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My Diary/Blog For the Month of May 2019

Friday 31st May 2019
09:21 BST
  The weather forecast denied it could happen, but there were many sunny spells yesterday morning, and they set the tone of my day to fairly good. Later on it did become lightly overcast. Maybe it was just the good mood that the morning set that I regarded the afternoon as still quite bright despite no more sunshine. I wouldn't swear it, but I don't think the sunny spells that were forecast for the end of the day actually happened, although the warm temperature did happen. At it's peak the temperature hit a very respectable 22° C, and it still felt very mild as midnight approached.
                    might be like yesterday was forecast to be, but
  The most recent revision of the forecast is similar to the screenshot above, but every temperature is now thought to be one degree less, and the sunshine forecast for 9pm has been downgrades to just sunny intervals. If it happens as stated it will make for a pleasant end to the day, but a murky start. Maybe murky is a tiny bit too strong, but as I look out my window as I type this I see nothing to excite me. I see light grey sky, but it is fairly bright where the sun ought to be at this time. Maybe there is some hope of the sun burning a hole in that cloud, but I am not going to hold my breath waiting for it to happen ! Tomorrow sees a temporary change back to high summer - there might be sunshine all day, and the temperature might peak at 26° C ! The weather goes slowly downhill after that, but Sunday should still be very pleasant.

  Yesterday morning I felt enthused enough to go shopping in Iceland. I thought that a couple of ready meals might be handy, and while I was there I topped my supplies of Primula cream cheese with Jalapeños in a squeezy tube. I also bought packets of sugar free chocolate biscuits and cookies. Just to balance things I also bought some fruit - conference pears. It was also a great opportunity to test the camera in my new Huawei mobile phone.
the rather dimly lit car
  My first test shot was taken as I walked through the multi storey car park.  It always seems to be very dimly lit in there, and it was a good test of the low light capabilities of the camera. I've written what the camera chose as it's setting along the bottom of the picture. It took a bright, detailed picture, but only at a cost of a very slow shutter speed - 1/20th of a second - that has resulted in some motion blur because I wasn't holding the camera still enough. It is obviously no good for gig photography because I can't expect everyone on stage to stay absolutely still for 1/20th of a second !
not taken optimately
  There was plenty of light on this poster, but the camera decided for a slow shutter speed instead of making the camera more sensitive by raising the ISO rating. The other problem with this picture is not of the cameras making. I had to reach over a huge barrel outside the pub, and point the camera slightly upwards to take this picture.
picture taken in good
  Finally, a picture taken in good light. The camera has chosen a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second, and that is just fast enough to avoid blur from camera shake, although one again, with so much light available I would have opted for a shutter speed of 3 or 4 times as fast, and then increased the ISO rating to compensate. Apart from that, the picture is bright and naturally coloured with a lot of detail. There is far more detail in the original compared to this shrunken version. Later on in the afternoon I found there was a photo preset, called "camera pro" that allows manual setting of various parameters. I have taken a few shots using manual setting, and in quite severe circumstances. The results were rather grainy looking, but are possibly usable. I shall be experimenting on those later.

  For a few hours I did almost nothing after playing with the photos above. Eventually it was time to go out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. Last night it was in the dreaded Partridge pub in the even more dreaded Bromley ! What seemed to be just a bit of work to move around, and maybe re-seat a few paving stones has resulted in a deep hole where they are doing heaven knows what. That meant, and will probably continue to mean, the buses on diversion. At the current rate of progress it could be several weeks before they finish with the existing hole. Meanwhile, the road seems to be crumbling and sinking on one side of the pedestrian crossing opposite the pub. I predict it will take several weeks to fix it once work starts, as it inevitably must. I will do my best to avoid going to Bromley in the coming weeks, although going beyond Bromley will still be OK if or when needed.

  I was going to have no more than 2 pints in The Partridge, but inevitably I had three. They were all weaker beers, and I avoided the high strength beers I would probably have had if it hadn't been my intention to go to a gig later in the evening - which I did ! After I had my three pints I got a 208 bus back to the end of my road, and I felt sort of good walking back home - but not perfectly good. My main complaint was one of tiredness. Some of that would have been the fault of the beer. I looked forward to some dinner, and a snooze, but there was no time for a snooze - or maybe I just didn't allow myself to snooze for fear of waking up too late, and also waking up feeling lousy.

  I did have what I hoped was a light dinner. It was a tub of ready to eat "Mediterranean style" pasta to which I added a very good sprinkle of hot chilli sauce. I also had some mostly thawed ersatz giant prawn tails (similar to "fishsticks"). It all combined to give me unpleasant burps and indigestion ! I was barely feeling comfortable when a couple of hours later I started walking toward The Catford Bridge Tavern for The Entourage Band gig. I made things worse for myself by drinking a beer called Passionade. It was basically an IPA style beer flavoured with passion fruit. It sounds strange, but initially it tasted rather nice. Unfortunately it was a fairly acid taste, and didn't make my indigestion feel any better. For a brief period of time I wondered if I might throw up, but happily that didn't happen.

  It was the second time I have seen The Entourage Band, and I am sad to say they haven't improved. I think Richard, the guitarist, wants to be the loudest, and is ever competing with the drums. When I first arrived they were doing a sound check, and afterwards I mentioned to the drummer that his drumming was a bit shrill, and I think he used some quieter sticks to better suit the acoustics of the pub. I can imagine that on a big stage, with a proper sound technician, they could have sounded really good, but when all cramped together in the corner of the pub, Kornelia, the vocalist, was often drowned out. It doesn't help that she has a foreign, maybe Polish, accent, and that makes her words a little harder to make out in adverse conditions. Anyway, the good thing is that my new phone made quite a good job of videoing the band. I had to tweak the brightness and contrast a bit, and now it doesn't look bad, and it sound surprisingly good.

  I was in the pub for over 2 hours, and in that time I only drank 2 pints of beer, and drank none at all in the last 30 minutes. Nevertheless, I enjoyed the evening, but I looked forward to getting home again - threefold after I found the small toilet to busy to use at the end of the gig, and deciding to hold on until I had walked home. I was OK right up to when I walked the two paces from the road to my front door, and started fumbling with my keys. My need to pee increased 10 fold at that point, and I made it to me toilet with seconds to spare !

  By the time I got home I hadn't drunk any beer for well over half an hour, and I had had a brisk walk in the fresh air. My indigestion was something from the past, and I felt like a snack before going to bed - which I had - and I couldn't resist checking the video and pictures taken on my new mobile phone. The video was very pleasing, but the photos were generally disappointing despite being taken using manual exposure. I didn't attempt to try and clean the best of them up last night, but I will sometime this morning. I eventually got to bed by about half past midnight, and was soon fast asleep.

  This morning I don't feel good, but I feel no worse than usual. I can't imagine me doing much, but I know I will. As I write this the bin men are out, a day late because of the last bank holiday, and my brown wheelie bin, for garden waste will soon be emptied. I have a feeling I might be filling it up again today. It may not seem an obvious choice of things to do when you feel very creaky with little pains and twinges here and there, but past experience has shown that the don't slow me down when working in the garden, and apart from the extreme fatigue, I usually feel a lot better afterwards.

  Before doing any garden clearance I probably ought to go through all the photos taken last night - most on my Canon DSLR camera. I also shot two more videos on the Canon, and I will also see how they turned out, and if they are usable. I don't think I am going to a gig this evening. Taking a break after last night is probably wise when bearing in mind that I intend to go out Saturday and Sunday nights !  Maybe I can have a nice early night tonight, and although I have been bashing my credit card a lot recently - particularly buying the new phone (£181), I might even indulge in getting a takeaway delivered.
Thursday 30th May 2019
08:25 BST
  I didn't care much for yesterday's weather. I guess the morning was passably OK. There were a few sunny spells, and the temperature rose to about 17° C by midday, but then it clouded over, and the temperature started dropping again. By 5pm it hit 14° C, but did rise just one degree a little later. So not only was it rather cool, it also started to rain quite early in the afternoon. At first it was just a few very light showers, but later on it was more like persistent drizzle that very slowly filled the puddles up.
                    better day than yesterday
  This morning it is brighter than this early screenshot of the weather forecast would suggest. There are many patches of blue sky between the clouds at the moment, and every so often the sun manages to shine through. The latest revision to the forecast doesn't change what it shown above, and it makes me wonder if any part of the forecast can be trusted today. The temperature profile is usually close to reality, and so I think we can look forward to the temperature peaking at 22° C late this afternoon. Maybe we will also get the forecast sunny spells. If the cloud continues to be light and broken we could get many more sunny spells - maybe all day, or perhaps that is too optimistic. Tomorrow is currently shown as being almost a clone of today, but with the peak temperature a degree less. The day after, Saturday, might be a rather special day with sunny intervals all day long, and the temperature reaching a very warm 25° C. Or it might change completely on the day.

  Yesterday was a day that was uneventful apart from two things. I knew that there was a fair chance of rain in the afternoon, and so decided not to go out anywhere too distant, but I was determined to get out somewhere local just to stretch my legs. During the morning I played with my Nikon camera a bit more, and in particular the lens I mentioned yesterday. It looked quite dull outside, and not ideal light for vibrant photography, but I thought that maybe I would have a quick wander in the park, and maybe film some ducks or something. I got as far as opening the front door when it started to spot with rain.

  At that time it was so light as to be ignorable, but there was always the threat of something heavier. It turned out that nothing heavier would fall for several hours, but just those few drops put me off going to the park. I did go out into my back garden, and shot a minute or so of video out there - not that there was much to see apart from a few leaves blowing in the breeze. It was not entertaining in any way, but it did prove to me some of my theories. The most important one was obvious, but still had to be tried. In bright daylight I could close the aperture of the lens to such an extent that the depth of field was so high that once basically focused on almost anything in the scene the focussed remained good for objects that were quite near to almost out to infinity. One of thing came out of this test. That lens is so big and heavy, and the zoom ring so stiff that putting the camera on a tripod is absolutely essential if the zoom level is changed while shooting.

  Playing with the Nikon camera and big lens maybe took up half an hour, or maybe a bit longer, and for much of the day that was the highlight of the day, but there was one other highlight. It was probably abut 11.30am when the postman delivered a package. It was my new mobile phone that had arrived several days earlier than expected. The first thing I did was to put it on charge before doing anything else with it. All I could initially do was to see that it was a similar size to my Nokia phone, and that the back is rather shiny and slippery. I'll be ordering a protective case for it soon. The other thing was that it uses a USB-C connector. I first encountered one of these on the cheap Oukitel phone I bought on a whim. That phone came with a charger and lead, but finding a spare USB-C lead that fitted correctly seemed difficult. At that time I didn't know if the phone had an out of specification socket, or if most, but not all of the leads I bought were just crap. Now I have a second phone to compare against I may answer some previously unanswered questions.

  Much of my day was very tedious yesterday, and I feel I have to blame it on the dull weather. The day before I didn't feel all that good, and yesterday I felt worse, but it is hard to say what it was that made me feel bad. There were no specific aches or pains to list, but I felt generally stiff and creaky, and I seemed to be getting hints of my chest playing up again. The one good thing was that amongst this misery I did manage to control my appetite. It was a prime time for eating excessively, but I restrained myself quite well, although the fact that I didn't have too many things in the larder to gorge on helped a lot.

  I did have an early lunch of sausages that I would more usually have for dinner, but it was all to easy to give in to those sausages for two reasons. One was that they were getting near their use by date, and the other was that I had another pack of sausages in the fridge to replace them. I ate them unaccompanied except for a bit of ketchup and a little mustard. After eating the sausages for lunch I made sure I had a much lighter dinner. It was just rice cakes with some smoked ham on them (plus mustard and some cheese on a few of them).

  Like the day before, it was as the evening started, and the weather hidden by the curtain of night, that I started coming alive - albeit in a very stilted way ! I decided to bite the bullet, and transfer all my stuff to the new phone. It wasn't a complete transfer. Stuff like data of previous walks using the "Simply Walking" app were not transferred, but most other things were. I only have a few observations in this new Huawei P20 Lite phone. The best is that it does seem to be very quick. The worst is the amount of crap it comes with - in particular Google apps that I don't use, and don't want. Some have fears that all my data is being siphoned off to the Chinese. That I don't care about, and I feel pretty sure that the Chinese don't care about me. What I don't like is Google continually spying on me. I tried to uninstall some of their apps, but most are baked in and cannot be removed (by ordinary means). I could, and did, disable some of the apps, but they do have a tendency to re-enable themselves again - often after the phone is re-started.
my new phone
  The one thing I have high hopes for is the camera on this new phone. As yet I haven't taken any meaningful pictures, but I have looked at the camera settings. I had read a warning that there is a setting where the phone tries to use artificial intelligence to enhance a picture, and invariably makes a mess of it. I think I have turned that off, and will just be using it as a basic camera. I tend to use a dedicated camera most of the time, but it can be handy having a camera in your pocket all the time.

  It was quite late by the time I had finished playing with the phone, and several hours of intensive use had reduced the battery down to about 54% if I recall correctly. So I put the phone back on charge, and went to bed. The last time I saw the clock before my eyes closed was just before midnight. I can't believe that I didn't, but I don't remember getting up once in the night, and so when I woke up at just gone 6am I was very ready for a very big wee !

  I most definitely have stuff to do today, and I hope I don't feel as bad as yesterday. It seems chilly, but the occasional short bursts of sunshine do enthuse me a bit. My definite activities start later this afternoon. It's Thursday, and there is my regular late afternoon drink. For some reason we are drinking in The Partridge again. We have a table reserved from 4.30pm. I still don't really like the Partridge, but it is not so bad as a drinking establishment as opposed to a music venie when it is dark, noisy and crowded. The only problem tonight will be to avoid the temptation of drinking any strong, or very strong ales !

  Ideally I should stick to just a couple of pints of weaker beer because I have other things to do later tonight. The Entourage Band, who are quite good, are playing in The Catford Bridge Tavern, and I want to go to take a few photos, and maybe a bit of video too. The video may depend on how the light seems in there. It will also be the first time I will see Kornelia since I got Dik (guitarist) to deliver the pictures I had printed out of her. She was reported to be delighted, and tonight I hope to hear it from her directly.
Wednesday 29th May 2019
10:07 BST
  The weather was much blander than the forecast said it would be. From time to time the forecast would be revised, and each time it said there should have been sunny intervals even when it was blatantly overcast outside. I think there were one or two minutes when it was sunny, but my overall impression is that it was a slightly cool, grey day. Although cool, it wasn't actually cold, and and the occasional attempts in various revision of the forecast to say it might rain, came to nothing...  At least I think it was nothing, but maybe I have a very vague memory of noticing that there might have just been a light sprinkle of rain sometime in the late afternoon. The highest temperature was about 16° C.
                    we see any sun today ?
  The latest forecast revision adds a few features, but the temperature profile remains the same. There should be some sunny spells this morning, and maybe we had one or two while I was sleeping. At the moment the cloud cover seems almost complete, but a small gap is letting through some weak, hazy sunshine. The temperature should peak at 1pm today, and it may reach 17° C, but after that it will fall to a fairly chilly 14°C. It is while it is 14° C that the latest revision to the forecast occurs. The very early morning screenshot (above) warns of a small chance of rain from mid afternoon onwards, but doesn't say it will actually rain. The latest revision to the forecast increases the chance of rain, and says it will almost definitely rain between 3 and 7pm. From then on it may be dry, but it will remain rather cool. Tomorrow is currently forecast to be dry, and it will be a little warmer, probably peaking around 22° C, but it will probably be completely overcast until 5pm when the sun might start to break through the clouds to give sunny intervals until sunset.

  Yesterday's sun free day seemed to sap all my energy for some reason. The first thing I did in the morning was to go to the pharmacy. I was wearing my newly waterproofed boots to try them out, and I am glad I chose to do it on a short walk. They didn't feel very comfortable, although not painfully uncomfortable. The worst thing is something I can't explain. Some shoes or boots seem to act like I still have the brake on while walking. It felt like hard work, probably mildly hard, but it sapped any sense of freedom, and the silly thing is that I just can't put my finger on why that should be so.

  I held the pharmacy in high regards until yesterday, but there were some cracks in that faith appearing on the previous occasion I used it for my repeat prescription. For some unknown reason one drug was missing from the bag of drugs they handed me a couple of months ago. I should have gone back and sorted it out, but I decided not to bother. This time things got much worse, but I am getting ahead of myself. It is a busy little pharmacy, as you might expect for one that shares the same building as a group practice of doctors. Being busy they have extra staff who sometimes seem rather dim.

  I initially asked if there was a repeat prescription in the system for me. The assistant fumbled around and couldn't seem to find anything, but the chief pharmacist, who really knows his stuff, when straight to the computer terminal, and tapped in my details without having to ask me (he knows me as a regular customer), and announced that yes there was a repeat prescription in the system, and he would get it made up for me by the afternoon. That seemed good, and so I left the pharmacy and went around the corner to Aldi.

  I didn't buy that much in Aldi, and the two bags I ended up carrying home was only half full. Of course on top of that I had my rucksack, and that had 2 bottles of Diet Coke and a bottle of sugar free lemonade in - and was obviously fairly heavy. One of my bag had, amongst other stuff, 6 cans of Innis & Gunn Session IPA. They are only 330ml cans, and roughly equivalent in weight to one 2 litre bottle of Coke. For some reason I bought several packets of crackers, and they weigh almost nothing. A lot of my food choices were a bit strange like those aforementioned crackers, but there were two things I shouldn't have bought. One was an "all day breakfast" pack of 3 sandwiches, and the other was a pasta with chicken and herbs snack pack.

  Although I maintain that it was a comparatively light load to bring home from Aldi, I seemed to make very slow progress in those boots I mentioned earlier. Maybe it was just me, and maybe there some evidence of this later on. When I got home I ate the pack of sandwiches, and the pasta thing. That seemed to sap the last of my energy, and I spent the next few hours doing very little. Every time I tried to lay on my bed to read my eyes started to close, and I ended up snoozing for a bit. I think that happened at least twice. Eventually it was time to go back to the pharmacy to pick up my prescription.
a short walk
  Out of curiosity I tracked my walk to the pharmacy, and back home again. I was surprised to see it added up to 0.91 miles, but I feel that is probably quite accurate. In the morning the detour to Aldi would have to be added, and the total of my two walks would have been a smidgen over 2 miles if my guess is right. 2 miles... That's enough exercise for one day ! (although I did have a plan to go for a 3.5 mile walk - not including walking to the station etc).

  The chief pharmacist, the one with the brains, had left when I arrived at the pharmacy, and I was left with a partial idiot to serve me. After turning the place upside down he eventually found the carrier bag with my drugs in it, and it seemed to be in the normal place where they keep them for collection. The only problem was that instead of just one drug missing, there were three dugs missing. My guess is that whoever made up the prescription for me had only looked at the first page of a two page prescription. I will give credit to the idiot who served me because after scratching his head, and looking dumbfounded, he announced that he would just re-order a brand new repeat prescription from the doctors next door, and said to go in on Friday to pick it up. Whether this means I will get repeats of the drugs I already have remains to be seen.

  I had gone to the pharmacy in shoes I know to be fast, and even if not always perfectly comfortable, they were more comfortable than the boots, and maybe I did walk a tiny bit faster, but not much. It seemed like the grey skies were weighing me down. It felt good to get home again. It's hard to explain, but I didn't feel exhausted, or anything like that, but it did feel like hard work walking. There were probably many thing that would have felt like hard work under that grey sky, but I can't describe any because I basically did nothing except eat and watch TV for the last hour or so of the afternoon, and into the evening.

  I was in that curious state where I thought I shouldn't eat much, but in effect I had to because I had perishable food to use up. I had a two part dinner because I couldn't cook both parts at the same time. I did precook one half, and warmed it up later while I ate the other half. That first half was grilled "Mediterranean vegetables". Normally they are very nice, but for unknown reasons I didn't enjoy them at all. The second half was "hunters chicken", and that was nicer, and yet it's taste seemed very weak. After not enjoying either part of my dinner it was not that long before I opened up a pot of cottage cheese (something I very rarely buy) and a packet of crackers. Apart from the crackers being fragile in the extreme, it was a more enjoyable meal even if a little bland.

  After it had been dark for a couple of hours it seemed like the weight of the grey clouds was lifting from my body, or psyche, or soul (do I have a soul ?). It seemed to happen just as I was going to bed. That was not a great time to suddenly wake up ! One interesting thing I could do, and I am not sure why I thought of it, was to re-try what should have been a wonderful lens for my Nikon camera. It is a large aperture (good for low light) zoom lens, and unlike most zoom lenses the aperture, and hence the exposure, doesn't change as you change the zoom level. It must have been a very expensive lens once, and originally I spent £300 on it.

  Unfortunately it was faulty. The autofocus doesn't work. I took it back to the shop and explained that it was faulty, and that while it could be manually focussed that was no good to me because I needed a very agile lens that could re-focus on changing scenes in the blink of an eye. I made the shop an offer. They could refund all my money, and and up with a faulty lens, or I would accept half my money back, and keep the lens. They settled on the latter. So I have a lens that I hardly ever used because I find it very hard to manually focus a lens to get pin sharp pictures. Over the years I have learned a trick or two, and I wondered if I could use that lens, and a little while testing it suggested I probably could. I think it may be more useful for taking videos when autofocus is not always effective once you start shooting (although I could be doing something wrong when using my Canon camera). I may well take it to an open mic and try shooting some video through it and see what comes out.

  It was getting on for midnight when I went to bed. I had been expecting to be in bed closer to 10pm, but at least I am sure I was actually fast asleep before midnight. Ignoring getting up for a wee in the night, which I am sure I must have done at least once or twice, but I have no strong memories of it, I slept right through to about 6am. I got up then, and did the usual rituals, but I still felt quite sleepy. As I seem to have made a habit of, I went back to bed, and the next thing I knew was it was gone 9am ! To be perfectly true, the next thing I knew was some quite involved dreams. One dream sort of proves that the unconscious mind often knows more than the conscious mind. In one dream I was back at the BT training college near Old Street, and trying to go home. For some reason I had to, or wanted to, get a bus to somewhere as part of my journey home. That was not without incident, but the more interesting thing was that in the dream I realised that the London Overground had extended the old East London Line over some disused tracks, and that there was probably a station much nearer the training college than the old Shoreditch station that I once used to use now and then as a sort of novelty. One thing I must do this morning is to see if I was right about it in the dream.

  I can't work out how I feel this morning. I feel a bit creaky, but maybe no so bad that it would spoil any pleasure of going out - even if just to the shops, and with the way the weather is forecast, I think the shops would be about the furthest I would want to go. Maybe today I will try and do some of that elusive housework that I have been putting off for so long. With Patricia doe to arrive as early as a weeks time, it is definitely getting time to pull my finger out !
rainbow viewed from the
                      top deck of a bus near Downham
  It is weird, and probably metaphysical, that much of my recent negativity started with a rainbow ! Of course that is total rubbish. When I snapped this rainbow I was already feeling in a bad mood. It was on Sunday when I was going to Chain's gig in the dreaded Partridge pub. On the other hand the rainbow was a product of a change in the weather, and I am blaming the weather on being less than exciting for why I feel less than exciting lately.
Tuesday 28th May 2019
08:16 BST
  Yesterday's weather was rather bland - neither one thing or another. With a top temperature of just 18° C it wasn't cold, but it wasn't exactly warm either. The morning started off bright and sunny, although that sunshine was sometimes hazy, and gave very soft edged shadows. From late morning until sunset the forecast said sunny intervals, and there probably were, but they were not eye catching. I just remember the afternoon being fairly bright, but never dazzling. At least the bank holiday tradition of rain didn't happen.
                    than yesterday
  If yesterday's sunny intervals were not eye catching, today's will probably be even worse, and for some periods of time may not even exist. We should be having sunny intervals right now, but it has been grey, albeit a light grey, all morning as far as I am aware. The latest revision to the forecast persists in the fantasy that the sun might be able to peep through the massed grey clouds in the sky. One change in the latest revision concerns rain. The latest thought is that the showers will now start as early as 2pm, and while they may be just showers and not continuous rain, they will continue until gone 7pm. The last few hours of daylight might be dry with sunny spells. The maximum temperature this afternoon is predicted to be no more than 16° C, and in the rain it will feel even cooler. Tomorrow may start with some sunny intervals, but from sometime in the early afternoon, rain is expected. It will be another rather cool day.

   I had another lazy day yesterday. At least I think I did, but I don't recall laying around not doing anything for any more than an hour, or maybe two in total when all the odd minutes are added up. One series of things I did yesterday was in support of what I was going to do today, but the deteriorating weather has put me off doing. I made some preparations for a walk in the countryside. It was a new route I discovered on the internet, but one I doubt I will follow exactly as described.

  One of the first things I did was search in several places for an Ordinance Survey map that I was sure I had, and which covered the area I would be walking through. It was after studying the map that I decided I could ignore the "official" walk, and pick out my own - albeit based up the "official" walk as described on the internet. Curiously enough it includes a wood where we once ran a pirate radio transmitter. The site was chosen more for convenience than technical reasons, and wasn't very good in reality.

  My next little task was to see what state a pair of lightweight walking boots I have were in. They looked clean and wholesome, and I think that if I wear some light sport socks they will be more comfortable than when I used to use big fat woollen socks for hiking. I can't really wear high socks with elastic tops any more because since my bypass operation, where an entire vein (or artery) was taken from my leg for the transplant, my left leg is prone to swelling, and the elastic really digs into my leg when it swells - not comfortable !

  Having found the lightweight boots I thought it might be prudent to waterproof them. I took them outside, and with them perched of the kitchen window windowsill I gave them a good spraying with Scotch Guard. That should keep the damp out when walking in at least one area that is described as very muddy on the internet page I found that got me interested in this walk. It is walk 13 from the list on this web page - it is interesting that one of my favourite walks, from Eynsford to Shoreham is also listed, but in the reverse direction (walk 3) together with some variants on it.

  After those two tasks I didn't really do much of note. I did some reading, and did some stuff on my PC, but basically I guess I was just lazy. I didn't even stop for more than 5 minutes to cook dinner or lunch. I didn't actually have a formal lunch or dinner, and while I partly failed, I decided I shouldn't eat too much after my rather heavy piri-piri chicken supper the previous night. Sometimes it is hard to tell the snacks from the meals. For instance was a small tin of smoked brisling (tiny little fishes) eaten on top of 4 or 5 rice cakes a meal or a snack ?  That was possibly lunch, and dinner was a couple of instant pasta pots that I think I bought cheaply from Poundstretcher out of curiosity. They were as expected "not very good".

  In the evening I cracked open a few (5 ?) cans of Innis & Gunn "Session IPA", and I phoned Sue to see how she was doing. As usual she was doing a mix of badly and a bit good. As usual, once she started talking it was difficult to stop her. I made several attempt to finish the call after 11pm, and finally managed to hang up at about 11.45pm. I didn't go to bed straight away because I wanted to back up all the photos and video on my phone. During the night it was all backed up to a SanDisk wifi memory stick using a SanDisk app on my phone. Unfortunately an update to my phone done some time ago tries it's best to not let me use that WiFi connection because "it has no internet access" - in other words Google don't want me to use it because they can't eavesdrop on what I am doing. It takes a lot of effort to convince the phone that you most definitely do want to use that wifi point even if it has no internet access. Once I had done that, and got teh backup running, I could, and did go to bed.

  My sleep was uneventful until about 6am this morning. I woke up not covered by my duvet, and I was feeling really cold. After a wee I went straight back to bed with the duvet pulled tightly around me. I also turned the heater on low. After some warm days, the last couple of mornings have felt particularly cool, and this morning even more so. Since than I have warmed up, and got up again. I feel reasonably OK. At least I think I do - I haven't really had much of a chance to test myself yet.

  My first plans for today start with having a shower, and then going to the pharmacy to sort out my next repeat prescription. It might be possible that it has already been made up, but that is probably too optimistic. Assuming they have the correct paperwork they can make up the prescription and I'll have to go back later today, or tomorrow to pick it up. After I have been to the pharmacy I will go around the corner to get some shopping from Aldi. Once I have taken my shopping home I will be free to ....... do what ? With the strong prospect of rain this afternoon I don't feel like going on that walk today. Maybe I might go for a wander in the park, but somehow that doesn't feel appealing. Once again I should devote some time to hoovering the spare room, and also my own bedroom, but for some reason it feels like it would be easier to start sawing more logs. Why do I hate hoovering so much ???
Monday 27th May 2019
11:23 BST
  The day before, the forecast was close enough to reality to be called accurate. Yesterday the forecast seemed to be a complete work of fiction. The morning was almost perfectly sunny despite several revisions of the forecast saying it would be dull and gloomy. The afternoon was sometimes overcast and gloomy, but there were still many unforecast sunny intervals. The forecast did admit there was a very small chance of rain in the afternoon, but didn't actually say it would rain - back in the real world there were a few light showers, and one short period of heavy rain. There was no hint of rain in the evening in any revision of the forecast that I saw, but there was a very light shower at around 7.30pm, and 2 hours late the rain fell like stair rods - and I was out in it with only me denim waistcoat for protection !
let's hope this is closer to reality than
                      yesterday's forecast
  Today is a bank holiday, and by tradition it should be overcast and drizzling, but the forecast says no to that, and at least until now, as I write this, the weather has been at least as good as the forecast predicted, and possibly even a little sunnier. The latest revision says that at 1pm the chances of rain rise to 16%, but sunny periods are still forecast. They should continue until sunset, but the chance of rain rises again to 20%, and at 11pm rain is predicted to fall. The top temperature today will be about 18° C - which is lower than recently, but still very comfortable. Tomorrow should see sunny spells throughout the day, but there is a very small chance of a shower at almost any time. The top temperature will probably be a degree or two less than today.

   Yesterday I commented that I had been in a strange mood the day before, but it transpired my mood was even stranger yesterday. I did mention that the weather forecast, despite reality being totally different, seemed to sap all my energy and enthusiasm, and I think "tetchy" would be an appropriate description of how I ended up.  For some reason I thought that I found the enthusiasm to go to the shops yesterday morning, but I think I am mixing it up with the day before yesterday when I definitely went to the shops. I would have had no reason to go to the shops again.

  Having cleared that idea from my brain more bits of yesterday are being revealed. I am pretty certain I was just very lazy for most of the morning. I may have even snoozed for a bit. The first definite thing of note that happened was a call from Jodie at around 1pm, or perhaps a little bit later. She wanted to know if I fancied meeting her to go around the Catford Food Market that happens on the last Sunday of the month. Like everytime she has asked this for the last 18 months I said no - although there may have been as many as two occasions when I did give in, and met her just to make sure that the whole thing is a load of rubbish, that doesn't have any call on my interest.

   Jodie also want to know if I fancied meeting her in The Catford Constitutional Club for a beer. I declined that too. That place lost it's appeal many years ago, and I don't feel all that sorry that they are campaigning to get their lease extended. Apparently the council have a desire to build another block of flats there as part of their greater Catford regeneration plans.  It is sort of sad that Catford could lose another boozing establishment, but the venue knew they were on a short lease when they took the premises on. One particular reason why I didn't want to meet Jodie for any reason is that when she phoned I hadn't washed and dressed for the day. I could have done that before she actually arrived in Catford, but I just felt too lazy.

  One non lazy thing I did in the early afternoon was to cook some lunch. I had some fresh cod that had to be used before it went off, and I decided to poach it with some pak choi. That has worked well in the past, although in the past I have had some fish stock to cook it in. This time I just poached it in plain water with some vinegar added which should have kept the fishy smell to a minimum - it didn't ! I added one more ingredient, and I wish I hadn't. It was some thinly sliced turmeric root. The two just didn't go well together. I had to fish out the turmeric, and put it to the side as I ate the fish, but by then it had tainted the taste of the fish, and my lunch was not at all pleasant. What was worse is that despite my precautions the kitchen, and back room stank of cooking fish, and it was seeping elsewhere too !

   After being lazy, doing stuff on my PC, and reading, the time came around to go out to Chain's gig in Bromley. I wasn't in the best mood when I left because I had had an online fracas with somewhen who had posted a video of the most godawful music and light show. I didn't realise it was made by their son (or daughter), and under the impression it was just some disco/rave/techno/dance crap, I slagged it off. That didn't go down well. If I had been aware of it's origins I might have bitten my lip, and made it to the toilet before demonstrating my thoughts about it privately by copiously vomiting.

  From the moment I left to get the bus things just got worse and worse. I hadn't gone very far before there was a light shower of almost misty rain. It really wasn't enough to fog my glasses, but it was the principle of it. Once again the bus I wanted was standing at the bus stand, 150ft from the bus stop, and it drove off as soon as I was within 10 ft of it. Like last time I may have been able to stop the bus, and the driver may have let me on at the bus stand (in theory it is not allowed, but I expect that some drivers would take pity on me) if I had managed to get to the doors before he started off.

  There was nothing for it but to walk to the main road in the hope that a 208 would arrive before the next 320. Fortunately it did, and I saved about a 20 minute wait for the next 320. That very slightly brightened up my outlook, but it was still in negative figures, and plunged lower still when the bus driver said that the buses were still on diversion in Bromley. I had to get off the bus at Bromley North station, and walk to the pub. It is only a 5 or 6 minute walk, but still bloody annoying.

 Yet another annoyance was going to the cash machine just before the pub. I didn't actually need any cash, but it feels better to have a small excess for emergencies. Unfortunately both HSBC cash machines were not in order, and I had to walk back away from the pub by a matter of a 100 yards or so to use the Barclays Bank machines. Finally I got in the pub, and had a warm welcome from Jo, and I bought myself a pint of Guinness - two things that cheered me up. My good feeling didn't last long !

  It was still daylight outside, and there was enough light coming through the windows to allow semi decent photography, although as usual the bloody stupid pub turned the light down when the band started. I got a few usable snaps in the ambient light, but I soon resorted to using flash. There was still a problem of the camera not being able to focus on dim faces before the flash fired. I noticed for the first time that the camera seemed to focus on a better lit face . The camera has face detection software, and I am wondering if that is turned on, and the camera thinks it is cleverer than me - maybe it is, but I decide whose face I want to photograph.

  The band should have started at 8pm last night, but typically they were a bit late. It seemed many people thought they were starting at the usual weekday time of 9pm, and so it wasn't very crowded at first. that suited me nicely, but gradually I ended up fighting for the best positions to take pictures. It wasn't long before I got pissed off. My decision to give up a leave was hastened by the appearance of someone who I am uncomfortable with. He's probably autistic or something, but I find him sort of creepy.

  I took my last photo, had a pee, and exited out the back entrance. I was just passing the front of the pub when I saw Nina approaching. We greeted each other with a hug, spoke for a bit, and parted company with another hug. That put me in a temporary frame of mind, and passing, but ignoring Nigel heading to the pub didn't dent it. In fact the knowledge that I wouldn't be in the pub when he was, was probably another positive feeling. I didn't have long to wait for a bus - which was good - but the bus did seem to be slow - which didn't fill me with enthusiasm.

  I guess when I got off teh bus I was feeling slightly on the good side. I thought I had taken some reasonable photos, and I had the piri-piri chicken, part of the previous night's takeaway, to look forward to. Sadly every last bit of feeling good was washed away when the heavens opened, and I was pummelled with solid stair rods of rain. I didn't feel in a happy moody when I squelched through my front door. Oh well, the chicken was pretty good, although I did think that I had over done it a bit by eating it all.

  I was in bed, reading, maybe half an hour after finishing my chicken. By 10pm I was struggling to fall asleep. It was yet another occasion where I seemed to have severe insomnia, but evidently I didn't because the next thing I know was that it was gone 1am, and I was needing a pee. After that I may have had another pee before waking up at just gone 6am. It was early, but I had got close to 8 hours sleep - maybe around 7 hours. I got up pretty slowly, and once my eyes had become accustomed to being awake I copied the picture from my camera, and started editing them. As usual there was a mix ranging from the most awful to fairly good.
heavily backlit Jo
  I think this was the very first picture I took. Jo was heavily back lit by the daylight outside, and it gives her a slightly strange expression. I thought it might look better in black and white - I'm not so sure now.
long, oblique shot of
                      the band
  There was almost enough light to use a wider angle lens to attempt to get all the band in one shot, but I had to have the aperture of the lens wide open, and the depth of field wasn't deep enough to get Jo in focus on the far left of the picture.
Steve and Chris
  Before long I got out my flash gun, and I could take photos with a greater depth of field, and photos that included Chris who all too frequently manages to be poorly lit.
mona lisa smile
  I both like and dislike this photo. The exposure and focus is good, but Jo has a strange sort of look. I then realised that it is very similar (in my warped mind) to the expression on the Mona Lisa's face in the famous painting. So maybe it is a good picture !

   With all my photography done, and all my notes written, I have little more to do today. I have eaten a certain amount of junk food, and don't think I'll be cooking or eating any lunch. It is now almost 1pm, and I think I may try and have a snooze next. After that I will....... I have no idea, but I am wondering if I have the patience to watch a movie or something. I think I might start plotting for tomorrow. It is not forecast to be particularly warm, but it should be bright, if not actually sunny. It would probably be a good idea to get myself out for another walk like I did last Tuesday. The seaside would be nice, but there is also a walk between Chislehurst and Petts Wood stations that is just 3.5 miles that I am interested in trying some time. 4 miles proved to be just a bit too long last week. So maybe a 3.5 mile walk would make more sense until I get back into practice.
Sunday 26th May 2019
08:53 BST
  I have a feeling that yesterday's weather was more or less exactly as the forecast said it would be. The morning was dull and overcast, and there was increasing amounts of sunshine as the afternoon progressed.  The morning started off on the low side of tepid, and the late afternoon felt quite warm. At one point it almost felt hot, but I may have eaten something spicy a bit before that. The official figures were 22° C, but feeling like 23° C.
forecast says gloomy, eyes say sunny this
  The forecast has already departed from reality ! The very latest revision says there may be some sunny spells in the last few hours before sunset, but insists this morning will be dull and gloomy. My eyes say different. The cloud cover seems so thing that you can see a lot of blue behind the whispy clouds, and as I write this the sun has been shining for at least half an hour. I have a sad feeling that reality will catch up with the forecast of gloomy skies sooner or later, but at least the day has got off to a cheery start. The chance of rain increases from nothing to a peak of a mere 11% at 4pm. By that time the temperature will have been 20° C for a while, and apparently it will feel more like 22° C. If the sun does come out then it will feel rather nice. Tomorrow is currently thought to have sunny spells throughout the day, but with a top temperature of only 18° C - which isn't all that bad.

   I was in a strange mood yesterday. There was a lot of things to be happy about, and I felt most content for most of the time, but somehow that mood drained away as evening approached. It was as if I had worn myself out, or used up my share of contentment for the day. I think one positive thing was that I had expected to be almost in pain after my efforts in the garden the day before, and yes, a few muscles were reminding me they had been used rather more than usual, but I couldn't actually call it painful.

  It is hard for me to explain my motives because even I don't really know what they were, but I decided to go and saw a couple more logs off the tree trunk in the morning. Perhaps one motivation was that the more I did it, the easier it became - as is usual and predictable. Maybe another motivation was "because I can".  I only sawed off two logs because the second one involved sawing across where a branch came off the main trunk, and the wood is always extra tough there.
growing pile of small
 There are now 8 small logs ready to burn or chuck in the wheelie bin after it has been emptied again. I think burning is a likely, but not definite outcome. I have conveniently number the logs so I could keep track of them. The last one I cut was log number 1, and you can see how "knobbly" it is. That was tough wood to cut through !
overall view of the
                      garden yesterday
  This is how the garden was looking after I finished out there yesterday. I have rolled over the tree trunk to present the now longest bit ready to be saw into short logs. The keen eyed, or those with a good memory might see that I also managed to snap off one of the decaying tree trunks at the very back of the garden. I have no idea what type of tree it was, but I remember it used to ooze resin where there was damage near the bottom. It wasn't an evergreen though, and I think it might have originally been a plum tree before the ivy strangled and killed it. For 10 or 15 years it's decaying remains were hidden by the bigger tree that grew in front of it. There is quite a bit of work for me to do at the back of the garden, and once I have cleared the right hand side of the garden path I shall tackle the back.

  I might have spent less than an hour working in the garden. If I had an empty wheelie bin it would have been easy to do a lot more, but that would have probably exhausted me for the whole day. Fortunately I had enough energy left to go out and do a bit of shopping. I first went to Poundland with the specific goal of getting some new work gloves, but I couldn't find any of the type I wanted, but I did buy a couple of pairs of "gardening gloves". They are more flimsy, but generally waterproof, and keep the creepy crawlies off my hands (and although I don't think it has happened yet, they offer protection from fox pee and poo !).

  There were two things that Poundland didn't have, although I still managed to buy quite a lot - most of the weight was cans of sugar free drinks. I had felt a bit sluggish when I first started to walk to Poundland, but I was feeling almost fine when I got there, and I thought I may as well go on to the 99p shop to see what they had. I found they they only offered "gardening gloves" and although the presentation was a bit different, I feel pretty sure the couple of pair I bought were identical to those I bought in Poundland. The other item I was looking for was a rack of 4 cheap and nasty coat hooks. One or both of those stores used to sell them, but it seems that all the stocks of them have been sold. Maybe they are a seasonal item, and will re-appear later in the year. Nevertheless, I didn't come away from the 99p shop empty handed !

  Soon after getting back home I had a light(ish) but heavy fat content lunch (it featured a lot of cheese !). Before I had that I got curious about something. It haven't checked my blood pressure for a couple of months, and there is one drug I haven't been taking for a couple of months because it seems the pharmacist forgot to include it with my other drugs. That drug, Indapamide, when it was first precribed, seemed the most effective at lowering my blood pressure. In theory my blood pressure should have been quite high, but it seems that the 50µG of Vitamin D3 I take everyday is more effective than anything my doctor prescribes.
absolutely normal
  The first reading I took was a bit high, a systolic pressure of 133, but still in the perfectly OK area, and that allowed me to relax a little more. The result is in the picture above - just about text book average ! It seems that I am sort of healthy in several ways. If I could just lose a lot of weight I would possibly be actually healthy ! On the plus side, I tried on, and wore another pair of shorts yesterday. Although it didn't seem quite the weather to wear them to the shops, I did wear them while working in the garden. They were easy to put on, and comfortable to work in - just like they were 2, 3, 4 ?? years ago. I don't want to scare myself by getting on the scales, but the way my trousers fit, particularly some of the older pairs, it does seem that I have already got rid of the excesses of winter, and if I could just avoid lunches and dinners like yesterday's, I could go a lot further.

  I was generally sedate yesterday afternoon. I had a short snooze, and spent a bit of time laying on my bed just reading. It was during this time that a change came over me. The real killer was when I realised that I had got all my dates and days mixed up. The gig I was going to go to last night was actually on Friday night, and the gig I would have liked to have gone to last night was also on Friday night. That didn't leave me many choices for last night. The gig that everybody was going to was in Orpington, and I would have gone if not for two things. The first thing was that there were no direct Thameslink trains on Saturdays yet (although I thought they were supposed to be starting in the new summer timetable starting this month). It would have been easy enough to change trains at Shortlands or Bromley South, but the thought of it annoyed me. There was also the fact that Orpington station is at the top of a small hill, and the gig venue is at the bottom of that hill. That's fine for getting there, but it means messing about on a bus for a couple of stops when going home.

  I decided that I jut couldn't be bothered to go out last night. I can enjoy my own company, and besides, in a loud gig I would only be able to enjoy my own company. It seemed easier to just stay in, and use it as a great excuse to have a takeaway dinner. That is exactly what I did. I ordered some extra hot piri-piri chicken to eat today, and a greasy burger and chips, plus a few other bits and pieces for dinner last night. It all gave me terrible acid reflux later, but was delicious at the time. In an unusual move I watched two great movies last night.

  Parts of those movies overlapped in time, and so I couldn't watch either in it's entirety, but I had seen both enough times before to fill in the bits I missed. One movie was "Two Way Stretch" - ridiculously funny, and I rather suspect it was the seed for the much later TV comedy series "Porridge". The other movie was "The Battle Of Britain". Both movie were traditional British movies - no gratuitous guns and over the top explosions. Of course the Battle Of Britain had to have explosions, and in some cases very big ones, but still proportionate to real life.

  There was also a James Bond movie on last night, and I will confess I watched the chase sequence in that, but it was one of the Bond movies where Bond was played by Roger Moore, and I always thought his portrayal of Bond was rather weak. I thought I was going to finish off the evening with an episode of QI, but I quickly realised that it was a recent repeat despite it being shown on BBC2. I watched a little bit of it, but decided to go to bed. I did read a page or two of a magazine first, but by 10pm I was fast asleep.

  At midnight I woke up and the acid reflux that I had noticed before going to sleep had got worse, and I spent a little while chewing some antacid tablets. It took longer than expected because my mouth seemed very dry for some reason. Eventually I felt OK, and was soon back asleep. From then on my sleep was as good as it seems to have been lately. In fact it was very typical - I woke up to find it was almost sunny outside, but it still felt too early, and so after my usual rituals I went back to bed, and slept very lightly for another hour.

  This morning I feel basically OK except for my right arm - my sawing arm - but I am not sure whether to blame it on sawing logs. Much of the discomfort is from my shoulder, and that discomfort predates sawing logs by 6 months...maybe a year. I wonder if I am suffering from something that someone I know suffered from before he had an operation to cure it - a bony spur on my shoulder blade. My right elbow joint is also sore, but once again that it is not a new thing, although my recent wood sawing may have aggravated whatever causes the discomfort.

 Despite it still being sunny, albeit slightly hazy sunshine, the gloomy weather forecast sapped any enthusiasm I had for today, and I haven't really thought what I am going to do today. Being a Sunday, and tomorrow being another bank holiday, the trains are probably crap today with bus replacement buses running everywhere, although I will confess that I haven't checked. Even so I can't be bothered to go anywhere involving trains today. I guess it is possible that I will either do a lot of resting today, or today will be the glorious day that the hoover comes out ! I think there is a good chance that this evening I will break a self imposed ban, to show solidarity with Sue, and go to a Chain gig in The Partridge. I feel that Sue and I are drifting away from each other, and so I wont feel bad about breaking that ban. What made that ban easy to keep up is that I don't like The Partridge as a venue. It is generally too packed, too dark, and too loud at the bar. It is possible that Chain's gig will not be so packed as some will be away on holidays, or just not wanting to go out on a Sunday (despite tomorrow being a bank holiday, and no one will have to get up for work in the morning). I'll see how it goes, and if I get there I will leave as soon as it become tedious.
Saturday 25th May 2019
08:48 BST
  It wasn't as sunny as I hoped it would be yesterday. There seemed to be quite long periods of time when it seemed more like it was overcast. There were sunny periods, and sunny intervals too, but maybe never quite when wanted. Nevertheless it seemed to be a warm day - sometimes seemingly warmer than the 21° C that was forecast. What was not forecast was the rain that fell sometime between 9 and 10pm. I only saw very light rain, not much more than something like a mist, but there was some evidence to suggest that it wasn't quite so light earlier.
today will not be nice
  The forecast for today has started with 100% accuracy, although I will admit I haven't actually checked the temperature, but it is certainly dull and gloomy right now ! I do wonder if it might actually be cooler than the 15° C forecast. It certainly feels quite chilly. With luck it will brighten up eventually. The latest revision of the forecast says that might happen at midday, and then at 5pm we might see full sunshine until sunset. It should be dry today, although as I look out my window it looks like it could pour with rain at any moment. It should end up quite warm this afternoon. 22° C is forecast, and apparently that will feel like 23° C. Tomorrow should feel warm too, but only 20° C is forecast. Unfortunately there may not be a single ray of sunshine through the whole day to make that 20° C feel as warm as it should.
   I did just two notable things yesterday, and one of them was quite routine, and not really that notable. The other thing was. It was just before midday that I went out to get some shopping from Tesco. One good thing was that I didn't have to pretend to myself that it was OK to go out without a coat. I have been going shopping without a coat on some occasions since February, but often it was only truly comfortable while I kept moving. I think there have been a few other times, but somehow yesterday was memorable for being very obviously warm (but not hot).

  Yesterday I remembered the extra Clubcard vouchers that I had forgotten the last time I went to Tesco, although I didn't re-buy all the things that I had vouchers for. I bought a lot of stuff in Tesco, and had quite a load to take home, and yet it was only a couple of dinners worth. One heavy thing was a big bottle of "no added sugar" blackcurrent squash (worth 25 Clubcard points - 25p in value). Another moderately heavy thing was a 1 (or 1.5) litre bottle of "Strawberry twist" Diet Coke. I had never heard of such a thing before, and it had to be tried - it is sort of pleasant in a strange way, but I can't see myself buying another bottle.

  Another novelty purchase was a little bag of turmeric root. I don't think I have ever seen turmeric root before, although I think I knew it was a rhizome like ginger. In fact I think it is botanically related to ginger. Turmeric is supposed to be terrible good for you, and some say it will cure anything from an ingrowing toenail to cancer.  I bought it out of curiosity, and I am not sure how I will use it yet. I guess I will scrub it clean and thinly slice it, and then add it to a stew or something to see what it is like. Apparently it can add a mildly warm ginger like taste to a meal. I'm guessing that it will be quite unlike the dried and powdered turmeric found on the spice shelves.

   After getting back form Tesco I had a small lunch, and then lay down to catch up with some reading. After reading for 10 or 15 minutes I closed my eyes and almost snoozed (or did I snooze ? I don't really know.) For some reason my relaxation didn't last for long. I began to feel that I ought to be doing something. There were many things I could do, but I had this masochistic idea that I would saw a few more logs off the tree trunk laying in my garden. The only problem, if indeed it can by called a problem, is that I got a bit carried away.
more garden clearance
  The brown, garden waste wheelie bin had been emptied the day before, and I had taken it through the house to park it in the garden. At first I just put a few twigs into it, but the more I put into it, the more I wanted to put into it. I didn't take any notice of the time, but I reckon I spent at least 2 full hours working in the garden. In that time I managed to clear a lot of stuff from the area between the recently revealed garden path, and the right hand fence. I thought it was mostly weeds, but there was a lot of wood under those weeds. It was the remains of a tree that was felled over 10 years ago. There was some younger stuff too. The really old stuff was really rotten, and even branched a couple of inches thick would snap like balsa wood. I reckon there is still two more wheelie bins worth of stuff to clear before I get that area back to bare earth. Some of it is actual junk that I can't put in any of my wheelie bins, although I guess if I chopped up some of the metal I could put in in the recycling bin.
shrinking tree trunk
  This is what drew me out in the garden in the first place.  Now and then I have cut a few logs off this tree trunk, and I think it was sometime last week that I went out while some burgers were cooking and cut off two logs. I was going to do something similar yesterday, apart from no cooking being involved, but I got carried away. Not only did I half clear the area between the path and the fence, but I cut off quite a few logs.
6 logs
  I cut off two logs, and it seemed easier than last time, but that seemed enough, and went on to fill the wheelie bin up. Once I had done that, and wheeled the bin back out to park it in the front garden, I came back and gave the tree trunk a long hard stare. It seemed that the muscles involved in sawing were getting stronger. The two logs I had cut off earlier only partly knackered me. I wondered what would happen if I tried sawing off another log. I can't say it was easy, but it didn't seem to be that bad, and so I cut another off. There were now 6 logs on the ground.

  That last bit of sawing did take me over the edge, and I felt like I could do no more, although I suspect I might have been able to force myself to do so. It was probably lucky I did stop there because the consequences were that I felt too tired to do practically anything else for the rest of the day, and it turned out to be a shorter day than I expected. I rested for a bit once I had come back indoors, and then a couple of hours later I had some dinner. After dinner I watched a bit of TV.

  Instead of watching TV I should have been getting ready to go out to a gig, but I just couldn't raise the enthusiasm. Besides which, some of those muscles that I had exercised with all that sawing were complaining a lot. A lot ? Probably not  a lot, but they definitely had a story to tell ! Perhaps the most significant thing was that although it is nothing to the outside world, it felt like I had done something very worthwhile, and as an achievement it left me feeling very satisfied. So satisfied that I thought I deserved an early night.

  I probably needed as much as deserved an early night, and I did indeed go to bed quite early, but maybe not as early as I thought I might. For some reason I had it in mind that it might be nice to stand in the garden, and admire my handiwork in the last minutes before it got completely dark. I cracked open a tin of sugar free orange Fanta, open the back door, and stepped into rain ! I had no idea it was raining, and rain certainly hadn't been predicted in the weather forecast. It was very light rain, almost like mist at that time, and it almost felt warm - or in reality a sort of cool tepid - and I decided I would go out anyway. I stayed for a few minutes, and it was sort of nice.

  When I came back in I finished my can of drink, and then brushed my teeth. I was really looking forward to getting in my bed. The reality was that I found it hard to get a nice relaxing position that didn't make one or more muscles ache. Eventually I must have found one, and I was soon fast asleep. On the whole I slept well, but my normal complaint of waking up earlier than I would like to is valid again this morning.

  I can most definitely feel some of the muscles I overworked yesterday, but I guess they are only mildly complaining. The stupid thing is that I feel it very likely that I am going to go out in the garden this morning, probably before I have a shower, and wash my hair, and cut off another log or two. I like the way it seems to be getting easier the more I practice. It could be the only exercise I get today. The currently gloomy weather.....hmm, just noticed it seems to be getting a bit brighter now...oh well, no matter, I still don't feel inclined to go anywhere until I can see the sun with my own eyes (and have some confidence it will stay out for long periods).

  My main plan for today is to go out this evening to a gig. There are several to choose from, but many are not that attractive. One of the lesser attractive gigs will be the one I am going to. Hit 'N' Mix (what an awful name) are playing in The Catford Constitutional Club tonight. I have seen them before when as a very inexperienced band they opened Petts Woodstock last year. I was rather underwhelmed then, but I think they have changed a player or two, and presumably are a lot more polished now.  Their choice of music they cover is a bit dubious, but that is sadly the case with young bands. I'm not sure I will be staying there very long, but while there is some sort of music in Catford I feel I have to support it (although The Catford Constitutional Club often have events that they call music, but their definition of music is often wildly at odds with mine !).

  One little aside before I forget it....Yesterday I put on a pair of shorts to wear while I was working in the garden. Apart from the dangers of some of the stinging nettles that are growing stupidly fast now in some bits of the garden, it sort of felt nice to wear those shorts. It would have been nicer still if the sun was out. However what the real news story is, is that those shorts still fit me, and were comfortable to work in. I have to admit that "still fit" is stretching it a bit - like the waistband of those shorts. Nevertheless, it give me hope that a few more days out like my walk in Worthing last Tuesday, and some "salad weather" will make those shorts an easier fit before the summer is out.
Friday 24th May 2019
09:38 BST
  Yesterday's weather was splendid ! As midday approached the weather forecast still said that a lot of the day would just have sunny intervals, but it seemed brighter than that, and there were a lot of sunshine. I think I would have said it was a sunny day. It was noticeably warm too with the afternoon temperature being 22° C, and feeling close to 23° C.
another nice day
  Today may not be quite as good as yesterday, but it seems it is likely to be very close to it. Lots of long periods of sun are predicted, and although 21° C is not quite as good as yesterday's 22° C, I doubt we'll notice much difference. It almost feels like a cool version of summer is here already. Unfortunately that is a premature thought. Tomorrow may be partly overcast, and there is a small (8 to 10%) chance of rain, but the temperature will probably be about the same as today.
   I often very very tired yesterday, and that was the result of not getting to bed until after 4am (it was just starting to get light !). In other respects I felt OK, and I would later find that I felt better than I thought I did. I didn't feel like doing all that much yesterday morning, and probably having a shower, and going to the corner shop were the highlights of the morning. From midday I was constrained in what I could do because I was on high alert again - not easy when I wanted to have a snooze !
tracking info
  Once again I was getting a delivery on a Thursday. Why does everything seem to arrive on a Thursday now ? This parcel was being sent via Hermes, and I thought they had a reputation for not being very good. Their tracking page certainly is rather brief and uninformative until the very last entry which finally gives a good idea when to expect the parcel. Their estimate of a delivery between midday and 4pm was some comfort because 4pm was about the latest I would want to wait. The parcel actually turned up as just after 2pm, and that gave me plenty of time to get ready to go out.

  I was going out for my regular late Thursday afternoon drink, and I wanted to get the 16:10 train. It felt good to be able to go out without a coat in the warm sunshine. It didn't feel so good that it was a struggle to walk as fast as I wanted to. Now the curious thing is that is not entirely true. It did feel that my 4 mile walk on Tuesday had improved my stamina, and while I couldn't seem to reach and sustain the speed I wanted to - which was basically as fast as possible - I did seem keep a decent pace up. I even found some unknown reserve of energy to speed up near the top of the staircase to pass someone as we went up to the platform. It was the sharp right turn, made worse by having to dodge around people, that gave me a very mild twinge. It was a quite mild pain under my left man boob. I have had far worse by quite a degree, but as usual I just carried on walking - possibly even speeding up a bit.

  I was breathing quite heavily as I walked along the platform, but I didn't feel winded. Later, in the pub, I was described as "striding along the platform at great speed" by Paul, who caught the same train as me. Despite breathing heavily I was able to talk to Paul quite normally when I reached him at the far end of the platform. It was a pleasant couple of hours in the pub with 2 nice pints of beer, and 1 pints that was not so nice. I did consider staying for another, but  thought that I ought to get home again early enough to prepare for an early night.

  It was probably as I walked back to the station that I actually made the connection between how my walking seemed easier after getting some practice in last Tuesday - my 4 mile walk in Worthing. I had allowed a little less time than usual to get to the station, but I was confident I would have plenty of time - and I did - almost ! In fact I only had 15 seconds to get my breath back before boarding the train.  There was a safety factor involved in this. I choose to get on the back of the train because that is where the exit is at Catford station. I could have had almost an extra minute to get my breath back if I had got on the front of the 8 carriage train - it is quite a long walk down he entire length of the platform !

  When I arrived back in Catford I made a very small detour on my way home to buy a takeaway. In this instance, and like I have done a few times after arriving at Catford station, I went into the Sainsbury's Local store and bought some of their ready made salads. I did have a pre-cooked meal of strange of vegetable containing meat balls cooked in gravy with potatoes. I had found these peculiar meat balls in either Aldi or Tesco (I thing Aldi was most likely). They were an interesting experiment, but ultimately they didn't seem to have anything that would make me want to buy them again. It does seem to be a general rule that any meat mixed with vegetable matter, most usually burgers with onion or other stuff, tend to be rather poor quality meats.

  I think I pushed myself to walk a bit faster when walking home. There was no reason for this apart from to just wanting to push myself a bit more - but not excessively to the point of exhaustion. However, I guess I was also keen to have my dinner to see what it had turned out like. It was a moderately big dinner, partly on account of all the gravy it was cooked in, but I still felt like "afters", and I had a Greek salad with a couple of pickled chillies. I am sure that pickled chillies are more a Turkish thing, but Angela, with her Greek roots, and her fanatical Greece loving son both like pickled chillies.

  After eating I watched a bit of TV, but I was starting to get weary. I ended up in bed before 9pm. Initially it was just to read, but I turned the light out not long after going to bed, and I was probably fast asleep by 9pm. I must have been very tired because even after drinking beer I didn't wake up many times in the night, and only twice were of any significance. At about 1am I got up for a bit more than a pee. It seemed so explosive that it was like I had a stomach bug, and I feared I might be up half the night, but 5 minutes later I was fast asleep again. I did get up again at around 6am, and spent half an hour or so taking my pills, having a pee, taking a screenshot of the weather forecast, and checking a few things on the internet.

  Half an hour or so later I was back in bed, and thinking I probably wouldn't be able to sleep. I was wrong. My sleep was not as deep as before, and I probably woke up very briefly a few times (or dreamed I did), but it was just after 9am when I woke up and decided I really ought to get up. There were breaks, one of them over half an hour, but essentially I was in bed for 12 hours, and probably got 10 hours sleep. I think I have probably made up my sleep deficit from Wednesday night. I feel some stiffness after spending so much time in bed, but even now it is clearing, and I feel almost confident that once I am moving about more I will feel fine.

  I have no idea what I am doing today, although I can list quite a few things I could do. Actually there is probably one thing that I think I will definitely do, and that is to go shopping, although at this time I can't decide which supermarket I might use. If I don't feel like doing anything too physical today I have two magazine to read, and I still have a small pile of negatives to scan. For that matter I have a load of negatives already scanned that I haven't used for anything - maybe because they lack context. I could sort through some of those to make up some sort of photo album. If I felt like doing something more physical there is the legendary hoovering to do. I keep saying I will do it, but get distracted, or don't feel I have the energy to spare. It is always possible that I might do some today.

  Tonight I half want to go to a gig, but I am unsure about the venue. M.T. Pockets are playing in what sounds more like a restaurant than a bar. It has been suggested, without a great deal of conviction, that it would be fine for me to go and just have a drink while taking a few snaps without having to sit down at a table and eat a meal. I don't feel all that comfortable about the idea, but I might still go there.
Thursday 23rd May 2019
09:11 BST
  Yesterday's weather was not bad, but nowhere near as good as the day before. There were sunny intervals, but it was quite cloudy, and while it was never dim, those clouds interfered with the sun a lot. On the plus side it was a warm and dry day with temperature up around 19 to 20° C in the afternoon.
maybe better than yesterday
  Today's forecast has been revised a bit since I took the screenshot above, but the start of the day hasn't changed. The only error so far is probably in my interpretation of the forecast. It seems to have been bright all morning, and most of the time there has been sunshine, albeit often hazy sunshine, but that seems better than "sunny intervals". The two main changes in the latest revision of the forecast show an hour of solid sunshine at 11am, and then solid sunshine now from 3pm until sunset. The afternoon high is still shown as 22° C, and apparently for a couple of hours it will feel like 23° C - which is rather pleasant ! I expect the forecast for tomorrow will be revised a lot before it is finalised, but at the moment it is forecast to be another warm, dry day with about half and half sunny intervals, and sunshine. It maybe a degree or two cooler than today, but that is still pretty good.
electric foot rasp 

  I wasn't really sure how I felt in the morning, but it soon became apparent that I felt better than I thought I would. My stiff knees and stiff left ankle very quickly loosened up once I started moving, and my sore feet seemed almost cured after a visit from the "blacksmith". There is nothing like a good rasping from my Aldi rasping device to get rid of all the corns and callouses - mostly just dead skin. I ought to use the tool I bought from Aldi more often to keep  my feet in shape. This is particularly so if I am going to get into practice for long distance walking. The instrument in question is pictured on the left. It isn't visible in this picture, but right at the top, but curled under the head of the things, is a rotating cylinder covered in something very similar to emery paper.

  I felt so good after giving my feet a good rasping, or pedicure as the ladies like to call it, that I immediately felt like doing something, but not going for a 4 mile walk on my newly improved feet (I hope). I presumed it must be good drying weather, and hand washed a medium sized bath towel, and a pair of lounge pants. Once that was hanging on the line I started another batch of hand laundry of t-shirts and underwear. There isn't really enough room on the line for them, and so I am using a clothes horse out there. I only started that second batch soaking in detergent, and then had a nice lie down.

  Doing two lots of laundry did seem to leave me feeling knackered, but it later turned out that I was less knackered than I thought, and I managed to do some useful work, but I still felt too overworked to get the hoover out !

t-shirts drying in the
 I can't remember how long ago it was when I was last able to dry clothes out in the garden. At first I thought it would be a very slow process because any sunny intervals seems few and far between, and didn't last that long, but just as I thought I might be wasting my time we had a very long "sunny interval". Maybe it was a "sunny period". Whatever it was, it lasted for a couple of hours, and during that time the sun only briefly dimmed a couple of times. Those t-shirts were 99% dry, and dry enough to hang up with my other t-shirts, hours before sunset. Meanwhile, the towel and lounge pants that I had hung out several hours earlier, but on the line that is in permanent shade, were just about dry as bone when I took the t-shirts in. Sadly the underwear, that I had washed at the same time as the t-shirts, and were hanging on the line in the shade were still very damp. I brought them in to finish drying indoors.

  Although it was only two jobs, they were important jobs, and I felt happy to have done them. My only regret is that I had put off some essential cleaning that has to be done before Patricia stays here for 10 days next month. I expect that like last time it will be a rush job at the last minute - and maybe that is not such a bad idea because I want the house to be it's cleanest just before she arrives.  It was a little later that I found I had more strength/energy left than I believed I had.
more log sawing
 I am unsure why I thought I could do it, but it was as I was cooking some beef burgers that I went out into the garden, and sawed a couple more logs of the remains of the tree. I had just put the burgers in my mini oven/grill, and was looking out the kitchen window and wondering what to do while those burgers were cooking. Some brainstorm had me picking up my garden gloves and my saw, and going out with them into the garden. I have circled where I cut the logs off, and where they lay on the ground. That bough is nearly 5" thick....ok, maybe nearer 4", but it still needed a lot of energy to saw through. It didn't actually raise a sweat, but it certainly had me almost panting while doing it.

  The burgers I mentioned were Tesco special burger, and they were special because they were alleged to contain fiercely hot Scotch Bonnet chillies. They should have been good, even excellent, but in reality they were a huge disappointment. I assumed they would be mouth scorchingly hot, but in reality I was hard pressed to detect any chilli in them at all. I had grilled some mild finger chillies along with some tomatoes to have with the burgers, and those finger chillies were far hotter, although not in themselves being particularly hot.

 After my dinner, followed by an inadvisable sweet that was actually sweet with more sugar in it than would be good for me if I consumed it too frequently, I just relaxed with a bit of TV. My TV viewing was often interrupted by a bit of internet viewing which went on far longer than the adverts on TV that I was avoiding. I missed some of the plot because of that, but fortunately nothing I was watching was not a repeat I had once seen before....hmm, on reflection that isn't quite true. The episode/edition of QI I watched was a new-ish one, and I had not seen it before.

  I think QI finished at about 9pm. I turned off the TV then, and made very slow preparations for bed, but before getting into bed I decided to phone Sue. I had seen something that made it sound like she was unhappy. She was, but soon cheered up - or appeared to. She has a lot going on in her life at the moment, including a possible serious medical condition. She will learn if it is serious after a CT scan next week. She had a lot to talk about, or to get off her chest before our chat turned to more general chat. I made the terrible mistake of not stopping the call a lot earlier after she had got all the worst stuff off her chest. I allowed the call to continue until I had to call a stop to it because the sky was starting to get hints of the new dawn. We had been talking for over 5 hours !

  This morning I feel almost OK in most aspects apart from the effects of a serious lack of sleep. That is going to set the tone of today. There are just two things I expect to be doing today, and it is possible they will conflict with each other. The first thing should hopefully be accepting a parcel from Amazon. Quite why they always seem to arrive on Thursdays, the most inconvenient day of the week must be some sort of karma from some old misdeed or something. This parcel is being delivered by Hermes, and although the tracking information, updated at 08:47 says "out for delivery" there is no indication of when today, and nor is there any information about where the depot is that the courier has set out from. I can't even make a wild guess when that parcel will arrive, and it may clash with my other activity today - my late Thursday afternoon drink.

   Today I think I will go out regardless of whether the parcel has still not arrived. I hope if that is the case, they don't make it hard to get it re-delivered another day - maybe tomorrow. I have no idea what I will do if they say it has to be collected from some depot in the middle of nowhere. I'll probably have to report it to Amazon as a missing package if that is the case. Anyway, if the weather forecast bears any relationship to reality it should be really nice going out to that drink in warm sunshine - and coming home in it too. I can't miss out on that.
Pertis machine
 Just to finish off... I took this picture on East Worthing station, and it shows a Pertis machine apparently still in use. When there was no ticket office, or the ticket office was closed, you could buy a "Permit To Travel" ticket for as little as 5p, and then present it to a staffed ticket office, or guard on the train to buy the correct ticket for the journey you are making (with the price paid for the permit contributing to the price of the full ticket). With the advent of Oyster Cards in London they were removed from most London stations. Despite new facilities for paying by credit/debit card, by tapping in on the blue box seen to the right of the Pertis machine, it seems almost possible this machine is still in use. It certainly has power on it as the single red lamp on it shows. It was on the opposite platform to where I was waiting, and if hadn't been absolutely knackered I would have had plenty of time to cross to the other platform via the road bridge, and investigated further, but I barely had the energy to get on the train when it eventually arrived.
Wednesday 22nd May 2019
07:30 BST
  Yesterday's weather was magnificent ! The sun was bright, the sky was blue, and it was warm - about 21° C. All this was true up to about 6pm when it did get cloudy for a time. In fact at one point it looked like it might rain, but it stayed dry, and although I wasn't really paying attention to the outside world as 7pm approached, I think the cloud thinned out again.
a good start, but maybe not so good finish
  Today started off OK, but the sky is not clear enough for non stop sunshine as predicted in the early morning revision of the forecast. There is a lot of streaky cloud in the sky that is currently making the sunshine very hazy, or even mostly blocking it. Well that's the view to the south, but I've just checked the view to the north, and that looks even cloudier. A slightly later revision of the forecast still persists in saying it will be sunshine until 10am, and then sunny periods from then onwards. I suspect that in the real world the sunny periods have already started. At least the temperature forecast is usually pretty close to reality, and we can expect 19° C this afternoon, and possibly a brief blip of 20° C. The threat of rain seems very small today. The next three days are currently forecast to be very similar to today - except with no claim that the mornings will see anything more than sunny intervals.

  Although I felt a bit apprehensive about it, I forced myself to go out yesterday. I decided I would go to Worthing to see the pier, and generally to get a bit of sea air. I was right to be apprehensive about it because several things were unplanned or unforeseen, and they did spoil things a bit. When I think back there were enough reasons for it not to be a good day out, and yet it was a wonderful day out.
my walk

 This was the route of my walk, but it doesn't tell the full story. I had originally intended to track my walk using one of my spare mobile phones, but for some reason it had a brainstorm. I used to work fine, but for some reason it kept losing the GPS signal, and instead of a nice straight trace of where I walked it was all spiky. It was almost as if I had walked up most peoples front paths, and it all added up to a total of 21 miles. It may have felt like that, but that was complete rubbish. I was already at the beach when I saw what was happening, and started the tracker on my main phone. From that point until I was at the station to go home was 3.12 miles, but I estimate the entire walk was at least 4 miles. I have painted in the missing trace in green, and it is very roughly a third of the length of the measure walk - so I say I walked 4 miles.

  I was so out of practice that 4 miles taxed me so much that I almost crawled the last 100 yards to the station ! I do hope that I can build my stamina up to the point that 7 or 8 miles walks have less effect than yesterday. That was one negative thing about the walk. Another was that I felt increasingly uncomfortable in the lower stomach area. When I had walked as far as the lido, just before the pier, I went into the public toilets, but just passed wind. I then walked on the extra hundred yards to the pier, and decided it would be prudent to go in the toilets there too. That was most definitely worthwhile, and I felt much more comfortable after that, but not always entirely comfortable !
on the back of a toilet
 One very common fantasy trope is the quest for forbidden knowledge. I had set out to find such knowledge, and along the way I had to decipher hidden clues (railway timetables), find my way through the maze by using Google maps to choose which roads to go down, and overcome obstacles like a rumbling in my tummy. Eventually I found the words of wisdom hidden on the back of a door of the toilets at Worthing Pier.
power boat passes
  There would be more problems later, but I was able to enjoy the sights as my walk continued. This picture shows a power boat racing along with the wind turbines in the background. In the foreground is a plant that seems to be cropping up on beaches everywhere now. It's flowers give off a very sweet, honey-like smell.
panels on windbreak on
                      the pier
 Along some of the pier there is a long windbreak that has windows in it. Many of the windows have been covered with pictures done on transparent coloured gels, and some look very beautiful - almost like stained glass windows. Some windows just have plain coloured gels that still looked good with the sun behind them.
small fishing fleet
  To the east of the pier Worthing has a small fishing fleet. There were more boats pulled up on the beach behind me. Many sell freshly caught fish almost straight off the boat, but you have to be up early to buy them. One board mentioned 10am ! It was almost half a mile beyond where I took this picture that I turned inland, away from the beach, and started walking along the long Ham Road towards East Worthing station (I had arrived at West Worthing station, and there is a Worthing station between the two). By that time my feet were killing me. That was almost as expected, but I didn't expect my left ankle to be complaining. Maybe I did think that both my knees might complain a little bit, but they complained a bit more than that. The ankle and knees were more a warning pain than anything too serious.

  I finally arrived at East Worthing station after the last bit of the walk designed to half kill me - going over the humpbacked road bridge over the railway to get to the right side of the station. The feeling I was on my last legs was not improved when I found there was quite a wait for the first train - not all trains stop at East Worthing, and very few go into London. Most go into Brighton. I had missed the last, possibly the very last train of the day to London, but that didn't matter that much. The next Brighton train was originally to be in about 28 minutes - quite a long wait, but soon after arriving at the station it was announced as "delayed".

  It was reported that there was a points failure at Littlehampton where my train was due to start from, and my train could not be moved. More and more time passed, and then what seems like a miracle in this day an age happened. It is only guess work based on a few clues, but what I think happened is that an empty train was despatched from Brighton depot to run non stop to Worthing station where it could cross over to the other line, and come back to us waiting on East Worthing station. I definitely saw an empty train pass us heading towards Worthing, and the train I was waiting for eventually was marked at cancelled at all stations between Littlehampton and Worthing.

  It eventually took 40 minutes to get one mile down the track to Lancing station where, after no more than 10 minutes wait, I could get a direct train to East Croydon. Apart from the cockup at East Worthing my transport had been pretty good. Just a short wait for the a train at Catford Bridge. A good connection to the tram at Elmers End, and the tram arrived at East Croydon with about 12 minutes to spare to get my tickets and go down to the platform for the train to West Worthing. Once I was on the move from Lancing station my journey home was just as smooth. I'm not sure if I can call £16.70 as cheap, but at least I save about £8 by using my Senior Railcard.
my tickets

  It was nice to get home, and take the weight off my feet - and to have food and drink. I had had a small snack for breakfast, but once I went out I didn't eat or drink. I was a bit dehydrated when I got home, and my first glass of drink when down very quickly. My dinner was a couple of Aldi ready meals. One was a Thai themed, or inspired meal, and the other Korean. The latter was nicest, but both were sort of unsatisfactory - not horrible or nasty in any way, but just rather unexciting. I felt the need to have more food a bit later.

  As the evening progressed I felt increasingly keen to go to bed, but I wanted to deal with the pictures I had taken first, and it was a bit of a revelation. The only camera I had taken with me was my recently acquired little Cannon ELPH500 (aka a Canon Ixus 300 in Europe - mine is possibly an American import), and I strongly felt it's limitations while using it. On the other hand I had taken a lot of pictures on it, and nearly every one was really good. I think my main two complaints were that I sometimes wanted a lot more zoom than it offered, and it was often difficult to use in bright sunshine because it only had the screen on the rear to act as viewfinder. Judging my the pictures it is a good camera - but with limitations.

  I finally rolled into bed just before 11pm, and I went out like a light. For yet another night I slept in two big chunks of apparently deep sleep. The first was over 4 hours. That must be a record for the last 6 months or more. As usual, I wish the second half of my sleep had lasted much longer, but it was only about three hours. That means I got about 7 hours sleep, and I have to confess that isn't bad ! This morning I am definitely feeling the effects of that long walk. Maybe the worst is that my feet still ache, but fortunately not too bad for the moment. My knees feel a bit fragile, but probably less than I would expect, and they are often a bit stiff in the mornings nowadays anyway. The thing I fear the most is when I have a shower soon. I definitely caught the sun yesterday, and while it hasn't hurt so far, I think that some of the redder areas will react to hot water !

  I have no idea what I am doing today. I doubt I'll be going out anywhere, and I think I may divide my time between some intensive relaxing and doing some housework. If the housework proves too much I have many little things, mostly photographic and video, to do on my PC. If I felt really masochistic I could take a saw out into the back garden, and saw a few logs up.
Tuesday 21st May 2019
08:11 BST
  There was an occasional sunny spells yesterday afternoon, but not enough for it to be a sunny day. Most of the time it was bright, but dull. On the other hand it was a warm day - particularly when working in the garden ! The maximum forecast temperature was 19° C, but I think the temperature actually peaked at 20° C in the second half of the afternoon.
a bright sunny day !
  Today has started off bright and sunny, and also very mild. I haven't checked, but the temperature right now should be 13° C. It doesn't seem long ago that it would be considered good if the afternoon temperature was that high - even more so in bright sunshine. If the forecast doesn't let us down it should be a rather lovely day with non stop sunshine all the way through to sunset. The only small fly in the ointment is that the 21° C at 4pm has now been reduced to 20° C in the latest revision to the forecast. The next three days are currently predicted to have similar temperatures to today, but only sunny intervals. By Friday the chances of rain start becoming a worry.

  Yesterday was a very satisfying day. I only did a few things, but they were very satisfying. The first thing I did of note was to go out shopping. My first port of call was my bank to draw out some lovely brand new, crisp notes. I noted that they only seem to be issuing £10 notes - possibly because the £20 is due to be replaced sometime next year with a new plastic version like has already happened to the £5 and £10 note.

  I could have gone directly from the bank to Tesco, but I decided to go a slightly long way round via the front of The Salvation Army charity shop. In the window I saw exactly what I was looking for - a film camera. Well, I suppose it wasn't exactly what I was looking for. In an ideal world I would have liked an SLR camera, but a little pocket sized snapper is perfectly good enough to test some 35mm film I bought from Poundland. It will be a few brief moments of nostalgia before going back to my digital cameras - the real workhorses of my collection.
old and new
  The camera I bought was an Olympus Trip 500. In the picture above you can see the family resemblance to my first ever digital camera - an Olympus C-100. That digital camera may have only been a 1.3 Megapixel camera, but it could take some excellent pictures, and while there was no slack for cropping, I could print out quite reasonable pictures on A4 paper. The Olympus Trip 500 cost my just £15, and came with the original box and packing. It also had a couple of unuses, still wrapped, but possibly old AA cells in the box.

  With my camera in my rucksack I went on to Tesco where I had intended to buy several items that would earn me bonus Clubcard points. I even checked the vouchers just after I went into the store just to make sure I knew what I needed to get. I did buy all those things. Fortunately all but the tomatoes have a long life, and are handy have around for when they are needed (like the Double Strength orange squash).

 The thing is that I am going to have to go back to buy them all over again because there was a fluster field operating around the checkout I used. I completely forgot to get the vouchers out, but my mistake was less significant than the one the lady at the checkout made. I didn't realise it, and couldn't check it until I got home, but she had got so flustered getting the security device off the bottle of scotch that she forgot to scan it. I thought the bill seemed quite low when totalled up, but I hadn't bought that much, and much of what I did buy was either cheap of reduced price. Once I got home, and my hands were free, I checked the till receipt, and sure enough, no whisky listed on it !

  I spent a little time having a snack of tortilla like things to scoop up some half price, Tesco Finest coleslaw with cheddar cheese, and then I went out to do some garden clearance. I felt annoyed that last Thursday the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin had not been filled on collection day. This coming Thursday it will be different. I think I spent around 2 hours in the garden filling that wheelie bin to the brim. Sometimes it didn't feel like I had made much progress, but a wheelie bin full is definitely something, and my aching muscles agree.
garden progress

  The main thing I did was to finish clearing the garden path as far as the big tree stump. It is possible the path continues beyond that, but it has been years and years since I last saw all the garden path. The tree that was cut down leaving the big stump grew right through the path !  I also cleared some stuff from all the stuff piled against the fence on the right. There is a lot of rotting wood underneath that vegetation on top (as well as some non organic junk). I think I'll be concentrating on that next week.
tree trunk
  One of my big headaches is the remains of the tree trunk. I am slowly cutting bits off it (sometimes a little bit longer than the rules for the garden waste bins), but it is hard work. Now I have so much clear space I am thinking that I will have a bonfire to burn it, plus a lot of the dead wood by the fence. The fire will also help sterilise the soil, and maybe slow down the growth of weeds - on the other hand, the nutrients from the ash may make he weed growth worse ! I'll just have to wait for a day when rain is about to fall, and so no one sensible will have any washing out, and then have a good burn up before the rain gets going. The rain can then help damp down the embers.

  There was still a lot of daylight left when I finished in the garden, but I felt too tired to utilise it for anything, and mostly, but not completely rested for the rest of the afternoon. Actually the same was true of the evening. I sometimes still seemed busy, but I have nothing to show for it. One thing I did do was to finally eat the dinner I had cooked for the previous evening. Leaving it marinating for 24 hours may have improved the flavour. It was a sort of lamb stew made of neck of lamb with some vegetables. Those vegetable included some long finger chillies that I had ever tried using before. One of them seemed quite mild, but 6 or 7 of them definitely added a pleasant chilli flavour, and a bit of heat, but not that much heat.

  Not having a cold, or any real ailments (beyond a few stiff joints and stuff) does seem to be making my sleep so much better recently, and last night was exceptional. I wasn't using a stop watch, but I think I got 6 hours sleep in two lots of 3 hours each. Maybe I got up at other times to have a pee, but I only remember it happening once at around 3am. Perhaps not having a skinful of Guinness in the evening helped with that - possibly a lot. 6 hours sleep is probably all I need now we have so much daylight. I did attempt to sleep more, but it didn't happen.

  For all that, I wish I had more get up and go. Maybe working in the garden was OK because I knew I could just drop everything, and go back indoors if I felt too tired, but I didn't. Towards the end I was freely sweating and panting with my exertions, but because I could stop and rest at any time it didn't bother me. The idea of, for instance, going for a long ramble seems different. It is easy to know that I could do it easily, and if needed I could stop to take a breather, but less easy to believe it.

  Today is promised o be bright, sunny and warm, and maybe today I will have to force myself to go out and exercise/test my legs. Whether I will, or not remains to be seen. I just have to scare myself by thinking that if I don't go out I will have to get the hoover out, and hoovering is far harder work than sawing up tree trunks, or shovelling garden debris into a wheelie bin ! At least I have made an early start to the day. The next step, regardless of what I do, will be to have a shower, and wash my hair. After that I can decide what I will do - if anything.
Monday 20th May 2019
09:27 BST
  Yesterday was mostly inoffensive. There was nothing to really dislike, but there was also nothing really to like. There was very little sunshine for most of the day, and even the few hours in the late afternoon when sunny spells were predicted didn't really come to much. At least there wasn't enough sunshine to register in my memory, although I do have a very vague recollection of it being a bit brighter sometimes. The highest temperature may not have quite reached the 18° C forecast, but 16 or 17° C would seem reasonable. It was also dry throughout the day despite a prediction of 10 to 29% chance of rain.
warmer, and maybe brighter
  The forecast seen in the screenshot above has been hastily revised since being issued at 7.44am this morning. It now suggests it could be a fairly sunny day. This is reflected in reality with slightly hazy sunshine as I write these words. Like yesterday, there is a small threat, around 10%, chance of rain almost anytime today, but no rain is actually forecast. The top temperature should be 19° C, and in the sunshine that should feel rather good. The latest guess for tomorrow is for a very sunny day with temperature up around 20 or 21° C. The following two days could be similar, but with maybe a bit less sunshine.

  I wrote so late yesterday that I can pick up the narrative from when I had got ready to go out, and was walking to the bus stop to get a 320 bus to Bromley, and Stretchy's Open Mic in The Swan & Mitre pub. I thought I would hardly do any walking last night, and so I put on a pair of shoes that are very comfortable to wear, but quite uncomfortable to walk in. That was a mistake ! As I turned the corner of the road I could see the bus stand, and the was a 320 bus waiting there. Just as I crossed the road behind the bus the driver started up his engine and pulled away. Had I been 20ft closer I might have been able to attract the drivers attention, and he might have let me on the bus at the bus stand instead of the bus stop 150ft down the road. I don't think any of the famous Olympic sprinters could have raced that bus to the bus stop, and I know I had a cat's chance in hell of doing so.

  As I waved the bus goodbye I checked the time of the next bus. It was almost 20 minutes away, and so I started walking to the 208 bus stop on the main road - which made my entire walk about 3 times as long as it could have been. Having got to the bus stop on the main road I found there was going to be a long wait for the next 208, and so I carried on walking to the next stop which is served by bother the 320 and 208. It turned out that both buses were about neck and neck, and either might arrive first in about 10 or 12 minutes. It was the 208 that arrived first, although he 320 was not far behind, and although it did not get much of a lead on us, it overtook my bus about halfway to Bromley.

  Having got a bus you might think my troubles were over, but they weren't. As I discovered last Thursday, the buses are on diversion while roadworks seem to be taking place (although I couldn't see any change in the roadworks site). I had to get off the bus one stop short of my destination, and walk the rest of the way. So much for not doing much walking ! Going home almost had a happier ending. After leaving the pub I started walking to the bus stop (fortunately there was no diversion in this direction of travel). A check a few moments earlier showed no bus in sight, but I had to wait a few moments to cross a road. When I looked again there was a bus almost on top of me, and the bus stop was at least 20ft away (maybe 30ft).

 I am not a great runner at the best of times, and last night I was weighed down with a heavy camera bag, but I made an attempt to run for the stop. The very nice bus driver noticed this, and perhaps rewarded my effort by stopping the bus with the doors right beside me while still 10 or 15ft from the bus stop. It should have been a happy ending, but after a couple of stops a pair of guys got on the bus who must have been working in the kitchen of an Indian restaurant, or something similar. They really stunk of stale cooking. It was most unpleasant, and spoiled what might have been a nice ride home.

  Back in the pub, it was another very quiet night with Stretchy doing most of the singing, but Ravi and Andrew did pop in for a while, and sung a few songs - unfortunately in Andrew's typical turgid style. Rob was also there and as well as matching me pint for pint of Guinness, he sang a few of his songs using strange twanging chords on his guitar that didn't seem to be playing the same tune as he was singing. Shame really because he tries so hard, but has this strange way of playing.
 I hardly took any pictures last night - about 10 I think, and most of them were rubbish. It didn't seem worthwhile getting my flash gun out, and so the few pictures I took seemed very "warm" unless I corrected the colour temperature afterwards. There seems no white balance preset on he camera that matches the illumination in The Swan And Mitre. If I took a white card with me I could do an auto calibration, but it is easier to correct the pictures later.
Rob Todd
 The top picture was Stretchy, and this one is of Rob Todd. Quite why he needs an electric guitar with a treble boosting overdrive effects pedal at a generally acoustic session is anyone's guess. He sang three songs, and then it was Stretchy on his own for the rest of the evening. I think he closed down early at around 10.30pm, or about 5 minutes after I went to get my bus home.

  To distract me from the fried chicken shop I had precooked what should have been a very tasty neck of lamb stew for when I got home last night. I had not eaten a proper meal all day before going out, although I probably had quite sufficient calories from snack during the day to keep me alive for a week or two. The funny thing is, that when I got home I didn't fancy any dinner. I almost didn't feel like eating at all, but "almost" is not quite the same as "definitely" and I did have a couple of small packets of Marmite flavour crisps just to tamp the beer down.

  I think I was in bed by around midnight last night. I went from feeling I had hopeless insomnia to deep sleep within minutes. I guess it was pretty good sleep because although I have very vague memories of getting up to pee a few times, I don't really remember much until I woke up at around 7am. I did my usual ritual - pee - drugs - screenshot of weather forecast - and then I went back to bed. I was in bed for maybe an hour, but I don't think I slept that much.

  This morning I had/have a mild hangover, but much of me seems in fair working order. There is some stiffness here and there, but nothing hurts. I am sort of surprised my chest is not giving me any bother. It was doing a fair amount of clicking and popping yesterday, but apart from a few twinges while I was walking on my journey to the pub, it has been painless. When I think about it, it seems that when the pains come from the area best described as bottom right of my right man boob, those pains can be quite intense, but come and go very quickly. The pains I get from the bottom left of my left man boob seems much milder, but can go on for ages. I think that is correct, but I've only just thought of it. I must try and be aware next time it happens so I can make sure.

  Today is potentially going to be a nice day. It even feels pretty good at the moment with my window open. There are some things I could do today. What I feel like I probably want to do is to go out for several hours, possibly on the train, with my camera, but there are things that are more important than that. Having put it off all weekend, I would like to go to Tesco (or Aldi) today. After having not filled the brown, garden waste, wheelie bin the last time it was collected, I really ought to get out into the garden - and with the way the weeds are growing I think I should prioritise this job.

  It is odd that while the idea of some physically hard work in the garden does not bother me that much, the idea of pushing the hoover around does ! I've only got about a fortnight to go before Patricia comes to stay here for 10 days, and there is a lot of stuff I would like, or need to do, and yet I find the idea sort of daunting, but it always does, and yet I have managed to get the place looking fairly reasonable every time Patricia has stayed here in the past, and I guess I'll manage it this time.
Sunday 19th May 2019
15:50 BST
  There wasn't much in the way of sunshine until later yesterday afternoon, and even then it was only sunny spells. On the plus side it was dry as far as I can remember, and it did feel quite mild. The top temperature was around 18° C.
relentlessly grey
  As the forecast predicted, it has been relentlessly grey so far today. In a few hours we should be getting some sunny spells (even the very latest revision agrees on that point). Maybe I should be glad that today hasn't been dark grey, and could even be said to be a fairly light grey, and that I should be glad that the small threat of rain hasn't materialised, but I don't think I could push myself that far. With no supporting sunshine 17° C has not felt very warm, but warmer weather is on it's way. The latest revision to the forecast now says that the next three days could be 20° C, and the day after that, Thursday, could hit 21° C ! The only downside is that there is high likelihood of rain tomorrow afternoon.

  Although I was free to do as I liked until early afternoon yesterday, I didn't make very good use of my time. I washed my hair, and had a shower, and then did some work on my PC.  Some of it was just housekeeping - tidying up files and the like, but I also spent a fair time reading technology news and stuff. In a way I was sort of just wasting time before beginning what turned out to be another long vigil waiting for a parcel delivery. Like the last time, when my parcel came unexpectedly so late that I missed my appointment with several pints of beer in the pub, my parcel came late again. The actual prediction was for it to be delivered "before 9pm". Fortunately it was a lot earlier than that, but being on high alert until 6:15pm was wearying.

   Once my parcel of 16 non-rechargeable Lithium AA cells arrived I was free to get myself ready to go out. I think it was about 7:20pm when I wandered up the road to the bus stop. It wasn't sunny, but it still felt sort of good. The air was fresh, apart from the assorted smells of cooking coming from all the food shops on the high street. I guess saying the air was fresh wasn't actually the case. The actual case was that the smells smelled good up until the the point when they became too enticing and distracting. Oh well, if the air wasn't that good at least it was very mild air that felt good on my sleeveless arms.

  I guess I had probably missed a 199 bus by maybe 5 minutes because I had to wait nearly 15 minutes for my bus to take me to Greenwich. I was heading for The Mitre Hotel where Chain were playing. I like the venue because it is always an early start there - 8pm - but then I dislike the venue because it suddenly gets very busy and very crowded at about 10pm. I arrived just before Chain started...maybe a little late, but not that much, and stayed until a little after the end of the first set.
too much backlighting
 One of the things about The Mitre is that the lighting in there is very dim, and there is no good place that Chain can set up their own lights. In past summers it has been nice that there are windows that let in a good deal of daylight, but I guess it depends on where people stand. In the picture above Jo had her back to the window, and she was almost like a silhouette. I really had to force the detail out of the picture above. With a bit of front lighting it could have been a great picture.
Chris doing a
                          guitarist's pose
  It wasn't long before the daylight faded away, and I resorted to use my flash gun - which produced much better pictures - usually.  This one of Chris posing with guitar seems OK, but strangely not very dynamic.
Purple knees
  One silly bit of light placing was a low down spotlight. They can be quite good as lighting up a drum kit, for instance, but this one just lit up Chris' knees and crutch. (He has seen this picture and commented that he might have to think a bit harder about where to place that spotlight in future). It is a shame that typically pub bands have no roadies to help carry stuff and set it up, and that means Chris, who is generally responsible for setting up the PA has no time to think about light placement.
Long shot of the
                          entire band
  It is very hard to take a snap when everyone in the band is looking forward at the same time (and even harder to get one with everyone smiling). This was the best I could do last night. It is a shame no one looks happy, but I am sure they were.

  As I said, I left the pub after the first set had finished at about 10pm. I was very lucky on two counts when I got to the bus stop. The first stroke of luck is that I had to wait a mere 3 seconds for a bus, and the second stroke of luck was that someone stuck out their hand to request the bus to stop. The weird thing is that I turned to look behind me when I was about 30 ft from the bus stop, and I couldn't see a bus coming in the distance, and then suddenly, maybe less than 30 seconds later, it was there !

  Once again, just like going there, it felt good to be walking in the fresh, mild air. I may have even had a bit of a swagger. I was wearing my sleeveless denim jacket - the one which had 4XL sized sleeves, and barely XL size across the chest. I cut the arms off because they seemed stupid hanging down to my knees. I caught sight of my self in a mirror, and I thought that it gave me a sort of hairy biker look, and I think I liked it. It is not often that I like any of my clothing in any special way.

  There was even less chance of ever being able to do up the front of that denim jacket waistcoat after I made a slight detour on the way home. I had eaten quite lightly during the day, and I didn't really have a formal lunch, althoigh I did have a few snacks during the course of the day. In consequence I was feeling rather peckish when I arrived back in Catford, and having drunk 4 or 5 pints of Guinness, I was easily lead astray. I ended up in the fried chicken shop.

   It was very nice to pile that greasy food on top of the booze. Soon after I had finished stuffing my face I brushed my teeth and went to bed. Ignoring the 3 or 4 times I got up to pee, I slept well until about 6am this morning. That did seem a bit early, and as usual I went back to bed a bit later, but this morning I didn't really get much sleep. So I got up, and with a slightly painful hangover I started selecting and editing the pictures I took last night. It did seem an unusually slow process - or to put it another way, I was surprised at how much time was passing. What I was doing didn't actually seem to be slow.

  One thing that slowed me down probably slows me down every time. This morning I calculated that my camera droops to the left by 1° for every pint of Guinness I drink. I think last night, for some strange reason, possibly drinking on a part empty stomach, I was having to do some heavy corrections to the pictures taken towards the end. I know that it is all fab and groovy to take music pictures at weird angles, but I don't think it looks good when things like door or window frames look all skew-whiff. I just have to correct my camera droop.

  After finishing my photo editing I had a shower, and finally got dressed into outdoor clothes so I could go out. It was only a shopping trip to Poundland - I wanted to get some doggie treats for tonight. As usual I bought other assorted stuff too. I noted that the hayfever tablets that were identical to the tablets my doctor prescribed me last year now come in a blue packet instead of yellow and green. That's confusing because the other tablets they sell, based on a different chemical, and that I am currently using, come in a blue themed packet too. It seems that both types work equally well for me, or maybe neither works because neither is needed - it's tricky to know. The original prescription from my doctor was to calm down a light but annoying cough that seemed to coincide with when I had a very slightly itchy nose probably from tree pollen. In the last few days I have had some very light irritation when pollen levels have been reported as being high, but no cough.

  Once again, like yesterday, I have not had a single official meal, but I have snacked on all sorts of crap. It is a shame that I can't seem to give that up, but I could easily have proper meals that are even worse. I hope that I have eaten little enough to make me feel more agile when I go out later. I am going to Stretchy's Open Mic at The Swan & Mitre in Bromley. The previous Sunday there was almost deserted, but hopefully after the very busy night last Tuesday it will be busy tonight...although not too busy. It is possible there could be three dogs there tonight - Gian's Poppy, Jenni's Willow and Sue's Peanut. It's strange because I am not really a dog person, but I bought the Pedigree dog treats in Poundland to treat the dogs - Poppy in particular because she will get up on her hind legs and dance for a dog treat. 
Saturday 18th May 2019
09:20 BST
  It was horrible yesterday. The sky was blotchy grey, and daylight was a sort of dull, muddy colour. It wasn't even warm. The afternoon high was just 14° C. There was even some very light rain towards as the evening started. It probably didn't last long, and was very fine, almost like a mist, but it was still rain !
better than yesterday
  The forecast for today is an improvement over yesterday, but it has started out slightly wrong. I think it was around 8am, maybe a little later, that there was a short spell of bright sunshine. The cloud is thin and blotchy at the moment, and although I can't see any little blue holes in it at the moment, it does seem possible that another sunny spell might turn up later. Sunny spells are forecast for late afternoon/early evening, and assuming they happen, it will cheer things up a lot. If nothing else it should be warm(ish) today. The late afternoon high is predicted to be 18° C, and remarkably it is said it will actually feel like 18° C. Tomorrow could be warmer still and 19° C is predicted, and tomorrow that may feel like 20° C ! Any sunny spells tomorrow are currently predicted to be for just a couple of hours in the early evening. They may be followed by rain. The first few days of next week may be quite nice, but it is premature to see too much in the forecast for those days.

  Starting the day with a hangover, albeit not of the particularly painful kind, just a feeling of "urghhh", was not what was wanted to start a day with terribly gloomy and depressing weather. As a result I didn't get around to washing and dressing fully because I had no intention of going out in that gloom. However I did seem to be busy, although I am not sure what kept me so busy that I seemed to have little time to be classically lazy. For instance, on Thursday, on my way home from my late afternoon drink, I bought the latest edition of New Scientist. I was looking forward to reading up, but I never seemed to find the time to start it until late yesterday evening !

  One tangible thing, with solid evidence, that I did was to hand wash some t-shorts and underwear. Less tangible, but ending up with a real thing, albeit in prototype form that I may alter, was to finish preparing a load of videos that I have collected together for a DVD of "The Best Of Stretchy's Open Mic" - except I can't really call it that because it is not "the best" but the only videos I have shot at different sessions over the last 18 months. Some are good, and some are bad. Oftentimes I am not happy with my camerawork, but it also contains a few poor performances. One thing it does show to me is how I slowly learned to use my camera, and the improvements of adding an external microphone to it. If it were possible to clutter up the three venues that Stretchy uses with a tripod, some of the later videos could have looked particularly good.
Brazilian sausages
  One thing I did yesterday was to cook and eat the Brazilian sausages that I had bought from the Brazilian shop a few days ago. I was half expecting them to be not that dissimilar to ordinary English pork sausages, but there were a few differences. The most immediate one was that the meat had a taste that had hints of smoky bacon about it. The other thing was the texture of the meat. It was quite coarse, just like I remember sausages used to be. I still have not compared the price of those sausages to good supermarket sausages, or the Polish sausages found in some shops, but I think they probably are a bit expensive, and although I can see myself buying more in the future, I don't think I will make a habit of it.
view from the bus
 I had forgotten I had taken this picture on my phone while on my way to my late afternoon drink on Thursday. It shows just how blue the sky was, and what a lovely day it was - a day that inspired me to go out twice despite having quite sufficient to drink the first time !
Morris Traveller
  Another photo that I should have shown yesterday. I found this well cared for Morris Traveller (or Countryman ?) parked outside The Catford Bridge Tavern when I went out for my second drink on Thursday evening. The only thing I don't like about it is the colour. It is a very tricky colour. In my photo it shows as a dark maroon colour, and that is probably it's colour in good daylight, but when I took the photo I could decided if it was a dark chocolate brown (not nice) or a very deep purple colour with hints of brown. Maybe the headrests on the seats don't look authentic, but I'll overlook that.

  I spent a lot of yesterday evening doing stuff for the DVD I am preparing, but I had got to the point where the computer could take it's time crunching numbers and stuff all by itself, and I could watch a bit of TV. Unfortunately I could often only watch it in small snippets between tending to my PC, but I saw a very disjointed Star Trek:Deep Space Nine, and some bits of QI, also some bits of Have I Got News For You. It wasn't terribly satisfactory watching small snippets of these programmes, but finally I was able to watch the whole of the last half hour of the James Bond film on ITV2 - Skyfall.

  Some of the later James Bond films have a very different character to the earlier films.  In last night's film all the wonder technology was actually almost commonplace now, and so maybe the film had a more intense plot to make up for it. The ending was nothing like the ending of many earlier films. It was in two stages. The first was rather grey, but had a lot of understated emotion. The second was bright and sunny, but strangely emotionless, or perhaps business like. There was none of the traditional "bond has got his girl".

  After that film had finished I was keen to get to bed, but it was also the time that I had the first test disk of my Stretchy's DVD burnt and ready to try. I was keen to see how good or bad it was, and so instead of going to bed I went downstairs to the big TV and tested the disk. There are a few small things I can change, and I will, but the videos are pretty much now fixed. I was happy to see some of my later video where most of the things I have learned have come together (except using a tripod - which is almost impossible in busy venues). Some videos do look a bit rough, but there is no way of re-doing them, and so they stay.

  Finally I went to bed later than intended. By that time the worst of the tiredness had gone, and I lay there unable to go to sleep. I resorted to reading for a while, and maybe that helped, but it was gone 1am when I went to sleep. I seemed to sleep well again - it is rather marvellous not having a cold, and other impediments at the moment ! Once again my only moan is that I seemed to wake up far too early, and once again I went back to bed after my usual morning ritual. I think I even got another hours sleep during the 2 extra hours I was in bed.

  This morning I found it easy to pick my legs up to put on my underpants and trousers. A few days ago it was very painful to do that. It seems my lower back pain is now 95% over. I still get an occasional twinge if I make certain moves, but it is almost as if I am back in reasonable health. I still feel unsure about going for 2+ mile walks, and I definitely wouldn't want to try a 5 mile walk at the moment, but I probably ought to start practising to get there again in the end. It won't be today though.

  I am off to a late start to today after getting a phone call that might have gone on for an hour, and there is yet another reason to curb what I am doing today. In the middle of that long call an email came through from Amazon to say an order I placed last night, and selected 3 to 5 day free delivery, is being delivered today - less than 24 hours after ordering it. I don't know why or how it is being delivered so quickly, but I am sure I was very careful not to sign up to Amazon Prime even though they do try and trick you into doing so.

  So today I have to wait in for that delivery. The silly thing is that it is not something I am desperate for. It is just some spare non-rechargeable Lithium AA cells that I use in my trail cameras and also in my flash gun. They are expensive, but last for ages. One very good thing about them is for outdoor work, like in my trail cameras, they work almost normally until the temperature is well below freezing point. Normal alkaline cells complain well before the temperature drops near to freezing (although they do recover when they warm up again). It is not really a problem now we have left the night time frosts behind, and I expect I'll probably use these cells in my flash gun - where they seem to last for weeks !

  I don't know how I will pass a lot of today, but tonight I expect to go to the first set of Chain's gig in The Mitre, Greenwich. It's an early start there (8pm if on time), and when he first set has finished I could theoretically get two buses to Eltham to see M.T. Pockets second set in The GPO there. I doubt I will do that extra journey, but I didn't expect tp go out again on Thursday night, and so while unlikely, I can't rule it out !
Friday 17th May 2019
10:23 BST
  Yesterday's reality departed from the weather forecast as early as midday. The morning was gloriously sunny, but by midday it started to get cloudy, and much of the afternoon was grey and overcast. Fortunately by late afternoon the clouds parted, and from on it was sunny right up to sunset. I didn't feel particularly warm indoors, but when outside it felt very comfortable with bare arms. The highest temperature was most probably the forecast 16° C.
all change - gloom ahead
  Today everything changes ! It is very dull and gloomy now. It has been very dull and gloomy since sunrise (not that there was even a tiny hint that the sun still existed), and the forecast says it will stay dull and gloomy all day. It might even rain sometime today - 7pm is, or was the favoured time, but with clouds like this it could pour at any moment. On top of that the top temperature may be just 14° C. There has been a revision to the forecast since I took the screenshot above. The latest idea is that the hideously thick and heavy cloud that is currently soaking up all the daylight is actually only light cloud, and that the heavy cloud will come this afternoon. It is also thought that maybe it won't rain now. The prediction still says the afternoon temperature will be 14° C, and to my great surprise it says it will feel like 14° C. Tomorrow should see a change for the better on it's way. The morning, with a fair risk of rain, will be like today, but if the forecasters have correctly checked their seaweed hanging outside the back door, the clouds will start to thin in the afternoon, and there could be sunny spells later in the afternoon. Meanwhile the temperature will slowly creep up to 17° C. The day after, Sunday, may be quite good with sunny spells and the temperature rising to 19° C (which mysteriously will feel like 20° C).

  Yesterday was one of those weird days that don't turn out as expected. One of the first things I did was to start doing quite a big pile of laundry, but I never managed to finish it. It is one of my first tasks to do once I have finished writing this. I didn't start that laundry until after I had washed my hair and showered. While I thought that had been a big improvement to my lower back pain yesterday morning, I found that leaning over the bath to wash my hair was often very uncomfortable - strangely even more uncomfortable than when my lower back had seemed extremely delicate a few days earlier. Once I was washed, hair almost dry, and I had cooled off, I went for a walk to the shops.

  Initially I wanted to go to the 99p shop, but I decided to check the British Heart Foundation charity shop next door for CDs first. I came away with 3 CDs of rather dubious music. By that I mean that I recognised one track on each CD, but I have a feeling that the other tracks may be terrible ! The one exception, but I don't know in which direction, was the Robson & Jerome CD. If my memory is correct, they were rather more famous for writing songs than performing them. The CD I bought for 99p  contains many songs whose titles I recognise, and they may well be the original versions of those songs. They could be good - they could be bad. One song I am particularly worried about - Unchained Melody - it might sound awful, or it might sound good, but I am not expecting it to be comparable in any way to Heart's version of it. That is truly wonderful - look it up on You Tube !

  I wanted two things in the 99p shop, and I only got one of them. I am sure I saw some panels of 4 coat hooks in there not so long ago, and I could use one, and I was going to buy a spare, but they had none left. The other thing they had in abundance - bleach, and in many flavours. There is one make that comes as a twin pack for 99p, and I bought 2 twin packs. I also bought some other stuff including some very naughty white chocolate biscuits that I am going to have to ration myself to no more than 2 a day - or less !

  It was my intention to get on with the laundry when I came back from that shopping trip, but I decided to go out again to Aldi. Although it was not that long since I last went shopping for food, I had only bought a few bits of fish. I was tempted to buy more, but I knew that fish would have to be used soon, and I didn't want any other temptations. So I went and bought more food yesterday, but I also bought a lot of drinks. It is not the most economical way to buy it, but Aldi's own brand "diet" (or sugar free) lemonade is a nice treat now and then, and the cans last much longer than an opened 2 litre bottle. I also noticed that they had sugar free orange Fanta, and bought a 6 pack of that too.

 All in all, it was quite a weight to carry home, and I didn't feel like resuming the laundry until I had eaten s bit of lunch ( a few sandwiches) and had a rest. By then it was too late to tackle the laundry, and it is still soaking in the detergent this morning. I think I probably had about 90 minutes to rest before going out once again. This time it was to get the bus to Bromley for our later Thursday afternoon drink. To my great shock and horror I found they had Abbot Special Reserve (6.5%) on, and while I resisted it for my first two pints of weaker ale, I gave in on the third pint !

  It is one of those beers that can taste a little bit horrible, particularly after drinking other beers, but only for less than the first quarter of a pint. By the time you have drunk a third of a pint you have found the proper taste, and it it delicious. So delicious that I foolishly decided to stay for a fourth pint - once again of Abbot Special Reserve. I definitely felt a bit drunk as I made my way home from the pub, and I was definitely looking forward to the low fat pork sausages I had pre-cooked before I went out when I got home.

 I had my dinner, and then I had some unplanned afters because I was drunk. There can't be anything more unhealthy than crisps dipped in spreading cheese ! I finished that, and it was still light outside, and it was still warm, or at least mild outside. I then did something I didn't think was possible. After initially turning it down, on purely sensible grounds, I accepted an invite to go to the blues jam held in the Catford Bridge Tavern. My drunken reasoning was that if I couldn't walk for 6 minutes it wasn't worth doing anything. It actually felt sort of good walking to the pub, and it wasn't just the booze. It was light, not cold, and it just seemed to feel OK.

  The band had started over an hour ago when I got to the pub, and maybe that was a good thing because I had a hard time trying to enjoy it. I had been invited by Dik, the man who runs the band Entourage, and he jumped up to buy me a beer as soon as I got there. I chose a moderately strong beer called Calypso something. I can't remember how strong it was, but I think it was probably just over 5%. I do remember that it was quite enjoyable, and I ended up having two pints before leaving after being there for little more than an hour.
Dik, or Richard
I took my first pictures without using my flash gun, and they weren't too bad, but it was very much on the edge. Life was easier when I got my flash gun out. Here's Dik, the man who invited me (and my camera) along.
One version of the band
The thing about a jam is that there is no actual band, although the actual jam is hosted by the Marco Buono band who provide the backline - drums, PA and microphones. This "band" features two almost identical white guitars !
another long shot of the musicians
    Notice the upright bass player in this, and the previous photo. I was most worried when I walked in and saw that. It is the preferred instrument of old-style rock 'n' roll bands who play in a style that I don't really like. Fortunately almost all the music was, as the posters proclaimed, blues, and that is generally pleasant - unless drowned out in incessant harp (harmonica) playing. Unfortunately that was the case for most of the music last night. The highlight of the whole evening was when Dik got up to play, and the harp player sat down. The cherry on top of the highlight was when Dik lead off an instrumental version of a Jimi Hendrix song. Now that sounded good !

  Once Dik had finished his contribution another harp player got up, but this one could sing, and even better than that was that he knew how to use the microphone, and his vocals were clear (unlike Marco whose heavily Italian accented vocals sounded muffled and not understandable). I stayed to take a few snaps of this new man, and to finish my beer, but just after 10pm I left to walk home again.

  Oddly enough, I didn't feel particularly drunk - although I readily admit that I was drunk. It seemed another pleasant walk home - but then it should do - it starts off downhill ! Once home I had a little more to eat. It was some thinly sliced beef on Marmite flavoured rice cakes - rather nice. Then I did a bit of writing. Apart from one missed word, and a few bits of peculiar spelling, it didn't seem all that bad for a drunk when I checked it this morning. After that I went to bed, and I don't think it took very long before I was fast asleep.

  I probably slept quite well, but I did feel I got up too early to edit all the photos I took. There was a surprising amount of usable photos (13) considering how little there was to photograph, and I think most photo show a different aspect. The photo editing was somewhat hampered by a hangover that is still coming and going now. It wasn't a painful hangover, or at least not at first, but I was suffering from that "head in a wet blanket" effect. From time to time a headache has popped up as I have been writing this. I am tempted to say that I feel like the hangover has almost gone now, but I won't temp fate.

  My plans for today: I don't know. Does anyone know what my plans are ? I think they probably include a snooze or too, and of course I must finish that laundry even though it is going to be horrible and cold when  start doing it. I think I will indulge in some reading today. I have a few video projects to do some work on that I can do when the mood inclines me to them. I could possibly go out tonight, and although I wasn't planning to, I may feel in the same mood as I did last night and mentally say "what the hell" and go out to West Wickham. The good thing is that after something like 9 years I have learned that I don't have to stay at a gig for longer than I want, and on some occasions I don't even have to enjoy it that much. Tonight I could probably enjoy most of the gig I might go to - despite it being at another pub I strongly dislike.
Thursday 16th May 2019
09:18 BST
  I missed out on all the lovely sunshine yesterday because I didn't go out. I don't recall it being quite as perfect as the forecast predicted. There were a few times when small rogue clouds would block the sun for a few minutes, but it was very nearly a completely sunny day, and at 18° C it would have felt nice and warm in the sunshine.
a sunny start, but the start of the weather
                      getting worse again
  Today, from about 2pm if the forecasters have got their sums right, see the start of the weather deteriorating for a time. This morning it is bright and sunny with hardly a cloud in the sky. From early afternoon the clouds will gather, and we will be reduced to just sunny spells. Tomorrow will be very cloudy, and there might be a splash or two of rain. It will also be a lot cooler - just 13 or 14° C compared to today's high of 16° C. The day after, Saturday may warm up again, but it will probably be another overcast day. We will have to wait until Sunday for it to be bright and warm again.

  I saw little of yesterday's sunshine, and didn't get to bask in it's warmth. The reason was that I had another day where I seemed to be extremely busy. No physical labour, apart from moving a mouse, or tapping on a keyboard, was involved in all this busyness. I seemed to spend almost all the daylight hours sitting at my PC editing photos and video. It was all worth it, and when shown on social media my media gained lots of likes. Here's one video I edited yesterday.

  It should be noted that editing this video involved more than just topping and tailing with a fade in and fade out. There was also the small caption, and more importantly was the audio correction. It needed a bit of careful bass lift to compensate to the bass roll off of my camera, and a bit of overall gain correction. All these effects take a little time to add, and an awful lot of time as the computer chews through all the corrections needed, frame by frame, before it spits out the finished product. It is at that point you get to see if you did everything right, or have to start all over again !

  That video featured Penny, and new friend (albeit in the social media sense of the word), and was one of three I shot at Stretchy's Open Mic at The Bricklayers Arms on Tuesday night. I also took a lot of photos. I decided that I would try and get one face and one side photo of everyone in the photo album, but with so many people there on Tuesday there were few who appeared solo, and so many people got more then their 2 photos by appearing in groups.
Jenni and Willow
First off Jenni and Willow. Jenni didn't sing, but she did give me a lovely warm hug when I arrived at the pub.
He's known as Badger
   He's known as Badger, and he did a couple of solo songs, and one with a couple of people helping out. I videoed the latter song, and it provided a good illustration of what these Open Mics are all about - a chance to practice with fellow musicians in a non judgemental way. Halfway through the video Badger made a small cockup, but no one booed, and within a note or two he was back on track, and carried on as if nothing happened. He finished to a warm round of applause from his peers.
Simon Whitestar
Simon Whitestar used the night to try out a new song he had written, and it went down well.
Vince with support from several
Vince Pross typically singing a 1950s style rock 'n' roll song, one of his own compositions possibly, with accompanied by Romeo on bass, Phil on guitar and Stretch on cahoon percussion.

  Looking back it seems strange that all my editing could take most of the day, but there were three videos to edit, and something like 127 photos to whittle down to just 27 good photos (and at least half of them were taken without flash, and so needed stuff like noise/grain reduction to make them look nice). Of course there were periods of time of up to half an hour when the computer was crunching through the videos, and during those times I could take a break - perhaps take a short nap, do a bot of reading, or grab a snack from the kitchen. On one occasion I grabbed a drink as well.
strange drinks

  I found these drinks in Poundstretcher a couple of days ago. They looks the sort of thing to be found in health food shops at silly prices (£3 plus !), but they were either 60p or 69p. Yesterday I tried the one on the left.

  It was called Lavender Spice flavour, but I found the predominant flavour was ginger, and that was quite mild. The horseradish may have contributed a little to the very mild warmth of the ginger, and the lavender contributed nothing as far as I could tell.

 There was one other flavour that, on the assumption that these would be sold to health food addicts, was essential - it was a mild taste of mud ! As the bottle also said, it was lightly sparkling. I think it might have been nasty without a bit of fizz.

  I decided against trying the other bottle because both drinks have quite a high sugar content - and I don't care that it is "natural sugar" from fruit juice. It is still sugar, and I try to avoid too much sugar when I can. I may try the other bottle today.

  One problem with spending so much time on my PC is the tendency to snack. I generally try to avoid some of the worst things I could snack on, but cheese and nuts are almost as bad as chocolate biscuits - fortunately only in their calorie content, and not their sugar content.

  I partly made up for the snacking by having a very lean dinner. It was little more than salmon fillets with cauliflower. It turned out to be not a great combination, but it had to be tried. It wasn't horrible in any way, but the two just did not compliment each other. Maybe that is why it wasn't long before I had some rice cakes with corned beef and tomato purée on them to top off that unsatisfactory dinner. I also had a few large whiskys because it was getting near bedtime.

 I slept nicely last night. I had no irritating dreams....well not irritating in the same way as the previous night. I did have one dream that was like a cross between being at work, school and college. I think it was college as part of development for work, but later in the dream was a hint that maybe I was unemployed. That hint came in a part of a dream which was set on the first day of term, and I was waiting to find which class I should report to. There was a suggestion that my next classes would be in Dover of all places, and then the dream did take a darker turn as I considered how tedious it would be to travel to and from Dover every day. Worse than that was how I could afford it - that suggesting I was unemployed.

  This morning I feel as creaky as ever...or maybe not. Maybe my lower back stiffness/pain is not as bad this morning. It is still there, and maybe it was as bad for the first 5 or 10 minutes, but I am hardly noticing it now. I think I feel ready to try all sorts of things this morning, but I doubt I will do them. I do plan to go shopping once I have washed (and cooled down again) and dressed. This afternoon, earlier than usual because I have to get a bus, I will be going out for my late Thursday afternoon drink. We will be in the Bromley Wetherspoons to use up some of our CAMRA Wetherspoon 50p off vouchers. Getting the bus always seems so slow and bothersome compared to the train to Shortlands, but I guess it has to be done.
Wednesday 15th May 2019
09:56 BST
  It was warm and sunny enough to open several windows to air the house for several hours. Unfortunately that proved to cool my bedroom and living down a bit too much. It was sunny virtually all day, and the temperature reached as high as 17° C for a time. That is a nice temperature to walk in, but it still feel rather cool when dozing ! There is also the problem that I think I mentioned yesterday, the sun is now too high in the sky to shine through my south facing windows, and so I get less free heating than I was getting earlier on.
another warm and sunny day
  Today should be warm and sunny, and even a degree or so warmer than yesterday. The highest temperature today should be 18°C, and between 3pm and 5pm it is predicted to actually feel like 18° C because there will only be a very gentle breeze. The rot sets in tomorrow. It is predicted to be at least 2° cooler, and it will be more cloudy - so only sunny spells instead of full sunshine. The day after, Friday, might have looked good in February, but it will probably look dull, grey and cold by comparison to today.

  Yesterday was another day of being busy despite seemingly doing little. Actually I'm not sure why I say that I seemingly did little, because I did quite a few things as well as going out in the evening. Maybe it is because I didn't do several jobs that I would like to have done. Some of them quite small and quick jobs to do with Patricia's upcoming stay here. I heard yesterday that it is going to be earlier in June than I expected, and if I read her message correctly she will be staying here from 4th June to the 14th June. I'm looking forward to seeing her, but not looking forward to the mad dash to get all the hoovering and stuff done just before she arrives !
double duvet cover
                      drying on the washing line
  One of my first jobs in the morning was to hand wash this double duvet cover seen here hanging on the line to dry. One of the oddities of my lower back pain is that it always seems worse in the morning...or maybe that is not so odd - lots of muscles and joints seem stiff and creaky when I first get out of bed ! Hand washing a double duvet cover is always hard work, but I did this one in one go, without stopping for a rest, and by the time I had finished my back was feeling nearly OK, although I did have a few uncomfortable twinges when I first started.
bleached trainers and
  Before I could hang the double duvet up to dry I had to take in these trainers and plimsolls. The day before I had given them a good bleaching because they looked stained and nasty. I had tried this as an experiment with another pair of slip on plimsolls, and the result looked good. For these seen hanging on the line I may have overdone the bleach, and didn't rinse them enough. After hanging on the line all evening, and overnight, they still smelled very strongly of bleach. It is lucky that like the first pair I experimented on, these were getting close to being worn out, and ready to be thrown away. I expect the bleach will cause anything that can rot to rot !

  With the double duvet hanging on the line I was free to take a shower, and once I had cooled down a bit I could go out and get some shopping. The most important part of my shopping was to pick up a repeat prescription for Patricia in Boots on the high street. While I was out I thought I would do a bit more shopping than that. I had almost walked past it on the wrong side of the road when I remembered that I had been told about a new Brazilian shop that had just opened. It was about 5 shops away, on the other side of the Wetherspoon's pub, to where I thought it was.
Brazilian shop
  Perhaps because it hasn't been open that long it seemed quite sparse inside, but maybe there is just not a lot from Brazil that they can stock. By the way, sorry for the washed looking picture, but as can be seen by the shadow in front of the shop, the sun was behind the shops, and the front of the shop looked very dark against the bright sky and foreground. I bought two items in there. One was a jar of pickled red chillies - unless I have been looking in the wrong places, I only ever seen green pickled chillies. The other item was a pack of sausages.
Brazilian sausages
They were definitely made in Brazil, but when I got home and looked at the back of the pack, at the English translation of the ingredients, they looked to be the same as any English pork sausages. On the other hand the fat to meat ration may be different, and the seasonings might make them taste different. I look forward to trying them soon, but possibly not today.

  After the Brazilian shop I crossed the main road again and went into Poundland. I bought a few inconsequentials in there plus some cans of sugar free drinks. They sell a small and changing selection of drinks in cans for "3 for a £1". Yesterday I bought three cans of rasberryade. I've had it before (I think) and I think it was nice, but only as an occasional novelty. I have yet to try the strawberry and water melon drink, and I feel slightly apprehensive about it.

  It was after my shopping trip, walking in the nice bright sunshine, that I mostly relaxed and did very little. I was conserving my energy for the evening. It was a little late, but I had a nice light(ish) lunch of poached cod with a few vegetables. After that I had a short snooze. I have come to almost rely on my afternoon siestas now. After that I did a bit of stuff on my PC, and then watched some TV. Pretty soon it was gone 7pm, and time to get ready to go out and find a bus.
view from my bus as I
                      headed towards Bromley
  It seems like it has been a sudden change, but it is only recently that the days have been long enough, and the weather bright and dry enough to make going out in the evening pleasurable instead of a "grit your teeth" situation (and often deciding I just couldn't be bothered to go out into the dark rainy night).  I took the picture above at nearly 8.15pm while on my way to Stretchy's Open Mic at The Bricklayers Arms pub just the other side of Bromley. My mobile phone camera rather bleached out the sky that was blue, but you can still see how (for instance) the top of the tree almost in the middle of the picture, is still lit up by the low sun. I can't really complain about travelling in these conditions.

  The previous Stretchy's Open Mic, at the Swan and Mitre pub in Bromley, was a very thin affair with just one musician. Last night they were out in force ! It was a most enjoyable night, but the most enjoyable thing was when I walked in the pub, and was given a very powerful hug by Jenni. I expect she too was mostly inspired by the fine weather, but I think I played my part in encouraging Jenni to come out after spending several weeks or more in the doldrums. I was happy to hear that she had a great time last night - as did we all.

  It was obviously dark when I left the pub at traditional, and actual closing time - 11pm - but it was still almost mild out. I had my sleeveless denim jacket on, and my bare arms did feel a little cool, and I wouldn't want to spend a lot of time outdoors like that, but I only had a short wait for a bus, and I felt quite comfortable. I think I had probably drunk a bit too much Guinness because I shunned the dinner I had pre-cooked, and found  myself in the fried chicken shop....

  I had a good and bad sleep last night. It started off good, but ended up with some unpleasant dreams - unpleasant because of a certain someone in them who was as annoying in the dream as he is in real life. Avoiding him was the one thing that slightly spoiled last night, but fortunately he now knows I do not want to speak to him, and he seems to have stopped trying to have conversations with me.

  It seems to be a bad, or good habit, that I seem to wake up as soon as it gets light, and this morning was no exception. This morning it was bad because by then I had only had about 4 hours sleep. It might also have been bad that I didn't think I would be able to sleep much after that. In that respect I was wrong. I almost got another 4 hours of sleep after that, but it was punctuated with a couple of trips to the toilet, and the unpleasant, or at least not enjoyable dreams. When I finally got out of bed, and decided to stay out of bed, it was the usual story of feeling stiff and creaky plus the recent addition of a stiff and uncomfortable lower back. I prefer not to describe it as painful because mostly it isn't because I take great care to avoid postures, or movements that I know will definitely be painful. Unfortunately some such movements are impossible to avoid, and they give a strong reminder of what it could feel like if I didn't take care.

  Today there is only one thing on the agenda. I took a load of photos and some video last night, and it all needs processing. It could take up a fair amount of the day, and that could be bad - sitting at my PC is the recipe to aggravate my back. What I may do, if I have the courage, because it sounds counter-intuitive, is to do some more garden clearance. The brown wheelie bin for garden waste should be emptied tomorrow, and I would like to fill it up before then. Thinking of the garden reminds me that I put out the last of the dog food for the fox/magpies/crows/cats late yesterday afternoon. The plate is empty this morning, and whoever feasted on it should have been captured by my trail camera, and so I will have even more video to do something with (and I still have some from the previous night too !!). Today could be a very busy day if I want it to be ! There is even an option to go out tonight, but I think I'll probably pass on that.
Tuesday 14th May 2019
08:18 BST
  The only thing that spoiled yesterday was the breeze. It was the sort of breeze that is ideal for drying clothes on the washing line, but when the temperature was only 16° C it was enough to make it feel a fair bit cooler. When the breeze dropped, or in sheltered areas, the sunshine, and there was a lot of sunshine, felt deliciously warm.
another warm and sunny day
  We have reached the time of year when the sun is so high in the sky that it can't shine directly into my front rooms, and so it feels cool enough indoors to need a bit of heating on despite it being close to 12° C outside. It should be a tiny bit warmer than yesterday, although once again it is going to depend on the wind. Despite warnings of high ultra violet the sun is still not strong enough to win the fight with the wind/breeze. The latest revision of the forecast has cut the maximum temperature down to only 16° C, but increased the predicted temperature for tomorrow. The latest revision give a headline temperature of 19° C, but only shows a maximum of 18° C on the hourly chart, and then says that will feel like 17° C.

  I had another busy lazy day again yesterday. Like the day before it was a day when I was busy, did quite a lot, and yet achieved very little of any significance. My lower back didn't seem as bad as it had been the previous morning, but it was still tender... I think tender best describes it - it didn't hurt if I was careful, but could be very uncomfortable if I didn't, or couldn't take care. There were times when it was difficult to avoid that discomfort.

  Fortunately two things I did in the late morning probably made my back feel better. I did two shopping trips. First of all I went to Poundstretcher with a particular target in mind. As I mentioned when I bought the first one last week, the table fans they currently have in stock will soon sell out once the summer heat starts in earnest. I bought a spare 12" fan and a spare 6" fan while the going was good. It might be years before I'll need to unbox them, but maybe not. Of the  pair of fans I bought a couple of years ago, one failed during it's second summer, and until I bought these new fans I effectively had just one fan to share between 3 rooms.

  One thing I paid particular attention to while walking to the shops and back, and that was where any pain might be coming from. The good news is that there was no particular pain. I am now more certain than I was yesterday morning that all my pain is coming from my lower back, and that my hip joints seem to be in good working order. That is quite important if I am ever to resume long distance walking again - which I still hope to this summer.

  It wasn't just fans that I bought from Poundstretcher. I also bought a couple of bottles of a lightly carbonated soft drink from Wales. One of them looks like Whale piss, and the other is purple/red. They are based on fruits with added herbs. I have grave suspicions that they will be horrible, but you never know, and it seemed worth taking a chance on them at 60pm a bottle. I also took a chance on something very weird - Fish based luncheon meat. It is made in Denmark, but the subtitles on the can show it is aimed at those unfortunates whose nasty God forbids then to eat bacon, or other pork products. A review I was shown suggests it is very similar in smell and texture to catfood. One day I will be brave enough to open the can, and try it.
fish luncheon meat

 I wasn't back from Pounstretcher for that long before I went out again. This time it was to Tesco. There wasn't much I was specifically after in Tesco, but I managed to spend a lot of money in there - although not enough to use one of the "spend £50 and get £7 off your shop" vouchers. The most expensive item I bought was a three pack of men's underpants ! It was quite a heavy shop because I had to lug home 2 x 2l bottles of Diet Coke, a 1l bottle of (no added sugar) orange squash, and a 1l carton of tomato juice (I finally found where they hide the cartons of tomato juice, and didn't have to buy an expensive bottle of it).

  Walking home with my heavy shopping felt fine, but when I got home I decided I had probably had enough exercise for one day. That was particularly so when that double walk to the shops came on top of doing quite a bit of laundry. I hand washed 2 t-shirts, one pair of underpants, 2 pillow cases and a double fitted sheet, and although it was a bit later in the day than I would have liked, I got them on the washing line outside early enough for them to 95% dry before I brought them in at the end of the afternoon.

  It was while bending over the bath where I was doing that laundry in my two big builders buckets that I managed to get my back complaining more than at any other time. Even then it wasn't too bad while I was careful. The only trouble was I only found out the careful ways by learning the hard and painful ways !  Maybe I didn't learn anything at all because later in the afternoon I decided to wash, with loads of bleach, a couple of pairs of once white trainers. There was, and still is, a chance that the bleach will have weakened the structure of the trainers, and they will fall apart from me, but they are near the end of their life, and that won't matter. In the meantime they are back to dazzling white...mostly (although they still have a few grubby bits). I probably jarred my back more painfully doing that than doing the laundry earlier because I was trying not to splash bleach on me.

  By mid evening I finally finished a project to make usable some video I shot of Chain last Friday. I only shot one video, and somehow I made a real mess of the focus (see yesterday for a longer theory about how I might have done it). My plan was to overlay a slideshow of stills taken on the night of the worst of the video. It sort of worked, but sort of didn't. I think it would have worked if I had enough photos to make a slideshow long enough for the entire video. The half and half approach I achieved just highlights how bad the focus was compared to the mostly pin sharp stills.

  By 9pm I had nothing more I really wanted to do, and so I went to bed to read - something I also wanted to do. I didn't read for long before I felt really sleepy. Once I turned out the light I probably fell asleep in 5 minutes. I slept well again until I stupidly woke up at 4.47am this morning. I think I woke up an hour earlier than that for a pee , but I didn't seem to realise that I had fallen asleep again. It was most surprising to wake up to daylight - even if it was still almost half an hour to official sunrise. It seemed so bright that I couldn't seem to get back to sleep.

  After tossing and turning for maybe half an hour I got up, had another pee, took my morning medicine, and then had a look at what had happened on the internet over night. My eyes felt quite gritty as I tread from my PC screen, and I eventually gave up, and went back to bed again. Once again it felt like I couldn't sleep, but nearly 2 hours passed without me noticing it. I'm not so sure that I couldn't sleep a bit more if I really tried.

  This morning most of me seems to be working quite well except for this continuing lower back pain. Like the day before (and the day before that) it seems to settle down quicker and quicker once I start moving around, but it is still there ready to hurt if I don't take care. With most of my projects now completed, and it being warm and sunny, I probably ought to go out today, but I have no idea where at the moment. Maybe I might get some inspiration while having a shower, but before I have a shower I think it would be a good idea to wash the duvet cover I took off my bed the day before yesterday. Washing double duvet covers by hand is always a struggle, but two things are in my favour. It is made from a very thin, lightweight cotton, and I can hang it outside to dry where it can drip dry - it is wringing it out that is really hard work. I am not even sure if I will wash it properly. The surface has gone very rough - bobbly ! - and I think it should be taken out of service as a duvet cover. I think it may still do service as a photographic back drop - although I don't have anyone I can, or want to photograph at the moment.

  How my day will be filled in is anyone's guess, but tonight I will be making an effort to go to Stretchy's Open mic in The Bricklayers Arm, Bromley. I expect Sue will probably go, and I hope that Jenni will make it too. I must message her to remind her about it.

  Finally, a short bit of video from my trail camera a couple of nights ago. It features the fox was was resident in my garden while his/her injured leg/paw healed. It still has a bit of a limp, but otherwise looks big and strong now. It no longer lives in the old fox earth, and appears to just pass through my garden now and then to see what is happening, and if any food has been left out. At the end of the video the fox is sitting, facing away from us, in the back corner of the garden. The times 2 minute recording from the trail camera ends there. The next recording just shows a very faint blur as the fox leaps the back fence. There is so little to see that I didn't bother including it.

Monday 13th May 2019
08:53 BST
  Yesterday was like a weak and watered down version of summer...also a rather cooler version of summer. There was a lot of sunshine yesterday, but the best of it was in the morning. Later on it was just sunny spells, and sometimes the sky did seem to be very cloudy. At least it stayed dry, and the afternoon temperature rose to 15° C - which felt like 14° C.
lots of sunshine predicted
  You might think that the forecast for today means there won't be a cloud in the sky, but as I write this I can see quite a few clouds, and occasionally one dims the brightness of the sun. All being well it won't get any worse, and hopefully it will get better. Sadly all the sunshine will only make it feel 1° warmer than yesterday. We'll have to wait for the day after tomorrow to raise the temperature another degree. Tomorrow may start with just sunny intervals, but most of it will probably be similar to today - assuming the forecast for each day turns out to be similar to reality.

  Yesterday was another day where I was very busy, but most of it involved sitting at my PC doing things like photo or video editing. I spent a fair amount of time working on some pictures of Folkestone Harbour Railway Station taken in 1997. They were scanned from the original negatives of pictures I had taken, and needed simple things like straightening up, a little cropping to centre things up, and some noise/grain reduction.

 The video editing turned out to be far more complicated. It was the one video I shot at Chain's gig last Friday night. The sound is really quite good, and it was of a new song for Chain, but the focus was dreadful. It started off OK, and should have stayed that way. I used manual focus, and a comparatively recent discovery was that before shooting you can greatly expand the image in the view finder, and set the focus ring so that every pore on the subjects face is visible. I can only think that while shooting I had either turned the focus ring instead of the optical zoom ring, or turning the zoom ring managed to drag the focus ring at the same time.

 Basically, 90% of the video is ruined, but as I say, the sound is very good. It is going to look a bit weird, but I want to see just how bad it will look to replace the video with a slide show of pictures taken on the same night. I am pretty sure I have enough good, but so far unused pictures to make a slideshow lasting the length of the song. I made a start on processing them yesterday, and made good progress, but I am working at the same resolution as the video, and that is a bigger picture than I usually work with. In consequence things like noise reduction can be a very slow process.

  My lunch turned out to be my dinner yesterday, but that is fairly traditional on a Sunday. I had the peri-peri chicken that I had ordered as part of my takeaway the previous night. It was nice, but still disappointing. For one thing it seemed to be quite a small portion, and so I ate both portions. I guess one portion, if supported by chips, and maybe some sort of vegetable side dish, would have made a decently sized meal, but I didn't have any chips with mine, and I didn't bother with any vegetables.

  The bigger disappointment with that peri-peri chicken was the way it was cooked. It was perfectly well cooked, but it was the way it was cooked that I didn't like. I'm not sure how it was actually cooked, but it came swimming in hot sauce as if the sauce had been added later instead of the chicken being marinated in the sauce before being cooked. I much prefer it when the hot sauce is seared into the chicken when being grilled, and the chicken is served not dry, but not dripping either - almost looking glazed. Few places do it like that, and I am unsure if any places that will deliver to me are among those that do it properly. Sounds like an excuse for some research !

  One good thing about yesterday was that my lower back ache seemed to be much better than it was the day before. It was still tender, but only bothersome when doing things like leaning over the bath to do some hand laundry. Even then it was only partly uncomfortable, and never agony. I washed a couple of t-shorts, some underwear and a hand towel. Unfortunately I left it too late in the day to hang it outside to dry.

  One other slightly physical thing was to to almost complete clearing up the spare bedroom. It now needs little more than a good hoovering, and the bed made up, and it will be ready for when Patricia stays for a couple of nights in June. I suddenly realise that there was yet one more physical thing I did yesterday, and that was to go to the corner shop. It was only a 2 minute walk there and the same back, but it showed one important thing. I had been thinking that some of the pain I have been in was not only lower back pain, but hip joint pain as well. There was no pain when walking to the corner shop even when walking quite fast. I think that probably rules out hip joint pain, and just leaves lower back pain.

  For some time I didn't use my trail cameras in the garden because there was little new to see, and I was seeing my resident fox less and less. The day before yesterday I got curious, and put one camera out. It took essentially three sequences. One was of the black cat I often see in my garden in daylight hours - so not of great interest. Another was of the fox, or a fox. For some reason the picture was very misty as if filming through light drizzle - maybe it was. Anyway, there was less than a minute of video of a fox. It was like a brief visit to my garden. The fox had a very slight limp, and I think it was the fox that had been living in my garden, or to be more specific, under next doors garden, while it's leg or paw healed. It now looks fully grown, and very handsome.

  I probably should have prepared a short clip of it to show here, but there was one bit of video that I thought was nicer. This video is edited from three longer clips. It starts in daylight, and ends in almost twilight. It is some nice close ups of a robin as it looks for worms and other edibles in my garden.

  The previous night's video capture inspired me to put out both trail cameras, and to put a plate of dog food out. I'll inspect the cameras later today (probably), but I have noted that all the solid lumps of dog food have gone, but there is still a lot of gravy left on the disposable plate I put the food on. I did see a magpie taking some lumps, and I wonder if it, or other magpies took all of them. I think the fox would also lap up the gravy too, but I'll have to wait until I inspect the cameras before the truth is revealed. I just hope that it wasn't a rat that took any of the food.

  I had almost forgotten that there was yet one more physical job I did yesterday, and one that did tax my back. As I had been threatening to do for a few days, I stripped my bed of bed linen, and straightened out the mattress protectors so my bed wasn't lumpy. I then put on fresh linen. I was hoping I would wake up this morning feeling better, but it doesn't seem to have made any difference. I seemed to sleep well, but my lower back felt as stiff as a board when I got out of bed. Perhaps there is hope though. My lower back is still rather uncomfortable, but it does seem to be loosening up quicker than it did yesterday, and yesterday was a definite improvement on the day before.

  There are a few things I would like to achieve today, but depending on what I end up doing there is no time for all the things I could do. Two almost definites are to wash a sheet and pillow cases, perhaps with a few other bits, and get it hanging outside of the line as early as possible. I definitely want to go and do a bit of shopping today. Other things I would like to do are to go for at least a 30 minute, and preferably and hours walk in the sunshine. To check and edit some video from my trail cameras. To hoover the stairs, the spare bedroom, and my bedroom. I also would like to finish the Chain video feature the slideshow instead of out of focus video. Finally, I would like to finish a book I am reading, and to finish reading the New Scientist magazine I bought yesterday. I'm sure I know of some hyperactive people who could achieve all that in one day, but I'll probably get distracted and end up doing very little, or none of that !
Sunday 12th May 2019
10:27 BST
  Apart from a few brief sunny spells in the morning, I remember yesterday as a generally rather dull, and grey day. There were a few showers in the afternoon, possibly even late in the morning, but apart from the fact that they happened, I can't remember times and details. Outdoors didn't seem to be very appealing. So I did my best to ignore it. One odd thing that I didn't ignore was that it often seemed milder than the predicted maximum temperature of 13° C. It was probably just that the breeze was very light, and the most obvious place to notice this was when sitting on the toilet with the bathroom window open - it does make you very aware of a cold wind !
a sunny day !
  This early screenshot of the forecast has been improved on ! The latest prediction is that there will be blue skies and non stop sunshine until 2pm. After that the sunny intervals will resume as forecast. One other improvement is that the headline temperature has now been raised to 17° C, although the maximum temperature shown on the chart is only 16°C for a couple of hours, and that is predicted to actually feel like just 15°C. Overall it should be a very fine day, and it continues tomorrow. The current prediction is that the sunshine will last longer tomorrow, but otherwise tomorrow will be almost the same as today. Now we just have to hope that today is going to be as good as it looks.
view north at 7am
The view to the north at 7am this morning shows how well the day has started.

  It turned out that the lower back and/or hip joint pain I reported yesterday morning was worse than I thought. I ended up taking a couple of paracetamol to reduce the discomfort, although if I was careful about my posture I was sort of comfortable without the drugs. Like the day before I would probably have been fine when walking providing I adopted a good posture, and doing so may have done some good, but yesterday I stayed in and got productive in ways that might not always be seen as productive.

  A thought has just occurred to me; If I can walk OK (keeping my back straight) it seems unlikely that any of this pain is coming from the hip joints. Therefore it is probably just lower back pain, or some internal organ, very low in my torso, inflamed and ready to explode.

  One definite bit of productive work I did yesterday was to almost clear all my photographic stuff off the spare bed, and generally tidy up the room. It does seem peculiar that I could manage that with my back complaining, but once again it was a matter of posture, and trying to avoid bending over. Mostly I managed that, but now and then I would make a movement that I regretted.

  I probably spent most of my day sitting at my PC. As much as I try and follow guidelines for safe working at a PC - mostly posture and stuff - it may not have been the best thing to do, but on the other hand it may have actually been slightly better than laying on my bed. Beds have a bad reputation for back pains - or so mattress manufacturers tell us - and it is true that I do need a new mattress. What I need to do first though is to adjust the mattress protector that make my bed lumpy when rucked up. That could be the entire cause of my back pain, but now I hit the problem that the effort needed to sort it all out really hurts my back. Do I suffer some short term strong pain to eliminate long term pain ? The answer is yes, but you try telling that to my back !

  The long hours I spent at my PC yesterday reminded me a lot of my days at work, or the last year or two of work. I spent a lot of time catching up with various web sites - some funny, some serious technical news. I also did more photography work. The day before I found a packet of prints and negatives that was in a strange place, and it had some pictures in it that I was sure I had taken, but couldn't previously find. I scanned them all, and found some semi good pictures of two railway station that have been replaced in one instance, and semi-replaced by the Croydon Tramlink.  They brought many "likes" when posted to the disused stations group on social media.
two older Sub surface
                      "tube" trains
   One picture I found on the end of a strip of negatives. These two "Underground trains were side by side at Wimbledon station. One is a D stock train as used on the District Line, and the other is C stock as used on the Hammersmith & City line and the Circle line - neither of which go to Wimbledon. I wonder if the Circle Line train, the one on the right, is just "parked" there until the evening peak. Both types of trains have been replaced with more modern, air conditioned, and less comfortable trains now.

  I did have plans to go to another gig last night, but as the evening approached I felt less inclined to go out, and increasingly more inclined to stay in with a takeaway dinner. The latter won in the end. I wanted some piri-piri chicken, and I found a place that did that, and it did shish kebabs too. I remembered it as having a dreadful, possibly zero "scores on the door", but either they have cleaned up their act (and their kitchens) or bribed the inspector, because now they rate a 4. A 5 is a perfect score, but 4 is pretty good, and many takeaways only manage a 3. So I was happy to order from them, and the food seemed OK.

  One strange thing is that I didn't feel all that hungry last night, although I was quite hungry. Instead of a gluttonous feast I had what might even have been called a small meal. It was grilled lamb with salad that was only spoiled by the small portion of chips I also ordered. With hindsight I wonder why I ordered the chips. They were the only thing that spoiled the whole takeaway. The rest of it was salad and grilled meats - and so almost healthy - sometimes. Anyway, what I ate was very enjoyable, and I have even more spare for today than I thought I would have.

  I gave up on sitting at my PC mid evening, and laid on my bed to do a bit of reading. By, or even a bit before 9pm my eyelids were drooping. I turned out the lights, and I was soon fast asleep. On the whole I slept rather well, but I do remember having some very strange dreams. I can't remember much of the content of those dreams now, but they were pretty strange, and one, maybe two, involved hamsters ! Quite where the inspiration to dream of hamsters came from is anyone's guess !!

  This morning my hips/lower back still ache, but rather less than yesterday. Maybe I am recovering from whatever caused it in the first place. It is still bad enough that I am reluctant to do anything that might aggravate it, although having said that, I think I will strip my bed down, adjust the mattress protector, and put some fresh sheets on. Tomorrow looks like it could be a good day to wash them and hang them outside to dry. Actually today looks like good drying weather. Maybe I'll also take a chance on hand washing some stuff today as well. I can't think of anything else I might do today apart from going for a walk - maybe to the local shops, maybe further afield.
Saturday 11th May 2019
10:11 BST
  Yesterday was no warmer than the preceding couple of days, according to the thermometer, but with a bit of sunshine it felt so much warmer less cool. It wasn't quite as sunny as the forecast seemed to suggest, and I have this niggling feeling that there was a very brief, light shower at sometime, but I can't remember when, and it probably didn't happen. The maximum temperature was 15° C, and it felt like it for a change. After dark the temperature dropped, but not very low. The forecast said 11° C by midnight, and I think it probably was about that.
sun then rain
  The forecast seems stunningly accurate this morning. It has been overcast, but the sun has come out now. Before the hour is out it should start raining - that was the old forecast. the new improved forecast, possibly with blue whitener, says it will now be overcast until 1pm, and then the rain will start. So the sunshine coming through my window as I type this is obviously a hallucination. Actually there is a lot of cloud in the sky, and the idea of rain seems extremely possible, but under the new revised forecast there will only be showers for 4 hours from 1pm to 4pm. After that there will another few hours of sunny spells until darkness falls. The maximum temperature today is now shown as just 13° C, but in the light breeze it will feel closer to 12° C. Tonight is going to be cooler than last night, but it will warm up tomorrow - a day of sunny spells. The predicted temperature is complicated. The headline says 16° C. The hours of highest temperature are shown as 15° C, and will feel like 14° C. Other than in the headline, 16° C is not mentioned at all.

  Yesterday seemed to pass quite quickly, but I can't remember doing much to help it on it's way. One reason for this in the afternoon was that I was feeling rather uncomfortable. I think it was a combination of lower back pain, pain from my hip joints, and trapped wind. The latter certainly turned out to be true, and was probably the biggest contributor to the discomfort. Oddly enough, the time when I felt best was when I went to get some shopping in Aldi.

  I didn't want much from Aldi, and it was the first time in ages I have been able to just tap my bank card on the contactless reader. I'm sure it must be some sort of conspiracy that many of my bills at Aldi seem to be just a few tens of pence above the £30 limit to pay contactlessly. I bought some bananas, some fish, some vegetable, a few odds and sods, and finally a fair amount to drink. The drink included "no added" sugar blackcurrant squash, Diet Coke, and a 6 pack of Aldi own brand sugar free lemonade cans.

  Apart from the 2 x 2.25l bottles of Diet Coke, which went into my rucksack, everything else went in one bag. That made the walk home a bit unbalanced, and I am wondering of that triggered some of the lower back pain (and possibly the hip joint pain if that is what it is). Those pains started later, not while I was walking home. It was probably what turned out to be trapped wind that slowed me down a lot in the afternoon. I didn't fancy doing much, but I did make a start of clearing up the spare bedroom. It was quite cluttered with a lot of my photographic stuff, but it needs to be clean and tidy for Patricia sometime next month.

  Last night I went out to see the first set of Chain's gig at the hated Elm Tree pub. I did wonder if I was going to end up not going because I was feeling quite uncomfortable in the last hour before I had to leave to get the train to Elmers End. I the next half hour I think I got the proof I needed that I was suffering from trapped wind ! After a couple of visits to the toilet I concluded that I must be empty even if I still felt a bit tender. I ended up crossing my fingers that it was all over, and when to get a train later than I had intended.

  I thought the gig was supposed to start at 9pm, and it was 9.05pm when I arrived thinking I was late. I wasn't " The gig was not due to start to the stupid time of 9.30pm.  Having missed so many Chain gigs recently, everyone seemed pleased to see me, and despite hating the pub, I had an enjoyable evening - apart from one thing. It was only recently I made the discovery that the idea that pubs close at 11pm was so deeply burnt into my brain that I was not consciously aware it was there. The gig was not due to finish until midnight, and possibly later. I am told that the pub has a late licence to 1am at the weekend, but I felt this urge to drink up my beer at 11pm, and be out of the pub before 11.10pm. In fact it was a little earlier than that because I caught the 11.09pm train.
I guess the evening got off to a good start when I took this snap of Jo with a wonderful smile on her face.
Jo with guitar
Jo again, but with guitar
Chris and Jo
Chris and Jo - note the strange skin tones thanks to the Elm Trees crappy lights.
Almost all the band
 Almost all the band taken using flash, and so the skin tones are more realistic. The only person missing here is Chris Clark on his keyboard. He is only an occasional member , and I don't think he sat in for the last songs of the first set.

  There are three things I don't like about The Elm Tree pub. One is that they have bouncers on the door. Maybe their licence demands it or something, but it marks the pub down as a bad place to drink in my opinion. Probably not in other peoples opinions though because my second moan is that it often get too crowded (although admittedly I am only counting the area in front of the band). The third and final dislike is the stage lights. They seem bright, but their colours seem to miss the colour filters on my cameras sensor, and so the camera can often see them as not bright. Worst of all is that their colours never change, and in some parts of the stage area people look green, and in other parts sort of magenta. There are a few good areas where the light approximates to white, and people almost look natural.

  It was because of the lighting that I resorted to using my flash gun halfway through my short evening. It made for far richer, and more realistic skin tones.  I think I shall also blame those lights for the single video I shot being horribly out of focus. I am unsure of the mechanism involved, but it can't be a coincidence that the worst bit of video I have ever shot was in the place with the funny lighting !

  As I left the pub I bumped into Fran who, like when she first came in, gave me several big wet kisses - possibly even wetter because they were goodbye kisses. Maybe I could have got more, but I checked my phone to see the train times. I had been wondering of I should get a bus instead of train to avoid the long slog up and over the road bridge across the railway, but my phone said their was a train in 7 minutes. That was perfect timing, and so I had to put Fran down, and get to the station.

  Going up and over the road bridge, which in itself is on the bottom of the hill, was a hard slog, and I was still breathing a bit heavily when I got on the train that arrived a minute or two after arriving on the station. Other than that it was a pleasant journey home. Once indoors I felt he desire for some dinner/supper. Rather than spending a lot of money on an unhealthy takeaway, I (had) spent just £2.40 on a couple of Tesco "Hearty Food" ready meals. They are cheap because they are mostly mashed potato with a bit of mystery meat.

 They filled the spot very nicely, and about 20 minutes later I brushed my teeth and went to bed. I did wonder of I would find the enthusiasm to start going through the pictures I had taken before going to bed, but I decided they could wait until morning. I'm not sure exactly what time it was that I went to bed, but it must have been some time after midnight. I was soon asleep, and I slept well apart from a couple of prominent dreams. One was a flashback to when  lived with mum. In the dream she was thinking of renting out my sisters room after she had gone to university. It all seemed innocent, but I found it unsettling in a way I can't describe. The other prominent dream concerned going down a staircase with a low roof. I can't help but feeling it should have been worrying, but not for the reason in the dream. As we went deeper and deeper my only thought was that I was hoping there would be a lift or escalator to take us back up again.

  This morning I was in such discomfort that I had to take a couple of paracetamol. An hour or so later and they are now doing their stuff. Like the night before, my lower back and/or my hips feel painfully stiff and creaking.  Standing up agan after sitting down for a long while is painful, but fortunately it quickly feel better once I start moving. It make me feel disinclined to do what I know I should be doing - walking around - even if just for a quarter of mile or so to the nearest shops.

 A visit to the shops is one thing I probably will do, but I don't know what else I will be doing during most of the day. I am contemplating going to see Out The Box playing at The Mitre Hotel in Greenwich this evening, but only for their first set. It usually gets far too boisterous in there after about 10pm when people, already drunk, come back to their hotel rooms via the bar for more booze. It won't be a terribly exciting gig, but seems the best on offer tonight. Maybe I'll go, or maybe I won't bother.
Friday 10th May 2019
09:05 BST
  Yesterday was wet, but maybe not as wet as the forecast predicted. Instead of almost continuous light rain there were some heavy showers...and a few light ones too. Now and again it would brighten up, and I think there were a couple of times when the sun appeared, albeit rather briefly.  Although it was still overcast, the rain had practically stopped much earlier than forecast. Apart from one very brief shower it was essentially dry as I made my way home from Shortlands at 7pm. The temperature was that very bland 15° C again - neither hot or cold.
a brighter and maybe sunnier day
  The first glimpse of sunshine seems to be a bit late as I write this, but if the forecast bears any relation to reality, we should see a lot of sunny intervals today. Unfortunately, the latest revision to the forecast adds some showers from about 3pm onwards. That is a shame because I was looking forward to a dry and bright day. I was also looking forward to a day when 15° C would have felt good in some sunshine. I guess that the chances now are that it will be a very bland, forgettable temperature again. Tomorrow makes extensive use of that perplexing icon that shows sun and rain, and dark clouds. Usually it means just rain, and that is how it is described for most of tomorrow. Once again it will probably be bland old 15° C - probably the seasonal average for this time of year.

  As I mentioned yesterday, my internet connection started working again at 10.16am - much to my relief. I was able to upload my pictures of the old Merton Park, and Waddon Marsh railway stations to the disused stations group, and they got a shed load of "likes". After that I didn't seem to have a very productive day, and yet the time seemed to pass very quickly. One little job I did do was to wash a load of laundry.

  I had an early lunch of Lincolnshire sausages - just on their own. They were very nice, but I later found the sage taste was repeating on me later in the day. They did their job well by lining my stomach for the main event of the day - drinking! At about 3.55pm I set out in the rain for Catford Station. It's a walk that I often seem to do quicker than I think I should do it, and quite often I find it exhausting. Yesterday I thought I walked a tiny bit slower, and the walk seemed more OK, and seemed to take no longer ! I didn't even seem to get hot and sweaty under my rain coat. I think I have been controlling my sugar intake a bit better lately, and that would account for the walk being easier, and not sweating under my coat.
£1 bike rides
The first thing I saw when I got to the station - another bike for hire bike.
another type of bike for
Before yesterday I don't think I had heard of Lime, but I suspect we'll start seeing them everywhere now - until the company who owns them gives up - like the Chinese company with their bright yellow bikes seem to have done.
One thing is for sure, Thameslink don't like hire bikes being left at their bike racks.

  I was the first to arrive at the pub yesterday afternoon, and I was annoyed to see our favourite table was already in use. It wasn't long before everybody else turned up - except for Paul who said he would be late after assisting his father who had a fall. It must have been more serious than he thought. Maybe he did turn up after I left. I had my normal three pints of beer, and then semi-rushed to the station to get the 18.35 train.

  Unfortunately the 18.35 turned out to be running a bit late after some sort of incident involving the police (allegedly) somewhere towards Sevenoaks. So it was decided it would run fast from Shortlands to Elephant & Castle to make up time. That was no good for me, and so I waited for the next train. Fortunately they are fairly frequent at that time. The next train announced it was on diversion because of a broken down train at Ravensbourne. So I didn't get that train. The train I did get was supposed to be the 19.05 train. It hung around the station for 5 or 6 minutes to let a track recording train go first. That track recording train seemed to have no fear of a broken down train, and when we finally left the station there were no delays. I was left wondering if we had been told a few little fibs by the railway !

   After a few beers, and even more so when I have not eaten that much in the day, I am frequently tempted to get a takeaway on the way home. Yesterday I was prepared for this, and had taken a Sainsbury's bag with me so I could pop into Sainsburys by the station, and buy some of their ready made salads. I bought three Greek salads, and one Mediterranean salads. My dinner last night was basically salad, but with a few additions to spoil it.

  I started with the  Mediterranean salad. By itself it is very plain, and so I added some cold new potatoes that I had cooked the night before. I gave a very generous squeeze of Primula squeezy cheese with jalapeños on top of the potatoes, and then made it all worse by a big dollop of mayonnaise on the salad. I messed around a little less with the Greek salad, but I still added a couple of cold new potatoes, and some mayonnaise. It wasn't quite the healthy meal it could have been, but it was probably considerably better than fried chicken and chips !

  The only other thing of note that I did last night was to phone Sue. She had reported that she was feeling very down, and once she had answered the phone it was obvious that she was feeling worse than I have ever heard her before. I made a point of finishing the call by midnight, but when I hung up she was sounding a lot happier. There is even a small chance that I might see her today. I said she could come over and use my internet to back up her phone. Apparently it is sending her warning messages about it, and while it is a very minor worry compared to some of the stuff she has to worry about, it would at least be one less worry.

  I think I had a fair sleep last night, and I even managed to stay asleep until some time after sunrise. I haven't really put anything to the test yet, but I think I may feel a bit better, slightly less creaky today. As yet I don't know what I am going to do with this unusual state of health - maybe nothing. I think my only pre-meditated idea is that I would like to go out tonight to see Chain's first set at the gig they are doing at the dreaded Elm Tree pub in Elmers End. I really hate that pub. Gigs start stupidly late - gone 9pm - and it is very often rather crowded. Plus there is the depressing sight of bouncers at the door.  The gig will probably finish at midnight, but I anticipate being home by about 11pm !
Thursday 9th May 2019
08:53 BST
  The forecast predicted that it would rain until early evening yesterday, but it didn't ! I certainly rained in the morning, but gradually the clouds thinned out a bit, and by the afternoon it was dry with odd glimpses of sunshine. It was probably the last few hours before sunset that it could be recorded as "sunny". I think the max temperature of 15° C was right, but it didn't really register.
emergency screenshot from phone
  If this screenshot of the weather forecast looks strange it is because I have no internet this morning, and I had to use my mobile phone ! At the moment it is bright and dry. There have been some nice sunny spells, but it seems it might cloud over soon, and then by midday we can expect dark skies and rain. The rain will continue until very late tonight. Of course there is hope that like yesterday, the forecast is wrong ! Once again the afternoon temperature will be 15° C - a very bland temperature, neither warm nor cold. Tomorrow may be bright and dry with sunny intervals popping up through the day, but it will be no warmer than today.

  The big news this morning is that I have no internet. The service failed at just gone midnight last night, and I find the timing very suspicious. It was as if someone was doing some maintenance, or making a change in the data centre when traffic levels are usually low, and they made a cock up. I am expecting the service to come up again once the day shift take over, and sort the problem out. Until then I am cut off from the outside world. Fortunately my web server is in the inside world so at least I can write this even if no one will be able to read it until later - that is assuming anyone ever reads these scribblings of mine.
traffic graph showing
                      the connection going dead at midnight
Traffic graph from my firewall box showing traffic ceasing at about midnight.

  Yesterday felt like a strangely productive day, although I did very little...or at least very little that didn't involve sitting at my PC. I felt really creaky yesterday morning, and I didn't really expect to do anything physical, but that is exactly what I did even if it actually involved little physical effort. The worst physical effort was using my electric drill at slightly above head height. My right shoulder initially complained a fair bit about that, but in quite a short period of time it became ignorable. Curiously enough, I can't remember feeling any discomfort from the right shoulder for the rest of the day.
new shower curtain
  My little bit of physical work was to drill some holes in the walls to fit some hooks for stretchy type curtain wire. One problem with my bathroom walls is that they seem to have a very thick coat of plaster on them, and the bricks behind are rather soft. I had to use big hooks with a long screw section to make sure they were screwed into wall plugs that were inserted deep into the wall so they inside the brickwork. I managed to achieve that, and for the first time since moving here my shower curtains are now supported on proper curtain wire.

  This makes it so easy to change them. Previously the shower curtain at the back of the bath was held up by drawing pins, and the curtain across the front of the bath was suspended on a bit of wire that drooped between two mounting points. The work was inspired by my preparations for when Patricia stays here for a couple of days in June. It is my prime reasons for doing a bit of deep cleaning, and improving the facilities. I would just like to add that what looks like soot on the side of the bath, particularly in the right hand picture, is not soot at all. It is an artefact of making a grainy picture much smoother, and compensating for the extreme brightness of the daylight coming through the window.

  It felt good to have done that small job, and providing my hooks stay in, and I am reasonably confident they will, changing shower curtains will now be as easy as sliding the old one off the wire, and threading the new one on. I think I finished the job at about lunchtime, and once I had cleaned up I had a nice lunch of poached cod with new potatoes. It was originally going to part of my dinner, but I thought it would make a reasonably light lunch, and wouldn't affect me if I went out last night.

  After lunch I resumed the project I had started the previous day - that of preparing videos to be included on a compilation DVD of those who have sung at Stretchy's Open Mic over the last 12 - 14 months. Most of the videos I was dealing with yesterday were shot in high resolution on my Canon DSLR camera, and the very latest used the external microphone that improved the sound a bit (although I think it still needs a little boost on the bottom end).

  There was one interesting diversion from editing videos when I came across a packet of photos and negatives that I was sure I had, but could not find until I came across them accidently yesterday. They had been slipped between some data CDs for some reason. They were photos taken in May 1997 of a couple of stations on the Wimbledon to West Croydon line. Although it had it's peaks around the traditional rush hours, it was very lightly used because all the stations were very run down, and with most of it being single track it managed no better than 2 trains an hour which finished very early in the evening, and no trains on Sunday.
Merton Park station
This was Merton Park station. The station building is the derelict house in the background. I have heard that it was sold off when the railway closed down, and after heavy maintenance is now a very nice looking house.
Waddon Marsh station
 Waddon Marsh station was a desolate place. It once had two platforms, but once the line was singled in 1929 one platform became disused. It was once known as a halt, and that basically means it had no station building - it was just a bare platform with no facilities, although in 1997 there was a heavily vandalised bus type shelter to give some protection from the rain, but very little view - most of the windows had long seen any glass, and had been plated over.

  The line completely closed in, I think, 1997, and the track taken over by the new (at the time) Croydon Tramlink. With newly refurbished stations (or tram stops as the like to be called), and trams as frequent as every 10 minutes or less that run until midnight, there were suddenly loads of people who wanted to use it, and passenger number soared. It seems strange that British Rail, and it's successors, didn't seem to realise that the only way to get paying passengers was to provide a service. I suspect there was a strong element of political interference that stopped then doing what Tramlink, and also London Overground have done - converting barely used trains to packed trains over the same route.

  I was going to go to an open mic session last night - purely because I though Jenni might be going to it, but I don't think she did (and with no internet I can't check this morning). When the time came I was too busy to go out, and to be honest I didn't really want to go to a session in the too dark, often too crowded, and too loud Partridge pub in Bromley. Plus I am still notionally barring myself from the place since Sue was given a lifetime ban (she deserved a short ban, but not a lifetime ban).

It is 10:16am, and my internet has just come up. I am now even more convinced it was a cock up that someone made in the data centre at midnight last night.

  Last night I actually went to bed a bit earlier than usual. The result of it was that I woke up even earlier this morning - it was barely light outside ! However, upon finding I had no internet I went back to bed again. I didn't really expect to sleep much, but I think I slept for nearly 2 hours. Maybe I did need that early night after all ! This morning I feel typically creaky, but otherwise I seem to be OK. I was even feeling mentally good until just now when the sun went in, and the world was plunged into greyness.

  The first rain is not expected until 1pm today, but the forecast does report a fair chance of rain before then (but won't actually commit itself to saying it will rain), and when I look out the window at the horrible looking clouds, I feel it could rain at any time. This means I'll be spending my time indoors until it is time to don my waterproofs, and head off for my late afternoon drink with the Thursday crew. Quite what I will do indoors is anyone's guess, but it could involve some laundry, or maybe I will finally move the chest of drawers in the back room to it's new place in the alcove next to the chimney breast. There is little to stop me doing this except for one heavy box filled mainly with wire and cable.

 Footnote: I almost forgot. I had a phone call from Angela yesterday. I had expected some communication, but probably only a text message after I gave up waiting to arrange a meeting with her, and posted a couple of my home made DVDs to her. She was thrilled to get them (one is for her daughter Miranda - it's mainly her singing on the DVDs). She then went on to tell me that she has been off work sick for the last week, but will be back tomorrow. It was almost as if she wanted me to try and arrange a lunchtime drink with her, but I think she was too subtle, and I won't be trying to arrange anything.
Wednesday 8th May 2019
09:10 BST
  By midday the weather and the forecast seemed to part company. After a fairly sunny morning it turned cloudy by midday, and I don't recall much sunshine in the afternoon at all. I expect the temperature probably did reach the forecast 14° C, but I hardly noticed it. What I did notice was that it was a mild night.
wet and gloomy
  The forecast has got off to a good start - it is certainly wet, and rather dull outside. In the last hour the forecast has had one small change. It is now forecast that this rain, and overcast sky, will now continue until 7pm. It is also now predicted that the maximum temperature will only be 14° C now. On the whole it is going to be a miserable day. Before this morning the forecast for tomorrow didn't seem so bad - possibly even slightly good. It's all changed now. After a dull morning it is forecast to rain all afternoon, and more specifically all the time I expect to be out going, and coming home from my late Thursday afternoon drink. It is some small compensation that the temperature will probably be 15° C (but feel like 14° C).

  I felt pretty bad for much of yesterday, and it was all because I had stayed up talking on the phone to Sue until 4am ! In a perfect world I would have slept through to about midday, but we live in a far from perfect world, and although I did stay in bed a little later than usual, it wasn't enough. By midday, or thereabouts, I felt OK to go to Aldi to get some shopping. I decided a change of diet was needed, and so bought a lot of vegetables, and no meat, although I did buy a couple of bits of fish.
beers !
  I also bought a selection of beers from Aldi. If they weren't so heavy to carry I would have bought more. I was thinking that I might go back for more today, but I don't think that is likely now (although not impossible).

  I had intended to go to bed early last night, and so I cracked up the first of my beers, the two in the picture to the left, earlier than I might otherwise have done so - just after 5pm. These two beers were very hoppy, but the hops were of the nicer variety, and so were pleasant to drink, or perhaps I should say were not unpleasant to drink. I don't think I found them very exciting though.

  After the two beers in the picture I started drinking Innis & Gunn's "Session IPA" - once again another very hoppy sort of beer, but less powerful than the first two. I guess I like the Session IPA because I have bought it several times recently. I had about three cans of it.

  Going to and from Aldi felt like a bit of a slog, and particularly so when coming home laden with lots of beer in my shopping bags ! Although I didn't buy any meat per se, I did buy a couple of microwaveable burger type snacks that had mystery meat in them. Buying them was one of those spur of the moment things that defy logic. I knew they would be crap, and also probably very unhealthy, but curiosity probably got the better of me.

  I ate those two burger type things, one being a "rib sandwich", and the other being a "grilled chicken burger", for my lunch. The curious thing is that they seemed to disappear in a few mouthfuls each, but seemed to be almost filling. Once my body started to digest them I felt extra weary, and I laid on my bed to read. It wasn't long, almost mere seconds, before my eyes started to droop. I was soon asleep, and I slept for at least an hour, and maybe two.

  I woke up from that sleep feeling dreadful. For one thing I felt cold - almost to the point of feeling shivery. I had to turn the heater on to warm up. Probably a side effect of feeling cold is that I felt really stiff and aching. My back ached, and so did my chest. A couple of Ibuprofen tablets calmed my chest down, as they so often do when I am having a Costochondritus attack/flare up. Fortunately it was a mild flare up, and faded away again.

  My plans for an extra early night were spoiled by having that extra long snooze, and they were also spoiled by a new project I started late yesterday afternoon. It was an idea I had been toying with since Sunday night, and it was to make a DVD of all the best video (and some not quite best) I had taken at Stretchy's Open Mic session over the last 18 months. To do this I started by reviewing some of the raw video files copied straight off the camera and doing a fresh edit of the videos that seemed most worthy. It was a time consuming process, although over half of it is just waiting for the PC to render the file into it's final edited form.

  Of the video I did before giving up last night, only a few needed any tedious mucking about with colour correction, although over half of them looked a bit "warm". Many needed a bit of audio equalisation. Apart from one camera I used, they all lacked bass, and I managed to correct that (I hope I didn't over correct it!).  I carried on doing this reviewing and video editing through two Star Trek shows (one The Original Series, and the other Deep Space Nine), and then on after watchable TV had finished for the night (about 8pm).  It was gone 10pm when I realised that I ought to stop for the night, and go to bed.

  When I got into bed I felt wide awake enough to start reading, and I read for maybe 20 minutes before I turned out the light, and fell asleep.  At the time I thought the beer I had been drinking would have had a positive influence on getting to sleep early, but with hindsight, I hadn't really drunk that much. The small cans held about half a pint, and I think I may have only had 4 small cans plus the bottled beer - all in a bit less than 3 pints. It was nice to have some beers, but it was hardly "a session" !

  It may have been only a small amount of beer, but I still had to wake up a few times in the night for a pee. The first 6 hours of sleep, maybe 7, seemed to be rather good, but the next couple were increasingly troubled. I even woke up at one point just as my right leg was starting to cramp. Fortunately I managed to leap out of bed, and stopping it actually cramping. I was in bed for almost 9 hours - at least I think I was, but I wasn't paying much attention to the time. If I could find anything positive about this morning being dull and wet it is that I wasn't awakened by bright daylight creeping around the sides of my curtains.

 In theory I got plenty of sleep last night even if he last hour did feel like I was more awake than asleep, but I don't know if it was enough to make up for the lack of sleep the night before. It may just be the horrible dull and wet weather outside, but I feel like I should go back to bed soon - although I know that it would be unlikely that I got much sleep, and quite possibly wouldn't even go to sleep at all.

  I could probably blame it all on the weather, but I guess some of the blame must come from sleeping awkwardly, and some just being a general trend this year (or so it seems), but I feel pretty awful this morning. I feel like an old man - well I am an old man in reality, but I feel at least 10 years older than I am. I seem to all my various aches at once this morning. Just standing up from the chair I am sitting in is a new adventure in aching as all my muscles take ages to re-arrange themselves into the right positions.

  The big problem with feeling like this is in trying to convince myself that I would feel much better once I start moving. At the moment there are a few jobs around the house that I should be doing - including installing some hooks in the bathroom for a new and improved shower curtain support, and even simple things like hoovering the crumbs from where I am sitting writing this - but I just don't feel like doing anything physical at the moment !  Some of the jobs that need doing are in preparation for the couple of days that Patricia will be staying here - and that is possibly in less than a months time !

  What I feel inclined to do, and what I will probably do, is to do more video preparation work for the DVD of Stretchy's Open Mic. That will leave chunks of time where the PC will be working on it's own, and maybe I'll fill in those periods by doing something useful. There is also the question about tonight. Although it's a place I generally shun, I would like to go to an Open Mic in The Partridge, in Bromley, but only to meet up with Jenni. At this point in the morning I question if there is any point in going, and if I would feel well enough to go out. I guess I'll have to wait until early evening to find out.
Tuesday 7th May 2019
09:44 BST
  The weather was not very inspiring yesterday. Despite some optimism in the forecast, it seemed to be mostly a cool grey day - maybe not actually cold, but it felt that way. The maximum temperature was probably similar to the forecast 12° C. With sunshine, and no cold breeze, it would have felt much better, but the reality was it was cold and grey.
it's started nice and sunny
  The forecast has seen some minor changes, but the screenshot above still represents the predicted weather for most of today. It seems to have erred on the side of caution by predicting sunny intervals this morning, but the current reality could be described as a long sunny spell. There is just some thin hazy, and broken cloud visible in the sky as I write this, and none of it looks thick enough to do any more than just dim the sunshine a bit. If the rest of the day is as good as the forecast, and maybe it will be slightly better, it could be a good day. From midday the temperature is forecast to be 14° C, and apparently the breeze should be light enough to only reduce how that feels to 13° C. The rot sets in very early tomorrow morning when it will start to rain, and if the forecast holds, it will continue to rain until early afternoon. It maybe a mute point because of the rain, but the temperature may reach 16° C late tomorrow afternoon.

  I had a strange day yesterday. The grey weather didn't inspire me to do any of the jobs I thought I might do. What I ended up doing was what could be called "multimedia stuff". It seems strange that what I did took up so much time that I didn't have time to get bored, and somehow didn't get time to relax much. Essentially I spent a bit of time designing some disk labels for a couple of my home made DVDs featuring bands I had videoed at gigs, and also burning blank DVDs, and burning Lightscribe labels on them using the designs I had made.

  The peculiar thing is that many of the stages of this production were just waiting for the computer to get on with the job by itself (in fact both my desktop PC, and my laptop were working at the same time). That should have left plenty of time to get bored, but somehow it didn't. I managed to fill those gaps in somehow. In two cases it was doing a bit of cooking. In the back of my cupboard I found a few packets I had probably bought from Aldi several years ago. They were ready to cook flavoured rice, and being perfectly dry in sealed packets they may well have best before dates reaching towards the next century.

  My lunch was rather nice. It was beef flavoured rice with some added beef jerky. The beef jerky was based on Wagyu beef raised in the Midlands (rather than Japan), and while I quite like beef jerky (jerky ?) I didn't like this Wagyu stuff. Instead of being dry it seemed to be slimy. When cooked in with the rice it came out very nice.  Dinner was just meat and potatoes as a sort of stew. I'll admit ot was stupidly big because the meat was a big pack of marinated pork slices that I had found on the reduced price shelf at Tesco.

  With hindsight I should have grilled it, and maybe had it with some peas or runner beans. It didn't really work as the basis for a stew. The result was not horrible, but it was a lot blander than I thought it would be. The biggest problem is that I could the whole pack of meat, and there was too much of it. The bigger biggest problem is that I ate it all ! It didn't feel too much as I was eating it, but a couple of hours later I started to develop a small, but annoying, discomfort a bit like trapped wind. I still have it to a lesser degree this morning. I am expecting an explosive end to the discomfort any time now.

  The biggest mistake I made yesterday was to phone Sue to compare notes about the weekend. Actually that wasn't a mistake at all, and it was nice speaking to her. The actual mistake was to let her continue talking until 3.45am in the morning - a new record for long calls with Sue. If I could have slept through the bright sunshine creeping around the outside of my curtain, and slept through a phone call from Lee just before 9am, and continued to sleep until about 10am, maybe 11am, I would probably feel great this morning.

  As I write this I feel slightly zombified. Somehow I need to get another hour or two of sleep in, but I doubt I will manage it, and the sunny periods outside are calling to me to do something. Today ought to be a good day to get out with my camera, but at the moment I definitely don't feel like doing that. I may go into the garden and do a little more weeding, but unless it has settled since Sunday, the brown wheelie bin is almost full to the brim. If I found the energy I could saw up some logs ready to go in that wheelie bin when it has been emptied on this coming Thursday (if the bank holiday hasn't mucked up the schedule again).

  What I may end up doing today is starting another multimedia project. It occurred to me yesterday that I should have quite a few video clips recorded at Stretchy's Open Mic sessions over the last 12 months. A few people may be interested in a compilation DVD of the better recordings. Unfortunately it is only recently that I have improved my technique and equipment to give some fairly nice, albeit hand held, recordings, but some of the earlier stuff might be polishable with a bit of effort in my video editor.
Monday 6th May 2019
10:32 BST
  Yesterday's weather was not bad, but then again it wasn't good either. There was a fair amount of sunshine, mostly in the form of sunny spells, but there was also quite long periods when it was rather grey. The worse aspect was the wind. It wasn't strong, but it was cold. The maximum temperature, albeit rather briefly, was 12° C, but the wind made it feel closer to 9° C, and maybe less. The only positive through the whole day was that it was dry.
  The latest revision of today's forecast still says there should be sunny intervals this morning, but I haven't noticed any yet. There have been a few short periods where the greyness has been a bit lighter, but generally speaking I would call it overcast, and I think that is not going to change soon. It seems our next hope to see the sun will not be until the last hours before sunset. The cold wind that has spoiled the last few days is slowly getting weaker, and today's maximum temperature of 12° C will, apparently, feel more like 10° C - better than yesterday by a whole degree ! Tomorrow brings the tiniest hope of a tiny improvement. The latest revision says there may be some sunny intervals during the morning, and then again later in the afternoon. It should stay dry, and the maximum temperature is predicted to be 14° C - and that will feel like 13° C in the wind.

  I had a fairly busy day yesterday, and it was mostly a good day with just a single disappointment in the evening. I did feel slightly fragile, but evidently not quite as fragile as I thought. My first major thing was to go shopping in Tesco. I bought an assortment of stuff in there. The most notable were some burgers flavoured with red onion. They were on the reduced price shelf. I thought they were a good bargain, but they really shrunk when I cooked them, and were not very nice. The other notable was a pack of Cumberland sausages - and they were very nice !

  I had only been home for about 15 to 20 minutes after shopping in Tesco when I seemed to think I still had the energy to go out again. It was to be a simple trip to Poundland where I thought I would find some shower curtains. I didn't, but I still managed to fill my rucksack with assorted stuff. I was pretty sure that Poundstretcher had shower curtains, and was certain that the 99p shop did, but as I walked to those shops I wondered if Savers had any.

  They did, but they were (probably) very good quality, and rather expensive. I really wanted two, but I bought one to check it at home, and it did seem to be good quality. The only problem was that it was rather dark, and would block a lot of the light in my bathroom - particularly if I hung it across the windows. I then looked in Poundstretcher, and they had some cheaper, and semi-transparent, shower curtains. I bought two in there, and just to make my walk back home a bit more interesting, I bought two desk fans - a small one, and a bigger one. I regard them as a good investment. Once the warm weather starts, as I hope it does, fans will become as rare as hens teeth !
two horses and a copper
  Just down the high road from Poundland I came across this scene - two horses and a copper. One of the horses was for a WPC, but she had nipped off to the shops. I think she went into Peacocks - probably to buy some knickers - essential equipment for coppers !

  It was after I had finished my shopping that I was able to relax and have my lunch. It was going to be two of the red onion flavoured beef burgers, but they had shrunk so much when I cooked then that I had all 4 of them with just some tomato sauce for accompaniment. As I mentioned earlier, they sounded like they might have been very nice, but if history had taught us anything, it that decent burgers don't need any adulteration if using good meat. These burgers were not actually nasty, but provided little joy.

  Apart from assembling fans, I mostly relaxed for the rest of the afternoon - not that there was all that much of the afternoon left, and so I relaxed a little bit into the evening too. At about 6pm I got myself cleaned up, and at 7.30 I headed out to get the bus to Bromley. I arrived at The Swan and Mitre a little after 8pm - the notional time when the open mic is supposed to start, but in reality it was gone 9pm before it started.

  The reason for the late start is that no one was there. I tell a lie, there was one other musician there. Most of the Bromley music people were either on holiday, or attending one of two charity gigs. That made for a very thin night, and to make it worse, Jenni did not turn up, and I'm not sure why. In a message later on, she said she had had a disaster, but did not elaborate on that.
Stretch (Martin "Stretch" Sickel) performing one of over a dozen songs he must have sung last night.
Stretch's friend
The only other musician last night. He is an old friend of Stretch, and his name was George or Graham, or...

  I was very disappointed that Jenni wasn't there. It made for a rather lonely visit. I guess it was the same for Stretch. We do not have much common background to talk about, and so we only had a few conversations, but he was obviously grateful I had turned up because he gave me a long and firm handshake when I left soon after 10pm - rather earlier than usual. While not seeing Jenni was disappointing, I did generally feel good about finally getting out to a gig after not going to any for a week or two.

 I also felt sort of comfortable when sitting on the bus. A bit of Guinness, and I only had three pints, is good for that, but it was more than that. I was also feeling some sort of analogue to healthy. Of course it was all in the mind, and it was a struggle to walk as fast as I wanted to when going from the bus to home. I think I almost managed my maximum speed, but it did feel like hard work. On the other hand there was no reason for going as fast as possible - it was just for the thrill of trying (and it was rather chilly that late at night). The thought did cross my mind that if it was summer, and nice and warm, it would be nice to walk slower and savour it.

  When I got indoors I quickly warmed up the Cumberland sausages that I had pre-cooked before going out, and enjoyed them as an extremely late dinner. Like the burgers I had for lunch, I ate them with nothing else except tomato sauce. I will confess that I did "wash" them down with a couple of packets of ready salted crisps. I probably should have had them both at the same time. Once I had finished eating I felt too tired to do anything with the photos and video I had taken earlier, and went to bed. The strange thing is that once I laid down in bed I didn't feel so tired, and I read until just gone midnight before going to sleep.

  This morning I woke up just after sunrise again, and that felt far too early, but after a while I thought I could do a few things before going back to bed. Those few things were mostly transferring the pictures and video from my camera to my PC, and then to start editing them. There were very few pictures, and they were soon done. The video took a lot longer, and I did have a short snooze while the PC was rendering it.

Stretch doing his traditional opening song.

  I'm not sure what I am doing today. I feel moderately OK, and so could go out somewhere, but today is another bank holiday (May Day), and so nothing much is going on except railway engineering that may, or may not be blocking lines that I might, or might not want to use. I suspect I'll be staying in today, and probably doing some housework. If the sun manages to pop out I may do something in the garden. I may also spend a lot of time, or less, laying on my bed reading. In simple terms, I will be making up today as it happens !
Sunday 5th May 2019
09:29 BST
  There was a lot of blue sky, and quite a lot of sunshine yesterday. Unfortunately it was either rather cool, or very chilly, and there was some unexpected, un-forecast rain ! The highest temperature was forecast to be 10° C, and I think that turned out to be correct, but as the forecast also warned, it felt more like 6° C ! It gets worse. It must have been around an hour before sunset that my thermometer said the temperature had dipped to just 5.5° C. Rather strangely, as darkness fell it went up a degree.
maybe a very slightly warmer version of
  The forecast for today has changed a bit in the last few hours. The main difference is that now it is thought it may only reach 12°C for about a single hour, and that 11° C will be more typical. Once again a chilly wind from the Arctic will mean that even the warmest hour will feel 3 or 4° cooler. The day has certainly started off bright and sunny, but unlike the screenshot above, the latest forecast says that the afternoon will probably be rather grey. The current forecast for tomorrow brings little cheer. The temperature will be about the same as today, but although lighter, that cold wind is still going to make it feel cooler than the indicated temperature. There may be some sunny spells, but mostly it it will be grey.

  Yesterday was a funny sort of day. It was cold, and maybe I felt a bit more stiff and creaky when I put on my gardening trousers and boots, and went out into the garden and chilly sunshine. One of the first things I tried was use my electric jigsaw to cut through smaller logs. It was not a success, and I broke the biggest blade I had before long. I was sure I had  a long, and rather course blade that should have ripped through the wood easier, but I couldn't find it. I think the blade I did use was a Poundshop blade, and it just wasn't man enough for the job. I resorted to a hand saw after that, although I didn't end up sawing much wood.

  I concentrated on two main areas of the garden. The first area was the middle where the recent rain had caused a lot of weeds to spring up. I raked most of them out, and managed to pull up some quite long roots. Hopefully that will slow the weeds down a bit. I then tackled all the wood and weeds on the right side of the garden, and in doing so I revealed almost another yard of garden path.

  All the while I was working in the garden I could hear loud music drifting along the breeze from a house or garden somewhere  beyond the back of my garden. The first thing I heard sounded like some sort of IRA bomb making song, but later on it changed to classical sounding piano music with occasional vocal accompaniment in what might have been an Indian accent. I did attempt to record a bit of the Irish bomb throwing music, but mostly I just recorded amplified wind noise. You can hear the odd snatch of music in this short video, and also get a "before" picture of my garden.

  I was probably out in the garden for around 2 hours. For a lot of the time it was sunny, but to my surprise, because the forecast didn't mention it, there were a couple of light showers. They were light enough that I continued to work, but after I finished I had a hot shower, and washed my hair. After coming out of the shower I was surprised to see the ground looking very wet as if there had been a semi heavy shower. I'm glad I wasn't out in that !
loads of weeds
This was a "before" picture showing all the weeds in the middle of the garden.
another yard of path revealed
The most informative picture - I managed to clear another yard of garden path. If my memory is correct the garden path only went as far as where the big stump is, and that means about another yard to clear - maybe next time.
long shot showing a lot of the garden
                          now clear
A long shot showing that a lot of the garden is now basically clear. Note that I have rolled the remains of the felled tree over as part of my drive to clear the old garden path. The rear left of the garden is where I will probably concentrate a lot of my work next time, although clearing the garden path is a prime objective too.

  I wasn't exactly in pain when I finished my garden work, but I could definitely feel that I had put a lot of effort into it. I expected my back to give a bit of trouble, but of anything it was my chest that seemed to have the greatest potential to start hurting. Oddly enough, nothing gave me any trouble for the rest of the day, and even this morning I don't seem to have any obvious after effects - yet. What I did feel was tired, and having the hot shower after the work left me feeling very relaxed.

  I may have had a quick snooze, but mostly I spent an hour or so reading on my bed before embarking on a spontaneous  new project. It was an idea that I had casually thought of sometime before, but yesterday I took the major steps to make it a reality. I think I meant to do 2013, but I actually went through all the videos I shot in 2014, and edited each one ready to be burned to a DVD. Fortunately I did not shoot much video in 2014, and that made the project more manageable. I think for the whole year of fairly intensive gig going I only shot 12 usable videos. It still took until midnight until I had prepared them to put onto DVD. Some just needed top and tailing and an opening caption added, but some needed to coaxed to look a bit brighter and more colourful.

  I just remembered I did one other thing yesterday that was sort of surprising after all my physical effort of "gardening", and that was to hand wash a t-shirt and half a dozen smaller items. I wonder where I found the energy to do that ? Maybe it was a day of eating almost nothing but Chinese food. I had a very early dinner. At about 2.30pm I gave two of the spare Chinese takeaway dishes a good microwaving, and ate them. Much later in the evening I had the "Singapore rice" for supper.

  It was just gone midnight when I turned the light out, and tried to get to sleep, Sleep didn't come that quickly, but when it did it was almost instant. I don't think I can say I had a good sleep last night because once again I woke up as soon as it was fully light, and that was probably just before 6am. Once again I got up for half an hour or so, and then went back to bed for another hour or two of sleep.

  This morning I feel far better than I imagined I would feel. I think I may even feel better than yesterday morning. My chest still feels as if it could become painful, but at the moment it is just very slightly tender. It is just enough tender to make me wary of anything that could aggravate it further, and yet one of my plans for today could make it worse, but it could also do the opposite. I meant to go shopping yesterday, but didn't. Today it takes on a little more urgency. I hope that Tesco is open today. With tomorrow being another bank holiday, it is possible it will be closed, The same could be true of Aldi. If they are closed I won't starve, but I will probably have to go to the corner shop to get some drink.

  My other plans for today are to burn at least a "test pressing" of the videos from 2014. Together with designing some sort of label for the disk, that could take some time - maybe quite a bit of today. This evening I definitely want to go out to Stretchy's Open Mic. It is probably going to be a very quiet affair because there are many other gigs on tonight - including the big charity event to benefit SNARL. That is going to draw many people to it. I am hoping that Jenni will feel up to going out tonight, and that she too will go to Stretchy's Open Mic.
Saturday 4th May 2019
09:10 BST
  It is hard to find the right words to describe yesterday's weather. Depressing is probably a good start, and then some words that are even worse, but I don't know what those words are. Basically, if it wasn't actually cold, it still felt cold, and all the time were wrapped in a sort of grey cotton wool that soaked up any chance of niceness. Probably the best parts of the day were when it rained in the late afternoon/early evening. At least it was doing something instead of just existing.  The highest temperature was supposed to be 13° C. In sunshine that would have been t-shirt weather, but it just felt cold yesterday.
a very cold, but sunny start
  The forecast for today has got off to a good start, but with one minor error. At 7am it was already sunny. Since 8am the forecast has been correct it is still sunny, and maybe there is even better to come in an hour or so. 10am and 11am are still shown as sunny on the latest revision to the forecast. After that it reverts to sunny periods or intervals, but compared to yesterday that is still luxury. However there is one catch - it is going to be a cold day. there was almost a frost this morning, at at 10am, when the forecast says it will be a mere 8° C, it also says it will feel like just 5° C ! Even the 10° C shown for most of the afternoon will only feel like 7° C thanks to a wind blowing direct from the Arctic circle. It is going to be some time before the wind is from a more benign direction - maybe not until Monday week ! Meanwhile tomorrow should be a degree or two warmer, and just as sunny as today.

  I didn't feel motivated to do anything yesterday, but I have got a sort of something to show for it. I did a job that needed doing, but I had been putting off completing it for two reasons. The job itself was to make a DVD for Jodie containing some photos and the video she had taken at the Kayak gig we both went to back on 5th April. The last time I did some work on the DVD I got bogged down on trying to find the title to one of the songs. This time I didn't bother, and just named them track 1, 2, 3 and 4. I'll leave Jodie to work out what they are.

  Having decided to just call the last video "unknown" when I gave it a file name allowed me to press on and tackle the longest part of the process. "Top and tailing" a video, plus giving it a caption at the start, is fairly easy, although the time it takes to render it to the final output file does take a long time on my PC - it is made worse by the fact that I tend to work in high definition now - even if, in this case, it only needed to be "standard" wide screen definition on a DVD.

  With the last video done I faced the tedious task of making a video from still shots. I have to admit that Jodie managed to take better pictures than me. I don't think her camera, a Canon iXus 265 HS, was significantly different to my Canon iXus 285 HS, but maybe she has a steadier hand. Anyway, she took a lot of pictures, and a lot were just about usable. It would have taken forever and a day to string them all together - 10 seconds per picture with a dissolve between pictures - and so I set them against a 4 minute Kayak track - the title track to their album See See The Sun.

 If I was being perfectionist I might have tried cutting the pictures to the beat, but I didn't have the patience for that. As it was I had to correct 2 or 3 mistakes before I was happy with it, and there was a 20 minute wait for the video to render before I could see those mistakes. The whole process, including designing a simple DVD layout and menu, and finally burning a "test pressing" did take up most of my day yesterday. The work I did on the first three videos took half a day some days ago, and so it has been a very time consuming process !

  As I typed that paragraph I realised there was another time consuming part of the process - printing a Lighscribe disk label. So I took 15 minutes out to boot up my laptop to Windows XP, and start burning the first disk label. It estimates it would take 25 minutes to burn, and I will do two of them.

  Back to yesterday, and dinner time was approaching. I hadn't pre-cooked any dinner, and I didn't have any ready meals in the fridge. That gave me the perfect excuse to order a takeaway. In theory it is a luxury I shouldn't be wasting money on, but sometimes you have to live dangerously... To make matters worse, I had already predicted I might have a takeaway yesterday morning.

  I decided on some Chinese food, and started my research using Just Eat, and the Food Standards Agency website. One thing that shocked me was that all the local restaurants seemed to be charging quite high prices, and so it was fortunate that one of the cheaper places scored a perfect 5 for "Scores On The Door". It may have been a bit cheaper than the rest, but the prices still felt high, and I think I know why - the sizes of each dish have gone up to something more appropriate to the America diet. It made ordering a selection an expensive option, but that is what I did.

  I had the pleasure of just two different dishes yesterday, and I have enough leftovers to feed me today. I could probably manage a small breakfast, small lunch and nice dinner from those leftovers. If, as I think I will, I go out and get some shopping today, I may get something like some diced chicken to convert the Singapore fried rice into something like a biryani/paella/risotto for tomorrow.

  After spending such a sedate day, spending a lot of time sitting in front of my PC, I didn't feel particularly tired last night, and it was after midnight when I turned the light out, and got to sleep. Once again I seemed to sleep normally (although this is the new normal - not the normal of 20 years ago). This morning I was awake very soon after sunrise, and after getting to sleep very late it was definitely too early. After about half an hour I was back in bed, and I slept for another couple of hours.
sunny morning
  This was the view out the back bedroom window at 6.20am this morning. That blue sky was a wonderful tonic even if it was close to frosty out there. It definitely inspires me to do something today, but I am not sure what yet. I don't feel too bad this morning, and even my stiff back and stiff right knee seem not very stiff at all this morning. If it weren't so cold I could be tempted to go for a walk somewhere, but I have an idea I might do something warmer - like garden clearance.

  That can raise a sweat even when it is even colder out there. The important thing is that I'll be doing a lot of it in sunshine - hopefully ! That just leaves a decision to be made about tonight. It is possible that after back breaking work in the garden, I won't have to worry about tonight, but if I am still in one piece I might consider going out. I think there is only one gig that attracts me, and yet it repels me. The Entourage Band is playing in "Greater Than Gatsby" in Bromley tonight. They play pleasant music, and so that is one plus point. I would get to see Kornelia again, and after the framed pictures I gave her, she may be pleased to see me. That is a probably very good plus point.

  The bad thing is that I hate the venue for the simple reason is that I have stood at the bus stop opposite the place, and had my teeth rattled by the most appalling bass heavy music known to man too many times. It is also populated with the sort of people I find annoying - sort of hooray Henries and pissed girls tottering/falling around on high heeled shoes. I would feel very out of place in there, plus I think it has pretensions to part be a restaurant, and I definitely would not be wanting to eat in there. I expect the prices to be eye wateringly high - even for Guinness - assuming they sell it among all the high price cocktails with stupid names. It doesn't sound like I will be going, but I will decided closer to the time.
Friday 3rd May 2019
09:00 BST
  Yesterday morning started with some sunny spells, but they didn't last that long. By 11am, or maybe midday, the sky had completely clouded over. The forecast predicted light showers from mid afternoon until almost sunset. The reality was a couple of quite heavy showers that did not last that long. There might have been some fine drizzle as well, but it hardly registered compared to the heavy downpours. For most of the afternoon the temperature was around 15° C.
a dull day
  There seems to be a small chance of rain at any time today, but the latest revision to the forecast suggests that the most likely time for rain today is between 5pm and 9pm. In practice it is dull and grey now, and will probably be dull and grey all day, and even after dark it will be a miserable shade of black. With so much cloud above us it would be no surprise if it rained at any time. To add to the misery we are approaching the big dip in temperature caused by Arctic winds blowing down from the north. Today we will be lucky if the temperature gets as high as the predicted 13° C, and tomorrow the temperature may only reach 10° C. What a miserable time to be alive !

  I had no idea how yesterday would turn out in the morning, and still no idea halfway through the day. It wasn't a great day, although it did have a couple of highlights. The first highlight was when my doorbell rang, and it was the postman delivering a parcel.  It was a book that I wasn't expecting until next week according to Amazon's guestimate. It was also some time in the morning that I got an email to say the other part of my order from Amazon would be delivered yesterday - and once again that was 2 days earlier than expected.

  Using the tracking information that Amazon provide, I thought that my delivery would typically arrive between 2pm and 4pm at the latest. I was wrong ! Even if true that would still leave me enough time to go out for a short walk, or to do a bit of weed clearance in the garden. but the grey sky sapped any enthusiasm for that, and I did some housework on my PC instead. I can't quite remember what I was originally looking for, but I found that I had taken far more video at gigs in 2013 than I realised. I thought I had moved all the video from my PC's hard disk to an external hard disk (plus safety duplicate), but I hadn't for 2013.

  In 2013 I was using a Sony camcorder to take video, and in reasonable light it did a good job, but the chances of reasonable light at a gig was mostly slim. Many of the videos I shot were not that good, although most were better than some of the footage taken on average mobile phones even today (some top end phones can do a better job though). Moving that video onto external hard drives freed up about 91GB of space on my internal hard drive. Video eats drive space !! I think it was the following year, 2014, when I stepped up the quality of my still cameras, and mostly ignored video until I discovered how well my DSLR camera could shoot high definition video - and that eats disk space at an even greater rate !

  From about 2pm I stayed in the living room where I could see the road easier, and be nearer to the front door for when my parcel arrived. I waited and waited and waited and soon the time passed when I should have been on the train heading for my Thursday drink. Still I waited and waited and waited. Dinner time approached, and I heated up the pre-cooked dinner I had made earlier. I ate that while watching the 6pm news on TV (occasionally flicking channels to see a bit of Star Trek on the horror channel). The news finished, and I started watching Star Trek : Deep Space Nine. At 7.15pm I noticed a man outside with a parcel in his hand, and he came towards my front door. My parcel had arrived !

  It was less exciting than it sounds, but the relief of not missing the delivery, and going through the hell of trying to arrange a new delivery time, or even worse, having to go to the depot in Dartford to pick it up, was a very big relief. In one small way the delivery was an anti-climax. There were two items in the parcel, and it was only yesterday morning when I realised I didn't need one of them. It was a pair of spare batteries (plus cheap and nasty charger) for my Canon iXus 285 HS pocket sized camera. It was the camera I had taken to the Kayak gig on 5th April, and had almost flattened the battery there.

  I was sure I had a spare battery for it, but I couldn't find it until after I had ordered another spares. Yesterday morning I had the sudden idea of checking the bag that I had left at Sue's place for a couple of months. I re-checked the pocket in the bag where the camera had been, and there was a spare battery. I now have three batteries for that phone, and that would be enough for several days of intensive photography without needing to go anywhere near a charger. That could be handy in the unlikely-in-the-extreme event that I got lost of the Yorkshire moors for days.

 The second item in my parcel was, I have to admit, little more than a toy in terms of status even if it is a real medical diagnostic instrument. It is a Pulse Oximeter. Once upon a time it might have been an instrument the size of a fridge, and would only be used in a laboratory. Now it is a little thing that clip to a finger, and it's purpose is to measure how much oxygen there is in your blood. I was first introduced to them during the time I was in hospital for my quad heart bypass operation. In the ambulance transporting me between hospitals I had a game with the paramedic as to who could get the highest reading. I beat him every time - which was not suppose to happen for a heavy smoker ! Curiosity lead me to see if they were generally available, and they are. Amazon lists nearly 20 models, and apart from a few exceptions, they are remarkably cheap. I chose one in the mid price range - about £15.
Pulse Oximeter reading
  If you'll excuse the dust on the instrument, this was not the best reading I got last night, but the best photographed reading - it's not easy using the camera with one hand while trying to take an extreme close up at an awkward angle. This is showing my Oxygen uptake is 98%. A couple of deeper breaths sent it up to 99%, and my doctor says that is as high as anyone ever gets. My pulse rate is 70, and a little high - it must have been the excitement. "PI" is perfusion index, and I have to admit I am unsure of the meaning of that. "RR" is respiratory rate, and 12 would seem to be the figure for just quietly breathing in and out.

 At this point in time I have no use for this instrument beyond curiosity. It will be interesting to see how the figures change after working hard - for instance the walk to Catford station with the final part being climbing the stairs to the platform. That always gets me breathing very deeply, but not really gasping. I suppose there could have been some justification for spending more on an instrument with a memory function, or even considerably more for an instrument that allows you to decant the memory direct to a PC, but I expect my curiosity will be satiated within a week or two.

  My dinner possibly primed me for another fair night's sleep. I found a packet of pearl barley at the back of my cupboard that must have been there unopened for years. I thought it was time to try cooking some pearl barley. I have a vague recollection of my mum padding out a stew using it, and I probably ate something with it in sometime around the time that I decided to buy the packet found in the back of the cupboard.

  It turned out that I used far too much. I imagined I was going to make a sort of stew of meatballs in gravy with some vegetable and some pearl barley. What I actually made was something like a risotto. It was actually very nice, but I didn't want to eat so much pearl barley, and ended up throwing away half of it. With hindsight I could have used it as the base for some new exotic creation for today's dinner.

  With a stomach full, but far from over full of dinner, plus the 2 or 3 cans of lager I had drunk through the evening, I was set up well for a good sleep - and I did seem to sleep quite well last night. It must have been close to normal sleep. I have the vaguest recollection of getting up for a wee once or twice, but I was asleep again afterwards so quickly that they hardly counted. Essentially I slept until I woke up soon after sunrise. It wasn't that long ago that I would have thought that was the perfect time, but I thought that a bit more sleep would be good. So, once again, after my morning rituals I went back to bed where it didn't seem like I really slept, but a couple of hours seemed to pass without me noticing it.

  This morning I feel mostly OK until, for instance, I stand up to walk to the bathroom. After sitting in this chair for half an hour my legs feels really stiff and painful for a minute or so. After that initial stiffness they seem to feel OK. Ideally I should go for a walk today, but as I look out the window at the terrible greyness, I feel like closing the curtains, and staying strictly indoors. Maybe I might go to the shops, and maybe I might go to a gig this evening, but I very much doubt the latter. I think there is something on, but I have no idea what because I don't have much enthusiasm to go out. Perhaps I'll check the listing later and see what's one. Perhaps I'll treat myself to a takeaway tonight instead.
Thursday 2nd May 2019
08:13 BST
  There were several revisions of yesterday's weather forecast, and each one seemed to offer less and less sunshine. I think there was some sunshine yesterday, but it evidently made so little impression on me that I can't remember when, or for how long. The whole day seemed to have a slightly cool feel to it, and I have my doubts that the temperature hit the forecast 17° C...although, on second thoughts, it was supposed to happen quite late in the afternoon, and I do have a sort of feeling that as afternoon moved into evening, it was milder than I expected.
sunshine and then rain
  It will be interesting to see how the forecast above survives during the day. The first part seems right. We are having sunny spells at the moment, and although it seems quite cold downstairs where there is no heating on, my thermometers broadly agree that it is about 12° C at the moment. It is strange it should feel so cold though. A month or two ago I would have been thinking that 12° C was t-shirt weather ! If the forecast continues to be correct we can look forward to more sunny spells until mid afternoon when we may see some showers. Today is definitely forecast to be a little cooler than yesterday - just 15° C if you ignore the brief blip at 2pm (assuming it ever happens). Tomorrow will be cooler still, and the chance of rain outweighs any chance of sunshine. On Saturday we reach rock bottom - just 11° C at best, and probably very grey skies all day.

  The day before yesterday I had some bad back pain. It faded a bit later in the day, and yesterday morning it was still annoying, but not that bad. I hoped that a bit of walking would do far better than laying down and trying to rest my back. It turns out it probably was, and although it was quite a short walk, I did feel better for it. It actually felt OK while walking, and with hindsight I wish I had walked further.

  My walk was only as far as "Cash Busters", the second hand/pawnbrokers shop on the high street. I came home from there via Aldi. It was my intention to just do some windows shopping at Cash Busters, but I saw two things that didn't seem too expensive, and that I wanted. Of course "wanted" is not the same as "needed", and it was just pure indulgence and/or curiosity that lead me to buy two little pocket cameras.

  I offered the man in the shop £100 for both of them - £10 less than their combined ticket prices - and he accepted. I sometime wonder if I could have struck an even better bargain if I had tried. The two cameras were an old 6MP Samsung, and a 12MP Canon. The Samsung was the cheapest camera, and that softened the blow when I found it has a fault. In theory I can take it back to get my money back, but I am not sure if I will.

  The Canon camera is rather good, although a little older than I expected for touch screen camera. It was apparently first offered on Amazon in 2011. It was while checking on Amazon that I saw both good and bad news. Being an old camera there are no brand new ones for sale, but I did find three second hand cameras. There was a pink coloured camera priced at £249. That made me feel that I had got a bargain - I paid just £70. Then there was a silver version for £108 - I was still quids in. Finally there was a brown version, and the one I have is brown - not the nicest colour for a camera ! It was going for just £59 plus nearly £5 post and packing. So I lost out to the tune of about £6.

  Having to set most functions via a touch screen is a bit weird, but I guess it isn't such a shock to the system after doing the same thing on mobile phones for years now. My first impression is that it is a handy little camera, and like all the Canon cameras I've tried, it does produce very good pictures. One of the first things I did was to put the battery on charge. Only time will tell, but the battery seems to be in good condition, although it was close to flat when I brought it home, and it did take quite a long time to charge it. It was getting late, and the light seemed quite grey and flat when I took some test shots in the garden. In that dim light the exposure time was very long, and motion blur was a problem when using it hand held. I think only my big Canon DSLR camera could have pulled some good pictures out of the dim grey light.
the weeds are growing
It may look flat and grey out there, but you can still see that the weeds are growing fast !
The ivy is trying to cover the fence
It is alarming how quickly the ivy is trying to cover the fence again. One of my priorities when I next do some gardening will be to rip that ivy down.
small tree stump
This tree stump appears to be anchored to the core of The Earth, and it is going to be a bugger to try and dig out. At the base of the stump you can see some swarf where I have drilled holes in it at ground level. I am hoping that it will speed up the decay, and if nothing else I'll be able to break the top off at, or preferably just below ground level.

  On my way back from Cash Busters I went via Aldi. For once I bought very little in there - maybe little more than 5 items. Two of those items were twin packs of 2.25 litre bottles of Diet Coke. So I lugged home 9 litres - heavy ! Oddly enough, it didn't seem to be too taxing, and I felt fine when I got home. I don't even remember any pain from my back at that time, although it was still a bit stiff when I sat down.
   At this point I have just been downstairs to get a glass of orange squash. When I first stood up I felt incredibly stiff, and for the first 10ft I was walking like a stiff legged robot !  Oddly enough, going down the stairs was easy, as was coming back up again. I assume this is just a temporary thing, and will be gone once the warmer weather is here again.

  I did very little of note yesterday afternoon and evening. I had some lunch - a triple pack of "classic" sandwiches from Aldi - and then I started to investigate my new cameras. As I said, I first put the batteries on charge. While they were charging I searched out some information on my cameras. The Canon seemed to be from America according to it's model number - ELPH 500HS. I don't know why Canon use different model numbers in America, but they do. The user manual I managed to download was an international version, and it showed that here in Europe, and possibly most of the world, it is known as an Ixus 310H. I have several Canon cameras in the Ixus range, and they all seem to be rather splendid !

 The Samsung P500 camera seems to have been abandoned by Samsung, and almost all internet searches come up with a similar model number for an Android phone. In was hoping there might be a firmware upgrade for it that might cure a fault it has. Every picture it takes is vastly over-exposed. A picture of the garden taken through the window when the light was very similar to the flat greyness when I was testing the Canon camera, came out as almost pure white ! It may be possible to use the camera with manual settings to take recognisable pictures, but I am not sure I want to waste my time. If I had the time to spare I should take it back to the shop for my money back.

  Last night I did hardly anything of interest - except for one small, but important thing. Jenni, who I rather like, posted on social media that she was feeling down in the dumps, and was hardly bothering to go out recently. It was a situation I have great familiarity with - I've been feeling the same way for the last week or two. I exchanged a few private message with Jenni, and I think I cheered her up a bit, and of course that cheered me up too. More than that, I have arranged what could almost be called a date by the loosest definitions possible.

 On Sunday there is a special charity gig in Elmers End to benefit the charity SNARL - the people who have been investigating the Croydon cat killer, and providing support to the cat owners on top of their usual work. A lot of the bigger "Bromley" bands are playing there, and my expectation is that it is going to be packed, and I really hate that pub when it is packed. So I am not going. Instead I will be going to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley. I suggested to Jenni that if she could handle a much more calm night, she might like to join me there. She is going to try and go, and I look forward to that. There has been almost nothing positive to look forward to lately, and I need something to excite me.

  Last night's sleep was one of those odd ones where it sometime felt like I was not sleeping well, and yet hours and hours passed without effort. One thing is certain though - one of my jobs today is to strip my bed and re-lay the mattress protector. It is all rucked up again, and finding a comfortable spot to sleep in has been tricky for the last couple of nights. It is possible I could blame my bad back on my sleeping position.

  This morning my back doesn't hurt as such, but it can be bloody stiff as I have noted above. It is bad enough to distract me from my stiff and painful right shoulder. Other than that I guess I feel mostly OK, although perhaps not OK enough to consider sawing up more wood, or even raking weeds out of the garden - although maybe I might do a bit of the latter if I get the urge later. Mostly my day revolves around my late Thursday afternoon drinking session. We are back in Shortlands today, and providing the trains don't fall over, it is a more pleasant journey than mucking about on buses. I expect I'll take my new camera with me to take some more test shots.
Wednesday 1st May 2019
09:11 BST
  There was sunshine yesterday, but I don't think there was as much as the forecast predicted. The first sunny spells were very brief and far between, and I don't think it was until a fair bit later in the afternoon that the sun really started to make an impression. I'm not sure if the temperature reached the predicted 17° C. I feel it was possibly a couple of degrees lower.
this forecast has been revised, and it will
                      be much duller
  At 7am it did look like it was starting to get sunny, but that was a false start. It is now rather dull, and the revised forecast now says it will probably be dull for most of the day. At 10pm it may even rain ! The temperature profile remains the same as the prediction above. By late afternoon the temperature may hit 17° C, and the revised forecast says we might have 2 hours of it like than instead of just 1. At the moment it looks like there will be a better chance of seeing the sun tomorrow. Sunny spells are predicted for late morning, and then later in the afternoon that curious mix of sunshine and rain icons which sometimes seems to be the forecasters shorthand for "I don't know" ! At the moment the best guess for tomorrow's temperature is just 15° C - probably feeling rather cool without supporting sunshine.

  I finished yesterday by saying I had no idea what I would do during the day. What I did do came as quite a surprise to me. After having a shower I noticed that the towel I was using to dry myself was not as fresh as I would like. Ordinarily I would probably still use it for a few more days, but yesterday I decided to wash it because for some unknown reason that towel had a history of going sour. It has been OK since I washed it with some bleach, but I wanted to make sure I never let it get so bad again.

  So yesterday became the third day in a row that I did some intensive physical work - that towel is very heavy when soaking wet, and I didn't just wash the towel by itself. Like when I did some hand laundry the day before, I felt quite stiff and creaky when I started, but once my muscles warmed up it didn't feel too bad. That is why once I had the washing hanging on the line outside to dry, I only rested a bit before doing more physical labour.

  I have this plan that at this time is rather premature, but ultimately is to move the wardrobe out of the spare bedroom, and put it in my bedroom. The thing that make the plan premature is that the only place I can put it in my bedroom is already occupied by what should have been a freestanding bookcase, but is mostly filled with assorted stuff. Some of that assorted stuff will eventually get thrown away, but other stuff definitely not ! I'm not sure how I am going to resolve the problem.

  Anyway, yesterday I decided I wanted to start work on what will replace the wardrobe in the spare bedroom. I intend to replace it with a simple, but substantial shelf with a rail for coat hangers beneath it. The shelf is for the plastic boxes of spare bed linen and towels and stuff that currently lives on top of the wardrobe. The whole exercise will be a case of re-using old materials (or materials I already have).

  My still uncompleted plan to move the chest of drawers, in what may once again become a dining room, to beside the chimney breast meant taking out a big shelf. I have cleaned that up, and with about 6 inches lopped off the end, it should fit into the alcove by the chimney breast in the spare bedroom nicely. I intend to mount it on a frame screwed to the wall on three sides. I already had the timber to make the frame, and all I had to do was to cut it up.

  I don't have to do it, but I thought I would try and angle the ends of the timbers to 45° to make it look all neat and professional. Well that was the idea, but I am not skilled enough to do it neatly enough by hand. I think that once it is assembled, and screwed to the wall, my poor joins will not be very obvious. The thing is, to do all this meant getting out the saw and putting more strain on my arm muscles. It would also put a bit of strain on my back - as I discovered later. I think I did about three saw cuts before I decided it would be much easier to dig out my jigsaw. That did make life a lot easier, and made cutting the end off the shelf much less painful than doing it by hand (although not as clean looking).

  I did have an idea that I could still put up the shelf without permanently removing the wardrobe. If I make the shelf the same height as the wardrobe I can put the wardrobe back under it until such time as I move it to my bedroom.  However, I didn't do that yesterday. I thought I deserved some lunch and a rest. It was when I laid down after eating lunch that I realised my upped back was complaining a lot. Somehow I managed to have a snooze, and when I woke up again my back did not feel so bad.

  I decided that I would do something far less physical for the rest of the afternoon. One tedious, but interesting thing was to scan some more negatives. I have almost finished scanning the most interesting negative now, although even the more interesting are not always that interesting ! The negatives I scanned yesterday did have a few interesting picture.
view towards Catford
                      Bridge station before work begins
   This peaceful scene is the view towards Catford Bridge station taken from the now demolished footbridge that crossed the railway into Catford Greyhound Stadium. As far as I can recall, in August 1996, when these pictures were taken, the stadium was intact, but not in use. Note that the right hand side of Dogget Road had no pavement in 1996.
engineering work starts
    I have no idea what interval of time had passed between the first picture, and this one. I may have taken the first picture the day before this engineering work took place. It's pretty obvious there were no trains on this day, and probably for the whole weekend. All the track had been lifted right through the station, and for some distance before it, and all the old ballast scooped up and placed in the big freight bins on the right.
tea break
       It is not obvious in this small picture, but the man in the foreground is carrying a large kettle in one hand, and a plastic bucket with stuff in it in the other hand. I think it was time for a tea break.
class 58 diesel loco
  Some people nicknamed them bones because they were thin in the middle, and the cab stuck out at each end, but they were officially class 58 diesel locomotives. Since this picture was taken they have all gone out of service (although I strongly suspect some have gained new leases of life on preserved railways). My pictures show this was the main locomotive in use on the day, but other had been used to deliver materials to the work site. They had it easy. This loco and it's driver had to hang around all day, occasionally moving just a few hundred feet as the work moved down the line. The driver must have been very bored !

  I had nibbled on several things during the afternoon, including some cheese and crackers, and so I had my dinner a bit later than usual. It was a simple chicken and potato stew with some garlic, ginger and chilli for extra flavour. It should have been very nice, but it still seemed a bit bland for some reason. I felt forced to have a sort of sweet after eating it. It was a couple of cake bars with far too much sugar in them for me.

  As usual I watched a bit of TV in the evening, but after Star Trek : Deep Space Nine finished at 8pm I switched the TV off, and lay on my bed reading. I think it was around 9pm that I brushed my teeth, and I was probably fast asleep before 10pm. I think I slept OK, just waking a couple of times for a pee in the night, before waking up at 6am. At that point I had had almost my full 8 hours sleep. After doing my usual ritual, pee,pills and taking a screenshot of the weather forecast, I went back to bed. I didn't really expect to sleep, but I did, and it was just about 8am when I woke up again.

  This morning I have a few aches and pains after all my hard work (hard work by my standards), but I think I feel basically OK. I think I would prefer to give my arms and back some rest today, but that doesn't rule out using my legs. The very latest weather forecast revision just shows grey, grey and more grey, and that doesn't enthuse me to go out walking for pleasure. On the other hand, the reality is that there is hazy sunshine right now, and it is not that hazy judging by the sharpness of the shadows it is casting. I think I'll wait until after I have had a shower and got dressed properly to see if I am going to go out for the pleasure of walking, or if I am going to go out somewhere for purely practical reasons - like shopping or something.