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My Diary/Blog For the Month of November 2019

Saturday 30th November 2019
09:43 GMT
  It made a very nice change to see some sunshine yesterday. I feel sure that we saw more than the forecast predicted. Yesterday I suggested that the last few hours of daylight would still be bright even though the forecast said the sun would have disappeared behind light cloud. We were both right and wrong. I think it was probably at about 2pm, maybe a bit later, and the sun was shining brightly, but for me it was completely blocked by the building to the south because it is so low in the sky. The sky was still fairly clear as the sun set (now past the building, and shining feebly as it prepared to duck below the horizon). That clear sky allowed the temperature to fall quite fast, and by midnight there was a good frost visible on the cars parked on the road outside.
                    a bit of weak sun early afternoon
   By 8am there was no sign of any frost, and instead the big feature was mist. By 9am the mist was turning into fog, but it seems to be past it's thickest now. After a very cold start it is starting to warm up - if a maximum temperature can ever be called warm ! With luck this afternoon will see some nice sunny spells, but at sunset the temperature drops again, but apparently not as low as last night. Tomorrow is currently predicted to be another dry day, with a similar temperature range to today, but the sunny spells will probably be in the morning, and there may be a lot fewer of them.  Monday is currently predicted to be a gloriously sunny day, but it may start with a frost, and the temperature may only rise to 7° C.

  In theory I should have gone out for a nice walk in the increasingly rare sunshine yesterday, but I couldn't raise the enthusiasm for it. Maybe it was because there was stuff I wanted to do around the house. I had been neglecting several necessary, and quite a few "it would be nice to do" jobs. So I stayed in, and got lots done. Mostly it was small things that in the end should end up as big things when taken together - mostly steps towards rehabilitating my back room back to be usable as a dining room.

  One job I had been planning, and had sourced most of the materials for, was to install a permanent light in the cupboard under the stairs. It was, I have to admit, quite a simple job, but I had partly putting it off because I don't like working in that cupboard without good illumination. In the past there have been things in there that I would rather see brightly rather than vague shadows. I'm talking about creepy crawlies, and even mice. Once upon a time, maybe 10 or 12 years ago, I even found a dead rat in there. Since then all the holes in the floorboards, mostly where cables and pipes have come up from under the floor, have been well plugged, but I feel sure that the cupboard had been a bolt hole to the occasional rodent one of my old cats would have brought in. I was happy to see that even with the new bright LED lamp I installed, there were no sign of any rodent droppings.

  While I had my tools out I tried out an idea I had to use a small, very lightweight wooden box, that once had a presentation set of whisky in it, as a sort of shelf to display my current collection of whisk(e)y miniatures. There were two problems. One was that I couldn't get all my collection on it, and secondly I don't think it looks very good now it is place. One day I'll come up with a better idea, but I guess it is probably going to stay up now for another decade or two !
whisky miniatures
                        collection on new shelf
  Other little jobs included moving a few things around, and cleaning this that and the other (those whisky miniatures were covered in dust, as was the top of the cupboard they were on before I put them on the new shelf). A couple more heavy jobs were to do two loads of hand laundry. There was just a little too much accumulated in the washing bag to do it in one go, and so I did it in two halves. That was actually the proper way to do it - separating black t-shirts from lighter colours (not that it would have mattered if the blue hand towel, or the turquoise underpants had come out a bit darker).

  A little bit of my time was used cooking, or preparing food. Sometimes having lunch is a good idea because it does seem to reduce my hunger later in the day. I didn't, and still don't think what I had for lunch was a good idea even if measurements suggest to the contrary. I had spotted a pack of ready cooked cocktail sausages in Aldi with a half price sticker on it. I shouldn't have been suckered into buying them, and I am sure I shouldn't have given them a good grilling before eating the lot.

  One reason for not even buying them is that cocktail sausages are intended to be eaten when drunk, and so their poor quality is immaterial. One reason for not eating them is that they are probably full of fat and other undesirables. The odd thing was that when I checked my blood glucose level before dinner, it was still fairly low, although I suspect it could have been even lower without those silly little sausages.

  My dinner was to be chicken salad. I thought I had my favourite skinless/boneless chicken thighs in the fridge, but upon opening the pack I remembered I had bought diced chicken breast to see what it was like. I still treated it the same way as I would have used the thighs. I spread the bits out, poured on some allegedly hot (but isn't) chipotle chilli sauce, and gave them a good grilling. I had them with salad, and it was all rather nice. Maybe thanks to the cocktail sausages, I didn't seem to have more than a light craving for food/snacks in the evening.

  I spent a chunk of the evening reading more from "Carrying The Fire", but book by astronaut Michael Collins. I read for quite a bit, but put the book down at the point where the Apollo craft he is flying, along with Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin, had just left Earth orbit, and was heading to the moon. I expected to fall asleep very quickly once I had put the book down, and turned out the light. I didn't !

  I seemed to have long periods of laying awake trying to get to sleep last night. Although it often didn't feel like it, I knew that some of the apparent jumps in time were because I had actually been asleep without realising it, but even so, I could have wished for several more hours of good sleep. However, I don't feel particularly tired this morning - so far ! I also don't seem to feel too bad despite feeling an assortment of aches and pains while thrashing around in the night.

  The best news is that this morning my blood glucose level is nice and low (although as always, lower would be better). My blood pressure is good and low - and came up that way almost on my first attempt. Most remarkable is that without even having a poo (which I am still waiting to happen), my weight seems to have dropped again, and while it may have been barely 100gm lower, I think it is the lowest reading I have had in this series of dieting.

  Today brings many opportunities to mess up my weight loss, and maybe blood glucose. I am going to Petts Wood to catch some live music starting at 2.30pm. Beer will be involved, although probably only Guinness, which tends to be fairly benign. I still think it will be wise to have something in my stomach before I go out, and the best I seem to have available is some buffalo chicken wings. I expect that being American inspired, they are coated with sugary syrup or something, and they will wreck my blood glucose level, but then again I think my pancreas probably needs a reminder now and then of what it's function is.
Friday 29th November 2019
08:21 GMT
  Yesterday morning featured some drizzle and rain. That finished at about midday, and then the big unknown was when it would start again. The last revision of the forecast I saw moved it forward to 5pm. In reality it was closer to 4pm. It was a very dull day from dawn to dusk, and with a maximum temperature of just 9° C, it was a rather cool day.
                    but bright
   Without going out in the cold for a closer examination, it was difficult to tell if today started with a frost, or just some heavy dew. It was certainly forecast to be a cold start, 4° C at the moment, and with a maximum expected temperature of just 7° C it is going to be a cold day. Nevertheless, today has started bright. Most of the sky is blue now, but later on some thin cloud will reduce the sunshine to just sunny spells until even those finish early this afternoon. The last few hours of daylight may still be fairly bright even if there is no direct sun. At sunset the temperature is forecast to drop to just 2° C by midnight. Tomorrow will start cold, and apparently heavily overcast. Later in the morning the clouds will thin a bit, but while the top temperature will probably be 7° C again, it may only be that for just a few hours. It will soon be winter !

  Not a lot happened yesterday, but what did happen was good, and I felt curiously satisfied at the end of the day.  I think it must have been around 11am when I walked to Aldi to buy a bit of food. I guess I have had too many "stews" lately, and wanted something different. I was inspired by the ready made salads I had bought from Sainsbury's on Wednesday to buy some salad ingredients. It is not really salad weather, but it still makes a pleasant change for a few days.

  I also wanted something to line my stomach before going out boozing later in the afternoon. That turned out to be a couple of Aldi's Aberdeen Angus quarter pounder burgers. I couldn't see the packs with just 2 big burgers in them, and had to buy a 4 pack with smaller burgers that were still apparently "quarter pounders". I would never have guess they were that heavy, and even less so after being well grilled. I also bought some other meat and vegetables, but just for a change, no booze.

  At about midday I started grilling two of the burgers, and once well cooked I ate them with nothing more than a bit of mustard. Later on I would be glad that I had eaten them. After my lunch I didn't do anything of note. I read for a bit, and maybe I had a short snooze, but essentially I was killing time as I waited until just before 4pm when I went out to get the train to Shortlands.
strong beer - fuzzy photo !
  I had contemplated walking some of the way, or indeed, during one mad moment even the possibility of walking all the way (5 miles ?), but common sense said it was cold, dark and wet - not good for pounding the pavements, or walking through parks. I'll just comfort myself with the knowledge that it is a fraction over half a mile to the station, and the same coming home. So my daily exercise was just 1 mile plus a few hundred yards from station to pub, and I suppose my walk to and from Aldi might add over a quarter of a mile to the occasion.

  When I arrived at the pub there were the usual choice of beers, but none tickled my fancy more than "Suffolk Strong". At 6% it seemed the perfect winter beer to finish the session with, but I started with it. It could have been very easy to have drunk more than three pints of it, but I somehow managed to stick to my principles, and leave after those three pints.

  Lining my stomach with the two burgers turned out to be a wise move. It slowed the rate of getting drunk, and limited how drunk I felt - which turned out to be "mellow" rather than anything worse. I hadn't really felt any discomfort when I had walked to the station at a fair speed on my way to the pub, and even less discomfort when I walk home again - once again at top speed...well almost top speed.
burgers and salad
  Before going out I had almost precooked the other two burgers from the pack, and they just needed 10 minutes under a light grill to finish them off when I got home. I had them with a pile of salad. I will admit I did give the salad a light sprinkle of basil infused olive oil, and so it wasn't quite as healthy as it could be. It was very nice, although not quite filling enough, and I did have a sort of light snack a bit later in the evening.

  I was home in time to prepare my dinner, and to eat it while watching Star Trek Voyager on the Horror Channel at 7pm. Star Trek Voyager is a very lumpy series. Some stories are good and some bad, and quite a few are rehashes of stories used in the Original Star Trek, or Start Trek The New Generation. Last night's episode didn't really grab my attention, and maybe the lingering effects of that strong beer meant that I really can't remember much of the plot.

  It was a relief to turn the TV off, and take a book to bed. I am still reading, and enjoying Michael Collins "Carrying The Fire". I read at least one very long chapter last night. It was about the first few pre-moon landing Apollo flights. He didn't fly on those, but I think the next chapter will be about the time he did fly on Apollo, but stayed aboard as commander of the Command Module while Neil Armstrong landed the lunar module for the first human touchdown on the Moon in July 1969.

  Last night was another night where I don't think I slept that well. Evidently the strong beer had almost worn off by the time I turned the light out. It was one of those nights where I couldn't seem to get comfortable, and I would wake up too frequently, and some of my dreams didn't seem very nice. One dream concerned being in hospital feeling perfectly OK, but not being discharged for some unexplained reason. One bit of the dream concerned hearing about, but not seeing, a friend being admitted to an adjacent ward. He was apparently diagnosed with stomach cancer (I think).

  This morning I feel a bit stiff and creaky, but I don't think anything hurts. Last night's beer seems to have had two contradictory effects. My blood glucose level is nice and low this morning, but I seem to have put on a few hundred grammes. The latter is particularly annoying because I thought I had broken through the next kilogramme down digit, but apparently not.

  I am unsure what I am going to do today. Ideally I should go on a long walk in what ever sunshine remains as the sky slowly clouds over - not that there is any sign of that happening yet !  On the other hand there are things I want to do around the house, but have been neglecting. I think today is probably going to be planned while I am having my morning shower. Maybe I'll decided that going back to bed would be the desired thing, or maybe I will decide to tackle a 5 mile country walk. Who knows what will happen in my brain in the next half hour !
Thursday 28th November 2019
09:04 GMT
  It was incredibly murky yesterday. The clouds were thick, and it often rained, but it was 11° C. I think the sun almost came out once. There was an isolated patch of blue sky to the north in the afternoon, but the sun was in the south ! I admit this is almost a direct copy of what I wrote yesterday about the previous day, but I have changed the temperature from 13 to 11° C. Strangely enough, there was a time in the afternoon when that 11° C felt very mild, almost warm.
another murky and wet day
   It's going to be another very dull, and often wet day. The latest revision to the forecast says the drizzle should have stopped by now. Maybe it has, or maybe it hasn't. It still looks very wet outside. The middle of the day should be dry, or at least it won't rain, but it will undoubtedly still be wet underfoot. The temperature looks to fairly constant at 9° C. That's not going to feel that good under a dark, leaden sky. On the other hand, it shouldn't feel too cold. Light rain will start up again tonight - hopefully later so I can get home from the pub in the dry, but the latest revision has it starting earlier at 5pm. Tomorrow should be dry and bright, possibly even sunny in the middle of the day. The downside is that with the temperature only reaching just 7° C, and a few degrees less before and after that, it is going to be a chilly day. 
a longer walk than usual
  Washing my hair in the morning made little difference to my presentation when I saw Angela later. After getting caught in a lot of rain I looked like I had been dragged through a hedge backwards by the time I got to the pub.
it should have been
                        bright instead of raining
 As the picture above shows, there was a period in the morning when it looked like I could be walking in sunshine. Sadly it didn't last. I managed to walk about the first mile before the first rain fell. I estimate that it was raining for at least half my 3.34 mile walk. This time the figure of 3.34 miles should be fairly accurate. I didn't walk in any shops, and even when walking under some over hanging trees I my phone didn't lose the GPS signal. I feel quite pleased to have been able to extend the walk to the pub, and back home again, to such a distance.

  I could even have walked further, but by 12.30 I was getting too wet, and decided to head to the pub. Even then I didn't take the most direct walk, and crossed the main road after passing the pub on the other side of the road using a proper crossing, rather than darting out to a central reservation in gaps in the traffic. I think I was drinking my second pint of Guinness before Angela turned up a lot later than usual, and we only had time for just over half an hour together. It was still very pleasant though, and it ended in a warm, if rather damp hug when I said goodbye to her. The earliest I may see Angela again could be Saturday at the Petts Wood Xmas carnival, but I think the chances of her going are very, very slim, and maybe next Monday or Tuesday would be more realistic.
Old sign outside the
  A couple of days ago I think I included a picture of the old alms houses just on the Lewisham side of the boundary with Catford. Yesterday I remembered to take a picture of a sign post outside those alms houses. The sign pointing to the Greenwich Meridian dates the sign to just before the turn of the century I think. All the directions are still perfectly valid except the one pointing to the Benefits Agency. The building it points to has served pretty much the same purpose probably since it was built (1930's Government architecture is my guess), but successive governments have kept changing the names of the department that ran it. When last used it was a "Job Centre". It is currently being demolished.
Cash Buster's
  I was a little surprised to see the shutter down on Cash Busters when I walked past. (note the wet pavement - it was still raining !). I have bought some useful camera gear from here in the past, and some have been bargains - the man who runs it is always happy to haggle over the price ! It will be a shame to lose it because then the nearest second hand camera (and other stuff) places will be in Lewisham.

  It was nice to finally get home, and put my feet up, although I didn't think I felt that tired, and could have walked a fair bit more before I felt really knackered, although before I get too excited I have to remember I had an almost 90 minute rest, and three pints of Guinness at roughly the halfway point.

  Before putting my feet up properly, and in fact having a snooze, I transferred all the pictures I had taken to my PC. Yesterday it also included some short video clips taken on the first half of the walk. If you are able to see the video you will see; The running track completely empty of puffing athletes, A quick look around the middle of the north end of the park with very few people in sight, a longer sequence of me walking up the long incline towards the Ladywell Road entrance of the park. I always find that incline taxing, but as I get fitter I don't have to slow down, but I am still very glad to get to the top. Then there is a short, but noisy section showing the weir by the bridge that links the park to the hospital. All the rain made the river very lively. Finally there is a quick pan around inside Lewisham Park that starts with Angela's favourite park bench in the summer.

  I had an interesting dinner last night. It took some willpower to persuade myself that a 3.34 mile walk was not an excuse for a takeaway. My thoughts were drifting that way because I didn't have much in the fridge that I really fancied for some reason. I solved the problem with a daring, but successful experiment - sprouts and spam cooked in beef stock. It may sound gruesome, but I rather liked it. It was probably more enjoyable for not reading the nutritional information on the tin of "chopped ham and pork" (which is spam in any other language). I would not be surprised to find that sugar was an ingredient. My blood glucose was a little higher than usual this morning, and I don't think I can attribute it to anything else.

  I soon got bored with TV last night, and fell back on reading and music to pass the evening. I am still enjoying Michael Collins' "Carrying The Fire". Last night I read as far as when he splashed down after 4 days in the Gemini 10 spacecraft. I think maybe you have to have an appreciation of technical matters (but not more than a veneer thin understanding of some of the things described) to get the best from the book, but his relaxed style of writing makes it a very easy read.

  Partly while reading I decided I really ought to have a good listen to a couple of the CDs I have bought from The British Heart Foundation charity shop. The first CD was Sheryl Crow's "The Globe Sessions". It was very pleasant to listen to, but I don't think any track stood out as something special. The second CD was Robert Plant and Alison Krauss' "Raising Sand". It started off fairly pleasant, but not very exciting, although as the CD progressed the songs took on a Country & Western feel - not really to my taste even when as mild as on this CD.

  I don't feel I slept that well last night....well not all the time. By 6am I was hoping to get another couple of hours of sleep, but my sleep got thinner and thinner, and although I missed the transition between night and gloomy morning, it didn't feel like I had slept that much. The worst bit was possibly at 5am when I thought my right elbow was going to start playing up again. It must have just been the way I was sleeping on it or something because I don't feel too bad this morning. On the other hand I don't feel like I am effervescing with enthusiasm.

  There are tow things to do today. One is to go to Aldi (probable) or Tesco (possible) to buy a bit of food. That could mean a walk in the rain, but only a short one. Later in the afternoon it is my regular Thursday drink. No problem there except deciding if I should walk part of the route. Last night I was wondering if I could actually walk all the way there. This morning I don't think I want to attempt it, and at the moment I am not sure if I want to walk any of it (except the half mile to and from Catford station). Maybe I'll reconsider my options in the spring when it is (hopefully) dry and sunny.
Wednesday 27th November 2019
09:15 GMT
  It was incredibly murky yesterday. The clouds were thick, and it often rained, but it was 13° C. I think the sun almost came out once. There was an isolated patch of blue sky to the north in the afternoon, but the sun was in the south !
                    morning seems a bit brighter than expected
   The latest revision to the forecast now shows a bit less rain than the earlier version in the screenshot above. What the new revision doesn't show is that there are patches of thinner cloud, and once or two the sun has almost broken through. Against all odds, there is a tiny chance of seeing a ray or two of sunshine today. The current revision says rain from midday until 7pm. The afternoon temperature should be 11° C, but like the last few days, with no sunshine it is not going to feel warm. Tomorrow will probably be a degree cooler, but despite it being heavily overcast, no rain is predicted until about 7pm.

  I had a sort of urge to defy my normal feelings of not going out in the rain. At first I had a grand plan that I might attempt an approx 4 mile walk in the countryside, but Thameslink trains seemed to be having a few problems, and I didn't fancy long waits for cancelled trains while 10 or 20 miles from home. My next grand scheme was to walk to the Saver Centre, aka Sainsbury's, in Lower Sydenham. That would be a round trip of about 3 miles through the Pool River Linear Park.
only a short walk
  I started out on the 3 mile walk, but didn't get very far. It was not raining when I started, but I was only halfway down the road when the drizzle started. I was wearing a proper hooded raincoat, and so I could have kept dry, but it still washed away all my enthusiasm. On top of that I was not enjoying walking. I think my legs felt a bit stiff, and for a while I had a small pain from the left hand side of my ribcage.

  It was time to think on my feet, and consider possible alternatives. I was already heading towards Catford Station, and more significantly the Sainsbury's Local shop by it. I found I had a desire for some of their ready made salads. I also had a sort of urge to try a pure salad sandwich, or roll.

 Just to break the narrative with a live weather update. It is 09:33 and the sun has just broken through the clouds. It is hazy sunshine, and it seems to be fading even now, but it was casting strong, if slightly fuzzy, shadows !

  One of the things I am avoiding, where possible, is carbohydrates. It is actually a cheat in some ways, but it does keep my blood glucose nice and low while I am making a twice daily record of it to show the Diabetes Nurse at the hospital next January. The bread roll, which Aldi calls a demi-sub, that I bought would make my blood glucose peak quite high for a time, but I can live with the odd spike every now and then. More about this later. For some reason I felt a bit better after buying the salads and the one single roll, and decided to go home the long way round. It was only a 1.4 mile walk, but better than nothing - and useful !

volunteers cleaning up
                        the river banks
  During my walk I came across these volunteers tidying up the river banks. It must have taken a lot of dedication to work in the dull wet weather. One young lady had apparently been in the river to retrieve litter. She did have Wellington boots on, and the river was shallow, but even so....
holly bush growing in
                        a decaying tree trunk
  It must have been 10 years ago that some big trees were felled in the park. In many places a 10ft or more length of trunk was just left to rot. The rotting trunks become home to thousands of creepy crawlies, plus fungi that help to rot the wood down. What I didn't expect was to see this small holly bush, complete with berries, growing in a soil filled hollow of the rotting trunk.
solitary athlete on
                        the running track
  As you cross the railway, using the big bridge that links the north and south parts of the park, you get a good view of what is officially called "Ladywell Arena", but it no more than a running track and a building that houses changing rooms, and a fitness room or gym. In my day it was always just "The Running Track". As I looked out over it it seemed deserted, but then I noticed there was one solitary athlete running around the track. I was going to take the piss, and use words like masochist, and then I remembered that I too was out exercising in my own way under that appalling dirty coloured sky, and in occasional drizzle or worse.

  It was after midday when I got home, and I immediately started preparing some lunch from the ingredients I had bought earlier. I cut the "sub" roll in two, and stuffed one half with "classic salad" - just green leaves, a couple of small tomatoes, and some grated beetroot and carrot. I also gave it a drizzle of some basil infused olive oil. It was delicious, and as soon as I finished it I gave the other half or the roll the same filling. I then almost relaxed, but I wanted to review the pictures I had taken to select a few to use.

  I took the pictures on the new Casio camera I bought from the charity shop (£8.99 !). As before, my main complaints about that camera is that it doesn't seem too keen on dim cloudy days, and the tiny controls are too fiddly for my big, fat fingers. I feel sure my little pocket Canon would produce better pictures on such a day - something I aim to test today. Once I had finished transferring pictures from both camera and mobile phone to my PC, and then doing some selecting and editing, I decided to eat the tomato and mozzarella salad I bought. To reduce the calories and stuff I didn't eat the mozzarella cheese - it's not that nice anyway. I then had a rest - reading and a snooze.

  It was quite surprising how quickly the afternoon passed. It seemed no time at all before it was 4pm when I take my second lot of medication. Very soon it was gone 5pm, and time to check my blood glucose before dinner at 6pm. After eating that bread it was very high (compared to the fairly low readings I have been getting recently). I decided I ought to be careful about what I ate for dinner.
Sainsbury's Greek
  I had actually bought four lots of salad from Sainsbury's. These two Greek salads were to be part of my dinner. I added a grilled steak, and once again I omitted the cheese, and also the olives. It was 30 to 40 minutes after dinner that things got interesting. I wondered how high my blood glucose had risen after this extra food. At first I used the last out-of-date test strip in my old meter. It gave a very low reading. So I rechecked with the new meter, and although the reading wasn't quite as low, it was still a lot lower than it had been an hour before dinner.

  I had seen this effect once or twice before, but had never recorded it, and just wrote it off as a strange anomaly. That is indeed what it is. I searched the internet, and came across a good description on the www.diabetes.co.uk website. It is called Reactive Hypoglycaemia, and is fairly unusual. There are a few possible causes, but there is no defined cause for it. It will be interesting to discuss it with the Diabetes Nurse next January.

  Among the possible symptoms of this state of low blood glucose are hunger and weakness. I definitely can feel hungry not long after eating, but I wouldn't say that "weakness" is an adequate description of what I feel. It is more a very relaxed feeling, and is probably a big contributor to my strong reluctance to go out to gigs in the evening. The effect tends to wear off some hours later, and is possibly responsible for not being able to get to sleep as early as I would like.

  I think it was gone midnight when I finally fell asleep. Prior to falling asleep I suddenly realised something. For maybe a few months or more I had been suffering from a very painful right elbow joint, and I suddenly realised that I hadn't felt that pain for some time. Try as I might I could not remember how long ago it was that the pain stopped. I guess that is not surprising - remembering a nothing is a lot harder than remembering a something !

  After what seemed like a reasonable sleep I felt generally OK, if not quite very dynamic. I had felt some discomfort from the right shoulder, but that faded soon after getting up. There was no pain from my right elbow, and even my rib cage barely had any aches. My blood glucose was back on target (6.0 if I recall correctly) - a good start to the day. Best of all is that my weight seems to be dropping again - albeit far too slowly for my liking. Once again I am tenterhooks with the tenths of a kilograme digit standing on 1. Just 200gm to go and the units digit will flip to one less. Maybe a second poo would help - specially if it was a big one !

  Today my master plan revolves around meeting Angela at lunch time. I suggested to her the we would meet today when I saw her on Monday, and today I will send her a reminder. The next thing is to decide what route I will use to get to the pub. I could reprise the route I took on Monday, and try and record it accurately by not going in Poundland (where there is no GPS signal, and the tracker goes haywire). First of all though, a good shower, and wash my hair !
Tuesday 26th November 2019
09:00 GMT
  There was a lot less rain than forecast yesterday. All there seemed to be was just very occasional short showers. It was still horribly overcast, dull and damp though, but it was also almost mild. The afternoon temperature was around the forecast 12° C, and under that thick cloud the temperature didn't drop by more than a degree or two all night.
another rainy day
   The morning started at about 11° C, but also dull and damp. The forecast has been revised since the screenshot above, and it probably better reflects reality at the moment. The new revision has reduced the light rain to just drizzle until this afternoon, when after a possible dry hour, light rain will fall from about 1pm. The other change is that the rain may finish by 7pm (but will probably start again at midnight). It is going to be almost warm today with a top temperature of 13° C. If it brightens up between showers this afternoon, that could almost feel nice. Tomorrow may be a similar day to yesterday. The possibility of light rain all day, and the temperature fairly constant through the day, but peaking at only about 11° C.

  Yesterday was a good day. Getting out for some exercise was easier than I thought it would be, and although it was very dull, I think I only experienced one light shower that only lasted 5 minutes or so. Once again I made a small variation to a route to the same place that has little opportunities for variations. On paper it was quite a long walk, but in reality it was probably about a mile less than my tracker said it was.
my route with tracker
   Look carefully at the bottom of this screenshot. Just under where it says Rushey Green the fairly straight trace turns into a jagged blob. This was when I went into Poundland, and I forgot to pause the tracker as I went into the building, and lost the GPS signal. I estimate the real length of this walk was between 2 and 2.5 miles - still fairly good, but not as impressive as 3.19 miles !
leaf strewn path
                        through the park
  This is the view as I followed the main path through the park towards Ladywell. I took this picture using my "new" Casio Exilim EZ-S10 camera. It was one of several pictures I managed to take before the battery died. I am still waiting for the battery charger I ordered from Amazon to come over all the way from China, but in the meantime I have worked out away to use another charger that has the same electrode spacing. It meant cutting away some of the charger to accommodate a location pip on the Casio battery, and to use rubber bands and a clamp to hold the battery in place. It's not elegant, but it works. I only managed this bodge last night, and so not in time to go out with a fully charged battery yesterday morning.
golden leaves falling
                        from this solitary tree
 Until we have a bright day it is hard to assess how good or bad that Casio camera is.  This picture looked rather dull before I did a bit of work on it, but then again it was a very dull day, and the one shower I went through had only just stopped when I took this picture. Somehow I don't think it is a camera I am going to love for one particular reason. It is a very small camera, and the controls are far too small for my big fingers. It would be easier to operate it using the end of a matchstick to operate those little buttons. Fortunately the shutter and zoom control is a bit bigger than other buttons.
A reminder of a shop
                        that has long gone
  This picture was taken with my "new" Sony Cybershot DSC-T300. (It is worth remembering this was the expensive camera - £9.99 as opposed to the Casio which cost £8.99 !). Once upon a time, and I can just about remember it, this was where there was a Sainsbury's shop - not a supermarket ! This painted remnant can be seen next to the Aldi supermarket I often use. A better view can be had from Aldi's car park. I've been meaning to take a snap of the sign for ages, but yesterday I had a camera at the ready as I passed it towards the end of my walk.

  The best bit of the walk happened in the middle. It had been my intention to just pop into the pub and see if Angela walked in with no prompting. I think it would have happened, but maybe not. After walking around Lewisham Park I had to cross the main road to get to the pub. My timing was perfect. Angela had just left work, and was heading in the right direction when I bumped into her (not literally !).

  We spent a happy hour in the pub chatting about this that, but not the other. Much of it was about health. I have to say that Angela is being really supportive of my dietary endeavours. I rewarded her with a little gift - a 99p packet of spectacle lens cleaners. I saw them in Aldi last Saturday, and I remembered how Angela would often forget to buy any when out shopping for other stuff. I am told my timing was perfect. Angela was just about to run out. It was a good 99p investment !

  One of the great things about meeting Angela yesterday was the way we seem to be back on best mate terms, and occasionally almost as if we were a couple again. Now and again it was "we" instead of you or me. I expect I am reading far too much into it, but later on we exchanged some messages that were very warm, and also rather unexpected. It started when I sent Angela a picture of my walking route and statistics. The main purpose was as an illustration of why I always put the tracker on pause when I go into the pub, and make a point of resuming it when we leave.

  An hour or two later Angela sent me a message to say that she was home, and had walked all the way there from work (nearly 2 miles with the last bit uphill !). I congratulated her, and said I hoped someone would reward her with a foot rub. I think it was giving Angela foot rubs/massages that was the key to my originally seducing her.  She said no foot rub, but she was going to reward herself with a nice hot bath. At that point we broke off communication, and I finished a job I had started earlier - washing another three white t-shirts that had been neglected for 10 to 15 years, and needed freshening up.

  I was just about to take those t-shirts downstairs to hang up to dry when I heard my phone bleep. It was Angela again. I thought she must be calling me from her bath, but apparently not. It was just some conversation about food and stuff. I confessed that I had eaten a packet of Sprouts flavoured crisps that I had bought when I was in Poundland. What was worse was that it was part of a 6 pack, and that I was going to try and make that pack last a week or two despite the temptation. It was that that Angela said the sweetest thing. She said that she thought I could resist the temptation, and that she believed in me.

  My eating yesterday was worse than just eating that packet of crisps. I also ate a 3 pack of greasy Pepperami ! Maybe I reined in my dinner a bit because of that, although it was still a fairly satisfying dinner. Prior to eating dinner I checked my blood glucose level, and it was a satisfying 6.2. Without the crisps it could have been slightly lower, but that was still very acceptable. After dinner I did have a naughty snack a bit later in the evening, but I left the crisps well alone.

  Before going to sleep I read another chapter from the Michael Collins book "Carrying The Fire". Once again he makes what could be a dry history of his first year at NASA sound interesting.  I feel a sort of kindred spirit with him. He describes himself as lazy, but resourceful. I like to think I am the same. At work I never did more than was needed, but when it was needed I did it quickly and efficiently.

  It was around 11pm again when I turned out the light. There was a small period of hesitation before going to sleep - one of the those typical times when you think you are not going to fall asleep, and in the next breath you are asleep. I don't recall anything from any dreams last night, although I feel sure I had some. This morning I feel fairly OK. As usual, not great, but generally functional. My blood pressure is typically low still, and my blood glucose has started the day fairly low, but not too low. Depending on what I do, I could end up with it at a new low by dinner time.

  I haven't made up my mind, and I am trying not to look out the window too much to stop putting myself off, but if I am feeling as masochistic after I have had a shower, I might go for a country walk today. The idea seems madness, but I survived yesterday, and at least today will be the closest to warm for some time now. I'll have that shower, and see how I feel afterwards. Just don't expect miracles !
Monday 25th November 2019
09:54 GMT
  If the previous day was not very inspiring then yesterday must have reached the pinnacle of inspiration smothering ! While I don't think it actually rained, it looked like it could at any moment, and most of the ground looked as if it had just rained. The sky was just a permanent dark grey (except when it turned black after sunset). The afternoon temperature being 12° C should have had some positive effect, but it was not noticeable while it looked so cold outside.
probably like yesterday, but with real rain
   Today is and will be mild for the time of the year, but that hardly matters. Today will be like yesterday, but with the added misery of rain. Maybe a combination of light rain, and mild temperatures (12° C) might not completely stop me going out today, but I won't enjoy it. Tomorrow may be almost a re-run of today, but with two possible differences. It might be a degree warmer, and there could be some brighter periods between showers in the afternoon.

  There were several things I could have done yesterday, and in one case I did start making preparations for it, but ultimately I hardly did anything at all. Maybe I believe my own propaganda about Sundays being the most boring, and depressing day of the week a bit too much. On the other hand, maybe I have revised my thoughts about it all. In particular I seem to have mostly discontinued any guilt about doing nothing on Sundays, and that does make he day much easier to bear.

  The job I prepared to do was to fit a permanent light in the under stairs cupboard. To simplify matters it was going to have it's own light switch, but be powered by plugging it into an ordinary 13 Amp socket. I found, and wired a tail of wire to a lamp fitting that could be screwed to the wall inside the cupboard. I found a light switch, and a pattress to mount it on, and I found a suitable length of mains cable, with a plug already fitted, to go from the switch to a wall socket. All I had to do was to open the cupboard, move a load of junk out of the way. Drill a few holes, terminate a few wires, and the job would be done, but I couldn't be bothered to open the cupboard and move dusty stuff around.

  The one job I did do was to wash just three white t-shirts. They were two Catford Beer Festival, and one Ongar Railway Preservation Society, t-shirts. All were quite musty and smoky from being stored in my old wardrobe, and two of them seemed rough, stiff, and almost crusty feeling. It was almost as if the last time they were washed, possibly 10 or 15 years ago, they hadn't been rinsed properly, and hadn't seen any fabric conditioner. Maybe they were from the last load before my washing machine broke down 10 or more years ago.

  Once I started to wash them I noticed that the water seemed to be extra soapy, and even after 5 rinses, 2 more than I usually do, the water was still not that clear. After 5 rinses I was either running out of energy, or out of patience, probably both, and went straight on to the fabric conditioner. This morning they are dry, and looking nice and bright. One still feels a bit rough, but I note the tag inside says it is made by a company I am unfamiliar with. Maybe the grade of cotton they used is closer to light canvas. It certainly has a sort of robust feel about it.

  The rest of the time I may have been very inactive, but I was still very aware I had to be careful about what I ate. One thing that seemed to be successful was to have lunch, but it was only a very light, almost soup like meal of courgette and a few other simple vegetables cooked in a lot of spicy stock. I drank quite a lot of that stock, and the hot liquid filled a bit of space, even if only for a short while, but predictably enough caused a rumble in my stomach. It wasn't a dramatic effect, but I went to the toilet a couple more times than I was expecting to yesterday.

  By 6pm I checked my blood glucose level, and it was 6.40 - a reasonable figure, although a couple of miles of walking would have got it even lower. After that I had my dinner. It was a sort of faux Chinese meal - a bit like a thin chop suey, or something. It was mostly skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked in spicy stock with loads of bean sprouts. To make it more "authentic" I added 5 peas. Have you ever noticed that takeaway chop suey, or chow mein always has 5 peas in it ?

  I stayed off the beer last night, but I did have a couple of large vodkas, although for some reason I didn't really feel in a boozing mood. Having got everything under control up to that point I did treat myself to a handful of peanuts. Sometimes it feels like a completely haphazard plan, but that plan is working on at least one level.

  One of my achievements this weekend was to finally catch up with reading all the magazines I had. That allowed me to make a start on actually reading the proper contents of Michael Collins "Carrying The Fire". His story starts with the stages he went through in the American air force to end up as a test pilot with enough experience to be considered, and ultimately accepted by NASA to become an astronaut. It was a part of the book that could have been a dry read, but as the reviews of the book said, he has a writing style that makes it seem interesting and not dry.  The next chapter will be about his early training with NASA, and I am expecting it to be very interesting.

  Finishing chapters 1 and 2 coincided nicely with what felt like a good time to go to sleep. I think it was around 11pm. I seemed to sleep well again, and maybe sleeping well seems to coincide with lots of dreaming. A few bits of two dreams stick in my mind - unfortunately not enough to recall the entire "story", but enough to give a sort of précis. One dream was about a return visit to the British Telecom training school in London many years after last visiting it. For some reason it was supposed to be a top secret place (it wasn't in real life), and there was no address for it, and I, plus some other people, couldn't remember where it was. I don't think we ever found it, but we went on a lot of buses, and walked a lot.

  The other bit of dream I can recall was very different. It was a visit to the dentist ! It had the potential to be a nightmare, as any visit to the dentist is, but this one was very relaxed, and although no real work was done, it was all very relaxed. It probably helped that the dentist was a beautiful young lady, and she only appeared to be wearing a shirt - that wasn't even done up ! It had the potential to be an erotic dream, but of there is one thing I have learned in life it is to avoid anything that may displease a dentist in any way.  So without an explicit invitation, written in triplicate, I didn't even say anything, let alone touch......or maybe I just woke up too early !

  This morning there is a hint that I might be over the hump that has seen a small weight gain, and while it would mean splitting hairs to say I have last any, and gains seems to have stopped. I think I have stabilised my diet again. My blood glucose was certainly nice and low this morning. At just 6.20 it was lower than before I had dinner last night, and is a great start for the morning. For all that I don't feel particularly good this morning, but I don't feel particularly bad either. What I do feel is that I am going to have to force myself to go out for a walk today. Ideally I will cover a couple of miles, and to make it more attractive I think it will have to be a local walk with a visit to the pub half way. I have a feeling I might find Angela in there.
Sunday 24th November 2019
08:47 GMT
  Yesterday was not very inspiring. It was very dull, rather cool, and fairly damp. It is probable the temperature hit the forecast 11° C, but under a dark, damp sky, that doesn't feel much. The only good thing was that I don't recall much in the way of the light rain forecast for the afternoon. Maybe it was there, but I just blanked it out in my mind.
Another desperately dull day
   Looking at the positive, it was a mild night, and this afternoon's temperature may be 12° C, but it is all meaningless under dark miserable skies. At the moment the road outside looks very damp. It obviously has rained recently, and from the look of the sky I would not be surprised if it rained again today. A thoroughly miserable day. Tomorrow could be worse. The current forecast shows it to be the same as today, but this time rain is definitely forecast to fall at almost any time during the day - assuming it even stops to take a breath between showers.

  Bits of yesterday were good, but on the whole it could not be described as a good day unless while writing this I remember more good bit. On reflection even one of the good bits was actually a bad bit. The one undoubted good bit was some honest labour with a useful outcome. That was simply some laundry done by hand. It wasn't a big load, but it was worth doing to avoid a backlog building up. On the other hand, it might not have been a worthwhile achievement because it had to be done.

  One thing that was more optional was going shopping in Aldi. The negative aspect of this was that I had a yearning for some sausages, and I gave in to that yearning. I ended up eating all the sausages I bought, and in consequence my weight loss continues in negative values. Fortunately not too negative, but while the weather is so abominable it seems highly unlikely that I will want to go out and get some exercise. There were a few other bad things I bought, but fortunately most of it was fairly innocent.

  I only made the most tiny, and insignificant progress in making my new firewall. That tiny process was to first download the manual for the motherboard it will use. !0 minutes later I found I already had it in electronic form. I am sure I can recall seeing an actual paper manual, although maybe that is unlikely. I am fairly sure I would not have bought what must have been a fairly expensive Intel 700MHz "Coppermine" processor, and the chances are I got the original PC out of a skip or something.

  The only other thing I did for this latest phase of my firewall project was to carefully wrapped the emptied case of the donor PC in two layers of bin bags, and hide it at the bottom of the wheelie bin under rubbish bags filled with suitable rubbish ! Right now that means I have a tiny little bit of extra space in my under-the-stairs cupboard.

  I'm not sure what use it will be, but I installed more software on my mini PC (the one that I had hoped to use as a firewall). I installed the software to drive my old, but still very functional, and useful while I still have a small supply of special disks, TDK CD/DVD label printer. Compared to the highly intrusive installation process, and almost daily pop ups, of the HP printer/scanner, it was simplicity itself. Click, click, click, done !

  Slightly more complex was installing Libre Office - the mostly Microsoft compatible, free office suite. The latest version got all sniffy about installing on a mere Windows XP PC, but an slightly earlier version was very happy about it. I think I could actually use that mini PC for something, but I don't quite know where I would use it. If I did use it I think I would mostly let it boot to the default Linux Mint installation. It is so much cleaner and reliable, but one thing it won't do is drive the aforementioned TDK CD/DVD label printer.

  During the day I was just sort of plodding along, finding little odd jobs to do, or satisfying curiosities by checking things on the internet. I am pretty sure I had a short snooze as well. It was the evening when things got a bit out of hand. After stuffing my face with sausages for lunch (or maybe it was brunch ?), I should have taken extra care about what I ate (and drank) in the evening. I had bought the ingredients for a very low calorie/very low fat dinner. It was to revolve around lots of beansprouts with some good flavouring, and little else.

  What I actually had was the rest of the butternut squash I mentioned the day before yesterday (or whenever), plus a few more vegetables cooked in stock with a whole packet of "sliced, BBQ flavoured, chicken". I don't think there was anything inherently bad about that dinner apart from it seeming to be very "thin". I ate some flavoured chicken before and after that dinner. I then opened up my first bottle of beer.

  It was the quite strong, and very delicious, Abbot Special Reserve beer. It was a fairly sweet beer, and I had two bottles of it. I followed those two bottles with a bottle of King Goblin ale - another strong beer. The latter did not taste all that nice. It had a strange aroma that I didn't like. It deterred me from opening a second bottle of it. That is probably just as well as I was getting drunk, and getting hungry. I ended up having a load of chilli flavoured peanuts while drinking.

  I went to bed feeling sort of mellow at about 11pm. It wasn't long before I was asleep, and until the end of the night I seemed to be sleeping well. In the last hour, at least I think it was the last hour, but in truth it could have been any time, I seemed to be dreaming non stop. I can only remember one specific thing from those dreams, and a sort of general overview of another.

  The very specific memory concerns schoolboy humour. The one bit I remember of the dream was letting off the longest lasting fart ever ! It must have lasted 30 seconds, and I remember feeling so good for it. The next time I woke up I probably committed it to memory as I lay there trying to think what might have been happening in the real world while dreaming of this tremendous fart. I think I half expected to see the sheets spattered or something, but there was no physical evidence of anything happening in the night. I now wonder if it was some sort of external sound that triggered the dream, but I can't imagine what could have produced a farting sound in the early hours of the morning.

  This morning all the nights sweet beer drinking, the sausages, and the other extra stuff I ate have had a negative effect on my weight. At one point, before going to the toilet, it was as if I had put on a full kilogramme in 24 hours. To my great surprise, my blood glucose did not reflect all the excess of the previous day. It has been lower quite a few times, but this morning it was sort of low average.

  I ought to me making some definite, positive plans to see me through the day (and away from the fridge), but the dim light outside does nothing to inspire me. At the moment there are two things I will definitely do. One is to wash my hair when I have a shower. My hair needs less washing now that the temperature is lower, and my blood glucose is lower - much less sweating ! It must be 3  or 4 days since I last washed it, maybe even 5, but now it definitely needs a good wash.

  The second little job will be to wash a couple of white t-shirts. I have no special need to wear them, but I have a couple of Catford Beer Festival t-shirts that have not been worn in maybe 10 years or more, and maybe since before the days of using proper fabric conditioner. Both smell a bit smoky, and one of them feels very rough. A good dunking in fabric conditioner should sort that out (after washing and rinsing).
Saturday 23rd November 2019
08:53 GMT
  Yesterday definitely felt mild despite the temperature getting no higher than 9° C (as far as I am aware). I think it was probably because most of the time it was fairly bright despite sunshine being in very short supply. I mostly tried to ignore it, and hope that it would go away, but the rain forecast for a few hours either side of midday didn't seem to amount to much. It can't be described as a good day in general, but maybe not bad for a November day.
                    drizzly rain
   Today has started very dull, and it seems it is likely to be very dull all day. At the moment the ground is looking very wet, but I think that may be from earlier rain - unless there is currently some very fine drizzle that is hard to see. In fact, upon checking for a revision of the forecast, I see that 9 and 10pm are shown as light drizzle. There could be some slightly stronger rain this afternoon, but it is still described as light rain. If today has one redeeming factor it is that the day has started mild, and before long the temperature should be 11° C. Even by midnight it may not have fallen below 8° C. Tomorrow will probably be dry, but the whole day is likely to be heavily overcast. In compensation, if indeed there is any form of compensation to such a gloomy day, the temperature may reach 12° C for much of the afternoon.

  I suppose I could say that yesterday was very productive, although it could be said that some of what I achieved was ultimately pointless. A definite bit of productivity was doing some hand laundry. Another bit of productivity came about as the result of not hearing my new front door when the postman was delivering three packets. The new doorbell is radio linked, with the actual sounder powered by mains. I had it plugged into a socket in the back room. In fact I had tidied up an extension lead, by firmly fixing it to a backboard screwed to the wall, specifically with the doorbell in mind.

  I realised a better solution was to put the doorbell on the wall at the foot of the stairs. That would give it the best chance of being heard all around the house - except maybe the kitchen. I fitted a single socket to the wall at the side of the stairs. The wall is just made of wood, and so it was easy to drill through it, and run a lead down with a plug on it to plug into a normal 13A socket. One good thing about that doorbell sounder is that it could be plugged in anywhere, and so while my new socket is good for most occasions, I can just plug it into a nearby socket if I am expecting something important like a parcel delivery.
some light reading for
                        the dark winter nights
  Three of these books arrived yesterday (the fourth, the one by Michael Collins, arrived a few days earlier). They should keep me amused through some of the cold and dark winter nights. It seems incredible that the main events in these books, that of the moon landings, happened 50 years ago now, and since then NASA has even lost the ability to send a man into orbit (although their interplanetary probes still do outstanding science). I hope I will get to see another moon landing in my lifetime. Maybe if I can keep this decaying heap of a body going I might still see a Mars landing.

  Once again I "amused" myself for countless hours playing with the little mini computer. By the end of the day before I had successfully installed Windows XP on it, and installed all the service packs, and a surprising amount of other updates.  Yesterday I had another go at installing Linux on it. I am not sure what made me think it, but I wondered if there was something funny about the CD/DVD drive that had caused so many problems. Yesterday I tried booting a freshly burnt DVD of the latest Linux Mint from a USB connected optical drive.

  To my surprise, and also relief, it booted perfectly. Even better was that the latest version of Linux Mint (19.2) seemed to run fairly well. That mini PC only has a 1.6GHz Atom processor, but at least it has 2GB of RAM. I initially booted into live mode, where the operating system runs totally from the DVD disk, but then I used the install option to install it onto the free hard disk space I had left when installing Windows XP.

  The installation went smoothly, and once finished it was time to reboot. The PC rebooted perfectly. It took about 20 minutes to install all the latest updates, and maybe another 20 minutes to install some of my preferred applications. Then I tried plugging in my HP 2130 printer/scanner. It was recognised straight away, and printing out a test page a minute later. On my day to day PC the scanner is not recognised for some unknown reason, but it was on the mini PC.

  The next step was to reboot, and this time to select Windows XP from the boot menu. That booted perfectly, and somehow Windows managed to find yet more updates. Installing them was a typical very slow process, but eventually I was able to install the software and drivers for the HP 2130 printer/copier. On Linux it took about one minute. On Windows it took almost an hour - partly because it had to download, and install .net frameworks and stuff !

  Once the installation was complete I don't think I printed a test page, but I did try the scanner. For some bizzare reason it seems to scan upside down, and the user interface is crap. It is usable, and produces good results, but it fights you all the way. I think I'll stick to the Linux way of doing it ! While some of this did not need my attention I went downstairs and started making preparations to use another old machine as my new firewall.

  I have a small PC (but not as small and neat as the one I wanted to use) that has a 600Mhz processor in it. That should be more than I need (I think my current firewall is only a 233MHz processor). The one thing I thought it needed was a new power supply, and unfortunately I don't have a small enough one for it. The one I intended to use has the standard mountings, and could be fitted......but not at the same time as the CD/DVD drive !

  The solution is to transplant the motherboard into another slightly larger case, but that is a job for another day (maybe today). I removed the motherboard from the old case, along with everything else, and it is ready to do the transplant. If I do nothing else today, I may still try and crush the old case as much as I can, and put it in the recycling bin. It will be another step on my way to decluttering the place.

  While I mostly felt OK yesterday, I was feeling a bit clogged up or constipated. It was making it seem like I was putting on weight, and indeed I think I have put on some actual weight. To rectify both conditions I opted to eat some very low calorie meals. It was because it was so cold and miserable that I decided I should have some lunch as well as dinner. Lunch was Chinese themed, but very simple. It was just bean sprouts and pak choi cooked in chicken stock with a few spices.

  Dinner was to have been a similar all vegetable meal of cauliflower and broccoli cooked in beef stock. I am sure I have eaten, and enjoyed something very similar before, but last night it did not taste nice, and I left the last third of it. I had a big chunk of cheese, and some ham to take the taste of that veg away afterwards. That wasn't quite how it was supposed to happen, but they hot beef stock with some of the mustard oils from the broccoli did what I hope would happen. An hour or so later I was no longer constipated !

  I almost had a good night's sleep last night. It was spoiled in two ways. The first was a dream that seemed never ending. It concerned going to a night club sort of place with my camera kit to take some pictures of a singer. I was driven there by her, and her guitarist, and I entered the place with her, but she was whipped away to the green/dressing room. I don't think I saw her again. I thought that maybe she was in the upstairs bar, but I couldn't find it. Then I thought she may be in the downstairs bar, but when I tried to find that I found myself outside the place.

  The dream continued in a similar fashion until I bumped into someone who typically knew me better than I knew them. As far as I could recall he was a member of a band I used to watch back in the early 1990s, but he said he didn't start playing until a few years ago. So the frustration continued. There was a real life inspiration for this dream. I had wanted to go out last night to see Cazbah - an acoustic duo. Carrie, "star" of stage, screen, and TV (for real !), was half that duo playing in The Lord Homesdale pub in Bickley, but it was too dark, too cold, and too late feeling for me to go out (plus I was otherwise busy).

  My sleep ended rather abruptly when I started to get cramp in one foot. That caused me to turn over in bed very fast, and very carelessly. My ribs went crack, and I had a strong pain across my chest. Once I got out of bed, and put my full weight on my foot the cramp disappeared almost instantly. The pain across my chest/rib cage mostly dissipated 10 or 15 minutes later.

  This morning I don't feel too bad. Now I am up and moving nothing really aches - I guess the rest is just general creakiness. My blood glucuse, despite a few bad food choices yesterday, is at a new low for the morning reading. My weight is best ignored for the moment, and I haven't yet bothered to check my blood pressure. Now I have to decide what I am going to do today.

  The damp and the rain put me right off doing any exercise today, but I think I will take a short walk, probably to Aldi. I have a yearning for some sausages today, They won't do me any good, but I am going to have them anyway. I guess I will probably end up constructing the next candidate PC for my replacement firewall. One day, when it is up and working it will accelerate the rehabilitation of my back room. I would quite like to go to two gigs tonight, but I somehow doubt I will go to either - too wet, too cold, too dark and to late.
Friday 22nd November 2019
10:50 GMT
  Yesterday was cold, dark, and gloomy, and then, later in the evening, it rained. The maximum temperature was just 7° C.
                    brightness, but also rain
   Despite there only being a difference of just a couple of degrees, today feels almost mild by comparison with yesterday. At the moment the temperature is, or is soon heading to, 9° C. Unfortunately the latest revision to the forecast has changed the 10° C seen at 1pm in the screenshot above, to 9° C. Nevertheless, the brighter sky makes it seem more mild, although I might change my perception when the rain starts. With luck it will be just the light rain that is forecast, and maybe the sun might come out between showers. Today sees the start of a short run of less cold weather. Tomorrow will probably start with a few hours of rain, but the temperature may hit 11° C. Next Monday could even see the temperature get up to 13° C, but I bet it turns out to be no more than 12° C.

  Yesterday was a very horrible day, and it was really difficult to motivate myself. It wasn't really until mid afternoon that I started to do some useful, but ultimately not terribly productive stuff. For much of the afternoon, and maybe before then, I didn't feel all that good. It was nothing specific, but a sort of constipated feeling added to it all. I abandoned any ideas about going for a walk, and ended up doing very little until early afternoon.

  What I started in the early afternoon was to have another go at getting the mini PC I wanted to use as a firewall to work properly. There is something about that little mini-ITX, Intel Atom powered PC that is very strange. It certainly doesn't like having two network cards in it, and doubly so if one is the 3Com card that I tried to use. Whenever that was fitted it insisted it wanted to do a network boot. Worse than that was that it appeared to corrupt the BIOS.

  I was lucky that today was the last day that Intel supported the motherboard, and I was able to download a BIOS update. There were several versions available, and I chose the ISO CD image to make a self contained bootable CD. Curiously enough, it was Linux based. The reason that is curious is because the PC seems to have an aversion to booting other Linux CD/DVDs. After updating the BIOS the PC rebooted straight into the firewall software.

 The only problem was that at that point I had removed the second network card, and I had to shut it down to fit it again. The next time it refused to boot - "no bootable medium found" (or words to that effect). By this time I should have been leaving to get the train to go for my later Thursday afternoon drink. I still wasn't feeling great, and if anything I was feeling worse. I suspect a good walk, such as the half mile to the station, would have made me feel better, and would certainly avoid something that was coming later, but I called in sick, and carried on with my reluctant PC.

  It was a bit of a desperate thing to do, but I tried installing Windows XP on it. That went on with no problems at all ! In typical Windows fashion I spent the next few hours installing update. That surprised me because I thought that Microsoft had abandoned Windows XP. I left enough space on the hard disk to install Linux Mint, and once Windows had stopped updating, I tried to install Linux Mint, but for one reason or another, the DVD just refused to be seen as a bootable disk !

  It was all very frustrating, and it kept me up far later than I wanted to. I would have been in bed, and maybe even asleep by 10pm, but I didn't give up on that PC until just gone midnight ! There are still some things I want to try, and maybe I'll try them today. Meanwhile, standing up to work on the PC involved a lot of bending and reaching over it. By midnight I was suffering from quite a bit of lower back pain. It was a relief to get into bed, but even there it took some time to get comfortable.

  I managed to sleep comparatively late this morning. I think I mostly slept well, but I can remember dreaming a lot. The only tiny bit of a dream I can recall was a strange idea that I made a concerted effort to remember, although I have no idea what context it was in during the dream. It was just a simple, but strange message - " The French have warned that Pianos will be rigged during the upcoming election". I thought it was funny and/or nonsensical, and should be remembered, although I have to admit that in the cold light of day it lacks the amusement value it had during the night.

  This morning my blood glucose level is surprisingly good after some dubious eating yesterday, and could potentially lead on to a very good reading before dinner tonight. The rest of me seemed to feel mostly OK, but that was before I tested myself better. One of the first things I did this morning was to have a brief wash, and then go to the pharmacy to pick up my repeat prescription. I found that my walk there was not as pleasant as it could have been.

  The air seemed nice and fresh, and it didn't feel that cold, but I found myself feeling very slightly asthmatic. It was very quiet in the pharmacy when I got there, and that was good because they had not made up my prescription as I thought they would have. I had to wait for a short while as it was made up for me. In one respect it was a good way to do it because I could check that it was all correct as the pharmacist pulled the various drugs out of various drawers.

  There was one anomaly that was sorted on the spot. It appears that when the strength of one of my drugs was increased the doctor added the new tablets to the prescription, but didn't remove the lower strength ones. I don't know if this is going to happen on every repeat prescription, or if the pharmacist will get the doctors to amend the prescription. I don't expect that to happen, and I may well not bother to question things if I get both doses in my next repeat (towards the end of next January). It might be useful to stockpile a few things in case Brexit actually happens.

  Walking back from the pharmacy felt a bit better - walking towards home is always easier than walking away from it - but another problem arose. It did literally rise ! I did a small, discrete belch, and it carried the strong flavour of the fish oil capsule I had taken half an hour earlier. One consequence of this is that while in the corner shop, on my way home from the pharmacy, I bought one single packet of crisps to take the taste away (as well as bottles of pop and New Scientist magazine).

  The crisps took the taste away, but they will probably affect my blood glucose level a lot when I check it again before dinner tonight. I'm not sure if it was the crisps, and/or the fish oil capsule, but I ended up with heartburn. Fortunately a couple of antacid tablets seem to have cleared it up now.

  I have a couple of almost definite plans for today. One thing is to do some hand laundry. The other is to try and stick to just a pure vegetable, almost zero fat/zero carbohydrate diet today. A lot of vegetable fibre might help me have a good clear out sometime later, although not too late might be a good idea. I have been to the toilet this morning, but I still feel a bit bunged up. I doubt it will happen in reality, but there is a gig I would like to attend tonight if I can get in the right mood. It should be dry, and slightly mild tonight, and maybe that will help me to not dismiss the evening as a write off tonight.
Thursday 21st November 2019
09:22 GMT
  I don't think there was as much sunshine as I was hoping for yesterday, but at least there was some sunshine, and even when the sun went in it was still a fairly bright day. It was still cold though, just 7 or 8° C at best, but much more of the day was closer to 6° C. It was a dry day, and I guess that is something to be thankful for.
                    to gloom
   There was no frost this morning, but only by a margin of a couple of degrees. That was probably thanks to the thick heavy clouds that are making this morning so very dull. Sadly they will continue to make the day very gloomy until well after sunset, when those clouds will start to pour rain on us. It's going to be even colder than yesterday. The temperature will not even reach yesterday's brief period of 8° C until almost midnight. Some slightly warmer air will be blowing in from somewhere, and tomorrow could see both sunshine and rain, and a temperature of 10° C - almost warm, and probably feeling OK if it happens when the sun is out.

  After not being able to raise the enthusiasm to go for a walk the previous day (for assorted reasons) I made a better effort to go out yesterday. In fact I went out twice. The first time was initially to the pharmacy to order my next repeat prescription, which should be ready for collection tomorrow morning. Then I went around the corner to Aldi to buy some groceries - and booze.

  I almost paid more attention to the prices of some of the things I was buying on this occasions. In particular I studied the price of steaks. They come in all different cuts and grades, but I am now very convinced that even the cheaper steaks are better cut of meat than "diced beef", and cheaper in one respect. The price per pound may possibly be higher, but the price per pack is lower because the quantity is smaller, and more significantly, more suited to my needs (aka a single meal).

  I bought a selection of vegetables including a butternut squash. I am unsure of the nutritional value of squash, but unless it has a lot of sugar in it, it is mostly water - I think. I ate half of it last night by peeling and dicing it, and then cooking it in with some diced beef in a rich stock. It was possibly the nicest I have tasted butternut squash, but I am still not convinced they are a good thing.

  I went out for my proper walk a bit later than intended. At least I think I did because I never did complete my intended route before I had to break off and go straight to the pub. There wasn't all that much to photograph during my walk, and so my walking speed was closer to 3 mph. In fact I exceeded that some of the time, but ultimately the average was lower.
yesterday's walking
  It quite surprised me that it was a 2 mile walk. I thought it would be less. It has taken some inventiveness to change the route when going to the same place as before, but coming out of Ladywell Fields, and doing a loop through Lewisham Park did the trick yesterday. In fact it was while walking through Lewisham Park, and going past Angela's favourite summer bench seat, that Angela sent me a message to say she was already in the pub, and did I want my usual ?
Maple leaf - I think
  I always feel unsure about identifying trees, but I think this is a maple leaf. It was so perfect and bright as it lay on the ground. By contrast the tree it came from had lost half of it's leaves, and was looking very ragged.
another brass plate in
                        the pub
  We sat at a different table in the pub, and this brass plate was on the other side of the draught excluder/partition screen, or whatever it should be called. Like the "Madam Kuntz's Daring Leg Show" brass, it is another slightly naughty one.
  This is not the greatest photo of Angela. She was a bit camera shy, and while it was needed in the dim light of the pub, I don't think the flash did her any favours. That smile is her forced one rather than her natural glowing smile. We stayed for two drinks, and then I walked Angela back to work. We won't be seeing each other again until sometime next week.
boots with purple
  One useful extra aspect of the walk was to take my newly cleaned, waterproofed, and new laced, boots out for a test drive. I initially found them heavy and clunky. They didn't seem to be that comfortable either. Both impressions lasted for all my walk, and yet on reflection I am not sure if they were uncomfortable at all. They certainly felt very different to my more lightweight shoes/trainers. The pressure points were in different places, but I found that at the end of the walk my feet were not hurting, and I could probably have walked a lot further in them with no bad effect. I hope they will be good for some longer rambles once the weather starts to improve in the spring.

  Even though I only had two pints of Guinness in the pub, I had it on an empty stomach. An hour or so after getting home, maybe around 3pm, I had what can only be described as a hangover. At any other time I would just have a snooze, and I did feel strongly that I wanted a snooze, but I was waiting for two parcels from Amazon, and I could not let myself relax. By 5pm there was still no sign of the courier, but I knew he could arrive as late as 9pm - which would have been bloody inconvenient because I would be thinking about bed then.

  I decided I would delay my dinner until after the courier came, but I still checked my blood glucose level at about the same time - just after 5pm. I was very happy to see it was just 5.5. Only once before has it been that low before dinner. It seemed quite a lot of time was passing, and I was doing my best to keep busy. Eventually it came down to watching the 6pm news on TV. By 7pm I decided I would just have to have my dinner.

 Before dinner I checked my blood glucose level again. On this occasion I used one of the time expired test strips for my old meter. While some of those strips can give very wrong readings, my experiments show that mostly they are not that inaccurate. The reading I got was 4.5 - a rather excellent figure. I was half way through dinner when the courier called with my two parcels - typical !

  The parcels contained a book, a battery, and a charger with two batteries. The book was Michael Collins "Carrying The Fire". He was the astronaut who stayed behind in the command module while Neil Armstrong, and Buzz Aldrin descended down for the first lunar landing in 1969. The book is his reminiscences of his life as an astronaut. I have seen several recommendations for the book. If the three forewords, each written for new reprints of the book, are anything to go by, it should be a fascinating read.

  The single battery was for the Casio "Exilim" pocket camera I bought from The British Hear Foundation shop for just £8.99. It is fortunate that it came fairly well charged because the charger I ordered may not be here for a day or two yet - maybe longer - I'm not so sure it is not coming directly from China ! Having some charge in the battery has allowed  me to give the camera a quick test. It seems very good except for one thing. It is a very small pocket camera with very small controls - sometimes a bit too small for my big clumsy fingers, but the pictures should be good.

  The other parcel was a battery charger, plus two spare batteries, for the Sony Camera I bought for £9.99 at The British Heart Foundation charity shop. I had managed to get some charge into the original battery by means of a bodge, but having a proper charger (but not a very expensive Sony original) makes life a lot easier. Without really knowing the state of the original battery a spare seemed a good bet, and 2 spares even more so. I don't know how they do it, but the two batteries only added pennies to the price of the charger !

  My dinner seemed to be quite small even if it wasn't. It may have been because the bulk of it was that butternut squash, and that sort of dissolved in the mouth. It could also have been because I had a few large vodkas, that I got the munchies. (I guess the vodka was probably mainly to blame). Very often in this position it becomes a toss up between weightloss or blood glucose reduction. Last night I probably made both worse.

 My snack was mixed nits and raisins. The nuts have loads of fats or oils to kill any weight loss, and the raisins are full of sugar. To make matters worse I ate far more than intended - the whole bag !  Strangely enough, my blood glucose was lower than expected this morning, and a good starting point for the day. My weight has possibly slightly dropped as well. Should I go to the toilet again, and I am sure I ought to, my weight loss would be more definite, but still not enough to match Sunday afternoon when I came home slightly dehydrated, and had been to the toilet three times before going out in the morning !

  I charged up all the batteries for the Sony camera last night, and started to read the new book. After reading the three prefaces I turned out the light, and was soon asleep. I have no idea when that was, but I think it was around 11pm. On the whole I slept well, but I did have an extended, and lucid dream - a dream where I was making conscious decisions about the direction of the dream storyline. At least I think I did.

  It was a dream about concocting a fake news story. It was to be more comedy than serious fake news. It was based around the idea of a battery powered train. Such trains do exist, and are used regularly on The London Underground. The subject of my dream was an old slam door train. The idea was that students from Southhampton University (although I think I was going to call it Fakenham University in one version), had gone through 5000 recycled laptop batteries to extract 2000 working lithium cells. Each cell gives 3.7V when fully charged, and 200 of them in series would provide 740 volts - slightly higher, but within limits of the working voltage of a third rail powered slam door train. 10 sets in parallel, using all 2000 batteries would give 10 times the power of one set, and increase the range of the train.

  The funny thing is that the whole idea would probably work. It is just that the idea is almost pointless - except to illustrate that many laptop batteries are thrown out because the failure of one cell. Unfortunately it is probably very uneconomic to repair laptop batteries, and not a wise things to do because all the cells would have different lifetimes. Another could fail the day after a newly repaired battery was put in use.

  The main thing today is my late Thursday afternoon drink. Last week I walk the last two miles to the pub. In this gloomy light it would not be a very nice walk, and with the days still getting shorter I could end up walking through the park in little more than twilight. I do have an alternative plan to walk the first 2 miles before getting the train to the pub. I am no sure if I will be bothered with that in the cold and dimness, but I will consider it at the appropriate time.
Wednesday 20th November 2019
08:55 GMT
  The weather was horrible yesterday. After a frosty start to the day the sun had a couple of goes at trying to break through the clouds, but soon gave up. The rest of the day was cold and dull. The maximum temperature was no more than 7° C, but at least it was dry.
another frosty start
   The forecast for today starts wrong. There was most definitely a frost this morning, and while I have checked it, it must have been less than the predicted 5° C earlier on. With luck there could be some sunny spells today, although as far as I am aware, the sun has yet to find a way through the clouds so far this morning, but, I can see some potential places where it might break through if only the gaps, or the sun were in the same part of the sky. The latest revision to the forecast still insists there will be sunny spells popping up through all the hours of daylight. It also says there could now be a whole 2 hours when the temperature may peak at 8° C. Tomorrow is likely to be at least a degree cooler, and extra gloomy under a layer of thick cloud. There is also a very small chance of rain, but no specific time for rain has been forecast yet.

  I wanted to go for a walk yesterday, but despite the positives things that could bring about, it seems the negatives out weighed them. Each individual negative was small, but they seemed to multiply together. The morning frost seemed to make me feel it would be horribly cold outside, and of course it was, but it shouldn't have mattered. It seemed to be a depressingly dull day, and that gloom sucked the ambition out of me. The worst thing was probably not a thing at all. I was ready to go out when my stomach starting what I can only describe as "gurgling". My first thought was that I would soon be dashing to the toilet. On later consideration I think it was just hunger !
cleaned and
                        waterproofed boots
  I ended up staying in, and doing lots of odd jobs. I guess these odd jobs have to be done some time, and sometimes are probably more important than some of the grand schemes that can take a whole day, and achieve very little. One such job started out as cleaning off all the mud from the boots on the right of the picture above. I had worn these boots on Sunday, and walked through some very boggy bits of Keston Common. They kept most of my feet dry, but I did find a damp patch on each sock when I got home.

  Using the new scrubbing brush I had bought the day before, I gave the boots a good scrubbing, although it is apparent I missed some bits that still look stained with mud. While I was at it, I also gave the boots on the left the same treatment. I had been using them in the garden until I started using a pair of slip on shoes to get a bit more life out of them. With both pairs of boots mostly clean I gave them a generous spray of waterproofing spray. I also treated the boots on the left to a brand new pair of bright purple laces.

  I hoped that my work would make walking in these boots pleasurable again - particularly since I discovered it is more comfortable to wear thin socks instead of chunky "walking" sock. It inspired me to get my other pair of hiking boots out of the cupboard, and give them the same treatment. One pair has quite a chunky tread that might be good for walking on snow. Provided I can bring myself to actually do it, my feet should be well equipped to walk in adverse weather this winter and spring.

  I spent some time playing with my camera collection - the collection of cameras mostly bought from charity shops. I made sure their batteries were fully charged, and stuff like that. Today things start arriving from Amazon to add to the usefulness of the Sony and Casio cameras I recently bought from the British Heart Foundation charity shop. I look forward to be able to try out the Casio camera soon once the battery charger (and spare battery) arrive. It is a very small camera, but from the pictures I found on the memory card in it, it can produce some very nice snaps - better than many mobile phone cameras of a similar age, but maybe only as good as many more recent mobile phones.

  Cooking can be an interesting way of passing a bit of spare time. The only trouble is that I only eat one meal a day, and generally most of my meals are very simple. Yesterday I cooked two meals. The forst was what I had for dinner last night. It was bacon and sprouts cooked in beef oxo. I gave the bacon a good grilling first to drive off much of the fat. It made for a nice dinner, but it was quite small. The bacon had shrivelled a lot when grilled, and I was using up a bag of sprouts that was less than half full. It left me feeling hungry, and that had bad consequences.

  The other bit of cooking was more in the form of preparatory work for today's dinner. I know it will screw up my blood glucose, but I have precooked some diced beef in a spiced up stock with extra tomato purée. It is that tomato purée that contains a lot of natural sugar, but I guess these sugars can't always be avoided. It's a shame because I seem to have got my blood glucose level under control at the moment. It was good, although "gooder" would be better, before dinner last night, and this morning it was quite good despite eating extra food that I should not have eaten. It may not have had a bad effect on my blood glucose, but it has brought any weight loss to a halt at the moment.

  For the first time in many, many months, I put out one of my trail cameras to see who would have the turkey leg bone I put out in the garden the day before yesterday. Another of my little jobs yesterday was to see what it had caught, and to edit it together into a short video. I expected a crow or raven to have a good peck at some of the meat left on the bone, but there was no sign of any birds taking an interest. A couple of cats had a go, but it was too big for them. In the early hours of yesterday morning a fox appeared, and sometimes it seemed it had a very slight limp. I think it was the fox who was living in my garden last winter until it's damaged front leg healed.

  One thing visible in the video is the rotted remains of a fence post I put over the back of the entrance to the foxes earth. I was pretty sure the earth was disused, and I contemplated filling it in, but it seems the black cat seen at the beginning of the video still uses it as a hidey hole. It makes a slightly undignified bolt for the hole when something spooked it. Later on the fox tries to re-open the hole. It digs some earth away, but then realises it can move the fence post. It moves it a bit, kicks some more earth away, and satisfied it could get in and out, jumps over the fence to return to wherever it is now living. That last bit is not seen in my video. The trail camera is set to record for just 2 minute blocks with a small gap between them. The next segment, about 30 seconds after the last bit shown in the video, shows the fox disappearing over the fence. i didn't think it worth adding in 2 seconds of disappearing tail !

  I didn't go to bed until midnight, but I soon fell asleep, and it seems I slept quite well last night. I even managed to sleep in a bit late for a change. As I wrote those words I started yawning. Maybe a few more hours sleep might have been good. I feel generally OK this morning - no significant aches or pains (although they are still there in the background). I was happy that despite my excesses yesterday, and no exercise, my blood glucose was fairly low this morning. That is low compared to my average of a few weeks back. Ideally it should be lower, but it still seems to be heading the right weigh. I am less happy about my weight. It jumped up half a kilogramme recently, and seems to have stuck there for days now.

  With sun finally putting in an appearance, at last, I think I should be OK to take a walk in the park. I will be testing one pair of my newly cleaned and waterproofed boots, and I am not sure if they will be good or bad. That means it could be a long or short walk. I will definitely be stopping off at the pub for a Guinness, and hopefully spend 50 minutes with Angela. Then it will be home again, and the long wait until dinner time - and probably a long wait for a parcel delivery !
Tuesday 19th November 2019
09:11 GMT
  The forecast sunny spells started late, and finished early yesterday. Much of the afternoon seemed rather dull, and also rather cool. I'm not sure that the temperature ever hit the forecast brief peak of 9° C, and sometimes it didn't even feel like it reached 8° C. Towards the end of the afternoon the clouds started to break up, and with much clearer skies after dark it started to get very cold - approaching zero, and possibly hitting at some time in the night.
   I'm surprised the forecast doesn't show a frosty start to the day. It is currently frosty, but starting to melt, and I am sure a warning was given on the TV forecast last night. There is currently a weather warning for fog, but I haven't seen any yet. It seems that today is going to be dry, but very dull, and rather cool at just 7° C. Tomorrow may be no warmer, but it could feature some sunshine, and sunny spells.

  Yesterday was an odd sort of day with enough odd little things to do to make the day seem somehow fairly short. The one thing I didn't do was to go for a long walk, although I did go to the shops. Both had some negative consequences to my weight, but surprisingly not to my blood glucose level. My first outing was a very short one - just to the corner shop, but then I went to the main shops.

  I was headed for Poundstretcher to buy a bit of cleaning stuff, but found myself drawn into the British Heat Foundation charity shop. Initially it was to have a quick rummage through their secondhand CDs. I found 5 CDs that seemed worth buying, although I wasn't familiar with any of the stuff on 4 of them. The fifth was a 3 CD compilation album, and that did have quite a few recognisable tunes on it, and some bands/singers who I deeply suspect of being bloody awful - one or more could be a bloody rapper ! As yet I haven't actually listened to any of the CDs I bought there yesterday.

  After paying for my CDs (I can't remember the price, but I am sure I got more change than I expected from a £5 note) I glanced down to near floor level, and there, sitting in a glass cabinet, were a few cameras. There were a couple of bigger, rather plasticky looking cameras, but also a couple of small pocket cameras. One was a Sony, and the other was a Casio. They were priced at £9.99 and £8.99 respectively. I was warned that they had been unable to test them because they didn't have chargers, and didn't have memory cards.

  I bought both, and both did have memory cards in them. Both had holiday snaps on them which allowed my to get an idea of what sort of pictures the cameras were capable of taking. Both are 10 megapixel cameras, and while teh Sony has the edge, both take very good pictures. The Casio had some nice beach pictures of some young ladies in bikinis. The Sony memory card had a few topless pictures. They had been deleted, but the photorecovery app revealed them again !
frosty morning
  This picture does not show off the best capabilities of the Sony camera. It shows the frost this morning, and was taken through a less than sparkling clean window - I wasn't going to open the window while it was so bloody cold outside ! One feature of the Sony camera is that it has a touch screen to set up various shooting options. To my mind that makes it seem like it is not that old. I'll check later.

  I was able to charge the battery for the Sony camera, but it was a bit of a bodge. The electrodes are in the same place as the battery from a different model of Sony camera, but the length and thickness are different. I had to use a big clip to hold the battery against the charging terminals. Unfortunately I found nothing that lined up with the terminals of the Casio battery. Fortunately dodgy Chinese chargers and batteries are very cheap from Amazon. I currently have chargers and spare batteries on order, and the total cost was about £35 including P&P.

  After the British Heart Foundation charity shop I went into Poundstretcher - my original destination. I wanted some bleach, and other cleaning stuff. At the same time I kept an eye out for anything else useful. A new scrubbing brush was very useful for brushing the mud off my jeans after my walk on the boggy parts of Keston Common on Sunday. One very bad thing that I should not have bought was bag of wasabi peanuts. They are so moreish that I ended up eating the whole bag before the day was over. They were very nice, but not good for my diet !
two other purchases
  This picture illustrates two other purchases in Poundstretcher. I've always wanted to view the world through rose tinted glasses, and now I can. These very slightly orange pink glasses were among the £1 reading glasses, but are actually sun glasses that have a UV rating of 400 (whatever that means in practice). Unfortunately they were not £1 but £1.49 ! Curiosity got the better of me when I saw the hemp shampoo. For some silly reason the shampoo and conditioner were on different shelves, and I had to look carefully to actually spot the two complimentary products. Later this morning I expect my hair will be stoned ! I hope it has a nice smell, and is as glossy as the bottle claims.

  As usual, the highlight of the day was dinner. It was turkey and sprouts cooked in chicken stock. The turkey started out as a turkey leg that I stripped the meat off (or as much as I could without mucking around too much). I threw the bone out into the garden for the magpies, crows, or foxes. I initially grilled the meat to try and give it some extra flavour before stewing it in chicken broth, and later adding the sprouts. It was certainly more enjoyable than the awful tasteless and tough turkey breast "steaks" I tried a week or two ago, but I still don't think I can learn to love turkey.

  Apart from eating wasabi peanuts, I had a rather quiet night, and I was in bed before 10pm. I read for a while, and then, unlike some recent days, I fell asleep quite quickly once I turned the light out. Apart for seeming to dream a lot, fairly frustrating or boring dreams from the fragments I remember, I seemed to sleep mostly OK. This morning I feel reasonably OK, but things could be better.

  I can't remember "opening my bowels" (as the nurses at the hospital would say) yesterday, and this morning I felt a bit constipated, and my weight was up. I have been this morning, and my weight did drop, but I suspect I will be going again later, and hopefully my weight will drop a bit further ! My blood glucose is OK, but I was hoping it might have been a bit lower. I think those wasabi flavour peanuts are to blame.

  I don't know what I am doing today. The freezing air, and the dull overcast sky don't exactly fill me with joy. I ought to get some exercise, but I think the best I will manage today is a short walk in the park. I will break my walk halfway and sit in the pub with the hope that I'll see Angela. That should brighten my day even if the sun is a failure today.
Monday 18th November 2019
08:26 GMT
  There was far more sunshine that the very small amount forecast for yesterday, but sadly it wasn't necessarily at the right time or place. More importantly it stayed dry, but something better than a mere 8° C would have been nice.
                    "might" feature lots of sunny spells
   Today might feature lots of sunny spells, but there hasn't been one so far. In fact this forecast describes yesterday better than the original forecast ! At the moment I can see blue patches of sky, but they are in the wrong place at the moment. Perhaps we will get the promised sunny spells eventually. Let's hope so because they could push the temperature up to an almost warm, but not really, 9° C. Maybe 9° C will feel OK-ish when the sun is shining, but it seems it may only last for 5 minutes, and the rest of the afternoon will be a chillier 8° C. Being dry will help a bit. I thought that this morning might start with a frost, but it seems not. However the temperature is going to drop very low tonight, and tomorrow will almost certainly start with a sparkling frost. Tomorrow should be dry, but it will struggle to reach a maximum of just 7° C.

  While my blood glucose was relatively low yesterday morning, my weight seemed too high. I reasoned that it was because I hadn't gone to the toilet properly. This turned out to be true, although it was inconvenient the way it happened. First thing in the morning, or very soon after, I made a disappointingly small deposit in the toilet. A while later, while getting dressed to go out, I made a rather large deposit in the toilet. My weight immediately dropped to a level that I was a bit more happy with. Shortly before I was about to leave I had to go to the toilet again, and this time it was a bit explosive. My weight dropped down to about the level I was hoping for.

  All these visits to the toilet delayed my departure, and that would have a knock on effect. I had originally intended to get to Keston common soon after midday to observe some filming taking place by some musicians I know. My late departure would probably meant missing half of it, but I still expected to get there in time until my bus broke down. Somebody got on using a wheelchair in Bromley. When the driver retracted the wheelchair ramp he didn't get the OK signal that it had retracted properly.

   It had, as far as could be seen, but the bus said no, and wouldn't let the driver drive off. The driver rebooted the bus a couple of times, and tried bleeding off the air reservoir, but nothing worked. The one thing I don't think he tried was extending the ramp again, and retracting it again a few times. That might have cleaned a dirty switch or something. In the end the bus was declared out of service, and we all had to wait for the next one - a delay of about 20 minutes ! On my way home again, nearly 3 hours later, I noted the bus was still there, blocking the bus stop outside Bromley South railway station.
 Eventually, after a very long journey I arrived at Keston, and started looking around for my friends, but there was no sign of them. A later text message showed I only missed them by about 5 minutes. Nevertheless, it wasn't a wasted journey, and despite my hands feeling freezing, I enjoyed a nice walk, and took some nice pictures. My entire walk could have been a bit less if I had managed to follow the paths correctly, but I almost went round in circles until I corrected myself. In total I walked 1.6 miles - not as long as some of my recent walks, but still good.
walking Keston Common
  Actually, I am underselling myself. It was 1.69 miles ! You can see where I started to head far to west instead of following the almost straight path by the river. On the other hand there is a lot to explore, and if it hadn't been for the fear of getting lost in there at sunset, I could potentially have explored a bit more.
lovely Autumn scenes
  I found there were some wonderful Autumn scenes on the common - far better than the individual trees picked out in the local park. I feel that despite the even worse cold, I have a strong urge to try and get somewhere like this after some snowfall - assuming we get any this winter, and there is any transport running. This year I think I am in with a chance of being able to wear my extra thick winter coat that I bought from Peacock's several or more years ago, and which has been too small for me until possibly this year.
view across the pond
  Taking pictures across the top pond reveals a lovely backdrop of autumn coloured trees. I like the way a few evergreens add some original green to these coppers and golds.
still waters
  Even when the sky looks a rather flat light grey there is still a right and wrong direction for photography. I have no idea where the sun would be if it were visible, but I have a suspicion that had it been visible I would have been shooting into the sun for this photograph, and that would have been all wrong, but I rather like the way this photo turned out.

  After walking for 1.69 miles I didn't feel very taxed at all, and I was thinking that 3 miles would have been quite easy (and probably 4 or 5 in hot sunny weather with no coat, and heavy boots to slow me down). I am keeping my fingers crossed that next summer I can get back to some long distance walking again. There are definitely a few places I would like to visit again, and some places still to be visited.

  Getting home was boring, tedious, and typical of a long bus ride, but the bus didn't break down, and it arrived at the bus stop in Keston about 30 seconds after I did - so no long chilly waits at the bus stop ! The first thing I did when I got home again was to strip off all my outdoor clothes and get on the scales. My weight showed as a whole kilogramme lighter, with the tenths of a kilogramme digit displaying a firm 5 - half way to the units digit dropping by another one.

  It was still a couple of hours to diner time, and I could not resist eating some peanuts to take my mind off being hungry. Unfortunately I got into the position of the bag of peanuts getting near to empty, and thinking I might as well empty it. It probably didn't make much difference in the grand scheme of things, but I still feel I should have had more restraint.
my gold chain fits again
  After that walk, and my scales reading a new low figure, I was feeling almost thin. Now I would usually think of tighter belts, or even smaller sized jeans, and all these things are actually happening, but there was one strange idea that came to mind - a smaller neck ! I own three necklaces that I have collected over the years. The one that is seen in the picture on the left is my only gold necklace (although only about 3 carat gold). It was given to me by Patricia about 10 years ago, and it was not very loose then. In later years my neck evidently got fat, like the rest of me, and I couldn't wear it. Last night it seemed as loose, or even looser than it has ever been. It would be no problem to wear it all day now - and some selected day I will do so.

  I've just remembered, I actually have four necklaces. I think one was given to me by Marion back in something like 1982. The other, also silver, like the one Marion gave me, but chunkier, was given to me by some other woman, but strangely I can't think whom. The other necklace is a bit different. It is definitely not silver, or indeed any precious metal, and is closer to punk rock fashion than anything else I have. Some of the trouser belts I have bought over the years have had an identification tag held on by a short little chain . They are easy to join end to end, and now I have quite a long chain of these, but to date I have never had any reason to wear it. It will probably leave rust stains when I do, but maybe next summer, assuming I keep shrinking, I may feel happy about spending more time topless, and looking like medallion man....or maybe not !

  My dinner was ever so slightly smaller than intended last night. I was just about to finish it by getting the last bits of chicken and vegetable swimming in the gravy, and also drinking some of the very spiced gravy, when I got a phone call from Sue. That was unexpected. She wanted to ask about someone, a very strange someone, so she could tag her in a video she was uploading to social media. Like all telephone calls with Sue, it went on far too long, but this time it was Sue who kept the conversation going instead of her getting ready to go out. I was quite happy to continue talking because it was still early evening. Sue ended up getting to Stretchy's Open Mic much later than she wanted. Ha ha, revenge at last, except it was never intended to be revenge at all.

  I got to sleep OK last night - which was good after two nights where it took ages before I could sleep. I might have slept quite well, but I managed to "pop a rib" or something in the night. My chest felt sore, and it didn't help that when I reached out to pull the duvet over myself a bit more, I felt my ribs "ratchetting" together - click, click, pop, pop. On the other hand, maybe that was resetting them where they should be, because during the night the discomfort mostly faded away.

  This morning my blood glucose is nice and low, and my blood pressure is typically low. Unfortunately my weight seemed to have risen again, back to where it started sometime yesterday. As yet I haven't had a poo, and after all I did yesterday, I am not sure if I will need one today, but fingers crossed .... Other than that, I feel generally OK, but for some reason I am not sure if I feel like walking today - except maybe for one or more shopping trips.

  One of my big projects for today is butchery - literally, but only a subset of the real thing. I noticed, and bought a turkey leg from Tesco a few days ago. After moaning about how useless so called "turkey breast steaks" were - tough and tasteless - it was suggested I should try a turkey leg. Even on chickens I prefer the "brown meat" over boring breast meat. It is why I usually buy chicken thighs to use in my cooking. What I want to do today is to try and dissect  that turkey leg into boneless diced meat to use in what could be called a stew. I think I might part roast it first to drive off some fat, but also give it a stronger flavour. At the moment it is all theory. Maybe I shall reveal the practice tomorrow !
Sunday 17th November 2019
09:56 GMT
  I think the weather forecast got it about right yesterday. I seem to recall there was one or two brief periods when the sun managed break through a gap in the clouds, but other than that, it was as forecast - cold, damp and dull. It didn't actually rain at any time (that I was aware of) and the temperature did manage to get to 8° C. A very chilly day, doubly so in the grey daylight.
another dry day, but still very chilly
   The forecast above, and the latest revision of it does not match reality. At the moment it is bright and sunny. This is over an hour early according to to the original forecast. The latest revision doesn't say there will be any sunshine. It would be very nice if these sunny periods could continue, otherwise today is going to be a lot like yesterday, and yesterday was not nice. The headline figure says 9° C, but the hour to hour part never shows anything higher than 8° C. This will be true tomorrow according to the latest prediction, but at least it shows the morning as having some sunny spells.

  I could not bring myself to go for a walk in the gloom yesterday. That was a pity because I thought that walking a couple of miles would help bring down my blood glucose level, and might also help knock off the odd 100gm from my weight. It seems like it is a very long wait waiting for the units digit on my scales to flip down to the next lower number. I seem to caught between units digits with the 100gm digit bouncing up and down with an average of 500gm.

   While I couldn't face going for a walk, I did manage to force myself to go out into the garden. There were a couple of weeds I thought would take 5 minutes to deal with. Even for 5 minutes I put on some thermal underwear, and a slightly worn fleece jacket (ideal for gardening). That protected me from thermal shock when I went out, but it did ultimately have a negative effect. I wasn't out there for 5 minutes, but closer to an hour, and even after half an hour I was sweating under all that insulation.

  I also suffered a completely different problem that could have been very embarrassing if it had happened elsewhere than in the semi-privacy of my own garden. It has been quite some time since I last did any work in the garden, and obviously some time since I wore my gardening jeans. They have been oversized for me for a long time now, but a good belt hold them up - excerpt yesterday ! It seems I have lost at least an inch from around my waist, and that belt was quite loose. There was an occasion when my gloves were covered in mud (and possibly worse), and my jeans started slipping down. By the time I could get to a windowsill to put my gloves on (although I could have just thrown them to the ground), and adjust my jeans, they had slipped down to my knees. One of the first things I did when I came inside was to punch another hole in the belt. Even that is not that tight, and maybe I will punch another hole still - just in case.
right hand side of my
  There were two main things I did yesterday. One was to move some of the wood I had dumped by the left hand fence, and to clear it of weeds. Those weeds were starting to get quite luxuriant. There is still a lot of greenery to be seen, but some of that is just small weeds that I turned over using my hoe (why didn't I buy one of those essential tools 12 months ago ?), and couldn't be bother to bend over to pick every last leaf up.
rocks and rubble
  Once upon a time, about 30 years ago, I cleared much of the rubble before seeding the ground with grass seed. All I could do was to heap it up at the ends of the garden. I still find quite big bits in the middle of what may be lawn next year, and obviously there is loads of rubble that needs to be removed if I am to make use of both ends of the garden. I am not sure how I am going to dispose of it all, but I may end up trying to build a drystone wall with it...for fun.
back corner of the
  The right hand back corner of the garden remains a trouble spot. I removed a huge amount of weeds from the foreground in this picture, but underneath all that ivy is a big pile of rubble with the semi rotted remains of a couple of tree stumps in it. It is going to be a horrible job trying to sort it all out, but at least I managed to make a start on it yesterday.

  I did my best not to snack on anything too bad yesterday afternoon. It was quite difficult to control it though. The work in the garden made me feel hungry, and the cold gloomy weather all conspired to sharpen my appetite. It may have been the effects of Friday night's beer, or I must have eaten too many nibbles, or something, but my blood glucose level was still higher than hoped for before dinner. I decided to have a slightly safe dinner of just vegetable cooked in stock.

  It should have been safer, but I regret including a small onion, and some marrowfat peas with the cabbage and sprouts. Onion do seem to include a lot of sugar (or start), but as root vegetable this is their function. I'm not so sure about the marrowfat peas. The can said they didn't have much sugar in them. I have already had one confirmation that my choices weren't too bad, but could have been better.

  I had a nice lazy evening. I watched some TV, although pickings were very slim. At 10pm I was just about to go to bed when Lee phoned with one of his stupid questions. He claimed that one of his lady friends got lost on a B14 bus, and ended up at St Pancras. I think she was winding him up, because that bus goes nowhere near St Pancras. The brefix "B" shows it is a local bus based in Bexleheath. It travels between there and Orpington station (and back again). It would have taken Lee 2 minutes to check on Transport For London's web site to show the complete route of the B14, and all the stops it stops at. I don't think Lee has ever worked out how to use the internet.

  I think I shall blame Lee for disturbing my concentration even if it was not that, but last night was my second night when any feelings that I wanted to sleep evaporated as soon as I got into bed. Once again it was almost 1am before I fell asleep. Once I did get to sleep I seemed to sleep mostly OK. I didn't wake very often, but did seem to have some long and complex (and nonsensical) dreams.

  This morning I feel mostly OK. My blood glucose is near the bottom of the range I have measured every morning for this month, and while lower would be better, it is not a bad start to the day. My blood pressure remains boringly low. I sometimes wonder why I still keep a daily log of it, but then I remind myself that it saves all that hassle, and shocked expressions if a doctor or nurse tries to take it. It is always high at the surgery !

  The main problem this morning is my weight. All week it has come tantalisingly close to dropping down to the next lowest unit kilogramme, but it hasn't happened. On average it has stayed annoying the same for days now. The tenths of a kilogramme digit has reach 1 on one rare moment, but can go up to say 8. Today it is firmly stuck on 5. My only hope is that while I have had a poo, it was far smaller than expected, and some very mild, barely perceptible discomfort says there should be more to come.

  It is a shame that the sunny periods, that have brightened up most of the morning, seem to have stopped now. It is my intention to go for a walk on Keston Common early this afternoon. It means enduring a horrendously long bus ride, but I happen to know that a friend is supposed to be doing some filming there, and I thought I might be nosy. I think I had better wrap up warm, and wear some good boots. The last time I was there, in late summer several years ago, it was pretty boggy in places. I expect today some paths will be like quagmires !
Saturday 16th November 2019
08:58 GMT
  The forecast said heavy rain, and then the forecast was revised to show less heavy rain. In reality, yesterday saw hardly any heavy rain, and there were long periods when it was either dry, or the rain was so light as to be unnoticeable while indoors. Whether raining or not, it was still a very dull day, and with the temperature only peaking at 8° C, it was a rather cool day too.
                    dry, but stll very dull
   It looked like there was some rain around sunrise (which was completely hidden by clouds), but the rest of the day may be dry. The forecast doesn't say it, but there may be a few cracks in the clouds that could give an occasional, very brief, sunny interval. At the moment I can see the sun trying to burn it's way through a thinner bit of cloud. Most of today will be dull and overcast, and once again the highest temperature is going to be a rather cool 8° C. The next few days could be similar, but by next Wednesday the temperature could soar up to a magnificent still chilly 9° C. I doubt that reality will be anything like the forecast for next Thursday, but the current prediction is that the temperature could be 11° C. While that might be good if there was some sunshine, the current prediction is that it will rain !

  The idea of not going out walking, and having a bit of a rest went well with the weather, but a walk would have been better for me. I wasn't totally lazy though. I did a bit of laundry, and that burnt up a few calories. I also went shopping, and that put a few more calories on !
Beers bought from
  All I really wanted was a packet of Oxo cubes, but while I was there.... I bought a little bit of meat, and some more vegetables. I noticed that the reduced price shelves had some packs of sliced top side of beef for almost half price. I just had to buy a couple because they shouldn't have raised my blood glucose level, although there is a big doubt about the mustard I put on them. More importantly, it is rare for Catford Tesco to reduce anything to be anywhere near half price, and so for Tesco, but not from other , more generous supermarkets like Sainsbury's, they were a real bargain.

  The heavy part of my shopping was the beer I bought (pictured above). The Abbot and King Goblin were on a shelf saying any 4 for £6. I think that worked out to about 25p off each bottle when 4 were bought. Abbot Reserve is a 6.5% beer that has been really delicious on the rare occasions it has appeared in one of Wetherspoon's "beer festivals" on draught. I am hoping the bottled version will be just as nice.

  The other Hobgoblin beers I have had recently have been nice, and I am told that King Goblin (6.6%) is really nice. I look forward to testing these beers sooner or later. I did test the Duvel "Citra", and it was light and refreshing - rather different to classic Duvel. That is very dark, thick, and it takes at least half a bottle of it before you get the flavour. This Citra variant may be light in colour, but at 9.5% it packs a bit of a punch.
Duvel glass

  Back in the day (20 years ago ?) when I used to do a lot of beer tasting with my friend Jodie, we used to travel to some specialist beer shops to buy some unusual beers, or beers that just never appeared in Supermarkets or off licences. One of the good things is that some of these specialist shops would also sell glasses made by the brewery Or made for them). One such glass was a Duvel glass. It needed a good clean and polish after not being used for 20 years, but I enjoyed drinking my Duvel from it. My one disappointment is that I thought I also had a bottle of blue label Duvel. If my memory is correct, there was a cork under the crown cap that made for a better air tight seal. It may be my imagination, but I seem to think that blue label bottle said Best After 2000. I felt in the mood to try it last night, but sadly it seems I must have given into the temptation sometime in the past, because I could not find that bottle.

  Early in the afternoon I snacked on the slices of topside beef with some Dijon mustard on them. They were very nice, or at least they started off very nice, but it seemed my taste bud too quickly became accustomed to the taste, and it lost it's novelty. After that snack I had to wait until 6pm for my main meal of the day. Before eating it I checked my blood glucose level, and I was happy to see it was almost as low as expected, or hoped for.

  Dinner was the meal I had prepared for the previous night. It was skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked in extra flavoured stock with a small assortment of vegetables. It was very nice, but I did worry that a few ingredients, notably the small onion in it, were not the best things to keep the starch and sugar level to the minimum. Of course the two bottles of Duvel, and also two cans of a triple hopped IPA probably didn't help.

  I did initially feel like I was starting to get drunk after the two 9.5% Duvel beers, but the effect didn't last. I thought I felt nice and relaxed, but when I tried to go to sleep at around 10pm I found that sleep just would not come. It was gone midnight when I finally fell asleep. I am not sure it was good sleep. It seemed like I was having non stop dreams all night, and while I can remember enough to describe any, they were all rather bizarre or nonsensical.

  One curious thing is that I seemed to wee very little in the night. It was probably because I was drinking the beer quite early in the evening, and I think I probably went for a wee a few times before going to bed....or maybe not. When I weighed myself this morning it did seem I had put a few hundred grammes on - and that was after a poo ! I suspect I will be having another poo before the morning is out. It could make a vital difference to my weight.

  My other indicators of health were OK this morning. My blood pressure, at least when relaxed, is it's usual very low. My blood glucose is lower than expected, but I would prefer it if it were lower still. I might have to have just plain boiled sprouts for dinner tonight. That could be essential if I am going to allow myself to have a Sunday treat tomorrow. The surprising thing is that after a night which I am sure involved lots of tossing and turning, most of my usual aches and pains are at a very low level. Some almost seem to have disappeared - which is really good, although I daren't take them for granted. Many can still be easily provoked by one wrong move.

  I don't know what I am doing today. I feel I really ought to go and walk for a couple of miles, but it looks so cold and dull outside that it is hard for me to raise any enthusiasm for it. The only hope is that the cloud looks very thin to the west, and if it is moving this way then it might less like a wet blanket on my enthusiasm. I think I'll just make up today as I go along.
Friday 15th November 2019
08:45 GMT
  Yesterday was not as grim as the weather forecast seemed to predict - except for the morning. That was dull, grim and damp. The afternoon saw some sunny intervals which the forecast didn't not predict. The thing the forecast got right was the temperature. It was no more than 7° C in the afternoon, except for about 10 minutes when it might have touched 8° C. It definitely felt quite chilly when out walking in it.
                    this is right it will be a horribly wet day
   The good news is that the latest revision of the forecast seems to show that there will be less heavy rain than the earlier version above. It still describes the day as heavy rain though. About the only good thing about today's forecast, and it is pushing the word "good" far beyond it's usual meaning, is that the temperature could be a whole one degree less cold than yesterday. This afternoon we can bask in a whole 8° C.  Tomorrow is possibly just going to be a dry version of today - dry, but still no sunshine predicted.

  There were two things I wanted to do yesterday, but I only completed one of them. I installed the new bell push on the front door, and now I probably need to order something from Amazon so one of their couriers can test it. I suspect that before that can happen some election canvasser will abuse it first. The other thing I hoped to do was to get my new firewall up and running.

  My new firewall seems jinxed. The previous box I was going to use seemed to have a strange BIOS, and any Linux installation would fail to boot until I mucked around with the hard disk to make sure it had a very small boot partition. It was as if it would not read the MBR (master boot record) at the beginning of the hard disk. I got that machine running Linux Mint after a bit of mucking around.

  My second choice of box for the new firewall is also based on an Intel Atom mini-ITX board, but it is a different model, and it used to run Linux perfectly OK. It needed a new power supply, and with that fitted it ran perfectly OK until I installed a 3Com network/Ethernet card. For some reason it wanted to do a network boot despite that option being turned off in the BIOS. I suspect the 3Com card has it's own BIOS that was overriding the motherboard BIOS.

  I changed that card for a different network card, and it no longer wants to do a network boot. Yesterday I had a double whammy. The firewall operating system couldn't recognise the new network card, and worse than that, when I tried to reboot it said no "bootable medium found". I have a feeling that there is something about the way the operating system partitions the hard disk is incompatible with a modern BIOS. Maybe I need to use something more up to date like IPCOP.

  I mentioned yesterday morning that I had a cunning plan to continue my daily exercise by incorporating it into my journey to the pub for my (usually) regular late Thursday afternoon drink. In preparation for boozing i had half my dinner in the middle of the afternoon. It really screwed up my blood glucose reading, but it had the desired effect of not getting drunk - which would have happened on an empty stomach. That dinner was two grilled pork shoulder chops.
from Beckenham Hill to
  The walking portion of my journey was from Beckenham Hill station, through Beckenham Place Park, and then on to the pub at Shortlands. Going through the park made it more interesting than just pounding the pavement. There were some interesting sights to see in there, but my first photo was taken at Beckenham Hill station.
Fox in the shrubs
  As my train pulled into the station I noticed a fox sunning itself on the low wall alongside the step free ramp to down side exit. As soon as someone went to walk up that ramp the fox disappeared, but I noticed it was just in the shrubs, and possibly would resume his sun bathing, not that there was much sun, but the brickwork may have stored some heat, once the station quietened down again.
golden trees in
                        Beckenham Place Park
  I don't know if this Autumn is different, or if last year I was just looking in the wrong place at the wrong time, but this year I am seeing some spectacular Autumn colours. It made walking through the cold park worthwhile.
the sun starting to
                        disappear behind the trees
  Turning my camera the other way  got this shot of the sun just disappearing below the tree line. I was a bit wary of pointing my camera at the sun, and definitely wouldn't in high summer, but the sun, although still seeming very bright, is not very strong at the time of year, and even less so at this time of day. My camera suffered no sensor burn.
I am now at
  I've been meaning to take a snap of this sign for ages. There are similar ones under many railway bridges all over SE London. This showed my walk was nearly over. Just a few minutes more and I was at the pub - rather earlier than anticipated. I thought it might take about an hour, but it was just 48 minutes of walking - and walking very slightly faster than yesterday.

  It was a both enjoyable walk, and at the same time slightly unpleasant. My hands were freezing, but under my coat I was getting hot enough to sweat. I had hoped I would be able to walk with my coat done up, but it felt restricting, and I needed ventilation to keep cool. Once again my chest got cold despite the rest of me feeling hot, and once again my chest was aching. It rather spoiled the walk. I can't wait to be able to walk in the sunshine with just a t-short on. It is so liberating.

  I arrived at the pub at least 10 minutes, and maybe even 15 minutes before anyone else turned up. It effectively meant I was one pint ahead of everybody else. There was a nice winter beer on called Fireside, and I ended up having 4 pints of it. It is lucky I had taken the precaution of eating part of my dinner before going out or I would have been feeling really drunk. As it was, I was drunk enough to feel very refreshed after my earlier walk, and going home seemed very easy.

  Once I got home I decided that I would not eat the dinner I had prepared. I did give it a couple of minutes in the microwave until it was just about boiling, and then I sealed the top - which bowed inwards as it cooled off - it was vacuum sealed ready to be reheated today with extra vegetables added. My dinner last night was just sprouts and green beans, although I did give them a bit of a glaze with some butter.  It worked as expected, and together with the walk, my blood glucose is much lower this morning, and my weight has hit a new low !

  To hit that new low I had to party dehydrate myself during the night. My sleep was a bit disturbed by many visits to the toilet to drain off those 4 pints of beer, but that is just how the system works. The weight loss is real though. I think it was a day or two ago I mentioned a pair of red jeans that I hadn't worn since 2012 because they were tight then, and later on just impossible to do up. The other day I put them on, and while they still seemed a bit tight, they were easy to do up. What I didn't mention was my other red jeans.

  The other red jeans are more a brick red, and were even tighter back in 2012. I was most definitely scared of sitting down in them. Well the funny thing is that I am wearing them as I write this. I have had them on for about 20 minutes now, and my legs have not turned blue. I have to confess this is a sort of masochistic exercise because they are still a bit too tight, but at least they are wearable again, and by Xmas they might become part of my everyday wear - provided I can keep on shrinking.

  Today I would like to go for another 2 mile walk, but I don't think I can face the cold and wet. I may grit my teeth and go shopping. I need some beef Oxo cubes, and while that is a poor excuse to go to a supermarket (maybe Tesco because they do the low salt version), it is the best one. Other than that, I think I might turn the heating up, and try to have a very lazy day.
Thursday 14th November 2019
08:18 GMT
  There were a few hours of bright sunshine and blue sky yesterday morning, but the blue sky gave way to clouds before midday, and while there were a few sunny intervals popping up just after midday, it was ultimately a rather grey day from about 1pm onwards. With an afternoon high of just 8° C, it was a rather cool day. Later in the evening, well after dark, there was some rain.
a dull
                    and damp start to today
   This morning has started off very different to the previous few mornings. It is very dull, and very damp looking. I don't think it has rained for a few hours, but the forecast suggests it will rain again soon - or it did. The latest revision of the forecast says today will be dull, but dry. Once again it is going to be a rather cool day. The temperature may peak at 8° C for a very short while, but mostly it will be 7° C for the middle of the day. At least the cloud will keep some of the warmth in, and during the night the temperature may not fall below 5° C - still bloody chilly, but no frost. Tomorrow may see the return of rain until mid afternoon. If we are lucky we might get two hours at 8° C tomorrow, but otherwise the temperature is going to be very similar to today.

  I didn't hear from Angela as to whether her doctors appointment would stop her getting the pub at lunchtime, but I felt I ought to take a walk regardless. We had long lost the morning's sunshine when I stepped out, but I was lucky to have the sun come out enough times to really warm up the back of my black coat. It wasn't long before I had to open the front because I was stating to feel too hot. It may have also been because I walked a little faster yesterday, or maybe I didn't. Maybe I just didn't stop to take photos so frequently.
a tad over 2 miles
  I forgot to start the tracking app on my phone until I had already been walking for 2 or 3 minutes, and maybe if I had I might have found I had walked 2.05 miles instead of just 2.01 miles ! I have to admit I didn't do this non stop. I stopped for a Guinness after, if  recall correctly, 1.83 miles.
another tree with
                        copper coloured autumn leaves
  I didn't find much that was new to photograph yesterday, but I thought this tree with it's leaves turned copper and gold before falling off was worth a shot.
Train about to pass
                        under the footbridge
  Everytime I have crossed the footbridge over the railway, from side of the park, to the other, in the last few weeks, there has not been a train in sight. Yesterday was different. It is not a very exciting train, but I had my camera with me, and turned on ready to use.....  Stopping for a minute on the footbridge was good. I think it was a combination of my coat being done up, which is very slightly tight across my chest, and carrying a heavy courier bag with it's strap across my chest, that combined to make my chest hurt. I assume it was just my rib cage that was aching rather then my heart, but there was room for doubt.

  Going up the long spiral of steps to go over the footbridge would have made that pain worse if it had been my heart, but maybe because I was leaning forward as I walked upward took some of the pressure off my chest, it actually felt a bit better. Waiting 30 seconds for the train to approach (it hadn't left Ladywell, whose platform can just be seen in the distance, as I started waiting) seemed to make any discomfort almost disappear. At this point I should logically slowed down a bit for the rest of my walk, but I was late, and felt it best to speed up !

  Although time was of the essence, I still took the long way to The Jolly Farmers. I still hadn't heard from Angela, but I thought I deserved a Guinness, and there was still a chance that Angela would turn up anyway. She did, but was a lot later than usual. She had been in the bakery/cafe two shops away having a bite to eat. I was most happy to see her because it would mean my courier bag would be a lot lighter for the last leg of my walk.

  Inside my courier bag was a bottle of posh looking, but actually cheap vodka. The bottle looks like the famous Grey Goose bottle, and the vodka inside the bottle tastes very smooth, and I reckon many people would think it is Grey Goose which is sold for about three times the price despite costing mere pennies to make ! I bought for Angela so she could try it, and give her opinion. I also had two packets of sparkly, Xmas scented, tea lights for her. I meant to give them to her last Xmas, but that was during a period of time when we had hardly any contact with each other.

  I guess we only had about 25 minutes together, but it was enough to raise my spirits, and make the walk home feel better. Once I got home I got down to the serious business of waiting for my Amazon delivery. When I first stepped through the front door I thought I had already missed the deliver, but the card on my door mat was my polling card for the forthcoming general election.

  I guesstimated the delivery time of my parcel would be about 4pm, and this time I was about right. With too much time on my hands before then the pangs of hunger started to bite, but this time I partly quenched them with a big chunk of raw white cabbage. Later on it would leave a sort of lingering after taste that made me want to eat again, but it was a fair bit later, and I could resist it. Ideally I would have ignored the passing time by immersing myself in some reading, and having a snooze, but I did not want to miss that parcel delivery !

  Eventually the parcel arrived. It had two items in it. One was the mini power supply for the mini PC that I hope to be using as my new firewall. The other item was a new doorbell. The bell push for my existing radio linked, digital doorbell has suffered the red button crumbling after being exposed to strong sunlight several years running. I could have bodged a repair on it, but the materials would not cost much less than a whole new radio linked doorbell system (I think it was £7). I am not so sure if it is as loud as the old doorbell, but it is mains powered, and that will stop those embarrassing times when the batteries have gone flat in the old one. One of my jobs today is to fit the new doorbell button on the front door.

  Finally it was time for dinner, but before I ate it I measured my blood glucose level. It was higher than I hoped for, just over 7, but later on a strange thing happened - again ! My dinner was diced pork cooked in stock flavoured with (alleged) Thai 7 spice powder. It was padded out with lots of cauliflower. The pork was quite fatty, and so on this occasion I had grilled it to get rid of some of the excess fat. While a cauliflower, particularly in the quantities I used, is not usually though of as an ingredient of Asian cooking, the whole lot was very tasty - even if I say so myself !

  Barely 10 minutes had passed since I chewed my last mouthful when I felt the urge to check my blood glucose level again. In theory it should have been higher, but like the last time I did this, it was lower - just 6.6mmol/l. My fingerprick had produced quite a large bead of blood, and there was enough for another test using my other meter with the expired test strips. It gave a figure of 6.8 - which tallies nicely with the 6.6 of the other meter.

  I did my best to avoid any snacking that might add any sugar to my diet. Fortunately the half price Aldi ham, that was on it's use by date, was mostly harmless. I was going to just rest and do nothing for the rest of the evening, but I was itching to try the new mini power supply in my mini computer. I fitted it, and also fitted an second Ethernet card. It all booted up OK from the firewall operating system install CD. I did all the setup, and all was well until I had to reboot it. I didn't take the time to investigate what was really going on, but it seems that the 3Com 3C509 Ethernet card might have some sort of additional BIOS in it. The computer was adamant that it wanted to do a Network boot, and sat there sulking because it couldn't find an operating system on my LAN. Today I will see if there is a setting I can change, or I will change the card itself, and hope for the best.

  I had another mostly comfortable sleep last night. There was one time when my right elbow decided it was going to really ache, but I seemed to find a position that it was happy with. The amount of dreams I seemed to be having, now all but forgotten, suggests my sleep was lighter than hoped for, but I seem to feel OK this morning. I had two pleasant surprises when I got up. My blood glucuse level is starting nice and low this morning - just 7.0 - and I have managed to lose enough weight for the units digit to consistently be one less (although admittedly the first decimal place was the digit 9, and so I am only just there). There is hope that it could be a little lower still because I haven't had a poop yet.

  Today I have a few little things to do - fitting the new bell push, and playing with the mini computer - but at 4.30 I should be attending my late Thursday afternoon drinking session. I have a cunning plan to combine it with some exercise. If I get off the train at Beckenham Hill station I can walk through Beckenham Place Park to Ravensbourne, and then it is just one long straight road direct to the pub. I should still have daylight when walking through the park, but the sun will have set by the time I reach the pub. With the days still getting shorter this could be my last chance to use this route.
Wednesday 13th November 2019
09:15 GMT
  Yesterday started bright and sunny, but it didn't last long. By midday, and possibly earlier, it clouded over, and it wasn't long before it started to rain. There was some quite heavy rain for a time, but mostly it was lighter rain, and I think it dried up late in the afternoon. It was a rather cool day at just 7° C, but the rain felt much colder than that. It was like ice water !
another sunny start
   Like yesterday, it is another sunny start to the day, and unlike the weather forecast prediction, it has been full on sunshine with mostly blue sky. That seems to be changing now, and the sky is starting to turn white as the clouds gather. They look to be quite high in the sky, and the type that won't leak rain on us. Oddly enough, this is in accordance with the weather forecast. The latest prediction is that it will stay dry until 7pm. After that a curious thing happens.  The forecast included a crescent moon symbol, which I always thought symbolised a fairly clear sky, but apparently at teh same time as this it will rain. It will continue to rain until beyond midnight. It should be a tiny, weeny bit warmer than yesterday 8° C instead of 7° C. Tonight's rain is currently forecast to finish at midday tomorrow ! The rest of tomorrow may be dry, but it is going to be one of the coldest days yet - just 6° C.

  After all the pain I had in the night, I wasn't keen to do much yesterday morning, and for the most part I didn't do much, although a hot shower, and in particular playing the hot water on my sore shoulder and elbow, did improve matters. Some things are optional, like a walk in the park, but other things are essential, and have to be done. Then there are some things that are not yet essential, but will be - like getting laundry done while it is still a small pile.

  It does seem that quite often the physical work doing laundry by hand does help many of my aches and pains. I suppose it is a similar thing to the hot water while having a shower. My hands are plunged into hot soapy water, although because I wear rubber gloves to do it, the water does not seem so hot. However, all the squelching about, plus the wringing out (five times - detergent, three rinses, and then fabric conditioner) does warm my whole body up. At the end of the process I was feeling fairly good, although in need of five minutes rest.

   The one thing that was essential was to go and buy some food. All I had in the fridge was a steak that I later diced to use in my dinner. Considering the steak had been marked as half price as it neared it's sell by date, it was actually cheaper than buying diced beef, and was infinitely more delicious than "diced beef". It was very tender, free from gristle, and tasted delicious.

  I did have a selection of vegetables before I went out to Aldi, but I got a few more. I mainly wanted some more lean meat, but Aldi's meat selection is not always as varied as, say, Tesco. The chicken thigh fillets will be fine, but I am going to have to hand dice some pork that I bought, and I probably won't, but ideally I should trim off all the fat. The other thing I wanted was more booze. I particularly wanted to but Angela a bottle of the French vodka that Aldi sells. It was on special off - just £13.99 a bottle - and that bottle looks very similar to very expensive Grey Goose vodka. I have never tasted the latter, but the Aldi version does taste wonderfully smooth.
bottles of beer
  The last time I came back from Aldi I had 4 cans of Hobgoblin Ruby Beer. Someone suggested that the bottled version tasted nicer, and was a bit stronger. Yesterday I found that Aldi had the bottled version in stock, as well as bottles of Hobgoblin Gold Beer. I bought two bottles of each. I have yet to open the canned version, but I did open these bottles !

  One of the things about the diet I have invented, and try and to follow as best I can, is that it is supposed to reduce my blood glucose as well as lose weight. On Sunday's, and hopefully just the once, last Saturday as well, I drop my guard and eat things I deny myself for the rest of the week. It does seem that the weekend takes it's toll on my blood glucose, and it is only now, in the middle of the week, that things start to return to a nice low level. This morning I would have been happier if it had been a bit lower, but it was the best I could do. Four bottles of beer almost certainly didn't help.

  The thing that continues, albeit in a wobbly way, and sometimes excruciatingly slow, is weight loss. I was hoping that this morning I would see the units digit one lower, but it seems I am still a mere 200gm away from that. Maybe tomorrow morning. As I say, the weightloss is annoyingly slow, but I occasionally have proof that it is happening. Yesterday morning I pulled out a plastic storage box from under the spare bed. It contained several pairs of trousers and jeans that I was saving for a thinner day.
red jeans
  This picture was taken in October 2012, and shows me wearing a pair of red jeans, plus red shirt at a Halloween gig (which explains Matt, standing next to me looking a bit ghoulish). I can remember being scared to sit down in those red jeans in case they split, or exploded). A year later they probably would have fit better because I was on a strict diet to try and stop the angina pains that lead to my quad heart bypass operation a year later. After that things went to pot, and I had to set aside many pairs of jeans because they were just too tight to wear. I had to buy some new jeans in a bigger size. Yesterday morning I tried those red jeans on, and they were fairly easy to do up, possibly easier than they were in 2012, and at a pinch I could probably wear them comfortably. I think, or I hope, that by the end of December I will be able to wear them with ease.

  As I have already mentioned, last night's dinner, made with diced steak, was delicious. I washed it down with all four bottles of Hobgoblin beer I had bought in Aldi earlier. The very first bottle initially seemed to taste a bit yeasty, but before I had drunk half of it it settled down, and tasted nice. I was probably a bit drunk when I had finished all four bottles, and I have no idea now which of the two ales, the ruby, or the gold, was nicest.

  I knew that drinking that beer would probably not be good for my blood glucose, but it was also medicine for my joint pain. It seemed to work well because I suffered very little discomfort in the night. I think I slept solidly for 4 hours, then 3 hours, and finally two hours. That makes 9 hours in all, and that seems rather a lot. Maybe I lost track of time, but on the other hand I think I feel unusually refreshed this morning. My usual aches and pains are all still there, but more as a feeling of tenderness when I make a move that is to near provoking worse pain.

  Today I plan to go for a walk of a mile or two. I was hoping to see Angela, but I think she has a doctors appointment today, and I don't know if that will affect her lunchtime. I have left her a message wishing her good luck with the doctor, and asking her to let me know if she will be available at lunchtime. The only fly in the ointment is that the new mini power supply for my soon to be new firewall (hopefully) is due to arrive today. It is coming from Dartford, and parcels from there usually arrive quite late in the afternoon. So I should be OK to be away from home at lunchtime.
Tuesday 12th November 2019
09:11 GMT
  The most important thing is that contrary to the first version of the forecast, yesterday was dry. It was also sunny - to a limited extent. Most of the sunshine was in the first part of the morning. As midday approached the sunshine became intermittent, and by 1pm it was just about all over. It didn't feel too bad when catching some of the suns rays, but once the clouds covered the sky even 9° C felt rather cool.
another sunny start
   This morning the forecast has got it right - it is a nice sunny morning, but maybe it won't continue. The latest revision now says the sunshine will continue until 10am, and sunny spells may continue until midday - a small, but useful improvement. The revised forecast also says we will skip the drizzle and go straight to light rain starting at around 2pm. It might be over by 5pm, but it will continue to be overcast until the end of the day, although by 5pm it will be dark, and the clouds, provided they are not leaking, are of little consequence. It is going to be quite a cool afternoon at just 7° C, and with clear skies overnight we might get a frost tomorrow morning.  Tomorrow might stay dry until about 8pm, but it is likely to be very dull, and maybe no more than 1° warmer than today.

  The sunshine yesterday morning meant I was almost compelled to go out for another walk. It was to be a slightly shorter walk because I wanted to conduct an experiment, plus I wasn't feeling in a very energetic mood. My total walking time was just 45 minutes, but curiously enough I did walk a tiny bit faster than the day before - or stopped less to take pictures.
yesterday's route
  This means I have now done 107 minutes of exercise out of the 150 minutes per week as recommended by the sadistic physical fitness addicts who erected the torture items in the other side of the park (see yesterday's picture). If I did another 45 minutes today I would exceed their recommendation. I may, or may not do that today, but I will tomorrow.
gold and copper
  I think I have been fortunate to get my timing right this year, and have managed to capture many snaps of the Autumn colours of trees. I must have missed it last year for some unknown reason, or maybe the colours are just more vivid this Autumn. The red and gold of the tree on the left contrasts nicely with the copper of the tree to the right, both set against some trees that are still green.
Squirrel on tree
  I tried to entice some squirrels to pose for me with monkey nuts, but at this time of year there are so many natural foods for them. I'll try again in late winter/early spring. At least this squirrel stopped to star at me for a few seconds.
brass and stained
   My real objective yesterday was to go in the pub for some Guinness, and to take a couple of snaps of more stuff in the pub. The brass plate on the left is not as exciting as the delightful "Madam Kuntz and her daring leg show", but worth recording. The stained glass window, set in an old door that is now used as a draught deflector/partition between tables, looks really nice - except in this picture. It really needed to be backlit to reveal all the details. It doesn't look it, but the woman pictures in the centre is very nice looking when lit properly.

  Of course my real reason to go to the pub was to meet Angela. Yesterday was different. I didn't tell her I would be in there, but I had a suspicion she would turn up anyway - and she did. She was surprised to see me, but apparently very happy about it. We had a couple of drinks before it was time for Angela to go back to work. As usual, I walked her back to work, and we said goodbye. I didn't think we would hug, and said "no hug ?", and Angela immediately opened her arms and gave me one of the best hugs for some time. I said I would probably see her again on Wednesday.

  I then walked directly back home, only stopping at the corner shop to buy the magazine that should have arrived last Friday, but had been delayed for some reason. There was a bit more sunshine when I got home, and my bedroom was feeling nice and warm with no additional heating. The first thing I did was to transfer all the pictures I had taken to my PC, and then I laid on my bed. Initially it was to do some reading, but it was not long before I was having an afternoon snooze.

  Unfortunately I woke up feeling really cold. The sun had gone in probably before I started reading, but I neglected to turn on any heating. For the rest of the day I felt rotten. The cold had got several of my "favourite" bits really aching. My chest ached, but not that bad. Worse was my right shoulder, and right elbow. The pain from them leaks into the adjacent muscles - or so it seems. To make life more interesting, my left elbow, and left wrist thought they would join in !

  It seemed to take ages before it was time for dinner. I had been trying to wait until 6pm before eating anything, but I did have one chunk of cheese a it earlier in the afternoon. Just before dinner my blood glucose level hadn't dropped as much as I had hoped after starting quite high in the morning. I thought my dinner should have been very low sugar, but maybe I had overlooked something. My blood glucose was high again this morning, although a full point lower than the previous two mornings.

  Having some hot food reduced the intensity of some of my aching bone/joints/muscles, but didn't stop the pains entirely. By the time I was thinking about bed those pains seemed to be going full blast again. It made relaxing in bed very difficult. I think I made my chest pain worse by thrashing around trying to find a comfortable position for my sore elbows. I felt quite a few clicks and pops from the ribcage while thrashing around. It seemed every position I tried would be good for one pain, but twice as bad for another.

  After what felt like ages I managed to get an hour or two of sleep, but then I had to give in and take some painkillers. I think the only cure for this condition is hot sunshine. In the meantime I fear it is going to get worse as we get deep into winter. It also gets worse as I restrict my food intake to achieve lower blood glucose, and lower weight. It is the latter that feels like I am achieving more consistently.

  All these things, except my blood pressure that remains consistently low when at home, and relaxed, go up and down a lot - particularly after the excesses of the weekend. As I have said, my blood glucose is back on a downward trend again -at least I hope it is. This morning was higher than hoped, but less than the previous two mornings. My weight sometimes doesn't seem to move much, and occasionally seems to go up. This morning I noted that after hovering about a bit, I seem to have definitely moved to a point where the scales don't hesitate to show one less on the units digits. The tenths of a kg digit was 0.5, and I would not be surprised if it was 0.9 tomorrow, but obviously it would be better if it was something like 0.2. Most importantly, if the units digit doesn't go up I will be happy that scheme works.

  I probably ought to go for a walk in the sunshine today, but I must admit I don't feel terribly keen about it. I am fearful of getting my elbows cold, and suffering more pain like last night. I may still go out though - even if it is just to the shops. I don't think I can be bothered with the park today. Tonight there is an open mic on that is usually a very enjoyable event, but while I would like to go in theory, I am not so sure that I will go. Time will tell.
Monday 11th November 2019
08:27 GMT
  The weather forecast was very up and down yesterday. The morning was far clearer, and more sunny than the forecast predicted. Later on the sky did cloud over, and the weather more closely followed the forecast - but not exactly ! The afternoon temperature was about 10° C. The forecast, or later revisions of it, did mention a brief excursion to 11° C, but I can't say I noticed it. I guess for an Autumn day it was "mostly harmless".
   One of this morning's features was that it seemed to be fairly windy. The other feature was rain, although it seemed to be ending as it got light. There have been a few bright moments so far, but it does seem quite cloudy in the east. The wind direction suggests that cloud should be blown away to be replaced by the much clearer sky to the west. Maybe it might be sunny instead of raining. The latest revision of the forecast says there will be just a 32 to 40% chance of light rain between 10am and midday. The afternoon should be dry, but it will probably be overcast, and at 9° C, not warm. The sky will probably be clear tonight, and that means the temperature is going to drop a lot. Tomorrow might start with a frost, but it should be a dry day with a bit of sunshine. We will need every ray of sunshine possible if the afternoon temperature is only going to be 7° C !

  Yesterday was another day where I did a lot, and nothing at all. The biggest lot of stuff I did was to go for a walk while the sun shined. It was very pleasant in the sunshine, but a bit cool in the shade. I ended up walking a bit less than intended because towards the end the sun was going in too often, and I could feel my chest getting cold. I thought I had caught it in time before it started to complain, and during the day it seemed fine, but this morning it is complaining again.
my walk
   This was the route I took. I walked it in an approximate clockwise direction. I had intended to walk all the way to Ladywell, but cut the walk short by swinging off to the right by the kiddies playground area. As a consequence I only walked 1.83 miles. If I had done the full route it would have been closer to 2.5 miles. My speed seems slow, and some of that can be accounted for by stopping to take photos, but I was also slowed down a lot when I walked up the hill on the most western side of my walk. It's not a steep hill, but seems to go on forever. I deliberately tied to take many picture through the trees up there while I go my breath back. The most important measurement is that it too just over one hour, or 62 minutes to be exact.
sign put up by keep
                        fit sadists
  There is a sign in the park, but some assorted instruments of torture. I have expanded the relevant bit, and ringed it in red. It states that 150 minutes is the recommended level of physical activity per week. If we take yesterday as the first day of a week, then I have already done 62 of those 150 minutes, and I expect I will do more than the remaining 88 minutes in the next 7 days. It all rather depends on the weather, but I think I'll probably do 30 to 40 minutes today.
  This robin posed perfectly for me at about head height on a twig poking out of a bush. His (or her ?) red breast is really vibrant when set against the green leaves in the background.
golden Autumn colours
  I've been waiting to take the perfect Autumn picture, and until something better comes along, this is it. The leaves on the tree in the middle of the picture have turned a wonderful golden colour, and the leaf litter under it is also glowing gold.

  I had a little treat in store when I came home from my walk. It was 6 venison sausages that I had precooked, and that just needed a minute in the microwave to warm up. They were very low fat, and I tried to not spoil that with tomato sauce. I did have some, but the label claims it is reduced sugar and salt tomato ketchup. I didn't dare look at the small print to see how true that statement was, but I used very little of it. I think a little bit of whole grain mustard was also fairly innocent.

  Those sausages were very nice to come home too, and they filled a big hole in my stomach. I felt no need to eat anything more until dinner time. By dinner time my blood glucose had dropped a whole point lower than the rather high morning reading. Dinner was a couple of quite low fat, although not sold as such, Aberdeen Angus beef burgers. I had them in a couple of crispy rolls with sliced tomato and some blue cheese. They were very nice, but would have been even nicer if not served in those rolls. The rolls did what bread rolls do, and this morning my blood glucose is very high again.

  It might have been tempting to have a lazy afternoon after my morning walk, but it didn't happen...well it did, but only a bit. I spent more time clearing up my back room. Half the dining table is now cleared of junk, and has been polished. There is not that much on the other half, and if I can think of a safe place for my Wharfedale speakers (I think I said they were Goodmans yesterday) there will be very few items on that table to clear away.

  One other bit of work I did down there was to tidy up, and improve a 4 way gang extension lead. Previously it was hooked on one woodscrew. It used to be used for when I had a computer on the table, but for years has mainly served as a place to plug the hoover in. I have now mounted it securey to a spare piece of wood, and screwed that piece of wood to the wall. I have also added an ethernet socket on the backboard for future use.

  Later in the evening I did relax - or just vegetate in front of the TV. There was not a great deal on that was worth watching, although having said that, I did enjoy two (or was it three ?) episodes of "Allo Allo". I was in bed, intending to read, before 10pm. I managed to work my way through a 3 page article in New Scientist, but I think I was too tired to take much of it in. I don't think it was much after 10pm before I was fast asleep. I think I slept for 4 hours initially, and then a few more blocks of 2 hours each.

  During the later part of my sleep I managed to turn over too fast, and hurt my chest - I am sure it was left tender after getting cool towards the end of my walk yesterday. The most comfortable position for my chest seems to have been the most uncomfortable for my right shoulder (and to a lesser extant my right elbow). I have had to take painkillers this morning because they were really bothering me.

  The rest of my feels mostly OK. About the very worst thing was being constipated. It was a bit uncomfortable until things got moving. Unfortunately it was one of those impossible times when my new scales, which I have much faith in as being accurate, said I weighed more after I had been to the toilet !

  I had one rather fascinating dream last night. In this dream I had been asked my my friend Aleemah to extract some pictures from a government computerised training course. It was presented as web pages from a CD ROM. The peculiar thing was that the images were in .gvd files. As far as I am aware there is no such thing as a gvd file, but maybe there ought to be. Basically they are a container for video or still pictures with added control information. For instance there was a byte that said how many times the video could loop around. Fortunately on my Linux computer it was a simple command line command to split the container into it's constituent parts. Being a dream it was all fantasy, and yet being able to do very useful stuff from the command line is one of the hidden facets of Linux, but only for those happy to go beyond the graphical, point and click, interface.

  The painkillers I took are doing their stuff, and I think I will soon be OK to do more adventurous stuff. I have saved up a couple of white t-shirts that I may wash today. I also have a cunning plan, that is dependant on the weather (it is still gloriously sunny as I wrote this). If the timing is right, bearing in mind the forecast says rain until midday, I think I will take a walk in the park. Probably not such a long walk, but you never know, and I might time it so that I am passing the pub at 1pm. I might pop in there and see if Angela appears without being asked. I think there is a small, but possible chance she may do. Other than that, I think I may do some more clearing up in the back room.
Sunday 10th November 2019
09:35 GMT
  The weather forecast for yesterday was correct in parts, but was a bit too pessimistic. The 2° C start to the day, and the afternoon temperature of just 7° C was about right, but the morning was much brighter than forecast. There were even a few sunny spells ! The rain started a bit later in the afternoon than predicted, but I don't recall any heavy rain. I'm not even sure it was non stop rain. I think it took a few breathers, but it essentially continued into the night, and into the early hours of this morning.
                    sky this morning
   The 35% chance of rain at 8am this morning would have been very unlikely because the sky has been very clear and blue possibly since before sunrise. At the moment the sky is not quite so blue as some high misty clouds drift across it. The forecast has been revised since I took the screenshot above, and it now says that there will be sunny intervals all the way through to sunset late this afternoon. It is counter intuitive, but now the afternoon temperature is more likely to be just 10°C with a brief excursion to 11° C if we are lucky. Oh well, even 10° C can feel pleasant in direct sunshine. Tomorrow could see some sunny spells, but the morning is predicted to be wet, and just 8° C. The afternoon may be dry, but the temperature may only rise to 9° C. Once again, in any sunny spells, 9° C won't feel that bad.

  My days have recently not followed any grand plans, and what plans I may have had, have generally gone unfulfilled. Yesterday was no exception. Going to Aldi was not exactly a grand plan, but more necessity. It was sort of enjoyable though. It was nice to stretch my legs for a bit, and it even helped to soothe some of the aches in my elbows and shoulder. The one thing it was bad for was my blood glucose level, and sadly it is also going to be bad for it today.
winter beers
  These winter beers could potentially be bad for my blood glucose, but as yet I haven't tested them. I suspect they will be very nice, and I may get some more, but I will check their effect on my blood glucose before I have a drinking frenzy with them. What really did my blood glucose in was the bread rolls I bought. They were theoretically for today, but I ate two of them yesterday. The two I ate were "tiger rolls" with their mottled brown glaze. I am wondering if that glaze is nothing but sugar.

  I bought some Aberdeen Angus beef burgers to go in the other two rolls, and I shall have those later today. If those burgers have not changed much since I last ate some, they should be quite low fat. They were on special offer yesterday, as were some venison sausages. They are normally very low fat, and I will be eating those today as well. It was the blue cheese I bought that lured me into eating the two bread rolls yesterday !

  The prospect of a wet afternoon seemed to drain any enthusiasm from me, and yet by the end of the day I had accomplished several useful things. The most important  was to find, and fit a new fan in the mini-PC that should be destined to become my new firewall. The one I originally wanted to use has a funny sort of BIOS that meant a lot of messing around getting a bootable Linux operating system on it.

 I am pretty sure this other mini PC doesn't have that trouble. One important thing was to try booting it fully using an outboard power supply. It all seemed to work perfectly, and once the new mini sized power supply I ordered comes through, I should be able to install the firewall operating system, and hopefully retire the old firewall that is clinging to life by the skin of it's teeth.

  I'm not sure how it came about, but I ended up spending quite a lot of time doing some more tidying up of the back room - the room that might once more become my dining room. I guess it started when I wanted to put a few computer accessories in small labelled boxes. There are some shelves in the back room where I keep similar things, but over the long years the became very disorganised. As I tidied them up, throwing away a few things in the process,  realised there was some space for some of the junk on my old glass dining room table.

  I started tidying that table, and ended up almost clearing it. There are a few things left that I don't know what to do with. There are a couple of "bookshelf" Goodmans speakers on it, left over from when I was doing a lot of audio editing down there. I am reluctant to throw them away because, in my opinion, they sound rather nice, although at the current time I have no amplifier to drive them (or at least one that isn't stored away in a cupboard).

  At some point I am going to have to thin out some of the stuff stored in the under-the-stairs cupboard. It is dry, but very dusty in there. There is a constant rain of dust, much of it from disintegrating stair carpet backing falling through gaps in the stair boards. There is also a potential problem of rodents in there. I think I have sealed the door well enough to stop them getting into the house, and I think I have sealed the vent underneath the front door step to stop them getting in that way, but I noted quite a lot of droppings on the floor. Whether they are old or new is a mystery. Once I thin out some of the stuff in there I will have to lay a lot of traps before filling it up with new junk !

  I had wanted to go out again last night, but the cold and rain made my enthusiasm evaporate, and beside that, it seems I was quite busy clearing the back room when I was supposed to be going out. When I finished my cleaning/clearing I ended up "binge watching" old episodes of Yes Prime Minister. It is quite amazing how that series was timeless. Much of the politics then was little different to now.

  I ended up going to bed quite late. I didn't feel tired when I first got into bed, and started reading. I had barely read two pages before I turned out the light, and fell asleep really quickly. I guess I woke up almost every two hours, but it feels like I slept well. I had a series of dreams about trying to fix, or make light up in some way, a series of lamp standards that were sometimes along a railway platform, and sometimes along a pier. I think some of the dream was lucid where I was consciously guiding how the dream went.

  This morning I was gratified that I seemed to have lost a tiny bit of weight, but disappointed that my blood glucose was relatively high. Unless I deliberately throw stuff away, I shall be eating stuff today that will not improve my blood glucose, and I'll end up wanting to try twice as hard during the week. I hope I can do it. The rest of me feel most OK, and I am thinking I ought to take advantage of this sunshine to get some exercise in.

  I don't feel so good that I would want to walk far and wide, but I have an idea that maybe I should take my camera, and a pocketful of nuts into the park, and see if I can bribe some squirrels to pose for me. I don't think there are any music things going on today, and the next could be Tuesday night. So today I can relax about that. Maybe it makes it more important to try and get some other pictures today. I hope the squirrels cooperate !
Saturday 9th November 2019
08:23 GMT
  Apart from a frosty start, yesterday can be summed up as dull and cold. The highest temperature was just 8° C.
                    frosty start
   The forecast doesn't suggest it, but today has started quite bright. Clear skies allowed the temperature to drop enough for a frost this morning. Another thing the forecast doesn't mention is that the rising sun has generated some mist. In fact it almost looks thick enough to call it fog. The latest revision to the forecast, issued two hours after the one in the screenshot above, hasn't changed anything. Presumably it will soon cloud over, but maybe not. It might end up as a very wet day. I definitely think I will try and do any shopping before midday ! Apart from being very wet, it is going to be an even colder day than yesterday. The afternoon temperature is predicted to peak at just 7° C. By comparison, tomorrow might start with some early morning rain, but the rest of the day should be dry, and there could even be a sunny spell or two. It will be warmer too - the current prediction is 11° C.
hazy sunshine, fog and
                        some frost
  View from the back bedroom window just now. The last of the frost is melting from the shed roofs. Some hazy sunshine is lighting up the houses on the left. While the distance is shrouded by fog.

  Yesterday was an odd sort of day. I didn't do much, but achieved a few useful things. I ached a lot yesterday morning. My chest ached, but that was nothing new. The worst ache was my arms. My right shoulder, and right elbow seemed stiff and painful with some of the pain appearing to "leak" into the muscles near the aching joints. Just to make life more interesting, I seemed to have some pain from my left elbow, and left wrist. That was a new thing, and not exactly welcome!

  At first I did some intensive resting, and that seemed to make matters worse. I took some painkillers, and as they started to help I attempted to hand wash some t-shorts and underwear. It turned out to be less painful than expected, and it seemed to be the case that immersing my hands in hot soapy water (admittedly protected my rubber gloves) warmed my muscles up, and helped reduce the pains even more. I would go as far as to say that the painkillers and hot water almost cured the pain completely. In reality I could still feel some tenderness from those muscles.

  I think it was around midday when I rushed to the corner shop to buy a magazine, and stretching my legs felt good. Unfortunately the magazine I wanted (New Scientist) was among several titles that hadn't arrived at the shop on time, but my walk, all 2 minutes of it, wasn't wasted - I bought a couple of bottles of pop. I don't think I did anything after that except some cooking.

  I prepared, and precooked my dinner, plus a snack for after I came back from a gig that I didn't go to in the end. The snack was three sausages. I cooked them until they were light brown, and intended to frazzle them once I came home. My dinner was beef and broccoli in a rich stock. Initially I just cooked the diced beef, and added the broccoli nearer dinner time. Just before dinner, which I was having about half an hour early last night, I checked my blood glucose.
blood glucose meters
  I had drawn sufficient blood to share it with my two blood glucose meters. On this occasion they (roughly) agreed with each other. The old meter, still using test strips which expired in 2017, is on the left, and what should be the more accurate new meter is on the right. In the morning, based upon a fairly low reading, I guessed my blood glucose could be down to between 5 and 6. I think 5.5 fits that guess rather well ! If I can keep my blood glucose at these levels the diabetes nurse at the hospital would be very happy.

  It was about 5.30pm when I had my dinner. I had added some chilli to it, and it got me a bit sweaty. That didn't matter because I had eaten dinner early so I could have a shower, and wash my hair before going out to the gig at about 8pm. I had recently turned up the gas to the shower heater to compensate for the cold. My hot shower was good for some aches and pains, but of course it left me feeling too warm. I had to turn off my heater until I could cool down a bit.

  It was during that time that I noticed a few gurgles from deep inside my stomach. That didn't feel good, and I knew what was about to happen. The heat of my earlier food, and the heat from the shower, had started my guts fermenting (which is probably far from the actual explanation, but is convenient for now). After maybe half an hour I started a series of visits to the toilet. It wasn't pleasant, but at the same time I knew it was a useful thing. After he first visit I noticed a small drop in my weight, and there was more to come.

  Had I been able to see into the future, and had known with absolute certainty when the last time I would have had to visit the toilet, I would still have been able to go to the gig - albeit with a slightly sore stomach. The trouble is that I can't see into the future, and although I have much experience of this ailment, I could never be sure that I would be comfortable for travelling. I had little choice but to stay in, but I didn't waste my time, and I have to confess that staying in the warm, with my own, supermarket priced booze on hand, was really rather pleasant.

  The most significant thing I did in the evening was to have a look at my old web server. It was a little mini PC that was powerful enough to serve these web pages with ease. It just ran and ran until after maybe 5 or 6 years it became so clogged with dust that the power supply failed. At least that is what I hoped it was. Being a mini PC it used a mini power supply, and I didn't have a spare to fit it. Last night I connected a full sized power supply to it, and it booted OK, although I did notice that the CPU fan has seized. I think I have one to replace it somewhere (although it might require a small bodge). I checked a few places for a new power supply, and found a reasonable priced one from Amazon. That is now on order.

  I think it was about 11pm when I went to bed. I fell asleep quite quickly, and last night I managed to sleep with the duvet over me all night,. I still woke up several times for a pee, but at least I didn't wake up cold. Most of the time I was comfortable in bed, but towards morning I did get back in bed a bit too fast, and rolled to my right. This crunched my ribs, and my chest now hurts, but as far as I can tell, rather less than yesterday. My assorted arm joints don't seem too bad this morning either.

  Having cleared my entire digestive tract last night, or at least that is what it felt like at the time, plus a lot of peeing in the night, means that this morning my weight is the lowest I have seen it on my new scales. It is still not quite as low as it (apparently) was in the doctors surgery, but the tens of kilogrammes digit has now flipped to one less. That provides encouragement that my eating arrangements are working as expected - albeit slowly because I am still eating cheese. My blood glucose was the same as yesterday, and maybe with some care I can get it a bit lower than last night, but anything under 6.0 would be good.

  Today I have very few ideas of what I will be doing. This morning, before the afternoon rain starts - if it does, it is still sunny at the moment when it is supposed to be grey and overcast - I want to go to Aldi to do a bit of shopping. I think I have been diligent enough to deserve a Sunday treat, but I am not sure what. Last Weekend it was sausage in a bread demi baton - two of them, in fact. Maybe I might consider getting some low fat burgers, and put a couple in crusty rolls with some mustard and low sugar/salt ketchup...or perhaps some sliced tomato. My mouth is dribbling at the thought of it already !

  I had, maybe have, plans to go to a gig tonight, but it is going to be cold and wet. I'm not sure that would be good for me, and I wouldn't be too keen on it. At this end of the day it is a toss up between going or not going. Even if I do go I am not sure how I am going to fill in the middle of the day, but I expect something will come to me on the spur of the moment.
Friday 8th November 2019
07:47 GMT
  After some early morning rain it slightly brightened up, but sunshine was in very short supply yesterday.  There were a few sunny spells, but most of the day was lightly overcast. Unlike the predictions made in early versions of the forecast, it stayed dry, but the temperature prediction was about right. It was a fairly cool feeling 10° C.
                    frosty start today
   The day has started wet has started with a frost, and it is going to be a rather cool day today. The forecast currently predicts an afternoon high of just 8° C. The forecast doesn't predict any rain, and yet the prediction of the chance of rain goes as high as 25% this morning. At the moment I can see the glare of the sun behind the houses to the east, if the sky can stay clear until the sun has risen enough to clear those houses, we could see some delicious sunshine - something not in the current forecast...but as I have just this second noticed, is in the latest revision to the forecast. This latest revision changes the chance of rain at midday to just 9% (it was 20%), but now says it will rain at midday ! The heavy cloud in the afternoon has now also changed to light cloud. Tomorrow will probably start with a frost, and the highest temperature could be just 7° C. To make it more miserable there will probably be light rain starting in the afternoon, and continuing until the end of the day.

  I felt strange yesterday. I didn't feel motivated to do anything. I seemed to spend all morning, and into the afternoon, waiting until 4pm when I went out to go for my later Thursday afternoon drink. I must admit that the time seemed to drag, but I don't recall being particularly bored. I spent my time having the occasional snooze, reading and cooking. There was a further complication that stopped me doing some things like going for a walk.

  I was expecting a small packet from the postman, and different postman seem to do their round using a different route. That made predicting when it would come a bit tricky. One postman usually delivers around 11am, but yesterday the postman didn't turn up until about 1pm, but maybe the wait was worth it because he had two packets for me. One was a couple of special printer ribbons, and I think they were shipped from America. Originally they were supposed to be coming as two separate packages so they would be under the value where import duty is charged.

  They actually arrived in one package that seemed to originate from inside the UK. I have to admit that I knew that the delivery time was predicted to be several weeks, and I had almost forgotten about them. I was a pleasant surprise when they arrived. The second packet was fresh test strips for my old blood glucose meter. Much later in the day I would get another packet delivered by courier.

  The cooking I mentioned was a careful choice of foods - probably. Recent experience of drinking with Kevin strongly suggested that I shouldn't drink on an empty stomach again because the booze just drives me to a food frenzy. Yesterday I cooked three sausages to eat before I went out. I also prepared, and precooked dinner for after I came home from the pub. I kept that quite simple. It was just some chicken thighs cooked in chicken stock with mushrooms and diced courgette.

  Before I ate the sausages I checked my blood glucose level - three hours before I usually check it - and it was nice and low. It was just 6.30, and that is the lowest afternoon reading I think I've had since starting this exercise in food intake control. That was a pleasant surprise. The next surprise was not so pleasant, but worked out OK in the end. The final part of an order from Amazon had gone to the wrong depot, and I had been warned of a day's delay. It was send to their Dartford depot, which was correct until recently when they changed to a depot in Croydon for local delivery. Just as I was going out I got a message to say it would be delivered that day.
party like it's 1999
 I decided I had to take a chance that I could go and have my drink, and get back in time to receive the parcel. I don't know quite why I chose it, but I wore my 1999 Catford Beer Festival t-shirt to go out drinking. One of the great things about these t-shirts is that they are designed for drinkers, and so the XL size really is extra large, and fitted me perfectly. Maybe losing a bit of weight has helped, and maybe it is a better fit now than when it was in 1999 !

  I limited myself to just three pints last night. Two of them were nice, but not wonderful. The other one was actually nasty. I didn't take a picture of the pump handles, but if my memory serves well (unlikely), it was "Redemption" from the Twickenham brewery. It had a sort of under taste that reminded me of the smell of old engine oil. Steven also had a pint of it and declared it to be horrible. So it wasn't just me.

  I was nearing the end of my third pint when I checked the times of the trains, and realised that I had just enough time to drain my glass, and take a not too hurried walk to the station for the 18:15 train. It helped that it was running a minute or two late.

  It was a bit strange walking to the station. I could feel the beer swilling around in my stomach. It is not a pleasant feeling, and for me is usually associated with a sort of shortness of breath, and maybe a few aches. Last night it didn't seem to cause any discomfort, or impede my walking in any way. I arrived at the far end of the platform feeling mostly fine, and with about 2 minutes to wait for the train.


      Graffiti on the back of a gents toilet door is usually crude, and frequently funny. This message is far more subtle. In fact it is so subtle that I am not sure what it really means. I can think of a possible explanation, but it is very tenuous, and may not be correct. Of course it is possible that it is just a statement of fact, and has no other meaning....but I doubt it !

   When I arrived home I gave my dinner an extra 10 minutes in the microwave, but before I could eat it there was a knock at the front door, and it was my parcel from Amazon. It must have been about 6.40pm when it arrived. It was a spare pack of test strips for my new blood glucose meter, and some 32GB micro SD cards. I thought I had ordered 3 of them, but it seems I ordered 4.

  Dinner, as previously described, was nice and simple, and also nice and warming. Maybe it was so simple that it didn't seem filling enough, and I ended up snacking on some peanuts before I went to bed. Peanuts don't seem to do my blood glucose any harm, but of course they do contain a lot of calories because of all the oil in them. Fortunately they didn't spoil things too much.

  By 10pm I was in bed, and I think I was asleep by then. I slept moderately well, but the three pints of beer did have me waking up quite a lot in the night. This morning I seemed to feel OK, but since getting up I seem to feel quite creaky. My upper back and shoulders seem unusually stiff. It was probably because it was such a cold night, and kept shoving the duvet aside. I think that is a habit I will be rapidly changing as it gets more wintry.

  The good news is that this morning I start the day with possibly my lowest blood glucose level for ages. It is just 7.0. Ideally it should be lower, but if I can avoid the worst things during the day, as I can usually do, it could be quite low by dinner time. Not so low as to cause trouble, but somewhere between 5 and 6 would be my best guess. There is also some good news about my weight. It is still not as low as it was when I was weighed at the doctors surgery, but I am wondering if their scales were properly zeroed before use, and are still in calibration. I am very sure it is the lowest reading I have seen on my new scales.

  Today could be a tricky day. I feel reluctant to go out on any pointless mission in this cold, and I don't feel liek doing anything physical while bits of me ache. For instance I can imagine that doing some gardening while it is still frosty could turn some mild aches into big aches. I think I'll take a couple of painkillers soon, and see how I feel once they start to work. My aches are just one problem. There is a bigger one.

  I definitely want to go to a gig tonight, but I am so out of practice going out at night that stopping myself getting too relaxed after dinner is going to be really difficult. Tonight Big Red Bus are playing on the nice stage of The Fellowship And Star - just 2 minutes away by train after walking to Catford station. They are good, but tend to play in tiny cramped pubs, and that puts me off. Tonight will be a chance to see then in decent surroundings, and somehow I have to force myself to go out. Once out, and with some Guinness in me, I'll be fine, but stepping out the front door, into the cold and dark when I could be tucked up all warm with a big glass of whisky in my hand, is the hardest thing in the world. If I manage it tonight, I might even manage another gig I would like to go to tomorrow. 
Thursday 7th November 2019
08:20 GMT
  Yesterday morning was bright, and featured some nice sunny spells, but the afternoon turned overcast. There was also rain, but not until late evening. The afternoon temperature was just 9° C, and that was apparently a bit below average.
a wet
                    start, but maybe sunny spells late afternoon
   The day has started wet, but it seems the rain has stopped now, and the latest revision to the forecast says that there will be no more rain today, and there could be sunny spells from 2pm to 4pm. It should be a whole degree less cold than yesterday with the afternoon temperature reaching 10° C, but it looks like it is going to be a very cold night. The main feature for tomorrow is going to be drizzle, but maybe not that much of it. Mostly it is going to be a cold, grey day. The current forecast reckons the temperature will hit just 9° C for as little as one hour, but most of the afternoon will be just 8° C.

  Yesterday was one of those good days where everything felt right...or as right as things can be these days. My main plan was to see Angela at lunch time - which I did. I seem to have adopted a new strategy that seems to work. Yesterday I didn't ask Angela if she would like to meet me. I just said I would be in the pub, and it would be nice if she could meet me there. It is about as close as I can get to ordering her to be there. I am just not into making demands, and I would not enjoy it of I thought it was the result of duress.

  Before going out to meet Angela I went to Tesco. I wanted to get some cheese to use as an emergency snack. It may contain loads of calories, but it does not raise my blood glucose level - which is the main aim. Losing weight is very nice, but is more like very desirable collateral action in the war against my blood glucose level. I did buy some cheese - two lots of it - but I also bought some booze, some meat, and some vegetables. Without consciously realising what I was doing (although my subconscious probably guided me) I also bought the ideal snack material - white cabbage. It's crisp, chewy, tastes sort of nice, in a specialised way, and is mostly just water and fibre.
Italian blue cheese with chilli
  This is one of the cheeses I bought. I have never seen anything like it before. As the packet says, it is an Italian blue cheese with red pepper (chilli) in it. It was delicious, and I am ashamed to say it didn't last long !
strange cauliflower
  Pictured on the right is a very strange beast I bought - Romanesco cauliflower. I have a vague recollection of seeing it somewhere, sometime, but had never tried it until last night. For all it's weird looks on the outside, the inside looks like normal cauliflower, and it tastes like it....but maybe with a small difference. I tried a little sprig of it raw, and it seemed quite bitter, but when cooked it might have been very slightly, just a smidgen, sweeter than ordinary cauliflower.

  I had sort of hoped that I would do a bit more than just walk straight to the pub to meet Angela, but once I had finished shopping, and put my shopping away, I realised I did not have much time to spare. I didn't have to rush, and I had time to stop and take a few snaps along the way, but essentially I went straight to the pub. I actually got there about 10 minutes early, and it was a few minutes after 1pm when my phone rang. It was Angela confirming I was there, and apologising for being a bit late.

  Once she knew I was there, Angela made great haste to get to the pub. She arrived smiling, and looking happy.  It was plainly obvious that she was happy to see me, and she confirmed that a couple of times in several ways - not least being in a message sent to me much later in the afternoon. I seem to think that she needs these meetings as much as I do. I doubt that holds any hope for the future - she'll never ditch lover boy - but it is nice to feel wanted.
crow with his dinner
  When I was walking to the pub I noticed one crow sitting on a fence looking down at another on the path. Someone passed them, and the crow momentarily flew out of the way. Once I got closer I could see the crow was about to start feeding on a dead rat. There was no obvious sign as to what killed the rat, but I don't think it was the crow. It is all a bit gruesome, but this is nature - red in tooth, claw, and (in this case) beak.
Madam Kuntz
 Brass plate on the wall of the pub. It says "Madam Kuntz (and her) Daring Leg Show" - "Open nightly" ! There was another of these small (playing card sized) plates on the wall, but it wasn't quite so "exotic" as this one - at least I don't think it was. I must look properly next visit.
sick pumpkin
  I noticed this on my way home from the pub. I rather liked that someone had expressed visually my own thoughts about Halloween.

 I felt good when I got home. I almost, but not actually, didn't feel hungry. I held out until almost 4pm before I attacked the Italian blue cheese with chillis. I will confess I attacked it rather heavily ! At least it stopped me dribbling while I prepared dinner. Later on I would have a much more healthy snack of a thick slice of white cabbage. I was later vindicated for my choice of snacks. Before dinner I checked my blood glucose level. It was 6.10 - not the lowest I have achieved (that was 5.80), but still very good.

  I kept my dinner simple. It was little more than a couple of skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked with the weird cauliflower in chicken stock. It was theoretically low calorie, and low sugar - both theories almost confirmed this morning when I weighed myself, and checked my blood glucose levels. My recent spike in weight has now almost gone, and my blood glucose was nice and low this morning. If it was a normal day I could end up with a new low glucose reading after this low start, but there are complications today.

  I didn't feel all that tired last night. I guess that is the expected outcome of a very pleasing day. It is too early for it to be definite yet, but I seem to be over the flare up I had with my sore ribcage after getting wet last week. It made getting to sleep easier because while I was still very careful, I could sleep on either side without generating too much discomfort.  I did wake up quite a few times in the night for a pee. It was almost as if my blood glucose was very high, but I think there might have been another explanation.

  It had been suggested that my recent spike in weight could be fluid retention. Although that does deepen the mystery, it does explain how it could have gone up so quickly, and then slowly come down again. I know I had some very incorrect meals at the time, but I had those because I was feeling rotten first. Last night it seemed I "drained the swamp" as the current vernacular has it ! I had some rotten dreams along the way, but this morning I still feel sort of OK, and maybe there is still some happiness left over from yesterday.

  My original plans for today were based on the earlier forecast of loads of rain this morning. It now seems it is going to be dry (and it looks like a brief sunny spell could be possible if the big cloud moves an inch to the right). I could potentially do something if it is going to be dry, maybe something in the garden, but nothing too ambitious because I will be going out drinking later.

  At around 4pm I will heading to Shortlands for the regular (except last week) late Thursday afternoon drink. This presents some difficulties regarding my eating. I don't want to drink on an empty stomach because  know how that could end up - a food frenzy because I am drunk. I have some sausages in the fridge that have to be used sooner or later. I think I will cook and eat three sausages before going out, and then have a low meat/high vegetable dinner when I get home. The other three sausages could be useful as a late night snack if I go out Friday night - which I hope I will.
Wednesday 6th November 2019
09:13 GMT
  There were quite a few unscheduled brief sunny spells yesterday - most of them in the morning. Most of the day was just plain overcast, and at about 7pm there was a shower or two. It was a cool day, just 11° C, apart from a possible very brief peak of 12° C, but with little wind it still felt quite mild.
                    brighter day
   There have been, and apparently will be more short sunny spells this morning. The cloud is a lot thinner than yesterday, and that makes it brighter even if the sun doesn't make it through the clouds. The latest revision to the forecast has the cloud thickening earlier, and rain is now expected by about 7pm. It will probably continue into the night. The temperature has now dropped another notch as we head towards winter. The afternoon high will only be 9° C, a trend that seems like it will continue for another week until it may drop another degree. Tomorrow may see rain continuing until mid afternoon, but there may be the occasional sunny spell. Despite what I have just written, tomorrow may be a whole degree less cool than today !

  I didn't feel that good yesterday. My most common aches did seem to be at a low level, but it proved far to easy to provoke them into action. The idea of keeping warm and resting seemed like a good one until it became too boring, plus I ached more when laying down. It must have been around 11am when I decided to briefly stretch my legs by going to the corner shop for a bottle of pop, and a magazine. That felt sort of good, and 15 minutes later I went out again.

  I wasn't perfectly comfortable when I went out because I was suffering from constipation. It seems to be a direct result of the way I have been eating for the last few weeks - not much, but each meal probably has more fibre than some I might eat. Considering the reputation that dietary fibre has, it seems to be working the opposite for me.

  Maybe I was feeling a little bit more uncomfortable when I went out a second time, but the discomfort seemed to get less once I was moving. My shopping mission this time was to Super Savers - the shop that I discovered was as cheap as the 99p shop for a few specific things. I wanted some shower gel (99p) and some bleach (69p). The latter was more expensive than the 99p shop who offered one particular brand of bleach at 2 for 99p.

  When I got back home I put into action an idea that had been simmering at the back of my mind. It was to send a message to Kevin to ask if he fancied having a couple of pints of beer in the mid afternoon. He got back to me to say yes, in principle, but he had to wait in for a parcel delivery that could come at any time between 2pm and 6pm. At about 3.30pm he told me that his parcel had arrived, and I suggested a 4pm meeting in the pub.

  I also said that I wanted to be home by, or soon after 6pm. Based up average drinking speeds, I set out with 6 CAMRA beer vouchers - 50p off a pint of real ale per voucher in Wetherspoons - enough for three pints each. I was stupidly optimistic that three pints would be enough, but of course it ended up as 4 pints, and I didn't leave the pub until 7.20pm !
yesterday's beer
  The Twickenham "Redhead" beer was the nicer of the two different beers we had. We had three pints of Redhead, and just one of Broadside. Eventually we finished, and at 7.20pm, instead of 6pm, I made my way home. I didn't feel particularly drunk, but when I got home I felt like I hadn't eaten in weeks, and I lost control of what I should have eaten. Even before getting drunk I had set a naughty menu of sausages and "no added sugar," baked beans. That should have been more than enough for the evening, but I found I badly wanted to snack as soon as half an hour after dinner. If I had any I might have got away with just a chunk of cheese, but the only thing I became fixated on was a small tin of corned beef. I "cooked" it in the microwave with a generous amount of Chuarasco sauce - a hot chilli sauce with a lot of sugar in it's make up.

  My blood glucose level was high before I ate, thanks to the beer, and it was high this morning. The only good thing is that my weight doesn't seem to have gone up. There was one other downside to eating so much, and that was I felt uncomfortable in bed. Just to make life more interesting, I managed to graunch my ribcage by sleeping on my left. My usual experience recently has been turning onto my right side and regretting it because pressure on the wrong bit sends a bolt of pain across my chest, and it then aches for half the night (and often in the morning too). For the first time it happened when laying on my left.

  Maybe there was some good from it though. While my chest feels a bit sore, I could almost imagine that last night I popped the dislodged whatever back into it's proper place, and maybe this recent flare up is over. On the other hand I also feel that to be a too optimistic hope, and to carry on with care until, and if, I notice things are better. Despite assorted discomforts in the night, including some acid reflux just to make things feel even worse, I do seem to have had a reasonable night's sleep.

  I have just one plan for today, that I think is going to work. I shall be going for a walk in the park today. Ideally it should be a very long walk, but I'm not sure I can face that. More important is that I shall be calling into the pub at about 1pm, and I think there is a fair chance that I will meet Angela in there. I hope that will provide the inspiration to knuckle down on my diet again, and start scoring some low blood glucose readings again.
Tuesday 5th November 2019
08:27 GMT
  There was less rain than I was expecting yesterday, but there was still rain, and often at unwanted times ! Occasionally the sun would break through for a minute or two in the afternoon, but it was generally a rather murky day. I think it was just me, but sometimes it did feel warmer than the forecast 12° C.
a dull
   Contrary to what this morning's forecast seems to suggest, the sun has almost made it through a narrow break in the clouds a few times this morning. Maybe the cloud is not so dense as the forecast says, although I doubt we will ever have any real sunshine today. There is a very low chance of rain in the afternoon, and into the evening, but it will probably stay dry. As I write this the sun managed to shine at about 90% strength. It's a shame it only lasted for about 90 seconds, but it gives hope that it might happen now and again to break the monotony of a miserable overcast day. The days are slowly getting colder. Today may see 12° C for a while, but 11° C is more representative of the afternoon. Tomorrow may only be 10° C, but at least there could be some sunshine.
  I did say that my aches and pains were much diminished yesterday morning, but that may have only been partly true, although I didn't really realise it until I went out. I found that I had some assorted mild pains when moving around. Each individual pain was almost nothing, but I found there were enough little nothings to take the pleasure out of a sort of expedition. It certainly put me off doing any great amount of walking, and yet by the time I got home I had covered quite a lot of ground in small measure, and had been up and down a lot of stairs !

  My plan for the outing had a lot of flexibility, and I bent that flexibility to the extreme. I guess things first went awry when I realised that the first train from Catford Bridge was a Cannon Street service, and didn't go to Waterloo East station. My plan was to basically reprise my old commute to and from work, and so I had to change trains to get to Waterloo East. The best place to do this was Lewisham, but having got off the train I saw that the next two trains were both Cannon Street services. So I got back on the train, and changed at London Bridge.

  Without escalators at London Bridge I could have been completely knackered before I started. That concourse is really deep below platform level, and each stairway up and down is twice the height of the steps up and down the old footbridge. The only fortunate thing is that trains to Charing Cross (calling at Waterloo East) are very frequent, and I only had to wait 3 or 4 minutes before I was on a train to Waterloo East.

  Going over the link between Waterloo East and Waterloo mainline station was just as hard as it always was. I guess I didn't have to do it at commuter speed, but I did it that way anyway. Maybe I wasn't quite so out of breathe at the end as I sometimes used to be, or maybe I was. It is hard to remember. One thing that I am sure of is that my subconscious was in more control than I thought. I was drawn towards the high numbered platforms instead of going to the low numbers where I would get a train direct to Earlsfield.

  Some of the bias towards the high numbered platforms was to see how the old international (Eurostar) platforms were being used. They now seem to be in regular use, and all the building work appears to have been finished. With all the hordings taken down I could see that there is no a new lower concourse for those old platforms. The lower concourse has it's own stairs down to the tube, and it appears to have it's own toilets. I presume there is also an exit out to the road as well. I didn't see anyone down there, and so maybe it is not in use yet.

  One of the things I was thinking of doing was to visit Queenstown Road station, and I think that is why my subconscious steered me to the high numbered platforms, because it is only services from there that stop at Queentstown Road. I used to pass the station every day during my commute to work at my last job, but I never got off the train (my trains never actually stopped there) to investigate it.
Queenstown Road
  The most visible feature when going through the station is the disused platform on the far side of the station. I have no idea how long it has been disused, but most of it is all wood, and wood hasn't been used for decades. Before the station was run by South West Trains, it had been given a retro look by using the traditional "Totem" type railway signs, and extensive use of "Southern Region" green paint. Eventually the platforms, and signage was mostly changed for modern designs, but the booking office still features a lot of green paint.
Outside of Queenstown
                        Road station
 I had never seen the outside of the station until yesterday, and I like that it has not been modernised, and appears to retain it's original name of Queens Road Station, and the initials L.S.W.R (London & South West Railway). The windows seen on the road bridge actually look out from the disused platform. Having spent a bit of time here I got back on a train to Clapham Junction. I spent 10 minutes or so "trainspotting" before walking over the long connecting overbridge to get a train to Earlsfield.

  It wasn't a long wait until I was on my next train, and just a few minutes later I was at Earlsfield. With hindsight I don't think I could call it a plan. Maybe it was an option instead. I could have either taken a 20 minute round trip to see where I used to work, and maybe see who now used the old workshop, or there was a more ambitious option of walking up, and over the hill to Wandsworth Common station, taking in some of Wandsworth Common at the same time. I rejected both options because I didn't feel comfortable. I had developed lots of little aches including my upper back, and midriff, but I was also getting some mild complaints from my left ankle. So I turned around, and went for a train back to Clapham Junction.
The long stairs at
  To get to the trains I had two choices. I could use the lift, something I had to rely on when I was suffering from angina in 2013, or I could tackle the stairs. As this picture shows, it is a very long flight of stairs, and even when I was at my fittest, it used to knacker me walking to the top. I can remember that it was hard work to force myself to keep walking to the far end of the platform even when I was feeling good. Despite my assorted aches and pains, I guess I was feeling better than I thought because I didn't feel that bad when I reached the top, and my breathing seemed not much deeper than usual at the top, although I could feel the effort my legs had put into it.

  For a bit of variety I decided I would use what used to be my emergency route home, although it was also a good route if I wanted to get straight to The Shortlands Tavern (or Bromley) after work. I got the next train to Clapham Junction, and changed there to the London Overground service to Dalston Kingsland, although only as far as Denmark Hill. It always seems a very slow service, and I don't like the Overground trains with their longitudinal, tube style, seating. At Denmark Hill I found some new signs had been put up.
Camberwell or Kings
                        College ?
  Depending on where your eye focussed it could be Denmark Hill for Camberwell of Kings College and Maudsley Hospitals. In reality it is both, although it is a long walk down the hill, past the hospitals, to what I think is the middle of Camberwell (it's where Camberwell magistrates court is). Once upon a time Camberwell had it's own station, and there is occasional talk about re-opening it, although there is not much left to re-open.

  One unintended consequence of this route home is that I would arrive at Catford station. That makes the final walk home a bit longer, but also means passing the Sainsbury's Local shop by the station - and passing it when I was feeling very hungry. There were many things I could have bought, but I thought that their excellent, ready made, Greek salad was best.
Greek Salad
  It all looks very innocent, but there is a flaw in my reasoning. The first flaw is the ridiculous idea that this package serves 2 people. Well maybe as a side to a far bigger meal that might be possible, but to me it is an individual snack, and I was so hungry that I ate two of them !  It seemed to have a bigger effect on my blood glucose level than expected, and that reverberated until this morning.

  For a time those salads filled a hole, and helped my defer dinner by almost 15 minutes ! My dinner was essentially diced lamb and diced courgette. The lamb made the meal a bit fatty, but it was not swimming in it, and I poured away a lot of the stock I had cooked it all in. Nevertheless, this morning my blood glucose, jumped up a couple of points, and I seemed to have gained some weight. (Although as I write this I have not had poo, and that could make my weight gain a little less alarming).

  I had hoped that while I hadn't walked any long distances in a formal way, all the up and down stairs, across link ways, and up and down platforms, would have added up to a fair amount of exercise. It certainly had me feeling quite tired when I got home, and yet is seems the end result was the opposite of what I had hoped for. Maybe it is an extension of what I thought was some sort of malady I was suffering from after my recent walk in the rain. I certainly didn't feel well last night.

  All through the evening I felt uncomfortable in various, but hard to describe ways. It was lots of little aches, some of which came and went depending on movement or posture, adding up to a general feeling of "not nice". I did my best to get to sleep in a position that shouldn't have aggravated anything, but a few hours later I woke up feeling horrible. The worst thing was a sort of chest pain that seemed very suspicious. For a while I was thinking that it might be time to pack my bag in case another visit to the hospital was called for.

  I took some Ibuprofen, Paracetamol, and some antacid tablets. Eventually one or the other helped a lot, and I was able to get some more sleep. This morning I think it was a combination of a lot of things rather than one thing. The lamb and courgettes was quite rich, and I might have had some acid indigestion. Some of the pain was a lot like when I allow my chest to became cold and damp. Other supporting aches were just usual things like some upper back pain plus my frequent shoulder and elbow pain. Each one by itself is almost ignorable, but combined they made for a miserable night.

  This morning nothing really aches unless I provoke it. My original thoughts about today was that I would stay in the warm, in the dry, and partly rest. That was on the assumption that today would be wet and gloomy. It now seems that it will probably be dry, and we are still getting short bursts of sunshine. It could feel like I am wasting a day by staying in, and what is worse, leaving myself open to the temptation to snack on stuff instead of fasting until dinner time. At the moment I do have one extra ache - a headache, plus I can't stop yawning. Maybe I'll have a shower, and then lie on my bed with my eyes closed and see what happens.
Monday 4th November 2019
08:08 GMT
  It was gloriously sunny yesterday morning, and then after midday it gradually clouded over, but stayed dry. It felt quite warm in the sunshine even though the highest temperature of the day was in the region of just 13° C.
another bright start
   There was some rain in the night, but this morning seems to be starting off as bright and sunny as yesterday. It probably won't last because, unlike yesterday which featured a clear blue sky, there is a lot of streaky cloud visible at the moment. If that thickens there could be a shower, as predicted for 10am, and more during the afternoon. On the other hand, the chance of precipitation is currently predicted to be less than 50% for all hours except 10am. It seems possible that today could be mostly dry, but rain or shine, with a maximum temperature predicted to be just 12° C, it is going to be a cool day. Tomorrow will be cooler, maybe just 11° C, but heavy clouds will keep the temperature almost constant through the day. At the moment it seems the chance of rain tomorrow is very low.
  My aches and pains were much diminished yesterday morning, and the sensible thing seemed to have another day of keeping nice and warm, and letting the muscles and joints calm down further, but it would have been a crime to ignore the golden sunshine flooding down on us yesterday. Not forgetting the uplifting effect of beautiful blue skies !
look at that sky !
  It felt like walking in the rain had half killed me a few days ago, but walking in the sunshine must do me some good, and I think it did until almost at the end.
walking route
  I didn't really have a fixed idea of what route I might take. It was a route that could be easily shortened, but I felt good as I walked, and I expanded the route to the maximum without going off at a tangent along the way. I was a little surprised to see I was only out for 48 minutes. It felt longer somehow, but the time, distance and speed all seem to add up. In one respect my average speed seems a bit low, but as usual that is because I would stop here and there to take pictures. It is an innocent way of taking a very short rest, but sometimes that wasn't possible.

  One particular time when I had to push myself harder was going up the "wheelchair accessible" footbridge over the railway. Each side has a spiral ramp that makes the climb seem harder than just going straight up. At the top I feel I have worked hard to get there, and of course I have to do it as fast as I can. Coming down the other side somehow seems to be mildly hard work too, and then I should be able to take it easy to get my breath back, but yesterday I couldn't. There was a man pushing a pram while sending/reading messages on his phone, and he was meandering all over the place. I had to push myself quite hard to speed up, catch up, and overtake him (because he was annoying !).
tree with autumn
  Many trees were still quite green, and only losing their leaves very slowly. Some retained yellow or gold coloured leaves, but this one, in my picture above, had a most glorious display of bright red leaves.
pine cones
  The last time I tried to take a snap of these pine cones it was dull and drizzly. So the photo looked very flat, and to completely ruin things, the camera decided to focus on the pine bristles in the background ! Yesterday I took this much improved picture. Most amazing is that the squirrels haven't started on these pines cones yet, although there is evidence that they have had a go at others from the tree. I wouldn't be surprised if people hadn't taken some from the more easily accessible branches.

  My timing turned out to be spot on. The last 10 minutes of my walk were in the shade, and the first clouds had appeared, It seemed much dimmer, and suddenly felt a lot cooler. The sun did come back out, and there were sunny spells every now and then for some time into the afternoon. As soon as my chest started to feel cool it felt like my chest ache was coming back. It wasn't bad, and faded away again once I got home, and in the warmth again.

  Having had my Sunday treat on Saturday I was intending to treat yesterday as an ordinary day, but me stomach was growling with hunger after that walk, and I made a compromise by having a couple of cans of soup. Both were selected to be low calorie and sugar content, but it was still enough to raise my blood glucose level when I checked it before dinner. That was a shame because I thought I was starting another slow decrease. Fortunately my blood glucose level continues to be in single figures, and the average is currently around 8 - which is not that far from normal (maybe about 5).

  I can't really tell if it was tiredness after the walk, or just plain Sunday boredom, but I didn't seem to have any enthusiasm to do anything more yesterday. I guess that it was more boredom than tiredness because I only slept for 20 - 30 minutes when I had an afternoon snooze. By dinner time it had been dark for almost a couple of hours, and dinner seemed to be the full stop at the end of the day. The idea of going out in the evening seemed not to be desirable at all.

  My dinner was another experimental dinner. It was just two skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked in chicken stock with a lot of harrisa spice powder. I think I made my usual mistake of adding the spice too early, and boiling off all the fragrances, but maybe some did soak into the chicken. One of the vegetables I added to this "stew" was courgette. I have never really cooked with courgette before, and I wasn't sure what it would be like. It wasn't bad, and I think I could learn to like it. It could be a useful vegetable because it is pretty low in carbohydrates - which translates to low calorie and low sugar - and it can bulk up a dinner. I had to buy a pack of 4 (or was it 5) courgettes, and so they are going to feature in quite a few future dinners. I think I might cube them, rather than slice them next time.

  I spent my evening doing the usual of watching TV, and occasionally flicking over to the internet. One thing I started watching was the Dad's Army film. It was made using actors who did their best to emulate the original TV cast. The script also did it's best to stick to the atmosphere of the original TV series, but ultimately I found it impossible to suspend belief that the film was an impostor. After a while something else caught my attention, and I started watching that.

  To help me sleep (an excellent excuse) I had a couple of very large vodkas, and it seems they did their job. I fell asleep fairly soon after I tried to go to sleep, but I can't remember if it was while laying on my back, or if I turned over to my left side at the last minute. I know that it wasn't until almost 5am, after some good sleep, possibly only interrupted once for a pee, I carefully tried turning over to my right side. Despite being careful, I could feel some discomfort developing, but a wriggle here, and a wriggle there, seemed to find a more comfortable position.

  This morning my usual aches and pains must be rated "low", but still there. I'm not sure if that is better or worse than yesterday morning. It doesn't feel like they are any impediment to most activities. My blood glucose seems to be nice and low this morning (6.8), and it should be a couple of point lower if I can resist eating anything too outrageous before dinner. The best thing would be to try and get out of the house for 3 or 4 hours.

  I have no plans for today. I had assumed it was going to be a wet day, but maybe it won't be that wet now. One idea comes to mind. I might reprise my old commute to work, maybe doing a bit of railway photography on the way, and then instead of heading to my old workplace, start walking to Wandsworth Common, and the railway station there. From there I can get a train to Crystal Palace, and maybe walk around the park. If it is raining I could omit the park, and carry on to Forest Hill station where I can get a bus home. In fact there are multiple opportunities to change destinations along the way. I could end up anywhere !
Sunday 3rd November 2019
08:40 GMT
  There was less rain than the forecast predicted yesterday. I'm not even sure if the wind was quite as strong as forecast either. I think I would describe yesterday as overcast, quite cool, and with occasional showers. The prediction of it being no more than 13° C was about right.
                    bright start
   I think the prediction of a sunny start to today is a bit optimistic. There is some hazy sunshine filtering through the clouds, and maybe it was a bit better earlier, and maybe it will get better soon, but for now it only seems slightly nice. Even the prediction of an 8° C seems to have been optimistic, although maybe it is 8° C now, but at a quarter past 7am I reckon it was just 6° C. Later on, perhaps earlier than forecast, it will probably cloud over, and the rest of the day will feel quite miserable(ish). The temperature will probably rise no higher than 13° C again. After midnight some light rain is forecast. Tomorrow will probably continue to have some showers, but at the moment it is thought there could also be some sunny spells.
  My assorted aches and pains continued to be a big nuisance yesterday, although I have to admit it rather depended on what I was doing at the time. As I predicted yesterday morning, I did end up going to Aldi, and I mostly felt OK doing that. At the time, about 11am if I recall correctly, it was dry, and it could have been 13° C. Under such conditions I might have braved it without a coat. Not yesterday though. I put on my warmest coat, and kept it zipped up there and back.

  As well as a warm coat, I also wore a pair of lightweight boots with socks. They come in a strange category of being uncomfortably comfortable. What that means is that they feel wrong, but don't seem to do any damage to my feet. I suspect I could probably walk a fair way in them with any trouble - but maybe only wearing them with the same socks. The socks, which I found in the back of the drawer, fitted well, were semi-thick, but didn't seem to have any strong elastic to cut into my legs (although I note my ankles and legs seem to be less swollen now I have lost a bit of weight.

  My legs were working really well as I walked to Aldi. Maybe the boots helped. My chest was not giving much discomfort, but my right elbow was. That elbow continued to ached even when I wasn't using it. Oddly enough, the weight of the shopping bag I was carrying in my right hand was sort of stretching my right arm, and that seemed to reduce the pain in my elbow a lot.

  I felt so rotten yesterday that I ended up bringing my Sunday treat forward a day. On this visit to Aldi I remembered to buy what they call a demi-sub roll. I also bought some sausages that had been re-invented as a Halloween idea. There were 6 sausages, flavoured with California Reaper Chilli, in the pack with a Halloween themed wrapper. I also bought some vegetables and some meat, plus two packs of tuna and sweetcorn sandwiches. I think I bought the sandwiches in case I forgot to buy the bread rolls again - the sandwich counter is the first thing you come to when you enter the store.

  I ate the sandwiches as a sort of late breakfast soon after I got home. It was the start of a slippery slope that I have to fight if I want to get my diet back on track. Later on I was feeling sort of cold, and I felt like I wanted something hot inside me. I selected a couple of cans of soup that seemed to be fairly low in calories and sugar, and had those. I think they did the trick, and I felt better for them. Much later in the day, after several cycles of feeling hot and cold, and also periods of time when I was heavily sweating, I got to wondering if I had actually picked up some sort of bug. The way I was feeling would fit having 'flu very nicely, but I thought that 'flu was unlikely after having a 'flu jab.

  It had been my intention to try and sleep a lot...or maybe it wasn't an intention so much as that is how I expected to feel. I did have a short snooze or two, but mostly I seemed to be doing other stuff. For instance I washed two t-shirts and some underwear. I think I did it because I wondered if it would have a positive or negative effect on my aches and pains. I think it might have had a very, very small positive effect. It was certainly better than using this stuff...
Tesco heat rub
  It did help, but not in the way it was probably supposed to. It was like rubbing extra fierce chilli juice into my elbow area. One friend suggested that he does rub in chilli on some of his aching areas. For me, it seemed to work by distracting me from worrying about the internal pain from my elbow joint (or whatever) by making it feel like my skin was on fire. It wasn't quite what I was hoping for. Later on I tried the last bit of Ibuprofen Gel from an ancient tube of it, and maybe that helped, but it was so slow acting that it was difficult to tell if anything was happening, or if it was just a normal variation of the pain level depending on how I had been using my arm.

  Well before dinner time I cooked the chilli loaded sausages, and I cooked them well. In doing so they shrunk a lot. At 6pm, dinner time, I found I could line up three sausages in one of the bread rolls. It wasn't quite how I intended it, but I ended up eating all 6 sausages, and both "demi-sub" rolls - and they were very delicious !! All too often when a supermarket product says it has hot chilli in it, it is a big disappointment. Not those sausages -  they were HOT.

  All that chilli brought me out in a fierce sweat again. I think, or at least I hope this was good for me by sweating out whatever it was that was the trigger for all the pain I was suffering from yesterday. It wasn't the intention to prolong the sweating, but that is what happened when I hand washed a small hand towel in the evening. I only did it to empty my washing bag.

  Apart from washing that towel, I spent the evening mainly watching TV. There wasn't anything on that was that exciting, but the Yesterday Channel were showing some "Sounds Of The Sixties" - which are usually good, but occasionally bad. Last night's were pleasant, but without being gripping. Over on the London Live channel there was a documentary about the Kinks. It was slightly interesting, but hard to watch because the video quality was like a second generation copy of a VHS tape. I didn't think any TV company would stoop that low.

  I drank lots of vodka, and took both Ibuprofen, and Paracetamol before going to bed. It worked as hoped, and I had a very comfortable night up to 4am this morning. Before then I had been trying to sleep on my back, or if I had to lay on my side, I would only lay on my left side. At 4am I accidently rolled onto my right side, and my rib cage went crunch. It was quite painful, and obviously I very quickly rolled the other way. The pain quickly receded, and I was able to get back to sleep again, but it did leave a bit of a legacy.

  This morning my chest still feel tender, but is not really painful any more. My right elbow is still very easily provoked by making some movements, but I obviously avoid any movement that I predict will be painful. Some of the other lesser pains were insignificant against the worse pains, but were obviously still painful to one extent or another. They seemed to have faded away overnight. At the moment I feel mostly OK, and if I am careful I might even be able to improve on that, but just being much better than yesterday is good enough for now.

 I am contemplating going for a walk in the park before the sky clouds over. The sunshine is still a bit hazy, but it is brighter than yesterday. I doubt I will do much more before tonight. If I feel up to it I may take a bus to Bromley and have a few pints of Guinness at Stretchy's Open Mic.
Angela on her
  I hope I haven't shown this picture before. I stole it from social media, and brightened it up a bit. It was taken on her birthday at (I guess) lover boys place. I know I am very prejudiced, but I think that smile looks a bit wooden. Compare it to a picture taken in the rain on 12th March 2018 after a we had a lunchtime drink together. In my picture she has a definite twinkle in her eye, and a very natural smile.
Angela in the rain
                        with a lovely natural smile
Saturday 2nd November 2019
07:47 GMT
  There wasn't a single sign of the sun yesterday. It was a dank and gloomy day with occasional drizzle. It is probably just as well that the temperature reached 16° C or if less it might have been an extra miserable day instead of just an ordinary miserable day.
   The headline feature for today is strong winds, but as I write this it seems to be calm outside, and the sun is shining. The latest revision to the forecast shows it should be dull at the moment. It now says the strong winds will arrive at 9am, instead of 8am. At the same time it is supposed to start to rain. 11am is supposed to be the start of two hours of heavy rain, and that will be followed by light to moderate rain for most of the rest of the day. The sunshine pouring through my windows gives me less faith that the forecast is entirely accurate, but time will tell. All revisions seem to agree that the afternoon will only see a high of 13° C. Tomorrow may see a similar range of temperatures, but it is thought to be a mostly dry day, although there could be an isolated shower from time to time.
  Yesterday was another day which turned out completely different to any ideas I might have had about it in the morning. By midday I had formed a plan of action, and that plan was to go for a walk regardless of the damp and drizzly weather. I decided to do a walk I had been thinking about for some time, but had never done it before. It was to walk along the Thames Path from Rotherhithe to London Bridge (and then to London Bridge station to come home again).

  One good thing about it was that all my travel was free, thanks to my 60+ Oystercard. Before setting out I used Google Maps Street View to get an idea of the route I would take. I have to say that some of it was a bit vague. Where the path was no more than just a path, and not suitable for a vehicle, there were parts not adequately covered by Street View. It also didn't really show many of the sights I would see. I ended up taking a huge pile of snaps of this, that and the other, but I'll only show a few here.
first good view of
                        Tower Bridge
  One prominent view on the river was Tower Bridge, although it didn't become visible until I had walked a fair way alongside the river, and gone around a bend in the river. If this picture looks dull and murky it is because it was a dull and murky day ! It gives it a sort of 1950s look before the Clean Air act came into force.
Anchor and chain
  As I approached Tower Bridge the "Thames Path" turned into "The Queen's Walk" - a far broader path with tourist trap coffee shops, and other retail establishments on one side (and the river on the other). At intervals along the path there were marine relics like this anchor and chain. Some, like the red propeller (or screw as they call it on boats) that can be seen in the background, had sharp edges, and could be very painful to walk into without even considering the trip hazards these objects are. I'm surprised that 'elf and safety haven't demanded barriers around them.
a closer look at Tower
  A closer look at the east, or down river side of Tower Bridge. I still think it was marvellous that it was built at a time that Britain was prosperous, and could afford to clad what is really a bridge made of iron girders, in this magnificent medieval looking style. I feel sort of privileged to have lived some of my life before the rich politicians decided to transfer the countries wealth to their own secret offshore bank accounts.
The Tower Of London
  I think it is probably quite common that those of us living in London don't see all of it's famous landmarks. Until Yesterday's walk I had never seen the Tower Of London from this angle before. It would have been much nicer, and maybe more interesting, to see it against a clear blue sky, and lit by nice sunshine, but this will have to do for now.
my walking route
  This was the route I took on my walk. I was quite pleased with the length of it - 2.39 miles. My walking speed looks low, but that is because I spent several short periods of time just standing next to the river taking in the sights - particularly at the start. Of course I also stopped to take pictures along the way. I felt like I was good to walk further than this if my shoes had been dry, and stayed comfortable, but they were surprisingly damp from the rain (and walking through damp leaves in some parts). That probably caused one of my socks to slip, and made walking even more uncomfortable.

  I soon came to realise that damp shoes were the least of my worries. I didn't bother to do up my coat when it was raining. It seemed to be just drizzle, and I didn't really feel the front of my t-shirt getting damp. The first I realised it was not good for me was as I was about to board the train from London Bridge back to Catford Bridge. While waiting I had been standing at the back of the platform, leaning back on the handrail. As I straightened up my chest sort of popped, and I had a pain that was like a mild heart attack, but was subtly different enough to one practiced in the arts, to know (or hope) it wasn't one.

  That pain was not very strong, but still very annoying, and it continued until I had some hot food, and some neat vodka. It wasn't enough to stop me rushing to The London & Rye pub when I had a report that Kevin was in there. Unfortunately he just had 12 minutes to kill while on his way to some sort of appointment, and had left by the time I got there. I didn't stay there by myself, and hurried home to put the vegetables into my dinner before it's final spell in the microwave.

  The hot food and vodka only provided temporary relief, and I had to take pain killers before going to bed. It killed the idea of going out last night, and instead I watched TV until about 10pm. Laying in bed made the pain worse, although it did depend a lot on how I laid in bed. I think I probably got a few brief snatches of sleep, but it must have been almost 3am before I got any proper sleep. Even then I only slept for about three hours. I will be taking every opportunity to snooze I can get today.

  Yesterday's walk seemed to have a positive effect on my weight this morning - or should that be a negative effect ? I have lost a little bit of weight. For reasons I can't imagine, my blood glucose level is higher than expected. It was nice and low before dinner last night, and I don't think there was anything bad in my dinner. At the moment those things take a back seat to more immediate problems. My chest has calmed down a lot, but still feel a little tender, and probably easy to provoke.

  My worst complaints concern my right shoulder and elbow. Both are quite painful and stiff this morning. I think I can blame the cold and damp yesterday for it. One oddity is that I am getting some occasional discomfort from my left wrist. That is a rare place for discomfort. It seems my fears of a cold and damp winter may be arriving a few years later than I first imagined.

  As I have mentioned, I will be taking any opportunity to have a snooze today. The only other thing I think I'll be doing is to go shopping. This time I think a visit to Aldi would suit me fine. I can probably stagger back with more cans of Guinness, and some sort of Sunday treat. Maybe this time I'll remember to buy a crusty bit of bread to put a sausage or two in it. If not it will have to be a pack or two of ready made sandwiches.
Friday 1st November 2019
08:19 GMT
  There were probably more sunny spells than the forecast for yesterday predicted, but they were sometimes hazy, and often short lived. It was a dry day, but at just 11° C it was not exactly warm. Then again, it wasn't that cold.
   Today sees the return of rain. As I write this it is very dull, and the ground is wet, but I don't think it is actually raining at the moment (although I probably wouldn't see very light rain while indoors). More rain is certainly forecast, but the times it will rain have already changed a lot in the latest revision to the forecast. The current version says rain at 1 and 2pm, and then a break until 4pm when the rain will possibly continue for the rest of the day. It is all a bit uncertain though. While all versions of the forecast say the sky will be very dark all day, the chances of it raining are given as fairly low percentages at some points in the day, and even the highest chance, currently shown for 8 and 9pm, is only 58%. The one thing the revisions of the forecast seem to agree on is that the afternoon will see the temperature reach 16° C. The main feature for tomorrow is strong winds. It will also feature light rain for half the day.
  Yesterday didn't go as planned, but that is hardly surprising considering any plans I had contained elements of doubt, and were not set in stone. The biggest divergence was in the evening. During the day I did three main things plus a little bit more random tidying up of the back room - although in this case it was more like tidying up just one drawer in a stack of 5 plastic drawers. The biggest job I did was very much a spur of the moment thing.

  I washed the double duvet cover that I had taken off my bed 6 or more weeks ago. Like the other double duvet cover a week ago, it was quite a struggle. The hardest thing was trying to wring it out enough so it didn't drip on the carpet as I dried it indoors. I could have hung it outside, where it wouldn't matter how much it dripped, but it wouldn't have dried in the cold and damp on the north side of my house...at least I don't think it would have.

  It was just a few minutes before 1pm when my new bathroom scales were delivered. I like how early stuff is arriving from what I assume is a new Amazon depot in Croydon. Deliveries from Dartford would always turn up much later - sometimes after 5pm, and once as late as 7pm. The new scales are rather marvellous. For one thing, like many other scales I saw listed, they are designed with the obese in mind. That means there is loads of headroom when I get on them, and they don't complain if I put my full weight on them very quickly. My older scales would show ERROR if I didn't get on them very gently. These new scales seem very quick and stable. This morning they clearly showed the difference before and after I had gone to the toilet for a poo. The best thing is that their readings seem to match the scales at the doctors and the hospital - as far as I can tell.

  After the scales arrived I could relax, and I did to the extent of having a short afternoon snooze. It was probably a little while after 2pm that we had one of the brighter periods of the day, and I went out shopping. I wanted to get a bottle of bleach and got three of them ! Poundstretcher had the cheap brand back, and I got a pine, pink, and sea flavours. The other thing I expected to get was some seeds and/or bulbs for the garden. I am sure they usually have a selection in there, but apparently not when half the shelves are stuffed with Halloween stuff, and the other half stuffed with Xmas stuff.

  I didn't come home empty handed though. Apart from the bleach I bought a few other things, including some peri-peri flavoured peanuts. I sort of regret buying them because they are just the kind of snack I am trying to not eat. I ate the whole bag yesterday ! I also found some more concentrated spices. They come as liquid in a little bottle with an eye dropper type top. Apparently they are supposed to be used by the drip. Yesterday I got paprika and chilli. I did taste the chilli - just a drip on my finger, and it didn't seem to be very hot to me.

  Before I went into Poundstretcher I called in to The British Heart Foundation charity shop to rummage through their CDs. At just 99p each, I don't mind taking a chance on some stuff that I definitely wouldn't buy new. I'm not sure how their till works, but I got charged just £3.96 for 6 CDs. One of them was even a double CD. This time I took a chance on two albums. Both had a song on them that Chain, or Life Of Brian have covered. One was by The Zutons, and the other by KD Lang. I really have no idea what the rest of the CD sounds like. Having a listen is probably a job for today.

  My plan for the evening was to go to the Whitestar Open Mic at The Partridge pub in Bromley. I was only going to go if I was tipped off by Angela that she would be there in here Halloween outfit, but she didn't give me the tip off. I really don't like The Partridge pub. It is often far too crowded, and far too dim to enjoy the bands even with my own eyes ! On top of that, I just don't get all the dressing up and rituals of Halloween. I might have enjoyed some of it as a kid, but then Trick Or Treat was imported from America, and it took on too many overtones for me. I've hated it ever since.

  Other negatives things were that it was cold and dark outside. There were more positives to staying in. It was warm and dry. I had 8 cans of Guinness in stock (I only drank 3 in the end), and I could be in bed, and fast asleep, long before the pub closed. My only small regret is that I have seen some picture of last night, and Angela was there in costume. It would have been nice to get a proper picture of her.

  I was in bed, and possibly asleep by 10pm last night, although I will confess that I really wasn't that aware of the time. I slept well until about 3am when my sleep was interrupted by almost an hour of insomnia. I probably didn't sleep that deeply even when I finally got back to sleep. I am sure I woke up at least every hour, but I could have been dreaming.

  This morning I seem to feel reasonably OK. My blood glucose was OK this morning - just 7.6 mmol/l - That is a bit higher than ideal, but still pretty good. My blood pressure was typically low, but not extra low. The best bit was using my new scales. Even before I had had a poo I could tell that I was probably over the little blip of weight gain, and seem to be heading down again. Even after a poo I still have about 3kg to go before I reach the low I seemed to have in the doctors surgery. If the weather was conducive for a few 3 mile walks I could probably achieve that in as little as 3 days provided I kept to my diet a bit more strictly. On days like today it could take the best part of a fortnight !

  My only plan for today is very flexible, or not set in stone. There is some sort of gig on in The Lord Holmesdale pub in Bickley tonight. It looks interesting. Unfortunately it is on the 336 bus route. As such it is simple to get to, but that bus route goes down every back road it can. If I go I may have to get a bus direct to Bromley, and then change to the 336 there. As an alternative I could get a train to Bickley, and walk from there. It would be a 0.6 mile walk, and so good exercise, but....

  I recently showed a video of a steam hauled train going through Catford station. Special trains, including freight and excursions, some steam hauled, are not that uncommon through Catford, but the last time I can remember a steam hauled train going through Catford Bridge station was in 2005. It was the Spitfire, hop picker special. It was run by the Shepherd Neame brewery in celebration of when hundreds of Londoners would go for a working holiday in the fresh air of Kent, picking hops. I think it was an annual event that probably died out in the 1950s.