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|My Diary/Blog For the Month of March 2019|
|Sunday 31st March 2019
I think there was more sunshine in the first half of yesterday than the forecast appeared to predict. Rather than "sunny intervals", I might have described it as "mostly sunny". It was a gradual process, and so it is impossible to put a time on it, but sometime during early afternoon the clouds started to change "sunshine" into sunny intervals, and before sunset the sun had all but disappeared behind clouds that were preparing themselves for today. It was certainly warm in the afternoon, and the temperature came close to the predicted 18° C, although once the sun went in it seemed to cool very quickly - unless it was just me.
The weather has changed complete since yesterday afternoon. The forecast said it would be dry with a 32% chance of rain - reality chose the 32%, and it was all wet and soggy the first time I peeped behind the curtains into the big grey world outside. The prediction of 9° C this morning was close, but at 9am I think it was closer to 7° C. At the moment it is not quite as dull as the forecast predicts - the clouds are just medium grey instead of black. Early this afternoon they may become lighter, and by 5pm it seems there is a wildly optimistic idea that the sun may start to break through the clouds now and then. I think the symbol for the sky after dark, the cloud and moon, means that the sky will be partly clear, and that means it is going to be a chilly night - not that today is going to be that warm with an afternoon high of just 11° C. Tomorrow may warm up to a pleasant 13° C - made more pleasant by the return of sunshine and sunny intervals.
Yesterday was another day where, apart from some creakiness first thing in the morning, I felt generally OK, and firing on at least 4 of my 6 cylinders. At least that is what I thought, and in general it was about right. The only real test of that theory was when I went to Aldi to get in some shopping. My walk there was not so good, but that was more to do with wearing some shoes that I thought were my most comfortable, and turned out to be the complete opposite ! The same was true when walking back home with my shopping again, but it was a lot less noticeable then.
As well as an assortment of food I also bought a couple of 2.25l bottles of Diet Coke, a litre of no added sugar (or reduced sugar, or something) orange squash, and 4 cans of Guinness. I decided I had plenty of lager at home, and I hadn't drunk any of the 4 cans of Innis & Gunn session IPA I had bought on my previous visit, and so I looked for something different to buy. My eyes settled on can of Guinness - bright, shiny, glittery, cans of Guinness, and so I bought a 4 pack of them.
Everything I bought came to over £30, and I was so looking forward to using a voucher for £5 off a shop costing over £30. Unfortunately I was ritually humiliated at the checkout when it was pointed out it was a voucher for Lidl, and not Aldi. That made me feel sad for two reasons. The first being that I hadn't properly looked at the logo on the voucher before putting it in my wallet. The second, obviously, for having to have this pointed out to me in public ! I guess there was a sort of third reason too. I am not looking forward to having to go to Lidl, and lugging £30 worth of shopping home from there, but I suppose they might have a high price item that I might want to buy.
After I got back from Aldi I had a bite to eat - some vegetable and some fish sushi - and then I got back to work going through the pictures I had taken on Friday night. I had already made a fair start before going out, and it didn't take long to finish them...although it did take me up to gone 2pm, and possibly near 3pm. I suppose it was a typical batch of photos for me. There were some that were complete duds. Some that had to be rejected because the focus was wrong and picked out the wrong person. Out of the 93 pictures I took I found 13 that seemed good enough. A few of those benefited from a bit of sharpening, but all were well received by the band.
The Funky Waves with Chase on Drums, and vocals from Jessica.
Many of the pictures looked a bit lacklustre, but maybe that was what the band were wearing, and the background.
I'll say one thing for Jessica - she really knows how to use her face !
This was the only good picture I got of Chase Aitch. Being the drummer he typically sat at the back behind the singer. This was the man who bribed me to go to the gig with the offer of a free pint of Guinness.
After finishing my session in the digital darkroom I had little else to do, or at least nothing that I wanted to do. It seemed the perfect excuse to relax, read for a bit and have a snooze, and that is exactly what I did. Time did seem to drag by a bit slowly at that point, and maybe that is why I chose to have what may have been one snack to many. In reality it was not the final snack, but more likely what I ate the day before that was to have an affect on me later in the evening.
I waited patiently until enough time had passed for me to start getting ready to go out to another gig in the evening. It was to be to watch and take some snaps of Out The Box at The Mitre pub in Greenwich. The band are a bit like the venue - not great, but not repelling. I cleaned myself up, got dressed, checked my camera bag, and was ready to go out, but I had a bit of a nagging feeling that all was not well with my stomach. It transpired that it was trapped wind, and was possibly made worse, or brought to the fore by me putting on a pair of jeans that were a bit tight around the waist*.
* It has been quite some time since I last wore those jeans, and I had put them to one side because they barely fit me. I thought it likely that I had put weight on since whenever that was, but it seems not. In my estimation I had actually lost as much as an eighth of an inch from around my waist when I tried them on yesterday. They were close to easy to put on, but as my stomach pains was warning me, they are not really "drinking trousers" yet.
I made it as far as the front door twice, but had to turn back twice. On my second visit to the toilet I did the necessary to be mostly comfortable again, but I still had a nagging doubt that it may not have been the end of the story. It was getting slightly late by the time I could have taken a chance, and had it been a more important gig I would have taken the chance - and as later events, or the lack of them, showed, it would have been worth (and safe) taking the chance.
I suppose the truth is that I was only going to go to the gig because I didn't think I had anything better to do, and I wanted to get back in the swing of gig going after an awful winter where I very rarely went out. As it happens I did have other things to do. BBC2 were showing an evening of Dave Allen stuff. He was possibly my favourite comedian back in the day, and his humour still brings a smile to my lips despite it being very dated stuff these days.
By about 11pm I was in bed, and asleep. Last night it seemed like I slept really well. I didn't wake form any aches, pains or itches, and may have only woke for a pee once or twice. It seemed so perfect, and yet I feel really tired at the moment. Maybe it is the weather, and maybe it is the clocks changing from GMT to BST. The latter makes very little difference to me in practice these days, but maybe there is still a strong psychological impact of having a hour of daylight "stolen" from me in the morning - even if it was always wonderful to have an extra hour of daylight in the evening. I wonder how long it will be before that extra hour in the evening is going to have a positive impact on my life ?
Today is Sunday, and Sunday's are boring. Maybe that is why the chance of going to church on a Sunday morning became so popular amongst god botherers. Today I have just got to grin and bear it. Until, and if, the sun come out, I will feel too depressed to want to do anything, anyway. However I won't waste the day. I do have a lot of reading to catch up on, and laying on my bed reading, my favourite place to read, will give me the chance to catch any snooze that comes along. I will allow the possibility that something will grab my attention at some point today, but at the moment I can't imagine what that could be.
Back to the foxes. Here's another compilation of clips from my trail cameras. I could call this 7 minute video "Scavengers". It starts with a magpie helping itself to the dog food I had put down for my resident fox. Then a cat comes along, but turns it's nose up at the food. Along next is one of the local foxes, and it freeloads on my foxes dinner. Finally my fox comes out of it's earth twice to eat some dog food.
|Saturday 30th March 2019
It was wonderfully sunny yesterday, and by the afternoon it was feeling warm. It was a great joy to be able to throw open the windows, and not freeze - but only while the sun was in the best part of the sky. The predicted high was 17° C, and although I can't remember seeing it that high on my thermometers, I think it was probably about right. It slowly cooled in the evening, but at 10pm it was still comfortable in just a t-shirt - provided you didn't stay still !
The sun is turned full on as I write this, and it has been since sunrise, but apparently there will soon be some clouds that will reduce us to just sunny intervals for the rest of the day. Since taking the screenshot of the forecast there has been one small change. It seems the temperature may only be 18° C for one hour now, instead of two. Maybe it is not going to be quite as nice as yesterday, but it should still be a nice day today. Unfortunately the weather is going to revert back to more like early spring weather again from tomorrow - and maybe worse ! Tomorrow should be another dry day, but it will be quite a bit cooler, and almost sunless. There might be a few sunny intervals in the last hours before sunset, but most of the day is going to be horrible and grey. Maybe Monday, 1st April, will see a brief return to some sunny intervals, but the temperature is going to drop a lot, and Wednesday may not only be cold, but it looks like it will be wet too !
It feels like most of yesterday was a bit of a blur. I'm sure I was fairly busy, but I can't remember what it was I was doing for much of the time. It is only the big things I remember - such as hand washing a few t-shirts and other stuff. Maybe I remember that because it was both painful and not painful. Perhaps a better way of putting that is that it was less painful than anticipated. There was nothing very heavy in the wash like a towel, but even on of the thicker t-shirts felt heavy when soaked in water. That did cause some discomfort from my right shoulder, but it almost seemed like the more I used it, the less it hurt.
One other thing was only very mild discomfort rather than pain, and it concerned the rubber gloves I was using to do the washing. They were brand new from Aldi, although I think I bought them some weeks ago. Traditionally most own brand household cleaning stuff used the brand name "Powerforce", but I presume they have found a new supplier, and they are using a new brand name - W5 - which possibly means nothing to everyone except some management consultant. Anyway, these newly branded gloves seem to have short thumbs - something that is typical of Chinese manufacture. It seems likely that the Chinese people have shorter fingers and thumbs than western people. The new gloves felt tight around the ends of my thumbs. Nowhere near painful, but still slightly unpleasant.
I guess I spent some of yesterday doing multimedia stuff - editing video, and editing pictures. I spent some time distilling many 2 minute video clips from my trail cameras into a 5 minute video, but I don't think I'll be showing it today because I have a different video for today. I also spent a short while editing some pictures from the thing I didn't forget, but for some strange reason didn't think I did yesterday. I can't believe I did three big things yesterday, but I did ! Doing the laundry was mild compared to doing more garden clearance. Until I decided to be intelligent, I thought I had done the garden clearance the day before yesterday, but that was Thursday, and the brown wheelie bin wasn't emptied until then.
I have no idea how long I spent in the garden, but I achieved a lot. It is hard to show just what I achieved because the camera doesn't record in 3D, and with no depth clues, a pile of vegetations just looks like a pile of vegetation. A better metric is that I filled the wheelie bin to the very top. In fact I had to tamp it down to get the lid to shut properly. There is still a lot of debris on the ground, but essentially I pushed my way through behind the tree stump, and almost into the right hand, back corner of the garden. I'm not sure if I could see that even when I first moved here back in 1983. At that time there was a small tree or shrub which hid that corner of the garden. Next week, after the brown wheelie bin has been emptied, I will clear all the loose stuff off the ground, and eventually I will be able to tackle the junk and stuff along the right hand fence in two directions.
One sort of unique thing about my back garden is that I used to dump the contents of the cats litter tray on it. It seemed easier than trying to bag it up to go into the wheelie bin. Plus is used to smell less when not being cooked in a hot wheelie bin in summer. I used various types of cat litter. Sometimes it would be wood chips or pellets, and of course they decayed down to nothing after a while. Clay based cat litter has left the soil a bit thick, but essentially it can no longer be seen. However there was one type that was like pink grit. I suspect it might have been crushed furnace slag, but what ever it was, it didn't degrade in any way, and there are plenty of pockets of it to be found in the garden.
Most of the work I did yesterday was to clear this bit of the garden. It was mostly rotten branches entangled in thick ivy stems. There is more of it standing upright almost against the back fence that will be the subject of another few hours work in the garden. It will feel very pleasing when the whole of the back of the garden is cleared, although I still haven't decided what I want to do with it. I could try and level it all out and just sow grass there, or I could plant some flowers. What I think I would like to do is to grow some vegetables, but I think I would prefer to wait until my resident fox moves on before growing edibles in her toilet !
I am wondering why I dared do two very physical things in the day when I wanted to go out in the evening. Maybe it was a sort of death wish - sort of - a wish that I would feel too knackered to go out to see a band playing music that I don't enjoy. Evidently it didn't work because I felt almost good as I strolled up the road to get to The Catford Constitutional Club where The Funky Waves were playing. Soul and disco is just not my thing, but I had been bribed to go by the offer of a free pint, and it wasn't far to go - maybe no more than a 10 minute walk.
The gig was billed to start at 8pm, and I thought I would be late, but I got there before all member of the band. They didn't actually start until about 9.15pm ! That left me a lot of time to endure doing nothing except to read some technical news on my phone - and drink beer ! I started off with a session IPA that was quite nice, and cheap(ish) too at £3.80 a pint. Then I had a pint of Guinness for the exorbitant price of £4.90 a pint grrr. My third pint was bought by Chase, the drummer once he had mostly set up his kit. It was while talking to him that I noticed Angela and lover boy sitting no more than about 10 - 15 yards away.
I never approached them, and Angela, didn't even wave to me - as far as I was aware - although very soon after spotting them most of my attention was focussed on my camera. Chase, my only previous contact with the band, and the singer, who I spoke soon after I arrived, were well aware of my musical tastes, and might possibly save the worst for last. I found a few songs they did in the first set to be quite acceptable. Here's one - a cover of Amy Winehouse's "Rehab".
After taking the video I decided I had enough pictures in my camera, and decided to leave before the worst stuff started. So I finished off my fourth drink, a pint of Jaipur - an IPA apparently inspired by the sort of beer brewed in, or for India in colonial times. It has a citrussy taste that many hate, but for some reason I like it. One reason for feeling fairly good when I left to go out was that I had been very careful about my eating. I had a very late lunch that left my stomach lined for the beer, but did leave me feeling hungry after the beer. Inevitably I made a very short detour of about 10ft to go into the fried chicken shop. I really enjoyed it when I got home !
For some reason I didn't feel particularly tired after eating. I guess it real terms it wasn't that late - possibly still slightly before 11pm. I decided to stay up and do something with the video I had shot. My first try turned out to be a disaster. There was only just enough light for the camera when I took the video, and the flashing disco lights at knee height were really taxing the camera, and taxing the mpeg video compression even more. I found I had to use an unusually high bit rate to stop the picture looking grainy, streaky, and pixellated. I decided to have another go using a higher bit rate, and because the rendering took nearly an hour, I went to bed at left my PC to get on with it.
I slept well initially, but at around 3am I woke up with that horrible torture of an itchy foot that just won't go away. That was the second time in two days, and it was bloody annoying. I have no idea what causes it, and I would be mostly happy if it goes dormant again for another 12 months or more. I have a nasty feeling it could be a nerve problem, and that would be very serious for a type II diabetic ! I was probably awake for about an hour before it had reduced to the point that my desire for sleep overcame it.
This morning I feel, or felt a bit creaky, but mostly OK - although I have done little to stress test my body yet. There are a few things I am likely to do today, and once again the day will probably end with me spending a few hours at a gig again. One of the first things I have to do is to go through the pictures I took last night. Fortunately I didn't go too mad - I couldn't because I was using my flash gun - and I reckon in a couple of hours or less I will have about a 10 picture photo album finished. The other aim for today is a visit to a supermarket, but I haven't decided on which one yet.
|Friday 29th March 2019
Yesterday morning was rather dull, but during the afternoon the clouds started breaking up, and thinning. At first there were just a few sunny intervals, but they gradually lengthened until it was as good as sunny. The only complaint then was that by the time the sky was almost perfectly clear the sun was starting to set, but it did mean we had a very extended sunset, and there was still a lot of pinky-purpley light on the western horizon long after the official sunset. It seems likely that the forecast return of cloud later in the evening was probably correct, and it helped keep the temperature up. At mid-afternoon the temperature was 15° C, and by midnight it was still around 9° C.
It feels chilly this morning, and I think the temperature in the shaded back of the house is still closer to 9° C than the forecast 11° C. However I believe the temperature will soon catch up with the forecast. It is gloriously sunny outside, and if the forecast holds it will be like this all day. That could push the temperature up to 17° C, and some optimistic commentators suggest it might make 18° C. Once again it will cloud over very late tonight, and that should keep enough warmth in so that tomorrow can start at 8° C (at 6am). The cloud is not predicted to break up and fade away like today, and so the best we can hope for is sunny intervals in the afternoon - unless the forecast changes - which os very likely. The headline figure for tomorrow is 18° C, but the highest temperature shown on the hour by hour chart is only 17° C, but that should be warm enough - particularly during one of the sunny intervals.
Yesterday morning I remarked that the paracetamol tablets I had taken as much as 6 hours earlier still seemed to be working. With hindsight I don't think it was the paracetamol, but just the natural start of another phase of feeling healthier....well, maybe not "healthier", but certainly more free of pain and discomfort than recently. That is not to say I was completely free of any aches and pains, but they all seemed low level, and for much of the time ignorable.
I didn't really do anything to capitalise on, or indeed spoil feeling good strangely OK. One reason for that was having to keep a high level of alertness waiting for a parcel delivery, although I knew it would be arriving in the afternoon, and probably mid afternoon (it was actually about 3pm). The contents of the parcel were not immediately needed, and one item was only bought out of idle curiosity, and I never had a need for it. That latter thing was a HDMI lead with a standard connector on one end, and a micro connector on the other that plugs into the HDMI port on my Fuji XP71 camera.
That camera does not produce very high quality pictures for the simple reason that the lens has to peer out of a waterproof port that restricts what you can do with the a lens system. The handy thing is that all other openeongs and controls are fully waterproof, and it even has settings for underwater photography. That is something I have never needed, but I hope it will be useful one day. It has proved useful to take pictures in the pouring rain though. The camera also has wireless connectivity, although it is only short range to download pictures onto a smart phone.
The other item in my parcel was another pack of non-rechargeable lithium AA cells. Compared to "high power" alkaline cells they are expensive, but their life is amazing. They also have one excellent feature whose use has now faded away now we are in spring - they still provide full power when the temperature drops below zero. That turned out to be essential when my trail cameras were out on a frosty night. I changed the alkaline batteries prematurely several times when they could not provide enough power when the temperature dropped at night. The lithium cells in the trail cameras now seem to be lasting forever !
My parcel deliver happened at a very fortunate time. I had enough time to give the HDMI lead a rest before it was time to get myself together to go out for my Thursday afternoon drink. It was as I was walking to the bus stop that I first noticed that I was feeling unusually good. Either that or the shoes I was wearing were just uncomfortable enough to distract me from any other aches.Of course it also helped that it was mostly sunny (I do remember the sun going in for a minute or two as I waited at the bus stop). Once I was on the bus I felt good enough to enjoy the journey, and by "enjoy" I suppose I really mean "not hate" the 25 minute journey to Bromley.
When I got to the pub I found they had what turned out to be a very nice beer on. It was the one whose pump handle label is on the left - Green King Heritage. I had one pint of it before moving onto Brains "Bread Of Heaven". Unfortunately I reckon that was either end of barrel, or it was the last of a barrel that had been on too long, or maybe the vinegar taste was intended. It was still drinkable, but not enjoyable. So for my third and final pint I went back to the Heritage, and once I had washed the bad taste of the Bread Of Heaven out of my mouth it was a very fine taste to finish on.
I felt sort of relaxed in the pub - which seems unusual for two reasons. The first is that I am not keen on Wetherspoons pubs. They are often too crowded and noisy. The other thing was my lack of any appreciable aches and pains. They were still there underneath, and an occasional mild twinge when making a certain, but unpredictable movement never let me forget them.
Perhaps one of the things that made last night special was that I think it is the first time since last autumn when I have left the pub in daylight. Admittedly it was very close to sunset, but with the clear sky it seemed to take ages for the last of the light to fade away. By the time I arrived back in Catford it was essentially dark, but I could still see a light glow on the western horizon. Before finishing with the journey home I have to add that my wait for the bus in Bromley was xero minutes. In fact I had to almost run to catch it.
I got indoors feeling nice and relaxed, and with a cunning plan in my head. No, it wasn't really a cunning plan, but more like a silly plan. The key thing is that while I definitely felt hungry, I didn't feel ravenous. I had food here, but not much, and nothing very exciting, and so I ordered a takeaway. I ordered several things, but my main course yesterday was donner kebab, chips and salad. It would have been hard to find a more unhealthy meal, but it was delicious. I then had enough left over from the order for two meals for today. One of them, the feta cheese salad, I have already eaten for breakfast !
I was in bed, and asleep before 10pm. My sleep was only spoiled by one thing, and it is the second time it has happened in the last week or two. It was an intolerable itch on the sole of my right foot. I have had this a few times over the years, but never twice in such quick succession before. I have no idea what causes it, but one possibility is that it is a small cut from walking on something sharp. It is very difficult to see the sole of my foot at any time, and tenfold so in the middle of the night. I had to get up and just distract myself until the itch died away.
I did have one or two other twinges while in bed, but nothing particularly bad, or curable by a slight change in position. I did have one memorable dream - except I can't remember the fine details about it. I do remember the punch line, and I feel sure it wasn't generated by an actual dream experience, but was constructed to be funny for some reason that has now evaporated, as dreams do. The punch line was (if you can call this a punch line) "If there is one thing worse than an alligator it is an alligator that can say, clearly and distinctively, 'I am going to eat you'". If there is one thing worse than even that it, is when one of the alligators escapes from the lab !
This morning I feel that maybe I got enough sleep even if it was in several segments, and apart from my right shoulder feeling stiff, and painful when making certain movement, I feel basically OK. Even my right shoulder is not actually painful when doing things like quietly sitting here writing. Once again I feel the urge to go out into the sunshine, and soak up the sun, but I have an alternative plan. I expect I'll only be doing it for an hour or two at the very most, but the brown wheelie bin is empty, and already in my garden. I think I am going to fill it up once again. With luck I will clear out the right hand back corner of the garden. I am not sure why that seems more important than anywhere else, but that is what I feel like doing.
After waxing lyrical about how good I seemed to be feeling this morning I just had a wake up call. After finishing the last paragraph I got up to go to the toilet. After sitting here typing for so long (about an hour) I felt very creaky. My legs felt very stiff at first, but they gradually eased up. I don't think it will interfere with my plans for today - f which I have a mere three. I have mentioned the first - more garden clearance. Another job is to hand wash a couple of t-shirts, and a pair of lounge pants. The final thing does not happen until tonight.
On the strength of the lure of a free pint of Guinness, I am going to a gig tonight, and I expect I'll be going there in more of a professional capacity than to enjoy it. In fact I might hate it, and only stay for an hour or so. I have been asked to take some snaps of The Funky Waves. I don't expect them to play anything I might enjoy, although maybe some of the songs they cover might be "edge cases", and so not horribly abysmal. As a rule I don't do commissions because I never know how I will feel from day to day, and I did warn the guy who asked me to come that it was 50:50 if I turned up, but it is in The Catford Constitutional Club, and that is just 10 minutes walk away (maybe only 9 !).
Once again I'll finish with more video taken from my trail cameras that are mostly, but not exclusively, spying on my resident fox. This video compilation deals mostly with eating.
|Thursday 28th March 2019
Yesterday's weather was glum and gloomy, or it was to start with, but late in the afternoon the sun did manage to break through, and spoil what might have been the most accurate weather forecast this year ! It did get the afternoon temperature prediction about right. At least I think it did, but I am not sure if I actually checked to see if it was 13° C, or just felt like it. There was still quite a lot of cloud about even when he sun did put in a few short appearances, ad that meant last night was fairly mild.
This morning has started off mild, but very dull. The latest revision of the forecast omits the sunny intervals at 9 and 10am, but still shows sunny periods from 2pm until sunset. The temperature forecast remains the same, and we should experience 15° C this afternoon. That should feel quite nice, particularly if the sun is shining. Tomorrow should see sunny intervals popping up all through the day, and the afternoon temperature could hit 16° C, or maybe even 17° C if the gods look down on us in a benevolent way tomorrow. It is all a bit different to how tomorrow was forecast in the middle of the month. It was a much gloomier outlook !
Yesterday was another day when I didn't feel up to doing much, and particularly nothing outdoors. I didn't do any big jobs indoors either, but somehow I managed to do enough small stuff to avoid being bored. I did 2 lots of video editing, and scanned a couple more packets of negatives. The video editing was of my resident fox, and I'll put one of the videos at the end of this. The negatives revealed a couple of historic pictures...although maybe only if you like trains....
The year was 1996, and a Eurostar trains rumbles through Catford station. Until the high speed line was built from St Pancras to Ashford the Catford Loop Line was one of two routes to Ashford from Waterloo. The other route was via Penge. One interesting thing about this photo is that the train looks to be fairly sharply in focus, but the background seems to have some motion blur. I think I may have been doing what I didn't think I could do - panning the camera at the same speed as the train to keep it in focus during a long(ish) exposure.
This picture is of the rear of the Eurostar train. On the right a slam door train is just entering the station. It was most probably an express train from somewhere like Dover, and heading to Victoria.
The main reason why I did these, and other little indoor jobs, was that my right arm was giving me a certain amount of pain. During the day it was mostly the top of the arm, and in particular the shoulder. The shoulder has been giving me a lot of discomfort for some time now, but mostly it has been first thing in the morning. Sometimes I have described the rest of the pain as being from the elbow and wrist - as if they might be arthritis, but last night I had a different idea. I think the pain might be tendinitis. The pain is not so much from the elbow joint, but just below it, and the pain I described as from my wrist actually starts at the back of my and.
I had some ideas about ordering a takeaway last night. It was not that I needed one - I had plenty of food in the fridge - but that I just fancied one. I think the effort of keeping myself busy was depressing me, and I needed cheering up. As the time approached I decided against the takeaway and I just had two calorie controlled ready meals. Unfortunately I had wanted more after that, and had too many sugar free choc chip cookies. I probably should have had some of the chocolate coated rice cakes I bought from the 99p, but it takes a certain amount of will power to eat those. They are based on brown rice cakes, and it tastes dry and exactly like cardboard !
By 9pm I decided it was time for bed. I read for a while, and then turned out the light. Five minutes later I was fast asleep. I think it was something like 3am when I woke up needing a pee. I don't know how that could have affected me in any way, but when I got back in bed I found it impossible to find a comfortable position to lay in. All the discomfort was coming from my right arm, and as I described earlier, it was not only my shoulder, but my forearm and hand. It was while waiting for a couple of Paracetamol to provide some pain relief that I concluded that the pain was probably from inflamed (maybe) Tendons. The clue was the pain on the back of my hand. There is nothing there but tendons, and they did indeed feel very inflamed. As to why...well maybe I'll learn that one day, but while I might have a few theories, I have none that I have any confidence in.
One of the odd things is that the Paracetamol I took at 3am still seems to be working. My shoulder can be provoked to gently ached if I make certain movements, but all other pain is very low level, and forgettable until provoked in some way. Maybe this is not what I want, even if it makes life a lot nicer. This morning I have been on the phone to the doctors. This was primarily to see a doctor for a medication review. My prescription drugs are about to run out, and I need to see a doctor before I get back on the repeat prescription cycle. At the same time I could find out the results from the blood test I had at the end of last months, and have a good moan about these shoulder and arm pains. Regarding the latter, it would be good is everything was still hurting when seeing the doctor. The only problem is that the first available appointment is not until next Tuesday. Anything could happen by then, but one thing is certain, and that is that nearly all my current medication will have run out a couple of days ago.
My plans for today are very simple. It's Thursday, and that means beer in the late afternoon. Today we use up the last of our Wetherspoons vouchers (50p off a pint of real ale), and that means we will be drinking in The Bromley Wetherspoons pub. It is a pain getting there because it means 20 - 30 minutes on a boring bus instead of 9 minutes on the train. It means leaving home a lot earlier. Unfortunately the predicted travel time of 20 - 30 minutes doesn't hold up very well at the time I will be travelling, and a traffic jam around the infamous "Catford Gyratory System" can add another 30 minutes on a really terrible day ! The good thing is that it only takes half the time to walk to the bus stop compared to the station (and it is on level ground with no bridges or staircases).
To finish off here's a 4 minute video that has been distilled down from about 40 minutes of my resident fox, although it actually starts with the local Siamese cat. There is a theory, mainly suggested by the Metropolitan Police that foxes attack cats, and cut their heads off with surgical precision, and place them on peoples door steps. If foxes regularly attacked cats then I am sure that cats would be very wary of foxes, and would not go head and shoulders into a foxes earth to see if anyone is home !
|Wednesday 27th March 2019
Yesterday's weather forecast was the opposite of the day before. The first version was too pessimistic, and a later revision was too optimistic. Like the day before, the reality was somewhere between the two. The first version said too little sunshine, and the later too much sunshine. It was sunny in the morning, but from late morning we just had sunny intervals. I'm not even sure that the forecast wind direction was right yesterday. The afternoon temperature was about 13° C, and yet there were times when the south side of my house didn't seem to be warmed by the sunshine. By contrast, the north side of the house, and in particular the bathroom, with the window open all day, didn't seem to feel particularly cold at all. The day before, with a similar temperature outside, it felt bloody freezing in there !
I have been desperately refreshing the weather forecast web page in the hope that a later forecast could offer more hope than the one above, but it seems we are set to experience a bloody miserable, dull and gloomy, sort of day today. The only positives aspects are that is should be dry, and the afternoon temperature will be 13° C again - not that will feel good without some supporting sunshine. Apart from Friday, which may include sunny intervals, it seems every day until the 9th April will be horribly dull and gloomy - although the chance of the forecast for the 8th April bearing any resemblance to reality when the day gets here is incredibly small.
It was a strange day yesterday. I was put off doing some things because of pains in all the joints from the shoulder to wrist of my right arm, and also my left ankle and right knee being a bit creaky. Other things I did regardless of the pains. I was going to finish the Ethernet sockets in my living room yesterday, but that would have meant laying on the floor because the work was only just above the skirting board. One socket may actually be on the skirting board. I though that laying on the floor would just be too uncomfortable. I could have done the sockets on the other end of the cables in the back room, but I couldn't seem to motivate myself to do that. Perhaps there seemed little point when I couldn't finish the living room end, or maybe because once I have finished the cabling in the back room I know I am going to have to move the chest of drawers. When empty the chest of drawers is very much lighter than it looks, but with heavy stuff in some drawers it is going to be a more difficult job - even if that just means emptying out the drawers until after I have move it.
There were two things I did despite the aches and pains, and things that those aches and pains would more directly impact on. The first was a shopping trip. I visited three shops, and the first was The British Heart Foundation charity shop. I bought 4 CD from there, plus a DVD. I'm not sure that the CDs were wise choices. There is a Shadows compilation that doesn't seem to have original recordings on it. The sound is very similar, and the guitar technique is identical, but on a couple of songs in particular, it just doesn't sound "right".
I haven't listened to any other of these CDs yet, apart from The Shadows CD. I have my doubts that I will find anything I like of the Manic Street Preachers CD. They have had a couple of good songs, but I can't say I am a fan. The Robbie Williams CD is also an unknown quantity. He had at least a couple of good songs, but other stuff he has done has failed to inspire me. Finally, The Rolling Stones CD is all live stuff. Some of it may be good, and some of it may be dire, but I suspect it is more aimed at big fans of the band, and while I like many of their songs, I would not classify myself as a fan. The good thing about all these CDs is that they were just 99p each, and at that price you can afford to take chances.
The DVD I bought was of the movie "The English Patient", and I didn't really buy it for myself. If I recall correctly it is one of my friend Patricia's favourite films. Once again it was just 99p, and I thought I would grab it while it was there in case she wants a copy to keep, or maybe to entertain her when she stays here later in the year.
After the charity shop I went next door to the 99p shop. I bought quite a lot in there, and most of it was 6 cans of 3 for 99p dog food to feed my resident fox. I also bought some smelly candles, and some wooden pegs. I have observed that plastic pegs do not last that long - particularly the red ones. Those red pegs just seem to fade and turn very brittle. They almost crumble to dust. I think I'll stick to wooden pegs. They might decay away in the end, but they seem to outlast wooden pegs by a large margin.
My last bit of shopping was in Iceland. I was after a few specific things; Squeezy tubes of cream cheese with jalapeño chilies in it, rice cakes, and sugar free chocolate biscuits and cookies. I have no idea why I bought it because I knew it was crap, but I also bought a slimming world sag aloo. It seemed a good idea at the time, but I was barely out of the shop when I remembered they were thin, watery, and generally rather nasty ! Adding in a pile of left over peas, and some extra chilli sauce improved that ready meal immensely.
I was carrying quite a load as I walked home, but it didn't seem to make my joint pains any worse, and I think if anything it was a partial, and not very long lived cure for them. Quite whether that inspired me to undertake another task that seemed at odds with those aches and pains is anyone's guess, but I decided to hand wash to hand towel, a double fitted sheet, and some underwear. I have to admit it was a bit taxing on my right arm in particular. It was uncomfortable, but very easily bearable, and more importantly it didn't seem to make anything worse.
Other little odd jobs I did yesterday were to review all the video my trail camera had taken, and transfer a few sequences to my PC. What I didn't do was to do anything with all that video. I think that is a job for today. Still on the theme of photography, I scanned another couple of packs of negatives yesterday. Some of the pictures were good, but it is hard to put most of them into any sort of interesting context to show here. However, an occasional picture come up that is worth sharing. For instance who remembers when the Eurostar trains use to thread their way through the suburbs before the high speed line was built to Ashford ?
This Eurostar is heading towards Ashford through Beckenham Junction in about 1996. I also have pictures of them going through Catford station somewhere.
It is now habit to watch TV in the evening. I'll admit is it a terrible habit, but one almost born of necessity. i.e. There is not a lot else to do when you have spent the day at home doing the sort of stuff that might once have distracted you in the evening after being at work all day. Last night I ended up watching quite a lot of the national and local news instead of Star Trek - The Original Series. I don't know how they do it, but The Horror Channel seems to be repeating episodes at very close intervals. It is as if they only have a quarter of all the episodes made or something. Anyway, last nights episode seemed boring after seeing it about 3 times in the last 6 months, and so I turned to BBC1 and the news.
I really wish I had more than just my dinner to distract to me from watching the news. This world is not a very happy place, and there are 650 people in Westminster who seemed determined to make it a worse place still. Even id we never end up leaving the EU (the best option) all the uncertainty and blundering around is going to leave a legacy that we may never recover from. Meanwhile, footballers, and their followers are still engaging in tribal warfare in assorted forms. In an ideal world all football would happen on the far side of the moon.
It is very hard to concentrate on TV after watching the news, and it spoiled my enjoyment of Star Trek - Deep Space Nine. In theory it was the first of a good two part story. I had a similar lack of concentration while watching Warehouse 13. That latter programme finished at 9pm, and I went straight to bed after that. I read for maybe half an hour, and then went straight to sleep. It seemed like I mostly slept OK this morning, and not counting the couple of time I woke up for a pee, I woke up at 6am. That seemed too early, and I tried to sleep more, but only partly succeeded. I very slowly started to get up about an hour later.
That brings me to today, and another day of no idea of how I am going to pass the time. Maybe that is not quite true because I have to do something with all the video I have of my foxes nocturnal goings on. The longest part of the process of turning it all into a short video clip will be taken care of my my PC, but it is still quite a bit of mucking about for me to do. It is grey and miserable out and so I will probably be looking for more indoor pursuits. Maybe I will do my Ethernet cabling, and maybe I might scan more negatives. I reckon it is almost a certainty that I will spend some time reading, but as to whether it is 5 minutes or 5 hours I will only find out later !
|Tuesday 26th March 2019
The first weather forecast for yesterday was over optimistic, and a later forecast a bit pessimistic. Reality was somewhere between the two. Sometimes there was non stop sunshine, and sometimes just sunny intervals, although it could be argued that the periods of sunshine were just extremely long sunny intervals. For all that sunshine it did not feel that warm, or at least in one specific place it didn't feel all that warm. In fact the cold wind blowing in my bathroom window felt particularly cold ! The afternoon temperature was about 12° C, but during the evening the temperature fell a long way.
It seemed like this morning might start with a frost, but it was 7° C outside my back bedroom window just before I started writing this, although I have to acknowledge that down nearer the ground it could have been a few degrees cooler. At the moment the sky is blue, and the sun has been shining like the forecast says should happen at 9am, and not right now ! The forecast has been revised now, and it seems to be slowly changing to be just like yesterday. So we can expect sunshine or sunny intervals through most of the day, and the temperature will peak this afternoon at about 12° C again (now a degree less than the original forecast). Tomorrow will probably end up with a similar range of temperature as today, and yesterday, but it seems it will probably be overcast all day. Both Thursday and Friday currently look very promising with a lot of sunshine, and possibly a couple of degrees warmer.
Once again the sunshine made me feel happy, and could have inspired me to greater things, but I had a job to do. Well it's not really a job in a formal sense, but I sometimes like to think of it as one, and strangely enough, do it a bit more diligently than I used to do my real job (except on special occasions). I am talking about my photography here, and although I didn't go mad, snapping away non stop, on Sunday night, I did have quite a selection to choose to from when making up an (electronic) photo album.
Here is the best of several minor variants of one shot of Jenni. I like Jenni, and I felt quite proud when she commented on this picture when posted on social media. She actually said it was a picture of her that she liked !
This is Zoe. I think I had heard her name before, but had never seen her playing. She was rather good, and if I may make such a bold statement, easy on the eye. I took this picture, and many others using my flash gun because it was quite dim in the pub, but the picture of Jenni was taken in natural light. I also shot two videos on Sunday night. One was mostly good apart from some bad camera shake in the middle - I think I was trying to move out of someone's way who wanted to get past me. The other had all sorts of shakes and wobbles in it ! I was going to show the best video here, but I neglected to make a suitable resolution version of it to show on these pages.
It's hard to say how much time I spent in "the darkroom" yesterday, but I guess it probably only added up to a 3 or 4 hours in total, and maybe even less, but after adding in a few breaks to take a breather here and there, it filled in much of my spare time between two other tasks that I did yesterday. The first task was to go to Aldi and get some shopping in. I ended up buying quite a low, but in terms of volume less than half of it was food. A couple of boxes of man sized tissues, 4 cans of beer, two bottles of shower gel, 2 cans of deodorant, and two 2.75l bottles of Diet Coke made up the bulk of my shopping.
I walked to and from Aldi without a coat, and in the sunshine it felt nice, but maybe not so much when I was walking in shadow. I certainly warmed up a lot when carrying my shopping home even when I was walking in shadow. The only mistake I made was to buy myself a rather over generous lunch. I had vegetable as well as chicken and duck sushi plus a pack of chicken salsa wrap things. I think I had a little lie down after eating that lot. There was one other thing I did that probably burned off a tenth of the calories contained in my lunch, and that was to hand wash a large bath towel. Manhandling that when wet certainly stretched my muscles!
My dinner was almost simple, and as is often the case consisted of two courses, but this time the two courses were quite different to usual. Course two was "pudding" or sweet. Course one was simply battered cod with peas. Course two was strawberries. The latter were actually disappointing. The previous time I went to Aldi I bought a punnet of strawberries, but I didn't eat them straight away because I knew they could probably do with a bit of extra time to ripen, and sweeten up. Like an idiot I left them too long, and they had started to rot. Yesterday I decided to eat the strawberries straight away, and they were rather sour. Had I left them until today I reckon they might have been nice.
I almost spent the last hours of the evening vegetating in front of the TV, but I decided I would not keep the TV on after 9pm. Not only that, but I ignored a good half hour of the TV when I decided to remake my bed. Sometime last week I started to air an old memory foam mattress topper. Last night I added it to the mattress topper already on my bed, and at the same time I changed the sheets. The theory was that if one was comfortable, then two should be extra comfortable. It made me quite keen to get to bed early to try this theory.
I actually spent some time reading before settling down to sleep. I am not sure of two mattress toppers was twice as comfortable, but maybe one and a quarter times ! It seemed like I slept well, but maybe I didn't, although it is possible that a few bits ached less than usual. What it didn't affect, unless in some unknown way to make it slightly worse, was the pains I am now getting in my right forearm - mostly at the ends of it - my wrist and elbow.
I am a bit concerned about these pains. They came on quite suddenly a week or two ago (I can't quite remember when), and I fear there is a possibility that they could be some sort of arthritis. In which case they are basically uncurable. On the other hand their similarity to to the sort of pains you get when in the middle of 'flu suggest they could be viral in origin. There seems a fair chance that the very long lived winter bug that plagued me on and off for what felt like most of January and February contained a viral element. All I can do is sit tight and hope my body fights off the virus - if indeed it is of viral origin.
That brings us today, and what I am going to do about it. Once again I feel an urge to get out into the sunshine, but at the moment that urge is a bit muted by looking at my garden thermometers in the middle of writing a few paragraphs back. While it might be 7° C outside the back (upstairs) bedroom window, downstairs, by the back door, it was still only just over 5° C. That is a bit chilly for gallumphing in the sunshine. Maybe I'll find some other things to do before I go out, but what those things are, and where I might go when I do go out, are currently a mystery. I'll have to see what turns up after I've showered and dressed.
|Monday 25th March 2019
Unlike previous days, the weather yesterday was rather glorious ! There was a lot of sunshine - far more than just the sunny intervals that the forecast offered. It was dry, and the afternoon temperature was a very reasonable 13° C. That was no higher than some previous days, but combined with sunshine it was rather nice.
The forecast has recently changed to that above, and the main change is that the latest revision no longer matches reality ! The latest revision has changed the morning to sunny periods instead of just sunshine, but whether sunny periods, or sunshine, it seems it is going to a bright and shiny day. One other change I have just noticed, and it is a change for the better, is that the afternoon temperature will probably be 13° C - the same as yesterday. This evening the clear sky means the temperature is going to drop quite a long way - possibly low enough for a frost early tomorrow morning. Tomorrow should warm back up quite quickly, and the afternoon temperature will probably be similar to today, but the amount of sunshine may be very reduced.
It is surprising how a bit of sunshine can change everything. Yesterday morning I had a few aches that seemed to rule out, or at least be a deterrent to what I did later in the morning. I was determined to spend some time outdoors, but I had doubts over how I would fare if I went too far, and then to cap it all my bottom suddenly seemed to gain a certain amount of enthusiasm for visiting the toilet. The latter turned out to be a false alarm, and was no more sinister than two visits in quick succession.
Despite these negatives things the sunshine still beckoned, and I decided that I would stay at home, but still go out - into the garden ! It seemed like a good decision because I could give up at a moments notice if I needed to, and I didn't ! The muscles in my left forearm complained a lot when I started tugging on weeds and stuff, but seemed to give up aching when I ignored the ache. It was really quite strange because I found sawing through some thick (3 to almost 5 inch diameter) "logs" seemed unusually easy. I'm unsure how long I was working in the garden, but as usual I filled the brown wheelie bin almost to the top.
Some the wheelie bin filling was quite big stuff. One of the things I tackled yesterday was the clumps of ivy clad branches that were at the back of the garden. Until yesterday I didn't fully understand what they consisted of. They looked like a load of intertwined ivy, but at the core was a tree branch as thick as my arm.. That was wrapped in ivy stems, and some of those stems were over one inch thick. It was these that needed a lot of sawing to get them small enough to get in the wheelie bin (although not as small as the recommended maximum size).
Without a "before" picture it is not easy to see how much I removed and binned at the back of the garden, but it was quite a considerable amount, and the next time, hopefully next week, after the brown wheelie bin is emptied this coming Thursday, I will manage to clear most of the tangle of stuff in the right hand part of the back of the garden.
There was still room in the wheelie bin when I has finished at the back of the garden, and I filled it to almost the brim by clearing more of the garden path. Not only did I uncover another 6 to 8 inches of length, but I also cleared much more of the width of the path, and around the drain cover. There is still some overhanging vegetation that hides some of the clear paving on the right hand side of the path.
As I said earlier, I have no idea how long I spent in the garden, but I managed to work up a bit of a sweat while out there. I also felt effects of hard work, but recovered from them rather quicker than I imagined. If I had another empty wheelie bin I reckon I could have gone back out and at least half filled it. It is probably a good idea that I was unable to do that because I reckon that would have pushed me over the edge. As it was, my only major casualty was getting stung by nettles through the gloves I was wearing - which was rather a surprise !
After I had cleaned up I constructed my lunch, and it was quite a big construction effort ! I prepared and threw in almost everything I had that could go into a salad. It started from a base of ready chopped iceberg lettuce and grew from there. I was big, but theoretically still very healthy. I even resisted drowning it is mayonnaise. It was just dressed in oil and balsamic vinegar. I have to admit though, that I did have some sugar free biscuits after the salad because it left a bit of an acidy aftertaste.
For the rest of the afternoon I essentially put my feet up until dinnertime when I just had a very light dinner of rice cakes with a bit of soft cheese and corned beef on them. I then slowly started getting ready to go out. The previous two nights I had neglected to go out - Friday because I felt too rough, and Saturday night because it just seemed more exciting to stay in. Last night I decided I really wanted to go to Stretchy's Open Mic at The Swan & Nitre pub in Bromley. It is usually a nice night, and last night was no exception.
I was expecting Sue to go last night, but she wasn't up to it after going out on Saturday to see her beloved Glamstar while suffering from an agonising bad back. However I was more than happy with her replacement - Jenni. She was genuinely pleased to see me, and came straight over for a hug, and a kiss on the cheek. For much of the evening we didn't talk over the top of the music, and didn't even stay in the same area of the pub, but when Jenni left I was given a quick kiss on the lips. I have no idea why I deserved that, but I liked it !
The only fly in the ointment was the appearance of the dreaded Nigel. As usual he had no money, and last night there was no one who wanted to buy him a drink, and he had to put up with a free glass of tap water. He tried to engage Jenni in conversation, and succeeded for 10 minutes, but mostly he spent the evening being ignored by everyone. Fortunately he didn't try and speak to me or I might have packed up and gone home. As it was, I stayed there until almost the very end. It was 10:59pm when I got on my bus home.
It was a 320 bus, and so faster than a 208 despite that part of their routes being identical. It just seems the 320 bus drivers drive faster the 208 bus drivers for some reason. The potential trouble with the 320 is that it does drop me very near the fried chicken shop, but last night there was no temptation because I had already prepared my rather late night dinner before I went out. It was a couple of cod and cheddar fish cakes and peas - and it was very nice. It was after eating that my curiosity got the better of me, and I made the mistake of calling Sue to see how she was feeling, and she wasn't feeling good. This time it was less to do with her back, although that was still very sore, but she had had a altercation with her autistic son. It was all very complicated, and she kept me talking until 2am this morning. I guess that wasn't as bad as it could have been. It could have been until 5am if I hadn't quite truly said that after the Guinness I had drunk earlier I could feel a hangover starting to kick in, and I wanted to be asleep before it got too bad.
It did actually work, and I was soon asleep, but only for about 2 hours before frequently waking up to go and pee away the result of drinking 5 or so pints of Guinness. It's one of the benefits and curses of one of the drugs I am prescribed. Until about 4am I hadn't really needed to pee, and felt perfectly comfortable. After 4am it was about once an hour. That still might have not been so bad, but by 6am there was sunshine lighting up my curtains, and try as I might, I couldn't get back to sleep properly. In the end I gave up trying, and started getting up.
This morning my head does feel a bit thick, and it feels like I have missed out on all the sleep I have missed out on ! The rest of me doesn't feel too bad. Nothing aches in any special way - just the usual bits in the usual way. Once again my day ahead is almost an open slate. One thing I will probably do this morning is to go shopping in Aldi. After that I will consider going out to scout out possible locations for photography for when the steam loco is running on The District line in June. While writing that sentence I suddenly realised that I will probably do no such thing. My main priority today is to select and edit some of the photos I took last night. I also shot a couple of videos. I have my doubts that they are any good for various reasons, but I'll have a look, and see if anything is usable.
|Sunday 24th March 2019
There was no sunshine at all forecast for yesterday, and that was wrong...but only in a minor way. The sun did burst through the cloud just a few times, and those times were usually not a lot longer than a minute or so. At least it was some reason to hope that the universe wasn't coming to an end. Other than that it was a dull, but mild day, with the temperature not changing much between 10° and 12° until sunset when the temperature slowly fell away until it came close to a frost early this morning.
What a difference a day makes ! As I write this it is still rather cool outside, but my back is being by warm sunshine flooding through my window. Today may not end up as good as it has started though. There was quite a pink sunrise this morning, and by tradition that warns of less good weather to come.
This was the view from my bathroom window at 6:24am this morning. The cloud was very high, and very granular. The photo didn't capture that there was quite a bit of blue to be seen between the clouds. At this time the sun was not high enough in the sky to light up anything in this view, but it was probably only another 10 minutes before the top of the buildings on the left were lit up.
All being well, and assuming the pink sunrise doesn't come to much, we should have plenty of sunny intervals today, and if the one that has been going on for quite a while now is any guide, they could be very long intervals. Maybe they should be describes as sunny spells, but after all these years I have yet to work out what the definition of a sunny spell and a sunny interval actually is ! The afternoon high is forecast to be 13° C, and that should feel nice in the sunshine. After sunset the temperature will fall away, but probably not as low as last night, and tomorrow may start off at 6° C. Plenty of sunshine is forecast, but paradoxically it may be a degree cooler than today.
I didn't quite as bad yesterday as I did the day before, but I still felt very unmotivated. However the few bursts of sunshine helped to partly motivate me, and I almost got started, and into 2nd gear before a disastrous, but also amazing discovery. I thought I had found all my packets of photos, and scanned all the negatives in them, but I always had this nagging feeling that there were many photos missing. Yesterday I sort of forced myself to go and start work on terminating the last Ethernet cable in my back room so I could attempt to move the chest of drawers that sticks out into the room, into the alcove by the chimney breast.
To do that final couple of terminations I would ideally have liked to have ended up with at least one spare back box to mount another front plate with RJ45 Ethernet sockets on it. I was sure that I had ordered more than just the two I appeared to have. I wondered if they had fallen out the box they were supposed to be in, and so I started rummaging around in all the "rubble" and paperwork and such that currently covers my old dining table. At the back of the table I found an open box, and in that box was the result of some earlier attempt at tidying up - nearly 30 packets of photographs and negatives. This was simultaneously both depressing and elating !
I stopped all over work to have a quick sort through of the photos. There were the photos I thought were missing, and many more that are definitely worth seeing again. It was great news, and I was happy for it, but also depressed because I know how long it is going to take to scan approximately 600 negatives ! The good thing is that most of these negatives have been stored better, and many may not need cleaning before scanning. Part of the reason for rescanning over half the previous batch was to make a better record of them so I could go back and, if necessary, wash some of the more important negatives before having a second attempt at scanning them.
I actually scanned 4 packs of negatives yesterday, and two of them were 36 exposure films. Those 36 exposure films do seem rather grainy compared to the 24 exposure films I think I mostly used. Most of the pictures just feel good to have - although I did already have them as printed photos, but it is handy to have them in digital form as well. There are hardly any that are exciting enough to show here - at least not in bulk. On the other hand a couple are sort of interesting.
One set of pictures included half a dozen shots of the newly refurbished Catford station. Catford station is on an embankment, and over the years the platform supports were gradually sinking because of poor foundations. So the station was closed for a couple of months, and brand new foundations were dug for the platforms. New fences were erected, and new rain shelters provided. There was also brand new signs installed, and the picture above is one of them before the local thickos started tagging it.
I can't remember when they were finally retired from use by South West Trains, but I used to rather like these class 159 diesel electric trains that used to run to the west of England from Waterloo. They were built specifically for long distance travel, and so ordinary 2nd class seating was as good as 1st class in some other trains. Occasionally, if it was warm, and I wasn't too hungry, and not in a great rush to get home, I would get off my train from Earlsfield station at Clapham Junction on my way home from work, and wait for one of these trains. It was nice to have a bit of luxury for the 10 minute journey to Waterloo station.
It seems my memory is faulty. Class 159 trains still operate from Waterloo to this day, although they have gone through several livery changes over the years. The train above is seen in Network South East livery. South West Trains modified this livery, and then changed it quite a lot. The new franchise owner, South Western Railway have changed it to a rather unexciting black and white livery now. It seems I have more train spitting/photography to do some time ! There is more info here - https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Rail_Class_159
As evening approached I had started scanning negatives, and felt comfortable doing a few packets of them until I started to feel hungry. I started my dinner with two Sainbury's Greek salads. They had been in the fridge for 24 hours, and they would have started to deteriorate if I had left them much longer. I followed up the salad with the last Chinese dish from my takeaway the previous night. It was a rather nice chicken with Cashew nuts, but would have been nicer still if it had been chicken with cashew nuts in yellow bean sauce like many restaurants do. Incidently, my lunch was also part of that Chinese takeaway. It was a rather big special fried rice, but rather than stir all the bits into the rice the meats and vegetable were served as a layer on top of the rice. It was quite nice like that - maybe too nice because I ended up eating the whole thing despite thinking it was a very big portion.
With dinner inside of me, and feeling quite relaxed, I couldn't be bothered to go out to a gig last night. I ended up watching a bit of TV after my dinner, but there was precious little on that was worth watching. By 9pm I had brushed my teeth, and then been reading in bed for 20 minutes or so. Once again I have no idea what time I turned the light out, but I have a feeling it was not long after 9pm, and then it wasn't long before I was asleep.
I seemed to have a very relaxed night. I only remember waking up once or twice, and even then the memory is somewhat dream like. Towards the end of the night I had a few pleasant, but uneventful dreams, before waking up just as it was starting to get light. That was at something like 5.45am, a little before official sunrise, and at that time the light looked very pinkish as it seeped around my curtains. It was another 10 minutes before I peeped behind the curtains, and the eastern sky was rather pink, but it was fading fast.
It feel like I had rather a good night's sleep. So far there has been none of the yawning that characterised yesterday morning, and while I have the usual assortment of low level aches, I do sort of feel OK-ish this morning. It could be the day to do something, but as yet I have no idea what that something might be. One possibility that I might consider is to go and visit the western end of The District Line. On the weekend of 22nd and 23rd of June there is a celebration of 150 years of the District Line, and a steam train will be in operation between Ealing Broadway and (I think) West Kensington. I think the cheapest fare to travel on the train is £150, and there is no way I would pay that for a 30 minute round trip even if I could afford it, but I could still take some photos of it. At some point I want to go and scout out a few good locations, and I could do it today.
Whether I will do that today, and whether I go to Stretchy's Open Mic tonight is very much unknown at the moment. I feel a bit unsure about myself at the moment. I feel it might be preferable to do something like more garden clearance today. It would be a good stress test of my physical condition, and it is something I could stop at any time if something started to hurt. Just lately I have had a few chest twinges that seem a little different from my usual costochondritis twinges. I am wondering if the time is coming when I'll need to get some maintenance done of my heart bypass. One other consideration is that while it may just be a passing thing, I have had to make two visits in very quick succession to the toilet during the course of writing this paragraph. With luck it is just the result of double salad.....
|Saturday 23rd March 2019
It was mild, but another terribly gloomy day yesterday. The morning started at around 9° C, and by the afternoon it had risen to 14° C, but without any sunshine to back it up it merely felt "not cold". There was no joy about it. Even the plants and birds didn't seem to think much of it. The temperature only fell 3 or 4° after sunset, and it was a mild night.
The forecast didn't predict it, but there has been at least one short sunny interval this morning. That was several hours ago, and no the sky is just uniformly grey - which is what is forecast for today. There is a very small, 6%, chance of rain coming up soon, but the chances are it is just going to be another dry, horribly grey, overcast day. The highest temperature today will probably be a degree or two less than yesterday at 12° C, although the latest revision to the forecast does say there might be a short period of 13° C at 2pm. (It also reduces the chance of rain at 11am to 0%). Tonight is not set to be a mild night. The clouds will break up and let all the heat away, and tomorrow could start cold enough for a frost, but there will be sunny intervals all day long, and the temperature could rise to 13° C in the afternoon.
I don't know if it was a rather extended hangover, but I felt rotten for much of yesterday. I felt very tired, and I had some back ache to add to the more usual aches. Maybe the lack of sunshine got to me too, and I felt most depressed. It was hard to motivate me to do anything. I spent almost all morning laying on my bed trying to snooze, but failing despite non-stop yawning. I did do a lot of reading. I chose a much lighter paperback book instead of the big, heavy hardback I have been reading recently.
The book I chose was another Arthur C. Clarke book, and one that was supposed to be fact instead of fiction. It was called 1984:Spring, and was partly written as a counterpoint to George Orwell's 1984. It consisted of copies of speeches and other stuff written by Clarke. It is curious looking back at his predictions for the near future. They were made before the internet was invented, and before home computers. Many things he predicted did come to exist, but in a totally different form, and used in ways that were completely different. Perhaps the biggest bit of unfulfilled optimism was that better communications would lead to more peace, and harmony. Maybe the US and USSR are no longer on the brink of nuclear war now, but other skirmishes still go on, and of course Brexit is a local instance of (so far) bloodless divide and conquer. One thing Clark did not appreciate is that his beloved communication satellites proved to have to long signal delays (speed of light problem) for many uses, and most fixed international communications is done by undersea cable now.
After a bit of lunch I decided that maybe a can or two of lager might help, and to some extent it did. It helped shift some of the brain fog, proving that some of the problem was a hangover, but it couldn't make the sun shine, and I still felt depressed. I'm not sure that "depressed" is actually the best description of how I felt, but I guess it is as good as any.
One positive action I decided to take was to take my old broken printer with the good flat bed scanner in it (retrieved from a waste bin when I was at work) downstairs and hook it up to my creaky old laptop. The scanner works perfectly in that combination. It also works when attached to my big desktop PC, but I have another printer/scanner attached to that, and I can't get the scanner to be recognised. I have a feeling that the Linux software cannot wake the scanner from sleep mode because it can't detect it exists when sleeping.
I had several attempts to make it work, but the printer that won't print because it's innards are broken, works perfectly as a scanner, and one thing I did yesterday was to scan some East London Line memorabilia from 1994. The East London tube line no longer exists because it is now part of the London Overground, and the old Shoreditch station is now disused. That makes some of the leaflets I have collected sort of rare now.
This is how the East London Line used to look. Now it is part of London Overground the line continues to Highbury And Islington in the north. Trains still terminate at New Cross, but trains continue beyond New Cross Gate towards Crystal Palace. There is now also a third spur to the south of Surrey Quays that goes to Clapham Junction.
In 1995 the East London Line was closed at Easter for improvement works which included some heavy maintenance on the Thames Tunnel, as built by Brunel 150 years previously. The original estimate was that the line would be closed for 7 months, but it was far longer than that. It was closed for a whole 3 years in the end ! It would close again in 2007 for 18 months while being converted into part of London Overground.
Scanning all the parts of the leaflets, and there were many that I have not shown here, was about the last practical thing I did yesterday - apart from preparing the scans by straightening up the edges, and resizing some images, and then uploading them for consideration by the Disused Station group (where they went down well). The next few hours were spent on the phone to Sue. She had made two postings the previous night on social media to say that she had terrible back pain, and to say that she was in hospital.
I thought I had better give her a call to see how she was. It turns out she had spent the night in A&E where, after a very long wait while tests were made, she was offered strong pain killers before being released. Amusingly enough, the first painkiller she was given was in the form of a suppository ! Well I guess that was the orifice nearest to the pain, and apparently it was fairly effective.
We talked mainly about medical stuff, or anything else that would distract her from the pain she was still in. After a couple of hours the subject of food came up. She, like me, was hungry, but was in too much pain to do any cooking. So I volunteered to order and pay for a Chinese takeaway. Sometimes it feels good to help. Of course the only problem with doing that was that it got my taste buds dribbling, and I had to go back online and order myself a Chinese takeaway.
Last night's dinner of Chinese takeaway almost certainly contained more sugar than was good for me. I ordered a selection of dishes, as I usually do, and I have enough for dinner today as well. The first dish I had was King Prawn in a vegetable laden sauce, and it seemed quite sweet and syrupy. That was not what I was expecting. At least my second course of roast pork foo young was not sweet.
I whiled away the rest of the evening watching TV. It feels like a bad habit I have got into. In a way it is, but the underlying reason is that by flicking channels there are several programmes that I enjoy on one after the other. Of course they are all repeats, but living in the TV past has always seemed to be far preferable to the present for the last 10 years or more ! Finally it was time to go to bed. Actually, in this case, I decided not to watch QI, and went to bed earlier than I might have done, but I did read in bed for quite a long time.
I am unsure when it was that I went to sleep, or even when I put the book down, but I have a funny feeling it might have been as late as just after midnight. There is a chance that it after midnight BST. My electronic clock, a Sony digital picture frame, is still set to BST for reasons that I can't explain, and it might have been one final glance at that, that I based my idea about getting to sleep after midnight from. It is either tomorrow, or next Sunday when the clocks change from GMT to BST, and my electronic clock will be right again until the clocks change back again.
I seemed to sleep quite well, but I woke up far earlier than intended, although what my intended time was is anyone's guess. I guess I woke up because it was light outside, and sunrise is now just before 6am now. I was up doing a bit of this, and a bit of that on my PC (including preparing smaller versions of the East London Line memorabilia pictures to show here), and I may have been awake for an hour before deciding to go back to bed again. Once again that strange miracle happened, although it happens so frequently now that it is hardly a miracle any more. I lay there thinking I wouldn't get to sleep, and then suddenly several hours have passed.
So far this morning (part 2) I have done nothing except having a shower before sitting down at my PC to write this. I usually do it the other way around, but it seemed so late in the morning that I thought I would get the shower in first. Much of me feels in fair working order this morning, but my right elbow, or a muscle or two near it, is still sore. I am wondering if it is something like arthritis of the elbow rather than the muscle strain, or something even more bizzare that I once thought it was. If it is that then it it is still at the stage where I can work through it if I have some reasonable motivation.
Maybe there is some motivation today. From time to time is seemed to get bright enough to make me think that the sun is trying to break through the clouds, but there is no sign of anything sun like in the sky, but there is a very large patch of milky white cloud that is almost to bright to look at comfortably. I hope it is enough to motivate me to push a little further ahead with my rehabilitation of the back room. I have very little to do before I can push the chest of drawers into the alcove next to the chimney breast, and that should make the room seem a lot bigger, and provide some scope for further changes for the better.
I hope that I feel good enough to go out tonight to a gig. It is at the easy to get to Lord Northbrook pub in Lee (little more than 12 minutes away on a 202 bus). I am not terribly keen on the band, Out The Box, but they are pleasant in small doses. I don't think I would stay there for the whole gig. There is a possibly alternative path from mid afternoon onwards though. I think I said that if she still felt terrible I would go and visit Sue, although she is determined to go to a gig herself tonight. It seems unlikely she will be able to go unless her back fixes itself very quickly. I guess it all adds up to the fact that like most days, I have no real idea what I will be doing later !
|Friday 22nd March 2019
The forecast for yesterday was about right (for once). It predicted a generally gloomy day, and although the sun seemed to be about to come out a couple of times, it was indeed a gloomy day. On the plus side it was dry, and although you couldn't say it felt warm, it was noticeable that it wasn't actually cold. The afternoon temperature may not have quite reached the forecast 15° C, but it was close.
The cloud is very thick right now, and despite sunrise being 2 hours ago, I still need the lights on indoors for things like reading and writing. It is mild though. My thermometers basically agree with the forecast of 9° C right now. The cloud may thin a little in an hour or two, and that might brighten things up a bit, but it seems the chances of sunshine today are as good as zero. The afternoon temperature should be 14° C. That is not quite as god as yesterday, but I doubt we'll notice the difference. Once again, no rain is expected. Tomorrow may well be another sunless day, but once again it will be mild. We will lose another degree from the highest temperature compared to today, and the temperature will drop a lot further tomorrow night. It will be the starting conditions for a cooler day, but with some sunny intervals on Monday.
Yesterday was probably a good day, and I'm trying to think of better reasons beyond that it ended with beer ! One thing is that it felt like I had done some useful stuff, but the only big thing I did was to wash a few t-shirts, and other assorted items. I want to say I made another useful sized step in rehabilitating my back room, but I didn't. I did do a few small things, but I don't think any of them made any specific difference. As part of a search for a junior hacksaw, I also took out a three quarters filled rubble sack of junk from my workshop, and hid it in the bottom of the wheelie bin (or it will be hidden when I add more stuff before the bin goes to be emptied next Thursday). It was satisfying to do it, but it hardly made any difference at all. What will make a difference is when I find a way of disposing of some big, rather ancient, test equipment.
One thing about yesterday is that I was sometimes feeling almost good, and sometimes I was actually good without realising it - I think ! For much of the day I was in very little discomfort, but I was soon in discomfort slightly before I went to the station to get the train to Shortlands for my late afternoon drink. I think it might have been the action of brushing my teeth that aggravated my chest, and then the t-shirt I put on was a bit tight over my man boobs. That feels very uncomfortable these days.
With my chest primed to give me trouble I added to the trouble by wearing a pair of shoes I was not sure about. They are a pair of leather look Converse trainers that were sold as size 12 - which they are in America, but only size 11 in the UK. They don't rub or pinch, and yet they still feel strangely uncomfortable. Maybe they just need breaking in. I didn't think you could break in that type of shoe, but I do have a couple more pairs of shoes that started uncomfortable, but are improving everytime I persevere with wearing them - mostly just for short walks to the local shops.
I wasn't feeling too happy when I walked out my front door with my chest and feet not feeling comfortable, and things got worse....or maybe, in a perverse way, better. It felt hard to walk fast in those shoes, but that seemed OK because walking fast hurt my chest. By the time I reached the station I felt quite uncomfortable, and I was slightly short of breath, and I was a lot earlier than expected. Maybe I got my times all wrong, but it seemed like I had made it to the station in almost record time, and I was definitely trying not to do that ! Perhaps in some mind boggling way I was too distracted by trying to work out which bit was aching most to realise I was walking far faster than intended, or maybe I just wanted to get the uncomfortable walk over with a quickly as possible. I must admit it was handy having a full five minutes to get my breath back, and to cool off a little before the train arrived.
It was just as the train was nearing Shortland station that I got a call from my neighbour Michael. He said he wanted a drink, and wanted to check we were in The Shortlands Tavern. So yesterday we had 2 down, Jodie at a gig, and Paul with conjunctivitis, plus one extra. I sort of felt duty bound to stay at the pub a bit longer to allow Michael to have a few pints, and so I ended up having 4 pints instead of my normal 3 before escorting Michael back to Catford. Unfortunately he was too keen to get home to use the toilet, and didn't hang around while I spent 5 minutes in the Sainsbury's Local store by the station.
I bought 4 of Sainsbury's ready made salads, and then ruined two of them by adding my own ingredients - well it was only their low calories that I ruined, the taste was still wonderful. I added a bit of left over ham and some mayonnaise to the tomato and Mozzarella salad, and some corned beef to the Greek salad. Then after two salads I had some smoked salmon in a cheesy sauce. It was basically a ready meal, but not intended to be a meal by itself. I think it could have gone well with a simple salad, but mine weren't simple salads.
It was late enough that I had missed over half of what I might have watched on TV last night. I saw the end of Star Trek - Deep Space Nine, and the whole of Warehouse 13. I could have gone on to watch another repeat of QI, but I fancied reading a bit before going to sleep early. I am still reading the big and heavy hardbook book filled with short stories by Arthur C. Clarke, and it is not a bed time book. I can only hold it up for 10 minutes before my arms begin to complain. I think I held out long enough to read two complete stories, and decided I probably felt tired enough to go to sleep very quickly.
I was both right and wrong. I put the book down, turned out the light, and then thoght that I didn't feel tired at all. I lay in the darkness thinking about this for what seemed an age, but I suspect was not much longer than ten minutes, before all of a sudden I was fast asleep. Despite still being full of beer I slept mostly OK, and only woke a couple of times for a pee (as far as I can remember). I'm not sure when it was, but I woke up from a dream that was both amzing in it's clarity, and yet so wrong.
The dream concerned learning of a disused railway line that ran from a junction near Crystal Palace to somewhere north of Lewisham. The discovery came with a most detailed map. Sometimes my powers of imagination astound me, and it is a shame that they only seem to be confined to dreams. The significant thing about this railway line is that it entered a tunnel to cross a main road in Forest Hill, and that tunnel went directly under my dad's old shop. It surfaced again just past the shop as the line ran parallel to the side road adjacent to the shop.
It was all terribly exciting at first. A news report had mentioned that some building works had uncovered the tunnel portal. I guess that was the start of the dream, although I am not sure it happened in strict chronological order. I wanted to see this tunnel, and if possible walk through it far enough to pass under the old shop. Unfortunately the tunnel portal had been bricked up apart from a 3 inch gap from top to bottom. That was very strange, but at least I could shone a torch in there and see...well, basically, nothing.
It was a wonderfully exciting dream, but it might even have been before I woke up that the cracks started to appear in it. It was mostly the geography that was all wrong. The map showed the junction near Crystal Palace to be little more than a mile away from my dad's old shop. In reality it is possible 3 miles as the crow flies, and there are a huge amount of obstacles in the way. The even bigger error is that the side road where the tunnel came out is actually a hill in real life, and so it would be a very unusable tunnel that started off going under a building, and then a couple of hundred feet later came out at roof height of that same building. Oh well, it was an enjoyable dream before the wheels came off it !
This morning it felt like I had got up much too early, but all efforts to go back to bed failed. I probably feel about the same as yesterday - a bit creaky here and there, but basically OK. At this point in time I have no idea what I am doing today. It is still too gloomy to draw me outdoors, and I guess I'll end up doing some stuff around the house. It might be time to move the chest of drawers in the back room. I have basically done all the wiring that will pass behind it. I think that moving it into the alcove at the side of the chimney breast will make the room seem a lot bigger, although I expect I'll soon fill the space up as I move stuff around.
If I don't manage to break myself during the day, and it feels like I have had sufficient snoozes, I may consider going out tonight. There's a band called "Something Else" appearing at The Barrel And Horn in Bromley, and I think they are OK. It is only a very tedious (approx) 25 minute bus ride away, and I guess I could just turn around and come home if they are not to my liking (or if the pub is not to my liking). I think I will be making a final decision about whether to go or not much nearer the time.
|Thursday 21st March 2019
The forecast for yesterday looked awful, but it wasn't quite that bad. The day started off mild at around 11° C, and it warmed up to about 15° C. That should have felt almost warm, but it was more the case that it just didn't feel cold. It was a dry day, but the missing ingredient was sunshine. Sometimes it was almost bright, but mostly it was very dull.
My thermometers suggest it is a smidgen cooler than the 11° C forecast for right now, but it's as close as makes no difference. It appears that today will be another day of grey clouds and no sign of the sun. Maybe there will be times when the cloud cover will be a bit lighter, but most of the day we will be covered with suffocating thick grey clouds. The only good thing about today will be the afternoon temperature. It should be 15° C, the same as yesterday, and which is best described as "not cold". In sunshine it would probably feel very nice, but it looks like we may have to wait until Sunday before we see the sun again. Update: The forecast has been slightly revised while I was writing. The main change is that some of the cloud is predicted to be a lighter shade of grey now, and that it might only be 15° C for just one single hour now. Tomorrow is going to be almost the same as today, but maybe a degree cooler.
Yesterday was a day that turned out better than expected - not that I was expecting much. One thing that was much better was that after getting up in the middle of the night to re-make my bed, I felt much better for not have been sleeping on a lumpy, rucked up mattress protector. Maybe having a nice hot shower and washing my hair contributed to a feeling of feeling not particularly bad. It wouldn't last, but it was nice while it did.
It seems weird that while I can remember fine details of doing two things yesterday, I can't seem to recall which I did first. I think the first thing I did was to take out some rubbish and waste food before doing a fair bit of washing up. I also cleaned the inside of the microwave oven, and the counter top in front of it. Next (or before it) I went to Poundland and Aldi. I felt sure I had seen some back boxes for electrical, or Ethernet sockets to be mounted on in Poundland, but maybe I was mistaken. I may have to see if they have them in Wickes, or order them from Amazon.
I was most disappointed that Aldi didn't have any plain rice cakes in stock. They did have rice cakes with yoghurt, and (I think) chocolate coatings on them, but they are obviously not suitable for putting ham and cheese on ! I'll probably have to go into Iceland to get plain rice cakes now, but that may not be so bad because I can get squeezy jalapeño flavoured cheese from there too. About the only unusual purchase I made in Aldi was beer.
The beer on the left, as the writing on the can implies, is beer with mango juice in it. It is strange, but rather nice. The only downside is that the mango juice is very sugary, even if it is "fruit sugar", and I fear it would raise my blood glucose level too far if I indulged in too many of them. I bought, and drank just two 330ml cans yesterday. The beer on the right was rather nice. I am not sure I would describe it as "very hoppy". As a general rule I don't like very hoppy beer, and that is why I am not keen on Youngs or Shepheard Neam beers, but may it is more to do with the type of hops rather than the amount of them.
While putting the food I had bought into the fridge I was reminded that there were two things in there that really ought to be eaten very quickly. There were a couple of Scotch Eggs that I had bought from the reduced price shelf in Tesco a few days previously, and ideally they should have been eaten on the same day as purchased. There were also a couple of cod with cheddar cheese fishcakes that had been defrosting for a good few days. I ended up having a rather large lunch of Scotch Eggs followed by fishcakes - as two separate courses.
After eating that big lunch I relaxed a bit by spending some time looking through the video that my trail cameras had shot over the last 3 or 4 nights. There must have been 2 or more hours of video on the memory cards, and I have condensed it all down to one video lasting 1 minute and 54 seconds. It begins in daylight, and shows the local Siamese cat checking to see if the fox is at home. It probably was, and the cat makes a quick retreat. Next it is night time and a black cat is seen walking along the fence on the left side of my garden. Then it is back to ground level and the Siamese cat is seen jumping the back fence. That is followed by my resident fox jumping the back fence twice. It is certainly so much more mobile now compared to the poor thing limping around in January.
After resting I thought I would have a go and doing just one small job. During the night I had revised my thoughts about how I was going to do the Ethernet wiring between the front and back room. The bit of red Ethernet cable I had put in the previous day that was to carry the raw "internet" from my modem to my firewall was a bit short. I decided to replace it with a much longer bit of red cable that would not be terminated on sockets, but would have a plug at each end to plug into the modem and the firewall. It took two attempts to put a new plug on the end that would plug into my firewall, but on that second attempt it worked.
That spurred me on to do a little more work. I had already taken the old laptop that is now my web server into the back room, but it still had a very long Ethernet lead plugged into it where I had been working on it in the front room. Changing that to a short lead took no more than a minute, but several minutes longer to tidy up the long lead and put it into a bag to stop it tangling with other leads. That just left one long lead still going along the floor and through the doorway into the front room.
It was for a camera that was bought as a replacement for the one that seemed to be slowly rotting away on the back windowsill, but refuses to die ! It is sitting in the living room "on test" rather than serving any purpose. It was the ideal low priority thing to test and use my newly terminated RJ45 sockets (or one of them). I haven't terminated the cables in the back room onto sockets as intended, but like the red cable to the modem, there was one cable I terminated with a new plug, and plugged that directly into my Ethernet hub. On that occasion I got the new plug on at my first attempt, and it was not nearly as fiddly as the red cable.
I was very happy that my termination on the RJ45 socket in the living room worked first time. I still need to sort out how the socket, on the front plate, is going to be attached to the back box, but I'll get there in the end. The real big difference all this has made is that instead of three cables trailing through the doorway into the living/front room, there are now none, and for the first time in 5 or 10 years I can actually close the living room door - if I want to, and last night I wanted to because I could !
All that work, although more specifically the rolling on the floor to push through cables, and remove the old red cable and it's socket, tripped my sore chest, or at least made it worse. I had probably tripped it when I was in bed, and I felt something go click when reached up from under the duvet to get some hair out of my eye. That gave me a small twinge that was soon over, but it seems it left a legacy. It was the same place that was aching when I finished my wiring. Unfortunately it was made worse.
While I was grabbing a large freezer bag to bag up one of the long cables I had recovered, I accidently knocked a jar of peanut and chocolate butter to the floor, and the jar smashed. Fortunately the contents were so sticky that it held most of the glass together. That made it a bit easier to clean up, but it still meant leaning over in a small space, and that made my chest ache even more. I ended up taking painkillers to calm it down a bit. Every cloud has a silver lining though, and the silver lining in this case was that I had disposed of a jar of stuff that I didn't want to throw away, but didn't want to eat because it's calorie and sugar count was through the roof ! It was a painful and messy way to solve a dilemma, but the deed was done.
I did no more work for the rest of the evening, and just vegetated in front of the TV. Most of what I watched was just time filling stuff, but I felt quite happy despite the pain to know that I had taken a very useful step toward the rehabilitation of not just the back room, but of the house in general. There may be an eye watering amount of stuff still to go, but each step brings benefits.
I still felt rather uncomfortable when I went to bed, and that was after taking painkillers. As well as the chest ache, I had also developed some back ache while watching TV. It didn't bode well for a good, or even any night's sleep, but in fact my bed seemed so unusually comfy last night that I had little difficulty getting to sleep - and, to my amazement, staying asleep. I didn't make it through the whole night without waking, but I only have a hazy recollection of waking once before it was starting to get light this morning.
I think it was about 6.30am when I half got up to do my usual morning routine, and then I went back to bed. Once again my bed felt rather comfy, and I was looking forward to getting some more lovely sleep, but it didn't really happen. I first tried to sleep on my left side. That doesn't usually aggravate my chest, but that was facing the curtains, and it seemed to be very bright outside, so I turned over. Unfortunately I turned over rather carelessly, and as I twisted my body around I "popped" my chest again. It seems to just about gone now, several hours later, but at the time it ached enough to stop me relaxing enough to get to sleep.
There is only one definite on the agenda for today, and that is to go for my late afternoon Thursday drink with the lads. Apart from that I have no idea what I will be doing. I could go for a walk to Wickes and see if they have the back boxes I want, but I wondering if I should do that before I get the train to go for my drink. Wickes is very close to Catford station, and I have to go that way, anyway.
|Wednesday 20th March 2019
There were a few short sunny periods that were not shown on the forecast, but generally the forecast was about right. Most of the time it was lightly overcast, but dry, and almost, but not quite warm with an afternoon temperature of 13° C.
It was a very mild start to this morning, and it should go on to be slightly warm this afternoon. After an 11° C start the temperature should rise to 15° C (with a small possibility of 16° C). It would all be rather good if there were any chance of sunshine today. The cloud is definitely thicker, and more homogenous than yesterday, and so the forecast of zero sunshine seems very likely. Apparently it will be a dry day even if it looks like it might pour with rain at any moment ! It could be another mild night, and tomorrow could be a clone of today. It may not be until Sunday that we see any sight of the sun, and even that may only be in the form of a couple of short lived sunny spells. The optimistic thought is that the forecast will be completely wrong, and the sun will appear on Saturday, and blaze in the sky on Sunday. We can but hope.
I did feel many aches and pains yesterday. Some of the new ones may be partly explainable if there was a thing where I was unusually sensitive to certain conditions - like the memory foam, mattress protector on my bed being rucked up, but more about that later. None of yesterday's aches prevented me from doing anything, but they did make some options rather less attractive. For instance I didn't fancy going for a speed walk around the park, although if I did, or more correctly if I was able to do that, it might have made me feel better, and not worse.
I did go out in the morning, but only to the local shops, and the walk did feel OK, although the weight of what I was carrying did cause a bit of unusual discomfort, but it would have had to be a lot worse to have made me want to carry less. You may well wonder what all the weight was. It was 2 x 2l bottles of Diet Coke, a 1l bottle of Grants whisky (on special offer) and a 70cl bottle of Jameson's whiskey (also on special offer). Then there were the two bottles of laundry detergent - one non bio, and the other detergent for colours. There were also some smaller items as well.
The surprising thing is that very little of what I bought was food. There were a couple of half price scotch eggs, a medium sized bottle of mayonnaise, and a reduced price mixed pot of olives and anchovies. It was the latter that made my lunch so much more exciting. I had two containers of salad spare from my takeaway the previous night. One was supposed to accompany the donner meat and chips that would form the core of my dinner in the evening, and the other was a feta cheese salad. Both were improved with olives and anchovies.
One thing that surprised me considering my elbows and wrists, and a few muscles in my arms were aching, is that I did a pile of hand laundry. Doing such does use a lot of arm power, and it did cause a few twinges in the first minute or two, but otherwise was not really any different to any other time. Once all that washing, t-shirts, underwear, and tea towels, were hung up to dry I took it easy for a bit, but late in the afternoon I did a little more work towards my back room rehabilitation project. It wasn't much, and probably only took three quarters of an hour. It was to wire up a new extension lead, and screw the strip of 4 sockets to the. This will be essential because the wall sockets will ultimately be hidden behind an old chest of drawers. It is not exactly a safe way of doing things, but with care and choice of fuses, it is the only practical way of doing it.
My dinner of reheated donner meat and chips was greasy, and the chips were pretty knaff - as reheated chips always are unless you have access to a deep fat frier (maybe), but on the other hand, with a very generous sprinkle of hot chilli sauce, were rather delicious even if it takes unhealthy food to new heights ! I did my best to eat very little after that. As per habit, I ate my dinner while flicking between Star Trek, the original series on The Horror channel, and the news on BBC1. I then went on to watch Star Trek - Deep Space Nine - the Star Trek series that seems to mix crap stories with good stories. Last night's episode wasn't enthralling enough to stop me occasionally checking the internet and stuff.
After that I watched an episode of Warehouse 13 on Pick. It is a series that is sort of strange, and one where the amount of Gung Ho Americanism is not too high, and thus tolerable. Finally, after that I watched an old Stephen Fry episode of QI. Now that was curious because it seemed new at first, but maybe half way through it started to become familiar. Maybe I only saw half of it the last time that episode was on. It was quite handy that the second half became a bit boring because I was starting to feel rather tired, and I decided to go to bed.
Once I got in bed I couldn't sleep because I felt really uncomfortable. All my daytime aches came to the fore, and some new ones appeared. Eventually I did fall asleep, but it may have taken a whole hour before it happened. I slept for about 3 hours before waking up at 2am feeling dreadful. I came to a conclusion that I should have come to the previous night, and possibly earlier. It being that my bed was bloody uncomfortable because the memory foam mattress protector had slipped again, and it was rucked up in the middle.
It seemed such a small bump I was sleeping, and I am sure I must have slept on worst ones back in the day when I was a boy scout, and out camping, but that little bump was causing my legs to really ache like the nerves were being pinched. Maybe it was pressure on nerves that was the cause of much of my misery. Anyway, at about 2.20am I decided I just had to strip my bed down and remake it with the mattress protector pulled straight (and held that way with duct tape - which seems very solid, but is only a temporary solution). After that I slept much more comfortably.
I would dearly have loved to have slept for another 5 hours this morning, but as usual I started to get up little more than half an hour after sunset. It is strangely difficult to tell, but I think I ache less this morning, but not by much. I am hoping that once I stretch my legs I will feel much better. The only thing I am dubious about is my right knee. It did feel rather sore when I went down to the kitchen earlier. I'm pinning my hopes on it being a fading legacy from last night, and maybe the night before that.
I have part of today all planned out, but maybe not in which order I will do things. I definitely need to wash my hair when I have a shower. It is feeling, and looking horrible at the moment. I must check the trail cameras. They have been out without being checked for about 4 nights now, and might have some interesting fox video on them. Finally I probably do need to go on a proper food shopping trip today. I think I'll go to Aldi this time. One other thing comes to mind for today - I have a sink full of washing up to do !
I have no other plans for today, but I expect I'll end up doing a bit more towards the rehabilitation of the back room. One future plan is actually only a vague thought at the moment. Now my fox's injury seems to have healed, and she is very mobile again, I see less and less of her on the trail cameras. I am considering the idea of putting one on some woodland in the hope it doesn't get stolen, and that it captures some interesting images. The nearest place that doesn't get a lot of human traffic, although anything at night would be curious, is the Pool River Linear Park. There are some wooded places that would allow the camera to be fairly discrete. A potentially more interesting place might be the wooded end of Beckenham Place Park - the end near Ravensbourne station. I think I'll think this over, and make a decision sometime in the future.
One thing that occurred yesterday was a rare sunny interval just after midday - perhaps close to 1pm. The sun is now high enough in the sky to shine directly into part of my garden. Since November, plus of minus a few weeks, the sun has been too low in the sky to do any more than tickle the tops of the fences, but from now until Autumn some of my garden gets some sunshine. It is still mainly the back of the garden that gets the best of it, but the sides get some morning and evening sunshine - when it is sunny !
|Tuesday 19th March 2019
The sunny periods that yesterday started with didn't seem to last as late as midday, if I recall correctly, but it did make for a cheery start to the day. The afternoon was generally dull, but it was around the forecast 10° C, and with light winds it did feel almost, but not quite, not cold. I think there was one shower yesterday, but apart from it being sometime before sunset, I can't remember when it was. I don't think there were any showers after dark, with with the curtains closed I wouldn't have noticed any rain less than heavy.
This morning the forecast and reality are almost in agreement. There was rain at 7am, and I think there was some fine drizzle at 8am which wasn't shown in the forecast. It is certainly dull right now, although at 9am, plus or minus 10 minutes, there was some hazy sunshine. Some more of that would be nice, but judging by the look of the sky the forecast for an overcast day looks to be probably correct. If the temperature forecast is correct, and it started about right, it will be tepid today. 13° C is neither warm nor cold, although it does depend on what you are doing. It might feel pleasant during a brisk walk without a coat. Unfortunately there looks to be a very small, but possible chance of rain during the afternoon. Unless the weather changes a lot from the forecast, today will not be a day to remember. Tomorrow is forecast to be equally dull, but with hardly any chance of rain. The afternoon may feel slightly warm with the temperature as high as 16° C.
Yesterday was a strange sort of day. As I explained yesterday morning, all the last symptoms of the head cold I had, had finally gone, but bits of me, mainly joints, were aching like I had arthritis. Maybe I did maybe I do. The strange thing was probably brought about by a combination of the morning sunshine and feeling good apart from those aches and pains. Maybe it was nothing more than getting carried away. Whatever the underlying reason(s) were, I ended up doing hard work for longer than I did most days when I was at work ! When I say "hard work" I mean fiddly in some cases, and actually hard physical work at other times.
I didn't set out to do it, but I ended up making a fair bit of progress towards rehabilitating my back room. Hopefully turning it back into some sort of semblance to a dining room instead of the junk room it had become. It all started with taking most of the junk out from the cupboard under the stairs, and disposing of a few bits of it, and then packing it all in a more compact way. That made room to put some extra stuff in there. The extra stuff included some bog drums of coax cable left over from days when I used it a lot for pirate radio station installations. It also included a big and heavy laser printer that I really ought to dispose of.
Having got the drums of cable out of the corner of the back room, and stashed under the stairs, I could see the holes I had drilled through the wall for an old phone cable, and two coax cables (one was from the TV aerial, and I can't remember why I needed the other). The had long been out of use, and the ends cut off where they came through in the front room. When I started this grand rehabilitation project I couldn't remember exactly what the holes were like, but I knew I wanted to use them for Ethernet cables - one for the feed from my broadband modem to my firewall, and a couple for firewalled feeds of the internet, and my internal network for assorted uses in my front room.
My next job was to hoover up all the crap behind the where the cable drums were, and I mean crap literally. There were a heap of mouse droppings behind them. There was also a large hole in the skirting board that I think was originally used for pipework for gaslighting. It is now blocked by a lump of wood. With the mouse droppings, assorted fluff and cobwebs sucked up by the hoover I could move on to putting in the Ethernet cables. That started with terminating one end of the cables on RJ45 sockets mounted on a wall mounted back box.
It wasn't as easy I expected it to be. The last time I used a "Krone" tool for terminating great amounts of wire and cables was when I worked in the telephone exchanges, and the connector blocks were big, single sided, and conveniently solidly mounted on an iron framework. The little sockets were small, fiddly, not fixed to anything, and had two rows that were very close to each other. I gradually got the hang of doing it, but even then I wasn't going very fast.
The next big hurdle was to attach the back box to the wall, and to screw on the faceplate which had the sockets clipped on it. Screwing the back box to the wall was not easy because it was close to the floor in a corner, and the only way to do it was to lay on the floor. That used a few interesting muscles ! Ultimately it was a disaster. I had unwisely chosen a 4 way socket which needed 4 cables going to it. Trying to cram all those rather inflexible cables into the back box was really difficult. To make matters worse, the screws that were supplied with the front plate did not match the screw holes on the back box.
I noted that the more shallow back boxes had threaded brass inserts that the screws supplied with the front plate fitted perfectly. The deep back box I was using had no threaded inserts, and no obvious thread at all. It was like, and probably was, a cheap Chinese made item that had been made without proper plans, or understanding of how it was to be used. Once the cables had been threaded through the hole in the back box, and then terminated, it was tricky to do anything else but try and use it as it was. Unfortunately my attempt at screwing the front plate on just broke the mounting points. There was no way to hold the front on after that. I may try superglue, or some other wacky idea, but I suspect I will have to redo that end from scratch at some point.
I will go back to that end of the cables in the front room some time later, and I will do the terminations in the back room with more care when I do them. Instead of one 4 way socket I will just use two 2 way sockets with the more shallow back boxes. I think the very last thing I did yesterday was to drill holes in the shelf so I can have the sockets above the shelf. With that done I did a very quick bit of hoovering and called it a day. I either felt very elated or light headed, but probably mostly shocked that I had made so much progress. Unfortunately it is still only a small bit out out a very much bigger job.
During the day I had only eaten the occasional nibble and I was feeling hungry. I satisfied my initial craving with some sugar free chocolate biscuits, but I didn't want to eat too much because I had a cunning plan. One of my plans for yesterday was to go and do a bit of shopping, but I didn't have time for that, and I didn't have the energy left to do it after I finished working. It seemed like the perfect excuse to get a takeaway. I think it was just before 6pm when I ordered some grilled meat and salad - aka a shish kebab ! Actually it was a bit more complex that that. I ordered a chicken shish, a donner meat with chips, a small kofta kebab, and a feta salad.
I discarded all the pitta bread, and ate the chicken and kofta kebabs, and they were very delicious. The feta cheese salad I will have for lunch today, and I am hoping the donner meat and chips will heat up OK in the microwave for dinner tonight (although the chips will probably be pretty rough). After eating I just vegetated in front of the TV until 10pm when I went to bed. I expected to fall asleep very quickly, and I guess I did, but not as fast as it seemed might happen.
On the whole I slept well - so well that I can't remember getting up to pee in the night. I know I did, but it is how many times that is now lost from my memory. I guess that is the sign of a good sleep. I also know that I had some interesting dreams, but only a fraction of one survives in my memory, and that is now starting to look like I am remembering it through a fog. It concerned a very weird food vending machine that was supposed to have some sort of touch sensitive glass that could work out what you were pointing to. It also had a very strange credit/debit card reader that seemed like a sort of carousel. The conclusion of that dream is that it didn't work, and I went both hungry and thirsty.
The hunger bit I am not so sure about, but I definitely woke up with a very dry mouth after that dream. I think that was when I first got up. I did the usual, pills, pee, and screenshot of the weather forecast, and then I went back to bed. It turned into yet another case where I laid in bed, and nothing seemed to happen. Then it was like I blinked my eyes and another hour had passed. It felt quite late then, and I decided that I would get up.
This morning I have a few extra interesting aches and pains, but they are probably not as bad as when I went to bed. A couple of Paracetamol tablets have taken the edge of most of them, and apart from a headache, I feel OK - not good, but OK. (I have doubts I will ever feel good again. Although I do wonder what good actually feels like, or whether it ever happened). I now have to decide what I might do today. Getting washed and dressed would be a good start, and then I probably ought to get out to the shops. The real unknown is what comes after that. I would like to get out for a walk today, but the weather, despite being mild (if the forecast holds) is not very welcoming. Maybe I'll do more clearing of the back room, or maybe I wont !
|Monday 18th March 2019
The weather definitely did not follow the forecast yesterday ! The forecast started off OK, and there were some cheerful sunny intervals during the morning, but the afternoon completely went off the rails. It probably wasn't long after midday that it started getting dull, and by 4pm when the forecast said sunshine, it was so dark that I had to turn the lights on. Not only that, but the temperature seemed to have fallen to about 6° C. Not long after that it started to rain - and yesterday was supposed to be a dry day ! During the night the temperature dropped further, and we probably only missed a frost by as little as just 1° C.
I feel sure it was colder than 6° C at 8am, but at least the forecast for sunny periods was right. We are having a fairly long one as I type this. At the moment I can see lots of thin clouds with some blue between them, but nothing dark and horrid looking. The latest revision to the forecast says the sunny intervals might now last until midday, but the afternoon is probably going to be lightly overcast, and there is a small, but creditable chance of some rain for more of the afternoon. It will probably only be 10°C, and so wearing a coat for going any further than the corner shop would probably be a good idea rain or no rain. Tonight may not be so cold as last night, and tomorrow could be several degrees warmer than today, maybe 14° C, but no sunshine is expected at any time. Like today there is a very small chance of a shower during the afternoon.
Yesterday was a typical Sunday - it was slow, tedious, and sometimes boring. On the other hand I did continue to feel better. My nose was almost perfectly dry, and I probably didn't consciously cough more than once or twice (I may have done an occasional brief "ahem" now and then, but I don't recall any times that I did). It was further proof that I am over the head cold that spoiled, maybe ruined, the first fortnight of this month. That just leaves the various aches I have as being unexplained.
For reasons I don't understand, my left wrist more than my right, but essentially both wrists, and the same for my elbows, except it is the right elbow that is worst, are intermittently rather painful. The reason for the intermittency is that the pain is usually only apparent when making some movements. This started sometime during, or possibly before the head cold, and continues this morning. I guess it could be some sort of arthritis, but I think not. I think it may be a viral infection because it has some similarities to the aches you get with 'flu. It is obviously unpleasant, but rarely causes any difficulty, and I am making the assumption that just like any infection, it will clear up soon.
The only thing of any great significance that I did yesterday was photo and video editing. I think I took 144 snaps at the M.T. Pockets gig on Saturday night, and I ended up with just 16 pictures that seemed to be of sufficient quality or interest. Some are destined to appear on M.T. Pockets own website when it appears. The video editing was mainly just top and tailing the recording, but I also did a little bit of audio equalisation, and added a simple caption at the beginning. The work I did didn't really take that long, but the rendering down to the final output files took ages (an hour or more). I am sure my computer is running slow since a recent update that was to do with Spectre security vulnerability. There were warnings that some of the remedies to the Spectre security vulnerability could cause a slowdown for some processors.
It probably didn't help that some of the videos were quite long. The video I have chosen to show here is actually two songs. The first is a cover of Led Zeppelins "Rock 'n' Roll", and that leads on into Queens "We Will Rock You". The latter was possibly a request, and was not a tune that the band had rehearsed, and Dan had to read some of the lyrics from Matthews mobile phone. For something done on the spur of the moment it worked rather well.
I had very little to do from late afternoon and into the evening yesterday. I did some reading in the afternoon, and I tried to have a snooze. I was feeling tired, but some of it may have just been eye strain after too long at my PC. I don't think I actually fell asleep, or if I did it wasn't for long enough. Later on I started flicking around the channels on TV. Nothing really grabbed my attention, but the I checked out ITV. There is usually nothing I would want to watch on ITV, and plenty I would do my best to avoid watching, but last night they showed something that I did watch.
It was the movie "Spectre" - the 2015 James Bond offering. I sometimes wonder how that franchise keeps going. I guess there are some who have to see it in the cinema, but while last night's film was good, it wasn't that good. Perhaps it might be truer to say that the start of the film seemed rather ragged and bitty, and I might have given up on it, but maybe from halfway through it became much more interesting. In one respect it was a good reminder just how different British and American films are.
Bond films can have an awful lot of "action", but there is less pyrotechnics, and people rarely go in all guns blazing. It is almost cerebral, and that is probably the attraction of bond over the years (not counting the Roger Moore years). Part of my surprise that the franchise keeps on running is that it only takes 3 to 5 years before the movies show up for free (to us) on TV, and barely longer than that to show up as £1 DVDs in Poundland !
After watching the movie I couldn't find anything else I fancied watching, and so spent a bit of time back on the internet, and then a bit of time reading. After that I went to bed - probably rather later than I thought I might. I have to say it was once again nice to get into bed, and lay my head on the pillow without spending 20 minutes blowing my nose, and trying to cough up sticky mucus. It didn't seem to take very long at all before I was fast asleep. I initially slept solidly for 3 hours, and after a pee I again slept for nearly 3 hours.
After that my sleep became much lighter, and was dotted with dreams. One such dream featured a very old flame of mine. It started off with erotic potential, but ended as a nightmare with a part flood in the kitchen, and other stuff caused by her cack-handedness. It was nice to wake up from that dream. This morning I feel mostly well, but I still have some aching joints.
It would be nice to get out into some sunshine today, but I think sunshine is going to be in short supply today, and it is not going to be that warm today - if indeed it even gets to the predicted 10° C. That leaves me with little to do, or at least nothing exciting to do. Once I have finished writing this I'll have a good shower - that's sort of exciting...almost. I think a shopping trip will be necessary because my fridge is almost empty. Other than that it is going to be another day of doing random small jobs around the house. It is possible that I might go out to an open mic session tonight, but I'll decided on that nearer the time.
|Sunday 17th March 2019
The weather wasn't exactly like the forecast, but it was very close to it. It was a mild day that might have almost been warm if the strong winds hadn't blown any warmth away. If that wasn't bad enough then the deeply overcast sky made it a very miserable day. In the evening, when it was supposed to be dark, it was also wet, and a few degrees cooler than the afternoon high of 12° C.
It's all change today. The day has started rather cool, around 5° C, but it has started with sunny intervals. If the forecast holds there should be nice, bright, cheerful, sunny intervals all day until 4pm when the sky should be clear enough for non stop sunshine until sunset. Unfortunately the temperature will only hit a maximum of 10° C today. With much less wind today that might even tickle the underside of warm. Unfortunately the forecast has been revised since I last saw it, and now it seems the late afternoon sunshine will more likely be just a continuation of the earlier sunny intervals. Tomorrow shows a bit of hope. After a cold start, maybe almost cold enough for a frost, it might warm up to 11° C, and sunny intervals could pop up at any time during the day.
Although the major symptoms of my recent cold seem to be behind me now, I still didn't feel all that good yesterday. I think I might have suggested yesterday, but with the benefit of hindsight I can now say that much of my discomfort was because I have been too sedentary lately. Last night I got out, and stirred my stagnant blood up. I felt better for it, but more about that later.
During the day I busied myself was lots of little jobs - many of them done on my PC, but also doing things like sorting out old photos. I have no idea how I could have let it happen, but I have a heap of loose photos that have been stored in an old ice cream container. The original pockets/folders/envelope things, or whatever you call them, have been lost. A worse consequence of this is that the negatives have also been mixed up, and allowed to get dusty or worse. One of the jobs I started, and made some progress on, was to sort many of the photos into sets.
In some cases it was easy. I have a lot of pictures of Imogen and Marion, and I can group them together by the clothes they are wearing. Matching those with the negatives will be a tedious, but relatively easy task, and thus I should end up with complete photo sets. I have now scanned all the negatives (although there are some I might re-scan), and getting those in sets to match the prints should be mostly possible. The difficulty is where I have taken photos of stuff with no people in it wearing clothes that can be matched together. I may be able to identify them as belonging to sets if the negative appears on the same strip as more identifiable pictures, but it's going to be a tedious job.
One of the things that made yesterday slightly frustrating was that I really wanted to eat part two of the curry takeaway that I had on Friday night. I was determined to get out last night, and so I didn't dare fill myself up with hot curry before going out. On the plus side it was a nice lure away from the fried chicken shop on my way home again, although in the end I didn't even eat it then.
Had it been a warm summer night, and if I had been feeling more daring, I might have gone to two half gigs last night. I particularly wanted to see M.T. Pockets in The GPO in Eltham, and it would have been nice to have seen Chain playing in The British Oak in Blackheath (although I tend to think of it being closer to Charlton than the area centred on Blackheath Village). In the end it seemed a bit too experimental to try and catch two buses on two routes I didn't know, and so I stayed watching M.T. Pockets all night. It may be a demonstration of how much better I was feeling, or a demonstration of how enjoyable the band was that I stayed to the very end.
Dan Murphy is a guitar maestro. He doesn't so much play notes or chords, but makes it sing.
M.T. Pockets - Dan Murphy, new drummer Camerom, and Mathew James on bass.
To actually get out out the door, and walk to the bus stop I had to take Paracetamol, Ibuprofen, and a large slug of whisky - about an hour before I was due to go out to give it time to work. Evidently it did work, or maybe none of it was needed because by the time I had walked to the bus stop I was feeling close to OK. The final ingredient was Guinness. I think that after the first quarter of a pint all I could complain about was some muscular aches around my elbows and wrists.
I had a great time, but it started to unravel a bit when going home. It seemed like I had just missed a 160 bus, and the countdown display at the bus stop said it would be something like a 20 minute wait for the next one. However there was a 124 bus due a lot sooner, and the 124 goes to Catford too. The 160 bus takes a rather meandering scenic route back to Catford. The 124 takes a very meandering, and very scenic route back to Catford. I was left wondering if I had gained any time at all by getting the 124 bus.
I was quite surprised at how late it was when I got home. I think it was gone half past midnight - 00:38 seems to be the image that comes to mind. I decided that maybe it was a bit late for the full curry I had been waiting for, and I just had a mixed vegetable side dish with rice. It turned out to be exactly what I wanted or needed. I would have gone to bed straight after eating, but I got a message from Sue. I had exchanged a couple of text messages with her earlier, and as 1am approached she sent me a message saying she was home from the gig she had gone to, and would I like to phone her ?
I did phone her, and we talked about this and that until 3am when I just had to go to bed. At least I thought I did until I got into bed. It took some time to settle, and I expect I fell asleep much closer to 3am than I thought it was. Typically enough, I woke up almost every hour from then on to have a big pee, and finally drain off all the Guinness I had been drinking earlier. Somehow I managed to keep getting back to sleep again after each interruption, and somehow I managed to stay sleeping until 9.30am.
I guess I got almost 6 hours sleep, and that is almost enough, but I felt incredibly bleary when I woke up. Other than that, I guess I don't feel that bad this morning. That doesn't equate to me feeling fine, but I guess I would settle on average for the time of year ! I'm pretty sure I had some interesting dreams last night, but only a bit of one comes to mind. I was back in school, but older than school age, and the school had many of the characteristics of places I have worked in. I was in some sort of queue to be handed a musical instrument that I was supposed to learn to play. I was handed what could only be described as a 12 string electric cello with a knob that went up to 11 !
It was probably a good time to wake up then. I have already started the work that will occupy a fair amount of my time today - editing last night's photos. I got as far as finding two clear and sharp snaps to use here, but I have many more to go through. On top of that I also shot a lot of video, and a quick look at some of it shows it seems to have come out well. Last night was the first test of one of the external microphone I bought in front of a full band and P.A. The sound does seem to be very crisp. The only trouble with taking high resolution videos of about 5 complete songs is that I used about a third of a 32MB memory card. I think one task today will be to order more 32MB SD memory cards. Until I discovered how good the video was on my Canon 600D camera I could fit many gigs on a 16 or even 8GB memory card.
Before I go and do my photo and video editing here's some video shot on my trail camera. It is a very brief clip, and shows my resident fox leaping up onto the back fence. Considering how lame she was when I first captured her on camera, she has come on amazingly. Her jump looks so effortless in this video. I managed to point the camera in a good position laterally for this shot, but there is not enough elevation to show the very top of the fence. Hopefully I will have better luck when check the cameras later today.
|Saturday 16th March 2019
| 08:15 GMT
Despite later revisions of the forecast saying otherwise, there were still some strong gusts of wind yesterday. It was generally a very dull, overcast day, but on a few occasions the sun did manage to peep through the clouds for a minute or two, here and there. That still wasn't enough sunshine to make the afternoon high of 14° C seem pleasant. The grey light made it feel cold and unfriendly outside. On the plus side it was generally a dry day, and there were only hints of a few spits and spots of rain when I went to bed, and was no longer aware of what might be happening outside.
Today is going to be another very dull day, with a remarkably flat temperature profile. It was a mild night, and it seems it will be a mild day. The horrible thick cloud is keeping the temperature up - 11° C to start with. Rising to 12° C before midday, and then only slowly dropping away late in the evening. The latest revision of the forecast says it will probably start to rain at 8pm - just when I want to go out ! Tomorrow is currently forecast to be a rather cool day. It may start as low as 5°C, and then rise to a maximum of just 10° C. On the plus side, there might be sunny intervals popping up all day long, and just maybe a whole hour of sunshine just before sunset.
I would like to say that yesterday I finally sloughed off the winter bug that has caused me so much misery for the last fortnight, but I am not so sure it is that simple. What I do know is that my tissue consumption was very low compared to just a few days previously. My nose is essentially dry. There may have only been 3 or 4 times yesterday when I had to cough up a throatfull of mucus. On those occasions it seemed to come on very quickly, and was cleared very quickly too. It certainly made it easier to do a lot of stuff yesterday - even if that "stuff" was as simple as watching TV (or more usually something on my PC screen). The one thing that didn't go was the aches and pains. They do remind me of 'flu, but I feel certain I haven't had 'flu, although I have no reason to think that way.
Despite bits of me aching, I did do one physical thing yesterday, and that was to hand wash several t-shirts and some underwear. The aches in my elbow and wrists made me think I would not be able, or want to do it in one non stop process, but that is what I did, and it didn't feel too bad. I was quite surprised at how little it affected me. Sometime it does feel that being baked in hot sunshine would cure all these aches and pains.
The rest of my day was mostly spent doing a bit of this and a bit of that. Some of it was spent scanning more negatives. I probably should show some of them here. Some are quite good pictures, but mostly they are just historical with little entertainment potential. Some are of people from my past whose importance has faded over the last 30 years. Maybe if I have no other pictures to show, I might show a few here tomorrow.
It does seem that I have the knack of not getting bored like I thought I might do when I quit work. It is true that many days are almost disposable, but I somehow find lots of little things to do to occupy my time. It would still be nice to go out on a warm sunny day exploring, and I hope when the day comes I am up to it. I feel very rusty and creaky now.
When yesterday evening came around I had two choices. Originally I thought I might go to a gig, but I didn't feel in the right frame of mind to be crammed into the very small Coach And Horses in Beckenham watching a band who I know to be good in small doses, but maybe not enough to last all evening. The other choice was to order a takeaway, and after not having a decent curry for ages, the takeaway won.
It must have been ages since I have had any takeaway at all, but last night I fancied something hot ans steaming, and I almost overdid it. The Lamb Pathia I ordered was quite hot, but not overly so until I burnt my mouth on the Aloo Chilli side dish. It seems to me that the idea of adding sliced green chillies to what is otherwise just a Bombay Aloo is a recent idea. I've had a few in the last few years, but had never seen it listed before that. Some have been really nice - hot but tasty - and other blow your head off ! The one I had yesterday was of the latter variety, and it made everything else I ate very hot too. Regardless of that, it was delicious, and the best bit is that I have more for later today.
When I went to bed I had very few interruptions from a blocked nose or tickly throat. Looking back, I guess it made for a rather sweet night, although it was still far from perfect. I still woke up several time to pee, but I guess that is a fact of life now, or at least while I take my current cocktail of medication. Perhaps one good thing, and yet also bad thing, was that my chest was behaving itself for most of the night. On reflection I was generally free from pain most of the night, but at some time around 5am I turned over and lightly crunched my chest. It didn't leave too much of a legacy, but was quite uncomfortable at the time.
This morning I feel like I would still like to be asleep, or at least I did. Maybe that idea has worn off in the last 20 to 30 minutes. Most of me feels mostly OK, but maybe not actually good. I guess good is when you don't feel anything. I can still feel some muscular pain here and there, and there is the ongoing feeling of not feeling very dynamic. I think only a bright sunny day can cure the latter - at least I hope it will.
I have only one plan, or aspiration for today, and that is to go to a gig tonight. Originally it was to see Chain at The British Oak, but that was before I found out that M.T. Pockets are playing in The GPO in Eltham. It might be possible to travel between the two gigs, and see half of each, but I think it would mean having to get two buses, and that doesn't feel very enjoyable. I'll have another opportunity to see Chain soon, but M.T. Pockets seem to have got into a habit of playing at places I can't get to.
One bit of good news that I heard yesterday.... My friend Patricia (and her partner) fly north to Europe at the end of April. Although they will primarily be based in Italy, they both fancy a bit of time in the UK. Her partner will go to Wales to see his family, and Patricia will stay here with me. There are no dates and times yet, but I would imagine sometime around the start of May, and maybe for 3 or 4 days. That will be an added bonus on top of the couple of days she will spend here when she has an Interpreting job here in July.
|Friday 15th March 2019
| 09:00 GMT
Yesterday's weather was very unpredictable. The weather forecast predicted most of the weather features yesterday, but got the timing wrong for many events. There were supposed to be non stop strong winds mostly in the morning, but there were several long(ish) lulls in the wind, and then there were a few times later in the afternoon when it seemed just as windy as in the morning. I feel sure there was less rain than forecast for the morning, and like the wind, there were a few unscheduled isolated showers later in the afternoon. The afternoon high most probably was the predicted 13° C, but in the wind it didn't really mean much.
The forecast for today has not really changed much in the last 24 hours - perhaps longer. Errrr, actually it has changed, but only in the last hour or so. The strong winds that were fairly noisy half an hour ago no longer exist, and now there are no strong winds today. I wish someone had told the wind that, but maybe it has calmed down in the last half hour. The current forecast says there will be heavy cloud until 3pm, and then light cloud until 8pm. After 8pm there will be leaky cloud - light rain is expected to last to beyond midnight. I can't spot any blue sky at the moment, but there are thinner patches of cloud, and once or twice it almost seemed like the sun might break through. It didn't, but it does give a sort of reason for hope. With the lighter winds, and an afternoon high of 14° C, a bit of sunshine could feel very nice ! Most of tomorrow is expected to be 11° C except for a few hours in the afternoon when it might hit 12° C, and after 8pm when the temperature will slowly fall to about 9° C and some rain may start to fall.
I am trying to make up my mind if yesterday was a good day or a bad day. I suppose it was a bit of both, and some of the bad was probably self inflicted. As I suggested I might, I went shopping in Iceland yesterday. I spent a little more time than usual looking at their fish offerings and found the giant fish fingers that I am sure I mentioned not finding the last time I was in Iceland. As well as giant fish fingers, I bought some other fish based ready meals (I guess fish cakes are classified as ready meals - although only one of the items I bought was fish cakes).
Apart from fish I also bough more rice cakes, more tubes of jalapeño flavoured squeezy cheese, some sliced corned beef and ham, plus some sugar free biscuits/cookies. One other item was a bag of frozen green beans. That latter was a mistake because I am now getting bored of green beans. It was a pleasant walk to and from Iceland, and that was even bearing in mind the shoes I was wearing. They were imitation Converse trainers bought from Aldi. Initially they were very uncomfortable, but after some perseverance I am either starting to break them in, or they are breaking my feet in. I am unsure how you can break in canvas and rubber, and so I assume it is my feet that are being remodelled.
Once I got home I made a big mistake. I cooked all the giant fish fingers, and then ate them with just some baby plum tomatoes to accompany them. It was far too big a meal for lunch, and it would have repercussions later. Once I had eaten that meal I relaxed as best I could, and I think I might have even had a 5 minute snooze. Little more than 2 hours after eating it was time to go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. Just as I was leaving my front door it started to rain. That was unexpected because the forecast said the afternoon should have been dry. The wind seemed very gusty, and that too seemed to be different to what the forecast predicted.
I didn't have enough to time to pop back indoors to change coats for a raincoat, and so I did up the jacket I was wearing, and walked on to the station. I felt really sluggish as I walked with a stomach full of giant fish fingers, and having my jacket done up just made the feeling worse. By the time I got to the station I felt rather bad. It was all made worse because I am going through another phase of my costochondritis playing up again. At least I think it is that, but I might have pulled a few muscles in my chest when coughing in bed - or worse still, half way out of bed with my chest sort of twisted as I swing around and straighten up. I have to admit that there were a few times when I did wonder if some of the discomfort was heart related, but I am still alive - so far.
Yesterday was another time when I wasn't being very experimental in the pub. The first beer I tried, Truman's "Swift" seemed very nice, and that was despite it being quite a weak beer. I did try one pint of Truman's "Runner". It was a bit stronger, but not as nice, and for my third and final pint I went back to the "Swift". After my three pints I caught my train home again. It was dry then, and so I didn't need to do my jacket up. That made going home a bit more comfortable, and I had just the right amount of beer to soothe the discomfort without making it worse.
What the beer didn't do was to reduce any hunger. As usual it made it worse. I had a terrible time trying not to nibble too much while my cod with cheddar fish cakes were cooking. I think I did have at least one rice cake with some cream cheese and corned beef while the fish cakes were cooking, and I had more later after eating them. I potentially could have eaten more last night, but I was feeling quite tired, and went to bed earlier than expected.
I was in bed, and asleep by 10pm. Unfortunately I was awake again just a few minutes later when found myself choking on a throatful of mucus that had appeared from somewhere. I don't know where this mucus appears from, but I know it is highly annoying, and I know it happened just a few minutes. I was sitting here typing, and breathing quite freely, when suddenly what felt like a big glob of mucus suddenly appeared in my throat. A couple of very wet coughs, and it has all gone - but only because I am sitting upright.
Last night it was different. I was laying on my side in bed when it happened. It triggered off a whole load of coughing that went from wet to dry and back again. While most of it was dealt with in the first cough or two, there was one drip that didn't impede my breathing at all, but would tickle me as I breathed in and out. I could not help but trying to cough it up. If I had been busy doing anything, and not laying in bed with no distractions, I might have been able to ignore it, but I couldn't. All that coughing topped up all the aches and pains in my chest that was caused by previous bouts like last night.
I ended up getting up again, and spent a bleary eyed half hour or so reading stuff on my PC to distract me. I also gargled with a strong astringent - whisky ! I still felt bad when I went back to bed, but I guess tiredness overtook the situation and I was able to get to sleep again. The next time I woke up my throat was clear, but my chest felt really achey. It had many similarities to back ache - I was only comfortable in certain positions. I'm not sure if it was the position I was sleeping in, but I woke up twice more with my right leg going into painful cramp. Fortunately I managed to leap out of bed before the muscles really locked, and I was no worse for wear for it.
This morning I feel slightly good, and quite bad. For the last few days my nose has been essentially dry most of the time, and that suggests to me that I am over the winter cold I had, and yet.... These sudden, and essentially unexplainable choking on mystery mucus events are annoying - tenfold when they happen while I am trying to get to sleep, or stay asleep. My chest feels sore as a consequence of coughing involved in clearing my throat - once again, tenfold while in bed. I think the rest of me feels fairly OK, but I have felt better.
My plans for today involve stress testing some of my body by hand washing 3 or 4 t-shirts plus some underwear, and that is almost the complete extent of my plans so far. I am pondering the idea of going to a gig, or perhaps just half a gig tonight. The Zorbs are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham tonight. I predict it will be very full, and not a great experience for me, but it is fairly easy to get to. On the other hand, tonight may well be wet and raining, and that might be a good excuse to stay in. One thing I must try and do is not to eat too much until I know if I am going out or not !
|Thursday 14th March 2019
| 08:45 GMT
Once again the wind blew any warmth out of the 11° C yesterday. It wasn't a wholly bad day though. During the morning there were quite a few unscheduled sunny periods. Most of them were quite short, but still cheering. Sunny intervals were predicted for late afternoon, but I can't remember if I saw any or not. Another positive to go with the morning sunny periods was that it was a dry day.
More March winds predicted this morning, but it doesn't actually seem to be very windy. It is definitely wet outside, but I can't decide if it is just an occasional passing shower, or more frequent periods of light drizzle. At the moment, and presumably for the next 4 or 5 hours, it is neither dull nor bright outside. It is a sort of light grey. By midday the temperature should hit 13° C, and later in the afternoon when the wind is supposed to drop, that could feel fairly nice. The latest revision to the forecast suggests there could be sunny intervals from 3pm until sunset (which is now worth noting at 2 minutes past 6pm - the seasons move on !!) . Not a single glimpse of sunshine is predicted for tomorrow, but it should stay dry, and the temperature could reach 14° C. Unfortunately we won't feel the best of that because of the strong winds again.
After the initial feeling of being all bunged up after getting out of bed, I slowly cleared all the mucus from my nose, and managed to clear more mucus from my throat. There wasn't really that much in my nose, but some intense coughing trying to clear my throat did make my eyes water enough to produce more nasal mucus. Once all that was over I felt not actually good, but I had crossed the line from bad. For a lot of the day I was totally free from any cold symptoms, but my throat was still on a hair trigger as I shall explain later.
As I mentioned yesterday, I spent several hours at my PC going through the photos I had taken on Tuesday night. I had no idea what I might do after writing yesterday, but I expressed a desire to do something more than just sitting at my PC. I thought that maybe a walk would be nice. I did have a very short walk, but the thing that got my blood flowing better was to hand wash a small-ish sized bath towel. That needed a lot of manhandling, and exercised a few muscles !
It was probably about 1pm when I went for a very short walk to the corner shop to buy A couple of bottles of Diet Coke, a copy of the latest New Scientist magazine....and also a couple of packets of naughty crisps. As well as being naughty for being full of saturated fats and carbohydrates, they were also naughty for being crunchy and crumb producing ! One the very first bite I took of the very first crisp, a little crumb of crisp stuck to the back of my throat. It did it's best to start me off with convulsive coughing.
I had to exercise supreme control over my breathing. My instinctive reaction was to take a big gulp of air which I could then cough out in the hope it would dislodge the crumb, but of I did that I would have sucked in more crisps, and probably choked to death.....maybe. Somehow I managed to breath in very slowly before letting it go in one big cough. That probably did dislodge the irritating crumb, but a whole reflexive action had been set up, and much more coughing ensued interspersed with attempts to sip on a drink.
Once I finally stopped coughing I was fine again for hours until something else trigger my throat. I amused myself in the afternoon by editing a bit of video I had taken at the Open Mic session on Tuesday, having a snooze, reading some New Scientist, and checking the trail camera I had left out for a couple of nights to spy on my resident fox. It captured some good video and some bad. The good video was just routine stuff, but the bad was the most interesting. It was an unfortunately bad shot because all the action is on the very left edge of the picture, and you can only see about half the width of the fox, but you can see that it has leapt up onto the back fence, and then jumped down the other side. It still limps a bit, but essentially it is now very fit. Hopefully I'll have a better view of it leaping the fence soon, but first, video from the open mic session. Gian and Stretch, with some cahoon from Rob, sing a Bob Dylan song - "Ill Be Your Baby Tonight" - possibly with some inspiration from the UB40, mildly reggae, cover of the song.
It was fairly typical that while I watched some TV in the evening my nose got a bit stuffy, and my throat a little tickly. Perhaps it was because I was also eating my dinner of battered cod with green beans. It was annoying, but maybe not extremely so because both the cough and stuffiness were almost mild in comparison to some previous days when this winter cold was really running rampant !
I didn't seem to feel very tired until after I was laying in bed reading. It seemed I only managed to read a few pages from the magazine before my eyelids started drooping. Before I could actually relax and go to sleep I needed a good clear our. Blowing my nose was the easy part. Coughing my throat clear was another matter, but after a while I got in a state where I could relax and go to sleep, and have some nonsensical dreams.
One series of dreams was about The Docklands Light Railway. Some dreamlets featured recognisable stations, but others seemed to substitute all sorts of oddities, included a large patch of mud, as being a station. A later dream featured trying to visit Sue. I arrived at where she lives on a bicycle. I then took the lift (which doesn't exist in reality) at the front of the building up to the third floor, but all the flat numbers began with a 5, and that indicated I was on the fifth floor. So I went down a floor, and came out the back at ground level (where Sue actually lives). Sue wasn't in, and so I went home again - on an adult scooter. I had gone no more than a mile when I woke up.
I'm not sure if it was the dustmen or daylight that woke me up, but I started the process of getting up nice and slowly...sort of. By the time I had been to the toilet, taken my morning pills, and taken a screenshot of the weather, I was able to do a self diagnosis of how I felt, and I didn't feel too bad. When I first woke up (not counting a few trips to the toilet in the night) my throat was very dry and tickly. It could have been that which woke me up I guess. After some coughing and spluttering it calmed down.
It does feel like I have broken the back of this winter cold now. It still taunts me from time to time, and the whole experience has left me feeling a bit weak - not actually weak, but just feeling it. There are some secondary effects that may take a lot longer to get better. In particular, coughing in bed, particularly when laying in some positions, can make my chest feel very sore, and that is one thing that is afflicting me now. I can almost ignore it, but it can still colour my decisions about what to do today.
I have only one specific plan for today, and that is to go to my regular late Thursday afternoon drink with the lads. Until then I will probably just potter around doing what ever take my fancy. Actually, I think I fancy seeing what fish based stuff is available in Iceland. It does seem that I am making very frequent trips to supermarkets lately, but as I think I explained yesterday, I have no room in my freezer, and so while I am eating fish instead of meat (for some unknown reason) I have to keep buying it fresh every couple of days. While I am in Iceland I can also buy some sugar free chocolate biscuits.
A quick bit of good news before I upload this. In the last half an hour there have been two short sunny periods. Maybe each on only lasted as little as a minute, but they were still very welcome. Also, despite the forecast saying rain all morning, it looks like the road is drying out at the moment.
|Wednesday 13th March 2019
| 10:25 GMT
It was cold yesterday ! The morning started off cool at 9° C, but by 3pm the temperature had dipped to just 6° C. It was supposed to rise a degree after that, but I think it fell even further. When I went out at 7.30pm the sky was crystal clear, and the temperature in my back garden was just 4.8° C. I suspect it might have even further than that, but sometime in the early hours the temperature started rising again - but but by that much. Apart from the cold, the day got off to a very wet and windy start. The rain was more intermittent than the forecast seemed to suggest, and it stopped a bit earlier than expected - perhaps by 3pm, but maybe a little later.
This early version of the forecast made it look like it would be a generally dull day except for some sunny spells towards the end of the afternoon. The latest revision hasn't changed it much, or at all, and it still doesn't match reality. The reality is that the sun keeps finding small holes in the clouds, and we have had a very good selection of sunny spells so far this morning. The strong winds are having quite a cooling effect, and the day started off quite chilly feeling. It still feels very chilly now although the temperature may hit 11° C in an hour or two. It should be dry today, but with as high as a 12% chance or rain it is not definite. Tomorrow should be warmer with an afternoon temperature of 13° C, but more strong winds will blow that away, and it will probably be raining all morning. It sounds like another nasty day, and maybe makes today look almost reasonable.
My initial feeling was that I felt bunged up, and coughing too frequently yesterday, and that was on top of some assorted aches and pains. It wasn't a great start, and I was left wondering if I would ever feel well again. After a while, perhaps with the help of a steamy shower, I did begin to feel better, and when I walked to Aldi I felt reasonably OK. I even survived walking back from Aldi ! There had been a bit of inconsequential drizzle when I walked there, and fortunately I had put on a raincoat because I walked home again under a cloud burst ! It was stupidly heavy rain !
My principle purchases in Aldi were some fishy things. I have no idea why I started, and I have no idea when I will finish it, but I am currently going through a phase of eating fish in preference to meat. So I bought a couple of packs of fish cakes, and some battered cod that I hope can be successfully oven cooked. I also wanted to buy a couple of boxes of tissues because I have been going through a lot of tissues with this blasted cold. When I got to the shelves where the tissue would normally be I found the shelves to be almost bare. I imagine that it might be the result of Brexit panic buying. There have been warnings that because most woodpulp used in paper making comes from Norway, there could be shortages after Brexit. This will affect toilet paper as well, and indeed the toilet paper shelf was almost bare. Luckily I have already done my toilet paper panic buying. The only tissues I could get are those silly little ones that can barely cope with one nose full !
The top half of me stayed dry when walking in the pouring rain on my way back from Aldi, but my trousers got very damp. Luckily it was not my chest ... at least I think I am lucky it wasn't my chest getting cold and wet. It was a sort of exhilarating walk, although I am glad it wasn't any further. When I git home I looked forward to two things - getting out of my wet trousers, and having some lunch. I allowed myself a slightly bigger lunch because I didn't want anything else to eat until much, much later in the day. I had a couple of Aldi cod and chorizo fish cakes (better than the pair I bought from Tesco a few days back) with a pile of green beans. I might have had a small snack or two later.
After dinner I didn't seem to feel particularly tired, but I lay on my bed to read, and fell asleep for at least an hour, and maybe closer to two. I didn't feel particularly great when I woke up, and I wondered how that might affect my plans to go out in the evening. I busied myself doing a few odd jobs, and watched the news on TV before getting ready to go out. I still felt a bit iffy, and so I had some paracetamol and ibuprofen to help sort out a few aches before going out to the bus stop.
I don't know if the drugs helped or not. It may have just been the walk straightening out a few aching muscles that helped. I still didn't feel that great, but I didn't feel too bad when I got to my destination - Stretchy's Open Mic at The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley. The most important thing is that it didn't start me coughing, although towards the end of the evening I did have to do some heavy duty coughing to cough up some mucus that was irritating my throat. Aside from that it was an enjoyable evening with plenty of Guinness.
Stretch starting the evening.
How Ravi manages to play guitar with those huge fingers is a mystery to me.
Vince Pross accompanied by Dawn Pross - Vince usually plays drums or keyboard, but occasionally picks up a guitar.
By 10:50pm I had seen everyone, and decided I didn't need to see the last 10 to 15 minutes. So I went to the bus stop and by good luck only had to wait a minute or two for a 208 bus. I was sort of hoping that a 208 might turn up first. Had the 320 been the first bus I would probably have been tempted to do a slight detour via the fried chicken shop. There is also a fried chicken shop across the main road from where the 208 drops me off, but crossing the main road seems to be be a big enough barrier to take the edge off any temptation.
When I got in, feeling cold, I was keen, too keen, to have some supper. I intended, and did have a couple of black pepper and lemon flavoured breadcrumb flavoured unspecified fish fillets, but I was too impatient. While my fish cooked I opened a couple of cold tuna salad type long life meals/snacks. They aren't too bad with a bit of chilli sauce to liven them up. The handy thing is that those tuna salad type things are so well sealed that they have use by dates stretching years ahead. I think the oldest in my larder are best before some time in 2022.
It seemed that everything was happening fast last night. The bus home felt like it took ages, but the clock said differently, and even with the delay of 25 minutes in the oven, my supper seemed to be over quicker than expected. I think I was in bed by about half past midnight, and asleep before 1am. I didn't really expect to get to sleep so early because my throat was getting a bit tickly, but in the end it didn't really affect me until about 6am this morning. Even then I managed to get more sleep. I woke up 3 or 4 times in the night - mainly to drain off the Guinness I had been drinking earlier. I decided I was in no hurry to get up, and tried my best to relax, and go back to sleep every time I woke up. At about 7am the sun was lighting up my curtains, and it felt like time to get up.
Almost the first thing I did was to transfer the pictures and video from my camera to my PC, and start selecting and editing the pictures (I'll probably do something with the video later). At first I felt very bunged up, and I got through quite a lot of tissues before my nose seemed clear. It has been mostly clear since then. I also had many goes before I was able to cough up some nasty mucus that was clogging my throat. Once again, once it was clear I mostly stopped coughing. At the moment I feel a bit stiff and creaky with a few aches and pains, but I think that a hot shower will help many of them.
So far I have dealt with all the photos from last night, and I have almost finished writing this. Once I have finished this I will have a shower, and after that.... I don't really know. Obviously I want to have a look at what I can do to some of the video I shot, but I don't fancy sitting at my PC for another couple of hours. Maybe I'll go for a walk or something - where something might just be laying on my bed reading, or it could be something more physical. If it wasn't so cold and muddy I would like to do a bit more garden clearance, but not today !
|Tuesday 12th March 2019
| 09:42 GMT
In theory it was quite nice yesterday. There was a lot of sunshine in the morning, and the temperature just about managed to reach 11° C for a short while, but somehow it seemed underwhelming. It was probably just me
Today hasn't got off to the greatest start. It is very dull and grey outside, and rather wet too. At the moment it is supposed to be transitioning between drizzle and light rain, although it seems to have stopped raining for the moment. I think the general rule for today is that it is going to be either cold or wet, and during daylight hours, both ! I don't think the temperature is as high as the forecast 9° C now, and it is apparently going to get colder this afternoon instead of warmer. An afternoon "high" of 6° C is rather appalling. Maybe the best thing about today's weather, assuming it follows the forecast plan, which is unlikely, is that it should be dry this evening. The main feature tomorrow is going to be more of those strong March winds. They are predicted to be 40mph or more from 8am to 4pm. On the plus side the temperature could reach 11° C, although I expect that will still feel very chilly in the strong winds. It is possible that the sun could peep through the clouds for a minute or two sometime after 3pm.
I didn't feel all that good yesterday morning. It's hard to describe exactly how I felt. It was a melange of fatigue, headache, other aches, and a few more aches. One notable thing was that my blood pressure was quite high compared to the low readings I have been getting for the last few months or more. It all seemed to happen after I had eaten a couple of smoked salmon and cream cheese sandwiches I had bought from Tesco at reduced price the day before. They didn't taste off, and didn't smell it either. Maybe it was just a coincidence that I felt bad after eating them, but maybe the two were related in some mystical way.
I decided the best thing to do was to have a lie down, and attempt to have a long snooze. For some reason I don't think I did have a snooze. That reason was probably the ongoing affects of the cold I had, or have. My nose had all but dried up by yesterday, and only needed an occasional blow. I was still coughing a lot though, and it was mostly a dry tickly cough that could be triggered by almost anything. Too much talking, which happened later, was a strong trigger.
I think I mentioned yesterday that I was not feeling very dynamic, and that did turn out to be the case for most of yesterday. About the most dynamic thing I did was to have a shower. The least dynamic was sitting down scanning more negatives. The job of scanning negatives is actually a useful way of filling in spare bits of time, and it does produce a finished product that sort of proves I hadn't been totally idle. Whether it is worth scanning all those negatives is a debatable point. Most are rather boring, but a few have proved useful. Some snaps I had taken of Silvertown Station, in East London, went down well on the disused stations group because the station was demolished to make way for Crossrail, and now only exists in memories and photos. Other picture do show how things have changed.
This picture was taken on 5th November 1996, and shows a class 456 train in London Bridge station. The train is painted in Connex South Central livery (actually vinyl stickers over a white painted background). Connex South Central is no more. This service would now be run by Southern Trains in their green livery, and the actual class 465 trains are now leased by South West Trains, and serve suburban services out of Waterloo. The other thing about this picture is that it is taken in the old London Bridge station which was effectively demolished and rebuilt from scratch.
This picture was taken on the same day as the previous picture. I can't have been too long after the privatisation of the railways had started, and the railway companies were hastily applying their own liveries over the old trains. Back in 1996 Waterloo, and the services out of there were a bit of a mystery to me, and any time I used a train there it was a bit of an adventure. 12 or so years later I would become a regular commuter through Waterloo, and by then Southwestern trains had developed quite a likeable livery for their trains. They also refurbished these trains so much that many people thought they were brand new trains (they actually dated back to the 1960s).
Another low key job was ripping more of my CDs, and adding selected track to my latest music compilation (called psuedo radio 3). Once upon a time these would probably be called mixtapes, but in this digital age they are just very large collections of files that can be played at random on my PC as a substitute for broadcast radio stations - which I gave up listening to in disgust years and years ago !
By late afternoon I wasn't feeling too bad, and with sufficient distraction I could admit to not noticing I was feeling anything negative at all. Such distraction came from a typically long phone call to Sue. I had heard the shortened story of her journey home from a gig on Saturday night, and I wanted to hear more about that, and just have a general chat about this and that. It seems that on Saturday night/very early Sunday morning she allowed herself to be guided to the bus stop after a gig in South Croydon by a complete and utter idiot called Nigel.
What should have been a 5 minute walk up the road turned out to be an almost circular route that took as much as an hour to walk in the rain. I can't work out why Sue allows herself to be persuaded to follow him. She knew that the correct way to go was to come out of the pub and turn right, but he insisted it should be left, and she stupidly followed him. As a result she was in agony from walking in new and painful boots, and the rain caused to to relapse back into the cold she had only just got over - the same cold bug that I am fighting.
I'm not sure how many hours I was on the phone to Sue for, but I was two hours late cooking my dinner. After the sandwiches I had for a slightly late breakfast, I had only eaten a mix of peas and green beans (with a naughty great dollop of butter on them), and I was getting quite hungry. Dinner was supposed to be some marinated fish with some green beans, but I tried an experiment that sort of worked out OK. The fish needed to be cooked in the oven for 30 minutes, but the green beans could be cooked in the microwave in as little as 5 or 6 minutes.
I had this weird idea that I would try poaching some eggs in with the already cooked green beans. It made an interesting meal. Apart from the butter it made for a fairly healthy meal, and it was sort of nice. I think I will add it to my repertoire for future meals. By the time I had eaten it the fish was cooked, and it was a bit of a disappointment. It was a Birds Eye product, and it was probably one of those poor substitutes for cod that had been marinated in a sort of herb and garlic sludge. It wasn't nasty in any way,but I find no desire to but it again. I think the main problem was that it was an anti-climax. I expected something it wasn't.
I think that I watched a repeat of QI while I ate my dinner, and I think that finished at 9pm, but a little itch in my brain says it might have been 10pm. Anyway, I was in bed soon after it finished, and I read for a short while, but it wasn't long before I felt my eyelids drooping. At that point my nose was not stuffy, and I didn't seem to be coughing much. I was soon asleep, and sleeping well (I think). It all feel very vague now, but I think it might have been as late as 3am before I first woke up. At that time it was just for a pee, but I could feel my throat beginning to feel restricted by mucus.
Later on I woke a few more times to pee, and each time my throat felt worse, and I began to cough without any result. I thought I would have to get up at around 7am this morning, but I managed to go back to sleep for an hour or two. Since then I have done a bit of photo editing, and read some assorted web pages, but in general terms I have been sitting at my PC since then. It was only after having been sat here for about half an hour that I finally managed to clear my throat of nasty, sticky mucus. Sine then I have coughed up a bit more, and the coughing has made my eyes water enough to generate more snot that has needed blowing out of my nose. I wonder if I will ever get to feel well again !
I have one plan and one aspiration for today. I plan to go to Aldi today to buy more fish. I have no logical reason why I have decided to eat mostly fish instead of meat recently, and I guess I will continue to do so until I become bored with it in a day or a week, or two...who knows ? With no room in my freezer, I can't buy a lot of fish in advance, and so it means more frequent trips to one or another supermarkets, but that is OK. When nothing else is happening it is a convenient way of stretching my legs, and on a warm sunny day it is a pleasant stroll. Today I think I will have to do it in pouring rain.
My aspiration for today is to get out to Stretchy's Open Mic in The Bricklayers Arms just beyond Bromley. It is usually a very pleasant evening. I just hope I don't cough all the way through it, and that going out in the cold and damp night air doesn't give me yet another relapse. More than that, I hope I feel up to going out tonight !
|Monday 11th March 2019
| 08:05 GMT
The big feature of yesterday's weather was the wind. I have no idea if the wind reached the predicted 50mph, but it certainly was rather lively ! It made the mere 10° C afternoon high feel rather cool. The forecast predicted rain for 8am, but there was lots of blue sky and sunshine. It was quite a dynamic day with frequent updates to the weather forecast that showed new developments. Somehow it feels cheating to have to update the forecast mere hours before a deviation from what had been predicted earlier. For instance, the forecast said there would be clear sky at 7pm, and then at about 5pm the forecast was changed to say heavy hail at 7pm. That update was right in as much as it was like a cloudburst, but only the first few minutes of it contained much in the way of hail. Mostly it was just heavy rain.
It is very cold this morning, and the 4° C that was forecast seems to be about right. The forecast sunny intervals seem to be very long intervals - if it wasn't for the occasional dips in sunshine as a cloud races across the path of the sun for a few seconds, you could say it is "sunny". With luck the forecast is showing some sort of truth, and it will be a slightly cool, but bright sunny day. The latest revision of the forecast now gives us 2 hours at 11° C instead of one, but brings forward the rain to midnight instead of 1am. Tomorrow is probably going to be a very wet day, although I note that the latest prediction now says that the morning may be dry for a few hours. It will be mostly cool, but the temperature may peak at 10° C for just one hour at 11am.
This was the surprise addition to yesterday's weather forecast. I have expanded that particular hour to give a bit more information. I think I first noticed that 7pm had changed from either clear or slightly overcast to hail no earlier than 5pm. It turned out to be an amazing accurate prediction once made. It all kicked off very close to 7pm, although I would say it was more rain than hail, but there definitely was some hail ! The other surprise was the level of predicted wind chill. The air temperature was probably the predicted 7° C, but the wind chill made it feel more like 3° C.
This was the view as I was walking to Tesco at around midday. It's a shame that photography can't capture the dynamic range nearly as well as the eye. This picture looks a bit flat compared to real life. Those clouds did look dark grey, but what hasn't come through in the photo is how blindingly bright the sun was reflecting off the tops of some of those clouds. Those bright patches in roughly the centre of the photo were almost too bright to look at !
I did see some dramatic pictures of trees blown over in the strong winds yesterday, but this is my only contribution to "gosh, that wind is a bit strong !". These fallen barriers are outside the multi-storey car park next to Tesco in Catford.
I thought I didn't feel so good yesterday as I had the day before, but that was just another facet of the highly variable head cold that I have been suffering from. In actuality I felt semi-good for most of yesterday, but of course I didn't realise that would be the case when I was writing in the morning. The great improvement was that my nose was almost dry through the greater part of the day, and even better, through much of last night. Even my cough had almost gone away, although it did briefly perk up once or twice.
I can't remember ow I felt when I went to Tesco just after midday. That is probably a good thing. I would surely remember if I felt bad, and I rather expect I would remember if I felt so good that I could almost have run all the way there (as if that would ever happen !!). I think it means I basically felt "normal". I had a few specific objectives when I went to Tesco, and I nearly achieved them all. I definitely wanted, and bought some Diet Coke and some whisky. I bought some assorted fish and frozen peas, as per plane, but I also bought a big bag of frozen green beans, and I bought a little more fish than intended. The half price smoked salmon and cream cheese "Tesco Finest" sandwiches were still a luxury item, and were not part of the plan, but did fit the fish motive.
I have no idea where the idea for eating fish came from. It just seemed to pop up in my head when I was thinking about alternatives to ready meals. I was fortunate, at least I think I was, to find that unnamed fish in black pepper and lemon flavoured breadcrumbs were on special offer. I bought two packs of them. The only trouble is that when I ate a pack last night I found the lemon flavour to be quite unpleasant for the first bite or two. What was rather nice were a couple of fishcakes with chorizo in them. It seemed an unlikely combination, but it worked, and they were half priced on the reduced price shelves.
I guess I had a fairly lazy day yesterday. I did that shopping trip, and I washed a couple of t-shirts, but that was almost the total extent of what I did. Maybe that was a good thing, and has helped my recovery from this sodding cold that has plagued me since just before the start of the month. It was nice to be able to lay on my bed reading without having to interrupt myself every 10 minutes to blow great lumps of green mucus from my nose, and it was luxury to be able to lay on my bed without coughing so much that I would strain all the weakened superstructure of my chest.
It wasn't always so wonderful. I did start to feel a bit congested, but only mildly, in the evening. It turned out to only be a brief and minor relapse. The great luxury was being able to go to bed without having to grab a tissue every 4 or 5 minutes to blow my nose, and to be able to lay there without coughing. It was only a couple of hours before I went to bed that I realised there was an open mic session I could have gone to last night, but even once I knew about it I was put off by the rain and hail that was falling at about the same time. It was probably very wise to not chance going out in that !
Instead of drinking Guinness and listening to music of variable quality (mostly good, but sometime very bad) I was safely tucked up in bed, and I think I was asleep by 10pm. I woke up quite a few times in the night - sometimes for 10 to 15 minutes, and sometime for very much briefer moments. The first time I woke up was at about half past midnight. I remember checking the clock and being surprised that it was so early. I may have blown my nose, or maybe I didn't, but I think I was fast asleep again in less than 5 minutes. Much later in the morning I would get up for a pee, and then another one perhaps half an hour later (but maybe it was an hour and half later).
The most significant thing was that I didn't wake up coughing, and I didn't wake up with a face full of snot. Well not until about 5am when I did wake up feeling like my throat was congested with mucus that I couldn't cough up. Somehow I got back to sleep again for about an hour, but I was tossing and turning so much that I managed to crush my chest. So I woke up just as it was starting to get light with a sore chest, and a strong desire to cough up the mucus that was constricting my throat - a badly timed desire !
This morning I feel unsure how good or bad I feel. My nose is not as dry as it was for much of yesterday, but it seems to be drying up again. My throat still feels slightly congested, but it's not too bad, and I suspect a steamy shower will help it a lot. At the moment I don't feel terribly dynamic, and I have a very mild headache - it's not exactly painful, but more like being covered in a wet blanket. It certainly is a major contributor to my feeling not very dynamic. The good thing is that I don't need to be dynamic today ... or at least I don't think I do. I have nothing planned for today, although I have toyed with the idea of jumping on a train to somewhere, perhaps to some part of the tube network, and take some pictures. At this very moment the idea of another hour of sleep seems to be quite attractive, and maybe even possible !
|Sunday 10th March 2019
| 09:02 GMT
After a gloomy start, it did brighten up yesterday, but maybe not as much as I thought the weather forecast predicted it would be. One of the main features yesterday was strong winds in the morning. It definitely was a bit windy, and an occasional gust was strong-ish, but once again I was expecting something a bit more dramatic, although quite what "dramatic" would be I have yet to decide. A lot of the time it did feel quite mild, and I would not dispute the forecast afternoon high of 13° C.
There is one fundemental error in the forecast for today. I think it has something to do with the large areas of blue sky I can see, and the sunshine. However there are quite a few very dark looking clouds floating around in the sky, and one has just blocked teh sun as I write this. It is fairly mild at the moment, and the forecast for 9° C this morning seems to be about right. This afternoon the tempearture may only rise by a degree to 10° C, but until, and if the wind drops at 5pm, it is going to feel rather chilly out in the forecast strong winds. It is a bit gusty now, and it is supposed to get worse soon. Tonight is supposed to be dry, but it looks like it will be a very chilly night. Tomorrow could almost be cold enough to start with a frost, but it seems it will be a fairly bright and sunny day, and that may warm things up to 10 or 11° C.
I think I felt reasonably good for a lot of yesterday. I was still afflicted by a mostly dry and tickly cough, but there were long periods when I didn't cough. The same was true of my stuffy nose. It did need a good clear out every now and then, but once again, for long periods, long compared to the day before, it seemed fine. Not only that, but I seemed to ache less, and felt like I had some energy. Unfortunately it all started going wrong again in the late afternoon, but while it lasted it felt good.
I didn't actually do much with this half and a bit day of feeling better than I have done so far this month, but I did go out and do some shopping. It almost felt good to stretch my legs. I was after one specific thing on my shopping trip, and it was a little more elusive that I expected. It was a pocket diary. Having observed Jodie and her friend Arm consulting their diaries on Thursday night, I thought it would be a sensible way of keeping tracks of forthcoming gigs (which is what Jodie and Arm were discussing). I thought I would get such a diary in the 99p shop, but I was wrong.
The first shop I went into was actually Super Savers. They still seem to have stocks of Alberto Balsam Sweet Strawberry shampoo and conditioner. I think I must like the smell of strawberries when I use it because it has become my favourite. I bought two bottles of each before it goes out of season, or whatever reason it disappeared off the shelves of all shops a year or so ago. I also bought a bottle of Rhubarb and Cranberry shower gel because ....why not ?
After Super Savers I went into the SAM 99p shop to look for a diary. I was most disappointed that the shelves seemed to have been cleared of them. I still found enough things to spend about £10 in there. One thing I found on the shelves were some cookies that boldy proclaimed "No Added Sugar" on the boxes. Of course that is not the same as "Sugar Free", but I thought it might be worth getting a few flavours. Unfortunately it seems that though no sugar was added , allegedly, there is still quite a lot of sugar in them, and they seem very high in calories. Having said that, I have no idea how many calories there are in ordinary cookies. I suspect there is little difference. Now I have to find the patience and will power to eat them very sparingly.
I finally found some pocket diaries in Poundstretcher next door. Of course they were far more expensive - one and a half times as expensive as I expected to pay in the 99p shop - or £1.49 in hard money ! I guess I can afford 50p extra ! I also found something else I was expecting to buy from the 99p shop - gold and silver ink permanent markers. I hope they are of better quality than the 99p shop versions. I have one specific use for them - marking certain packs of prints and negatives. Some of the packs, particularly those from Boots, are black or dark blue, and I need a light coloured pen to scrawl "all scanned" plus a reference number on them when I scan the negatives.
The final things I bought in Poundstretcher were a couple of cheap tins of corned beef. At least I think they were cheap, but I really ought to check sometime. I think they will be good insurance against the great Brexit famine. Being from Brazil they may have foot and mouth disease, or botulism in them (see news stories from about 1966), but that is far more preferable (and tasty) than chlorinated chicken imported from America. I don't mind American technology, but I draw the line at American food !
When I got home I had a nice little surprise. In accordance with the general principle that the bleaker my love life gets, the more likely it is that I will have a win on the Premium Bonds, I have just won another £25. That is not high enough to completely rule out any love life, but I fail to see anything more exciting than the occasional friendly phone to call (but never from) Sue.
At my current rate of winning on the Premium Bonds I will never get rich, but I think my investment is growing faster than I would have earned as interest if I had opted to open a savings account instead. (All my winnings up to a certain amount that I have forgotten, are reinvested in buying more bonds. Despite the laws of chance, it does seem that newer numbers win more than old numbers - although I must confess that I don't know what bactch of numbers this latest win seemed to come from.
During the afternoon I had a long phone call from a friend. I think it went on for a couple of hours. It started as him seeking advice on a medical problem, and then divereged to cover all sorts of topics. It was during that call, when I was speaking quite a lot, that my throat started to become very tickly again. By the end of the call I was coughing a lot, and in the following hours my throat was starting to feel sore. At the time it was mostly just a dry cough. Unfortunately all that coughing seemed to make my nose get stuffier, and by early evening I had all the symptoms of my head cold back at full sttrength.
I had intended to go to a local gig last night, but for one thing, I didn't want to cough all the way through it, and secondly I thought it would be a bad idea to go out into the cold and damp night - although the expected rain happened much later than expected, and if I had gone out, and stayed out late, I might still have got home before it started to rain. I suppose the damp air might have actually been slightly beneficial to a dry tickly cough, but I opted for what I thought was the safer option, and stayed in.
By 9pm, just as the gig would have just be getting warmed up, I was ready for bed. At least my mind brain thought I was ready for bed. My body thought otherwise. As soon as I lay down my nose started to fill with thick mucus. I guess in some ways that is better than thin, drippy mucus, but it still needed a good blow, and the consumption of many tissues. My cough was more awkward. It hadn't had much effect on my chest when standing or sitting up, but when laying down each cough was aggravating my costochondritis - and doubly so if I was laying on my side in such a way as to be putting pressure on my chest anyway.
I think it took at least an hour, and possibly nearer 90 minutes to get to sleep, but it was only an hour or two later that I woke up with my nose brimming with mucus, and my chest aching enough to make a less experienced person think "heart attack". I had to get up for a couple of hours, and take pain killers before I started to feel comfortable enough to try and get to sleep again. Even when I did sleep it wasn't very good sleep judging by the quantity of dreams I seemed to be having. I can only remember a few snatches, almost snapshots, of a few bits of dream, but it seemed like I was having a never ending stream of dreams lasting mere moments at a time each.
I woke at least three or four times in the night, and I hoped that when I woke at about 7am I would be able to get back to sleep again, but maybe it was the brightness, almost sunshine, on the outside of the curtains that kept me awake. I certainly felt like I deserved another couple of hours sleep, but it never really came. I got up and did the usual - toilet, pills, screenshot of weathe forecast, and this morning, checking one of my trail cameras. Unfortunately there was nothing of interest on the trail camera, and so I tried to go back to sleep. I guess I must have fallen asleep because about an hour passed rather easily, but it felt like I was awake all the time - where all the time felt like about 20 - 25 minutes.
The trail camera I checked was strapped to a heavy transformer, and left sitting on the windowsill of the back bedroom. I was hoping for an aerial view of the garden, and next door's shed roof. The prvious night I managed to capture about 30 seconds of my fox sitting proudly on next door's shed roof, and last night I was hoping for a more informative view. It is possible that the fox was elsewhere last night, but it is more likely that it was out of range of the cameras detector. I might give it one more go tonight, but if you look at the top right of the picture you can see what I captured the previous night. From hobbling along on three legs a in January, my resident fox has come a long way.
I guess I don't feel nearly as good this morning as I did yesterday morning, but I need to go shopping again today. I need more diet cola, some whisky, and some food. I'm not sure what food to get though. I don't feel in the mood for salads right now, and I feel some reluctance to buy any ready meals. I am more than capable of making meals from scratch, but what I am not capable of is buying some stuff in sufficiently small quantities for single meals, and I prefer not to waste food if I can help it. The full answer would be to invest in a bigger freezer, but I hope to get another 25 years of life out of my existing fridge ! I think I might do my buying around the idea of fish and peas.
I have only one definite idea of what I might do today, and I have already done it. I have closed th bathroom window again. It was nice to leave it open when we had the warm(ish) sunny weather last month, but it is back to being rather cool in the night and mornings, and this morning the wind was making it feel very cold and draughty in there. Otherideas for today are to do more reading. Scan more negatives, and do some basic housekeeping on my PC - tidying files and folders up, and making backups. Today has the potential to be boring, but only if I start to think of all things I would like to do, but can't for now because of one reason or another.
|Saturday 9th March 2019
| 08:08 GMT
Yesterday started bright and sunny, but it didn't last. The forecast predicted it might last until midday, but I think it was looking grey before then. The afternoon was just 10° C, but looked even chillier. At sunset the temperature dipped a little, and the rain came pouring down. I must admit that I am unsure of just how much it rained last night because I drew the curtains, and refused to acknowledge the outside world once darkness fell.
At the moment it looks depressingly grey outside, and it is matchingly cool too. The latest revision to the forecast adds some drizzle at 9am, but it still reckons that the sun will break through sometime around 11am, and there should be a bright and sunny afternoon. It will almost be warm too with a temperature of 13° C. At first any warmth will be blown away by some strong winds, but the wind is supposed to calm down early in the afternoon. The forecast says it will be quite a chilly night, and after 10pm a rather wet night too. Tomorrow is predicted to start wet, but it should dry up during the morning, and the afternoon could see some sunshine. Unfortunately the temperature may only reach 10° C, and more very strong winds are forecast to blow away even that tiny bit of heat.
Yesterday was not a good day. I felt rough when it started, and felt better after a couple of hours, but then I deteriorated again. It wasn't until about 8pm until I felt fairly good again, but even then only with a few caveats. At first I did my best not to let how I felt control me. I had a good shower, and washed my hair to get me going, but it seemed to do almost the opposite. A bit later I did quite a big load of hand laundry. I probably could have done it in one session, but it seemed easier to do it in two sessions.
It is hard to describe why I was not feeling too good. Most of it was something like a relapse of my head cold, or if it wasn't a relapse it was a new chapter. My head seemed to get bunged up again, but this time all the mucus was very mobile - not mobile enough to drip, but it was easy to clear my nose with just one or two good blows, and it was easy to clear my throat. Perhaps that was enough to depress me, and the feeling of fatigue was all in the head. The latter may well be true because it did seem that I did have some energy, but was just reluctant to use it. Stopping half way through doing my hand laundry was more to do with believing I wouldn't have the energy to do it in one go rather than the actuality.
If some of it, maybe a lot of it, was just in my head, sometimes it wasn't. There were a few times when I did genuinely believe that I felt very knackered. It was accompanied by some aches and for a time, feeling more chilly than the (indoor) thermometer said I should. I should have checked, but I might have had a light fever. Perhaps the biggest clue that I was not right was a change in my appetite. Had I not been able to cook up something special in the evening, I might have even been off my food (which would have probably been a good thing !).
For lunch I had a big ham salad without that much ham in it ! I did have some mayonnaise on it, and so it wasn't as healthy as it could have been, but there were plenty of worse things I could have had. My plan for dinner was to have some 50% reduced fat Cumberland sausages cooked with onions (onions that were starting to grow and needed using up). I started cooking the onions first in my mini oven/grill. I didn't have any cooking oil, and so used some butter. After about 20 minutes I added the sausages to the pan, and cooked them for maybe 30 minutes. If the mini oven/grill was hotter it would have made a better job of cooking them. They were cooked through, but not nice and brown on the outside, and the onions were not caramelised like I would have hoped for.
I had started the cooking earlier than needed for a typical 6pm dinner, and I had some sausages and onion at 5pm. They were nice, but somehow didn't satisfy. An hour later, at my more usual time of eating, I decided that I had to make a rather more tasty meal - a meal more like an English breakfast. So I turned the mini oven and grill on again, and got the pan with the second half of the sausages and onions nice and hot again, and broke three eggs into the butter and sausage fat. While that was cooking I deliberately over-cooked a tin of reduced sugar and salt baked beans until they were thick and gooey (about 12 minutes in the microwave).
That version of dinner was much more exciting, and filling, but maybe still not satisfying. There was only one answer, and that was whiskey - except I was reluctant to open my "special occasion bottle". So I had some vodka instead. That hit the spot, and I felt quite good right up to the time I went to bed. Unfortunately it didn't help get me out to go to Chain's gig in West Wickham as originally planned. If anything it made it harder, but I was past caring when I poured the first vodka.
I had had a shower, and washed my hair in the morning specifically with the idea of going out sometime, somewhere, but by bedtime the furthest I had gone out was into the back garden to check my trail cameras. When I went to bed it was easy to clear my nose, but my throat was a bit tickly. That didn't seem to hinder me getting to sleep at first, and I slept as much as 4 hours before waking up feeling awful. I was all bunged up, and my throat felt full of mucus. It was every bit as bad as when I was in the middle of the head cold which I thought I was at the end of.
I think it was at about 4am when I woke up feeling far too hot as well as all stuffed up. I had also rolled over too far, and crunched my ribs again. I had to temporary get up for over half an hour before I could try and go back to bed. Once I was in bed I soon got back to sleep, but my sleep must have been quite shallow because it seemed as if I was dreaming for most of the time. It was a curiously themed set of dreams. There were enough discontinuities to indicate that it was a string of dreams on a common theme, and not one continuous dream. I definitely woke up in the middle of these dreams, but still the theme continued.
The basic theme of the dreams was that I was back at work, but work had moved to new premises - as it has in real life, but not to a building like the one in my dreams. The dream building was a 5 story converted factory with multiple occupants. I can't remember many of the fine details, but the underlying theme was that I was lost in the building and couldn't find the room where I worked. Most rooms looked a lot like classrooms for some reason. In one dream segment I realised I had been there for 4 months, and had yet to complete one job. I wondered how long it would be before I was sacked.
This morning I got up feeling terrible. I had a headache amongst other things. I suppose I will have to blame that on a hangover, but I'm not so sure that is the real cause. Other than that, I once again felt all bunged up, but as I think about it, it does seem to be clearing faster than it did yesterday. I'm not sure where the time has gone, but I got out of bed about 2 hours ago now. If I am lucky what I am feeling now might be similar to how I'll feel for the rest of the day - except I hope it doesn't include all the yawning I am doing as I think about this.
I have a few plans for today, and much of it is stuff that I intended to do yesterday. The wheelie bins were emptied on Thursday, and yesterday I should have started filling them up again. I have a small bag of rubble to secrete in the bottom of the black wheelie bin, and I have plenty to cover it up. I have a waste bin full to the brim with festering, snot laden, tissues that I just couldn't be bothered to take out yesterday. I must do that, and more today. I also wanted to go to the 99p shop yesterday to but a small diary.
Although my gig attendances have been appalling recently, there are plenty of gigs coming up that I would like to go to if I can, and a small, cheap and cheerful, diary would be a good way of keeping track of them - particularly ones that are some weeks or months away. I am hoping to get to a gig tonight. Strange Brew, who I have never seen before, but look interesting, are playing in The Golden Lion in Sydenham tonight. It is an easy bus ride to get there, and it is possible that my neighbour, Michael, will be going, and it is even possible that Angela might go - although I very much doubt she will be going on her own, and lover boy will be with her to ruin my evening.
To finish, a fairly long, 3 and half minute bit of video of my fox the other night. It also features the Siamese cat that patrols the neighbourhood. The end bit shows the fox jumping the fence three times, and yet I have no idea how it gets back into my garden. I have a suspicion that it has dug a tunnel under the back fence in the right hand corner of my garden. I moved the camera back for a slightly wider shot than last time, and this time the video clearly shows the fox on top of the side fence. It is what it does next that is a mystery. It sometimes looks like it is leaping onto next doors shed roof. That would give it easy access to quite a few back gardens to explore by leaping from she to shed. I've moved the camera back even further now to hopefully reveal more. Maybe it will have some interesting footage on it when I check it.
|Friday 8th March 2019
| 08:13 GMT
There might have been more rain than sunshine yesterday, or maybe I am letting my experience of going home from the pub last night colour my views. It was bright, with a lot of clear sky in the morning, but then the strong winds came, and the pushed the clouds ahead of them. The afternoon temperature went up to 11° C, but the strong gusty winds blew any warmth away. It was only 3° cooler in the evening, but seemed much chillier in the dark and damp.
It's bright and sunny now, and it should last until midday - maybe only in the form of sunny intervals, but from midday it seems it may get very gloomy. At 7pm it might start to rain. With a top temperature of just 10° C, it is not looking to be a very nice day. It could be worse - even though no rain is forecast, there is a still a creditable chance of rain at any time after mid morning. The latest revision to the forecast has the rain starting as early as 4pm now. For daylight hours, tomorrow is currently forecast to be a far nicer day. There may be plenty of sunny intervals, and even longer spells of sunshine. The temperature could be a pleasant (in sunshine) 13° C, but once the sun sets it seems it will probably rain for the rest of the day.
I must have been getting better yesterday, but I am not sure why I should think that for reasons that I will come to sooner or later. As I reported yesterday, I woke up feeling all clogged up, but after an hour or two I felt reasonably OK except for an annoying, but infrequent dry, tickly cough. Even that seemed to almost go away for quite some time. Another thing I said yesterday was that I seemed to feel like I had a bit more energy. I am unsure if that was right or wrong.
I had two tests of my energy yesterday. One was to go shopping in Aldi. As far as I can recall it was not particularly taxing, and probably fairly normal feeling. The other test was to hand wash a double duvet. Now that was hard work, and I think I may have pulled a muscle doing it, but it seemed no worse doing it yesterday than it would have on any random day in the last 8 years - probably.
It was barely halfway through the afternoon when I began to feel off kilter again. My nose seemed to become a bit stuffier, but not much, and my dry cough was becoming more frequent, although once again not by that much. The worst bit was a feeling of fatigue. I would really have liked to lay down and have a long snooze, but I had to go out for my late afternoon Thursday drink.
It was raining when I went out, but not heavily. I think it was as soon as I had zipped up my rain coat that I developed a new pain in the chest area. It was odd in so much as it went up my right man boob to my collar bone. I suspect it was something like a strained muscle when I was manhandling the wet double duvet cover. It did seem to ease off a bit as I got myself up to speed as I walked to the station. It was a bit of a fast walk because I had left home a minute or two later than intended. In fact at first I walked too fast, and ended up knackering myself. I arrived on the platform with at least 2 minutes to spare, and feeling hot, sticky, and slightly short of breath.
Once I was in the pub, and drinking beer, I felt fine, or mostly fine. I'm not sure why, but it seemed to be a good idea to drink 4 pints instead of my usual 3 pints. I ended up leaving a bit later than usual. I would have caught a train at around 7pm instead of the 6.25pm train that I frequently get. It was raining when I left the pub, and so I zipped up my coat. Now I don't know if it was the pressure on my chest from the done up coat, or the actions of putting he coat on, and then fumbling around to zip it up, but my chest pain came back.
The train I was hoping to get was running late, and the controllers did that really annoying thing of running it fast from around the middle of it's journey to it's final destination. It does help get the trains in the right place so the usual timetable can be run, but it is annoying to see the train you want running fast through the station. Fortunately it was running so late that it was passing through platform 3 at Shortlands at about the same time that the next Thameslink service was arriving on platform 1.
With my chest aching, my dry tickly cough getting worse and worse, it felt really miserable standing on the platform while the rain was falling, and a chilling wind was blowing. Fortunately I was waiting under shelter from the rain, but it still felt cold, damp and wet...and dark. It was nice to finally get on the train after after not much more than a very long feeling 10 minutes ! Once the train arrived back at Catford I was expecting a very unpleasant walk home, but it wasn't. I seemed to be able to push myself on at quite a good rate. Busting for a pee was a bit of extra incentive ! I arrived home feeling fine except for a shortage of breath that had half gone away by the time I had finished my pee.
There were two worst things about last night. The first was that I felt incredibly hungry. I tucked into some rice cakes and cheese even while a lamb curry ready meal was having it's 6 minute zap in the microwave. Even that lot didn't satisfy me, and I ate more crap after that. The other worst thing was that my dry cough was getting very troublesome. Perhaps the good thing was that just as my cough was dry, so was my nose. I would occasionally blow it, but very little would come out.
The cough could easily have spoiled my sleep, but I found a better was than that, although it did have some help from the cough too. I was almost asleep when I rolled over a bit too far in bed, and felt my ribs go crunch. It was made worse by coughing at the same time. It left me feeling very uncomfortable, but somehow I got to sleep quite quickly. When I next woke up, maybe 2 or 3 hours later, my chest wasn't feeling too bad, probably with the help of a couple of Ibuprofen tablets I had taken earlier. My nose was still basically dry, but my throat was playing up a lot. It was starting to get that very congested feel that coughing won't clear.
By about 5am this morning my throat felt very clogged. The paradox is that I could still breathe very easily, but it felt very odd, and sort of unpleasant. At one point some breathes would cause a whistling sound - although not when I tried to do it deliberately. Eventually something gave, and I coughed up a load of mucus. By then my sleep was almost ruined, but I did manage to get back to sleep for a little more than an hour, until the sun shining through the curtains at 7am enticed me to get up.
Now that a couple of hours have passed I can assess myself a bit better. I think that at the moment I still have all the symptoms of this winter bug, but scaled down to something like 10%. Every now and then I blow some unpleasantness out of my nose, and every now and then I need to clear my throat. Apart from that I feel mostly OK. Even my chest seems to be behaving itself again. I'm not sure that I will be doing anything too taxing through the day, but I hope I feel good enough to go out in the cold and wet again tonight.
I don't think I know what I will be doing for most of today. Maybe my trail cameras have caught some great footage of the the fox, and I'll spend some time editing a bit of video, or maybe they won't have. Maybe I'll finally get around to hoovering my bedroom, or maybe I won't. Maybe I'll get a call from Angela suggesting we meet at lunchtime......no, that's just fantasy. Tonight I hope I'll feel well enough, or enthusiastic enough, to go to see Chain playing in Beckenham.
I meant to show this picture a couple of days ago. It is of a plectrum shaped charm that belongs to Stretch - the man who was hosting the open mic night last Tuesday. Unfortunately it is not a lucky charm because I found it in a very dubious puddle in the gents toilet of the pub. I gritted my teeth, and picked it up before giving it a wash under hot water, and handing it back to a very grateful Stretch.
Another picture I meant to show a couple of days ago. Thameslink's new class 700 trains have these displays down the entire length of the train, and when working correctly they can display all sorts of interesting things. This display might have been useful were it not for that fact that we didn't have to stop for any red signals ! It was displaying this message from the time I got on the train at Catford to the time I got off at Petts Wood (and no doubt beyond that).
I took this picture on the train from Shortlands to Catford last night. Once again the display had stuck on what could have been a useful message - except it was useless because the train had already left wherever the display was first used. (Yes, I was in first class because there is no timetabled first class Thameslink service to and from Sevenoaks, and if the timetable says there isn't, then there isn't any !)
|Thursday 7th March 2019
| 07:42 GMT
The forecast didn't really know what to offer about yesterday's weather. There was a medium to moderate chance of rain predicted for most of yesterday, but as far as I can remember, most of the rain started to fall about the time the forecast said all the rain for the day should be finishing ! The first half of the afternoon was bright, but maybe not actually sunny, and the temperature was a reasonable 13° C. Had there been some sunshine it might have felt fairly good. As I try and describe yesterday's weather I come to the conclusion that I can't really remember what happened. That leads to one final conclusion - yesterday's weather was very bland - neither good, nor bad, and nothing happened that was worth remembering !
I have a feeling that today's weather is going to be very similar to yesterday, and almost forgettable except for one feature - some very strong winds are expected. The temperature at the moment is 1° C less than forecast, but that can be explained by the location of my thermometers. Later today the temperature should climb to 11° C. That could potentially feel very chilly in the strong winds that are predicted. There is a high (64%) chance of it raining as I write this, but the sun is just starting to peep out from above a nasty looking cloud, but at least a quarter of the sky is blue. Update: There is now a 70% chance of rain right now, and the rain that isn't falling now could continue not to fall until 9am. I have just looked out the back of the house towards the north, and have revised my estimate to about 75% of the sky being blue.
It is possible that there will be sunny intervals for most of today, or alternately reality may catch up with the forecast. In which case the latest revision to the forecast says there will be showers starting at 3pm, and ending with some light drizzle at 7pm. The temperature will fall over night to about 6° C, and then tomorrow may, or may not be a repeat of today but without the strong winds.
Yesterday seemed to be a day for getting over going out on Tuesday night. Quite why just a few hours in a pub should leave me so drained is usually a mystery, but I suppose there was the magic ingredient of an unfinished head cold on Tuesday. It was quite a mixed experience yesterday. Maybe some of what I felt in the morning was a hangover, although I didn't think I drank enough to qualify for any more than the mildest of hangovers. Most of yesterday was just a continuation of bunged up nose, and coughing up mucus on intermittent occasions. Much of that had dried out by late afternoon, but I still felt rather listless.
I think listless probably sums up much of yesterday. I did think I would hand wash a double duvet cover, but couldn't be bothered. That wasn't the only thing I couldn't be bothered to do. I didn't bother to have a shower, I didn't bother to go to the shops, and I didn't bother getting the takeaway that I had been promising myself earlier in the day. It would have been a great set of symptoms if I had wanted to claim that I was depressed, but I was just knackered.
I spent quite a lot of the day doing doing photographic things. I went through, selected and edited the best of the pictures I had taken on Tuesday night. I showed a selection yesterday, but I think there was something like 19 pictures in the official photo album by the time I had finished. I also shot a fair bit of video - and most of it was either crap or just boring. One bit of video was only spoiled because I couldn't seem to keep the camera steady. It was shot towards the end of the session, and maybe I was more drunk than I thought ! It is still worth including because it is a great song, and the lighting, focus, and sound are rather good compared to the average iPhone gig videos that seem to be about the best when seen on the internet. In this video Gian Goldie and Martin "Stretch" Sickel, with a bit of percussion from Rob Todd play and sing Dark Side Of The Moon.
There is one more bit of video I'll show at the end. It was taken off my new trail camera, the replacement for the one I bricked with an ill considered firmware update. It is a more expensive unit that was on a short duration special offer with the price reduced to about the same as the cheap unit I bricked. It takes far superior pictures and video, and I think I am rather pleased with it. I edited together a sequence from bits shot overnight, and then I had a lie down. Initially I read for a while, and then I fell asleep.
I woke up about an hour later feeling dreadful. My nose felt ready to explode, and my throat felt very constricted by a big plug of mucus. On top of that I felt really strange - almost nauseous. Until then I had been planning on treating myself to a takeaway - possibly a Chinese - but I had lost my appetite for a while. It was two hours later, while watching a bit of TV, that I thought that maybe I would like to eat, but not a takeaway. There were several possibilities for a meal in the fridge or freezer, but I opted for a simple (aka cheap and nasty) cottage pie ready meal.
It went down quite well, and I began to perk up a bit. One thing I noticed was that I rarely had to blow my nose in the evening, and there seemed to be no mucus stuck in my windpipe. I was still coughing though, but it was more of a dry tickly cough - just as annoying, but in a different way. When I finally went to bed even the cough had subsided a lot. It made for a potentially good night, and in a way it was good, but not entirely.
I fell asleep easily enough, and slept for about three hours before waking up. I think I woke up to pee, but once awake I had to give my nose a severe blowing, but I think I managed to get it all into one tissue. I also needed a good cough. With all that done I fell asleep within minutes of my head hitting the pillow. My next lot of sleep lasted about 2 hours, and I went through pretty much the same as before, and then I went straight to sleep again. Another two hours passed before I woke up again, but this time my throat felt like it was full of crap, and it took a lot of coughing to clear it out. I found it a lot harder to get to sleep after that, and I only slept for about an hour of light sleep punctuated by weird flashes of dreams.
Now I've been up for a while, and had a chance to assess how I feel I have concluded that in many ways I feel almost OK. My nose is still not completely dry yet, and needs the occasional good blow, but the periods between blows seem to be getting longer and longer. It feels like I have some energy back, and that feels nice. The thing that lets it all down is that I am still afflicted by a dry tickly cough that comes and goes in no discernible rhythm.
Today I have some definite plans, and at least 2 of them are rather definite. Those two are to have a good shower this morning, and to go out just before 4pm for my late Thursday afternoon drink with the rest of the Thursday club. The more optional things, although I think I will do both, are to get some shopping in, and to wash the double duvet that I was going to wash yesterday. I think that is enough for a fairly full day.
To finish off, some video shot on my newest trail camera the night before last. It starts with a cat that came exploring, and then skips on to me resident fox....or now, almost resident fox. First of all it is seen climbing up onto the back fence - something that would have seemed impossible a few weeks back with it's injured leg or paw. It decides not to jump down to the other side of the fence, but to investigate the side fence. I caught a bit of video of it doing this a day or two previously, but the camera was not positioned well enough to see what was happening. It still wasn't perfect the night before, but it still seems pretty clear that the fox jumps up on the fence and disappears. It may have just walked along the fence before jumping back down on my side behind the camera, or it might have jumped down into my neighbours garden. It was a couple of hours before the camera saw it again in my garden. Evidently jumping onto the fence was so good that it did it again, and this time I don't think the camera saw it again - hopefully I will see it again when I check what was recorded on my 2 trail cameras last night.
|Wednesday 6th March 2019
| 09:31 GMT
It's difficult to know how to score yesterday's weather. A few bits were good, and a few bits were bad. To complicate matters, some of the bits that were supposed to be good were not very good, and some bits that were supposed to be bad, were not very bad. Until mid morning there was supposed to be sunny intervals plus a couple of hours of non stop sunshine. It was bright, but there is no "Oooo sunshine" etched in my memory. There was supposed to be non stop rain, mostly light, but occasionally heavy, from about sunset onwards, but while I saw some puddles, and I might have seen a bit of rain while indoors, there was no rain when I was out travelling. I think I will remember it as a rather bland day. Even the temperature was a bit bland. The afternoon high of 12° C was neither hot nor cold.
Today could only be described as a damp day, but possibly slightly less damp that the screenshot above implies. The latest revision to the forecast omits the drizzle at 9am, and just shows light rain between 1 and 6pm. The curious thing is that in the latest revision is that it assigns a greater than 50% probability of rain at 10 and 11am, but shows no raindrop icons for those times, and reserves the rain drop icon for between 1pm and 6pm when the probability of rain is shown as 22% or less. I think the summary is that it will probably rain sometime today, but no one knows when. The predicted temperature is usually more accurate, and with an afternoon high of 13° C it should feel OK if the wind is not too strong. The big feature of tomorrow's weather is likely to be strong gusty winds. Other than that, it should be fairly bright, and out of the wind an afternoon high of 11° C won't be that bad.
I didn't really have any plans for yesterday except for the idea of going out in the evening. Then suddenly I did have a plan for the middle of the day - waiting in for a parcel delivery. I had decided to treat myself to some new kitchen knives, and so I had ordered a simple pack of three - a small paring knife, a cutting knife with a scalloped edge, and a small chopping knife. They arrived at just the right time to help prepare my lunch.
I had a salad for lunch - quite a big salad by the time it had been "built". It was an ideal time to test the scalloped edged knife to see how it performed when slicing tomatoes. It was an excellent demonstration of how my old knifes have lost their edge despite being sharpened every now and then. I have no doubt that my old knives could be professionally re-sharpened to the correct blade profile, but that would probably be more expensive than buying new. That scallop edge knife went through tomatoes like a hot knife through shaving foam.
It also cut into my thumb like a surgeons scalpel with no resistance at all ! It was, fortunately, only a small nick, but it was a bit messy. I should have downed tools, and put a sticking plaster on to contain the drips, but I didn't stop because I think I can tolerate a few drips of my own blood in a meal. It would be a very different matter if I was preparing food for someone else.
After eating my lunch I laid on my bed to read for a while. Ideally I wanted to have a snooze, but it seemed that every time my eyes started to close I would put the magazine I was reading down, and almost immediately start coughing ! I was feeling much better in some ways yesterday, and yet in other ways it was difficult to tell there had been any improvement. I did feel sort of optimistic that my sinuses were finally drying out. My mucus production did seem to be a lot less, but my nose was still partly blocked a lot of the time - but not actually dripping. That meant that for a lot of the time I was breathing through my mouth, and that would dry my throat out, and that would make my throat tickle, and that would make me cough !
I never did get the rest/snooze I hoped for, and like previous days, my cold symptoms seemed to be getting worse as evening approached. It made it hard work to convince myself that I was still going out. There were several reasons why I wanted to go out, and being stuck in on my own for a week (or whatever) was a good one. I was also hoping to try out one of the new external microphones I had bought for my camera. Finally I was looking forward to drinking some Guinness and seeing Sue again.
I planned to get the 7.50pm train to Petts Wood station, and an hour before that I took a couple of paracetamol tablets in the hope that I would feel a lot less crap than how I was feeling at the time. Maybe they worked, or maybe it was the fresh air and Guinness. I left home fearing it was about to pour with rain, and feeling all bunged up, and by the time I got to the station, a bit breathless. It didn't rain. The fresh air seemed to unbung me, and once I got to The Daylight Inn, the Guinness just made all the improvements better !
Martin "Stretch" Sickel who hosts "Stretchy's Open Mic"
Stretch with Rob Todd on cahoon and backing vocals.
The Lost Planet Cowboys.
Gian Goldie - an excellent balladeer.
The best picture I got of Sue. She is concentrating on the view on her phone as she streams live video to Facebook.
I thought I had taken a really nice picture of Sue smiling, but I was annoyed to find my camera had decided to focus on the fireplace at the far end of the room. So I've done some strong sharpening, and shrunk the picture down so small that it is hard to see how badly focussed it was. Curiously enough, Sue's big happy smile is still visible.
I didn't start out intending to do it, but I stayed to within a few minutes of the end, and got the very last train home. There were more indirect ways home if I had missed that train, or it had been cancelled. At the very worst there is the N199 bus from outside the station to the end of my road, but it is a very slow ride.
I was quite happy that exactly 30 minutes after getting on the train at Petts Wood, I was walking through my front door - and that included the time to pick up some dinner from the fried chicken shop (my previous dinner was just a banana and some low fat coleslaw). The chicken was delicious (after adding a bit of salt and a sprinkle of hot chilli sauce). After allowing about 20 minutes for the food to settle I went to bed.
I fell asleep fairly quickly, and when I slept I seemed to sleep quite well. Every two hours or so I would wake up - sometimes for a pee, but every time to give my nose a good blow. A very good blow - several times. Ten I would be able to get back to sleep fairly easily. The only time this failed was towards the end of the night when I also was suffering from a blocked throat. Obviously not completely blocked, but there was a big plug of mucus sitting in/on/near my windpipe, and ordinary coughing would not shift it. It was time for a couple of squirts from my inhaler. It wasn't long before I could start to shift that mucus. I did manage to get some more sleep after that, but it was only about half an hour until sunrise, and even the pre-dawn light was sending me wake up signals. I got some, but not much sleep after that.
This morning I feel similar to how I think I felt yesterday morning. I was initially all bunged up, but now some time has passed I am starting to feel about halfway to normal. Every now and then I need a good blow to clear my nostrils, but less and less is coming out - one tissue can now last 3 blows (sometimes) instead of just one blow. I only need an occasional light cough most of the time now. It seems like this cold is hanging on for far too long, but from what I heard last night I am possibly one of the luckier ones.
I don't feel like running a marathon today, but that doesn't matter because I have no intention to ever run a marathon. I have no major plans for today. I doubt I'll be going out any further than the corner shop, but I won't be completely inactive. I have a double duvet cover that I might wash today. That is going to need lots of strength and stamina ! I have some video from last night I maybe do something with, and with luck I might have some fox video on the trail cameras this morning. With luck one of my big activities today will be inactivity in the form of a nice afternoon snooze - if my cold symptoms let me !
|Tuesday 5th March 2019
| 08:27 GMT
Many sunny periods were forecast to pop up during the day, but very few seemed to happen yesterday. It seemed like there was a north-south divide in the weather that was hanging over Catford. The view to the north was often of patches of blue sky, many of them very big, but it was cloudy looking south - and that was where the sun was. So yesterday was generally light, maybe even slightly bright, but sunshine was quite rare. I seem to recall there was a splash of rain earlier in the afternoon than predicted, but I don't remember it being that significant. With a maximum temperature of 10° C, it was a rather cool day. During the evening the cloud seemed to thin out even more, and the temperature dropped a lot.
In one respect the forecast for today has got off to a good start - or almost good. Instead of a sunny interval I would describe as sunny right now, and it has been so for almost the last hour. I'm am not so sure the temperature prediction was that accurate. It should be 6° C right now, but my thermometers seemed to agree it was 3.7°C when I checked quite close to 8am. This lovely sunshine should warm things up, and the idea of a high of 12° C this afternoon seems very feasible. It has the makings of a nice day, but sadly there is a fly in the ointment. From mid afternoon the clouds will thicken, and at some point, possibly nearer sunset, it will start to rain, and while it may not be heavy rain, it will probably rain all night. Tomorrow may be a fairly mild day at 13° C, but it will probably be wet and raining all day !
Yesterday was, in one respect, a bad day. After getting feeling all gummed up with snot and bogeys my nose and throat slowly cleared, and it seemed like I just had a little more drying out to go through and I would finally be over my cold. By early to mid afternoon it seemed I hadn't needed to blow my nose, or cough for ages, but then it was like I had a relapse. By the evening I was coughing and spluttering as bad as anything. That was a big disappointment, and I feared it would spoil some vague plans I have for today.
During the morning, and a little way into the afternoon I was fairly active. The most active was in the morning when I went to Aldi. That was mostly a satisfactory shopping trip that was only spoiled by two things. The first annoyance was when I got to the checkout and found that one can from the two 4 packs I had picked up of Innis & Gunn lager was leaking. If I was more patient I would have gone and got a replacement, but I decided that I would leave the 4 pack with the leaking can before I got to the till.
There were a few things that I specifically wanted to buy from Aldi - apart from cans of lager. One very rare thing was some bread. I opted for a baguette. The other thing was a couple of bananas (one would have been enough, but I felt it would be silly to just buy 1, and so I bought a small bunch of 3).
The reason for these two things was because I had almost been challenged, in the form of a dubious recommendation, to try banana and Marmite as a sandwich filling. On the face of it, it does sound a weird combination, but on the other hand there are plenty of precedents for sweet and sour to go together well, and sweet and savoury is not that far removed from the basic idea.
I had Marmite, and after buying the bread and bananas I was ready to try it. At that point my nose was not perfectly clear, and I suspect that my taste was dulled by all that snot. So it was probably not an ideal time to conduct a taste experiment, but I tried it anyway. I found I was quite disappointed. The contrasting tastes of the banana and Marmite seemed to subtract rather than add together. Each taste seemed to kill the other, and my crusty baguette sandwich mostly seemed to taste of nice fresh bread.
The sandwich was a disappointment, but perhaps just a minor one compared to what would come later. I hadn't bothered to put a coat on to go to Aldi, and while it was not very warm, it seemed to feel quite comfortable. Coming back from Aldi was rather less comfortable.There had been mention of wind in the weather forecast on TV the previous night, and it seemed that it hit Catford just as I was about half way home. By the time I got home I was feeling rather chilly. I don't think there is a real medical reason, but common lore says that getting chilled is not good when getting over a cold, and was the reason why I had a relapse....maybe.
The third disappointment was in an entirely different strand of life. It must have been over a week ago when I must have mentioned how I had got fed up with the local shops only selling yellow rubber gloves, and how I was getting bored with this monotonous colour when doing my hand laundry. I was forced to go online and order rubber gloves on line. I ordered a pack of red and a pack of orange gloves, and I think it was just over a week ago that I started to use the first orange coloured gloves. They seemed fairly tough, but I wondered how they would stand up to the rough treatment of hand washing stuff - in particular wringing out wet clothes and stuff. That can really put a strain on the rubber in a few places.
Yesterday I got my answer. They are not particularly strong compared to Aldi's "Power Force" household gloves. Two things came together to turn a merely annoying mishap into a small disaster....maybe the word disaster is a bit strong, and perhaps calamity is closer to the truth.
To make the gloves easier to slip on and off I squirted some talcum powder in the gloves. I think I overdid it rather a lot in the right hand glove. I was washing 4 pillow cases and a double fitted sheet - quite an easy wash. As always, I started off with washing in detergent, and then did 3 rinses - wringing everything between each stage. Finally I used fabric conditioner, and wrung everything out for the second to last time before taking it all downstairs to hang it up to dry. Before hanging it up I gave each item one more wringing out. I did the pillows first, and the double fitted sheet last.
It was at that point in time that the orange rubber gave way where the thumb joins to main body of the hand. As it did so a jet of talcum powder sprayed out. Some went on the carpet where it was easily dealt with, but some hot the sheet - which of course was a black sheet for maximum comic effect ! It looked like I was making one of those white scrawl and hieroglyphics on black isis flags ! I was careful not to rub it in, and as hoped, a lot of the talc brushed out once the fabric was dry. There are still faint white stains there, but I am not going to bother washing the sheet again.
Later in the afternoon I had a very long chat with Sue. It wasn't intended to be a very long chat, but it seems to happen every time I speak to her on the phone. Sue does a lot of drawing, and until recently it had all been cartoon like, and maybe a bit childish, but just recently she has been doing her best to draw people. Her first efforts were more cartoon like, and she might have made her life easier if she had refined her technique in the direction of making them even more cartoon like, but she has taken the path of trying to make her drawings more lifelike.
She still has a way to go, but she had made great improvements. I thought I could give her what I hoped were some constructive criticisms. I think she took them as such. Unlike some people she knows, I feel she knows that I give an honest opinion that is intended to help and not belittle. In my opinion she has two hurdles to overcome. One is getting some proportions right, and the other is not to slavishly try to copy a photograph. I would argue that if you want it to look like a photo you might as well use a photo. I would freely admit that I have no idea what I am talking about, and couldn't follow my own advice, but I suggested to Sue that she should try and see the person and not the photograph. A photo can reveal too much, but a drawing may only show the pure essence of the person if drawn in such a way.
My phone call was not purely about art, and it included loads of other stuff. I found that the longer I talked the more my throat felt tickly, and the more my nose seemed to feel blocked. It is possible, maybe probable that one caused the other - as I coughed my eyes would water a bit. Perhaps there was some synergy with getting chilled earlier, but by the time I finished the call it felt like a had a major relapse back into a filthy cold. I had been hoping for a mostly clear night, but certainly at the beginning, when I was trying for sleep, I was coughing and blowing my nose almost as bas as when I was in the middle of the cold.
Somehow I got to sleep quite quickly, and I slept fairly well for 3 or 4 hours. Each time I woke I would be coughing and spluttering, but maybe I managed to clear my orifices enough fairly quickly, and usually I would be asleep again after not too long a time. There was one exception at about 3am when I woke up feeling cold, and felt colder still after going out to the bathroom to use the toilet. I had to turn the heater up full, and also take a swig of cough mixture to try and clear some persistent mucus in my throat.
I would say that I woke up earlier than desired this morning, but it was just after sunrise, and at any other time I would be rather pleased by that. Since then I have started to feel a bit better again. Occasionally I need to blow out what seems to be a huge amount of mucus from my nose, but the times between each episode of this seem to be getting longer and longer. My throat appears to be almost on a hair trigger, but once again the intervals between needing to try and clear my throat seem to be growing longer and longer.
I have no plans for today, but I do have one aspiration. If I continue to feel better, and I am foolhardy enough to go out into the rain, I would like to go to Stretchy's Open Mic tonight. On one Tuesday a month (if I recall correctly) he does one open mic session in The Daylight Inn at Petts Wood. Once upon a time, and at weekends, it is a horrid place to get to, but now there is a weekday only Thameslink train service to Orpington (the stop after Petts Wood) it is an easy journey. I walk to Catford station. A direct train takes little more than 15 minutes to get to Petts Wood station, and the pub is 3 minutes walk from the station. Easy - provided I don't feel crap !
|Monday 4th March 2019
| 07:37 GMT
There was the potential for it to rain all day yesterday, but there were a few times in the morning, and early afternoon when it didn't seem to be raining. All the revisions of the forecast seemed to suggest that it would be dry sometime from late afternoon to late in the evening, but that seemed to be when either the heaviest, or most persistent rain fell - or both ! The rain continued past that time, and only finished sometime in the small hours of today. A lot of yesterday was 12° C, and despite the rain and dull sky, it did actually feel quite mild.
This morning looks very damp, but there is no rain. It is trying it's best to be light and sunny this morning. There are some bright patches of sky, and maybe even a few blue bits among the clouds, but as yet none have drifted across the sky to the right place to let the sun in. Having written that I have just been to the back bedroom for a view to the north. There is quite a lot of blue sky in that direction, but it's in the wrong half of the sky to let any sunshine through. It would seem that it is going to be a rather cool day with a high of just 10° C. There is a small chance of rain at almost any time today, but the highest chance would seem to be at 5pm - according to this early morning version of the forecast. The forecast could, and probably will change a lot during the day. The forecast for tomorrow has already changed ! It is probably going to be a couple of degrees warmers than today, and the morning could see some sunshine, but from late afternoon it may rain.
It was pretty miserable outside, and I was still suffering from the lingering effects of what was/is probably no more than the common cold, and so I had a very un-dynamic day yesterday. I think I might have said that I might do something mad like get the hoover out yesterday. That didn't happen, but I did do two lots of hand laundry. The first was a bath towel, and that was really hard work. A bit later I did a few smaller pieces. It was the only physical things I did all day. I spent much more of the day resting or doing little odd jobs that required either little physical or mental effort - usually neither !
For the first few hours of yesterday I was feeling very bunged up. In my imagination, and maybe in actuality, my sinuses were filled to the brim with congealing snot, and were slowly leaking it out into my nose and throat. It's hard to put a time on it because it was a very gentle transition, but maybe by early afternoon my nose and throat felt mostly clear, and only an occasional clear out would be needed. It was the first concrete sign that I was actually recovering from the snotty cold I've had.
Something else also cleared itself. I mentioned yesterday how my brief indulgence of naughty sugary food had caused an very old boil to flare up on my inner thigh, and how it seemed very small, yet incredibly sensitive and painful. It must have been at about 1pm when it burst. It was, as I am sure you wouldn't like to imagine, a bit of a messy affair. It was the cause of my doing a second bit of hand laundry.
During the afternoon I did a bit of reading and had a snooze. I was feeling basically OK except for a bit of tiredness after some bad nights sleep. It was after my snooze that I was inspired to do another bit of physical effort that I nearly forgot about. I stripped all the linen off my bed so I could relay the memory foam mattress protect that had slipped, and was all rucked up. At the same time I changed the bottom sheet, the pillowcases, and duvet cover. It would have a positive effect on my sleep last night.
During the early part of the evening I had some hot dinner. I think I had mainly only eaten rice cakes with cream cheese on prior to that. I tried my best to watch some TV, but there was nothing on any channel that attracted my attention. I ended up watching the BBC news channel for a bit. While all this was going on I hardly coughed, and may have only blown my nose a couple of times. That was to change when I went to bed.
I managed to find a few things on the internet that kept me amused until almost 9pm. It included one historical aerial photo of Catford that shows where I used to live prior to moving just across the border into Lewisham. The boundary between SE6 (Catford) and SE13 (Lewisham) used to run across the back of the garden of the new place we moved to in approx 1968. I have circled where I used to live in the photo. What it shows is just rubble instead of a house. The picture must have been taken a short while after we moved out, and all the houses were flattened to make way for the new development that included Tesco, The Catford Ram, Milford Towers, Catford Mews, and the multistorey car park.
It was probably not quite 9pm when I decided I had nothing to do, and I might as well go to bed. Initially it was just to read in bed, but I was possibly fast asleep by 10pm. Of course it wasn't quite that simple. It seems that as soon as I was laying down my nose and throat started filling with very sticky mucus again. During the course of the night I would spend a good 10 minutes, and several tissues, having a good blow and cough to try and clear my nose and throat, and then I would quickly fall asleep, and sleep for perhaps 2 hours before repeating the process.
Despite waking about every two hours, it seemed like I was sleeping well. If nothing else, sorting out the mattress protector made for a very comfortable night. Sometimes I must have only been sleeping lightly because I can remember having many dreams, although the details of most have now evaporated like most dreams do. A bit of one does stick in my mind because it demonstrated one of those awkward things in life.
In this one dream I was with a woman who seemed to be a bit of a composite of several that I have known over the years. It was a strange dream in that apart from some sense of self, the only thing I could see was the woman. She was wearing a long green dress, and was putting on make up - quite subtle make up. As she put the make up on she became much more desirable, and that was despite her appearance hardly changing at all. It was as if she was putting a new persona on. As she worked she became more seductive.
The big problem is that I wanted to compliment her on it, but I was worried how it might be interpreted. It could sound that without make up she was ugly, but that definitely wasn't so, or intended. To say that she looked much more seductive could have been taken wrongly in some way too. I did know a woman who went through a very militant feminist period, and would find any compliment insulting.
I woke up at about sunrise this morning, and I felt pretty awful. I must have been sleeping very awkwardly during my last period of sleep. I had pins and needles in one hand, and a few muscles in my arms ached a lot. On top of that my head seemed full of snot again. Since then I have started to feel better. Most of the aches have gone, and my head is drying out again. I think that today will finally see me getting out into some fresh air for a while. I doubt it will be an outing any further than the park, but it would be good to stretch my legs for a bit. At the moment that is about my only plan for today, although it is probably better described as an aspiration rather than a plan. In other words any thing could and might happen today.
|Sunday 3rd March 2019
| 08:29 GMT
The weather forecast said there would be no sunshine at all yesterday, and it was wrong ! For a few hours around midday there was sunshine and a lot of blue sky to be seen. By mid afternoon the clouds had covered the sky again, and sometime later, but before the forecast time, it started to rain. It was mostly, but not exclusively light rain, and was rather intermittent in nature. There wasn't a lot of variation in the temperature yesterday. The highest temperature was towards the end of the unscheduled sunny periods, and was a quite mild feeling 13° C. After that the temperature hardly fell at all. After an initial dip to 11°C it was back to 12° C for the rest of the night.
Maybe the temperature did fall an extra degree in the small hours of this morning, but if the forecast is right (and I confess I haven't actually checked a thermometer, but it does feel right) this morning it was 11° C at daybreak. It will probably go up a degree late in the morning. By itself that wouldn't be bad. Even the grey skies would only be mildly terrible, but it seems it is going to rain until 7pm tonight. The latest revision of the forecast says the rain will be heavy around 9am, but after it will get lighter again. Whether it will be non stop, or of there will be periods of grace is something we will find out when we get there. Tomorrow morning and evening will probably be cold, but the afternoon temperature should reach 10° C. There could be sunny periods popping up through most of the day, but some ore rain is predicted for late afternoon/early evening. Now that spring is here the weather has taken a step backwards to be closer to seasonal averages. The last days of winter were very superior !
During the morning, and some way into the afternoon, I felt much better than I had the previous few days. There were periods of time when I hardly had to blow my nose more than twice an hour (perhaps), and apart from a few brief times I had no more than a dry, tickly cough. It really did feel like I was getting over the head cold I have been suffering from. Although sometimes I have had a few muscular or joint aches that have suggested something a bit more than the common cold.
During the morning I had a nice hot shower, and that helped make me feel better apart from feeling a bit lightly poached in the hot water, and a period of sweating afterwards. Once I had cooled down I got dressed to go out, and I went shopping in Tesco. There were only a few things on my shopping list, but I came back with lots of stuff. Most of the stuff was quite lightweight, and the heavy stuff - 4 litres of Diet Coke and a litre of whisky - I had in my rucksack. I had just missed the best of the sunshine when I went out, but it still felt good to be out on the fresh air, and apart from an annoying dry cough that sprung up just as I got to the checkout, I didn't display any cold symptoms at all while out.
It was obviously that I was still convalescing though. I felt quite knackered when I got home - far worse by a whole magnitude than the worst of the usual. Well maybe it was worth it. I had whisky, and I had sausages. I also remembered to get some tomato sauce. I haven't had any tomato sauce in the larder for ages. In fact I bought two small bottles. One was by Heinz, and the other Tesco. Both claimed, using different wording, to be reduced salt and sugar, and I wanted to see which was best. I used some of the Heinz yesterday, and to be honest I am not sure of it was better, worse or just s bit different to "classic" tomato ketchup.
While I was in Tesco I evidently felt the need to stock up on several items. I don't use big jars of mustard quickly enough, and so I prefer smaller, squeezy tubes of it, but I rarely see them. I spotted them yesterday, and bought three tubes. Another thing I spotted was Primula cream cheese in a squeezy tube. It is a very inefficient, and wasteful way of dispensing cream cheese, but it is handy. Unfortunately they didn't have the jalapeño flavoured cream cheese that Iceland sell, but I bought three tubes anyway.
Other useful, but in truth unneeded things that I stocked up on were underpants and trainer socks. I was tempted to buy the underpants because it seems rare to see colours other than black or white in large sizes. I spotted some that were three different shades of turquoise - well, it's a bit of a novelty ! The trainer socks are something I have dabbled with before. For a long time I preferred to go sockless, but some of my trainers seem to chaff my toes or feet without socks, and because those trainers had been sitting around out of use, not earning their keep, I have resorted to wearing them with socks. They are uncomfortable with socks, but painful without. I wouldn't try and walk long distance in them, but they are now fine for short walks to the shops. Maybe they will eventually "wear in" and be truly comfortable in all situations, or maybe they won't.
I ate my sausages in the afternoon, but otherwise I did very little. I did do some reading, and I think I had a snooze that might have lasted as long as an hour (or it might have only lasted 10 minutes). From early evening onwards I began to feel very bunged up. It wasn't like it was 24 hours earlier when I was practically dripping because I was getting bunged up with very thick mucus. It had the colour and consistency of Evostik ! It started filling up my throat too, and was sometimes difficult to cough up. The only cure was distraction, and watch The Life Of Brian DVD that I bought from Poundland recently, was a suitable distraction.
An extra distraction was looking at the film through my photographers eye. The DVD claimed to have been remastered, but I came away with the impression was that it was just a buzzword that meant nothing at all in reality. What shocked me was the amount of easily visible film grain in some scenes. Apart from when taking snaps in a dimly lit pub, when grain (or it's digital equivalent - noise) is unavoidable, I would find that level of grain to be unacceptable - particularly in shots taken in full sunshine in the middle east.
When I finally went to bed I read for a while before trying to go to sleep. By that time I was feeling horrible bunged up. There were also two other things that made my time in bed uncomfortable. One was that the memory foam mattress topper had shifted, and made the bed lumpy and lop sided. The other problem had also afflicted me while watch the movie earlier on, and it had become apparent much earlier in the day. It seems that my complete disregard for the amount of sugar in some foods after giving the blood samples I recently gave, has come back to bit me on the bum - almost literally. An old zit or boil has refilled with pus and stuff on my inner thigh. I had not suffered from this unfortunate side effect of type 2 diabetes for years, but I am now ! The most annoying thing is that it feels quite small, and yet is amazingly painful. I am going to have another go at squeezing it when I have a shower later. If I can stand the pain I may be able to empty it out, and with my blood glucose levels hopefully back to usual it should bother me no further.
I had a terrible sleep last night. As well as the thick mucus bunging me up, the shifted mattress topper, and the painful zit, I also suffered in a weird way from a dream I had. I was evidently asleep to be dreaming that I was in a little shop where I used to buy electronic junk and other useful bits and pieces. It wasn't the case in real life, but in the dream there was a shelf of old books, and among those books was a BBC book celebrating 50 years of television. I am pretty sure no such book exists in reality, but I recognised it immediately in the dream. It was a large scale hard back book, and about 4 or 5 inches thick. I knew that it must have cost several hundred pounds when first on sale. I asked the man in the shop how much it was, and he just said "all books £1 each". So I handed over £1, and came away with a book full of fascinating stuff.
That book would feature in most of my subsequent dreams. I would read stuff, and remember it from real life. It got to the point when I was unable to tell if I was awake or dreaming. It sometimes seemed that I got hardly any sleep at all, but I guess I got more than I realised. There were definitely times when I was awake. I probably went for a pee three times in the night, and at about 6am I went for a poo as well before going back to bed. Everytime I woke up, and I am sure it was more frequently than the times I had to go to the toilet, I would have a fight with the mucus that was filling my nose and throat. I would blow and blow and blow until in a great spurt a lump or three of green sticky bogey would shoot out of one or both nostrils. Clearing my throat consisted of increasing desperate coughs.
One thing that is very noticeable is that since I stopped laying down in bed, and now sitting at my PC, my need to clear my nose or throat has dropped right off. It almost makes me feel well again, but now and then I get an annoying tickle, and as yet I don't know if I am feeling very weak, or if my strength has returned. I guess I'll find out later...or maybe I won't. I have no desire to go out in the rain, and if I do any hard work it will have to be indoors. That would probably be hoovering, and I must admit running the hoover over my bedroom floor might be a good idea. For the moment my only plan is to have a nice warm shower (and see if I can burst that zit/boil).
Here's a bit of video of my fox taken in the early hours of yesterday morning (or the morning before then). There is not a lot of action, but you can see the fox is limping less and less now as it gathers it's dinner of mango and lime marinated chicken that I had left in the fridge a little too long. I don't think it was actually off, but it smelled like it was getting close/
|Saturday 2nd March 2019
| 09:37 GMT
The weather was very uninspiring yesterday, and yet the only negative thing about it was the grey cloud cover. Other than that it was dry, and the temperature peaked at 12° C.
Today is going to be the same as yesterday while also being both better and worse ! The good bit is the afternoon temperature being 13° C. Update: The latest revision shows a brief peak of 14° C now. The worst bit is the likelyhood of rain this evening. Once again this has been updated too in the latest revision to the forecast. The rain will now start an hour later, but go on for 4 hours. The same is the same gloomy grey skies. Tomorrow gets better and worse. The temperature may rise to a reasonable 13° C, and stay there all afternoon, but it is currently thought that there will be light rain for the whole 24 hours of tomorrow. That may be punctuated by a few brief rays of sunshine during the afternoon.
I did not feel well again yesterday, but there were some improvements and one thing that was new, and almost the worst symptom of all. To save leaving you in suspense I will reveal that the worst symptom of all was the end of my nose feeling really painful and raw after too much nose blowing. It was the one symptom that was actually painful rather than just a great irritation. Fortunately some ancient Germolene smeared on the end of my nose did provide much comfort even if it didn't seem to last very long, and would have looked comical if I had appeared in public with a lump of pink cream on my nose.
Other than my sore nose, I did seem to think that I was getting better. I'm not sure why I thought that because the clues were mysterious in the extreme ! It was another day when between blowing out loads more disgusting green/yellow mucus from my nose, I felt like I should be able to do lots of things - until I actually tried to do them ! Maybe some of that was all in the mind because I did force myself to successfully hand wash quite a bit of laundry. It was hard work, and I ended up having a rest before the last step of wringing out the fabric conditioner prior to hanging it all up to dry. I also found the concentration to finish a job that I started some time ago, and tried to do more the day before yesterday. That was to extract all my home made videos from my PCs hard drive, and make two copies onto an external archive hard disk, plus a back up hard drive. If I actually carry out my own directives, I will only keep video files I am working on, or have worked on, on my PC until the end of the month (except in cases when working with them crosses from one month to the next).
The aforementioned mysterious clues that I was getting better were really indirect clues. One such clue was that during the afternoon, having earlier gone to the corner shop and bought a couple of magazines, I was able to lay on my bed reading for a while before having a nice snooze. Being able to read a nice lightweight magazine may have helped here. The huge great hardback book I am currently reading is hard work. Fortunately it is mostly short stories, and most are short enough to finish before my aching arms fall off. A lightweight magazine seemed so easy to read by comparison, and maybe that put me in the right mood to snooze for an hour. I'm unsure how long it actually was for, but an hour seems like a nice round number.
During the evening I had some sort of silly optimism that I might be able to get a fair night's sleep last night. It was probably a bit of a chicken and egg situation. I am unsure if I felt better because I predicted a reasonable sleep, or if I predicted a reasonable sleep because I felt better. All I do know is that I drunk 4 cans of lager to help the process along. Three of those cans were of the Innis & Gunn lager from Aldi that I have mentioned before. Last night I had a good demonstration of how nice it was. My first can of lager was also from Aldi, and I think it was called 1887 (obviously a play on 1664 Kronenberg lager - and similar coloured can). The 1997 lager tasted pleasant enough, but nothing to get excited about, but it did provide a good benchmark to judge the Innis & Gunn by. The first sip of the Innis & Gunn tasted like nectar !
As usual I watched a bit of TV last night - mostly without a great deal of enthusiasm. I think it might have been at 9pm that I decided to go to bed - initially to read for a while. At that point I wasn't coughing, but I was having to clear my nose quite frequently. That was not good, but at least what I was clearing from my nose was far too sticky to just drip. When I turned out the light to go to sleep I lay on my side, and had to breathe through my mouth, but at least I fell asleep, and quite quickly too.
I probably slept in 2 hour shifts through the night with gaps of anything between 10 minutes and half an hour between them. Every time I woke up it felt like I had to expel 3 pints of mucus from my 2 pint head, and later in the night I also had to cough up quite a lot of nastiness. It may not sound like it, but this was a huge improvement on the night before. I might have come close to getting 8 hours of reasonable sleep - plus some entertaining dreams.
It was probably a little after sunrise when I first got up. At that time the light was still very dull, because of the grey clouds, and was hardly inspiring. After about an hour I decided to go back to bed again. I was in bed for maybe an hour, but I only seemed to be lightly asleep for 20 to 30 minutes. So I got up again. At first I felt pretty bad, but I seem to be improving. The latest is that I now have a quite intermittent dry cough, and my nose feels quite stuff, but not much is coming out of it now. I do feel rather creaky and aching at the moment, but maybe like
Apart from one thing, I have really given any thought to what I might do today. That one thought is to go to Tesco to buy more fresh salad stuff, and maybe a bottle of whisky (I do have unopened bottle of Haig and Jamersons bought recently on special offer, but I want to save them for some unknown special time). Before going to Tesco I will need a good shower, and so I guess that is two things I'll probably be doing. I should check my trail camera this morning to see what my fox has been up to these last couple of days. I guess that is three things. Three things.....that's enough for anybody...isn't it ??
|Friday 1st March 2019
| 08:27 GMT
Yesterday was the first day that I've actually seen the strange weather icon used to describe the weather For a few hours in the afternoon there was indeed black clouds, rain, and some sunshine. The idea of sunshine and rain at the same time is not strange - it's how rainbows are made - but usually when that icon appears on the weather forecast it usually turns out to be just rain. There was quite a bit of rain yesterday, and for a short while it was quite heavy, but mostly it was just a grey day. Fortunately it was not a cold day. It's was a fair bit lower than recent days, but 13° C wasn't so bad.
In the weather forecasting world, today is regarded as the first day of spring. I feel sure that in reality the first day of spring will be the 21st or 22nd - presumably of this month. Anyway, spring has got off to a poor start. It is not looking to be a very scintillating day. It is very dull this morning, but the cloud may turn an extra shade lighter sometime in the afternoon. It should stay dry despite the cloud, although there is a 7% chance of rain towards the end of the morning. The temperature should peak at 12° C during the middle of the afternoon. A month ago that might have been described as almost warm, but I think it will still feel rather cool under the grey, leaden skies. Tomorrow may be less cool by a couple of degrees, and the day after could see some heavy rain.
Yesterday morning was dominated by my visit to the vampires ton give my blood samples. On the way home from that I went into Aldi and bought a few useful items - like tissues for my runny nose. Once I got home the gluttony began ! For a couple of months I had been preparing for the blood test by trying to reduce my sugar intake. I wasn't doing it to extreme lengths. It was more a case of trying to avoid the worst excesses. What I had yesterday definitely went to excess by way of a celebration. I had not one, but two tubs of ice cream by the end of the day.
Ice cream stored at the back of the freezer doesn't go off, but the shape of the ice crystals change over time, and that spoils the texture. The contents of both tubs of ice cream seemed to have shrunk, and both needed using up. The same is also true of the remaining two tubs still in the freezer, but they will have to wait for another time. I think the first ub I had, as I pictured yesterday, could have been called breakfast. The second one would probably be elevenses.
To compound things my lunch was not sugar free either, although some would call it healthy. It was a plate of fruit. There were a couple of plums, a nectarine and juicy conference pear. I also added a chunk of cheddar cheese to help calm the fruitiness down a bit. Although I later ate too much, I did pay a lot more attention to both the sugar and calorie content. My dinner was breaded chicken slices. I think they were probably a close as I have got to the fabled "turkey twizzlers" that I still want to try one day. I had the chicken as the first course, and followed that by a bowl of sprouts cooked in beef Oxo stock. ( I never realised how much frozen sprouts were in my freezer until I went digging for ice cream !).
It is hard to describe what else I did yesterday that wasn't eating. The trouble was that while my cold seemed to be waning, and almost gone when I went out in the morning, it was still affecting me at a more fundamental level. Apart from having to clear my blocked nose at regular intervals, I thought I felt basically OK. That was the case until I tried to do anything. I quickly found that I had very little stamina or powers of concentration - depending on which was required for anything I might want to do. It made for a very boring sort of cold.
Fighting some lethal virus with a fever of 39° C would have been far more interesting (although rather unpleasant) compared to sitting, or laying there thinking I must do so and so because I seem to feel OK, and then be unable to do it. I don't think I did anything at all that required any physical input, but I did do my best to do some stuff that needed some concentration, but not much. Of the latter it was mainly tidying up some computer files - transferring them to the right archive disks.
One thing I wanted to do, to help pass the time, was to read and snooze while laying on my bed. Holding that big heavy book up that I am currently reading, and concentration on the words and plot lines, was probably a unique combination of the two tasks I wasn't very good at doing. Even snoozing was difficult to the point where I don't think I managed to sleep for more than about 30 minutes - and that after having a lousy nights sleep beforehand. The trouble was the same that afflicted me in the night (and last night) - coughing and spluttering.
Last night I concluded that I had actually fought off the infection quite well, but it was the aftermath that was the problem. The aftermath was my filled to the brim sinuses draining off all the muck in them. It was happening to a certain extent through the day, but either was a lot worse, or felt a lot worse whenever I laid down. My nose will seem to fill with very sticky mucus that was that horrible yellow/green colour a lot of the time. It would also drain into my throat, and that was to cause trouble last night.
So I couldn't relax, and I couldn't do anything active - like I said, it was, and maybe is, a very boring illness - and the worst thing was feeling like I should be able to do interesting stuff until I tried to do it. One time I was able to be comfortable and entertained was watching TV. Perhaps "being entertained" is a little strong, but I did watch a couple of things to pass the time. It occurs to me, 12 hours too late, that I have a film I mean to watch sooner or later, and yesterday might have been a very good time. It was the DVD of The Life Of Brian that I found in a charity shop for £1 recently.
Before moving on to my terrible night, here's a snap of the view from the back bedroom yesterday afternoon. The forecast icon showed black cloud, sunshine, and rain. That is exactly what I could see - although not all three are displayed at their best in this picture. You'll have to believe me that the bright area of the shed roof almost centre bottom of the picture is because of the rain. The sun was brighter out the front of the house, and in this picture it probably wasn't shining, but you can see a big patch of blue sky which was allowing it to shine somewhere to the north of me. Finally you can see the black clouds. For once the forecast icon was actually correct !
I had a terrible night again. I was reluctant to go to bed when I did because I knew that it would be extremely hard to settle. Within a minute or two of my head hitting the pillow I would have to sit up again to give my nose a big blow, and this happened almost every time my head hit the pillow ! It wasn't until 3am that I managed to go to sleep properly, and to stay asleep for over half an hour. I suspect I may have dropped off for a few minutes once or twice before then. When I woke up as 4am approached it felt like I had a pint of thick, difficult to shift, mucus up each nostril.
To make matters worse it felt like I was gently choking on the stuff. The only way of quickly shifting what was clogging my throat was to have a couple of squirts from my asthma inhaler. As usual it was quite effective. It opened up my troat enough to cough up quite a few gobbets of unpleasantness. It was well past 4am, almost 5am before I got back to sleep again. This time I managed to sleep for about 2 hours. This time when I woke up my throat was OK, but my nose was as blocked as ever. It was light when I woke up...well a sort of grey light, but enough to see that my enthusiastic nose blowing had popped a capillary in my right nostril, and that mucus was spotted with a bit of blood. I decided to blow a little less enthusiastically after that - although it is hard to show restraint when if feels like it could come bubbling out all over your face !
Now we come to the question of what I am going to do today. Apart from being still bunged up, I think I feel mostly OK, but I also feel very desirous of more sleep. I haven't drawn the curtains yet because I am going to try getting back in bed. I suspect I won't be able to get back to sleep now, but unless I try I will never know. It should be dry today, and my brown wheelie bin was emptied yesterday. I may try and do some more garden clearance today, but how much, or if indeed any, depends on how I feel. If I manage to get some rest, and my sinuses dry up, I could be tempted to go to a gig tonight. Chain are playing in The Coach And Horses in Beckenham. The worst part of the journey is the walk to the 54 bus stop here. At the other end the bus stops within 90 seconds walk of the pub. The downside is that the pub is small, and it will be crowded. I'm not going to even think about it until later, and it may be that I won't feel up to going out anywhere, any time today.
To finish off, here's a bit of video I thought I was going to show yesterday. It is quite a short clip, but shows my resident fox taking it's first steps to freedom...well, actually it doesn't - you have to imagine it does. In the first bit you see the fox on the very far right of the screen jumping up, and I am pretty certain that it made the top of the fence, and jumped down into next door's garden. They have a step ladder resting against the fence that would help the fox to get back into my garden. The second half of the clip you see the fox climbing up what is a big plaited clump of old ivy. In the very last second you can see the ivy spring back as the weight of the fox is transferred to the fence behind it. Later in the morning the camera lens was covered in dew, but I could just make out the fox, and knew it had managed to get back from it's wanderings safely.