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My Diary/Blog For the Month of June 2019

Sunday 30th June 2019
08:59 BST
  It was hot, dry, bright, and very sunny yesterday. The forecast said 32° C. I recorded 33° C !
another nice, but less extreme day than
  The forecast above undersells reality. There are some fluffy clouds around, and occasionally one dims the sun, but so far this morning it has generally seemed to be bright and sunny. It also seems to be closer to 20° C than the 18° C in the forecast. The very hot air from the south has now passed over us, and today will be cooler - but not that cool ! With the current temperature seemingly a couple of degrees higher than forecast, that late afternoon temperature could possibly exceed the 24° C. Tomorrow may only reach 21° C, and there may not even be any sunshine late in the afternoon, and only sunny spells before that.
hot !
32.5° C - proof, if any were needed, it was hot yesterday. This thermometer is on a north facing wall at the back of my house, and that wall is always in the shade except for very early morning or very late evening.

   After some sort of stomach upset spoiled the previous day I was determined that it wouldn't spoil yesterday. I think what I mean to say was that after a few worrying moments at the start of the morning, I felt like I had no more to be worried about, and I could enjoy the rest of the day - which indeed I did. A nice long walk in the blazing sunshine would have been nice, except for potential sun burn afterwards, but I also had things to do without leaving Catford.

  One thing I wanted to do was to go to Aldi. I wanted to stock up on drink and salad, but it also gave me an opportunity to test something I had read in New Scientist magazine.....
a standard test
  It seems there is a standard test for older adult, which at 64 years old, I think I qualify as being. From the scant details in the article, as pictured above, it seems you have to cover over 365 metres while walking for 6 minutes. If you can, your life expectancy is probably going to be longer than those who can't. It didn't seem that it would be that hard to keep a good pace up for 6 minutes - and it wasn't !
620 metres !
  Some may say I cheated because I walked for 6 minutes and 2 seconds, but I comfortably exceeded 365 metres. I walked 620 metres, and if I tried really hard I could probably walked even more than that. I couldn't keep up that pace for that long, but I kept it up for at least 9 minutes because at that speed I had to walk almost one and a half times the distance to Aldi to reach my 6 minutes, and I kept up virtually the same speed walking back to Aldi. I did that walk just slightly earlier than under the midday sun. I will admit that my face was rather sweaty when I arrived back at Aldi to start shopping, but I didn't feel like I had stressed myself. I guess my punishment is that I will probably go on living for quite a few years yet - unless I can find another way to die.

 I didn't let the extreme hot weather slow me down - much. I did my best to ignore it, and went about my business as usual. I'm not sure how I do this. I can remember some hot summers 20 or more years ago when it felt like I was literally melting, and couldn't seem to do anything. Yesterday it seemed to be an excellent time to wash my big bath towel. Washing it by hand was a very physical task, but I got it done, and hung on the line to dry.
big bath towel
                            drying in the heat
  After about 4 hours that towel was 99% dry. If I had been able to hang it in the sun it would probably have been bone dry and lightly frazzled in just a few hours. Nevertheless, even hanging in the shade it was dry enough to bring indoors ready to be used after I had a second shower late afternoon/early evening. In actual fact I didn't really need to use it, and didn't. After a hot shower it felt nice to just go and stand in front of a fan to dry off.

  The one time when the heat was a bit oppressive was when I tried to do some gardening. I was OK with small tasks, but trying to rake up thick weeds was very draining. When I wasn't doing hard tasks it was nice to gently cook under the strong rays of the sun. I was topless while in the garden - it is not a sight I try and inflict on the general public, but my back garden is reasonably discrete. The hot sun worked wonders on some of my aches, and in particular on my stiff and aching right shoulder. For a time it was a complete cure.
beer in the garden
  While I may still have a hell of a lot of work still to do in the garden, I have now done enough, and have enough space out there to enjoy it. What could be finer enjoyment than beer in the garden ! It's a shame I don't trust those garden chairs I bought from Poundstretcher the day before, or I may have been sitting outside for longer, and doing far less. Apart from trying hard tasks like raking up big clumps of weeds, I did some lighter tasks. I did a bit of weeding among the potato plants - while hoping I was careful enough not to pull out anything with the slightest possibility of being a tomato plant.

  One very novel thing (for me) was to sow some flower seeds. I bought 4 packets of cheap seeds from Poundstretcher the previous day, and I sowed them - in the crudest way possible. The instructions said to carefully plant the seeds in pots or trays, and then transplant them to the garden when they start to grow. I just tipped them straight onto the soil behind the potato plants - and they mostly rushed out of the little packets, and fell in clumps. I washed them into the soil (or out of it) when I watered the area. It is quite possible that I have wasted the £1.50 that the seeds cost, but some may grow.

  I also planted some finger chillies. They were originally green when bought, but they gradually turned red while in the kitchen. Whether there are viable seeds in them remains to be seen. I tore the pods open to expose the seeds, and planted them in old food containers. I expect the soil I used is full of weed seeds, and so I wouldn't be surprised if something green appears in those containers. I just hope I can identify a chilli plant from a weed if one appears.

  It wasn't until some time in the afternoon that I realised that M.T. Pockets were playing in The GPO in Eltham last night. I hadn't planned on going to any gigs this weekend, but The GPO is (sort of) easy to get to, and I like M.T. Pockets. I think I started to get ready at about 5pm. It was still very hot then, and the water from my shower was almost too hot for comfort, and ideally it could have been almost cold. After washing my hair and showering I came out from the bathroom feeling rather warm. That is why, as I previously wrote, I didn't bother using my freshly washed bath towel, but just stood naked, and dripping, in front of a fan to dry. It took very little time to dry off that way !

  It seemed I have very little spare time until it was time to go and get a 160 bus to take me to Eltham. The gig was officially due to start at 8pm, but when I arrived, a few minutes after 8pm the band were not even ready to do a sound check. The pub was very quiet all evening (apart from the band). Many people would have been on holiday, at the seaside, or having BBQs at home. I rather expect if the pub knew there was going to be a heatwave a month or two in advance they would have cancelled the gig for the night, but it went ahead to a very small audience after a very late start.

  As darkness fell it started to cool off, but it was still very pleasantly warm at midnight. It was the ideal warm and dry night to be stranded in the middle of nowhere when the bus breaks down !
broken fan belt
Vista ??
 I had originally hoped to get a 160 bus home, but I didn't check when one would arrive before I left the pub. At the bus stop the first bus to Catford was showing as a 124 on the Countdown display. The 160 takes a stupid route between Catford and Eltham, but the 124 takes an extra stupid route which is really quite annoying. Nevertheless, I decided to get the 124 rather than wait an extra 10 minutes for a 160 (I had probably just missed a 160 when I got to the bus stop).

  When the 124 arrived, after nearly a 10 minute wait (with the 160 still another 10 minutes away) I settled down for a long and tedious ride back to Catford. It may have been 10 minutes later, and far enough away from any alternative bus routes that the bus failed. It's fan belt had broken, and the remains were hanging out the back from under the engine compartment. We were at a stop called The Vista, and there were no other bus routes in the vicinity, and there was nothing to do but wait for the following bus.

  I think it was a good 15 minute wait for the next bus, but it didn't feel that bad. We were in a quiet part residential road with what I think were playing fields on one side of the road. There was a pleasantly fresh breeze blowing, and it was carrying the scents of fields and night scented flowers. Eventually the next bus turned up, and I got on it. It carried on doing it's convoluted route until we got to Grove Park where I spied a 284 bus coming up behind us. After Grove Park the 124 does another tour of all the small back roads it can find while the 284 stays on the main roads. I changed buses there to save time getting home.

  When I finally arrived home I was feeling tired, but not exhausted. I was definitely feeling hungry...or was I ? Maybe I only felt hungry because I knew I had some supper waiting for me. I had a snack pot of tomato and herb pasta, and a pot of Oriental noodles. The latter were "NEW" in Aldi, and needed trying. I'm not sure of it was the garlic, the ginger, or something else, but they tasted very nice when eating them, but a slightly nasty after taste.

  It was gone midnight when I went to bed. My bedroom was still very hot, and I went to sleep with a fan playing over my body to keep me cool. An hour or two later I woke up for a pee, and the fan felt much too cool when I went back to bed. It also felt rather warm without it, but not too warm to sleep. I don't think I slept that well in the early hours of this morning. It is possible that I was dreaming, but I seem to recall vague memories of waking up, feeling uncomfortable, and thrashing around again before going back to sleep. I don't mean "thrashing around" literally, but I was trying assorted positions to find the most comfortable. Some of the discomfort was from my chest. More than once it would crack or pop when I turned over, and I had to achieve the perfect angle on my side or my chest would feel compressed and ache.

  This morning I feel like I had a really crap sleep, and if I could I would go back to bed to sleep for at least a few more hours. I might even try doing just that, but I feel very pessimistic about it working. Today I have just two things on my calendar. The first is to "process" the pictures I took last night. The second is to go out again later this afternoon. I will do my best to endure an incredibly slow and tedious ride on the 75 bus to the South Norwood Recreation Ground where there is community fun day (or something) with a music stage. At 6pm M.T. Pockets are due on stage, and that is who I am going to see. It is a complete mystery as to who else may be on the stage. I shall see if I can do some research and see if there is any possible reason to be there at any other time.
Saturday 29th June 2019
09:11 BST
  After a dull start the sun blazed through the clouds, and it became a rather nice day. The highest temperature was about 22° C.
                    and sunny
  Today is the day we have been waiting for. The sun will be shining all day, and the temperature may reach 32° C. In the TV forecast last night there was speculation that some inner parts of London could see 34° C ! By comparison tomorrow could be seen as a rather cooler day with less sunshine, but the temperature should still reach 24° C, and there will be plenty of sunshine - particularly in the afternoon.

  Yesterday was not as nice as it might have been. In fact in a couple of ways it was quite bad. The thing that spoiled yesterday more than any other thing was trapped wind, and something like, but not actually constipation. All day long, in varying degrees, I felt bloated and uncomfortable. It wasn't so apparent in the morning, but became worse in the afternoon. It wasn't uncomfortable enough to stop me doing things around the house, perhaps with the exception of anything that involved too much bending over.

 The worst thing was not wanting to go too far from home in case things started to shift, and I needed rapid access to a toilet. During the evening, and maybe starting in the afternoon, the idea of "trapped wind" became a redundant phrase. I started to release copious amounts of wind. It wasn't until 1.30am this morning that the matter began to resolve itself, some solid matter was passed, and I became comfortable enough to sleep.
lightweight/light duty garden chair
  I am almost forgetting that there were two other things that spoiled yesterday, and not just the one I am about to describe. One of the things I wanted to do in the morning was to go to Poundstretcher to see if I could buy a hoe there. It would be the ideal instrument for controlling weeds - particularly those among my first, and forthcoming planted crops and plants. Unfortunately there were no hoes in Poundstretcher, but that was not a great disappointment.

  The big disappointment was a result of me not having the right foresight. While I was in Poundstretcher I noticed they had some cheap and cheerful garden chairs, and I rather stupidly bought two. The attractive feature is that they collapsed down to pack into a handy container with handle. What I should have foreseen is that they were only lightweight, and their maximum recommended body weight was far too small for me - although if there was an unstated 50% safety margin I would be just OK, but living on the edge !

  Some good did come from this. I did buy a couple of trowels that will be very useful for doing little jobs like thinning out tomato plants - if it turns out I am growing them, and not weeds. The other good thing was that I weighed myself to see just how much I would be overloading those garden chairs. If my memory is correct, and there are strong reasons to doubt it, my current weight is very close to my weight when I went into hospital in September 2013.

 At that time I had been doing some serious dieting to try and stop the Angina pains that spoiled much of 2013 until I had my quad heart bypass operation. In that respect the diet didn't work, but I did lose a lot of weight - maybe as much as two stone. It is nice to know that through a few ups and downs I have managed to get back to that weight again. The only fly in the ointment is that in terms of trouser waist size I have lost nothing - or have I ? It seems very strange that I can get into some of my old trousers and shorts with ease, and yet others seem stupidly tight.

 The explanation may be something I was warned about, not by anyone in hospital while I was having my operation, but by a midwife assistant nurse who had much experience with caesarian sections. She warned me that once the muscles in the chest are cut through they don't always repair properly, and that can cause bits to sag that didn't sag before. Whether that is actually the case or not, it seems feasible enough for me to believe it, and I now think of my git being a different shape rather than bigger or smaller !

  The final thing that made yesterday a less good day was also something that was good. It was a parcel delivery from Amazon. I had feared it would come today, and I would have to do what I did a lot of yesterday - hanging around unable to do anything that would distract my attention  away from the doorbell. Yesterday's parcel arrived between 4 and 5pm, although I didn't note exactly when it was. A couple of items were not quite what I thought they would be.

  I had ordered a twin pack of t-shirts with a breast pocket (handy for my glasses), and I thought I would have ordered a size larger than what arrived yesterday. They are big enough to wear, but there is no margin of error. Also in the order were a couple of 4 can sized cool bags. They are to replace one I got free with 4 cans of Fosters lager 10 to 15 years ago (maybe more). The cool bag was rather nicer than the Fosters ! With that cool bag now starting to crack up a replacement seemed like a good idea. The new ones are lined with shiny foil, but don't seem to have much in the way of insulation to keep the cold in. Sooner or later I will take them on a "test drive" and see how they fare. It could happen today.

  It is possible my constipation, or whatever it was (is ?) was made worse while waiting for my parcel delivery. There were a couple of times when I would have liked to spend 10 minutes in the toilet to wait for some action, but I dared not spend too long in there in case there was a ring at my doorbell. It all made my evening rather uncomfortable, but only when trying to relax. At about 8pm I decided to wash a couple of things to distract me from the discomfort. It was only a small hand towel, and pair of underpants, and a pair of lounge pants. It was all I had that needed washing.

  I hung those on the line, and then tried to relax and cool down. By 9pm there was nothing on TV, and I lay on my bed to read. Every 5 minutes, or so it sometimes seemed, I would pass some vile smelling wind, but every attempt to go to the toilet produced nothing but more wind. It tried to sleep, and did manage a few short sleeps. It was very close to 1.30am when a visit to the toilet actually had some worthwhile results. Two more like that and I was able to sleep, and as it turned out, sleep very well. I was very surprised to see it was gone 6am when I was next aware of being awake.

  Some of the feelings of bloat returned overnight. Maybe this is not surprising. Yesterday I decided a laxative might be a good idea, and two thirds of my dinner consisted of two sachets of Heinz special flavoured beans. One was Mediterranean themed, and the other Mexican.  Both contained other stuff and other sorts of beans, and on the whole were nice. I've been waiting for ages to try these out after buying them in Aldi some time ago. Well they were nice, and had plenty of fibre in them.

  It seemed a good idea at the time, and maybe I am reaping the benefits this morning, but I fear it leaves me in a slightly precarious situation if I want to go out on a walk to enjoy today's heat. At the moment my stomach does feel a bit turbulent, but it may just be hungry...or maybe it isn't ! There could be other reasons for not wanting to travel today. For one thing there are no trains from Catford station - my usual access to Kent and the seaside. It would be possible to travel via London Bridge like I did when I went to St Leonards and Bexhill recently, but it feels like a lot of messing around even if it can be slightly faster. The other thing is, being a Saturday everyone else will be wanting to, and be able to go to the seaside and other places I might go. I don't think I want to travel on hot sweaty, and overcrowded train today. It would be better if this one day heatwave was on a Tuesday or Wednesday.

  I don't really know what I am going to do today, but I do want to spend some time in the sunshine. Maybe I'll spend a little time doing a bit of light gardening. Maybe I'll take a wander in the park if I feel comfortable. Maybe I might go to Aldi and buy some salad.
Friday 28th June 2019
08:31 BST
  It was nice yesterday. It started a bit overcast, but by mid morning the sun broke through the clouds, and from then on there was bright sunshine for 90% of the time until sunset. It was only 21° C, but it felt lovely in the sun. Unfortunately it seemed to get chilly quite quickly after sunset.
                    start to a sunny day
  Today is currently forecast to be almost a clone of yesterday. The day has started a bit dull, but if the forecast is correct the sun will soon burn through the clouds, and the temperature will rise to 22° C - which is a degree higher than yesterday. The temperature is not predicted to fall quite as low tonight - maybe just 16° C instead of 14° C - and that will set things up for a scorcher of a day tomorrow. The sun should be blazing away all day, and the temperature could rise to 30° C - or higher !

  My slightly desperate plan to take a walk in the parks with the hope of bumping into Angela was soon sidelined when I saw on social media that she was attending the wedding of her youngest son Lawrence. The peculiar thing is that she never posted any pictures of it on social media. Once upon a time she would have shared video and snaps taken on her mobile phone, but as yet nothing has appeared. Miranda, Angela's daughter, and sister of the groom, did post one picture showing bride and groom, the brides parents (probably), what may have been the brides brother, Miranda and Angela. No sign of lover boy, although it is possible that he was taking the picture.

  I had to find some alternative entertainment yesterday. With it starting to get nice and sunny by then, the idea of going for a walk in the sun would seem like a good idea, but for some reason that I can't remember, I decided against that. My next idea was that it was an excellent time to wash the double duvet cover that I had taken off my bed, and left to fester a few weeks ago. I had been waiting for better drying weather so I could dry it outside, and that weather had arrived !
double duvet cover
                        drying on the line
  My washing line is not high enough to hang a double duvet cover on it without folding the cover in two. It still dried though, and dried much quicker than I would have imagined.
maybe tomato plants
  While I was out in the garden I inspected my tiny bit of cultivated garden to see what was happening. I think I reported a day or two ago that the dense clump of new shoots that I thought were from the green and hairy rotten tomatoes I had planted - all in one hole - had been destroyed by a cat digging a hole there. It may have been just a slight set back because a new set of shoots has emerged. They have quite distinct pointed leaves - very different to the weeds which seem to start with rounded leaves. Maybe I will get a crop of tomatoes after all. Maybe I will have to thin them out sooner or later.
potato plants
  Meanwhile, just a foot from the potential tomatoes, my potato plants are making very good progress. They even look like the last potatoes I saw growing - at least I think they do. Many years have passed since I last saw them growing - perhaps 50 years !

  The next thing on my agenda was to have a nice cleansing shower. Manhandling that double duvet cover while it was soaking wet needed a lot of energy, and being up to the elbows (to be truthful, only just above my wrist) in hot water, left me hot and sweaty. Having a hot shower didn't cool me off, but at least I washed off the old stinky sweat. After cooling off a bit, and getting dressed, I went out shopping.

  I was feeling almost good at this point, and there was one particular reason for it. For some time now my right elbow has been occasionally a bit sore. Flexing it in some ways could be quite painful. For the last few nights I have been massaging it with Comfrey Cream, and against expectations, it seems to have done some good. It has not been a perfect cure, but has eased the pain a lot. Particularly so in the morning when it could be really sore after sleep. When I think about it, it is rather strange to judge how I feel on small bits of me, but more weirdly to ignore some lesser, but quite distinct aches that are easy to explain.

  I could definitely feel the effects of washing that double duvet, but in some perverse way those aches were good aches because they were the result of hard work. Yuck ! That almost sounds as if I have some sort of perverse "Puritan Work Ethic", but that is impossible. I take pride in being as lazy as I can get away with ! The only other explanation, and it is just as sick and perverted, is that I am some sort of masochist who enjoys self inflicted pain. I'll pass on the whips and chains, thank you, but I enjoy the rush of endorphins after a task like a long walk, or washing a double duvet cover.

  My shopping trip started at Savers where I wanted to top up my supplies of Vitamin D tablets, and cod liver oil capsules. While in there I also bought another pair of my favourite Sweet Strawberry shampoo and conditioner. I must have enough to last beyond the end of the year now. I also spotted another weird shower gel from Original Source. It was something like raspberries and cream !

  After Savers I went to Tesco where I finally managed to spend £60 so I could use a £6 off voucher. I never started out to do that, and almost didn't achieve it. Two items helped me on my way. One was a packet of trainer socks, and the other was a pair of trainers. I already have too many trainers in my collection, but the pair I spotted in Tesco seemed like they were wider than most, and it is rare to find wide trainers. Those made in some countries can be annoyingly (and painfully) narrow. I have yet to actually walk in those trainers, but when I tried them on at home they did seem quite roomy.

  Sadly there were no enticing special offer on for whisky, and I just went for a litre of my favourite cheap (or expensive) whisky - Tesco Special Reserve. I also bought more booze. I can't imagine when I am ever going to use them, but maybe today is a possibility, although not a good one - I put a few cans of vodka and lime, and vodka and cranberry in my basket. The only person who drinks them is Angela while sitting in a hot sunny park. I guess I feel like I will be going on some stalking expeditions sooner or later. Some of it is motivated to find out how Miranda is doing as much as how Angela is doing.

  I had quite a lot to carry back from Tesco, but it seemed like I had a spring in my step. I did slow a bit at about the half way point, but I seemed to be walking very fast, and very freely at first. It does seem that now summer is here I am regaining a lot of the stamina I lost over a nasty cold winter (with an excess of colds and 'flu thrown in to make things worse). What I needed to do, or thought I did, was some more hard work while I thought I could.

  Before any hard work I had a light lunch which may not have been quite as light as intended. After a rest I tested the duvet cover on the line, and it was almost perfectly dry. That was my cue to do more hard work - although maybe a magnitude less hard than the double duvet cover - I hand washed three t-shirts and some underwear, and hung that on the line to dry (after bringing in the now 99.5% dry double duvet cover - the only slightly damp places were under the clothes pegs).
t-shirts drying on the
  That seemed enough hard work for the day, but I did do some light work. Twice I went out to water my new plants, and I could have spent longer out there if I had a seat to sit on. The late afternoon sun still felt very wonderful, and I was getting a lot of it with bare legs and no shirt ! I have never really been one to sit in the sun, and in reality I would soon have become bored unless I took a book or magazine with me, but maybe 5 or 10 minutes would have felt nice in the late afternoon.

  It didn't seem long to wait until it was dinner time, and I could eat my leftover Chinese takeaway. I only had two dishes, and one was a large Singapore rice. It was the latter that made me feel initially very full, and later rather empty. Anyway, it was very enjoyable at the time. After that highlight things started getting a bit boring. It also seemed to be getting chilly. Until then I had the windows open, and there was a nice fresh wind blowing in, but it became a bit too fresh !  I whiled away some time watching TV, but I found it hard to stay concentrated on it.

  Eventually I gave up on TV, and went to bed to read. At just after 9pm, and with it still being light outside, I thought I would try and go to sleep. I did feel a bit tired, but not exactly sleepy, and I ended up thrashing around of hours before I fell asleep. I woke up quite a few times in the night - sometimes feeling cold. It was the usual difficulty of it being too cold without the duvet and too hot with it. I really must take the duvet out of the cover, and set aside the duvet until it starts to get cool again. (On Saturday night even a pocket handkerchief may be too much to sleep under !).

  This morning I feel a mix of good and bad. The usual bits ache, and I don't feel like doing whatever it is I will end up doing anyway. Curiosity drives me to go and look for Angela in the park at lunchtime, but logic tells me that if she had yesterday off work she will have today off too. Besides which, she usually goes shopping of a Friday lunchtime. Maybe a new way of wasting some time will come to me later. One thing I probably ought to do is to go and buy some more garden tools. A hoe could be useful, and a trowel would be handy if I end up thinning out tomato plants. Either might be useful for caring for my potatoes. If the spuds get nice and big, and start to appear above the surface they will need covering with extra soil so they don't grow green and poisonous.
Thursday 27th June 2019
08:21 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday started right. It was indeed quite gloomy to begin with, but it seemed to brighten up earlier than forecast, and there were some sunny sunny spells in the afternoon. It became overcast again in the evening, and it may have just been me, but it seemed to cool down quite fast in the evening. The peak temperature may have only been 22° C, but maybe, as per the forecast, there was a short spell when it was 23° C.
a much
                    sunnier day
  It is forecast to be a much sunnier day today, but first the sun has to break through the currently lightly overcast sky. It is actually quite bright at the moment, but I don't think we have had a proper sunny interval yet. The latest revision to the forecast has not really changed anything - from 10am we should have non stop sunshine. One small change is that the non stop sunshine should continue through 6 and 7pm where the original forecast shows the sunshine giving way to sunny periods. For all the sunshine we are due to get, the temperature will only peak at 21° C. Tomorrow morning will start off dull, and it may last longer than today, but much of the day will be the same as today. It is Saturday when it could get really hot - 31° C !!!

  Yesterday was further proof that when motivated I seem to have more energy than I usually think I have. It was also proof that while I have that energy, it is not always in big supply. As I predicted yesterday morning, I went out into the garden, and cleared a bit more of it. It has certainly been growing fast out there in these warm and wet days ! I noted that there were good things growing as well as bad things.
6 potato plants
  As well as loads of small weeds, I have six potato plants growing from the bits of sprouting potatoes I planted. I really should do something with the weeds also seen in this photo, but this is the Achilles heel of my gardening - I can't tell a weed from something wanted. I know that most of these little shoots are weeds, but these should, or could be a line of tomatoes sprouting in this picture. Just to the left of this picture there was a strong possibility that the green and mouldy tomatoes I planted were sprouting, but the tight little clump of sprouts was replaced by a small hole filled with uncovered cat poop a few days ago !
yesterday's work
  Just to the right of the broom was where that little clump of fresh leaves that was probably tomatoes growing, and which was destroyed by a cat (or fox). What the picture is supposed to show is the amount of work I did yesterday, and yet without a "before" picture it is almost meaningless. There was a pile of assorted rotten wood, weeds and earth to the left of the broom, and all that went into the brown wheelie bin.

  Around the base of the old tree stump there was a thick cluster of quite tall tree shoots sprouting from the stump. I cut all those down, and stuffed them in the wheelie bin. There was also a thick tangle of twigs and ivy interwoven with other weeds and stuff. That is all now in the wheelie bin. It still doesn't sound like I had done much, but that brown wheelie bin was overloaded, and it was a struggle to get it through my house, and out into the road for collection sometime today. I hope the bin men don't complain about it being overloaded - there are written rules saying it mustn't be overloaded, but don't actually specify what weight is considered too much.

  I didn't actually stop when the wheelie bin was full. The middle of my garden, the area that I had just about got back to bare earth is now covered in weeds again, although not as densely as before, and they are not growing up through a thick tangle of twigs and branches. It did make it easier to start clearing them again. I filled two blue rubble sacks with weeds, and will empty them into the wheelie bin when it has been emptied, and when I drag it back through the house into the garden.

  I'm not sure how long I spent in the garden - definitely more than an hour, but probably not as long as two hours. It felt good to have achieved what I did, but it felt better when I had a nice shower and washed my hair. Once I was clean and free from gritty sweat, I could do anything I liked, but I felt that one achievement was good enough for one least I presume that is how I felt because I didn't really do anything for the rest of the day. Once my hair was dry enough I lay on my bed and read for a while, and then caught up with some of the sleep I missed during the night.

  I'm not sure how much sleep I actually got, but time seemed to move on quite fast, and before I knew it, it was 6pm, and when I usually turn the TV on for a couple of hours. I couldn't be bothered to cook, and worse than that I was feeling like I wanted something exciting to eat. It would have been better to try and convince myself that I just didn't want, or need to eat. Back in the real world I convinced myself I wanted to eat some Chinese takeaway, and that is what I did. I ordered enough to have Chinese for dinner tonight too.

  After watching the BBC 6pm news, interspersed with bits of Star Trek (the original series) because both were a bit boring, or tedious, I watched Star Trek Deep Space 9 - a TV series that has some damn good episodes, and even more terrible episodes. Last night's episode was a semi-good one. When that finished I watch some QI. That took me up to 9pm, and I was going to go to bed then, but I thought I ought to try and see how Sue was.

  In had heard nothing from her for the last few days, and she hadn't appeared on social media for a couple of days. It is always dangerous phoning her late in the evening because conversations with her can go on until the early hours of the morning - in one case until it was getting light outside ! I phoned her anyway, and she answered straight away. She told me that she had been spending a lot of time in bed because she had been feeling too depressed to get up. It seemed to be a longer version of what I had a couple of days ago - I had a good, or worthwhile morning, and from then on it seemed everything went downhill. It was like coming down from a powerful drug. I felt miserable and unmotivated for the whole evening. Sue felt the same over a period of several days.

  I think Sue has probably got a grip on it now, and made a very positive decision to go out and buy fags and beer before her local Tesco closed at midnight. That was sort of handy because she had to go by cab (although her local, once per hour, bus service was still running), and when the cab arrived I was able to say goodbye, and concentrate on going to bed. The only other thing about that call is that she seemed to show no interest in coming over to pose in front of my camera. I think her earlier enthusiasm was probably a desperate idea because she was getting bored and depressed.

  It is hard to say when I fell asleep last night. I remember trying to find a comfortable position to sleep in, and thinking that maybe I was going to have another night of not getting to sleep until the early hours. The next thing I remember is waking up from a very vague dream at just gone 1am. All I remembered from the dream was just one snapshot that lacked detail. I was on a train with orange Formica panels. That is literally all I can remember. There was no sense that the train was going anywhere, and any people on the train were like low resolution paintings of people - the sort of thing you might see on stage scenery to give the impression of other people.

  I woke up several more times in the night, and like that time I seemed to have trouble getting back to sleep, but it only seemed that way - I think. One trouble was that it was that it was within that critical range of temperature where it was about a single degree too cool to sleep uncovered, and yet far too warm under the duvet. It occurs to me I ought to do what I think I do most summers, and do away with the duvet itself, and just use the duvet cover on me.

  This morning I was up a bit early, and went through my usual routine. I went as far as to prepare the photos I have already shown, and also to prepare a short video I will put at the end. After all that, plus a few other things, I started writing, but for some reason I decided to stop after writing about the weather, and go back to bed. Once back on my bed I decided it was a stupid idea, and then an hour passed in the blink of an eye. Maybe it wasn't such a stupid idea, or maybe it was because it is now so late that some options, like going out somewhere, are fading away. I may even resort to plan M - taking a walk in the park at 1pm to see if Angela is in there. Maybe plan Z would be a better idea, but I haven't invented plan Z yet.

   I was curious as to which cat it was that was using my freshly clear strip of garden as a toilet. Identifying cats by infra red illumination is not easy, but the two most likely candidates, the black cat and the Siamese cat, are fairly identifiable. I set up one of my trail cameras for the first time in ages to see what was happening in the night. I didn't see any cats, but there was a brief visit of my fox. He (she ?) is still identifiable by a very slight limp, but looked healthy enough - although unusually nervous for some reason.

Wednesday 26th June 2019
09:51 BST
  The weather forecast painted yesterday as a dull and gloomy day. It was wrong, but only now and then. There was a light sprinkle of rain first thing in the morning, and there may have been more rain in the small hours, but the rain had completely finished around 10am. The next few hours were dull, and rather humid, but by midday it had brightened up, and there were even some sunny periods in the afternoon. By the afternoon the temperature had risen to about 24° C, and it was quite slow to fall during the evening. It made for a rather humid evening.
  A more recent revision of the forecast is not very different to the earlier version above. It is very gloomy now, but it should stay dry, and it will lighten up this afternoon. It is even possible there may be some sunny intervals as the afternoon gives way to evening. The temperature will rise very slowly today, and by late afternoon it will probably briefly peak at around 23° C. There is a slight paradox about tomorrow - there is going to be a lot of sunshine, but the temperature may be a degree or two less than today. That will be because of much fresher, less humid air blowing our way.

another walk
  Yesterday was a mess of contradictions. I was hoping that I might get word from Sue to say she was going to visit, but I heard nothing. That left me at a loose end. I had said that I didn't feel very dynamic, and that even if the weather was nice, I doubted I would want to go out for a walk (or words to that effect).

  I don't know why or how, but as midday approached, and with the sky rather dull, I suddenly decided I would go out. The easiest place to go would have been the park, but that seemed a boring choice - particularly having to go around almost in circles to try and cover a couple of miles.

  An alternative was an alternative park - The Pool River Linear Park. It has been some time since I was last there, and I knew that if I walked to the very far end I could clock up at least 3 miles of walking. In the end I only walked 2.76 miles because I had chosen to wear some waterproof boots to keep my feet dry in the wet grass. They performed that duty admirably, but they are not comfortable for long walks. At the halfway point my feet were feeling quite sore, and very sore by the time I got home.

 While almost all of the walk was over familiar territory, there were a few new things I discovered. Had I been wearing long trousers, and been able to go down some narrow paths lined with stinging nettles, I may have discovered even more new stuff. One path I did follow had a wooden seat along it that I had never seen before.

  Very near that seat was what looked like a landing stage on a lake or riverside, and that was because that is what it was. It went some way out over a small weed choked pond. I couldn't really see much in the way of water in it through the plants, but they were obviously water plants. I have a theory that the "landward end" of the landing stage (which was barely 6ft long) concealed the spring that feeds the pond, and a short brook that drains into the main river a hundred yards or so away.  I really ought to steel myself to visit it in winter, or early spring when much of the vegetation will have died back, and much more should be revealed.
 I had decided to take my Fuji HS35 camera for an outing yesterday. I rarely use it, and so have to justify it's existence every now and then. I once thought it to be a very good camera, but yesterday it kept over exposing many pictures until I got the measure of it. When I took it off the automatic session, and found out how to adjust the exposure, it did produce some very nice pictures like the pictures of teasels above, On auto it adjusted the exposure for the background, and the teasels came out very bleached. I did have it on spot metering, or I thought I did - it must just be a very big spot !
happy memories
  The turning point of my walk was by these swings in the children's play area. This brought back happy and sad memories for me. It was a memory of a day when I had met Angela by these swings. I had noted that they were completely deserted, and that Angela could achieve a long held wish to have a swing on them. It was the start of a very happy day that sadly ended badly. We had a lovely walk through the park, and then did a bit of shopping in Lidl. It was while in there that Angela complained of stomach pains. We then walked on to the Wetherspoons pub where she could use the toilet, but didn't. When we got to my place she had to rush to the toilet. She was obviously in the throes of a bad stomach upset, and announced that she had to go home instead of staying on into the evening (and probably the night too).
  If you know where to look, and in this case I didn't beforehand, there are little places by the river that have a certain charm. When the river is lower I can imagine sitting on these rocks, and maybe even dangling my feet in the river. This area was at the end of another vague path that needed exploring.

  I felt I had seen enough, and my feet were sore, so I tried to speed up my walk toward the exit onto Catford Bridge. Ultimately I found that a bit more taxing than I thought. Despite some discomfort I went on to carry out the second bit of my plan. That was to go home via Tesco. I had stuffed a couple of bit Tesco bags in my pocket before leaving home. I wanted to get just a few things for myself, and some things for Sue - should she ever come here.

  Walking home from Tesco with two 2l bottles of diet coke plus 4 cans of Carling Black Label lager, plus 4 cans of "ready mix" Jack Daniels and Coke, plus a few ready meals seemed like really hard work, and my arms were aching carrying that lot. (Normally I would have had a rucksack to carry the bottles, and maybe the cans as well). It was a relief to finally get home, and put my shopping down. Once I had put the shopping away I could take those boots off, and give some respite for my aching feet.

  From then on things got slightly boring. I had a light lunch - a small corned beef salad - and then started looking at all the photos I had taken. I think there were 19 pictures that I uploaded to social media, and I was just in the process of adding notes to the pictures when I was interrupted by a call from my friend Lee. I'm not really sure what he was calling for. A lot of it was rather rambling and incoherent. Maybe that was the result of a little car accident he was in - a car hit the rear of his car - or because he had some booze. The call went on for at least an hour.

  Once the call finished, and I finished adding my notes to the pictures, it suddenly seemed like a very boring time. My dinner was nice enough, but it failed to excite me, and the few things I watched on TV seemed only one notch less than boring. I tried to find some excitement in a tub of mint chocolate ice cream that I had originally bought for Sue because it is her favourite flavour. The first few mouthfuls were nice, but I ended up eating the whole tub in a mechanical sort of way without enjoying. Even worse was the feeling of guilt, or something akin to guilt, at having eaten something with so much sugar and calories in it.

  I felt sort of miserable all evening, and couldn't relax to go to sleep. The humidity didn't help in that respect. At first it did feel a bit sticky, but turning a fan on made it feel too cool. After thrashing around in bed for at least a couple of hours I git up again, and indulged in some "retail therapy". I ordered a few things from Amazon that I had originally thought I might order next month - which is only 5 days away ! Top of the list was an Ordnance Survey map covering Hastings. I was surprised I didn't have one when I went there last Saturday. I also ordered a couple of 4 can cooler bags. The "Fosters" branded cooler bag that I have been using for the last 10 - 15 years is cracking up, and needs replacing. I ordered a nice black one....and a red one ! The final indulgence was a couple of plain t-shirts with breast pockets.

  It must have been something like 2am when I finally got to sleep. I probably managed to get about 6 hours of sleep, and that should be enough, but it was quite troubled sleep, and I have been yawning a lot while writing this. It is now just gone 11am, and still no word from Sue. I guess I will have to try and think of something to do to amuse myself today. It had probably better be some more garden clearance. The recent rain and sunshine have made the weeds grow like nobodies business, and I have a lot of work to do just re-clearing the areas I have already cleared. I guess I'll have my morning shower this afternoon, or this evening, or maybe never today. One thing is for sure, it is pointless having one before I start work in the garden. I now have to convince myself to get started because I don't feel keen on hard labour at the moment.
Tuesday 25th June 2019
09:02 BST
  All the various revisions of the weather forecast for yesterday seemed to be wrong. After a bright start to the day it got quite cloudy. That cloud blocked most of the sunshine, but strangely enough it dropped far less rain on us than had been predicted. Maybe the prominent feature was the humidity. At times it felt quite sticky even though the temperature was no higher than 24° C, and there was no sun to make it feel hotter than it was. The unreliable forecast continued into today...
                    rain, no thunderstorm
  Yesterday the forecast was predicting we would be woke up by violent thunderstorms in the early hours of this morning. It is obvious from the damp ground that some rain fell, but I was not aware of any thunderclaps, or indeed any heavy sounding rain during the night. As I write these words the forecast correctly shows light rain, and maybe this rain will continue for another couple of hours...However, the latest revision to the forecast admits there will be 35% chance of rain at 10am, but also says that from 10am until midnight will be dry. It will be a horribly overcast day, and I can imagine it getting very sticky this afternoon as the temperature climbs to 25° C. Although the forecast says no, I would not be surprised if a thunderstorm broke out this afternoon. Tomorrow looks like it will be a cooler version of today with the temperature only reaching 21° C. After tomorrow the sun should start to peep through the clouds, and by Saturday it could really be burning hot !

  Yesterday morning I seemed to ache a bit - maybe a little worse than usual - and I still felt fatigued after my walk on Saturday. These things were probably mostly just in the mind, because I ended up doing far more than I could possibly have imagined doing. I had moved the armchair out of the living room the day before, and yesterday I started preparing the living room to use as a makeshift photo studio. The first thing I needed to do was to get the hoover out to clean the dust and fluff from under where the armchair had been standing.

  I probably got carried away because I ended up doing the whole room plus the hall outside, and the stairs too ! After looking around at my handiwork I decided I just had to do something about the living room door. It had many stains on it from years old drink, and even food splashed on it. On top of that there was some stains from when one of my old cats had a discharge from it's ear. Under and over all that was a slick of nicotine and tar. I used one of those lightly abrasive green nylon cleaning pads to scrub the door clean, and underneath all the muck was a mostly clean white door. It's probably ready for repainting now, except it doesn't really need it.

  My work didn't stop there. I then emptied all the bins (waste, recycling, and waste food), and then did some quite overdue washing up. After that I felt I needed a bit of a rest, but it wasn't long before I did some laundry. I over did that a bit, and had to split it into two more manageable loads halfway through the rinses. One half was a hand towel, two pillow cases and a pair of underpants. The other was a fitted double sheet.

  There was no point hanging that stuff outdoors with the possibility of it raining, and even if it didn't rain it probably would not have dried much in the humid gloom. There was nothing for it but to dry it indoors. To speed up the process I then spent a little bit of time assembling a 12" fan - one of two I had bought from Poundstretcher while they had them in stock. They come sort of "flat packed" and have to be assembled before use. Once assembled it seemed to be faulty, but I think it was probably some sort of contamination or corrosion of the commutator. When I pressed the first button (lowest power) the fan just turned a quarter of a turn and stopped. The same happened when medium power was selected, and nothing happened at all on the high speed setting - that is until I gave the fan blades a flick. At first the blades twitched a bit, and then started to hesitatingly turn. After a few seconds the fan was up to full speed, and from then on, presumably once the commutator had been cleared of contamination, the fan worked perfectly.

  With the laundry now drying in it's own personal wind it felt like time for a rest. Resting didn't actually feel good. Maybe as I relaxed I had more time and concentration to feel all the bits that ached or something, but I think I still managed a very short snooze. Eventually it was dinner time, and I just had a couple of ready meals because I couldn't be bothered to cook anything else. There was one problem with those ready meals, and I dived in eyes open. They were improved by the application of some chilli sauce, although I might have held back a bit on splashing it all over.

  I was already feeling hot and a bit sticky because of the humidity. I knew exactly what would happen after a hot meal with chilli sauce added to it - but strangely the effect was less than I was expecting. My face was definitely sweating, but I didn't end up pouring with sweat all over. I know I was still in a fairly disgusting state, but because I was on my own I could be relaxed about it.

  During and after dinner I watched a bit of TV, but by 8pm (or 8.30pm ?) I had seen enough TV. I brushed my teeth and went to bed and read rather than watch TV. I managed to read quite a bit before turning out the light. I think I was asleep just before 10pm. I had a few very strange dreams that were obviously inspired by the expected weather, but seemed to sleep mostly OK.

  It wasn't just the expected weather that affected my dreams. I seemed to have mixed up two or more things I had been reading about. The theme for the main series of dreams was about two Gypsy encampments. They were more traditional Gypsy than the more usual "travellers" with their white transit vans and piles of rubbish. At some point, maybe just seconds into the first of a series of dreams, these encampments seemed to morph into large flat, rectangular alien space ships. One had apparently set down on top of a hill because they were afraid of flooding in the valley below, The other had set down in the valley because they were afraid of lightning on the hill top.

  The peculiar thing about those dreams is that I seemed to watch them in the third person as if I was watching TV, and there was no dialogue. I picked up information about what was going on almost as if there was an off screen announcer. It does occur to me that this description is based on the fading memories of the dreams, and maybe there was more interaction and dialogue that has slipped my memory.

  I can't say I feel terribly dynamic this morning, but I probably feel well enough that it wouldn't have taken too much effort to inspire me to go out for another walk if the weather was very different to how it is probably going to be today (and is at the moment). At the moment I am slightly constrained in what I can do today. Yesterday I was told by Sue that she may come over today or tomorrow for a bit of photography. I asked her to let me know her intentions as early as she can in the morning so I can plan my day. I'm not sure how long to wait until I give up and make my own plans though. There is nothing else I have in mind about how to use today, but I am wondering about the possibility of going for a local walk. As I write this the sun almost broke through the clouds for a few minutes. I am wondering if it will be the gloom that the forecast predicts, or something a bit brighter !
Monday 24th June 2019
08:10 BST
  It was definitely warm yesterday, and it felt quite humid at times. Unfortunately the forecast sunny spells never really materialised. There were a few, but mostly it seemed to be a lightly overcast day. The highest temperature was 23° C.
                    sun than forecast this morning
  This forecast was a bit over optimistic. There was some sunshine about an hour ago, but now the forecast has been revised to show sunny periods instead of sunshine, and at the moment that still seems a bit optimistic. There is a lot of cloud in the sky, but there are a few blue bits where the sun might break through now and then. The latest revision of the forecast still predicts the afternoon temperature to be 24° C, but now says rain is likely at 2pm, but also changes 6 and 7pm to be dry. It seems that rain will almost certainly fall after 11pm, and then continue through until tomorrow. Tomorrow could start with thunderstorms, but the current thinking is that they, and the rain will peter out by mid morning to leave a rather warm and humid, but overcast day. The late afternoon could see the temperature as high as 26° C - which could feel awfully sticky !

  It was a bit strange....I felt predictably tired after my long walk along the coast the day before, but I still felt I had some energy left when I got home, and partly recovered in the evening. Yesterday I seemed to feel OK-ish first thing in the morning, but either it didn't last, or I was being a bit optimistic about how I felt. It would turn out that I felt not just tired and listless, but a few additional bits hurt. Now and then it seemed like my head was too heavy, and my neck and shoulders would feel stiff and aching. I also had an occasional headache. The headache, like the other aches, was really very mild, and would have been completely ignorable if on it's own, but the combined sum of all the aches made it an achey sort of day.

  Even the combined aches were not exactly debilitating, and it was the feeling of fatigue that was worse. I guess it was probably also the case that the feeling of fatigue was partly cause by not wanting to do anything that might makes the aches worse. However, there were a couple of occasions where I forced myself to challenge how I thought I felt, and on the whole, I got away with it.

  The first time was when I forced myself to do some laundry. Fortunately it was just 2 t-shirts and underwear. I wouldn't have done it at all but for one thing. Before I went out the day before I put on a white t-shirt, with breast pocket for my glasses when taking pictures, and seemingly apt for going out in hot sunshine. I was almost on the point of going out when I glanced at myself in the mirror and saw what seemed to be yellow, probably curry, stains on the front. I took it straight off and squirted it with Vanish - the stain removal stuff.

  By yesterday the Vanish had dried out, but seemed to have helped. I thought I had better try and wash that t-shirt, and while I was at it I could wash the sweaty t-shirt ( a light blue one) that I had worn on my walk. It was slightly taxing to do it, and I was glad when the t-shirts and underpants had been hung up to dry - indoors because I didn't trust the weather, although with hindsight I should have done. With the job done I could relax, but it wouldn't last that long.

  I'm not sure what time it was, but I don't think it was all that long after midday that I got a message from Sue. It seems she had a new interest in an idea that is months and months old - that of doing an experimental photo shoot in the style of the professional one she had in the studio in Wimbledon last year - or as close as I can manage it with my more limited resources.

  With hindsight I think she was hoping to do it yesterday because like me, she was bored stiff. Sunday's are like that. There were several reasons why I didn't invite her straight over, and told her I would get everything set up for sometime this week - possibly even today. From my point of view I hadn't even washed and dressed at that point, and I felt too weary to do all the setting up. The more important thing from her point of view is that there were no trains to Catford station over the weekend. I told her she would probably have to spent a whole hour on a hot and sweaty 208 bus. That didn't appeal to her.

  I didn't really fancy moving furniture around yesterday, and it was more than just feeling weary. It also seemed to be rather humid and sticky. Nevertheless I actually did it. I moved one of the armchairs out of the living room, and into the back room to free up space for my mini photo studio set up in the front room. I didn't really go any further than that, and I will need to do a bit of hoovering before I bring the lights and tripods and stuff down into the living room.

  I was quite looking forward to the evening, and maybe for no better reason than to finish the previous night's Chinese takeaway for dinner. I had eaten the Singapore fried rice for lunch. It was nice, although rather tame for Singapore fried rice - it needed more chillies in it. For dinner I had two main dishes, and nothing else. One was roast pork with vegetables and chillies, and the other was a house Chow Mein (or Chop Suey) with several types of meat in it.

  After that it was just waiting for bed time to come around. I watched a bit of TV, but the pickings were very slim last night. I ended up in bed with a magazine to read by about 8.30pm if I recall correctly. I can't remember when it was that I fell asleep. I'm sure it wasn't just after midnight, but is the only time I seem to recall. I think that was after waking up for a pee after sleeping for a couple of hours.

   I had some disturbing dreams in the early hours, and I was awake soon after 6am. I was going to go back to bed again, but I seem to have been awake since then. I was almost feeling OK, but since writing about sleep I suddenly feel really tired again. Maybe I might still treat myself to a quick snooze before washing my hair, having a shower, and getting up properly.

  At this time there is a big unknown as to whether Sue will come over today, or not. Until I hear something definite I will have to work on the assumption that she is coming. In that case I will have to do the hoovering I mentioned earlier, as well as taking the lighting stands and tripods down into the living room. That shouldn't take long, and I may as well do it if there is any chance that Sue will come here sometime this week.

  Alternative or additional things to do include yet more laundry. I still have the smelly bed linen I took off my bed before Patricia stayed here. It is high time I started washing that ! I might pop out to the shops - I promised Sue I would get her some cans of Carling Black Label, her favourite poison, to help "lubricate" the photo session. Other than that I could happily spend a lot of the day snoozing, although I wouldn' least I don't think I would despite it being very tempting. I need to work myself up to another day in the sun - possibly Thursday or Friday after the rain that is comomg out way has passed.
Sunday 23rd June 2019
11:28 BST
  The temperature was not forecast to be any higher than 21° C, but it felt very warm under a bright sun that seemed to be shining almost all day long (although for a lot of the afternoon I was not in Catford, and so cannot claim it was so good there. Nor can I claim that it was no hotter than 21° C where I was - I had no means of checking).
                    a bit optimistic
  The forecast for today has been toned a bit to match reality. The earlier forecast, as above, was a bit over optimistic in predicting sunny intervals this morning. I think I notice one sunny interval, but most of the time it has been lightly overcast. Despite that it is pleasant warm, and it may get slightly unpleasantly warm if it is going to be as humid as I think it might be. At the moment, as 1pm approaches, the time for the first sunny period according to the latest revision of the forecast, I feel little to draw myself outside beyond maybe spending a bit of time in the garden. Tomorrow might start with some sunny intervals, but sooner or later it will rain. The first forecast rain is actually 6pm, but the weather warning warns of possible thunder storms brewing up at any time in the humid 24° C predicted. Thunderstorms look to be almost certain for a lot of Tuesday, but fine weather may return on Wednesday.

  I didn't sleep all that well on Friday night, but I managed to get up earlier than I thought on Saturday morning. I felt rather rough, but I went ahead with my plans for going out for the day (or at least for part of the day). I had a shower, got out a pair of walking shorts, and put them on. Like my gardening shorts, they seemed to fit just as well as they always seem to have fitted - which makes is seem strange why a few pairs of jeans from the same era seem far too tight to wear (or even do up !). I then searched high and low for an O.S. map covering the Hastings area.

  I'm sure I used to have such a map, but it appears I don't now. Looks like I'll be spending more money buying one soon. I rounded up everything else I might need, and stuffed it into a rucksack. Unlike when I went to Worthing, I wasn't travelling light, and took half a dozen ginger biscuits, two 250ml bottles of water, plus a can of raspberryade. What should have been the final thing was to check the train times. Engineering work meant I couldn't take my usual route starting with a train from Catford Station. I had to get a train from Catford Bridge station to London Bridge, and get the Hastings train from there.

  It might actually be a quicker way than getting a slow Thameslink train from Catford to Sevenoaks, and then the Hastings train from there. Going via London Bridge would be more expensive, but fortunately my 60+ Oystercard provides free travel within London. Unfortunately it also means I have to buy my ticket from a staffed ticket office because the self service ticket machines don't seem to have an option to buy a ticket from the London zone boundary. Having to use a staffed ticket office almost doomed my outing before it started.

  I had one other problem yesterday morning - a slight tummy ache. I went to the toilet quite normally and felt fine for about half an hour afterwards. I then found I had to go again - and then again, but on that last occasion very little happened. I still felt uncomfortable in several ways when I walked to Catford Bridge station. When I got there I found the ticket window closed, and a note saying it would open again in about 25 minutes time. So I walked back home again.

  Once indoors I went to the toilet again, but nothing happened - which was a bit of a relief. I also changed shoes to a pair that I hoped would be more comfortable (they were). Then I walked back to the station and to my relief, with just 6 minutes to spare, I bought my tickets, and started my adventure by travelling in the opposite direction to where I wanted to go (but correct for travelling via London Bridge). After a long, and slightly tedious journey with a worrying chest ache that seemed to start very soon after walking up the escalator (which I did because I thought I could, and I could), I finally arrived at West St Leonards Station.
diesel hauled
  After exiting the station you have to walk around in almost a half circle to start heading towards the beach. West St Leonards is almost a junction station, but the line from Eastbourne joins it after the station, and they couldn't move the station because it goes straight into a tunnel after the two lines have converged. I was expecting to take a few snaps of the last few remains of a long disused station that is on the Eastbourne side of the bridge, but when I got there I found both sides of the bridge were filled with people with cameras.
steam loco
  Most people there seemed to be just local residents who wanted to see a steam hauled train go by.  Unfortunately for all of us the train was hauled by the diesel in the direction it was travelling to, and the steam loco was just being pulled along on the back. It didn't make for great photography in this direction, but it had a practical reason. When the train arrived at a London terminus, where it's real journey would probably start, the steam loco would be on the front for a triumphant steamy start to the journey (and it wouldn't spend an hour or so filling up the interior of the station with smoke).
blue skies, peace, and
                        close to solitude
  Once my train spotting interval was over I continued on the real purpose of my journey. It was to stay offline, keep away from people, enjoy the sun, and get some exercise. On the whole it worked quite well. For ultimate calmness a forest walk would have been better, but I enjoy walking by the sea, and it was a better place to top up my tan - although I did run that a bit close to the wind. I was a gnats whisker away from burning. If nothing else, look at the beautiful blue sky. Enough to lift the lowest of spirits.
my route
  Here's the route I took. The only problem here is that I didn't give enough time for the map to draw properly before I took the screenshot. The vital statistic is that I walked (as near as dammit) three and a half miles, and although I was tired at the end of it, I didn't feel exhausted. It wasn't actually the end of my journey, but it was the end of my walk. I took a train from Bexhill station to St Leonards Warrior Square station where I could change to a London train.

 It was actually strange to feel almost normal after resting on the long journey back to London Bridge. My feet felt a little bit tender, and I mildly needed a wee, but I felt fairly good on that last stage - a train back to Catford Bridge, and then the 6 minute walk home. I was feeling so good that I felt patient enough to eat nothing until the prize of a Chinese takaway I had awarded myself arrived about nearly 90 minutes after getting home. (I think I had been at home for well over half an hour before ordering it).

  As usual I had ordered quite a lot - much more than the minimum for delivery - but what was unusual is that I didn't eat that much of it. I had the lamb spare ribs - which were a novelty - and a chow mein with slightly oily noodles, and decided that was enough for the evening. The lamb ribs were nice-ish, and I enjoyed them, but I think I'll stick to pork ribs in future. I spent a few hours last night editing the days photos ready to go online this morning, and then I went to bed. Initially I felt a bit too tired to go to sleep, but I was just starting to doze when my friend Lee phoned me. It may not have been quite 10pm, but it did feel a bit annoying to be called so late, and of course once he stopped nattering on like a demented old woman, I then had to to try and relax to get to sleep again.

  I think I may have just managed to get to sleep before midnight, but it might have been counted in seconds. Having got to sleep I slept reasonably well, but woke up too early for my liking. I did my best to keep sleeping, but I think it might have been around 9am when I admitted defeat, and got up. Since then I have had a shower, and acknowledged a shed load of birthday greetings on social media. There was very little of Jenni's party to see on there, and I am wondering if it turned into less of an occasion than was hoped.

  I have now written two days worth of diary, or whatever this load of old scribble is. The next thing I am gong to do is to have a wee. Then I am going to have some lunch. After that I might have a siesta while waiting for the sun to break through - if it ever does. Maybe I might do some garden clearance, or maybe I might just be lazy. I think I deserve the latter. Why I deserve it is a question for another day.
Saturday 22nd June 2019
For reasons that I'll explain in the end, today is written tomorrow !
To put it another way, I was too busy to write anything on the 22nd, but I have so much to write today (the 23rd) that it is probably better to split it into the two days. I hope that will make some sort of sense in the future....mmmmm....maybe !

11:28 BST

  The fine details of Friday's weather seem to have evaporated from my memory now, but overall it was not a bad day. It didn't feel quite as warm as the 20° C forecast, and I think most of the afternoon was a bit a overcast after a sunny morning. It was a dry day, but for some reason it was not a good day to dry a big heavy bath towel outside. It was still very damp after being out on the line for at least 5 or 6 hours.
a warm and sunny day
  The above is no longer a forecast as I write this the day after, but I can confirm it was almost right. Maybe it was right for Catford, but near Hastings there were clear blue skies, and hot sunshine in the afternoon. A truly lovely summers day !

a contentious picture  It was my birthday today, and it turned out to be far more enjoyable than predicted, and all because the shit hit the fan on Friday. The problem centred on the picture shown here on the left. I took it at the Bromley Beer Festival. At the time I had no clue who the two colourful looking girls were. It turned out that the girl in black is Jenni's daughter, and the one closest the camera is the daughter's friend.

  The friend got to see the picture, and sent me a message to say she was a child, and I had no right to photograph her, and I should immediately delete the photo from where it was posted on a well known social media web site. In fact the actual case is that she is 17 years old, and not really a child any more, and that the two of them were at a public event where there is no legal expectation of privacy, and with the exception of commercial photography, no permission to take photos is needed - as many people pointed out to me.

  I was slightly annoyed at this high handed, and slightly untrue demand, and so the first thing  I did was to republish the photo with a the girls blocked out by a big black box. To do so amused me, and it achieved what the girl wanted - her photo could no longer be seen - but it went down like a lead balloon. I knew it was a silly, and rather petulant response, and after a bit of flack I just deleted the whole photo (except obviously here, but it is unlikely it will be seen here by anyone involved).

  It would have mattered a lot less if the friend of the 17 year old with the mind of a child, hadn't been Jenni's daughter, and if I hadn't been invited to go to Jenni's party - where the daughter would be, and possibly her annoying friend. Jenni was cross with me for not just deleting the photo in the first place, and although there was no hint of being barred from her party, I said in my last message to her that it would be better if I didn't go, and then I went off line for the next 24 hours.
new t-shirt
  I felt quite, very grumpy, and that made me feel tired and I wanted to lie down for a bit. Just as I did so I got a call from Jodie. She was heading to The Catford Beer Festival, held in The Catford Bridge Tavern, and did I want to join her ? Initially I said no, and she said not to worry, and that she was meeting another person there any way.

  Part of my reason for not want to go was the aforementioned grumpiness, and the desire for a snooze, but also because I didn't really believe it was a proper beer festival. I was expecting something more like a Wetherspoons beer festival - little more than a few extra guest beers being sold at the bar like all the regular beers they sell.

  I may have snoozed for half an hour, but it didn't feel a very satisfying snooze. I decided I might as well go and see what all the fuss was about at the beer festival. I was quite surprised to see it was being done properly as a beer festival. At one end of the room they had set up barrels of beer on racks with an (allegedly) ineffective cooler, and there were proper glass glasses with the festival name and date etched on them, plus there were t-shirts. It was indeed a proper beer festival, but I was still grumpy, and just drank Guinness, but I did buy a Catford t-shirt.
the sign that satan
                        has invade a pub
  After drinking my Guinness I wanted a wee before I walked home. On my way to the toilet I noticed the sight in the picture above. It was a sure sign that Satan had invaded the pub, and pretty soon it would be hell in there. Maybe I was wrong, but I am pretty sure that sooner or later some psychotic DJ would soon be playing crappy disco and hip hop and rap songs at full volume, drowning out any attempt to savour the beers, and discuss them with fellow enthusiasts.

  It must have been around 4pm when I got home. It was too early for dinner, but I think I had a snack of something or another.  Then I sat down and started plotting  the next day - the day of my birthday. My initial idea was to go out for the day. I then had to think of a possible destination, and one where a walk would be interesting, and not too taxing. My 4 mile walk in Worthing took me too close to the edge. My initial idea was to go to Hastings. It is easy to get to, and I could make a walk as long or as short as I felt like.

  That plan almost failed on the first hurdle - no trains from Catford station - but it was still possible if I didn't mind the extra journey time by going via London Bridge. That route was no more expensive using my 60+ Oystercard, but it felt like it would be rather tedious. With a probable destination and route decided on I made a few more preparation, but nothing serious until the morning. I spent some time watching a bit of TV, and eating some dinner, before going to bed quite early to do some reading.

  I still felt too agitated to get to sleep. I'm not sure I could honestly say that I was looking forward to going to Jenni's party, but I had psyched myself up to try and enjoy it, and even had a few fantasies about it, but having decided I wouldn't go, all I had left was frustration. It seems that the highlights of my life, and I have to sometimes remind myself that I have had some truly excellent times, have all been the result of something happening spontaneously. That is pretty logical because such things would not happen if all the right ingredient were not already in place to trigger such events. The reverse seems true, but I am not sure why hat anything planned, or even hoped for, is usually a complete and utter disaster for me.

Continued tomorrow.....
Friday 21st June 2019
09:26 BST
  The forecast said there was a 6% chance of rain at 4pm, and of course it rained ! No actual rain was predicted at all for yesterday, but there was the very light bit of rain at 4pm, and some more very light showers after that too. The forecast said sunny spells from late afternoon until sunset, but the clouds, some thick and dark, didn't give the sun a chance in the afternoon and evening. The morning was rather different. There were a scattering of light fluffy clouds, but plenty of blue sky, and plenty of sunshine. For most of the afternoon the temperature was just 18° C, but there may have been a brief peak or two when the temperature hit 19° C.
                    day has started bright, and it may continue bright
  It seems a bit cool now, around 13° C, but the sky is mostly clear, and the sun is shining brightly. With luck the forecast may be correct, and the temperature could peak at 20° C today. The latest revision to the forecast is similar to the earlier screenshot above. One change is that after some hours of just sunny intervals, perhaps 11am to 6pm, we could see the return of non stop (or as good as) sunshine until sunset. Tomorrow could ideally be warmer and sunnier, but a fair amount of sunshine is forecast, and the late afternoon temperature might hit 21° C.

  Yesterday turned out to be completely different to how I imagined it would be. My main achievement in the morning was to do yet more laundry. This time it included a large hand towel, and that needed a lot of effort to manhandle. That towel, a face flannel, plus three t-shirts, sapped a lot of my energy, but didn't flatten me. I hung it all on the line outside to dry. I probably could have left it out longer than I did, but I brought it inside to fully dry when a few small rain drops hit my bedroom window. When I say a few I literally mean about 5 !

  When I brought that laundry in it was about three quarters dry. The rain was so light, and over so quickly that I could have left it on the line for another hour or two before the next, and heavier rain fell. It may have been heavier, but it was till very light rain. It was a bit of a shame because I was looking forward to a warm and sunny evening, but it was far from that - particularly the way I felt.

  I was planning to walk to the station (in the sunshine) at about 3.50pm to go for my regular Thursday, late afternoon, drink, but my situation changed an hour or so earlier. I had to go to the toilet, and then I had to go to the toilet again, and then I had to run to the toilet, and as a grand finale I had to run to the the toilet even faster !  Perhaps an hour later I had to go again, but that was almost a false alarm, but still worth acting on !

  I must admit I went from feeling good to rotten in the course of about 15 minutes, and the feeling rotten persisted almost up to the time I went to bed, but I did have a light dinner without triggering anything bad, and it did help stop me feeling so hollow inside. I suspect it was a reaction to suddenly eating a lot of salad the day before after eating a very meat heavy diet for a few days before that. My subconscious brain thought otherwise, which I shall describe in due course.

  One thing that would hint that it wasn't just a reaction to a change of diet is that I seemed to feel feverish in the early evening/late afternoon. I feel sure you are not supposed to feel shivery when the temperature outside is still 17° C, and the temperature inside was probably around 20° C, but shiver I did ! Later on I had a hot flush ! It all rather spoiled my afternoon and evening. TV provided a bit of a distraction, but I was more than happy to go to bed, and read for half an hour or so before going to sleep sometime around 10pm.

  It was around 1am when I woke up thinking "it must have been the chicken".  I did have some chicken, battered chicken to be precise, yesterday, but I chose it as being a part of a fairly light dinner which I had after my guts had settled down (although still a bit sore). The chicken, and just some plain peas, unadorned with anything at all to reduce the chance of more upset, went down quite well, and did make me feel less empty.

  Meanwhile, while asleep, my brain invented a whole scenario to explain my food poisoning. It was a dream that was set at some sort of festival, or event, and there were three stall selling battered chicken strips - battered like fish from a chip shop - bubbly and crunchy ! I didn't actually eat any of the chicken in the dream, but the theory was that I had come into contact with contamination from the raw chicken, and had somehow managed to get it from fingers to mouth. It was a perfectly feasible idea, but it was purely a dream.

  I had slept well until 1am, but after waking up then I seemed to sleep very badly. I do wonder if that was an illusion because a lot of time passed without me being aware of it. It would feel like I couldn't get to sleep, and then suddenly the clocks hour hand would have moved on by an hour or two. There was one other indicator that I wasn't sleeping that well, although it might only be an indicator for the last 10 minutes of sleep - dreams. I had some very rich dreams that seemed to cover hours and hours of dream time, but after waking up, in that very brief time when you can still remember most details, I could tell what seemed like a continuous dream was very disjointed. Every few seconds there would be a "scene change".

   This morning I got up with my right shoulder stiff and sore, and my right arm less so. The rest of my body was creaky, and a little bit sore, but very minor compared to my right shoulder and arm. Of course these things are more or less normal now, and if it wasn't for the fact that having yet another moan about them takes away some of the discomfort, I wouldn't mention it every morning.

  My day has once started with laundry. The hand towel I washed yesterday was part of the kit for Patricia for when she stays here (it could be for others too, but I can't think of anyone I would like to stay here, nor of anyone who would want to stay here). This morning I tackle the worst thing - a full sized bath towel. It is big and fluffy, and when saturated I am not sure I can pull it out of the bucket of water with one hand ! It is currently soaking in detergent, and I'll be tackling it when I have finished writing.

  Washing that towel is about the only thing I have planned for today. I think I could go and see a gig tonight, but I am mostly saving myself up for tomorrow. I am currently setting myself up to a big fall by looking forward to having a nice time at Jenni's summer solstice party tomorrow. In reality I can't conceive of having a good time at a party. On the whole they are boring and lonely places, but I'll go, and see how long I can stand it.

  Tomorrow is also a special day for another reason, and it has not been a reason to be happy for the last 55 years. It is my birthday, and although it takes me another year closer to getting my freedom pass, which I hope comes faster than my Tory government delayed state pension - now at 66 instead of 65. I'm not sure I can hang on for an extra year !  Oh well, at least a birthday card that landed on my mat yesterday amused me (more so if I treat it just as a cartoon rather than anything to do with my birthday).
cat cartoon
Thursday 20th June 2019
09:39 BST
  The forecast said there would be many showers yesterday, and that it might even rain non stop from mid morning to 7pm. Fortunately it rained a lot less than that, and some showers were very right - although a few were medium heavy. From time to time the sun broke through the clouds, and while it was often for no longer than a single minute, it was still rather cheery. I think the humidity was very high yesterday, particularly in the late afternoon, going into the evening. The temperature only briefly reached 20° C, but it felt quite sticky from time to time.
                    pressure starts to take over
  I think the description on the TV weather forecast was "high pressure starts to take over the weather", or to put it another way, all those nasty wet clouds are being pushed away for a while. As I write this a big fluffy cloud is just passing in front of the sun, but it has been frequently sunny probably since sunrise this morning. Even with the sun temporary blocked there is still a lot of lovely blue sky visible. It seems we may get overcast conditions for a few hours in the middle of the afternoon, probably the worst time for it, but most of the day should see sunny spells (finger crossed). If there wasn't that sunless period in the afternoon it could have got quite warm, but it seems 18° C is the best we can hope for (apart from a possible brief spike to 19° C). At the moment tomorrow is forecast to be even sunnier than today, with continuous sunshine during the first hours of the morning. The late afternoon temperature could be a pleasant 20° C.

  Once again I was a lot less lazy than I intended to be yesterday. In terms of physical activity that included two shopping trips and some hand laundry. I think I did the laundry first. It wasn't a lot...actually maybe it was a medium lot - three large t-shirts and a hand towel, but not enough to completely knacker me because it wasn't all that long after hanging it up to dry that I went out on my first shopping trip.

  I went to Tesco with quite a form shopping list in my head, and for once I more or less followed it. I wanted some salad and mayonnaise, and I wanted some more cans of Guinness to take to the party on Saturday. The mayonnaise turned out to be three bottles, ordinary, chipotle, and garlic flavoured, and I also bough a couple of 2 litre bottles of Diet Coke and a spare bottle of sugar free lemonade. I almost forgot, I did buy one random item, and it was some ready cooked prawns.

  I felt quite excited that Tesco had Guinness on special offer. It was buy 2 four-packs for just £9 instead of £9.75. It seemed like a good discount until I got home, and found the receipt for my shopping trip to Aldi the day before. Aldi didn't have Guinness on any special offer, but were selling a 4 pack for just £4.00, or 50p cheaper than the discounted price from Tesco. It felt like I had been mugged !

   Instead of laying down and reading and dozing, I had an unpredicted urge to do some work to my laptop. I have no idea how the idea popped into my head, but although that laptop is fairly slow, it is theoretically more powerful than the computers I did some of my early video editing on. A very useful feature is that it has a built in IEE1394, aka firewire, port built in. That means I can attach my DV camcorders to it, and download digital video from them directly. Unfortunately all my DV camcorders are only standard definition, and apart from the big Sony which sort of bodges widescreen, they only record in 4:3 standard definition.

  I may shoot video in hi-definition widescreen now, but I have a lot of standard definition tapes, and these are some snips that could do with bringing back to digital life. The advantage of using the laptop is that I can leave it churning away, rendering edited video, for as long as it needs, and not slowing my main PC down. The laptop is dual boot, and I installed my favourite Windows audio and video editing programs on it. I didn't do anything with them, but I did try hooking up the laptop to my big screen TV. It worked OK, although whether I would want to use it for video editing remains to be seen. Having the monitor window of the video editor on a separate big screen seems attractive, but I think it would do my eyes in because of the huge difference between the TV and laptop screens.

  There was one other strange experiment I wanted to do yesterday, and it had nothing to do with computers, and everything to do with toilet bowls !  While Patricia was staying here I started something as a regular habit that is specially useful in warm weather. It is to put some bleach in the toilet overnight so that I don't need to flush the toilet in the middle of the night. I had to warn Patricia not to panic if she looked in the bowl and saw the water (and wee) in there was pink. It meant nothing more than that I had put pink (petal scented) bleach in there.

  Subsequently I switched to green (pine scented) bleach. When explaining this to someone they said I should put purple bleach down because that is my favourite colour ! There are two problems with that. The first is that I don't really put bleach down to enjoy it's colour, and secondly I have never seen purple bleach before ! What did spring to mind was to mix blue (ocean breeze scented) bleach with pink, but to do that I had to go out to the 99p shop to buy some blue bleach.

  The latest drizzle had stopped, and I think I fancied a walk. Apart from walking too fast, and getting a bit sweaty in the warm humid air, I think I rather enjoyed a nice brisk stroll. As well as bleach I bought a few assorted items, as well as some incense (joss) sticks. The 99p shop seems to have had a delivery of several different types. They come as 5 hexagonal tubes of 5 different flavours, and there are several different variety boxes - all made by the same maker. They have names like "sensual", "relaxing", "energy", and I think I have now bought every "flavour" they do.

  I find it surprising for some reason that some varieties, like the ones described as "sensual" to smell terrible, and yet others smell totally wonderful. One other purchase in the 99p was a ceramic dinner plate. Those incense sticks generate a load of powdery ash, and the old ashtray I was using didn't catch more than half of it. At some point I have to get the hoover up to my bedroom and hoover up a load of ash from the carpet. The dinner plate seems to catch it all.

  I wasn't really ready to relax in the early evening as I usually try and do, but I ended up eating dinner and watching TV as usual. Both lunch and dinner were salads, and both had excess mayonnaise on them, thus making them rather less healthy  than they could be. Both were fish salads - if you call prawns fish ! I decided that dinner could be washed down with beer, and during the course of the evening I think I went through 4 x 330ml (about half a pint) cans of Innis & Gunn "Session IPA" - and it was jolly nice.

  Maybe that beer set me up for a nice sleep last night. I was in bed early to do a bit more reading, and in fact I finally finished all the edition of New Scientist from the week before last. I now have one day to read the whole of last weeks edition before the next one comes out tomorrow !  I think I finished the magazine just before 10pm, and after throwing it aside I turned out the light, and I think I fell asleep in just a few minutes.

  I can only just about remember waking up for a pee in the night. Actually, on reflection, I don't remember much about it at all. I feel very confident that I did, but any details, and how many times, seem to have faded like a dream does. It was 6am before I was fully aware of being awake. It may have been an indicator of how deeply I must have slept when I tried to move and found myself really creaky. In particular, right arm felt weak and painful when I tried to reach out to grab my glass for a drink. The worst of that was over in under a minute, and I was able to drink easily even if still very slightly painfully. I also had no problems popping all my pills out of their little holders for my morning medication. It didn't include any painkillers, although 5 minutes earlier I might have been tempted.

  Today I have already done two things, and started one more. I have showered and washed and conditioned my hair. I have started the process of washing more laundry by soaking all the stuff in hot soapy water. Once I have finished it, and I'll get straight on it once I have finished writing, I will be able to hang it outside. No rain is expected, and it feels like good drying weather. My only other definite plan for today is to go for my late afternoon, Thursday drink. We are back at Shortlands today.

   I just remembered two other things that I have already done this morning. Both go against my religion, but had to be done. I renewed my TV Licence, and I renewed my CAMRA membership. I really hate paying money for intangibles. I don't mind handing over money to get something physical handed back to me, but those two, plus the BT phone bill recently, feel like I am just throwing money into the wind. It was particularly galling in the month when I wanted to cut my expenditure right back after being a little too frivolous on Amazon last month !
Wednesday 19th June 2019
09:23 BST
  Yesterday morning was fairly pleasant. It wasn't notably warm, but it was comfortable. More importantly was that it was dry with some nice sunny spells. The forecast rain started around midday, although there had been one or two light, almost ignorable showers before then. It was light rain, sometimes just drizzle, and while there were many periods when it wasn't raining, it generally persisted into late evening, and possibly beyond...or did it? I can't think of the last time I was actually aware that it was raining. It could have been around 5 or 6pm. It was certainly dull after that (as it had been before), but maybe the rain had stopped by then. I can't be sure.
a dull
                    start. Probably a dull middle and end too.
 There was supposed to be a sunny spell at 6am. I was awake then, and never noticed anything but grey light seeping around the edges of the curtains. At 7am there was supposed to be a shower, but the grounds looks very dry. It seems the forecast for today can't be trusted to be accurate, but I expect the general idea is probably about right even if the details are wrong. In which case it will probably be mostly grey today, but with a very small chance of the sun peeping through at a few random times today. The chances of rain seem low, but some showers will probably fall. It may end up slightly warm, 20° C, for a short while, but be mostly 19° C.
                        dull day with the chance of a shower
 Let's try again with the brand new, revised edition of the weather forecast ! This revision to the forecast feels like it is going to be closer to reality. It will be a warm-ish (20° C), but dull day with a small chance of a scattered shower some time in the mid to late afternoon. Tomorrow maybe a degree cooler, just 19° C, but there could be sunny intervals popping up at any time of the day, and it should be a dry day.

  I was a lot busier than I imagined I would be yesterday, although my busyness declined in the afternoon. One of the first things I had to do was to empty some rubbish bins, and clear up the kitchen. There were the scattered remains of several takeaways in the kitchen because the rubbish bin was full to overflowing, and mainly because I needed to separate out the food waste to go into it's own special bin. As part of the same job I also took out the recycling stuff to the green wheelie bin, and also emptied out rubbish bins outside my bedroom, and in the bathroom.

  Getting all that done was a major improvement, but I went even further - I got the hoover out... (sounds of celestial trumpets etc, and possibly animated cartoon exclamation remarks in the air). Initially it was just to pick up a few crumbs in front of the settee where I had been eating takeaways, but I ended up doing the whole of the living room plus the hall as well. I didn't do the stairs, although I did at least consider it, but I did a few very selective bits of the back room where some mud had come off my gardening boots. I would like to claim I deliberately let that mud dry where it was to make it easier to remove, which it certainly was, but I was more likely just being lazy. However, having found how easy it was to hoover up, I will probably do the same in the future.

  When I describe it, it doesn't sound like I did that much, but It felt like hard work to me. Maybe not as hard work as gardening, but I maintain that hoovering is harder than digging holes, pulling out weeds and breaking up big twigs and small branches. Not only that, but I did take the brown wheelie bin through the house to park it in the back garden, and I did start to fill it - even if it was just tipping the contents of the two sacks I filled with organic rubble last week into it. I did actually add a handful of freshly pulled weeds before going back indoors, in the dry.

  Much of yesterday morning was dry, but before the rain started properly after midday, there were a few light sprinkles of rain later in the morning. There was one when I nearly started to do some garden clearance, and there was one when, after a rest from my earlier labours, I went out to get some very needed shopping from Aldi. The rain seemed so light that I didn't bother to wear a coat. I think the rain had probably stopped before I had arrived at Aldi, and my t-shirt was barely damp. It dried within minutes of being in the store.

  I was mainly shopping for essentials in Aldi, but essentials included drink as well as food. If I had any way to carry it, I would have bought much more drink. On Saturday I am going to a party, and although I probably won't stay long, because I don't really like parties, I want to take a good supply of Guinness with me, and maybe other drink too. I bought 4 cans of Guinness for the party, plus 4 cans of Innis & Gunn "session IPA". I also bought a twin pack of 2.25 litre Diaet Coke and a 2 litre bottle of sugar free lemonade. It was quite a weight to carry home.

  After getting home I had some lunch. It was some dubious pillau rice that had been sitting sealed in it's foil container for nearly 2 days, with some ready cooked chicken bits from Aldi plus a bit of olive oil and chilli sauce. It was rather nice, but my pleasure was a bit subdued by the fear that the rice would have grown some nasty bacteria since it was delivered. Fortunately that doesn't seem to have been the case, although some of my farts have smelled like they have come direct from Satan's bottom !

  I devoted a lot, but not all, the afternoon to reading and snoozing - and doing some laundry ! I didn't start the latter until late in the afternoon, and did it in two sessions because there seemed to be rather a lot of it. I didn't get to hang it up to dry until a commercial break in Star Trek sometime after 6pm. I haven't checked, but it should be perfectly dry this morning, and leaving the clothes horse ready for more laundry today !

  My evening meal was a huge disappointment. It was an Aldi beef burrito. I am not aware of ever having a beef burrito before, although if I did I may not have remembered it because it was as disappointing as the one I had for dinner yesterday. The description on the packet seemed good, and it was reduced to half price. The reality of a bit of spicy mince with a lot of rice in a breadlike wrap was very disappointing. The spicy beef mince may have been nice, but it was drowned out by the blandness of the other stuff. I think I shall steer clear of burritos in future.

  I spent a couple of hours watching TV, and then went to bed to do some reading. It was well before sunset (around 9.20pm last night), but it was so grey outside that it was like twilight. I didn't read all that much before feeling like I might just turn the light out, and go to sleep. That was what I attempted, but I don't think I managed to fall asleep until almost 10pm. Of course that was actually still an early night, and just not quite as early as it could have been.

  Once asleep I slept quite well, and I think I slept for almost 4 hours before waking up for a pee. After getting back in bed I think I slept well for another 3 hours. From then onwards, until I finally got up, I seemed to sleep poorly. In one respect I felt good when I got up. It felt like I had sufficient sleep, and was almost bright and alert (or something). Unfortunately I was in a lot of pain....maybe a more accurate description is that most things hurt when I tried to move them. My legs very quickly improved as I started to use them, but my arms continue to feel stiff and aching even now.

  It seems my arms are definitely my weak points. My right shoulder has been painful for months and months now - probably even longer. My right elbow is a more recent hurt point, and my left elbow has been trying to catch up for a few weeks now. My left hand continues to be partly numb since waking up from my quad bypass operation in 2013. It is now jointed now and then by my right hand. The latter is almost certainly Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, and is easily cured with a little operation that I guess I am going to have to have done some day.

  I don't have any plans for today beyond probably going to Tesco to buy more Guinness and other stuff. The terrible grey sky, and the possibility of rain (it looks like it could easily be pouring with rain right now) put me off any other out door activities.  Perhaps I will do a bit more housework, probably laundry, but I feel a very lazy day coming on - and that is good because I still have one complete unread New Scientist magazine, plus some pages from the previous one to read before the next edition on Friday ! Fortunately I have no more photography to do, but here are some more snaps from the Beer Festival last Saturday.
vocalist from Silent
This was the vocalist (and ukulele player) from Silent Companions - a band whose name might mean ghosts.
bass player from Silent Companions
Bass player from Silent Companions - they certainly liked songs about death and voodoo !
The 286
This band are The 286 - named after the 286 bus route that all of the members live on (or near).
They are a sort of classical music with rock band, and not really to my liking.
nice gold top guitar
     For all their leanings towards classical music, the lead singer plays a Gibson, Les Paul, Gold Top guitar - a very "rock" instrument. It was difficult to get a really sharp picture of it because the weather was quite dull while The 286 were on the stage.
Tuesday 18th June 2019
10:33 BST
  There were a lot of sunny periods yesterday. In fact it seemed to be a rather nice day - far better that the forecast seemed to suggest.. It is a shame that I spent nearly all day indoors. I think it reached the forecast 20° C, and it was, as far as I am aware, dry all day.
                    day has at least started nicely
 Today has started nicely. There has been quite a lot of sunshine, and it doesn't really feel like it will soon be pouring with rain. The latest revision has extended the sunny periods until 11am, but now says there is a 99% chance of heavy rain at midday. By 1pm the rain should be much lighter, and then showers will continue until 10pm. From late afternoon the chance of showers is a lot less, and there could possibly be some sunny intervals. The maximum temperature for today is predicted to be just 19° C - which would be pleasant if there was any sunshine to go with it. Tomorrow should also see 19° C, but a very dull day is predicted with rain for most of the morning, and maybe a little way into the afternoon.

  Yesterday was another busy day for me as I finished all the photo editing I needed to do. Although I felt more relaxed about it, it still left me little time to do anything else - and while I finished in time, I felt too weary to go out in the evening as I originally thought I might.  I did pop out very briefly after 6pm, just before the corner shop closed. I bought some pop from the corner shop, but I didn't have the time or energy to got to Aldi - which I where I really wanted to go to.
Carrie Mae
  This is Carrie Mae - daughter of Vince and Dawn Pross. I am guessing she now has a stage name to avoid confusion with another Carrie on Equity, the actors union. She is an actress as well as lead singer to Estrangor. Her acting has been limited to bit parts in some low key TV series, but she recently auditioned for a part in a big movie, and we are all hoping she has got the part. I was practising my long lens paparazzi style photography when I took this photo at the beer festival.
Subtle Hustle
Subtle Hustle, a strange name, were probably my favourite band on at the beer festival. I had never seen them before, but they made a wonderful heavy rock/metal sort of noise, and seemed very at home on the big stage.
Subtle Hustle bass player
    The bass player is obviously a poser ! He saw my camera pointing at him, and went into a typical heavy metal pose for me. I must admit I love taking photos of bands on a big stage, and even more so in daylight when I am not scrambling around for every last ray of light. I will confess that even under these ideal conditions I managed to take some terrible photos, but then again I took some photos that I think were fairly good. I hope that after some rather lacklustre  photography recently, I am now once again considered good enough for a back stage pass at Petts Woodstock in August.
   Talking of lacklustre photos, here's one I took of the Pinheads on Saturday evening. I couldn't or didn't want to muscle nearer to the front because they had loads of fans in - mums, aunts and sisters from what I could see - and I didn't want to wind up my flash gun to "lightning +". So I took this through my biggest lens, and then had to do a lot of post production to make it looks almost presentable, but compared to the outdoor photos I took during the day, it is rubbish.
another crap photo
  Another crap photo of the Pinheads. I also shot one video of the band, and it too is really lousy - and made worse by their fans continually walking in front of my camera. I am not going to bother showing it here, but I did upload it to social media.

  I think I finished all my photo and video editing work (plus uploading it) by about 7pm last night. In theory I could have gone to Geoff's Open Mic in Bromley, but I felt too tired. I also felt too tired to go to Aldi and buy some food. For the second night running I ordered a takeaway. I did have some rice and nan bread left over from the previous night, but I wasn't feeling inventive enough to do anything with it. I didn't feel like cooking anyway. Out of curiosity I ordered some Lebanese food.

  I ordered a platter for two because it seemed to have quite a variety of stuff to try. I managed to eat most of it, and that made it an expensive meal for one, although I must confess that I felt fairly well stuffed by the time I finished. Much of it was grilled meat, although there was a very strange salad with it. The salad had one unrecognisable ingredient that was almost like melon - semi transparent, but less watery. I have no idea what it was, and it was neither nasty or nice. It wasn't bland, but I can't describe the subtle taste it had.

  Last night I had the pleasure of going to bed while it was still light outside, but initially I wasn't intending to sleep. I wanted to catch up on some of my reading. I am a whole week behind reading New Scientist. I haven't finished the week before, and I haven't even started the most recent. The next issue is out this coming Friday. I am going to have to devote a lot of time to reading over the next few days.

  I probably put the magazine down as 11pm approached. I feared I was going to have a re-run of the previous night when I didn't get to sleep until 2am, but while it did seem to take a time to find a comfortable spot, I was asleep well before midnight - at least I think I was....  I didn't actually sleep that well, and seemed to have periods where I was awake. Once again, at least I think I was... On the other hand some of those times may have been parts of strangely realistic dreams.

  Perhaps I did get more sleep than it seemed because as I write this I don't feel particularly sleepy, and I almost feel quite good. The reason I can't be more definite about it is because I can't help but think about all the things I should do today - mostly houseworky type things. I now have the remains of three takeaways in the kitchen to clear away, and the rubbish bin in the kitchen is already over flowing. I guess that will be one of the first things I must do.

 I also have started soaking a big bucket of laundry, and that needs three rinses and fabric conditioner before I can hang it up to dry. It is now getting very dull and overcast now, and the midday rain looks very likely - that washing will have to be hung up indoors to dry. Before I get that laundry ready to hang up I ought to hoover the front room. There are some crumbs and stuff from takeaways that need hoovering up.

  The last thing I want to do is to go shopping. Ideally I want to go out twice, but I think going to Aldi is going to be my priority. If I don't get too wet going there, and I have some energy left, than a visit to Savers, Iceland and the SAM 99p shop would be useful, but maybe I will do those shops tomorrow. I think I will be deliberately lazy for any remaining time today. I shall lay on my bed snoozing and reading !
Monday 17th June 2019
09:53 BST
   Saturday saw a fair bit of sunshine, but also a few showers. I was out for much of the day in just a t-shirt, and I felt perfectly comfortable - even in some very light rain, but I was fortunate to be not outside for one of the heavier, but brief showers.
sometimes bright, and sometimes damp
 Yesterday: The forecast for yesterday is shown as above, and probably says more about the weather than I can remember, although by tradition it almost certainly does not show reality. I can't remember too many details about yesterday's weather because I seemed to spend much of the day staring at my PC screen instead of looking out the window, but the forecast give an idea of what it was like, although maybe not in the same order or exact times.
                    be warm, but sunshine might be at a premium
  Today's forecast has got off to a good start. At the moment we are having the predicted sunny spells, and if the forecast continues to be right these sunny spells will give way to overcast skies until late this afternoon. It seems it should stay dry today, and with the temperature up to 20° C it should feel pleasant enough even under grey skies. The weather warning, shown in the screenshot above, refers to tomorrow. Sunny spells are predicted for the morning, but by the afternoon the temperature goes up to 20° C, and the chance of rain goes from possible to certain. Although not a specially warm day, there is a chance of summer thunderstorms - heavy rain - flooding - disruption to raods and transport - etc - etc.
  Saturday was the day of the Bromley Beer Festival in the Whitehall Recreation Ground in Bromley. Being in a park there were all sorts of attractions besides beer. There was a funfair, and foods from all corners of the Earth, plus other assorted stalls selling this that or the other, and there was the live music stage. I went purely for the live music and not the beer. I even managed to carry a couple of small bottles of water in my camera bag. It was a fine intention, but I still didn't fancy the very long queues for the Portaloos. It worked out nicely that there were a couple of bands on that I didn't really like, and after taking a reasonable amount of snaps of them, I sneaked away to the nearby pub to have a Guinness, and use their toilets. That seemed to work out really well.
the stage with G Force
                      playing on it
As you can see, it was a big, fully equipped stage, and possibly too loud. The place looks deserted in this picture, but there were plenty of people behind me - maybe 30ft back from the stage. G Force are playing in this picture, and for a three piece they made a lot of noise, but the size of the stage dwarfs them.
Geoff Paice
Geoff Paice giving it full throat as vocalist, and bass player for G Force.
Lead singer of The Plus Ones
The lead singer of The Plus Ones seen with stage smoke swirling around her. They were an interesting band, although I didn't really enjoy their music. Perhaps I should say polite rather than interesting. When their photo album appeared on social media they thanked me for the pictures, and said how good they were. By contrast another band just shared my pictures onto their band pages, and didn't even say thank you.
Rob Doherty
This is Rob Doherty - just a man and his guitar. He was good, but after about three songs it started to become boring. He was of a higher standard than some I see at open mics, but they are usually limited to three songs before someone else takes over.

  I didn't think I would manage it, but I stayed to see every band even if I did get there late, and leave before the last band finished. Getting to the beer festival on a bus full of shoppers, and that goes through Bromley, was a very slow process. By the time I had arrived at the bus stop for the festival (still a 5 or 6 minute walk away) my legs seemed to have siezed up. Getting off the bus was no problem, well not much of a problem, but it took a minute or two before I could get up to speed. I arrived about 30 to 40 minutes later than intended, and only got there just in time to see G Force perform their last two songs.

  I have what could almost be described as a love/hate relationship with Vince Pross - the Vince of Vince Lighting & The Thunderboltz. He is a terribly nice and friendly chap, but I have no love for his rockabilly and rock 'n' roll style music. I felt compelled to stay and get him (and his nice looking wife) a decent set of snaps, before slinking off to go home. It was a painful walk to the bus stop - slightly further than the bus stop to get there - across, and up the main road.

  I had been in great discomfort within a few minutes of leaving home. If I hadn't been a bit late leaving I would have gone back to change my shoes. I have several pairs of Vans trainers. They are all supposed to be identical except for the colour. I don't wear them very often, but I remembered one pair was very comfortable, and one seemingly identical styled pair, very uncomfortable. I managed to chose the very uncomfortable pair to wear !

  When I got home the damage was worse than I thought. The skin had been rubbed off the top of my middle toe on both feet. It was very nice to get those shoes off. It was also very nice to have a bite to eat, but only a bite. Although I was tired, and I had grave doubts about the band, I was determined to get out again to see The Pinheads playing in The Black Cat. It seemed like it would be a shame to miss what is now a very rare event - a gig in a pub that is only 5 minutes walk from home !

  I arrived there just after their sound check, and just had time to buy a Guinness, and get my camera out to take a few snaps. It was a well attended gig, and I was reluctant to try and barge through towards the front. So I mostly stayed at the back - which actually suits my big aperture lens because it has a narrow field of view. I took a small selection of snaps without using flash, and maybe 3 or 4 might be usable with a bit of care.

  I was supposed to meet my neighbour Michael in the pub, but he didn't turn up until I had decided I had seen enough of The Pinheads. I can't deny their professionalism, but they seemed more like the band you might expect at a holiday camp, or on a cruise ship (not that I have been to either). They were very polished, and very bland, plus their songs were sort of fuddy duddy and "safe". After seeing some a couple of really good bands at the beer festival, The Pinheads were just too tame for me.

  I met Michael outside the pub, he was just arriving as I was going. I warned him he might have trouble getting a seat, but I don't think he believed me - we have both seen the pub more than half empty at quite a few previous gigs. As yet I haven't heard from him to find out how it went. I said goodbye, and headed off to the fried chicken shop. Despite my bite to eat earlier, I had eaten very little during the day, and I was getting hungry. So hungry that I added 6 sticky ribs to my order of two spicy burgers and "fries".

  Once I got home I dived into the burgers and fries, but I found that sufficient, and set aside the ribs for later. After cleaning the grease off my fingers I transferred all the pictures I had taken during the day to my PC. I think I took an average of 75 shots of each of the 7 bands on at the beer festival, but only 20 shots of the Pinheads. At that point I didn't have the energy to start work on the pictures, and I went to bed. I fell asleep almost as soon at my head hit the pillow.

  Yesterday morning I got up feeling stiff and aching here and there, but nothing out of the ordinary. It wasn't long before I started work on the pictures I had taken. After half an hour I stopped to have breakfast, and what a breakfast. It was the sticky ribs. I didn't bother to warm them up, and ate them cold. They were nice, but not nice. I think the "not nice" is just pure guilt because they are covered in sticky sweet jam that must play havoc with my blood glucose level. The trouble is they look much nicer than they really are. I mean they are nice, but maybe not nice enough to be enjoyable enough to mess with my blood glucose level.

  I took another short break a bit later to rush to the corner shop for a couple of bottles of pop, and in the afternoon I did take a 20 minute break to do some quiet reading, but it felt like I was selecting and editing pictures from dawn to dusk - which is of course rubbish. The sun had risen hours before I started work, but I did almost stop near dusk. I think it was about 8pm when I decided I wanted to eat, and I wanted an Indian takeaway. I ordered it, and continued to work for maybe 20 minutes before downing tools to wait for it.

  It arrived about 9pm, and I tucked in with great relish. I discovered a great trick to stop myself over eating last night. I had started with a small vegetable side dish. I followed that by a meat dish, but with no rice to accompany it. The next thing I chose was "chilli potatoes". It was a bit like Bombay Aloo, but with green chillies in it. The first few chillies were really nice, adding a hot spicyness to the potatoes, but soon they were burning my mouth so much that I couldn't eat anything more. I did have plenty of other stuff to eat, and it will be my dinner today, but last night I finished the last chunks of potato while avoiding the green chillies, and called it enough.

  After cleaning myself up I went back to my photo editing, and managed to do select and edit another 6 snaps, but 11pm was approaching, and I just had to go to bed. After brushing my teeth I lay down in bed, and expected to fall asleep instantly. I didn't ! I don't know how many joints, and muscles there are in my body, but it seemed like every one of them was sore. They weren't all sore at the same time though. It was a case that if I laid this way a few bit would complain, and if I shifted my position by a tiny bit something else would complain. At one point I thought I had found the perfect position, but then realised my big toe hurt !

  As far as I can recall, I tossed and turned until 2am before I finally fell into some sort of sleep. I think I may have fallen asleep for a few minutes here and there before 2am, but 2am was when I managed to sleep for about 2 hours before waking up again. After that I only managed to sleep for about an hour at a time before giving up, and half getting up. Since then it seems time has flown by.

  The next thing I will do is to start work on the remaining pictures. I hope I will finish them in time to have a shower, get some shopping, and go to Geoff's open mic night at The Crown And Anchor in Bromley. I was too tired to go to Stretchy's open mic last night, and I hope I'll have the energy to go out tonight. With the way time seems to be flying by, and the amount of work I still have to do, I have doubts I'll even get out to do any shopping !
Saturday 15th June 2019
09:36 BST
   For a while it was as if Patricia had taken all the nasty weather away with her. It was dull in the morning when she left to go to the airport, and it stayed, but slowly warming up, until late in the afternoon the clouds melted away, and the sun broke through. It only warmed up to 18° C, but that was very pleasant under blues skies and sunshine.
                    and starting bright
  The original idea, and still promoted now, was this morning was going to be bright with sunny spells. As I look out my window right now I see a big black cloud blocking the sun, and it might even rain. Well if the forecasters have done their sums right that black cloud, and all the other ones will completely disappear in the next 15 minutes to reveal blue sky and pure sunshine ! It seems unlikely, but the sun did manage to come out for 30 seconds while writing the last sentence. The afternoon is predicted to be dull, probably like it is right now, and there is a possibility of a shower at 6pm. It is currently thought to be warmest around midday when it should be 18° C. Tomorrow could be a degree warmer, and a bit like today was supposed to be, there will be sunny spells in the morning, and more of them in the early evening. There is a small risk of rain in the middle of the day, but it is shown as being dry.
  I felt tired and aching for most of yesterday morning, but I managed to convince myself to do some laundry. The effort of doing that made some of the aches go away. I hung that laundry outside to dry, but after an hour, maybe two, we had what I think was just a single light shower, barely enough to wet the ground, but I brought in that washing to dry indoors. It was still very damp, but I guess it had dried a bit while outside. With the aid of a fan heater on low, and later just on cold,  it was dry later in the afternoon.

  I didn't really want to do anything in the afternoon, but obviously that was rather boring, and I started doing odd little jobs now and then. One was to pre-cook some Tesco "Finest" pork sausages (found on the reduced price shelf at £2.80 instead of £4 - one of the rare big discounts that stingy old Catford Tescos does).  Another little job expanded, and could probably kept me interested late into the night.

  It started with transferring some of my recent videos to my video archive hard disk. It was not a quick process because it ended up with around 20GB of video to be transferred to the USB hard disk. Once that was done I backed that hard disk to another. To do that I used the old HP laptop that my friend gave me. It is not a fast machine, but I can leave it doing slow job while I do other stuff on my desktop PC. I can also boot the laptop into Windows XP for those odd occasions when Windows provides an easier solution. Labelling Light Scribe disks is one task that is easier using Windows since the Light Scribe system became obsolete, and no longer supported on Linux.

  While the laptop got on with it's job of copying files from one external hard disk to another, I wondered if it was possible to increase the amount of RAM in the laptop in the hope of speeding it up. During my research I found that one stick of memory is hidden under the keyboard, and that it is a simple job to get at it - once you know it is there, and where the two screws are that hold the keyboard down from underneath.

  Once the disk copying had finished I shut the laptop down, and inspected the memory under the keyboard, and the stick in the back that I think I installed when the laptop was first given to me. After rummaging through my big box of old/spare memory I found an identical 1GB stick of RAM to the one in the expansion slot in the easily accessible hatch under the back of the laptop. In theory the laptop should have become faster - but only in more memory intensive tasks - like opening too many web pages with an obscene amount of scripting on them.

  Another thing it should have made easier was installing a newer version of Linux on it. I spent some time working back from the latest version of Linux Mint to earlier versions to see which one would boot in live mode, but no recent ones would - which seems sort of strange. I would like to have spent a lot more time on that, and I didn't stop until I had made myself a tiny bit late to get out to Chain's gig in Beckenham.

  What a disaster that turned out to be. There were a selection of reasons why I might have stayed at home, and they included aching limbs, tiredness after getting up so early in the morning, a bit of a headache, wanting to carry on playing with the laptop, and not really like the pub that Chain were playing in. The pub is very small, and I knew it was going to be crowded. Had I known about it in advance I would not have even bothered trying to go to the gig.

  What I found when my bus got to Beckenham was that the High Street was closed, and the buses were on diversion. I'm sure it was only about 6 months ago that the High Street re-opened after being partly closed for 2 years for "improvements". Those improvements obviously didn't include anti-skid surfacing. I had to get off the bus at the bottom of the High Street, and walk up the High Street, and it is uphill, past the foul and nauseous stench of the resin used to stick the anti-skid grit to the road surface to get to the pub.

  Oddly enough, walking up the hill to the pub didn't seem nearly as hard as it did at some random time last year. I think I was going through a bad spell of Costochondritis at that time. This time I have had a lot of individual twinges, but my chest is stable most of the time - for the time being ! Despite the minor thrill of not being overly taxed going up the hill, I was still getting hot, and the bus diversion had left me feeling really annoyed. So annoyed that I said hello to a few people, and then almost in the same breath, goodbye, and walked back down the hill to the bus stop without even stopping for a single drink - of which I was offered several. I only paused for 47 milliseconds to glare at Nigel, an idiot I have taken an extreme dislike to.

  Forty minutes later I was back home, and pouring myself an extremely large whisky. I had actually calmed down by then, and maybe burnt off some of my irrational anger by putting a bit of extra effort into walk from the bus stop to home. It is a bit of an enigma as to why I should feel so ill when sitting down at home, and yet somehow come to life when I start walking. It takes quite a bit of faith to believe that once I get moving I will be fine, and sometimes, maybe many times, I lack that faith. Maybe the only thing I regret was eating all the sausages. I should have left some for breakfast this morning, or better still, for sandwiches later today.

  Once again I have to believe that my body will be working well when I got out to The Bromley Beer Festival. Like the previous two occasions, I don't intend to drink any beer, but I do want to snap a few pictures of the bands on the mobile stage parked up on the grass. The only trouble is that it is a long session, and some bands are crap ! The first and last bands are OK, but there is almost a 5 hour gap between them. If that wasn't arduous enough, I also want to go and see a possibly crap band in The Black Cat pub tonight.
Friday 14th June 2019
08:02 BST
   Yesterday turned out better than forecast, but not quite as good as I hoped. There was very little sunshine, but at least there was some, and there was a lot less rain than forecast. In fact, as far as I can remember, if you missed the few showers you could have mistaken it for a dry day. The temperature was forecast to briefly peak at 16° C at 1pm, but it either lasted a lot longer than that, or the humidity just made it feel mild - particularly when walking with a raincoat on (it was wetter on the inside of the coat due to perspiration !).
                    a dull day
  The forecast for today seemed very bland at 5.30am, but the latest revision adds a bit of variety. The latest revision seems pretty sure there will be some rain at 9am, but after that it resumes the predictions shown in the early forecast. It is rather dull outside now, and it will probably stay that way until late afternoon when the clouds should break up to give some sunny intervals. The afternoon temperature should be a pleasant 18° C. Tomorrow is currently thought to have a wide smattering of sunny intervals, and once again a top temperature of 18° C, but only for an hour or two. Much of the afternoon will be a degree or two less than that.
  Like several people I know, this recent damp weather has left us aching in our most vulnerable areas. I managed to make it worse with long periods of inactivity, but when I was active I mostly felt OK. Yesterday morning was a good example of this. Patricia had gone out for a days worth of interpreting at St Thomas and Guys hospital, and I could have just lazed about feeling stiff and uncomfortable, but I raised the enthusiasm to go to the shops.

  I seemed to buy quite sufficient from the SAM 99p shop, and abandoned any ideas of shopping elsewhere. Once I got out the front door and started walking my aching legs (mainly right knee) worked perfectly, and if I had worn a more comfortable pair of shoes it would have felt extra good walking to and from the shops. The one thing that did cause some discomfort was a few twinges from my chest.

  I think I mentioned yesterday that I was teetering on the edge of another flare up of my Costochondritis, and these have been a couple of times when I thought I was there. I think I just had the one twinge while out shopping, and it was either when I was taking off my rucksack, or putting it back on again. I would have a few more, and more painful twinges later on in the day.

  I was particularly after one item from the 99p shop, and I completely forgot it ! I did buy some assorted stuff though - and quite a bit of it. Of particular note were tomato and herb infused Ritz crackers. I was not aware they existed before yesterday. Maybe they were a test run that the 99p bought when they decided not to continue making them, or maybe they have not been on sale in this part of the country, or maybe I had just never noticed them before. The good news is that the two crackers I tasted were rather nice.

  Another couple of purchases were some Indian incense sticks. I have been disappointed with many incense sticks recently, but these "Clove brand" sticks seem very good. I tried lighting up about 5 sandalwood sticks, and very soon the whole of upstairs was smelling like an Indian restaurant (minus the curry smell). A single stick of patchouli smelled nice too. I burnt those early yesterday afternoon, and I am sure I can still smell them this morning. Fortunately it is a pleasant smell (to me).

  I finished off the last of the Indian takeaway (which those incense sticks would have accompanied nicely if I had them two nights ago) yesterday. I had baked beans on cheese on nan bread for breakfast, and the sag aloo for lunch. The latter was small, but seemed filling enough to leave me feeling very dozy in the afternoon. It seemed to be really hard to get myself together to go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink.

  Once again I felt felt fine once I got moving. I don't think I got to the station in record time, but it was certainly in good time. One thing that slowed me a bot, or felt like it did, was wearing a rain coat. The forecast said rain, but it was dry, and for a short while the sun came out while we were in the pub. There was no sunshine when I came home, but it was still dry - except inside the coat where I was feeling mildly sweaty by the time I got to the pub.

  I had intended to just have three quick pints before rushing home to have dinner with Patricia. I did only have three pints, but it was one of the more interesting nights, and I think we were all drinking quite slowly as we bantered. I ended up getting the train at 7pm - half an hour after intended. Fortunately, after rushing home from the station, I found that Patricia had not been in that long, and that she too had found it to be humid and a bit sweaty while travelling.

  Last night was Patricia's last night here. We celebrated with a couple of Tesco Chinese ready meals, and Patricia had several G & Ts (instead of her normal one). After an hour or two of chat Patricia went to bed in readiness for an early morning. I stayed up longer, but I was still fast asleep by 11pm. At 1.30am, almost exactly, I woke up to go for a pee. I had woken up from a dream, but I had forgotten what the dream was about within seconds of getting out of bed. That was a shame because it left me with an intriguing idea.

  My last memory of the dream was just a sort of feint impression that it was a dream about nothing in particular - like I was going through the motions of a normal day. With no more information than just that vague idea I was left with an odd idea. It was probably inspired by reading too much SciFi. As I stood there peeing my mind was free to wander, and the idea popped up that if the dream seemed to be about boring, normal reality, was I actually dreaming while standing there peeing ? Could I be living in two alternate realities, and switch between them during sleep ? Of course there is always a possibility that the original dream included waking up for a pee, and that what I remember this morning was all dream !!

  I was up very early this morning to make Patricia her last coffee, and to wish he well as she heads to Barcelona to meet another friend before going on to Italy. Her plane was due to leave Gatwick Airport sometime after 9am (in fact as I write this it could be any minute now). The original plan was for her to get the 06.31 train, the one I always used to get to work, as far as London Bridge, and then a fast Thameslink train from London Bridge to Gatwick. In the end she got up earlier than she had set her alarm for, and was able to get the 06.01 train without having to rush. She would have got to London Bridge about 20 minutes later, and would probably have waited no more than 10 minutes for a train to Gatwick. That train only takes about 28 minutes and so she would have had plenty of time to check in, and then a long wait for the plane.

  Once Patricia had left my original intention was to go back to bed, but I spent a half or so on my PC before going back to bed. I did sleep a bit, but I found it hard to get comfortable again. At one time I turned over and my chest went crunch. That didn't hurt then, but it is usually an indicator of more twinges to come. I had several yesterday afternoon, including one in the pub where I think I picked up my pint glass in an awkward way. I'm not exactly sure what "an awkward way" is, but it produced a momentary sharp pain below, and slightly to the right of my right man boob. It is a common place for a (usually) momentary twinge.

  Since getting maybe half an hours worth of sleep, instead of the intended 2 or 3 hours, I have had breakfast, and written all this up to this point > ·. As much as it is lovely having Patricia staying here, it is also lovely eating warmed up ready cooked (alleged) "Fiery" chicken wings while just sitting in my underpants ! It is not my habit to do so, and generally I try to avoid any breakfast, but this morning I did it because I could.

  Apart from one thing that is about 70% definite, I haven't really got a clue what I might do today.  Two options are to do some laundry, and to do more garden clearance. The brown wheelie bin was emptied yesterday, but maybe the garden is still a bit muddy. I don't think today would be good drying weather for laundry. So there are two excuses to not do the two things I could usefully do. Maybe I'll have to find something not useful to do ! Tonight I definitely want to make the effort to see some of Chain's gig in The Coach And Horses, Beckenham. It is an awkward little pub to have well attended gigs in, and I suspect it will be well attended. I'll probably only stay for the first set, and save my energy for tomorrow - the day of the Bromley Beer Festival. It's held in a park with a stage on a back of a trailer for live bands from about 12.30 to 6.30pm, and at least two of the bands were are worth taking a few snaps of.
Thursday 13th June 2019
07:22 BST
  Just three days ago, Monday, when it rained, often heavily, from before dawn, until well after dusk, set a benchmark that makes yesterday seem not that bad. Yesterday was often brighter, and a bit less cold, and the hours of rain were light rain. For some reason I don't feel much animosity to yesterday's weather...Well I suppose it was just not nearly as bad as Monday's deluge.
another edgy day
  The forecast is suggesting that today is going to be yet another miserable day, but like  fool I have some irrational hopes that it may not turn out so bad as the current version of the forecast says it will. I base this hope on the fact that it seems dry now when the forecast says it should be raining ! I might also note that the sky has some small areas that seem to be very thin areas of cloud that could possibly break up to reveal blue sky. The latest revision to the forecast now shows the first rain arriving at 9am, and that even the time with the highest probability of rain will only have light rain. It is still going to be mostly cool with the temperature no higher than 16° C for one brief moment of glory at 1pm.  At the moment it looks like tomorrow afternoon could see some sunny spells, and the temperature may rise to a pleasant 18° C. The morning will probably be rather dull, and a little cool.
  Nothing much happened yesterday afternoon, or to put it another way, I did almost nothing yesterday afternoon. It was partly because I was off colour. Some of it may have been the last remnants of a very mild, but definite hangover. Some of it was almost definitely the damp weather causing my bones to ache (I think I am old enough to say/blame that now). Some of it was probably something I hadn't even imagined at the time, but would realise later.

  I had hoped to take Patricia out to an Indian restaurant last night, but as the time came it was drizzling outside, and while I was perfectly capable of walking to the restaurant, and might even have enjoyed the walk, it didn't feel like the best way to start a meal. I don't think Patricia had that much enthusiasm for it either, although she had more than I did. The best alternative was to order an Indian takeaway, and that is what I did. I ordered the same stuff, but in larger quantities, that Patricia would be used to from a Wetherspoons chicken tikka masalla. Plus an assortment of stuff for me (some of which I may well be having for breakfast soon !)

  The restaurant I used was new to me, and may have been actually relatively new, although it's latest Food Standards Agency report was made nearly a year ago (they scored a 4 - not perfect, but still good). I think I am inclined to not use them again. While the food was perfectly OK, it seemed to be what I can only incorrectly describe as "watered down". Obviously not literally watered down, but the gravy/sauce in some dishes was a bit thin. What I really mean, although I can't find the words to describe it, was that it didn't seem very exotic. In some ways it was a bit like supermarket curry ready meals used to be (and some still are) - lacking richness while being basically correct.

  I know all that sounds very negative, but I still enjoyed my food, and Patricia declared it to have been very nice. It was a couple of hours later, almost as we were getting ready to go to bed, that what had probably made me feel off colour was finally revealed. It was the hot (actually hot, not spicy) food that did it - probably. I started to feel uncomfortable, and had to dash to the toilet. I was barely out of the toilet for more than 3 or 4 minutes before I had to run there again. I started to feel much better after that.

  Apart from the heat from the Indian meal helping to cook up the ingredients, it had nothing to with the meal itself, and I would guess everything to do with eating two bowls of salad on top of 5 pints of Guinness the evening before ! The change in how I felt after that episode was a great relief, and it allowed me to have a good sleep - even if I did get up rather early this morning - but I blame Patricia for that - she is still running on Italian time, and goes to bed and rises an hour earlier than my body clock is set.

  This morning I think we can take it as read, and I won't describe all the usual aches and pains. On the whole, if I ignore all the yawning, I feel sort of OK this least I think I do. To a great extent it doesn't really matter. I have no great plans, or indeed any plans for the day prior to going out for my usual Thursday drink just before 4pm. Patricia will soon be going out to do some interpreting jobs, but she may be back before I go out.  Maybe I might go to the shops later this morning, or maybe I will go back to bed !

  Tonight will be Patricia's last night here, and I guess I should avoid drinking anything too heavy in the pub, and I ought to make sure I don't stay out too long so we have enough time to share one last gin together. She will be leaving early tomorrow morning to catch her plane at 9am (or 9.45am ?).  This year I will be seeing Patricia again for a short time. Sometime in July (mid July, maybe) she will be back for a very short stay for an interpreting job, and to pick up new glasses being made for her by Specsavers.

  To finish, a video shot at Stretchy's Open Mic last Tuesday. This features Stretch himself singing Bruce Springsteen' s "I'm On Fire". It is slightly spoiled by the occasional yells of the drunken Yahoos at the end of the bar.

Wednesday 12th June 2019
12:59 BST
  Yesterday started out nice and bright despite the weather forecast saying otherwise. By the afternoon reality was catching up with the forecast, and we lost most of the sunshine. By 5 or 6pm some rain started to fall in advance of the forecast time. The forecast said the rain would continue until midnight, but from about 8.30pm the only rain was very sporadic, and so light as to be almost undetectable. The highest temperature was 18° C, and it seemed to feel fairly comfortable, or even pleasant when it was bright outside (but not necessarily sunny).
                    morning was mostly OK
  The forecast for today has been almost right, but in the most important ways, wrong. Earlier on there were a few sunny intervals, and as yet there has been no rain - but there were a few times when it looked to be very likely. The most up to date revision of the forecast, 5 minutes ago, insists that it should be raining now. The sky is rather grey, but it doesn't look like it will be raining just yet...but who knows ??? A weather warning has been issued with an amber warning for rain today. It warns of possible flooding, disruption to transport, and also of thunderstorms at unspecified times this afternoon - although the hour by hour forecast doesn't show any periods of heavy rain - just light rain. If today's temperature really did peak at 16° C, the time for it has passed, and the current forecast shows most of the afternoon flatlined at 15° C. It feels cool to quietly sit here typing, but comfortable to walk to the shops and back. Tomorrow may be a degree or two warmer, but it is forecast to be a mostly grey day, but with the chance of some sunny spells late in the afternoon. It will probably be dry, although a single shower is predicted for 2pm.
  The second big feature yesterday, after my morning walk, was going out to Stretchy's Open Mic. There was some very light, almost ignorable rain, as I walked to the bus stop to go to Bromley (or a small way past Bromley in my reckoning). I didn't have long to wait for the bus, and the journey was, as per usual, very boring, but uneventful. The eventfullness started when I got to the pub.

  There were three golf playing, business suit attired, hooray Henreys, blocking one end of the bar - the best bit of the bar. The bit nearest the microphone(s). These irritating arseholes were rather loud, and got louder still to compete with the music. The trouble was that they were completely unaware of anyone in the pub but themselves except for one of the barmaids who they treated like their personal slave. I think it was around 10.30pm when Vince, known to have a fierce temper when provoked (but usually a very happy go lucky person), almost threw his guitar to the floor, and stormed over to the yahoos. I don't know what he said, but they did take in good grace, and did calm down for a few minutes. I think that two of them did go over and apologise to Stretchy before they left. So it ended well, but it could equally have been a dramatic end.

  I had travelled light to the session partly because I had been expecting to take a gift to Jenni, but at the last minute she sent me a message to say she had developed a nasty eye allergy, and wouldn't be going. Sadly Jenni does seem to have some unusual allergies. She once posted a picture on social media showing the ankle all red and puffed up, and maybe with some small lesions, where she had used an elastic bandage on it that contained latex !  So I just took my pocket sized Cannon camera for some stills, and relied on my new mobile phone for a couple of videos. For some reason most of the still pictures were rubbish - even when I was using flash. Maybe I had my thumb over the flash gun when it fired - something I find easy to do !
Gian Goldie
  This was one of the very best pictures I took last night. When shrunk to this size it doesn't look that bad, but despite using flash there is still some motion blur, and I had to do a lot of colour correction.
  It is such a shame that this picture still looks awful after a lot of corrective action. Sue had recently received some good news about the result of a recent CT Scan she had done. The good news was that a possible diagnosis of cancer was ruled out (although she may have some other, rather less serious, problems). Sue managed a lovely smile, and her forehead wasn't all wrinkled with worry. Also her trademark bags under her eyes didn't look nearly as bad as the sometimes do.

  I stayed at the pub until a minute or two before 11pm, and then left to walk to the bus stop. I was very slightly concerned that it might be raining, but it was dry. I only had to wait about 6 or 7 minutes before a 320 bus turned up to take me to Catford Bridge station...and perilously near the fried chicken shop. Maybe it was knowing that Patricia was at home that helped me resist the lure of that shop. Instead I went straight home, walking at almost the sort of pace I like to walk home. (Maybe it was just my normal pace, but felt faster for some unknown reason).

  When I got home I went straight to the fridge. After all I had gone out without having any dinner. In last night's case I got two Sainsbury's ready made salads out, but I did adulterate them with some left over corned beef and spiced salami slices, and a probably rather generous amount of mayonnaise (well I was drunk !). I ate the salad, and soon after I brushed my teeth and went to bed. I don't really remember much after that. I must have fallen asleep almost as soon as my head hit the pillow.

  Inevitably I woke up once or twice to drain off some of the Guinness I had been drinking, but it seemed like I had been sleeping very soundly. While it may have seemed that way, I have my doubts because I have been feeling very tired today. It seemed I got up fairly early, but Patricia had got up earlier. It took me a long time to get my head around starting some work. The first bit being transferring pictures and video from last night to my phone, and the second bit trying to make some poor quality photos look barely acceptable. It seemed like hard and long work despite there only being 21 snaps to consider.

  Once I had made the best of the pictures I laid on my bed and tried to sleep again, but I felt too uncomfortable. All sorts of bit ached. My right knee seemed to ache worst of all while laying down, but my neck and right shoulder ached a bit too. The worst, although it is not an actual ache most of the time, is my chest. Maybe it is while this wet or unsettled weather persists, but I seem to be on the point of a flare up of my coctochondritis recently. I've had a few twinges, and heard a few internal pops and grinding noises while laying in bed this morning.

  Apart from those few little twinges, nothing bad has happened yet. Without doubt the worst thing is a feeling of fatigue, but I know it is not fatigue in any traditional sense. Much of it is probably all in the mind, with a pinch of hangover added. It took a lot of effort to get off my bed, and to go and have a shower. I guess that helped a bit, but what helped most of all was doing what I had showered for - going out to Tesco to buy a bit of shopping - particularly some fresh bread and some Diet Coke.

  Once I was out in the fresh air, and it was very fresh, I got into my stride, and I felt almost perfectly fine. I was probably perked up by the fact that I saw that 1 litre bottles of Haig were still cheaper than the smaller bottles, and so I bought one. I was not so happy that there was no hot, ready cooked, chicken portions available. For quite some time now they have been a complete rip off (and not that nice either). Maybe they are selling a lot less now that many other people are coming to the same conclusion as me. This lunchtime I had a stupid urge the negative things about them, but to reinforce those negatives ideas by actually eating a few bits of tasteless greasy chicken. I ended up buying some pre-cooked, but cold (alleged) BBQ flavour chicken thighs. I slightly overcooked them in the oven to dry them out a bit, but they were still not terribly enjoyable. The didn't taste as if they had even been in the same town as a barbecue !

  I have now done all I need to do to last nights pictures. I have showered, and I have been to Tesco. I've eaten some crap chicken, and some coleslaw (for some random reason). Now all I have to do is to do something with the video I shot last night, but there is no rush for that. I think I might lay down and read, and hopefully end up having a snooze. Maybe tonight I will take Patricia out to an Indian Restaurant if there is the time and inclination (and if the rain is light or non existent).
Tuesday 11th June 2019
13:22 BST
  There is no nice way to say it - yesterday was bloody horrible. It was cold and wet from the start of the day, until well after midnight into today. In that grey, wet, and gloomy weather 13° C felt really cold.
reality is much better
  After yesterday, today was like waking up on a new planet. The forecast above was an early guess at what the weather would be like. As such it doesn't predict too bad a day, but it was still a pessimistic forecast. The reality was that there was a lot of blue sky even at first light, and while an there were many annoying clouds that managed to sit in the exact position to reduce the sunshine, much of the sky remained blue even for the periods when the sun wasn't shining. The warmth built up quite quickly in the sunshine, and by mid morning I was feeling quite warm when out in the sun. The sunshine has fallen back to just sunny intervals now, but the latest revision of the forecast says there will be sunny intervals until 7pm. From 7pm we may have a couple of hours of light rain, but it should be a dry night. Tomorrow morning might be dry, but light showers are forecast for most of the rest of tomorrow. It may only be a degree cooler than today, but it will be a bit dull - possibly...
  If think it best if we just forget about yesterday. It was a disgusting day, and I didn't go out, and the only thing I did was a bit of laundry that hung inside to dry. Fast forward to the evening, and once again I didn't fancy a proper dinner. I had three bowls of instant noodles with lashings of chilli sauce on them. After that I may have felt it was slightly cool, but my face was sweating like there was no tomorrow ! Several hours later I went to bed, and I seemed to sleep rather well - possibly even better than some of the fairly good sleep I have been having recently.

  It was bright outside when I woke up several times this morning. I went back to sleep several times because it seemed too early, but I wanted to get up at around 7am to get Patricia's breakfast ready for her - just coffee and Jaffa Cakes. It was about 6.30am when I thought I would just close my eyes for 10 minutes, and then start getting up. The next thing I knew was that it was close to 7.30am, and Patricia had already got up and made her own coffee.

  Patricia had an interpreting job this morning, and so went out fairly early. I took 10 or 15 minutes to convince myself to do it, but once I had convinced myself I was really up for it, I also went out. I needed to get out and stretch my legs after a very sedentary day, and I was curious as to what all the rain yesterday had done to the river that runs through the park.
repurposed old route map with the xtra added
                    in purple

  I wasn't quite sure how far I would walk, or even be able to walk, and so I wanted to record my route, and how far it was. Unfortunately I ran into a similar problem I had with my previous phone that ran Android version 9 - aggressive battery saving. On my new phone the problem was slightly different, and presented the possibility of overcoming it.

  I had walked less than half a mile when a message popped up to say that one app, Simply Walking, the app I use to record my walks, was using a lot of battery power because it was using the GPS, "sat nav" , radio receiver all the time. I didn't realise it, but it had stopped the app when it took me to the settings page with options about battery usage. Not realising it had stopped the app probably meant I dug an even deeper hole for myself. I set the options for what I believed would keep the app running in the background.

  What I didn't do was to restart the app, although by that time it would have been meaningless. I had walked a fair bit between when the app had been stopped, and when I noticed the message about battery drain. Even if I had started again, and had got the settings correct, I would have still lost a portion of my walk. I am not convinced I have got the settings right to run non stop when I use the app, and to shut it down when I am not using it - and the latter doesn't include wanting to use the camera, for instance.

  The track on the left is from last year, but covers most of my walk. I have added the missing bit in purple ink. I think a case can be made to guess that the total distance, original + extra, comes to at least 2 miles, and hopefully a little bit more ! Along the way I had a couple of slightly uncomfortable brief twinges, but as usual it was my feet that complained most. On this occasion they may have had a better excuse.

  I thought it might be prudent to wear my recently re-waterproofed, lightweight hiking shoes this morning, and on the whole they were comfortably uncomfortable. It was the socks I wore that caused more discomfort. They are supposedly hiking, or sports socks, and they have quite a tight elastic top to hold them up. Unfortunately on my left leg, the leg that donated the artery for my quad heart bypass operation, that elastic top just makes a tendency for the left leg to swell, and when I got home I had a deep indentation in my lower calf. While in situ it was mildly uncomfortable, but it almost stung for some tens of seconds as I peeled it off.
new moat outside the
                      park entrance
  One of my first problems was getting across the moat that seemed to be guarding the entrance of the park. Curiously enough, it was only when editing the picture that I realised that the path next to the fence at the back was clear of water. I walk a few more tens of feet to the right where the gigantic puddle had narrowed to just 3 ft wide.
The weir by the bridge
                      across to the hospital
  One of the main things I wanted to see was the weir by the bridge that leads from the park into the grounds of Lewisham Hospital. I was not disappointed. The weir was almost covered by the sheer torrent of water cascading over it. Usually the few rocks that can be just seen on the far side are well above the water.
aggressive brambles !
  All along the river bank the foliage has been growing like nobodies business since I was last in the park, and like in my garden, that rain is going to make it grow like mental ! Once upon a time it was more formal, ornamental bushes and suchlike, but now the emphasis is on "natural" growth, and the brambles, once almost surpressed by the "park keepers" are growing in a most aggressive manner. This bramble shoot sticks out about 5ft across the path. At the moment it is slightly above head height, but soon it will get longer and droop, and then it will grab someone by the throat !
lovely blue sky and
                      whispy clouds
It wasn't always like it, but there was a lot of blue sky while I was out. Sometimes, like when I took this picture, the cloud on the left of the picture was mostly blocking the sun, but while it looked stationary, it was actually moved quite fast, and the sun would soon be shining again.
Fox across the railway
  I spotted this fox across the other side of the railway. It looked a bit muddy, and I think it was looking for a nice place to bask in the sun to dry out after spending a very miserable wet day yesterday.

  The final bit of my walk took me past the new Sainsbury's by Catford station. I didn't have a bag with me, and so I had to buy one, but I popped in to buy some salad, bread, a couple of sandwiches, some tins of ready mixed gin, and completely forgot to buy the orange juice I promised to buy for Patricia. I'll have to see if the corner shop does a reasonable carton of orange juice when I go there a bit later.

  I arrived home feeling like it would be very nice to get those walking boots, and socks off. It was slightly fatigued, but not badly, and I think I would have been happy to have walked an extra mile, but still not ready for the 4 miles I walked in Worthing recently. Of course my work wasn't over once I got home. I had to prepare all the photos I took - the ones I've shown here are just a small selection of the better or more interesting. Plus I have been sitting here for almost 90 minutes writing all this (although I did take a few short breaks in that time).

  As I come to this closing paragraph I can look forward to a rest, and quite probably a snooze, but sooner or later I need to wash my hair and have a shower in preparation to go to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Bricklayers Arm in Bromley tonight. It will be my turn to stay out late, and Patricia can be woken up as I come stumbling in full of Guinness tonight !
Monday 10th June 2019
08:15 BST
  Yesterday was nice, although the niceness was fading by the end of the afternoon. The day started sunny, and then sunny spells continued until maybe 5 or 6pm. Some sunny spells lasted for quite long periods. With a maximum temperature of just 18° C it didn't feel that warm - except when doing hard work - which I did for a time !
                    bloody miserable day
  As can be seen in the forecast above, today is set to be a bloody miserable day. It is almost certain to rain in every hour of the day, and sometimes that rain will be heavy. It will also be almost cold. Most of today will be 13° C, and with no sunshine it will probably feel almost freezing...well maybe not "freezing", but definitely chilly. Tomorrow was also forecast to be not much better than today, but the most recent revision suggests it may not be that bad, and the afternoon could be pleasant. It will start fairly cool, but sunny periods are expected from about midday onwards, and the afternoon temperature should rise to about 18° C - which is still rather short of "flaming June", but at least a step in the right direction. The day after that, Wednesday, will probably see some rain, but also some sunny periods.
  After being so sedentary on Saturday, and feeling stiff and creaky afterwards, yesterday was a time for action. Patricia went out for a picnic with her sister and her sisters son in Greenwich, and I got dressed up to go out into my garden for a bit of garden clearance - and more !
in the best tradition of
                      the British empire - Khaki shorts
  In the finest tradition of the British Empire I put on Khaki shorts, and (sort of) stout boots before heading out into the jungle - except now there is very little jungle left in my back garden.
the "before"
  This "before" could have been better. For instance I should have taken it before I moved the brown wheelie bin onto the garden path, and stepped back a bit for a wider shot. When I took this picture I was mostly concentrating on all the weeds, and rotting debris under the weeds, that I intended to dispose of in the brown wheelie bin. This high angle shot doesn't give a good idea of just how much "garden waste" there was to dispose of, although the couple of old tennis balls in the bottom left of the picture may help give some kind of scale to the picture.

  I had hoped to take that entire area back to bare earth, but before long (maybe almost an hour of back breaking work), I had filled the wheelie bin, and almost had to stop. If you refer back to the picture of my naked knees you'll see two blue rubble sacks. They are both full of stuff that wouldn't fit in the wheelie bin because I wanted to clear so much. I can tip them into the wheelie bin after it has been emptied on Thursday, and save myself a bit of work.
the "after"
  This is the "after" picture, and is a wider shot that the "before" picture. The best point of reference is the fence post just left of centre in this picture. I almost managed to clear one fence panel's width of debris, but towards the left there is still a small pile of debris that I could have fairly easily shovelled into another blue sack. The other thing to note is how the entire width of the garden path has been exposed. There are hints in this photo of how uneven the left hand end of the path is. In reality it is worse. There is a big tree root running under the path, and several of the paving stones rock backwards and forwards on it !
"seeds" for
                      what might be my first crops
  With about 5ft of what was once going to be a flower bed cleared, it was time to actually put it to use - maybe.  Remembering a tip given to my by a friend - "plant everything is straight rows, and anything that deviates from that line is probably a weed or undesirable", which is so obvious with hindsight, I planted the "seeds" in the picture above. I think the potatoes stand a good chance of growing, but I am not so sure about the tomatoes. Both types of tomatoes were in my fridge for far too long, and in one punnet the tomatoes are green and hairy. Maybe they will grow, or maybe they won't, but nothing ventured, nothing gained.

  At the end of my gardening session I was feeling very knackered. Digging just two small trenches to plant the potatoes and tomatoes stretched my endurance to near the end, and I was dripping with sweat as I worked in the nice sunshine. In days of old I would have stopped to have a cigarette, and 10 minutes later I would probably have been able to go on for another half hour, but I had achieved all I wanted to achieve, and maybe some more on top. It was a good time to stop until the wheelie bin is emptied again...maybe.

  I must admit that on reflection I was surprised at how I stood up to the hard work. In particular how I was able to bend over to use my hands near ground level. My body must be more supple than I usually think it is. Of course later in the day... I waited to calm down a bit before going for a nice hot shower, and washing the twigs out of my hair. OK, that was exaggeration, but I did wash something small out of my hair. Maybe it was a spider or something. I just saw something small and black heading towards the plughole as I tried to keep the soap out of my eyes.

  It felt good to be clean again. Once I had cooled down, and dried my hair, I put on outdoor clothes, and walked to Tesco. Sometime last week Tesco sent me vouchers for £9 off any shop over £60. I thought there was no way I was going to spend £60 in Tesco, but I did ! My original shopping list included Diet Coke, a bottle of Tesco Special Reserve Whisky, and some bread and salad for Patricia. I had barely reached the end of the first aisle when I spotted something on special offer that I had to buy for Patricia.

  Patricia discovered gin and tonic very late in life, and now I think of her as a gin lover, but I forget that she is not a gin fanatic. Anyhow, I spotted bottles of Parma Violet flavoured gin liqueur, and I thought I had to buy a bottle so Patricia could taste it, and I quite liked the idea of it myself. I think we were both unexcited by it when we had a small shot glass of it later in the afternoon.

  Further around the store I picked up my bottle of Tesco "own label" whiskey. As I was standing there I noticed that Tesco was being very weird - again ! They had 70cl bottles of Haig Clubman whisky for same at £25 a bottle - about the normal price for what to my palate seems to be a very nice whisky. On the next shelf down, and a bit to the right, they had 1 litre bottles of it, and they were selling for £22 ! At that price I had to buy a bottle before they realised they had swapped the price between the two sizes. When I got to the checkout with three bottles of booze my bill was over £60, and I hadn't even contemplated taking one of the £9 off vouchers with me because I didn't think I would ever be able to use one.

  When I got home I went into a bit of a decline. After putting the shopping away I ate a triple sandwich pack of cheese sandwiches - three slightly different ways of filling a sandwich using cheese. After that I lay on my bed to read. It wasn't long before I dozed off, but it was not a nice sleep. I felt uncomfortable as I lay on my bed. It was nothing sinister, or at least I don't think it was. It just seemed like it was the first opportunity for my abused muscles to complain.

  I didn't feel all that good for the rest of the day. Patricia came back from her picnic at about 4pm, and offered me a still wrapped, but cold McDonalds hamburger that was spare from their picnic. It essentially formed most of my dinner. I have to confess, ans much as I hate to do so, but even cold it was rather nice. Maybe it was the simplicity of the thing - just a thin patty of beef with a smear of sauce and a bit of greenery in two halves of a small bun. It was certainly much more tasty than the burger I had in the Wetherspoons a few days ago.

  Dinner was supposed to be an Aldi ready meal - a Tuscany sausage with pasta bake - and indeed that is what Patricia had, and very much enjoyed. For some reason I didn't fancy anything more than some fruit. Apart from the natural sugar content, the fruit was much healthier for me, and surprisingly I found it very enjoyable. It also seemed filling enough. I am unsure why I have been buying fruit recently. One reason is that maybe I thought Patricia might like some, but she is not a big fruit eater. Maybe it was because my own brain was secretly luring me into buying fruit because I need something from it. It may become a short lived habit that I will learn to enjoy.

  After dinner we had a big gin and tonic and talked for an hour or so about the world, and why so much of it is crap, but I was feeling very tired, and so was Patricia. It was almost 10pm when Patricia went up to bed, and not much later before I went to bed. Initially I tried to read in bed, but I don't think I managed to read a whole page before I tossed the magazine away, turned out the light, and failed to instantly go to sleep. While distracted by reading I felt extremely tired, but comfortable. As soon as I didn't have any distraction it seemed to take ages before I found a comfortable position, and finally fell asleep.

  Those "ages" to find that comfortable position was probably less than 5 minutes in reality, but it felt much longer. Once asleep I slept well for about 3 hours before I needed a wee, and then for maybe another 3 hours before I needed to wee again. After that it seemed like I was hardly sleeping at all, and yet huge chunks of time passed without me being aware of it. The most telling thing was when I woke up just before 8am, much later than I though I would sleep to, and found that Patricia was up and dressed, and had already made her breakfast - coffee and jaffa cakes ! I was amazed that I had slept all through that.

  This morning I probably feel no worse than any other morning. It is even possible that I ache and creak slightly less than what now passes for normal. I was expecting to feel really sore this morning. Patricia has gone out to a doctors appointment, but she will be back later. I expect we will have a spot of lunch together, but I have no grand plans for today. Patricia will be mostly working, and maybe I'll find some work to do - maybe even housework ! Whatever it is it will almost certainly be indoors because the weather is appalling - although maybe not quite as appalling as the forecast made me think it would be.
Sunday 9th June 2019
08:53 BST
  Most of yesterday was very uninspiring. There was rain at the start of the morning, but by mid morning that had dried up. More rain was forecast for late afternoon, but as far as I can recall it stayed dry, and we had some sunny intervals. The forecast said that from 7pm until sunset the sky would be clear, and it would be sunny. I don't remember any significant amounts of sunshine then, or indeed any sunshine at all. The highest temperature was just 17° C, and while sedentary it felt cold. I have no doubt that had I been working in the garden I would have soon raised a sweat, but I was mostly working at my PC, and I felt chilly.
                    today will be sunny
   This morning it is, as the forecast promises, sunny, although it mostly seems slightly hazy sunshine. With luck the sunshine we do get will push the temperature up to 18° C. That is only a degree higher than yesterday, but with a bit of sunshine that should feel much better. This evening the chance of rain increases slowly, but the first rain might is currently thought to fall at 11pm tonight. That rain is predicted to continue all through tomorrow, and not stop for the next few days after that ! Meanwhile, tomorrow is forecast to be a rather chilly 13° C !
  Yesterday I achieved a little, nothing, or a lot - it depends how I think about it. One concrete thing I did achieve was to wash some clothes, and hang them indoors to dry. I did that mainly as a way of stretching a few muscles after being being very sedate. It all started when I was trying to find a picture that I had sent to Patricia when she was in Argentina. It was a photo of a letter from her bank saying that her bank details were changing as HSBC swallowed up the last remains of The Midland Bank.

  The short version of the story was that Patricia had had payment for a translation job go astray, because her invoice had shown the wrong bank details. It turned out that she had copied and pasted most of the details from an older invoice, but there was still a mystery of when the change had happened. Patricia thought it was sometime this year, but in fact it was several years ago.  The long story is that I had an "interesting" time trying to find the original photo.

  I thought I had found it on an old mobile phone backup, but just as I was about to open the thumbnail image from a memory stick something odd happened. I think I have a dodgy USB extension lead, and I must have disturbed it in my haste. That caused the memory stick to momentarily disconnect, and because it was formatted as a Windows file system, it became corrupted. Then started a long process to try and recover those files that had become corrupted by using a file recovery program.

  It was fortunate that I had deleted older versions of the backups, and moved a few things around, and the recovery program was able to find and extract the deleted files onto a temporary directory on my PC. The only problem was that I had to stop the process early because the recovery program had found a PDF file that seemed endless, and ended up trying to fill my whole hard drive with this PDF file. There were actually two silly sized PDF files, but the larger was ultra silly - 85GB ! I suspect that a PDF of the whole Encyclopaedia Britannica would be smaller.

  The recovery program also extracted loads of unnamed mp3 files, and I spent quite a long time using a command line program called id3ren to read the id3 tags embedded in the file to change the name of the file to something that actually gave some information about it. It was only after almost finishing that job that I realised that all the mp3 files were left over when I copied my "psuedo radio" mp3 files to my work PC via the memory stick. As such I have all the original files on my home PC, plus two other back ups, but it was useful to know how to recover those files.

  By the time I had finished all my file recovery work it was early evening. I have to confess that I had not even washed by then, and the idea of going out to a gig was not very attractive. Although it was dry (at least I think it was) I didn't fancy walking down country lanes to get to Chain's gig. Instead I fancied some dinner. At this time I didn't have to worry about Patricia. She had gone to a wedding, and I was not even sure she would be home last night. I prepared a two part dinner.

  Part one, because it was very quick to cook, was an Aldi ready meal - a chicken jambalaya - a variant on Paella or risotto, or even biriani, but using American "southern herbs and spices" - probably. Part two were some low fat sausages. I sprinkled hot pepper sauce over both, and maybe I paid the price for that later. All evening I was sweating - even when my room felt rather cool. I do wonder if it might have been a slightly feverish sweat rather than a chilli induced sweat. I wonder that because I felt very odd when I went to bed. I wasn't actually in pain, but I felt very uncomfortable in all sorts of places. By 1am, or thereabouts, I had to get out of bed to go to the toilet - and for more than just a pee. I felt much better after that, and as far as I can recall, I slept normally from then on.

  Sleeping "normally" included waking up at first light, getting up for 20 to 30 minutes, and then going back to bed for another couple of hours sleep. What I should have done next was to have a shower and wash my hair so I was all clean when Patricia came back home at about 9.30am this morning, but one thing held me back. It was, and maybe still is, my intention to go and do a bit more garden clearance - which is hot and sweaty work. I think it will be the first thing I do once I have written this...maybe.

  Patricia only stayed long enough to have a shower, and get her things together before going out again to meet her sister and nephew for a picnic in Greenwich Park.  She should be back mid to slightly late afternoon. By then I should be fully washed and dressed, and ready to possibly go out for dinner together somewhere. Mention was made of either an Indian or Chinese meal. If it is the latter I think I might advocate getting a takeaway rather than eat in a restaurant. I never did get the knack of eating in Chinese restaurants ... all those fiddly little dishes ... I like just heaping my plate up with just one dish. In the meantime I might investigate if any of the two "gastro pubs" do any late Sunday afternoon/early evening meals. I think most tend to only do Sunday dinners at lunchtime.
Saturday 8th June 2019
08:12 BST
  Bits of yesterday were not bad, but most of yesterday was dull, miserable and wet. There were a few times when the sky almost cleared, and the sun came out, but they didn't last long - as Patricia discovered when she hung some washing outside. Once again the temperature was in that slightly sub 20° area (actually 17° C) where it is deceptively mild - or at least it feels mild while working, but soon becomes chilly when resting.
                    start, but maybe sunny finish
   This morning has certainly started off wet and miserable, but it does seem to be starting to brighten up a bit now. The forecast reckons we won't see any sunshine until 5pm. After a couple of hours of sunny intervals the sky should clear completely, or enough to give non stop sunshine...maybe ! The prediction with a high probability of being correct is that the temperature should reach 17° C this afternoon. Tomorrow may start rather chilly, 11° C, but with sunny intervals predicted to happen throughout the day, the temperature may reach 18° C tomorrow.
  It took so long to finish writing yesterday that I described most of the morning, and part way into the afternoon.  Today should be slightly different. Patricia is going to a wedding this afternoon, and if I don't finish writing this because of assorted interruptions, I should be free to finish writing once Patricia has gone out. One of the highlights of yesterday afternoon was Patricia hand washing some of her clothes. I can't say I approved of her method - not nearly enough rinses between detergent and fabric conditioner - but she was very confident it would be fine.
the two bucket method of
The two bucket method of hand laundry.
Hanging it up to dry
Hanging the laundry up to dry.

  When Patricia had finished the washing it was dry, in as much as it wasn't raining, and it was relatively bright. Sadly, and maybe predictably it didn't stay that way, and maybe it was only an hour later she had to rush down into the garden to bring all the washing in again. It was far from dry, but at at least it was not dripping. She then hung it on the clotheshorse in the front room to dry overnight.

  I can't remember how the subject of smoking came up, but I reminded Patricia of my promise to my heart surgeon that I wouldn't start smoking again until my 80th birthday (assuming I make it to that decrepit old age !). I then fished out the last packet of cigarettes I had bought just prior to September 2013, and showed that the packet was still sealed. Of course those cigarettes will be little more than dust in 16 years time. Those cigarettes were in a bottom drawer along with what might have been an alternative back in 2013 - a pipe. In fact two pipes. I never really got started with pipe smoking before I stopped smoking, but for a laugh I did pose with a pipe, and tried to put on my best Bill Bailey look. Many people think I look like Bill Bailey, and more than one drunk has been convinced I am the famous musical instrument playing comedian.
me an a pipe
With (unfilled, unlit) pipe, and sort of serene expression.
angry man pose
..."and I'll tell you another thing" angry man pose.

  Posing with my pipe was a brief amusing diversion, but then it was back to work for Patricia, and I did something or another. A couple of hours later I started cooking dinner. It was, I confess, a ready made dinner of meat balls in a tomato rich sauce with pasta. Patricia thought it delicious, but I thought it had a slight metallic taste that I didn't really like. Dinner was actually quite late - gone 7pm. After dinner we watched a bit of TV, demonstrated how crap the Electronic Programme Guide was on my JVC TV. It is fine for any programme that starts on the hour, but for anything that starts, say, on the half hour, it is still showing the programme as being current after it has finished.

  We ended up watching the last 15 minutes of an episode of QI, instead of the last 40 minutes (or thereabouts). By coincidence that episode had Bill Bailey as one of the panelists, although he wasn't sucking on a pen as of he were smoking a pipe like he so often does. Once QI had finished I put on a DVD of Bill Bailey. I was happy to see it raised quite a few laughs from Patricia, but she was tired, and went to bed before the DVD finished.

  I stayed up a bit later, but I was probably fast asleep in bed before 10pm. I left the heating on low last night, and had a very comfortable night, although I did seem to have a very long, and very weird dream before I woke up this morning. The dream involved my old friend Kevin, and while I can't remember how it started, I can remember the salient points from after leaving a pub (which I believe we didn't actually drink in). I think the dream was set in Catford, but it was a very different Catford, and one where it was split into two sides by a railway line with a very wide bridge.

  For some reason there were no pavements on the road as it went under the bridge, or if there were we did not want to use them. We went into what looked like an ordinary pedestrian subway, but it twisted and turned, and it was often littered with all sorts of garbage. It seemed to go on a long time, and at the end there were several security gates we had to get through by fair means, or often foul ! After the last security gate we ended up walking straight into an upper floor of a derelict factory type building.

  Inside was typical dream material - it was dark, but the torches we suddenly had with us made very little difference to the darkness, and yet was could still see everything OK.  At some point we became separated, and I continued to explore alone. Although alone in the sense that I had lost Kevin, there were still many people around. They were a sort of mix of the homeless, hippies, squatters, and those of other alternative cultures. Suddenly someone shouted out that we were surrounded by "security", and that we had better leave. Someone showed my an exit from the building via a side room, and as I started to leave I woke up.

  This morning I feel mostly OK, but I do feel a bit tired, and earlier on I couldn't stop yawning. I think I have been missing my afternoon siestas since Patricia arrived. This afternoon, with Patricia off to the wedding she will be attending, I will do my best to have a nice long siesta ! Tonight I may go to a gig. About the only one that interests me is in an annoying place. It is The Fox pub in Keston. There is a bus that stops almost right outside the pub, but it only runs once an hour from outside Hayes station. The alternative is a very long bus ride to within about 20 minutes walk of the pub - through possibly unlit country roads. Going there - if it is at least dry, and preferably warm - could be almost pleasant at this time of year, but I am not so sure about coming home. I think I'll keep an eye on the weather, and make a decision much nearer the time.
Friday 7th June 2019
09:28 BST
  Summer, or maybe a slightly weak version of it, returned yesterday. There was lots of sunshine punctuated by an unexpected, and un-forecast, shower late in the morning. The temperature got up to 18° C, but it didn't feel that warm.
   The forecast has seen a few small changes since this early morning screenshot, but the message stays the same - it is going to rain, and more than that, it is going to rain all day ! In fact, now I compare the older and later forecast for today I find I can't really see any difference. If we are luck the only heavy rain will be at midday. The rest of the rain may be like it is now - just a very fine and light drizzle. On closer examination the rain may have stopped as I write these words, and it has brightened up a lot. I don't think the sun will break through, but it would be nice if it did. It seems like it will be a very cool day today. The maximum temperature forecast is just 17° C, and with no sunshine, and any form of rain, that is going to feel very cool. Tomorrow may be no warmer, but at the moment only a few hours of rain are forecast in the morning, and from 3pm onwards there may be sunny spells.
  Yesterday was a very uneventful day. Until just after 4pm I was on high alert waiting for a parcel delivery. It was actually 2 parcels. One had a new battery for Patricia's laptop, and the other was a couple of "toys" for me. It is probably silly to call them toys because both things are highly useful. One item was a powered USB hub to replace a very cheap looking (and actually cheap) one I had bought some time ago, but had been intermittently faulty from day one. I feel it is a dry joint (poor soldering) on one of the tiny components in there. A few years back I would have had the resources of work to inspect, and hopefully repair it, but no longer.

  The other item was a USB to SATA hard drive adapter. I can plug it onto a hard disk with SATA interface, and read the contents of the disk via USB on my PC. I don't think I specifically ordered for the first thing I used it for. That was to have another go at seeing if I could read the hard disk from my old web and ftp server. The last time I tried to do that was using a very old interface, and it sort of suggested the disk was dead. Using the new interface I could read the disk perfectly, and I found a  few things on it that I didn't realise I had - mostly music, but also a very short 1940's porn film. Back in it's day it must have been extremely hot, but they would have no trouble showing it on TV after the 9pm "watershed" these days. All it reveals is bare boobs.

  In the middle of the afternoon Patricia went to see her sister, and I stayed in to wait for our parcels. I had already emailed everybody going to the pub later in the evening, to say that I would not be seeing them last night. In fact the parcel delivery was early enough that I could have gone out....well, almost early enough - I am forgetting that we would have been drinking in Bromley, and it can take well in excess of 30 minutes, typically 40 minutes, to get there. The train to Shortlands, where we most frequently meet, takes just 9 minutes !

  Once the parcels arrived I had a play with my new "toys", and that kept me amused for 30 or 40 minutes. After that I mostly relaxed, almost "aka lazed about", but I was reading IT news and stuff. I was expecting Patricia to be back around 7pm, and that we would have dinner then. Fortunately I had eaten a couple of sandwiches earlier, and didn't really need any dinner, because Patricia didn't come home until almost midnight, and I had gone to bed by then. I think I had only just about dozed off when her opening the front door woke me up.

  She had not only seen her sister, but visited the nearby home of another couple who were all mutual friends. Ideally I would have turned over and gone back to sleep, but I was curious about what had kept Patricia out so late, plus I was keen to see if I had ordered the right battery for her laptop - and so was Patricia. Fortunately it was the right type, and it had about 50% charge in it when tried. After that I went back to bed, and because I had the heater on low I could sleep easily without fighting the duvet all night. I think the duvet only covered one of my legs in the end.

  This morning I felt a little tired, but basically OK. I have had a few chest aches, particularly under, and slightly to the right of my right man boob. It is, or I believe it to be, a muscular/rib problem, and just a facet of my costochondritis. I couldn't be that bad because I have done two shopping trips since then. First of all I went to Aldi with Patricia, and we bought some lunch, and a few other bits and pieces. Once we had finished shopping I took the shopping home, and Patricia went around the corner to the bus stop to get  bus to Lewisham. She needed to visit Primark to exchange a couple of item that were too big for her (lucky bitch !)

  We had walked to Aldi at a good pace, and I tried to match that going home again, but I found it was more comfortable to walk a little slower....but only a little bit. Once I got home I could partly relax while I unpacked the shopping, and put it away. Then, stopping only to put on a raincoat because the very light rain I had ignored before had gotten heavier, I went out again. This time it was to The British Heart Foundation charity shop where I bought half a dozen CDs for 99p each, and then the 99p shop next door.

  There were only a few things I wanted from the 99p shop, and I bought them, but more besides. My intended purchases were bleach and facial cleaning tissues, but I was also on the look out for coloured pencils and colouring books. These were for Patricia's neice, or nephew, or......actually I'm not sure, but he she or it is of the age where they well soon be starting school, but not to old for colouring books. I really don't understand these things, and I just selected two colouring books, and several different packets of coloured pencils. I think my selection passed the unstated requirements.
Thursday 6th June 2019
07:45 BST
  Yesterday was disappointing. There were some sunny spells, and it did feel mild, but all too often it was grey.  As I mentioned yesterday, when I was writing much later than usual, the forecast changed a lot compared to the early morning screenshot I used. Later forecasts omitted sunny intervals to reflect that most of those forecast in the morning didn't happen. Eventually sunny intervals were forecast to start at around 4pm, and indeed there were one or two ! The afternoon temperature, despite the lack of sunshine, probably reached the forecast 18° C.
nice -
                    if it happens
   Today has got off to a good start, and it is in accordance with the forecast for once. There are some fluffy clouds floating around the sky, but the sky is mostly blue, and the sun is shining. The only disappointing thing is that as midsummers day approaches, the track of the sun now arcs above the house, and for some time now I haven't benefited from the warming effect of the sun shining through my front windows. With it just 11° C outside I have had to resort to turning the heating on. This afternoon, if the forecast holds, it should feel very nice at 18° C in bright sunshine. It is best not to think about tomorrow.....cold and wet !!!
  Patricia eating a Wetherspoons

 During the afternoon Patricia stopped work for a time, and we had a chat over a glass of fruit cider, but soon she was back at her laptop translating English to Spanish, or vice versa. At about 5pm we went out for a meal together. It was not to a nice restaurant, but to the Catford Wetherspoons where Patricia had one of their chicken tikka masala curries. Many people say they they are quite good, and Patricia certainly agrees with that. She had been looking forward to another one since the last time she stayed in England.

  My meal was not very good. I opted for the 6oz burger with chips. It was the chips that were the biggest disappointment. They looked like typical chip shop chips - at least in size and shape - but sadly they tasted more like "fries" - those abominations that are served with American fast food. I can only imagine that they are delivered to the pub part cooked, and just need a few minutes in hot fat, or maybe even in a microwave, before being served. They were not nice. The burger itself seemed very dry, and not very tasty, although at least it didn't taste nasty like some of the chips did.

  We only stayed for one drink, and the food, in the pub, and then came home again. I then treated Patricia to a large gin and tonic while we chatted for an hour or so. As 9pm approached Patricia started to yawn, and decided to have an early night. I think her body clock was still on Italian time, and was probably up at 2am to see her partner off on his flight back to Italy.  I stayed up for another hour, but thought that I may as well go to bed early too. It wasn't that early, but I was possibly asleep by, or very soon after 10pm.

  Last night I did not sleep well. I thought that I wouldn't need to have any heating on last night, but some time after 1am I woke up almost shivering where I had typically part thrown off the duvet. After going for a wee I wrapped myself up in the duvet, and slowly warmed up as I slowly fell asleep again. The next time I woke up I felt far too hot, but if I put an arm or leg outside the duvet it felt freezing. After another wee I went back to bed, and once again managed to fall asleep while covered by the duvet.

  It was about 5am when I woke up next, and this time I felt so hot that I was actually lightly sweating. 5am was still too early to get up, and so I managed to get back to sleep again until just before 7am. I had promised Patricia breakfast in bed at 7am. Fortunately her breakfast is typically coffee, jaffa cakes and the Aldi equivalent to Muller "corner" yoghurt (a pot of yoghurt with a separate compartment with choco-balls in it).

  Patricia has now gone out. She has an appointment at Specsavers at 9.05 this morning, and then she has other shopping to do in Lewisham. There is probably stuff that I ought to do today, but very soon I will be on high alert for a parcel delivery. I ordered a new laptop battery for Patricia, and thought it might be a good idea to pay for next day delivery. The battery arrived at Amazon's Dartford depot at 1am this morning, and so is definitely on it's way. It once would typically arrive between 2 and 4pm, but recent deliveries have been much later. One recent delivery was at around 7.15pm !

  One thing I am curious about is that there is also another parcel of stuff I ordered for me that arrived at the Dartford depot about an hour later than Patricia's laptop battery. That second parcel is not due until tomorrow, but I am wondering if it will be deliberately held back, or if it will arrive in the same van as the laptop battery. It would be nice if they both arrived today, but the current weather forecast for tomorrow does not tempt me to go out anywhere at any time, and so I will be in to await the arrival of my stuff if it doesn't come today.

  There are two possible things I might do today depending on when the parcel arrives. The brown wheelie bin has been emptied this morning (or if it hasn't yet, it soon will be because the assorted "dust carts" are out this morning), and I could spend a few hours in the garden filling it up again. I could also go out to my regular late Thursday afternoon drink. Patricia was also thinking of going out late this afternoon to visit her sister, and I shall let her take precedence to do that if we are still waiting on the parcel delivery. I have the whole year to go for my drinks, but she is only in London for 10 days (plus a couple of days in July when she has an interpreting job to do - and will be mostly busy). Mostly I will be staying in earshot of the front doorbell today !
Wednesday 5th June 2019
13:16 BST
  As far as I can recall there was no rain yesterday, but it certainly was grim for a lot of the day. I think there were a few rare sunny intervals, but on the whole it was a grey day. Admittedly it was sometimes a fairly light grey, but it made the 18° C feel rather cool.
                    much better than yesterday
   When I took a screenshot of the weather forecast this morning it gave hope of it being a rather nice day - albeit a bit cool. Sadly the reality is that apart from a few short periods of sunshine this morning, it has been mostly overcast up to now, and some of the clouds have looked quite threatening. The latest revision to the forecast hold out some hope that sunny periods could start from around 4pm, and continue until sunset. While being rather sedate, the 18° C, like yesterday, feels quite cool. There is some hope that tomorrow could see more sunshine - possibly quite a lot, but then again the forecast for today looked quite good this morning. Maybe we will be lucky tomorrow.

  There were lots of things I wanted to do yesterday, but I found it hard to raise the enthusiasm to do much. My enthusiasm was partly damped by a selection of aches and pains from my frenzied work the day before. I did a few little jobs in preparation for Patricia's visit, but they were very few, and very little ! One more significant thing I did was to go and get yet more shopping. I went to Aldi, and while I was in there I had an idea that it might be useful to have a few cans of cider on hand because Patricia does like the occasional cider - or at least she did until she discovered gin and tonic !
vegan free cider
  Aldi had some fruit ciders, and I ended up buying 10 cans in all. That was of three different flavours. I tested two yesterday, and they were both rather nice, and if they had any fault it was that they were as easy to drink as a glass of pop. It would have been easy to drink many more. I noted that according to the can they were vegan free. That came as some relief. I don't think I would like it if the can contained vegans. You never know what disgusting things they might get up to in the can.

  Inevitably I bought some food that I was too keen to eat there and then. What I did eat wouldn't have been so bad if it had been spread out through the day, but I had too much of it for lunch so I could use up a Tesco burger kit that was already on it's use by date. The ironic thing is that while it looked like it might have been good, it was actually not very nice - not unpleasant, but there was nothing good I could say about it. The kit contained 2 not very good burgers, two slices of American cheese flavoured plastic, and sachet of "burger sauce" (whatever that is), and two very indifferent pre-sliced burger buns. I'm glad it was reduced price. I would have felt very cheated to have payed full price for the kit.

  The only notable thing I did in the evening was to try and breathe in whisky ! I had poured a large whisky, and was just sipping it until I came to the last bit. I think the last bit was bigger than I thought. I tossed it into my mouth, and swallowed, but for some incredibly stupid reason I tried to breathe in before I had swallowed it all. I guess it amounted to no more than a few drips, but they really stung as they hit my windpipe. I was probably coughing for 10 minutes before I settled down.

  I was in bed, and asleep by 10pm. Once again I seemed to sleep well apart from a series of dreams. One dream was most strange. I dreamed that I had won something like a nobel prize, but quite what the actual name of the medal was seemed to be omitted from my dream. The dream seemed to be set in World War 2, and I suggested an easy answer to a problem to do with defence - although I have no idea what the problem was, but I did suggest that the answer to the problem had already been solved, and was in regular use in telephone exchanges.

  My "medal" was more like a bracelet or necklace. It had one central engraved disk plus lots of trinket like things. Two of these trinket like things were of nicely enamelled metal. One allowed me free travel on the District line provided my journey started from Plaistow station. The other gave me free travel for a distance of something like 6 bus stops on a bus service that I have never heard of.

  After several false starts, including the one where I took the screenshot above, as well as al my morning pills, and not forgetting having a wee, I went back to bed and managed to sleep for another 90 minutes. Then I had to get up again because sooner or later I would be getting a message from Patricia to say she was on her way. That message came through very soon after I had showered and washed my hair. I didn't even have any trousers on when that message came through to say she was just one station away from Catford.

  By the time Patricia arrived I was properly dressed, and had made a few more preparations to make her visit a bit more comfortable. Since then I have only been able to write all this in snatches while she has been working (she is still carrying on her day to day business of doing translations). I the last hour I have finished some laundry I had started before Patricia arrived, and taken the brown wheelie bin out where, if the bin men are back on schedule after the bank holidays, it will be emptied tomorrow morning. Next on the agenda, maybe just after 5pm, we shall go out for dinner together - in the Catford Wetherspoons !!
Tuesday 4th June 2019
09:24 BST
  The main feature yesterday was sunny intervals, but not as many as the forecast predicted, but it stayed dry, and the temperature reached a comfortable, but barely warm 19° C.
                    weather is getting worse
   The forecast earlier this morning was a but optimistic, and it has changed for the worst now. Instead of rain predicted for late this afternoon, rain is now predicted for quite a lot of the day. It was much brighter earlier on, but now it is distinctly grey, and rain is currently forecast to fall with a 95% probability any minute now, and may last almost until midday !  There may be a couple of hours of respite then, but by mid afternoon it may well be raining again, and by late afternoon heavy rain is forecast. From 9pm it will probably be dry until tomorrow. The highest temperature today is now forecast to be only 18° C. That should still be mild, but it feel very cool right now, and I've just turned my heater on !

  It is tomorrows weather that is now more significant. I heard from Patricia late yesterday afternoon. Her plans have changed because her partners mum's partner (evidently not her partners dad) is seriously ill, and so they are staying in Wales one more day. Her partner flies back to Italy early tomorrow morning, and Patricia should now arrive here sometime tomorrow morning. Sadly it seems that her working holiday in London is going to be spoiled by lousy weather. Having said that, the current forecast for the next 2 days predicts it may be dry with sunny spells, and with the temperature a rather disappointing 18 to 19° C - not too different to today, but maybe feeling very different if the sun manages to shine.

  I was incredibly busy by my standards yesterday, and the fact that I was in a rush to do stuff is evidenced by some of my terrible spelling and grammar mistakes yesterday (and I would not be surprised if there are that many fewer today). I am now convinced that something I speculated about recently is actually true. I think it was last Friday when I most recently said that working in my garden was easier, and had less consequences than doing housework even if that garden work left me puffing and panting, and dripping with sweat.

  Yesterday I did lots of hoovering as well as many other smaller cleaning jobs. In one day I managed to hoover the spare room, bits of my bedroom, the upper landing, the lower landing, the toilet, the stairs, the hall, and the living room. I also got a duster and can of polish out. I emptied the rubbish bins, and scraped some old food into a food waste bag to dispose of in the mini food waste bin. I did all the washing up, and made sure the kettle was clean (at the same time I poured a couple of jugs of boiling water onto some bleach down the kitchen sink plughole). Finally I made up the spare bed - but maybe I didn't do all those things in the order described.

  In one day I managed to get much of my house about as clean and tidy as it may ever get (which is far from perfect) ready for Patricia's visit. It was actually quite good news when Patricia said she would be here a day later. It allowed me to relax in the evening knowing there were still things that I would have liked to do, but didn't have the energy. I felt completely exhausted by the evening, and bits of me were starting to ache. Even my left arm had managed to find a new, and previously unexplored ache. I have no idea what action I was doing that might have caused that. I reckon my whole body is now coming to the end of it's useful life, and decrepitude is just around the corner.

  There was a time yesterday evening when I felt like I didn't have enough energy to relax, and later that I was too tired to sleep. (Such is the reward for doing unaccustomed work - I expect most people take what I did yesterday in their stride, and probably do it everyday, but not me !). I was definitely wrong about being too tired to sleep. I contemplated the notion for about 5 minutes once I went to bed, and then suddenly 3 hours had passed, and I had to wake up again for a wee.

  I think it was about 10pm when I went to sleep, and so the idea of waking up, and getting up at 6am this morning seemed perfectly reasonable, but I felt awful then, and while I can't remember more than a handful of images of them, it did seem that I spent hours dreaming before waking up. The fact that I could, for at least a few minutes, remember such a lot of dreaming suggests I wasn't getting that much good sleep. That seems to be born out by being able to go back to bed for a couple of hours of sleep and more dreams.

  This morning I still feel strangely lousy, and the idea of doing lots more housework is highly repellent. However, I am starting to feel better, despite still yawning almost non stop, and the extra housework I think I may end up doing is mostly small things - a bit of polish here and there. There is one possible big challenge, and that is cleaning out the fridge. I have to admit it would be nice to get it done, and Patricia's visit would be the ideal excuse to do it. Maybe....
Stretch, Dawn and Vince
  One thing I managed to do yesterday evening was to finish going through the pictures I took at Stretchy's Open Mic on Sunday. Fortunately there was not that many to consider. All but one of the pictures I had taken on my new mobile phone were not worthy of consideration. It is just off the top of the picture above, but there is a twin light fitting which gives off a light that is even more orange-red than normal tungsten filament lights run at full brightness. It confused my phone, and it confused my pocket sized Canon camera. Correcting that strange light has given this picture of Stretch, Dawn and Vince a rather pale look.
Carrie accompanying
                      herself on guitar
  With the picture taken from another angle, and the camera seeing less of that almost orange light, the colour of the picture is much closer to natural. This is Carrie accompanying herself on Guitar. I didn't previously know Carrie played guitar, but she can, and played it quite well as she sang Bon Jovi's "Dead Or Alive".
Adrian Taylor
  This photo of Adrian Taylor (if I have his name right) was taken using my mobile phone very early in the session, and when there was a lot of daylight. It didn't come out that bad, but needed a lot of tweaking to make it better. The daylight helped a lot, and using the "pro mode" with some manual setting also helped, but the shutter time was still very slow - as can be seen by the blur on Adrian's right hand as he strums the guitar strings. I did have high hopes for the camera in my new Huawei phone, but while it can produce quite good pictures in low light, it is useless with moving subjects in low light. I don't think I have ever seen a camera review that includes taking pictures at gigs, and we have to find out ourselves by trial an error. The one good thing about my new phone camera is that it does seem to take very good video in situations that knacker it's still image taking !

  Back to today, and I have already said that I expect to do a bit more low level housework today. Fortunately there is no sense of panic about it. It will just be stuff that would be nice to do, but nothing essential. With rain expected I don't intend to go anywhere today except to one or more of the local shops, but even that depends on a window in between rain showers - which have still not started to fall - although the sky looks like it has a million gallons to dump on us !
Monday 3rd June 2019
10:56 BST
  Lot's of sunshine were promised for yesterday in the weather forecast, but sadly the day turned out to be mostly overcast. Admittedly it was only thin cloud, but enough for the sky to look white instead of blue. Now and then teh sun would manage to peep through, but even then it was rather hazy sunshine. It was still warm though, and I think the temperature reached the headline figure of 25° C. One thing the forecast definitely didn't predict was the late evening rain. A few dops fell just before 9pm, and there was a light shower just before 11pm (when I was out without a coat !).
                    sunny spells
   The forecast has changed a little since I took this screenshot much earlier this morning. The main change is that the periods of sunshine have changed to better reflect reality - sunny intervals. Another small change, but one for the better, is that the afternoon high is now shown as 20° C. So far this morning the weather has been pleasant without being anything to get excited about, and the clouds don't look like they will drop un-forecast rain on us. Tonight will probably be fairly typical, and it won't get particularly cold. It is tomorrow that concerns me. Over the last week I have been watching it closely because it is tomorrow that Patricia arrives to stay with me here in Catford for 10 days. Some days it was forecast to be a nice day, and some days the forecast suggested it would be wet and horrible. The current forecast says suny intervals until early afternoon when it will become grey and miserable for 3 or 4 hours, and then sunny intervals will return until sunset. With a peak temperature predicted to be just 19° C, and that grey afternoon, it is not going to be a nice welcome for Patricia.

  I should have been incredibly busy yesterday doing spring cleaning in readiness for Patricia's visit, but I found other ways to be busy. I spent quite a lot of time editing photos and video from Chain's gig on Saturday night. That wasn't all I did, but it was probably the most significant. I guess I wasted time as well. I did some reading and had a snooze or two. I'm sure I did something else, but I am not sure what it was. Evidently it was nothing important.
Rob Todd just about to
                      break the microphone
  It was not until this morning that I finished going through all the photos I took of Chain on Saturday. I split the job into two parts - photos taken without flash at the beginning, and photos taken with flash after it had got dark outside. This photo features Rob Todd doing his guest spot. He managed to find, or cause a loose connection in the microphone connector as he sang.
Nice snap of Jo with her eyes wide open.
Low angle shot of Chris
I try and make sure I get enough photos of Chris, but he is not as photogenic as Jo !
Pink guitar
A rare treat on Saturday night was Jo bringing her pink guitar out.

  Last night's amusement was going to Stretchy's Open Mic at The Swan & Mitre in Bromley. The last few sessions there were very poorly attenended, but last nigh was not so bad. It could have done with a few more musicians, but at least Stretch didn't have to play most of the night by himself. Notable absences from the audience were Sue and Jenni. Notable attendees were the Pross family - Vince, Dawn and Carrie. All of them either sing or play guitar, or both. Carrie did some serious guitar playing, and sung to it. She also did a duo with Stretch that didn't go quite right....

  By 10.30pm, with still half an hour to go before closing time, things were starting to wind down. It seemed like a reasonable time to go home. I hadn't worn a coat, but it was still very comfortable withoit one as I waited at the bus stop for a bus. I guess it was under a 10 minute wait, and I was heading back to Catford. A bit earlier in the evening there had been a few drops of rain, but nothing to worry about. What did worry me was that rain started to hit the front windows of the bus, and it looked like it might get heavy.

  Fortunately there was only a very light sprinkling of rain when I got off the bus, and after buying two chicken burger for my dinner, the rain had stopped. I felt almost good walking home. The only trouble was that I found it hard to walk as fast as I wanted. Everytime I started to speed up it felt like hard work, and I am not sure why. I wasn't out of breath, and no muscles felt overtaxed. It just didn't feel right to walk at top speed.

  Once I got home I scoffed my chicken burgers, and then I would probably have transferred the pictures and video from my phone, and from my camera (I only took a pocket sized camera last night), to my PC, but I already had my photo editor open from where I was, and would be, working on the photos I took at Chain's gig the night before. Instead of playing with photos I went to bed a little bit earlier than I might have done.

  Getting to bed early was a very good move because I have a stupidly busy day today. I will be attempting to do all the housework/spring cleaning I have been meaning to do for the last week in just one day. I will never get everything done, but hopefully I'll have the place reasonably clean and tidy for Patricia tomorrow. On top of that I still have a bunch of pictures, and a couple more videos taken last night to do something with. I also have to fit in a shopping trip too. I feel completely exhausted just thinking about it. Luckily I have made a start. While the video of Carrie was rendering I made a start of dusting the spare room, and I did get as far as putting the hoover in it to use as soon as I have uploaded all this writing !
Sunday 2nd June 2019
11:07 BST
  The weather was most definitely nice yesterday - a real taste of summer. There was lots of long periods of sunshine, although not the non stop sunshine forecast. On odd occasions a cloud would drift in front of the sun for a few minutes. Usually it would make the sunshine a bit hazy, but on at least one occasion it  did completely block it. As well as copious sunshine it was warm too - 25° C - warm enough to cause a bit of sweat when doing a bit of work, but never actually feeling hot. It was notably warm coming home from the pub at gone 10pm in just a t-shirt !
reality hasn't turned out as well as the
  Unfortunately reality has not turned out as well as the forecast for today. There has been some sunshine this morning, but what I can see now is more typical of this morning - it is bright outside, but there is no actual sunshine, and the sky is white instead of blue. The earliest time shown on the latest revision of the forecast is midday, and that, and most of the rest of the day, is shown as sunny intervals. It also says the temperature should be 25° C, and that it will feel like 27° C. I'm not so sure. At the moment there are occasional gusts of breeze blowing through my window, and they feel quite cool and fresh. I think the temperature will, indeed, reach 25° C, but it may feel cooler in this breeze instead of hotter. Late this after there is a very small chance of rain, but so low that none is forecast. Tomorrow could see the maximum temperature be just 19° C, but there should still be plenty of sunshine - sometimes sunny spells, and sometimes non stop sunshine.

  Most of yesterday morning, and then a few hours into the afternoon, were taken up with a very long phone call, and so not much got done. I don't think I had my lunch until nearly 3pm ! It was part of my previous night's Chinese takeaway order - a rather nice "house special" chow mein. I was feeling optimistic that it might not be all that unhealthy, but under the layer of seemingly low fat/oil meat and vegetable was some fairly oily noodles. Not good, but very, very nice !
just out from the shower

  After allowing a bit of time for that lunch to settle down there didn't seem to be much time to do anything, but I did do a couple of things. The first was to lay on my bed - initially to read a few pages from a magazine, and also to rest my eyes for a while....

  As 5pm approached I thought I had better have a shower and wash my hair prior to going out a bit later in the evening. As I went through my ablutions my mind was just freewheeling, and for some unknown reason the idea popped into my head that I had not tested the front facing "selfie" camera on my new phone. Well there was no time like the present, and the result is shown on the left in all it's wet dripping hair glory ! While I'll leave others to pass judgement on the subject, I will say that the camera does work very well. Later on I would re-test the rear camera video capabilities again.

   At 7.20pm, or thereabouts, I grabbed my camera, and made my way to the bus stop to get a 199 bus to Greenwich, and The Mitre where Chain were playing. When I arrived at the pub the band were just about ready to start to play for an unusually empty pub. I was informed that there was some very important football match being played last night, and many people would have been in "sports bars" or other places they could watch the ball kickers in action. I was absolutely fine with that. I don't like pubs that get too crowded, and by 10pm The Mitre can get very crowded. Last night I broke with habit and stayed for the first three songs in the second set - I would usually leave at the end of the first set. For unknown reasons the first set was longer than usual, and so I stayed at the pub considerably later than usual.

  I seem to have taken 199 pictures last night. I have transferred them to my PC, but as yet I haven't looked at them. I have looked, and done the necessary editing of three videos that I took last night on my new phone. Apart from the last, which was an experimental snippit taken when the pub was at it's darkest, they came out well. I am still quite surprised how well the sound comes out. The frequency response seems very good, and there is not particularly noticeable distortion, although the dynamic range is rather compressed by the automatic recording level setting.

  This year is the 50th anniversary of Woodstock (although it won't actually be until 15th August), and Chain have made a head start in celebrating the fact. Joni Mitchel wrote the song, and performed it acoustically. Crosby, Still, Nash and Young used electric guitars, and Mathews Southern Comfort probably recorded the most well known version. I'm not sure who Chain based their "never performed live before" version on.

 It was gone 10pm when I left the pub last night. I may have even stayed later, but Michael, my 70 year old neighbour, wanted to go, and I thought I should see home safely home (and he in turn would distract me from the fried chicken shop, although he didn't realise that). It was most pleasant walking out into the fresh, but very mild, even slightly warm night air. We were fortunate that we only had about a 5 minute wait for a bus, and were soon back in Catford. I left Michael at the end of his road (about 50ft from his front door) and continued on to my house.

  Once indoors I warmed up my very late night dinner. It was the last part of my Chinese takeaway from the previous night - a large Singapore fried rice. There was a fair amount of it, but it seemed like a very light meal to eat before going to bed, and I guess it was because I slept well with no hint of any digestive problems. I was up comparatively early this morning, and it wasn't long before I started doing stuff with the video I had shot on my phone. As usual, after a few tweaks here and there - nothing more than a fade in and out and a caption - it took between 20 and 30 minutes to save the resulting video file in a good format for online upload, and a smaller version to show here.

  After all that, plus uploading the videos, and trying to offer advice to Sue whose new internet service seems abysmally slow, then writing this, it is almost midday, and while I have done a lot it also feels like I have done very little. The problem is that it is now just a couple of days until Patricia comes and stays for 10 days, and  still have so much work to do (or want to do). It is now feeling too warm to start pushing a hoover around, and that is the biggest, or most tedious task I have to do. What's more, I intend to go out again tonight to Stretchy's open mic, and that is another chunk of time unavailable for housework - plus I have 199 pictures taken last night to sift through. That could take all afternoon. Sorry Patricia if the house looks a mess !
Saturday 1st June 2019
09:26 BST
  The weather forecast for yesterday was basically right, but it just got it's times all mixed up for when the sun might appear. The temperature profile was about right, and the afternoon temperature peaked at 21° C for several hours. However the sunny spells forecast for early evening happened more in the afternoon, but they were few and far between.
bright, sunny and warm !
  Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words....
the sky at about 8.45
                      this morning
 This was how the sky looked at about 8.45 this morning - very high whispy clouds set against a deep blue background. For one day only, summer is here ! I went out into my garden to take this picture, and the forecast 17° C felt fine with no shirt on. A fair bit more very high cloud has appeared since taking this picture, and it is currently making the sunshine slightly hazy. It's still sunshine though, and whether strong or hazy, the forecast predicts the sun will be shining all day, and the temperature will reach 25° C.  Tomorrow may see similar temperatures, but less sunshine. The day after should still have lots of sunny intervals, but may only reach 20° C. The day after that, Tuesday, the day that Patricia should arrive to stay with me for 10 days, it is currently forecast to be overcast, and just 19° C. Sorry Patricia.

  I didn't feel that good yesterday morning, but with hindsight it was probably partly a hangover. I took it easy (aka lazy) yesterday morning, at least in a physical sense - I did go through the pictures I had taken at The Entourage Band gig the night before. I found the light at that gig to be "funny". It didn't seem dark in the pub to the eye, but I think that was because there were bright spots, and a lot of backlighting. Unfortunately that was no good for my camera which does like faces to be lit up for best effect. The pictures I took on my new Huawei phone were rubbish even when I switched to "pro mode" and selected my own ISO rating, and shutter time.

  The resulting pictures confirmed my worse fears - at high ISO ratings the pictures become intolerably noisy/grainy. It is an excellent example of "just because you can, doesn't mean you should". My big Canon could just about take usable pictures in such light, although they did need some post production noise smoothing. After a few shots I resorted to using the Speedlite flash gun. From then on my only problem was trying to find pictures of Kornelia with her eyes open. She is such a dramatic/emotional singer that she screws her eyes up a lot of the time. Meanwhile, Richard often pulls weird faces - and it is not just me who thinks so. He commented on my pictures "I must work on my guitar face".

  I was feeling particularly rough after sitting at my PC for so long. Even my chest was starting to feel like I had a Costochondritus flare up coming on. It initially felt good to finish on the PC, and lay down to do some quiet reading, and I may have had a short snooze too. I wasn't keeping track of time, but I may have been laying there for over an hour. At first it felt good, but then I began to feel uncomfortable. What I did next took me by surprise !

  While laying down the brown wheelie bin (for garden waste) was emptied. It was a day late because of the recent bank holiday. I think my first plan was just to take it out into the back garden, but once out there I felt a surge of enthusiasm...or was it masochism ? First of all I grabbed a saw, and sawed off an 8 inch long log from the old tree trunk. It was from the thicker branch, and I had to rest for a few seconds now and them while sawing through that thick branch. I decided not to saw off another piece until another day or something, but I did saw through a branch from a much older tree that was half the thickness. That branch was almost rotten, and I had managed to snap off a suitable sized log, but when I tried sawing through the longer piece, it fought me all the way, and it was only about 3 inches thick !
more short logs !
  To add to the sawing I have to do (or not*) there is also the part rotted remains of a square fence post found under a pile of stuff by the right hand fence, and it is far too big to go into the wheelie bin (although I have taken a few liberties from time to time with the stated maximum sizes of stuff on the label on the wheelie bin.)
* I think it is inevitable that when the time seems right, I will have a bonfire, and just burn some of the thicker wood rather than cut it up.
  If I had been feeling the same way as when I started I would have stopped after that bit of sawing, but I had warmed/loosened up my muscles, and worse than that, I had stoked my enthusiasm. I still didn't want to do any more sawing, although I thought I might possibly come back to it later. What I did do was to tackle the area between the garden path and the right hand fence.
back to bare earth along
                      a bot of the right hand fence
  It looks small in this picture, but when you consider those fence panels are 5ft wide (or some whole metric number that is possibly a bit more than 5ft), I cleared about 3ft back to bare earth, and another foot that is free of weeds, but has some rotting wood and other small debris on it. You might even notice that more of the width of the garden path has now been exposed. It was this area that had the most junk on it.

  I am unsure how I will dispose of it all yet, but among the old twigs and rotting tree branches, left over from a tree felling 10+ years ago, were two metal frames chairs, and old ironing board, and a length of industrial quality lino. The lino was an off cut of an off cut that I acquired from where I used to work when I first moved here in 1983 !  I used it on the floor of the little box room I used as a workshop. The rest I put in the cupboard under the stairs. It may have been 10 years ago that the cupboard under the stairs became home to several mice that had probably escaped from my cat when he brought them into the house while still alive and kicking. It was also home to a rat that had come up from under the floorboards.

 Unfortunately it was a dead rat, and it had died on that lino. I didn't fancy cleaning dead rat off that lino, and so it was thrown out into the garden. Yesterday it was just home to an ants nest, but it still seemed to be in fair condition after all the years in the elements. It is currently unfolded, and sitting on top of a patch of nettles. Eventually I will either cut it up to be disposed of in the black wheelie bin, or it too will end up on a bonfire - maybe in small pieces because I can imagine it will generate thick black smoke. I think the metal work of the old chairs will need cutting into 6 inch lengths, and disposed of in the recycling bin.

  I'm nit sure how long I was working in the garden, but I was working without a short on, and I was still freely sweating out there. I feel sure it was at least 2 hours of (to me) very physical work I did out there. I was enjoying most of it, but it came as some relief when the wheelie bin was filled to the brim, and I had to stop. It wasn't all that long before I was under a nice cleansing shower, and had washed my hair. I waited another hour to cool off, and for my hair to dry before I got dressed, and went out.

  I had originally intended to go out in the morning to the pharmacy to collect the rest of the drugs from my repeat prescription. It was about 5.30pm when I left to walk to the pharmacy, and I felt slightly concerned that they may have closed, but when I checked I noted they actually close at 9pm on a weekday. Despite all the promises my drugs were not ready to take away, but the assistant was the good one. It seemed there was no actual printed prescription because it had already all been dispensed, and so she just worked on the records to get me the correct drugs.

  While she was doing that another person who may be a trainee pharmacist came from stock area and asked me "if I enjoyed the concert last night ?". She was actually referring to the gig I went to in The Catford Bridge Tavern. "Concert" sounds a bit posh for a rock and roll band !  I always though she was Spanish. She looks very Spanish, but it turns out her name is Monika (which rung a bell as soon as it was mentioned), and she is Polish. What's more she is yet another of Dik's friend (Dik, aka Richard, is the guitarist, and who formed the band). She had seen my photos that Dik had shared on a well known social media website.

  Walking to and from the pharmacy used a different set of muscles to those used clearing the garden, but I was still happy to get home again. It was about 6pm when I got home, and it seemed like a good time for dinner. I could have cooked something, but I fancied treating myself to a Chinese takeaway. The restaurant I chose to order from, because it scored a maximum 5 on it's last Foods Standards Agency visit, did seem a bit expensive, but not excessively so, and maybe not at all once my order was delivered. The delicious chopped ribs was not a starter as I thought it would be, but a full meal in itself. I could imagine it would serve 2 if combined with a heap of rice. I had it without rice, but I did follow it with pork with black bean sauce. Oddly enough, although that was definitely a main course dish, it was smaller than the ribs. I still have a large rice, and a large chow mein left over to eat today.

  I enjoyed that meal, and afterwards I watched some TV while I started to digest it. The last thing I watched was Have I Got News For You. Soon after that I went to bed, and on the whole I seemed to sleep well. My garden clearance work left it's legacy on me when I got up this morning, but maybe not as much as I feared, and now, many hours later, I feel basically OK.

  Many hours have passed since getting halfway through that last paragraph, and maybe that was a good thing. If I hadn't been speaking on the phone for four (!!!) hours to an old friend, I would undoubtedly have been moaning about how much I hurt, but now it is well into the afternoon, most of the aches and pains have evaporated. I'm not sure how I will feel if I actually do anything more than talking, typing, or going for a wee, but it seems possible that I might feel fine.

  Hopefully I'll be feeling fine when I go out tonight. Chain are playing in The Mitre, in Greenwich again, and I think I would like to go and watch the first set. I guess there is a 15% chance I might even stay for some of the second set, but the first set provides ample opportunities for photography, and enough musical entertainment for me.