noticeable hangover this morning. I guess as a protest it sort of failed.

  Having not really done anything all day I was not particularly tired in the evening, and after I had had enough TV I lay on my bed to read. I think it was as 11pm approached I suddenly felt very tired, and after turning out the light I was soon asleep - most probably thanks to the beer. It wasn't always a good sleep. It was quite warm, and seemed humid for the first half on the night, and I think it was around 2am that I woke for a pee, and found that one end of my pillow was wet with sweat.

  I tried sleeping with the fan on after that, but quickly realised that made it feel too cool, and turned it off again. After another 2 or 3 hours of sleep I woke up again for another pee. This time I felt a bit cool when I tried to go back to sleep. Until then I had been sleeping on top of my duvet, but now I tried sleeping under it. After a bit of thrashing around I think I slept with one leg, and one arm under the duvet. That seemed to work, although I can't remember where the duvet was when I next woke up. I did my best to keep sleeping as long as possible, but I had the window open, and at about 8am the lorry that delivers groceries to the school kitchen arrived. It's banging and crashing kept waking me up, and eventually I decided I might as well get up.

  I feel I ought to take advantage of the sunshine today, whether hazy or not, and I feel that  my legs and feet should have recovered enough for at least a moderate walk. The only fly in the ointment is that yesterday, after leaving them a couple of days to ripen,  I felt I had to eat quite a lot of plums before they became over-ripe. I am expecting them to go through me like a dose of salts, and probably some time this afternoon. Maybe I don't want to go for a walk away from any "facilities" today. Oh well, time to get washed and dressed, and see how I feel then.
Tuesday 16th July 2019
09:55 BST
  Yesterday was far better than the forecast suggested it would be. After an overcast morning the first sunny spell was just before midday. It seemed to take quite a while for the next sunny spells, but throughout the afternnon they became more frequent, and lasted for longer. By early evening it almost felt like "sunshine" would be a better descriptor than "sunny periods", although sunny periods was probably technically correct. I didn't have a chance to check the temperature, but it seemed to feel at least several degrees warmer than the forecast 21° C.
                    sunny day !
  What started yesterday afternoon is forecast to continue in economy size today ! There is bright sunshine as I type this, and the latest revision of the forecast says this should continue for the rest of the day. By mid afternoon the temperature should rise to a nice and warm 25° C. Tomorrow should be broadly the same as today, but occasionally a few passing clouds will mean a few hours will only see sunny intervals. The temperature should also reach 25° C. It all goes wrong on Thursday - a day when the clouds will do the job of watering my garden - maybe a lot !

  Most of my aches and pains had faded to close to nothing by yesterday morning. The one that continued, my chest, was not exactly an ache. It is hard to describe sometimes. As I tried to say yesterday morning, it was more like my rib cage was loose, and could somehow move around. It was the anchoring points of my rib cage, and sometimes individual ribs, and their anchoring tendons, that could ache when they got shook up. I had been most acutely aware of this when laying in bed. Just the action of turning over could feel weird, and could generate a short lived gentle pain in a few places.

  It didn't seem to be a very nice day when I decided I was definitely going to go for a long walk. I took some painkillers (Paracetamol), and anti-inflammatories (Ibuprofen) to give myself a fighting chance, and just before midday I set out on a great adventure. The theory was that walking would only tax my legs, and they seemed to be in good working order. By the end of my adventure I was not so sure. I was heading for the seaside at Shoeberryness, and I only expected to walk for 2 or 3 miles. It turned out to be a bit more than that !
Haven't walked 5
                            miles for ages
  I can't remember the last time I walked for 5 miles, and I suspect it was probably before 2013 when I had my heart operation. What made the walk so interesting, and maybe spurred me on to walk so far, was the little bit of the walk from Shoeburyness to Thorpe Bay. The coastline there is still owned by the MOD - mainly on account of the possibly of unexploded munitions laying in the mud from when it was used for practice firing, and experimental work. The landward side still has some sort of military presence, but a large part is now more like a nature reserve, and some is new build civilian, residential housing. The last time I was there, probably before 2013, it seemed the status of the path along the coast was rather uncertain, and rather than get shot or conscripted, I chose to avoid it.

  This time it still seemed slightly uncertain if there was public access. There were still plenty of warning signs up about the possibility of unexploded bombs, and similar, but no actual signs saying it was a public footpath. Maybe the more important thing was that there were no barriers or check points. So I walked on, and was rewarded with lots of fascinating sights.
rapid fire, heavy
                            artillery battery
  There were information boards up to explain most sights (a good sign that it was indeed now considered to be a public area). This rather solid looking building is, if I recall correctly, a rapid fire, heavy artillery battery. Many installations along this bit of coast started their life before even WW1, and were altered and adapted during the two world wars, and probably sometime after the last of those ended. All the experimental stuff, which much of it was, was continued further up the coast the other side of Shoeburyness.
poppy themed seat
  Another sign of how it has become a public place, although you have to be deep inside before you can see it. A seat with a back depicting war and peace.
barge pier
  This is Barge Pier. It was originally for loading and unloading barges carrying munitions. Although it is not obvious in this picture, it has railway lines embedded in the surface, and is seems there was a small railway network connecting all the stores and gun emplacements for the garrison there. I suspect that where the rails once were, is now where the paths are. The pier itself, although seemingly built like a brick outhouse, is unsafe, and access is prohibited. That hasn't stopped someone breaking through the wire mesh fence, and others using it for fishing.
looking down the
                            beack towards the North Sea
  The wonders of the Shoeburyness garrison were behind me, maybe by a mile, when I took this picture looking back along the beach from where I had come from. The tide was going out, and features of the seabed make interesting patterns just under the water. I think this was at about the 3 mile point of my walk, and half a mile after I could have turned landward to walk to Thorpe Bay station to reduce my walk to little more than 3 miles.  It was around here that I may have jarred my chest somehow, or it was something more sinister, but I had two short lived periods of mild chest pain. The thing that made me think it could be something a bit sinister is that stopping, even for just long enough to take a picture, seemed to cure them.
view of the pier
  I'm glad I didn't have to climb up to the high street, where Southend Central station is located, at the end of my walk. Fortunately there are lifts from opposite the end of the pier up to High Street level, and the walkway at the top gives a wonderful view of the pier. It was a lovely clear day, and many details of the Isle Of Grain could be seen in the distance. It gives proof that "Southend-On-Sea" is actually "Southend-On-The-Muddy-Banks-Of-The-River-Thames" !

  My feet were really quite painful as I walked along the high street to the station. There are steps, maybe only about 8 or 10 of them, up to the station concourse, as the final hurdle to overcome. It was not just my feet that were hurting but my left hip and thigh, and try as I might, I couldn't walk up those steps without a slight limp. I didn't have long to wait for a train - little more than 10 minutes, but it could have been less than that if I had had the energy to walk over the footbridge (or is it a subway ?) to the bay platform on the other side of the station.

 With a train due in 10 minutes at the platform I was waiting on, it didn't seem to be worth the extra, and painful effort to cross the station to save about 8 minutes. Maybe if I had it might have saved me some trouble later on. My route there was to get a bus to Lewisham, and then the Docklands Light Railway direct to Limehouse station where there is direct interconnection with the mainline. I intended to go back by the same route, but the train I was on wasn't going to stop at Limehouse.

  There were two places (possibly three) where I could change trains, and I chose the wrong place - Barking. I should have changed at Upminster where there is just one London bound mainline platform. Barking has three. They are accessed via subways, and with no useful information on display I initially chose the wrong one ! Fortunately, after having had a sit down on the train there, my feet were slightly less agony than they were before, but I was almost out of breath before I reached the correct platform, and managed to get on the train with seconds to spare.

 At Limehouse station the connection between the mainline and the DLR is almost on the level (in the other direction it means going down to ground level, and then up again - easy when you are all fresh and not life expired). I just missed one DLR train, but it was rush hour, and the next one was just 3 minutes later. It may have been useful missing that first train because the one following it was not completely packed. I even managed to grab a seat !  As we approached Lewisham the passengers thinned out a bit, and I was able to get my phone out of my pocket and check the train times from Lewisham.

  As luck would have it, there would be just a 10 minute wait for a train to Catford Bridge. It wouldn't mean any less walking walking, but a rush hour train can be more civilised than a packed and heaving rush hour bus, and would be considerably faster. I had to stand all the way, but all the way amounts to less than 10 minutes, and it turned out to be a lot less than crush loaded. It was after getting off the train at Catford Bridge that I had difficulties. From years of practice I had travelled by the doors that open directly opposite the exit at the station, and I was head of the stampede to exit the station. Trying to get my speed up to commuter speed was very painful on my poor feet.

  After a painful 6 minute walk I was home, and more than ready for a cold drink, and some food. I had taken two small bottles of water with me, and I had eaten two rather soft, and getting stale, ginger biscuits, but some ice cold cola, and proper food was what I needed, and what I got ! For the rest of the evening I was in that odd state of being both tired and exhilarated. It may have been painful, but it felt good to have managed a 5 mile walk again - plus I had seen a load of interesting stuff that I had never seen before.

  I went to bed a lot later than I might have thought I would, but it wasn't long before I felt asleep. It probably comes as no surprise that I seemed to sleep well last night - although mainly due to exhaustion. I was up quite early, at around 6am, but like most morning now, I went back to bed, and slept for more. That extra sleep went on for longer than expected, and I was quite surprised to see it was almost 9.30am when I woke up. I thought I had woken up several times before, but I am wondering if they were actually dreams. The memories do have that funny edge that half forgotten dreams have.

  This morning I can definitely feel that my legs are a bit stiff and sore, and my feet are still tender, but the rest of me feels fairly OK. I have no idea what I shall do today, but I feel like it would be wrong to waste the sunshine. I don't feel up to going for a long walk, but I might take a walk in the park. I might even see if I can find Angela in the park at lunchtime. Maybe I'll feel up to a longer walk tomorrow - which should be almost as good as today.
Monday 15th July 2019
08:31 BST
  I didn't think it rained much early yesterday morning, but when I inspected my garden, later in the day, it looked like it had received quite a good sprinkling of rain. Most of yesterday was just dull and overcast, but there was some sunshine and blue sky at the end of the afternoon, and the last few hours of daylight were often bright. It was a slightly cool day, although 21° C from the middle of the afternoon felt nice in the later sunny intervals.
a dull
                    and cool day
  Today has started off feeling very fresh. I haven't checked, but I can quite believe it is just 14° C now. Eventually the temperature will climb to 21° C, the same as yesterday, and like yesterday, after it being dull and miserable, the sun might finally break through around 5pm. Tomorrow may be very different. Lots of sunshine is forecast, and the temperature should rise to 25° C.

  I started yesterday morning feeling pretty awful. Trying to pull out the very small tree stump during my garden clearance work the day before, had left me with some over worked muscles, and quite a bit of joint pain. Generically I had "pulled a muscle", although it was a bit more complex than that. What turned out to be the worst bit is that I triggered another flare up of my costochondritis - a rather undefined chest pain cause by inflammation of assorted tendons in my chest that I hadn't allowed to heal properly after my heart surgery in 2013. During the day most of my aches and pains faded away, still leaving some tenderness as a sort of warning, but my chest didn't. I actually felt like it got worse as the day progressed.

  It was dull and miserable during the morning, and into the early afternoon. That didn't inspire me to want to do anything, and I took full advantage of that lack of inspiration to rest my aching body. I hadn't slept very well the night before, and so laying on my bed, reading, and occasionally falling asleep, felt like, and probably was a good thing. As morning turned into afternoon I felt a bit bored, and a bit too inactive. I assumed, almost, but not completely accurately, that my legs were still in good working order, and decided to go to Aldi to buy some shopping.

  In reality I found my legs felt a bit stiff initially, but they soon eased up, and most of the walk there, and back home again, went smoothly. That smoothness also included carrying quite a load of shopping back home. I knew from long experience that even when my chest was at it's worst, carrying a heavy rucksack acts like a sort of brace for my back and chest. I seem to think it helps rather than hinders my dodgy chest. I suspect it also, somehow, makes me carry heavy shopping bags in a way that lessens any stress to my assorted joint and muscle pains in my arms.

  I was in the wrong frame of mind for shopping yesterday. I was thinking too much along the lines of feeling damaged, and thus should buy lots of stuff that was easy to eat. The peril there is that such things make perfect snacks at a time when snacking is not something I want to do when I can avoid it. Some of what I bought was far more sensible, and some may last for a lot longer than I imagined.

  It was still overcast when I got home again, but somehow it seemed a bit brighter. It was the first steps towards the clouds thinning out, and in a few more hours they would break up enough for some sunshine, but at the time the less oppressive sky was just a bit of cream on top of the good feeling of having done something useful, and that hadn't hurt in any way. In fact it probably marked the turning point when most of my worst aches faded out Perhaps not completely, but to a level that was generally ignorable most of the time.

  I celebrated with a couple of ready made sandwiches, I might also have had some chicken satay on sticks then,. If I didn't, I had them later. They were very deceptive - the little, barely bigger than coin sized bits of peanut flavoured chicken seemed to amount to almost nothing, but seemed more substantial when munching my way through the packet. After eating my lunch I went back to lazing on my bed, but not for that long. The afternoon seemed to be passing very quickly, or it was later than I thought it was.

  One of the things I had bought in Aldi was a 6 pack of Stella Artois. My plan was to drink all 6 cans during the evening instead of drinking lots of whisky. I wanted to be fairly, but not extremely drunk when I went to bed later. I hoped that in that state I would be anaesthetised, my aches and pains ignorable, and would find it easy to sleep. The one rule I set for myself was that I would not start to drink them until 6pm....or maybe 5pm.
first can of
                            Stella in the garden
  It was actually 5.27pm when I took this picture of me just starting my first can while out in the garden. As you can see, it was bright, and there was a lot of blue sky visible (there would be even more a bit later). I wanted to inspect my handiwork from the day before, and I wanted to check to see if my potato and tomato plants needed watering. It was then that I thought there must have been more rain than I realised in the early morning, and the ground still looked damp. I was almost tempted to give the tree stump another tug, but common sense prevailed, and I left it alone until a later day.

  I didn't spent that long in the garden, and after coming back indoors I despondently turned on the TV to see if there was anything worth watching on. It is extremely rare for anything to appeal on a Sunday evening, but for once I found something that did sort of appeal. It was one of those programmes that you start watching purely because it seems the least offensive, and then you find it quite interesting. It was a documentary about HMS Belfast - now (possibly) permanently moored near Tower Bridge as a sort of floating museum, but maybe in still in operational condition once the tourists have been swept off the decks. I never knew it had such an interesting history spanning two world wars.

  There was other stuff on TV later on, but nothing that really grabbed my attention. Maybe that is why I stopped drink Stella Artois after just two cans. I was generally feeling OK by then, but I thought a few extra glasses of whisky couldn't do any harm, and who knows ? They may have been instrumental in allowing me to get to sleep more easily, and possibly sleeping better during the night.

  Once the TV bored me I lay on my bed, and resumed my reading. I read for an hour or two, but eventually it felt like I wanted to sleep. I had already brushed my teeth, and so I turned out the light, and just slept on my bed, on top of the duvet for most of the night. I'm not sure if it was more comfortable like that, but I did seem to get some quite passable sleep when I was expecting much worse - maybe I just shouldn't have expected worse !

  Although I didn't get to sleep all that early, or indeed not early at all, I had a mad idea that I would get up early this morning. It was all part of a fantasy plan. I was awake and out of bed at 6.30am - not particularly early compared to the 5am I used to get up at every morning while I was working. I went through my usual rituals, and felt generally quite good except for some tiredness. So I went back to bed. It was rather cool this morning (and still is), and so this time I got under the duvet.

  It was a typical case of time passing faster than I thought it was - evidently I slept more than I thought I had - and it was much later than I thought I ought to get up (even my newly revised thoughts about it). Wrapping myself in the duvet seemed to have caused many aches and pains to resurface, although generally it was my chest that suffered. Bits of it ached, and it felt ,like my ribs were sort of loose and wobbly when I made certain movements. Thankfully it has mostly settled down in then last hour.

  I now face planning my day ahead. I had a sort of fantasy idea that I might go for a long, possibly seaside walk today. It is not the sort of thing I generally like unless it is warm and sunny, but today maybe special reasons apply.  I don't dare do anything that needs any upper body strength, and I don't want to lay around being idle today. That really only leaves a walk as a possibility. Once I have washed and dressed I will consider what and where.......
Sunday 14th July 2019
10:12 BST
  Yesterday was another day that mostly followed the forecast. I remarked yesterday that the sunny spells in the early morning didn't really happen, or ended earlier than forecast. Now and then, the sun would burst through the clouds, but it would generally only last for a minute or two, and that left an impression that the whole day was cloudy - even early evening when some blue sky was visible between clouds. At least one revision of the forecast warmed of rain in the early evening, but it stayed dry. The afternoon temperature reached 23° C, despite the lack of sunshine, and it was fairly slow to cool off in the evening.
                    morning rain
  This morning's forecast may have over estimated the amount of rain that would fall. It definitely did rain, but I didn't notice any heavy rain. Right now it is very overcast, and the forecast says it will stay this way until the end of the afternoon. However, the area of sky where the sun should be right now, is very bright. Maybe not enough to cast a shadow, but it suggests that the idea of the sun bursting through sometime this morning is not absolutely impossible. I can remember back in April or May when the idea of 21° C seemed like luxury, but it almost feels rather cool at this time of year - particularly with no sunshine. Maybe it will feel better if there are some sunny intervals late this afternoon. Tomorrow is going to be a dry, but colder version of today. The morning may start at just 13° C, and an overcast morning, and afternoon, will only allow the temperature to rise very slowly until it reaches a brief peak of 21° C, but 19°  or 20° C ia going to be more typical for the middle of the day.

  Yesterday morning I ached quite a lot. I thought that maybe some physical exercise might kill or cure. What I should have done is gone for a walk, but instead I thought I might do some garden clearance. I was quite successful, but it left a terrible toll on my body ! I essentially resumed where I left off the day before, and tackled the back, left hand corner of the garden. That area was mostly characterised by a heap of soil with a small tree, just past the sapling stage growing from it. I'm  unsure how the pile of soil came into being. It might have been spoil from the foxes burrowing, but I think it was more likely to have been spoil from where a deep fence post hole was dug. Maybe it was both.

  As I started to clear weeds and stuff from the corner it became obvious that there were burrows under the fence - and that they were too small for a fox. Many, many years ago they had been dug by a mother fox who had a litter of cubs, but they had fallen into disrepair well over 10 years ago. I think these small holes were used by rats - the same rat, or rats I had caught on camera stealing the food I put out for the injured fox I had in my garden. I like to think that as that fox recovered, and became more agile, he (or she - I was never sure) had one or more of those rats for lunch !

  I stuff old brick and concrete into the burrows as best I could, and covered them with soil. I'll keep an eye out for fresh movement. The thing that slowed me down, and stopped me doing more, was the small tree stump. I partly undermined it, and managed to snap some underground roots, but I could not pull it out. The roots were flexible enough for me to bend it over in any direction, parallel to the surface, but those roots would not give away. After a vicious tug of war I had to admit defeat yesterday, but I'll get the bugger out one day !

  I have no idea if I was working in the garden for one hour, or two hours, but I like to think it was at least approaching two hours - it would make the subsequent pain seem more worthwhile if it was for a longer period. Even while I was working my right elbow, and forearm were quite painful, and I probably made them worse. Later on some Ibuprofen and Paracetamol worked wonders on them, but they were quite uncomfortable initially. When was not so apparent initially is that it seems I managed to pull my ribcage out of kilter.

  Once I had cleaned up under a nice warm shower I felt both good and bad. Clearing another bit of garden, and overcoming a reluctance to do it felt good, but the pain felt bad...somehow "pain" seems too strong a word. Maybe aches is more descriptive, and I think it may better hint at the intermittancy of it - if I rested my arm in the right way there was no pain at all. If, for instance, I tried to pick up a full pint glass it could range from slightly to very painful depending on how I did it.

 After me shower it felt like time for some lunch. In the end my lunch was a couple of naughty ice cream bars from the corner shop. I wanted to go there for a couple of bottles of pop, and to buy a magazine. I guess I also wanted to see how well my legs were working. The answer to that latter question is absolutely fine. I found no impediments to striding to and from the corner shop with absolute ease. After eating those naughty, high sugar and stuff, ice cream bars I had a lay down and did some reading. I then had a snooze.

  It seemed like the afternoon flew by, and soon it was time for the dinner I had been looking forward to - fried chicken left over from my takeaway the previous night. I had decided a bit earlier than I wasn't going to go out last night, particularly with my heavy camera case, while my right arm was prone to so much pain. That meant I didn't have to hold back on the chicken. Oddly enough, apart from some peanuts much later in the evening, the chicken, and nothing but chicken was all I ate for dinner.

  As I ate my arm, particularly the elbow joint, was giving me quite a bit of discomfort. Rather than take any more painkillers, and because I had decided not to go out, I started on the whisky - the previously unopened bottle I had bought last Monday after a tedious Sunday night. The whisky worked extremely well even after consuming less than I expected (or maybe intended). For the rest of the evening I was in hardly any pain or discomfort, and I probably stopped drinking far too early.

  I was in bed quite late, possibly as late as 11pm, and I had stopped drinking whisky possibly as early as 8pm (but more likely 9pm). At first I just lay in bed reading, but as soon as I turned over to go to sleep my chest went crunch. I had had hints that not all was well with my chest, just odd creaks and groans, but they were overshadowed by the more immediate, and rather stronger pain from my elbow and forearm, plus my shoulder too.

  I then started a night of assorted pains and poor sleep. The worst thing was that no matter how I tried to lie in bed something would hurt. My chest would crunch and grind if I tried to turn onto my right hand side That produced an ache, rather than a pain, across the chest like a diluted heart attack. Fortunately long experience of this meant I was 97% sure it wasn't anything to do with my heart, but there is still that tiny bit of nagging doubt.

  If I lay on my left hand side my right arm would start to hurt unless I held it in a position that was impossible to keep. They are the course conditions, but there were many mixed conditions from trying to sleep in mixed positions. Just turning a few degrees from my left or right would introduce other small discomforts as well as the bigger ones. There was also the problem with the temperature. A few degrees warmer and I would want the fan on, and a few degrees less then I would want to be at least partially under the duvet.

  I spent the night thrashing around - sometimes sleeping for anything up to an hour - but often not sleeping at all. At 3am I took some Ibuprofen, and that quickly calmed my chest down, as it usually does when my rib cage gets inflamed (or whatever it does). That helped me get some longer periods of sleep, but the amount of dreaming I think I did suggests it wasn't often deep sleep. Many of the dreams left a feeling of dismay, at least I think that describes it. They were not scary, and not sad, but neither were they enjoyable in any way. Apart from a few scenes left in my mind, there is nothing more to remember except the overall emotion.

  I took my time getting up this morning, and did my best to get as much sleep as I could. I don't seem to feel particularly tired now, but I rather expect I could end up taking some long naps during the day. At the moment nothing actually hurts as such, but my right elbow does feel on the edge, and my chest is still making popping/crackling noises/feelings if I breath too deeply while in a slouched posture. On top of that my left hand, which has always had some variable numbness since some nerves were crushed during my operation in 2013, is feeling extra numb and/or tingling this morning. My right hand and wrist seem to be suffering from what is probably creeping carpal tunnel syndrome. The one thing that rather unusually does not seem to hurt this morning is my right shoulder. That is a bit strange.

  Today I have some grand plans...I think....sort of. When I have had a shower I will probably go to Aldi, or maybe Tesco for some shopping. Other than that I expect I will read and snooze a lot. I will do my best to try and rest my elbow, and to somehow keep my chest in some posture that will make me believe it is healing faster (although after all these years I have yet to work out what that it). Today is Sunday - it is meant to be boring and miserable - but unlike last Sunday I have a bottle of whisky to console myself with (taken as needed !).
little bastard of
                            a tree root
  In my haste to finish this writing, or as another early example of looming dementia, I almost forgot to post this picture of the utter, utter bastard of a tree and some of it's roots that defeated me, and that was a major contributor to some, or many of my recent pains. I'll get the bastard eventually !!
Saturday 13th July 2019
08:48 BST
  The amount of sunshine forecast for yesterday was a bit of an exaggeration. The morning may have started bright, but fairly soon the dark clouds I reported yesterday began to take control. From mid morning to early evening there was some sunshine, but it was in very short supply. It wasn't until 6 or 7pm when large patches of blue returned to the sky, but the sun was still often hidden. I am unsure if the temperature reached the forecast 24° C, but the humidity made it feel quite sticky.
                    to yesterday's reality
  I do wonder if the weather forecast are correct, but issued for the wrong days. The forecast for today, as in the screenshot above, seems to show roughly what yesterday's weather was like. At the moment we should be having sunny intervals, and maybe there was an hour or so ago, but right now it is overcast, and feeling quite fresh. My thermometers all agree it is about 20° C, which doesn't sound that fresh, and seems to be an hour early according to the time scale of the forecast. It seems we have to endure an overcast sky until at least 5pm (or 6pm if everything is out by an hour), and at 7pm, in among some potential sunny periods, it may rain. The afternoon temperature may be 23° C, and with the humidity seeming to be lower today, it may be less sticky than yesterday (not sticky at all would be a good thing). Tomorrow is forecast to be much cooler, 16 or 17° until later in the afternoon, almost early evening, when 21° C might be reached. It is forecast to be very dull until around 5 or 6pm when a few sunny spells might happen.

  The overcast sky dampened any enthusiasm I had to do anything yesterday, and I did end up doing very little...and yet in some strange way I still seemed to be busy - even if busy doing nothing. I probably used up most of the morning reading stuff on the internet - after I had a nice, well almost nice, shower, and washing my hair. It would have been nicer if the water had been a little cooler, and more refreshing. I did spent a bit of the time contemplating what I might do in the afternoon.

  When the time came, the only thing I could contemplate doing was looking at Chris' laptop. His complaint was that it did not turn on, and even the fan didn't start. The most important thing was to back up the data from his hard disk. Before I could do that I had to work out how to get to the hard disk. Most older laptops, which is really all I know, have some sort of hatch to access the hard drive. This one didn't. I had to take off the entire back to get to it. That was easier than I expected, and revealed some interesting information.

  The two most interesting discoveries were how to remove the battery (remove two screws - unusual, but simple), and the fact that no optical was fitted, but one would easy to retrofit by removing the dummy plastic, and slotting in a standard SATA connected drive with suitable bezel. (It looks as if the bezel on the dummy drive could be attached to a standard drive). The hard disk was easy to access and remove once the back was off.

  My (Linux) PC warned that the laptop hard drive was in an "indeterminate state", and suggested this may have been because Windows had been crashed out of instead of an orderly shutdown. It refused to auto mount it, and said it had to be mounted read only. This I did, and I was able to copy all Chris' files and documents over to a spare hard disk attached to my PC. Knowing Chris won't be reading this, I have to say his "filing system" was very random, but that is true of most people who just accept Windows defaults.

  Once all the data was  copied across I found there was only 2.6GB of data, and so I burnt two identical DVDs of the data to give to Chris (assuming the PC he is currently using has an optical drive - if not I'll put it on an SD card). The backups should be a valuable safety net for him, but ultimately may not be needed. After I put the hard drive back in, and put the back on again, I tried something I probably should have tried before.

  Chris had forgotten to give me the power supply, but I had an idea that the power supply for the Toshiba laptop that is currently serving up this web page, was to the same specification. It was, and when I connected to Chris' laptop it came to life - with some hesitation. At first it complained that the back up battery was dead, and wanted me to set the clock before it would proceed. I set that, and then it went right up to the Windows log in screen. At that point I shut it down, and transferred the power supply back to my server before it's almost life expired battery went flat.

  My guess is that Chris has kept that old laptop in a cupboard for several years, and in that time the battery has slowly gone flat, but not so flat that the power LED lights up when you press the power button. If he had tried plugging in his power supply, and maybe gave it half an hour to get a bit of charge, it would have probably have powered up, and been fine (once he had reset the time and date). I did one more check until I put the laptop on the imagined "work finished pile". I had a look on Amazon and a new power supply was £12.60, and a new battery (not a genuine Toshiba) was £21.95. It may have been a 2014 vintage laptop, but it seemed quite well specced, and would probably run Linux Mint superbly.

  It didn't really feel like I was spending much time on that laptop, but I guess all voyages of discovery seem be over all too soon. In actuality it was 5pm before I was ready to move on to other stuff, and that was mostly catching up with stuff on the internet. Even this morning I have a backlog of articles I want to read. I never seem to have time for this stuff now I am not at work...

  Before long it was time for the 6pm News, or Star Trek on TV, and as usual I flicked between the two, watching the more interesting of both (I have watched so many repeats of the Star Trek - The Original Series that I can fill in the blanks with no problems. It was also time to think about dinner. I had managed to eat lightly during the day, although "lightly" was still more than the nothing I would have eaten if I was back at work (It almost sounds as if I want to be back at work - I most emphatically do not !).

  As I think I might have mentioned yesterday morning, I had been contemplating a takeaway, and that was exactly what I had. I placed an order with a fish/kebab/fried chicken shop. I had a nice chicken shish kebab (only slightly spoiled by less chilli sauce than I would have preferred), and I had some chips with it. As usual I ordered a small portion of chips, and as usual I received a bucketload ! I ate half of them, and saved the rest. I also saved the chicken I had also ordered to make up the minimum order for free delivery. I will be looking forward to that chicken later tonight.

  On most nights I would turn the TV off sometime between 8 and 9pm, but last night I was watching it until 11pm (if I recall correctly). The programme that grabbed my attention was sort of silly, but I liked it. It was a sort of history of the "Carry On" films in three parts. Obviously all the clips of the films were very familiar, but a lot of the commentary or interviews between clips seemed familiar. I feel that I had previously watched a different, possibly shorter edit of the programme. Some write off the Carry On films as very low brow, and even smutty, but somehow they do seem to encapsulate what I think it is to be English.

  I think I had passed through the time to feel tired when I finally went to bed, and I read for maybe another hour before trying to go to sleep. I finally got to sleep quite late - sometime after 1am this morning - but for some reason I didn't really care about it. Having got to sleep I was awake again at about 2am for a pee. On reflection I think waking up around 2am is now a habit rather than a need - I did need a pee, but there was desperation about it.

   I don't think I really know how I slept last night. I don't seem to feel tired this morning, and that would suggest I slept OK, and yet I feel sure I was awake a lot in the night. Maybe I am just half remembering what was only a few seconds of being awake. I do remember the theme, but not the details of a quite depressing dream. I think it was a dream of old age when everyone you know is either dead or has moved so far away as to be as good as non existent.

  This morning I have already had some breakfast - a meal I generally try to avoid - or at least I used to, or used to do better at avoiding it. I had the second half of the chips I ordered last night. I am not one for small portions, but even I thought the portion of chips I had this morning was enough for a reasonable meal. They seemed a bit pale last night, and I think the benefited from 15 minutes in my mini oven/grill this morning. They were nice !

  My plans for most of today look like this <               empty space               >. I do have some plans for tonight, and they are a bit contradictory. Although I don't do parties, it would be very interesting to be a fly on the way, with my camera, at Carrie's 24th birthday party in The Swan And Mitre. I am invited, and it is not a private party - it's actually just a booze up in a pub. The problem is that I think I would be bored after a while, and that is why I think I'll be travelling in the opposite direction to The British Oak pub in Blackheath for another Chain gig. It is a shame they are not in the same town or I could do a bit of both.

  Oh, almost forgot. I do have a possible plan for today if a suitable occasion arises, and I have everything ready for it. Once you earn your freedom pass/60+ Oystercard the bloody NHS really get their hooks into you ! It started with them taking the piss many years ago, and now they want their shit and more.
bowel cancer
                            screening kit
Friday 12th July 2019
08:54 BST
  Once again the forecast didn't seem to predict that yesterday would be a very nice day. The last revision said that there would be sunny intervals all day instead of just at the beginning and end of the day. If you split hairs, you could say it was true, but to my mind the loss of sunshine for a few second once or twice an hour makes it sunny. Not all hours were sunny. Some did indeed have just sunny intervals, but with hindsight it feels like it was a bright sunny day. It was also dry...well, it didn't rain, but it was humid enough to get working bodies wet ! The peak temperature was only 24° C, but in the sun, and with it feeling humid, it did feel hot.
                    a better day than yesterday
  The forecast for today looks more how yesterday turned out, although the sunshine was a bit earlier in the day. The sun has been shining, with occasional interruptions, all morning, and lots of the sky was blue. As I look out the window now I can see some very dark looking clouds floating around. Maybe they are too small to bring a shower, but as I write this one has passed in front of the sun, and it is now quite gloomy. If the forecast is write, and sometimes it does get close to it, sometimes, it should be gloriously sunny from about 4pm, and the temperature will be up to 24° C by then. Tomorrow may not be so nice. After some sunny spells in the morning it will be gloomy until the end of the afternoon, and the current forecast says there could be a splash of light rain at 7pm. The max temperature may be a degree lower than the last two days - just 23° C.
hot and sweaty after working in the
  Yesterday was a good day, although it did have consequences. I had a bit of a slow and lazy morning, but before the morning was over I had got my act in gear. I brought the newly emptied brown wheelie bin through the house, and into the back garden, ready to be filled again. I also did a small amount of laundry by hand - just two t-shirts and some underwear. With that done I decided to do some more work in the garden. I'm not sure if it was foolhardy or glorious weather for it. I tended to think of it being glorious weather, although it did leave me hot and sweaty.

  I was working just wearing shorts (and nothing else except for underpants and shoes). I don't like flaunting my upper torso in public - my man boobs are not attractive - but it feel OK in my own garden. The danger is sunburn, but it does seem that frequent short exposures to the sun has left me largely immune to sun burn. Having said that, my back did feel a little itchy last night, but only an itch, and no sensation of pain or discomfort.

  Apart from the twice a day ritual of watering my wanted plants - the potatoes and tomatoes - I concentrated on clearing the back of the garden. I three quarter filled the wheelie bin with weeds and other organic debris, and yet I only seemed to clear a small amount of ground, maybe only a square yard, but I did thin out the weeds over a larger area. I think that next time I do some work out there I will be able to clear some of the back of the garden right up to the fence.
bricks and
  If I were a better photographer I would have got down on my hands and knees, and taken this shot from a better angle. It is supposed to show all the bricks and chunks of concrete I dug out as I approached the back fence. There is enough rubble here to build a very low drystone wall - a skill I might try and acquire (to absolute beginner level). There is a similar pile at the other end of the garden, and there are other bits and pieces scattered elsewhere.
potato plants
  The first fruits of my labours are not fruits but potato plants growing strongly. It was only a couple of months ago that this area was piled several feet high with old tree branches entangled with thick weeds, and some other old rubbish. The seed potatoes I planted there were just some ordinary new (or "salad") potatoes bought from Aldi that didn't get used for some time, and started sprouting. They need a lot of water, but are doing very well. I am unsure when to harvest them, but I suppose it depends on how big I want the potatoes to be. If I leave them until autumn I think they could be quite big. I probably ought to do some research about growing potatoes. For instance they are just about to flower (I think). Am I supposed to nip the flowers off so all the nourishment goes to the spuds, or just leave them ? I expect the answer lies in google, and some day I might get around to looking for it.
the progress so
  This was how my garden looked at the end of all my hot and sweaty work. Sadly it doesn't even look like I have done any work ! The biggest new clear area is behind the tree stump. It is only about a square yard, but it is still part of the master plan ! I also removed quite a lot of weeds and stuff from the back, left hand corner, but I didn't take that down to bare earth. Maybe next time I will. One future big task will be trying to level out the middle of the garden. I'm thinking I might have a lawn again, and it would be nice if it were free of rock, weeds, and was level.

  After finishing in the garden I felt both good and tired. More than that, after attending to a few things, I felt like I deserved a lie down. I lay on my bed, read a bout a single page from the book I am reading, and then fell asleep. I slept for longer than intended, and it might have been a lot longer if I hadn't been woken by a phone call from my friend Lee. His timing would have been good if he hadn't waffled on for ages about nothing of interest (or coherence). He woke me up at a good time to get ready to go out for my late Thursday afternoon/early evening drink. Unfortunately by the time he finished telling me stuff that was on no interest to me, and completely irrelevant to the reason for his call, I was late getting out to get the train.

  I arrived at the pub almost half an hour late, but I very soon caught the others up judging by the state of the whip. I ended up having four pints last night, and stayed a little later than usual. One pint, Otters "Amber" was acceptable, but not that nice, the other three pints were of Sharps "Atlantic". That was a very drinkable, but bland beer. All I could say when asked about it was that it was neither nice or nasty, and I think I still stand by that. I can think of far worse and far better beers. I would guess it's best attribute is that any beer drinker would find it OK to drink.

  On the way home I called into the Sainburys "local" by Catford station to buy some salad. I ended up buy a little more than than that. I also bought some very nice potato salad, a small "sub sized" stick of bread, and a sandwich. The sandwich was rather wonderful. It was bacon with ketchup sandwich, and very tasty, but best of all was that it had a reduced price sticker on it. Unlike stingy old Tescos, who might knock off 20p when their sandwiches reach their use by date at the end of the afternoon, Sainsburys reduced that sandwich to half price - a real bargain !

  For the next couple of hours I watched some TV, but decided to give up on that, and have an early night. I was in bed a few minutes before 9pm, but initially I wanted to read for a while. At 10pm I put my book down, turned out the light, and then - - - nothing except discomfort ! As soon as I turned over it seemed like every overworked muscle, every dodgy twisted rib, every worn knee joint came back to torment me. On top of that it was hot and sticky, and maybe it was sunburn, or maybe something else, but part of my back felt itchy.

  After thrashing around for an hour I just had to take some painkillers. An hour after that I finally fell asleep, but I woke up a lot in the night. I probably slept better towards the end of the night, despite some very weird, and disturbing dreams (which I can't remember any detail of now), and I managed to sleep later than usual. This morning I feel very stiff and creaky. I also feel sort of gritty after a sweaty sleep. I am looking forward to getting under the shower soon. That is about the only definite thing I can think of for today.

  I don't think there are any gigs that I feel like attending tonight, and so my evening will remain clear. Maybe, in the very unlikely event that I eat very little during the day, I could justify some sort of tasty takeaway tonight. However, the chances of eating very little during the day seems unlikely. One way of doing it would be to go out for the day. I did contemplate going to Shoeburyness for a paddle in the muddy sea, but at the moment I don't think I am up to it.
Thursday 11th July 2019
09:05 BST
  Much of yesterday seemed to be overcast, but from midday there were some sunny spells. It was a warm and very humid day. The afternoon temperature was about 24° C, but the humidity often made it feel warmer and stickier.
                    spells all day
  The latest revision to the forecast is very similar to the screenshot above, but now it says there will be sunny intervals all through the day. The temperature profile is the same shape, but now it is thought that the temperature will peak at 25° C. I expect tomorrow will feel similar to today, but it may be a degree or two cooler, and start a bit duller. In compensation there could be some hours of non stop sunshine at the end of the day, but I expect that the forecast tomorrow morning will tell a completely different story.

  The grey sky was not very inspirational yesterday morning, but I still wanted to go out and stretch my legs. It definitely didn't feel like a seaside sort of day, and I couldn't think of any train/railway station spotting destination. I didn't fancy walking very far, and somehow a walk in my local park seemed boring, and a bit too unadventurous. What I eventually decided on was a walk in Beckenham Place Park. If it felt good there was plenty of opportunities to lengthen my walk, and maybe I would have done so if I had worn more comfortable shoes. The pair I put on were comfortable to wear, but not comfortable to walk long distances in, but could have been handy if it was a bit muddy.
walking route
view from the top
  I took a train from Catford station to Ravensbourne station, and then walked through the park to Beckenham Hill station. When I first arrived at the park the sky was looking very dull and cloudy, and I even wondered if it might rain. It would be unfortunate if that happened because I didn't have any protection from the rain, although I did have a face flannel in my trouser pocket to dry my face with. I used it quite frequently later in the walk because the humidity was making me sweat a lot.
  The park has many characteristics. There are grassy areas, some mown, and some allowed to grow wild - with wild flowers and wildlife. There are wooded areas featuring narrow shaded paths. It can be most enjoyable, and in more comfortable shoes I would have enjoyed further exploration. Even though I kept my walk short, I still enjoyed it a lot. With a bit of patience there was plenty of stuff to take photos of.
  This was the best photo I could get of the many butterflies I saw while walking. I am unsure what species of butterfly this is, but I saw many the same type. This was the only one that sat still for long enough for me to focus on it. Try as I might, I don't think I have ever managed to capture one in flight. Maybe I should try high resolution video mode, and hope that one frame might be usable as a still photo.
ugly bug
  Sometimes my Nikon P500 camera would just not go into macro mode, and focus for close ups. For this ugly looking bug I used my mobile phones camera, and it did a far better job than the Nikon.

   Despite my feet being uncomfortable in the shoes (actually hi top Lee Cooper trainers) various bits of my walk were exhilarating. I don't know why it is, but it feels good to be able to walk up steep slopes. That needs a bit more explanation. I often moan about walking up long flights of stairs... or at least I did. Now I think about it I don't seem to find it as taxing as it once was. Anyway, within the park there are a few dips and bumps along some of the wilder paths, and some are about the same height as me. To metaphorically shift into low gear and power up the steep slopes feels good.

  In my very limited exploration of the park I came across something I knew was being built, but I was unsure of the extent or exact location. Once upon a time, when the park was part of the grounds of the big manor house owned by the Cator family, there was a lake. Over time it became neglected, and overgrown. One of the projects that the much protested restoration of the park was to dig out the lake again, and restore it. That has now been done, and it is bigger than I imagined. I couldn't take a close look because of temporary barriers to keep people out while the freshly laid turf settles in. It is due to open on the 20th of this month, and will include a shallow paddling area, plus a deep part for swimming and boating.
the lake
  It may have just been a 1.22 mile walk, but I enjoyed it, and felt that it contributed to keeping in practice (although it is going to take much more practice than this if I want to get back to doing 7 or more mile walks - even 5 mile walks !!). At the end of my walk I had a bit of luck. When I exited the park I had to cross the main road to get to Beckenham Hill station for the train back to Catford. As I stood at the kerb waiting for a safe gap in the traffic to cross the road a nice gap appeared to my right, and at the same time a gap appeared to my left. The first vehicle to reach me from the left was a 54 bus. I crossed the road, and then 10 seconds later the bus arrived at the bus stop I was headed to. The train would have been quicker, but there was an unknown time before it arrived, and the walk from Catford station is at least double that of the 54 bus stop to home.

  Once home I thought I deserved a cold drink, and a light lunch. I had both and then copied the pictures from my camera and the two mobile phones I had with me (I was using an old one to track my walk).  Sorting out the photos (about 20 in the full set) took a bit of time, but once done I could relax. I relaxed a bit more than I intended. I lay on my bed and read about one page from a paperback before having a snooze. I have no idea when that was, but I don't think it could have been much later than 3pm. I was shocked to find it was 5pm when I woke up, and most of the day had passed.

  I didn't really do much after that. If you can call putting some burgers under the grill cooking, then I did some cooking, and of course I did some eating - plain burgers on plain salad. I watch some TV. Caught up with a bit of internet reading, and then went to bed for some book reading, and eventually sleeping. I can't be sure, but I think I was asleep by 11pm. I think it was about 2am when I woke up from a strange dream that must have been partly inspired by my walk in the park.

  In my dream I was with someone, possibly my mum, but only as someone to remark to. The shape and size of the windows said I was in my old bedroom at my mum's house, but the view outside was definitely Catford. I looked out the windows and saw that a huge area of land had been cleared on the far side of the railway by Catford Bridge station, and it had apparently been done overnight. There were now cows on the land, and they were being used to break up some balls of clay/mud by kicking them ! For the next bit of the dream the perspective changed to being on Catford Bridge station, and noticing all the exits from the London bound platform had been sealed except for the footbridge, and stairs at the end of the platform. (that does reflect reality, but for a different reason). After that the dream becomes very vague.

  Like most morning now, I temporarily got up soon after 6am, and pottered around for half to three quarters of an hour before going back to bed. Once again I was surprised that I felt asleep, and even more surprised when I realised I had added almost 2 hours of sleep to my total. I think the total was possibly more than 8 hours. When you add on my afternoon naps, I am getting a lot of sleep, and it is no wonder that I don't seem to have enough time to do stuff I want to do. I seemed to have more leisure time when I was at work.

  I have no idea what I will do with much of my leisure time today, but I do know it is Thursday, and that means I'll be going for my late afternoon drink today. Before then I had probably better get up properly - have a shower and stuff. Maybe I'll rake up some more weeds in the garden, and at the same time inspect my potato plants of damage. The foxes were having fun last night, and while having a pee at 3am I heard the sound of fences being jumped out the back, and the unearthly cry of the dog fox from somewhere out in the road. One of my potato plants looks like it has been bashed by a fox. Hopefully it is not too damaged.
Wednesday 10th July 2019
09:46 BST
  It didn't seem to feel like a July day yesterday. It was mostly dull, and sometimes almost gloomy. It is entirely possible that I missed or just forgot about and sunny spell there might have been. At least it was dry, or on seconds thoughts, maybe it would have added a bit of colour to the day if it had rained. It would certainly have been nice for the cultivated bit of my garden. The afternoon temperature seemed to exceed the forecast of 21° C, and may have been as high as 24° C.
                    hope for sunshine today
  The most recent revision to the weather forecast correctly shows that it is nasty and overcast at the moment, but also dangles the carrot of hope that the sun may eventually break through the thick grey soup of the current sky later. It also warns of a shower at 4pm. That could be good with the temperature up at around 25° C, but it makes me wonder if it is going to be light rain or a thunderstorm in that warmth. Tomorrow is currently thought to have a sunny morning, and a sunny late afternoon, and a sunless early and mid afternoon. The temperature could be 24° C at best. It is currently looking like there will be no high summer days for the rest of this month. Sunny spells are all that is on offer for as far ahead as the current forecast goes (with is the 23rd July). Fortunately the forecasts for more than 12 hours ahead are usually completely wrong. Maybe it will snow !

   Yesterday demonstrated a strange paradox, or more likely a mental aberration. The dull weather gave me no enthusiasm, and it felt like anything was too hard to do. The paradox, if indeed that is the right word, is that when I went out to get some shopping from Aldi, I felt good. My legs seemed to be in 1st class condition, and instead of almost limping there, which is how I felt I ought to feel, I walked there at just a bit under top speed (I saved top speed for overtaking).

  Once I got home again I felt miserable and weak again....or something like that. While I was shopping an earlier almost subliminal trigger was working on my brain. It was several years ago that the school opposite me gained a new kitchen, and probably new cooks. Unlike the boiled greens smell of school dinners in my childhood, this new kitchen sometimes produces quite enticing smells. The smell that wafted into my nose earlier yesterday morning was of cooking meat, possibly roasting beef.

  While in Aldi I decided I wanted to buy and eat some solid chunks of meat. One temptation was some marinated pork belly strips. I ended up cooking and eating the whole pack for my lunch. To make matters worse I followed that by some cheesy fries (I would have eaten them together, but I could only cook one at a time). It was an incredibly unhealthy lunch on a day when I wanted to eat lightly. I did have a much lighter evening meal, but the damage had already been done.

  With hindsight it was annoying that the cheesy chips were ultimately disappointing, but with my stomach well filled, it was time for a lie down to digest it. Not only to digest it, but to do some reading, and to have what I think was probably quite a long snooze. I am unsure when I fell asleep, but I think it might have been around 3pm, and it was close to 5pm when I woke up again. That was quite some siesta !

  Most of the day seemed over, and I had nothing to show for it but a full fridge, and a full stomach. In the evening I had my light, salad based evening meal, and I watched quite a bit of TV. By 9pm I was in bed reading, and I continued reading until I finished my book. I think it was just after 11pm that I finished the book, turned out the light, and quickly fell asleep. As far as I am aware I had two long sleeps last night. Each was over 3 hours long, and separated by a pee in the middle.

  I think it was 6.20am when I woke up and decided to stop wasting my mornings. So I got up and did some real work. I did some laundry once I had done my morning rituals of taking my pills, and taking a screenshot of the weather forecast. An hour after waking up I had my washing hanging on the line, and I watered my plants.
early morning
                            washing on the line
  The laundry included two hand towels - fairly heavy when saturated with water, but not nearly as heavy as manhandling/wringing out a bath towel. I also washed the khaki shorts I have mainly been using when gardening. Assuming they haven't shrunk, I could probably dare wear them in public now they are clean, although it doesn't seem we will be getting any suitable hot days in the foreseeable future.
                            sprouting ????
  After hanging up the laundry I watered my potato and hoped for tomato plants. At the same time I inspected some of the things I planted in old food containers in the hope they may grow. There seems to be no signs of life from the finger chillies I planted, but something seems to be happening in the old icecream tub that I put the rotten strawberries in. It is entirely possible they are just weeds, but some of those tiny new shoots do appear to be clumped together. Maybe, just maybe, I have embarked on growing strawberries. I fear it may be too late in the season to get a crop, but something may happen.

  After hanging up the laundry to dry, watering the plants, and inspecting stuff I had sown, I went back to bed. I thought I was far too awake to go to sleep again, but I was wrong. I was very surprised to open my eyes and find 2 hours had passed ! Now, as I come to the end of my writing for today, I have to hurriedly think of what I am going to do today. I really feel like stretching my legs, and maybe I'll take a walk in a park, or maybe I might jump on a train with my camera to take some snaps of some distant railway station. Maybe I might do some of the stuff I have been meaning to do at home, but have been put off by the weather being not "just right" - bright but not too warm, and with the threat of later rain - probably. Tomorrow the binmen will be emptying the brown wheelie bin. Maybe that need a bit more filling today.
Tuesday 9th July 2019
09:58 BST
  The weather yesterday was fractionally better than the forecast. Sunny spells were forecast for the morning, but there were some in the afternoon, although admittedly they were in quite short supply in the afternoon, and faded out sometime around mid afternoon. It was neither a cold or warm day despite the afternoon temperature reaching 21° C. Without any supporting sunshine it just felt tepid.
probably grey all day
  I've refreshed the weather web page many times, but it hasn't significantly changed from the early morning screenshot above. It is going to be a dull and gloomy day with a very small hope of a glimpse of sunshine just before the sun sets. From late afternoon there is a small - 9 or 10% - chance of rain, but no actual rain is predicted. This morning felt a bit cool, but the 21° C forecast for this afternoon should feel comfortable even if it doesn't actually feel warm in the sunless gloom. Actually it is not that gloomy, but it is a bit gloomy as I wrote this. Tomorrow is also predicted to be overcast, and once again no rain is shown as falling, but there is up to a 19% of it happening (?????). Even without any sunshine until possibly very late afternoon, the 25° C should feel warm, and probably sticky too.

   I couldn't raise much enthusiasm for doing anything yesterday. Had it been bright and sunny I may have managed more. I might have even gone out further than Tesco. I went to Tesco just after midday, and my legs were quite enthusiastic about it. It was my torso and arms that were less keen. My head could only record these ideas, and stayed away from making judgemental decisions...or something like that.

  I bought more than intended in Tesco because once again I was tempted by some reduced priced items. One such item was a small tub of Italian onions (I forget the name, and I can't be bothered to go down to fridge to check it). They were little flat onions that were pickled in balsamic vinegar and rapeseed oil - not even olive oil ! I think they were supposed to be a luxury item, and carried quite a high original price tag, but everyone knew they were just pickled onions. At about one third the price, and unusually high reduction for the Catford Tesco, they were worth buying to check them out. They were nice, but nothing special, and I would have been quite happy eating them with fish and chips.

  More practical purchases were a bottle of Tesco Special Reserve whisky - ready for the next time I have a totally tedious evening like last Sunday. I also bought some ready made salad, and some reduced price sandwiches. I don't know why I fall for them when the reduced price discount can be very small. It was also a bit silly when I wanted to eat as little as possible after snacking far too much on Sunday.

  I did have an idea that I was going to Tesco to just buy a few things I couldn't buy from Aldi, and then go to Aldi for the bulk of my shopping, but it felt like I had bought enough from Tesco for the day, and didn't need any more. Indeed any more might have been too tempting, although I don't know why when I already had stuff to tempt me from Tesco. One such item that I almost forgot about was a packet of crisps - with a difference.

  These crisps from the range with the stupid, American sounding name of "Kettle Chips", were, to my knowledge, rather unique. They were "Norfolk pork sausage" flavour with apple. I have to confess that I didn't read the blurb on the back of the packet to confirm it, but to me it seemed the apple was literally deep fried thin slices of apple ! They were quite nice, but like many of these weird flavoured crisps, the mouth/taste buds becomes numb to too many of them.

  Rather than go to Aldi I rested during the afternoon. I almost did nothing but read and sleep. I think I did manage to get a couple of fairly long naps - possible an hour or so each time.  Sometimes it feels like the day was wasted, but only because I didn't do any big things, but besides reading and sleeping I did do quite a few little inconsequential things. Some only took 5 minutes, and others a little longer. I say they were inconsequential, but they were probably all things that would have to be done one day.

  I am not sure why I am being so defensive about being lazy. It doesn't really matter that I did nothing that will impact the wider world. The whole idea of retiring was to give me the freedom to do things I couldn't do while working, and sometimes they are little things rather than big things. The irony is that since retiring it feels like I don't always have enough time to do many of the things I want to do.

  Last night could have been boring, but there were a selection of TV programmes to amuse me. I declined to open my new bottle of whiskey, but I did glug through 4 cans of chilled Guinness last night. It is amazing how easily that stuff goes down! At one point in the evening I felt a tiny bit dizzy. I didn't think I had drunk anywhere near enough by a big percentage to be drunk. The next thought was that maybe my blood pressure was doing something weird. So I checked it, and it was 122/67 - or rather good, and just the sort of figure my doctor would approve of.

  My last theory was that I had been staring at my PC screen for so long that it took my eyes a few seconds to refocus for longer distance sight. I have no idea if that is right or wrong, but I don't feel any worry about it. Various things have made me a little dizzy or lightheaded over the years, and they have ranged from ear infections through blood pressure (particularly in the early days of taking blood pressure medication where a fast drop in blood pressure can feel very strange), and actually being drunk. No matter the cause, they all feel a bit like being drunk, and so can be dismissed with no concern.

  I didn't feel any great rush to go to sleep last night until the last minute when a wave of sleepiness came over me very quickly. I spent at least an hour in bed just reading , and thoroughly enjoying, and then as I read one single page I went from feeling fine to feeling really tired. I put the book down, turned out the light, and was soon asleep. I know I woke up a few times in the night for a pee, but they all seemed inconsequential, and it wasn't until about 7am that I thought I would try getting up. After a while I decided it was too early, and went back to bed again.

  At first I thought I was wasting my time, but then, suddenly, about 90 minutes passed with no warning. When I got up again I felt pretty awful. The first time I go up I felt tired, but basically OK. The second time it hurt. I think it probably didn't help that I was probably sleeping on my right arm. That arm, nowadays always prone to aching, did indeed ache a lot. It was the arm where I had a dislocated elbow for 5 or 6 weeks until it popped back in again (the hospital said it was just soft tissue damage !!). I can imagine that joint aching now, but I am not sure how it could affect me forearm. I suppose then pain may not be travelling down my forearm but up it from what is most probably a carpal tunnel problem.

  Today I have no plans to do anything definite, nor any ideas for any definite plans. Today I will just make it up as it comes along....Oh, I do have one plan. I want to wash my hair. The weather does not lure me into the garden, but I might force myself to go out there and do some assorted clearance. Perhaps this afternoon I might go shopping in Aldi. Maybe I might lay on my bed and continue to catch up with the pile of books I have been meaning to read. Once the weather started to improve in mid Spring I seemed to have a lot less time for reading.  Maybe this dull and gloomy day was meant for catching up on winter pursuits !
Monday 8th July 2019
10:38 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday almost had all the right ingredients, but showed them in the wrong order. It was supposed to rain - overcast - sunny spells - nightfall. It did rain in the morning, and for a while it was overcast, but very early in the afternoon (possibly slightly before) the sun broke through, and for several hours the sky was mostly blue, and it was like a summers day again. I think it was around 5pm that it clouded over again, and it really felt like it was going to rain again. The forecast high of 19° C may have been right, but in the sunshine it felt much warmer.
  The latest revision to the forecast says the sunny spells we are currently enjoying may now last to 1pm, and after several hours of overcast skies, will return again by 6pm...maybe. It should be a little warmer today, 21° C, but under a grey sky it still might feel cooler than it was in the sunshine yesterday. Tomorrow could be very similar to today, at least as far as the temperature goes, but the current forecast shows no sunshine until a possible sunny spell just before sunset.

   Yesterday was one of those days where a lot and nothing happened. My first priority was to finish going through all the photos I took of Chain's gig at The Mitre on Saturday night. It felt both enjoyable and frustrating. I didn't really want to sit at my PC all morning, but the sky was grey, and there was nothing better to do. At the same time I did have the enjoyment of finding I had taken some nice photos. Chris Mayer has already used one as his profile picture on social media. It is one of those shots that I have learned to not dismiss. It is technically lousy, but still looks good. As someone said, and I think it was Angela, "I am good at capturing a moment in time".
fake film strip
  As I mentioned yesterday, I took 158 snaps on Saturday night, and I expected to get about 15 usable pictures from it. Some of those snaps were the result of burst shots where I hold my finger on the shutter button, and the camera takes pictures as fast as it can. The picture above is the result of two such pictures taken a few tenths of a second apart. Jo's smile on the left hand side marks it as the best picture, but the next one, with the crinkly eyes looks good too. In a flash of inspiration I decided to show them side by side using a fake film strip effect.

  When I finished my photo editing the rain had stopped ages ago, and although there was no hint of the sunshine to come, it seemed possible that I might be able to dry some clothes on the line outside. I thought I had at least a couple of t-shirts that needed washing, but in fact there was only one that really needed a wash (the other couple had only been worn for a couple of hours, and were still fresh enough for things like shopping). I did have 4 pairs of underpants to wash though, and together they made up a small wash. That suited me because I was not feeling up to heroics. By the time I hung them all on the line there were the first hints that the sun was coming out.

  After a short lie down, reading a few pages from the book I am currently reading, I felt the urge to stretch my legs. I think I just intended to have a look to see how things were going in the garden, but I might have got a bit carried away... I wasn't really dressed for gardening in the footwear department. I just had flip flops on, but I thought I could shovel some of the pile of organic debris I had left the last I worked in the garden, into the brown wheelie bin. Although I was aching in various places, I went further than that, and started digging/pulling out some of the deep rooted weeds that were in what was once my lawn, and by recent thoughts could be lawn again. I also raked out some weeds that gave up their grip on the soil more easily. At some point I made a discovery.
toy car found
                            buried in the garden
  I was just about to shovel a spades worth of weeds, partly decayed wood, and some soil, into the wheelie bin when I noticed something. It was upside down, and so it was the wheels that first drew my attention to an old die-cast toy car (I think it said Corgi on the underside, but it may have been Dinky). It was encrusted with mud, and had roots and all sorts of stuff growing through it, but after a brief clean up I took the picture above. It is essentially intact, and with a good spray of WD40, and attention with an old toothbrush, it may come up looking even better. Both door, the sunroof, and the bonnet still open, but the boot seems stuck (I think it is supposed to open) - there is probably a dead body in there. It's that sort of car !!

  I may have spent an hour in the garden, and it felt very nice with my shirt off in the warm sunshine - maybe too warm because at the end of my labours I was quite sweaty. After coming back indoors, and cleaning myself up, I suddenly realised I had nothing more to do, and that I was back in "boring Sunday" territory again. I did find a few little things to do, like preparing a couple of videos I had shot on Saturday night, but mostly I was very bored, sort of depressed, and feeling far too hungry. It wasn't real hunger, but an irresistible urge to snack.

  At 6pm I checked the TV but there was nothing on that remotely interested me, and several things on that I would go out of my way to avoid watching. I tried to find some entertainment on the internet with very limited results. One curious dilemma, or situation, or train of thought, was that I really wanted to over indulge in whisky drinking, but There was none I wanted to drink. I have two 2 litre bottles of Club Haig, but until Tesco mess up their pricing again, and sell the 1 litre bottles for less than the 70cl bottles, I want to save them for a special occasion because it is very nice whisky (according to my palate). I also have a big collection of miniatures, but I am saving those for a mythical special occasion. That just left some none too nice whisky I had bought from Tesco some time ago. I put off touching that for some time, but gave in and had a small amount of it just to be an anarchist (or something).

  A lot more whisky, such as Tesco Special Reserve, one of my favourite whiskies, would probably have helped get me to sleep last night. I don't know if it was some sort of karma from some past evil life, but after enduring a very boring evening I went to bed, and discovered I was suffering from insomnia. Instead of going to sleep between 10 and 11pm, it was gone 3am, and only an hour or so before sunrise when I first slept for maybe half an hour. I just couldn't seem to get comfortable, and the more I thrashed around the more uncomfortable I felt. There were several times when I felt my funny ribs crack and pop. That is mildly uncomfortable, but always feel like it could be much worse, and can often leave a legacy of several days or more of chest aches. I think I may have got away with it this time.

  After a few false starts I eventually managed to get to sleep for a couple of hours. I was hard to get much more when sunshine was seeping around my, and slight through my curtain. This morning most of me seems to feel OK, but I am obviously feeling a lack of sleep - or believe I do. Today has the potential to be a boring day, but at least there is usually some old repeats worth watching on TV tonight. Today I am contemplating two shopping trips. There are a few things I would like to buy from Tesco, whisky being one thing, but I prefer to but most things from Aldi - I am not made of money !

  Other stuff I might do today includes a bit more work in the garden - possibly sawing logs rather than pulling weeds - I probably ought to do some housework in my bedroom. It is looking very messy in here. Finally, if I can raise the enthusiasm, I ought to get back to work sorting out my back room, and my quest of one day turning it back into a dining room again. ..or maybe I will lay on my bed reading and snoozing. In the meantime, here's some video from Saturday night. Chain play a suitable rumbustious cover of Whole Lotta Love.

Sunday 7th July 2019
08:57 BST
  Yesterday started very sunny, but that quickly gave way to sunny intervals. As the morning progressed the periods of sunshine got shorter, and the periods when it was overcast became longer. As the afternoon started the sunny periods were over, and it was generally dull for the rest of the afternoon, and into the evening. The next change was probably just after 9pm when it started to rain. It was mostly light rain, and it was rather tepid feeling, and thus ignorable most of the time. The rain continued on and off through the night. With a top temperature of 22° C it was warm, but not hot.
                    drizzly start
  The forecast says light rain followed by drizzle, but in reality I would describe both as drizzle. It is a wet start to the day, but that means I don't have to water the garden, and because the rain should be stopping soon it is forgiveable. The rest of the day will just be overcast, heavy at first, and lighter later on, but there seems there might be a chance of a few sunny spells in the last few hours before sunset. At best it is going top be 19° C, and probably feeling fresh as a result. Tomorrow should see the temperature back up to 20 or 21° C, and probably sunny periods through the day.

   It sometimes seemed that I did nothing but select and edit photos all day yesterday. That is almost trued except I did go out in the evening, and I did have a snooze or two during the day. I have already shown pictures of The Tramshed Choir, and Vokal Velvet, and today I was going to show some pictures of Chain, but in my haste to finish the Chain photos I didn't prepare any small pictures to show here, but where there is a will there is a way .... 10 minutes later...
Chain at The
                            Fellowship And Star
Chain on the nicely lit stage of The Fellowship And Star.

  I did my best to eat lightly through the day, and on the whole I succeeded. That meant no nasty bloated feelings in the evening. In turn that should have meant that I was feeling good for going out, but I wasn't. I think it was while laying on my bed, after finishing the last Chain photo that I had a good yawn, and stretched myself to full length. As I did so I popped a rib...or that is what it felt like. I had a bad stabbing pain in my left hand side that came and went for the rest of the evening (it seems to be OK this morning).

  It meant I had to be quite careful when having a shower before going out. I can't remember if it was washing my left or right armpit, but reaching across with the opposite arm triggered a burst of pain. Pulling the curtains just before going out gave another burst of pain. Once I left, and started walking down the road, there was no pain at all - provided I didn't breath - which is tricky !

  My original plan was to go and see M.T. Pockets last night, but they were playing in The Swan in West Wickham, and I don't really like that pub. In theory it is easy to get to - as simple as a 12 minute ride on a train, but it is a 5 minute uphill walk from the station. On the plus side it means a downhill walk to get back to the station, but travelling is only a part of my dislike. The main problem is that the place usually seems so cluttered - often with football fans or builders. So I went to The Mitre, in Greenwich to see another Chain gig.
Jo singing
                                solo at the start
  Sometimes a photo just composes itself. The photo above was the very first snap I took, and it was effectively during the sound check. Jo was singing solo, and the light just seemed to be right. If there is one fault it is that the close proximity to the stage lights has made her hair look grey - which it isn't.

  I like and hate The Mitre in equal measure. The usual thing is that it is quiet at first, and I can get in some good snaps until the drunks turn up and start dancing in my field of view. Last night it happened earlier. There was a bloke who obviously had too much to drink wandering all over the place. Twice he bumped into me, and once he stood right in front of me while I was trying to shoot some video. I think his mate eventually steered him out of the pub (or maybe up to their room if they were staying in the hotel part above the bar).
Chain in The
  Despite the shenanigans I think I got a good selection of snaps, and I did stay for the first song or two of the second set - something I rarely do. When I left the pub there was some thin drizzly rain coming down, but it didn't seem to be bothersome, although there was always that apprehension that it might get worse. Maybe it did for a while. There was part of the bus ride home when the front windows of the bus seemed to be collecting quite a heavy splattering of rain.

  Fortunately the rain didn't seem to be any worry when I got off the bus, and that was handy because I got off the bus one stop earlier than usual. There was method in my madness. My madness was to do something I so very rarely do - so rare that the last time is lost in the mists of history. I stopped off to but a donner kebab ! Well it made a change to greasy fried chicken, and at least while it was hot, the donner "mystery meat" didn't seem that greasy at all. Some of grease would have been soaked up by the pitta bread which I didn't eat. It was a long way from a healthy supper, but it could easily have been 10 times worse !

  After my supper I brushed my teeth and went to bed. I felt quite hot at first, and turned my fan on. Two or three hours later I woke up feeling cold and stiff. I turned off the fan, had a wee, and then went back to bed. My bedroom still felt quite warm enough to not bother covering myself with the duvet. I got up a little after 6am, but that felt stupidly early. After half an hour, maybe 45 minutes, I went back to bed again, but I probably only slept for maybe 20 minutes in the hour or so that I was in bed. It was hardly worth going back to bed.

  This morning I feel almost OK. Nothing hurts that much, and even my legs don't seem to have their usual stiffness. One slight casualty of last night was a bit of a sore throat. I was trying to have a conversation with someone, and I had to shout to make myself heard. It wasn't long before that triggered a lot of coughing, and the legacy of that was a sore throat, but as I write this I seem to be over that.

  Today I should be looking forward to a nice lazy day doing bugger all, but reality has intruded into that idea. Last night I shot off 158 snaps of Chain (some of then burst exposures), and I need to go through them all to select and edit the best. Typically that means I'll use about one in ten snaps, and so I should end up with a photo album of 15 or 16 pictures - which seems reasonable in my mind.

  Once that is done I can relax - no I cant ! I want to go shopping. Although in this case that "shopping" will probably be no more than a couple of bottles of pop, and a magazine from the corner shop. I also think I will probably wash a couple of t-shirts. It is not drying-on-the-line weather right now, but it might be by the afternoon. Then I can put my feet up and be deservedly bored for a few hours. I look forward to - except I won't be bored at all, I'll be reading or snoozing.
Saturday 6th July 2019
10:41 BST
  Yesterday was forecast to be sunny all day long, but much of the afternoon, and into the evening was often overcast, although the sky did look mostly clear to the north - where the sun wasn't ! It was certainly a warm day, and very humid feeling. The afternoon temperature may have been a smidgen higher than the 27° C, and for longer too. Two different thermometers on the windowsill of the back, north facing bedroom said it was 30° C, but at ground level my thermometers agreed with the forecast. It cooled off after dark, and felt rather nice.
                    morning version, and it seems to be turning out
  The forecast for today seems to be getting better and worse ! Yesterday the forecast for today said it would basically be a rather gloomy day, but this morning was bright and sunny. We are now in the sunny periods part of the morning, but the amount of sunshine seems quite generous so far. The latest revision of the forecast now says these sunny periods could last until 1pm. The bad news is that the rain, which I don't think existed in yesterday's version of the forecast, has been brought forward to start at 9pm, and will continue into the small hours of tomorrow. Most of tomorrow will be dull, but it is possible there may be some very late afternoon sunshine. Today's temperature may be 22° C, but tomorrow it will probably be no more than 20° C.

   The thing that defined yesterday was preparing for the evening. In other words I tried to avoid anything that could spoil the evening. That included being careful about what and when I ate. I actually ate very little during the day, although that very little did include some wafer things that were probably high in sugar and fat (although I didn't dare look at the nutritional information - I didn't want to scare myself).

 I'm trying to think what it was that I did for a lot of yesterday. The few things I can think of took up little time. I doubt I spent more than 20 minutes weeding my vegetable garden (never been able to use the description "vegetable garden" before !). Washing two single fitted sheets, and hanging them on the line may have taken half an hour, but I have never times how long it takes me to do hand laundry - it's probably too variable to bother. Incidentally, despite it feeling very humid, particularly in the later afternoon, those sheets were bone dry by about 5pm.

  I probably filled in lots of little bits of time by doing lots of very small, often inconsequential little jobs. One such job, although I suppose it wasn't completely inconsequential, was changing the battery in one of my outdoor temperature sensors. I thought it had stopped transmitting, and the reading on the indoor display was left over from the heatwave when the temperature exceeded 30° C, but apparently not. Another sensor by it was also saying it was about 30° C. I changed the battery anyway, and also the battery on the display because it was starting to look a bit dim. It seems that the windowsill of my back bedroom, which faces north, and never sees any direct sunshine, really was 30° C yesterday !

  I filled in the time with other little jobs like that, and eventually it was time to get myself cleaned up ready to go out. It was then that I remembered to do another very brief job - turn the gas down on the water heater. The water from my shower head had been getting far too hot. After throttling the gas supply (because if you try and move the temperature control it starts to leak until the calcite builds up again to plug it), I was able to wash me and my hair in lukewarm water - much nicer than very hot water on a hot day !

  The venue I was heading for was The Fellowship And Star (once just The Fellowship Inn). It was due to have it's full public re-opening after refurbishment at 10pm last night, but before then it was by invite only for "stakeholders". During the afternoon lots of tedious stuff was happening, but in the evening there were to be three quite different acts on their rather nice stage. The first were The Tramshed Choir.
Tramshed Choir
  They were literally a choir, and were singing stuff from a musical which, if I heard correctly, was about the Fellowship. The play/musical had been staged during a special opening of the pub earlier in the year.  It's worth mentioning that the pub, which had a long, and sometimes inglorious past ( had closed down years and years ago, and had just enough maintenance to stop it falling down. Some years back a project was started that had something in common with heritage/preserved railways. Funds were scrounged from wherever they could be scrounged from, and volunteers helped with the restoration of what is a very big pub. It is now "a community asset", and it has quite a few spaces in it, including a bar, a function room with stage, and a cinema.
Vokal Velvet
 Second on the list was Vokal Velvet. The were a karaoke band. At least that is how I would describe them. They sang to backing tracks. I think they could have done much better with live musicians. Much of the time they just stood there looking bored. I'm not even sure they could sing that well. Unfortunately they are probably the sort of entertainment that is likely to predominate in the pub.

  The headline act were Chain, and it was hey who might, or might not have put me on the guest list. They certainly invited me, but the lady on the inside who had the list, and who you saw after getting through the bouncers, couldn't see my name. After I said who I was, and why I was there she put me on the list anyway. That made me a bit uncertain of my status, and it was only after paying for my first pint of Guinness did I realise that the drink was free. There was also free food, but I didn't touch that. I did later have another 3 pints of Guinness for free !

  Apart from the walk to Catford station, the pub is such an easy place to get to. It is next door to Bellingham station, and it is just 2 minutes on the train to Bellingham station from Catford station. It made coming home in the fresher night air really quite pleasant. I was probably home around 11pm, and I wasn't empty handed. Once again, after limiting the food I ate before going out, and then drinking booze, I was rather looking forward to so dinner. Dinner was 6 BBQ chicken wings, and a portion of "fries". It was only recently I discovered BBQ wings, and they are rather delicious.

 It was gone midnight when I went to bed. I still felt a bit hungry, but not ravenous when I got into bed. Maybe that is a good thing. It was still very warm in my bedroom, even with the window open, and with hot food inside of me (the wings were spicy too), I went to bed with the fan on because I was feeling very sticky. I fell asleep easily like that, but 2 or 3 hours later I woke up feeling quite chilly. Apart from that, I slept quite well, or so it seemed,

  This morning I woke up with the usual aches and pains - probably made worse by getting chilled by the fan last night. None are particularly debilitating, and I have done a few things this morning. I've processed all the pictures from the Tramshed Choir, and Vokal Velvet, and I have water the garden. Now it is time to do more, and it is going to be processing the pictures, and video, I took of Chain last night. For Chain the lighting seemed to be really good, and I have a feeling that a very high percentage of the 279 snaps I took of them will be usable. It is going to be a headache to select the best 20 or so pictures ! Tonight I am going out to see Chain again. They are playing in The Mitre in Greenwich. I was going to see M.T. Pockets again, but they are playing in The Swan in West Wickham, and I don't really like that pub. Anyway, the Mitre is easier to get to, and by tradition I only stay for the first set, and I can come home for an early night at the end of that set.
Friday 5th July 2019
09:11 BST
  At last ! Yesterday was a day worthy of being called a summers day. The sky was clear, the sky was blue, and the sun shined own on us. Rather strangely it didn't feel that hot. I expected 25° C to feel much hotter. Must have just been me.
another warm and sunny day
  Today should have all the attributes of yesterday - clear blue skies, and hot sunshine - but it could be two degrees warmer. It might only last for a short period of time, but the temperature should hit 27° C today. By contrast, tomorrow could almost be a nasty sort of day. Some sunny spells are expected in the early morning, but by this time tomorrow it could be getting overcast, and the rest of the day will be dull. Not only dull, but much cooler - maybe 22° C at best. Sunday will be even worse - the temperature may only just hit 20° C. The day will be very dull, and there is a very small, but creditable chance of rain in the morning. Of course by the time we reach Sunday the forecast could have, and probably will have changed out of all recognition.

   Yesterday felt like a strange sort of day. I was keen to do some things even though I didn't feel I would be happy doing them. Perhaps the best example of this was hand washing the duvet cover, and pillowcases of the spare bed. It felt like it was going to need more energy than I thought I had, and indeed it did feel hard work when I first started it, but once my stiff muscles and joints eased up it was not that much different from any other hand laundry I do - with the proviso that manhandling a soaking wet (single) duvet cover is always going to be harder than a couple of t-shirts.

  Once I had that laundry hanging on the line I turned my attention to the garden. There was a lot, and infinite amount I could have done, but all I did was to water my potato plants, and (possible) tomato plants. I wonder how long it will be before I can definitely say whether I am growing tomato plants or weeds ?  15 minutes passes......

 I think I am growing tomato plants ! I just needed to take a break to go to the toilet. After that I thought I would both water my plants, and sow some more seeds bought from Poundstretcher (they are all past the sow by date, and so I am not expecting much). As I watered the potato plants I noted that there were several more tiny pointed leaf shoots than I had noticed before, and more importantly they seem to be along the line I sowed (or dumped) the wrinkly, but not green and hairy tomatoes. Very soon now, maybe today, I am going to have to do some careful weeding, and maybe thin out the dense clump of shoots.

  Back to yesterday... Another thing I did was as predicted, although when I predicted it I don't recall being confident that I would actually do it. I went shopping in Poundstretcher and Poundland. Amongst the things I bought were some spare gardening gloves, and a couple of pairs of safety handling gloves. The latter are not intended for gardening, but are handy for moving tree trunks around - or when sawing them down to more manageable logs. I also bought stuff I shouldn't have like a 6 pack of crisps. One other thing I bought was a birthday present for Angela. Her birthday is not until October, and I do question myself as to why she deserves a birthday present, but I guess I still have a soft spot for her.

  After a quick bite to eat - just two bananas - I had a short rest, and then it was time to go to Shortlands for my regular later Thursday afternoon drink. One thing that surprised me was that the walk to Catford station seemed almost easy - with hindsight. At the time it seemed to be hard work, but afterwards I did note that I didn't stop to take a breather at the top of the bridge over Catford Bridge station. Also rather strange was that I didn't feel overheated when I arrived at my favourite spot on the platform. I did have a light bit of sweat, mostly on my forehead, but I was expecting to feel much hotter in the sunshine when the air temperature was supposed to be, and probably was, 25° C.

  The pub had a nice light beer called Prophecy. It was just 3.8%, and it seemed to go down a treat. I had 2 pints of that, and one pint of a slightly stronger beer. While in there I complained about how difficult life was sometimes. Later in the evening I had a choice of 2 gigs that I could go to. One was a special set by The Dirty Perks for the re-opening of The Daylight Inn in Petts wood. Some months back, before the refurbishment had started, the landlady suggested it would be nice if I could pop along with my camera, and even bribed me with the offer of a free pint of Guinness.

  My other choice was to go to an open mic session, followed by a short gig, in The Catford Bridge Tavern. I knew it wouldn't be that good, but being just 5 minutes walk from home it had some attraction. It would be the place I would go to, but only for a short while. Meanwhile, having mentioned my dilemma about last night I was offered a chance for some interesting entertainment tonight. It is the official full re-opening of The Fellowship And Star in Bellingham tonight, and  Chain have been asked to do a special Fleetwood Mac set as part of a private show for the stakeholders of the pub.

 Fleetwood Mac did once play in The Fellowship (no Star in those days) on 25 September and 23 October 1968. I haven't had a text from Jo to confirm it, but Chris says I will be put on the guest list - possibly as their official photographer or something. It should be an interesting evening, and the place is easy to get to. It's just one stop on the train from Catford station, or a 10 or less minute walk from the nearest bus stop on Bromley Road.

  I only had three pints before getting the 6.15pm train home again. That was a bit earlier than usual, but I wanted a bit of spare time before going out again. When I got back to Catford I popped into the Sainsbury Local shop by the station, and it was there that I think I made a tragic mistake. I bought a couple of ready made salads, a couple of little snack type pots, and a small baton of bread (I think it would be described as a "sub" in some places). It was the latter that was my downfall.

  I started what should have been a light dinner in preparation for going out again, but that bread was delicious when dipped in olive oil and balsamic vinegar. It is something I very rarely do....actually it would be true to say it is something I generally don't do, but yesterday I did, and it was so lovely that I did it a bit too much. I felt too bloated to go to Petts Wood, and so I stayed in Catford. By the time I had poured two pints of Guinness on that bread I felt terrible, and I thought it wise to go home again. Halfway home I belched and suffered bad reflux that reached the top of my throat !

  Going home early meant I missed the band who would be only later. I have no idea how good or how bad they would be, but with the exception of a young lady, the open mic section was boring and tedious. It was made worse by someone who I assume was probably the drummer for the band who would be on later. He insisted in playing along to the singers, often out of time, with tambourines, and hand noise makers.
Host of the open
I really ought to have names for these people, but this was the host of the open mic doing his warm up songs.
Apu from The Simpsons
This bloke, holding his cup of tea, sang along to a backing track in an accent very similar to Apu from The Simpsons (although Apu could sing much better).
Best singer while I was there
This young lady kept making me think of Miranda, Angela's daughter, but the only two similarities were the guitar and black hair. I think she sung in a mild Irish accent, and that did make her words a bit indistinct. On the other hand I think more of the blame can be put on the PA system - only some seem to sound OK through that mic.
Poor singer
His guitar playing seemed OK, but his voice sounded off tune sometimes.

  When I got home I watched a bit of TV, but there was little to see, and I was soon in bed. The odd thing was that it was much later than I thought it was - about 10.30pm - I thought it was about an hour earlier. I guess I managed to stay at the open mic for longer than I thought. My volatile stomach seemed to have calmed down much quicker than expected, and I was soon fast asleep. I basically slept in two three to four hour shifts

  This morning I feel quite a lot like yesterday - no very dynamic, but with probably more energy or stamina than I think I have. I've already complete one task - watering the important bits of the garden. If my back can take it, I might do some weeding later. I might even try and thin out what I am increasingly convinced are tomato plant shoots, but I wouldn't want to over do things, and it might be better to do that tomorrow when it won't be so hot and dry out there.

  My next task is probably to wash the fitted sheet for the spare bed. That should be a fairly light task, and I am wondering of I can fit two sheets on the line. I've bought a brand new, bright white sheet for that bed (reduced to just £3.99 in Poundstretcher !), and it will need a wash before use. Other than that I will probably rest until early this evening. Chain's gig is not until 9pm, but there are one or two other bands on first, and Chris say he, and probably the rest of Chain, will be getting there at 7pm. It has the potential to be a special night.
Thursday 4th July 2019
09:06 BST
  Like the days before, yesterday started and ended bright with sunny intervals, but the middle was rather dull by comparison. Some say it might have been a bit warmer than the forecast 21° C, but I reckon that was a reasonable figure.
                    start of another mini heatwave
  It is not going to be as good as it was at the end of June, but today sees the start of another mini heatwave. Today should see nothing but blue skies, and glorious sunshine. It should push the temperature up to 25° C. Tomorrow will be almost the same except the temperature may hit 26° C. After tomorrow things get back to what is supposed to be "normal" - just sunny spells and 21° C - although this does assume that any forecast more than 20 minutes in advance of reality can ever predict reality.

   I did not feel good yesterday. I felt tired/weary/fatigued and my arms, amongst other bits, seemed to be weak and aching more than usual. Quite why this should be is a mystery, and will probably continue to be a mystery. One thing is almost certain though, and that it is some sort of nasty medical condition - possibly lethal, but I'll worry about that when the time comes. It took quite a lot of will power to do what I knew needed to be done - get out into the garden, and fill the brown wheelie bin ready for collection this morning.
butterfly on log
  While I worked I was entertained by a couple of butterflies. I am not sure what species these are, but they are nice and colourful - particularly when they catch the sun. The only time one of them, this one, stayed still long enough to take a snap was when the sun had gone in, and so it doesn't look quite as vivid as it could.
my garden at the
                            end of work
  This was my garden at the end of work yesterday. I did some clearance around and beyond the big tree stump. The "bald" area to the left of the tree stump is where the grey lino had been laying for a couple of weeks. As hoped, the weeds under it had wilted through lacy of sunlight, and I hope that when the sun was on the line it may have got hot enough underneath it to cook some of the roots. It was certainly easy to rake the much of it into a pile, and leave a lot of bare earth.

  It took some effort, but I've now re-located the trifurcated tree branch to over by the fence. I will still have to deal with it sometime, but at least it's out of the way for the moment. I mostly raked up some of the thick weeds that had grown up around and under the branches, but I had to bend over to pull up some of the more firmly rooted weeds. My back was not feeling too supple yesterday, and I had to grit my teeth to do it, but I think it eased up with use. I didn't do a perfect job, but I moved the grey lino to cover that area to stop further weed growth, and maybe into today's and tomorrow's sunshine, cook the roots.
potato plants
                            doing well
  I still have loads of work to do to clear my garden, but it is starting to be useful again. What used to be a flower bed back in 1983 when I first moved here, along the right hand side of the garden, is now mostly clear, and is now serving a purpose - even if that initial purpose is potato plants. They are now growing really well. There are also hints that the rotten tomatoes I sowed are doing something, but their progress is very slow, and I am still not convinced that I am not growing a couple of tight little knots of weeds. There are definitely too many weeds in the photo of the potato plants, and I must do some weeding some time.

  Although the work was painful, particularly at the beginning, and I partly gave up early, it did feel good to have done it. The curious thing is that I continued to work after I stopped. Now I will admit that does sound like a paradox, and so it is useful to define some of the terms that I used. I considered I had finished when I closed the lid of the wheelie bin. I think my back was feeling a bit sore at that point, and I didn't feel like bending over to pick up more stuff to completely fill the wheelie bin. After getting to this point I stepped back to admire my handiwork, but then thought that if I raked a bit here, and raked a bit there, it might look better, and so I raked here and there, and made a small pile of weeds that will be first into the wheelie bin when I have wheeled the empty bin back into the garden.

  All that hard work made me feel hungry, but it was till hours until dinner time, and I gave in to some small snacks. Unfortunately several small snacks adds up to a big one. I still had plenty of room for my dinner though, and I was quite looking forward to dinner, but before that I fancied a snooze. It all seems a bit hazy now, but I am sure it was another occasion when I didn't think I would actually sleep, but I did, and for far longer than expected (or maybe even intended). I think I might have been asleep for a whole hour.

  Eventually it was time for dinner, and I had been looking forward to eating the chicken left over from my takeaway the previous night. The reality was both good and bad. The chicken wings had more meat on than expected, and with the addition of the bowl of salad, with added potato salad,  would have been a complete meal by themselves, but I also had a quarter of chicken to eat. That, as I described yesterday, had been cooked in the traditional manner of fish and chip shops of my youth, and I expected it to be wonderful.

  It was actually disappointingly dry and chewy. It may have been better if I had given it an extra minute or two in the microwave, but even then it wouldn't be able to compete with the chicken straight out of the deep fat fryer, dripping with grease, and almost too hot to eat while standing on a street corner with a couple of mates after a session at the pub ! With hindsight, that chicken would have been better as the basis for a stew for today. That didn't occur to me until I had eaten it, and even if it had I doubt I will be wanting a hot stew today when the temperature will be rising to 25° C.

  I am certain I was fast asleep by 11pm last night, and I think it was actually nearer 10pm. I watched a repeat of Have I Got News For You that finished just before 10pm, and I was in bed straight after that. I seemed to sleep really well until 2am this morning. I principally woke up for a wee, but I made a terrible mistake. I woke up from a dream that evaporated from my memory really fast, but I was determined to try and remember a little bit of it if I could.

  That effort made my brain so active that a full hour passed before I got back to sleep. I was desperate to try and remember some of the dream because I was sure it was somehow influenced by the music that was playing very softly from my PC. As I woke up I heard about the last half of Richard Harris' Macarthur Park ( That song describes, with some licence, things observed in a park in (I think) New York. My dream, or the very few fragments I managed to find in my memory, was also set in a park, and like the song, featured some old men.

  There was no cake (with sweet green icing flowing down after being left out in the rain) in my dream, but there were drums. These drums were not musical drums, but open containers, like handleless saucepans on a waist high pillar of the same width.  You had to get up close to see inside the drums, and one drum had what looked like brass turnings in it. There was some meaning or significance to the drum with the brass inside it, but that was one part of the dream that faded away, and I'll never know what it was now.

  After finally getting back to sleep I woke once or twice for a wee, but I fell asleep easily enough afterwards. I managed to sleep quite late this morning, but my sleep was getting very shallow at the end, and I was dreaming a lot towards the end. My final dream was set in what seemed to be a very old, very posh school. I have no idea what I was doing there, but I wanted to go to the toilet. The first toilet, with urinals and stalls, was full with a queue outside, but I remembered there was another toilet just down the hall that used to be a girls toilet with just stalls, and was little used. My memory was correct (or my imagination was working extremely well), and I found it deserted except for one other user. I had a bit of a struggle with the latch on the door - it seemed to be part of the toilet roll holder. I then sat down, sorted out the toilet paper ready to use, and I was ready to.......wake up fast !

  In fact, once I was awake I only had a very mild desire to go to the toilet, and it was nearly an hour before I had need of toilet paper (although I am sure there will be more need later). This morning I could hardly describe myself as feeling particularly dynamic, but I do feel far better than yesterday morning - at least as far as I can tell while just sitting behind my keyboard. Today there is a whole lot of nothing to do followed by too many choices of things to do !

  To say there is a whole lot of nothing to do today is not really true. It's more like there is only one thing I would like to do, but can't because of other circumstances. What I can, should, or probably will do is to wash the duvet cover and pillowcases of the spare bed ready for Patricia's next stay here later in the month. I will also probably take a tour of the 99P shop, Poundstretcher, and Poundland until I have found what I want (although until I have found it I am not sure what it is). I may also do a bit more in the garden even if it is just picking up the pile of weeds I left yesterday, and putting them in the wheelie bin.

   It is tonight that brings the biggest headache. There are three places I want to be, and two of them at the same time ! Having to go out this evening means I can't consider a possible trip to the seaside to enjoy a nice walk in the hot sunshine. The most important appointment is not actually tonight, but me late afternoon, and it is my (usually) regular Thursday afternoon beer session. I think we are back to meeting this week. There were too many people unavailable last week. If I stick to weak beer I can probably go out again a bit later. There is a special gig on in The Daylight Inn that marks it's re-opening after refurbishment. Some months ago the landlady specifically asked me to go to if I could. On the other hand there is a jam session in The Catford Bridge Tavern that is closer to home. It is being hosted by Simply Retro, and may be more exciting than the blues band who hosted the last jam session I attended there. I expect that is where I'll end up.
Wednesday 3rd July 2019
08:51 BST
  Yesterday was very bland. There was the occasional sunny period, and it wasn't cold, but it wasn't very warm, and much of the day seemed overcast. I think the temperature maxed out at 20° C.
starting to get a little better than recent
  This morning seems nice enough. There is a lot of blue sky with fluffy clouds. Of course as I wrote those words a fluffy cloud has just sat in front of the sun, and it is now rather dull - perhaps only for a few minutes. Today is not forecast to be particularly warm, but it is going to get there earlier. It seems fairly mild at the moment, and by midday it should be 20° C. By 3pm it is supposed to max out at 21° C. The sad thing is that from midday the forecast says we will lose the sunshine for 4 hours, but after that sunny periods re-start, and they should get longer until there is non stop sunshine from 6pm until sunset. That sets the scene for tomorrow. The forecast for tomorrow has gone through many ups and downs over the last week or so, but the latest forecast is one of the ups - sunshine all day, and 25° C !

   I felt very lethargic yesterday. Maybe it was the result of a hectic few days, and some poor sleep thrown in. Maybe it was the same as I had towards the end of last week - a sort of stomach upset problem. In practice it meant I did very little yesterday. I didn't even wash and dress - although I did do some washing. I also did a very limited amount of gardening. The washing was just a few odd items, including a couple of flannels that needed freshening up after being in various bags and pockets for too long - I had been using them to mop my brow when out in the sun. One of the two I washed had been stuffed into the bottom of one of my "man-bags" since last summer, and I found it in a very unfresh state !

  My little bit of gardening was planting strawberries. As I mentioned yesterday, I had some strawberries that I had bought from Aldi, and I had left them in the kitchen a bit too long. The original idea was to let them ripen a bit more so they tasted nicer, but I left them a little two long. Three or four of them started to develop some nasty soft spots where they had begun to rot. I have no idea if the seeds in them are viable, but I planted them in an old ice cream container full of soil (with a few drain holes punched through the bottom).

  I spent the rest of the day catching up on IT news from, reading other stuff, and having several snoozes. I think one of my afternoon snoozes lasted over an hour. It seemed to confirm that I had a lousy sleep the night before. While that extra sleep felt good, I still had a sort of mild griping pain in my belly. There were also a few tell tale gurgles from my belly. I had apparently been to the toilet quite normally in the morning, but I think the two sachets of Heinz flavoured bean mixtures I ate the day before were starting to produce not unpredictable results.  Sure enough, very late in the afternoon, maybe almost early evening, I had to dash to the toilet a couple of times.

  I was hoping I might feel a lot better after that, but I still felt odd - a sort of queasy feeling. For a small time I wondered if I was building up to throwing up, but it never got that bad. It did leave me in a bit of a quandary as to what to eat though. I probably ought to have just drunk water, and not eaten anything, but I wanted to eat because I was feeling a bit hollow. What I needed was something bland like fish.

  What I actually had was not exactly bland - I ordered some fish and chips from a shop in Sydenham of all places (I was expecting to order it from "Oh My Cod" in Catford, but they were not offered as an option on the app I was using. As is my habit I also ordered some extras to eat today. One thing was a quarter of chicken fried in the old fashioned way. It reminded me of the fried chicken I would sometime buy back in the 1970s. Probably pre-roasted, but finished in the chip shops deep fat fryer.

  The fish and chips, ordered as a medium cod, and small chips, turned out to be very big, and with a bit more discipline I could have left some of the chips, but it was just too delicious. I ate in the traditional way with just salt and vinegar. It went down well, and filled a big hole nicely. It was of course fairly greasy, but my guts didn't react to that in any negative way, and if anything reacted in a positive way.

  I still felt tired after eating, and probably even more tired after eating. I passed some time watching some TV, and then resorted to reading in bed. At around 10pm I was fast asleep. Just for a change I seemed to sleep very well. At least I remember very little of the night, but I guess it wasn't perfect because I do have a vague memory of having to turn my pillow around because it was damp with sweat. I think there was another occasion when I felt cold instead of hot. I can't remember any details, but at least one of my dreams was about being at work, and another series of dreams was about circuit boards with USB connectors. The latter dream was very strange. All I remember is that somehow the USB connectors could somehow cut their own holes in a panel. I have no idea how or why. It was all very surreal.

   This morning I think I feel most OK, but I feel very uninspired. I think I know some of what I will do because I have to do it rather than want to do it. I need to go and get some shopping, and I need to fill up the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin ready for the binmen tomorrow. First of all, I need to have a good shower. After neglecting to have one yesterday I feel rather smelly and filthy !
Tuesday 2nd July 2019
09:33 BST
  Yesterday morning was rather nice. Probably better than the forecast made me think it would be. There was a pleasant breeze, and a lot of sunshine. When the breeze dropped the sunshine felt really warm. The afternoon saw far less sunshine, although the change was quite slow. Later on, in the last hours before sunset, it did seem to brighten up a bit more. The afternoon saw the temperature hit 21° C, although it felt much warmer in the sunshine. It felt like the temperature dropped faster than the forecast predicted in the evening, and it seemed to be quite fresh after dark, almost chilly.
similar to yesterday
  Today will be similar to yesterday, but maybe a bit more extreme. This morning is bright and sunny, but of the forecast holds, and the latest revision doesn't suggest it will, the afternoon is going to be rather dull, but there could be some sunny intervals in the evening. The latest forecast revision shows several more hours at 21° C than the screenshot above. Some extra cloud tonight may help keep the temperature dropping so low as last night. Tomorrow follows the pattern of today and the day before, but each day seems to have fewer sunny spells, or intervals. Thursday may see a return to weather that seems appropriate for July - hot and sunny !

   Yesterday, my morning was mostly taken up processing pictures I had taken of the first band I had seen at the South Norwood Community Festival. They were Stunflower, and they were one of those curious bands that defy description. Also curious in as much as I enjoyed watching them despite not really liking their music. It was a sort of mix of progressive rock and reggae with something else.
  This was Stunflower's drummer. She also sang from time to time - occasionally lead, but sometimes backing. She was obviously very happy with this photo, and used it as her profile photo on social media.
lead guitar
  The lead guitarist who shares the same surname as the drummer, Thomas - husband and wife ? He would seem to be responsible for their unique sound. If I recall his personal profile, which I more or less skim read, he was moved around a lot as a kid, and was exposed to several genres of music. In the Caribbean it was all reggea, but in some place I can't recall, he listed to a lot of Pink Floyd and other "prog rock".
me in the park

  I managed to get all the Stunflower photos finished and uploaded by lunchtime yesterday. I had just enough time to get dressed, and to put a couple of tins of ready mixed vodkas (one with lime, and the other with cranberry) into one of my new cooler bags before taking a walk to Lewisham Park in the hope of meeting Angela.

  The shoes I was testing for the walk were good for walking fast, but also a bit uncomfortable. Nevertheless I kept up a good pace, and I was in the park early. To pass a few minutes I took a selfie of me sitting on Angela's favourite seat in the park, and sent her a copy via WhatsApp.

  I have a suspicion she was possibly not at work, and probably with lover boy. While with him she probably turns her phone off to avoid annoying him, and so my message wasn't received on her phone until 2.39pm. It showed that she did see it, however briefly, but didn't want to, or was unable to send any comment back to me.

  It is a shame we didn't meet because if nothing else, I would have liked to have heard how her daughter, Miranda is doing since her break up. As time passed it became obvious there would be no chance of Angela appearing in the park. I sat in the sunshine, slowly frazzling, for about 15 minutes before leaving the park.

  On the way home I checked "Cash Busters" for any interesting photography gear. The best I could see was a Nikon D3200. It seemed quite cheap, and if I didn't already have one that gets little use, I may have considered buying it. Another mild temptation was a Canon SX50. It is a "bridge camera" - a big camera, but with a fixed zoom lens. I have the SX40, and it does take very good pictures. It is possible the SX50 would bring some advantages, but I resisted the temptation to buy it.

  When I got home I had a light lunch - a bowl of ready mix salad with some sliced chicken with herbs. It would have been quite healthy if I had resisted the temptation to liberally squirt mayonnaise all over it !  After eating it was back to the photos - the photos of M.T. Pockets at The South Norwood Community Festival. I had taken rather a lot of them - which in itself wasn't a bad thing, but I have terrible trouble knowing which to leave out. They all seem to mean something to me because I was there, and for a few days I can remember what was going on when I took them.

  I made a good start on the photos, but I soon felt the need for a siesta - although I may not have been thinking of one when I lay on my bed. I was thinking of maybe a 15 minute break, but I think I was fast asleep for an hour, and maybe even a little longer than that. In theory that put me behind schedule, but because I didn't really have a schedule it didn't matter. It did mean that I had to finish the photos during the ad breaks on TV, but I got them all finished, and uploaded to social media by mid evening.
Dan out on the
  One of the features of the stage was new - it was a short walkway extending 10 ft from the front of the stage, I don't know id any earlier bands used it. I know Stunflower didn't, but Dan did. He really knows how to use a big stage.
M.T. Pockets on
  While Dan is using the whole stage, his brother, Matthew, barely moves from the spot, and of course Richard, the drummer, has no choice but to stay at his drum kit.
                                triumphant leap
  I almost didn't get this shot of Dan doing a triumphant leap at the end of their set. I certainly didn't get it in focus ! Nevertheless, this snap had to be used. This was the last picture in my photo album, and with the album safely uploaded I could relax - and I did. I can't remember when it was, but I was in bed fairly early last night. I think it was probably a little bit before sunset - which was at 9.20pm last night.

  I didn't sleep with the window open, or with a fan on last night, but after about three hours of sleep I woke up feeling rather cool, and after a pee I tried to sleep wrapped up well in my duvet. That didn't work, and I ended up sleeping partly covered by the duvet. Maybe even that didn't work because I woke up at 3am feeling rather bad. I think I had tossed and turned so much that I had triggered a costochondritis flare up. It was either that of a heart attack, but Ibuprofen seemed to work to calm everything down, and I doubt it would work on a heart attack.

  The rest of my sleep included a lot of dreams. Some of them were nice and almost sexy. Some were more like nightmares, and featured being in a pub in Lancaster, of all strange places, at 2am, and wondering if the trains back to London were still running. I suspect I was only a fag papers thickness away from being awake for my last 2 or 3 hours in bed. I certainly feel like more deep sleep would be nice, and I wouldn't rule out having a nap before the morning is over.

  Apart from the feeling of tiredness I seem to feel mostly OK this morning. This is, of course, the special meaning of OK that maybe 30 years ago would make me think I was about to die, but by current standards is rather good. My plans for today are very flexible, or in other words, I have a vague idea of things I might do, but no specific ideas of exactly what I will or want to do. The idea of a long walk seems a bit attractive, but doing some work in the garden could be more useful.

  There is one thing that biasses me towards the garden. Yesterday I ate most of a punnet of strawberries. I bought them the last time I went to Aldi, and they were kept unchilled in my kitchen for too long. A few were just starting to rot, and of course I didn't eat those ones. I wonder what will happen if I put them in a pot of earth, and keep it watered. Maybe it could be the start of some strawberry plants if it is not too late in the season, and if those strawberries were originally picked too early, and artificially ripened. Maybe that would make the seeds unviable. I don't know, but I know a way to find out.
Monday 1st July 2019
08:58 BST
  Yesterday was a far more moderate day compared to the previous day. There were long periods of sunshine, but now and then some clouds would drift by and darken or block the sun. Sometime it felt like it was about to rain, but the sun would come out before it did. The maximum temperature was probably the forecast 24° C. It did seem to get very cloudy by sunset, and slightly after dark I am sure I saw a few flashes in the sky like distant lightning, plus a few very distant peels of thunder, but there was nothing local, and it seemed to stay dry all night.
probably similar to yesterday - nice but not
  I was expecting today to be similar to yesterday, and the latest revision to the forecast moves in that direction, but it seems there will be nothing better than sunny spells through the day, and the maximum temperature is going to be a couple of degrees less. The maximum today may be just 21° C, but at least it should be a perfectly dry day. Oddly enough, the latest forecast for tomorrow is almost exactly the same as the earlier forecast for today in the screenshot above.

   I felt rather poorly for a lot of yesterday. I felt tired, and bits of me ached more than they usually do. It often felt like I was going to have a costochondritis flare up together with a stomach upset. Neither actually happened, but it made it hard to feel motivated during the morning and early afternoon. All I really needed to do was to complete the processing of a photo album of M.T. Pockets gig on Saturday night, but it felt like hard work, and I wanted to just lay on my bed reading or snoozing. It is perhaps fortunate that laying on my bed often made me feel worse.
Dan Murphy
  One thing that made processing those photos both good and bad was that most were taken in poor conditions. The photo above, of Dan Murphy (with Richard Finnegan on drums behind him) was taken without flash, but with the help of the last of the daylight coming through the pub windows. It needed some special care and attention to make it look this good - some smoothing to reduce noise, and then re-sharpening. It is fortunate that once the picture is shrunk down to this size it looks quite good. The full size image is rather less forgiving !
Dan and Matt
  Later on I used flash because it had got so dark. That made the pictures nice and bright, but not always in focus. There was so little light in the pub, and M.T. Pockets never take any lights, nor is there really room to use any at The GPO, that my camera was having a hard time focussing, and after focussed on completely the wrong point. It found it easier to focus of Dan's check shirt, and so there are more pictures of him.
Richard the
  It was all a bit confusing...the last time I saw Richard Finnegan playing with M.T. Pockets was in the same venue, but he was evidently wearing a ginger wig. I didn't recognise him without it, and it was only later that I found out. It is a shame, but I don't really rate him as a drummer. When wearing ear plugs that cut the mid to high frequencies, but leave the bass frequencies almost intact, I can hear his drum patterns more easily, and they seem to sound very bland.

  It took longer to process the photos than usual because I was just not feeling terribly enthusiastic about it, and really just wanted to sleep (even if several attempts to have a long snooze completely failed). Once it was all done I could look forward to other things. Just like I didn't realise I was going to the gig on Saturday night until it was almost upon me, I didn't realise I was going to another gig yesterday afternoon/evening.

  The event was the South Norwood Community Event held in the South Norwood Recreation Ground. The prospect of a 36+ minute bus ride to get there hardly filled me with enthusiasm, but I drank a large whisky, gritted my teeth, and went for it. The bus ride was just as tedious as expected, and I think the ride was longer than the official timetable time of 36 minutes. At least it felt that way ! Once I got there, and started to walk towards the event I was immediately aware of whose stage rig was in use. It was Matts "stage on a low loader" with it's growly and distorted low bass frequencies !

  The event had been running all afternoon, but the first bands didn't attract me. However, I did want to see at least some of the second to last band. They were called Stunflower, and play a strange mix of reggae, progressive rock, and with a few hints of Indian music thrown in for good measure. I believe at bigger events they also feature some Indian musicians and/or dancers. I didn't actually like what they did, but I could appreciate what they played, and I don't think any of it was actually annoying.

  I think that there were people there who appreciated Stunflower rather less than I did. A very high proportion of the people attending the even were of Afro-Caribbean decent, and maybe they didn't like the sound of "Bob Marley meets King Crimson in a car crash", and some were drifting away as I arrived. That left a slightly thin audience for the headline act - M.T. Pockets ! That was a shame because Dan really knows how to work a big stage, and put on a great show.

   I was so distracted by the two bands that I forgot I was feeling rough, and maybe all that travelling and exercise was good for it anyway. I must have missed a bus when I left, and I had what felt like a long wait for a bus home. I think it was longer than 15 minutes - the official interval between buses according to the timetable - and maybe closer to 20 minutes. I was starting to feel a bit rough before the bus came, but the journey back to Catford seemed comfortable, or as comfortable as a bus seat can be - which isn't much !

  When I got back to Catford I was feeling rather hungry. I hadn't eaten that much all day, but suddenly I had an appetite. I was probably still savouring the smells of the many food stalls at the event earlier. Inevitably I quenched my hunger by going in the fried chicken shop - the 75 bus stop where I got off the bus is little more than 15ft from the shops front door. I might have even found some extra reserves of energy to walk home as fast as possible to start eating (although not as fast as my 620 metres in 6 minutes the day before).

  The event finished at 7pm, and I guess that with the long wait for the bus, the long bus ride, and then a short wait in the fried chicken shop, it was gone 8pm when I got home (I have a vague memory of it being 8.10pm). I ate my food, watched some TV, and then before the repeat of Have I got News For You I was watching had finished, maybe even half way through it, I decided to go to bed. I'm not sure what time that was, but I may have been asleep by 10pm.

  I didn't have a great sleep, but I suppose it wasn't that bad. The only notable thing in the night was getting up for a pee and finding a daddy long legs spider weaving one of it's straggly webs between the toilet bowl and the end of the bath. The next time I went for a wee I took a feather duster type thing (a 99p shop special made from nylon), and destroyed the web before it grew too big. I mean, the last thing you want is to go to wipe your bottom, and find your arm is encased in spiders web !!

  This morning I sometimes feel good, and sometimes feel not so good. There are many thing I could, and possibly should do today. It is probably good weather to do some garden clearance, and I might do some of that, but the bigger priority is to deal with the photos I took yesterday. I took quite a lot of Stunflower, and an awful lot of M.T. Pockets. All of them should be good, but some won't be. I had my camera on manual, and frequently forgot to change settings when a passing cloud dimmed the stage, and then after the cloud came bright sunlight again. Many pictures are going to be over or under exposed. I guess I am just an amateur cameraman still.

  One other diversion I might do today is to have a wander into the park at lunchtime to see if Angela is in there. This plan was really based on it being a really hot sunny day, but it is not supposed to be any more than a bit warm today, and the sunshine seems to be on short rations. I have my doubts she will be there, but it can't harm to stretch my legs. After sitting at my PC, staring at photos for hours on end, it would probably be a very good idea anyway.