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My Diary/Blog For the Month of October 2019

Thursday 31st October 2019
08:40 GMT
  The weather forecast for yesterday ended up saying there could be sunny spells for most of the daylight hours. Reality had other ideas. There were occasional sunny spells, but in my estimation, rather less than the forecast predicted. I'm not even sure the temperature rose to the 13° C predicted in later revisions of the forecast. I suspect, but cannot prove it was any higher than the original prediction of 11° C.
                    all day long
   The latest revision to today's forecast now says it will be dull all day - including right now when the reality is that there have been a few short spells of rather hazy sunshine. The latest revision also says the temperature will soon flatten out to 11° C, and it will stay at that level until later tonight - when it might go up ! After midnight it will probably rain, and the rain will continue through to late morning tomorrow. With luck, the middle of tomorrow will be dry, although heavily overcast, but rain may resume in the evening. The only good thing about tomorrow is that it might be 16° C.
  There were several things that I was thinking of doing yesterday, but one email changed everything. That email said that I had not one, but two packets arriving from Amazon. In the past the final part of their journey would be from a depot in Dartford, but these two were coming from a depot in Croydon. That is nearer to home than Dartford, and I expected my parcels to arrive earlier in the day - and I was right. I think they arrived soon after 1pm.

  With no previous experience to draw on, I couldn't predict when the packets would arrive, but I thought I had enough time to do a bit of shopping in Tesco. In fact, it turned out that I had plenty of time - enough to to go out a second time, had I needed to.

  There wasn't a lot I needed from Tesco. I already had all the main ingredients for last night's dinner, and tonight's, but both meals involved pork, and I thought some Chinese 5 Spice powder might go well with it. I bought that plus some other spices to put in other meals. I also bought some more chicken thighs. They are not as tasty as, for instance, beef or lamb, but they are less fatty, and that could be important.

  One other notable thing I bought was some Vodka. Two 1litre bottles of Smirnoff. It was on special offer at just £16 a bottle. I am not a frequent vodka drinker, but while it was cheap.... Might be useful at Xmas or something, and it was a subtle way of showing Angela that I am ready for her if she ever feels the need to come and have a relaxing time here. I sent her a picture of the two bottles with that caption "Well you have to when it's this cheap". She replied within one minute to say "Yes xxx".

  What I was not aware of was that at the time she was being giving a lift to work by lover boy, and that probably explains the 10 minute delay to a reply after I said that I hoped she had a good time last night. She was celebrating her birthday with lover boy. For a while I thought her slowness to respond was because she didn't have a good time. When she eventually replied it was to say "nice", but with no apparent enthusiasm. The night before she had posted a picture on social media of her sitting by a birthday cake, and wearing, in my opinion, a very forced smile. It was certainly not like the look of joy she had when I was with her in the pub earlier in the day.

  I had been thinking along the lines of going out yesterday, and I even had a possible destination in mind. I thought I might go for a quick visit to Sheerness, on the Isle of Sheppey. It is one of the closest bits of seaside I can get to. Having to wait for my packet delivery made that impossible, although an afternoon visit may have been feasible, but I think I may have been a bit over optimistic about the weather, and it might have been an unpleasant experience if I had gone.

  As I said further up the page, my delivery happened just after 1pm, and of course that left a lot of afternoon to get through. I spent some of it reading, some of it hand washing some t-shirts and underwear, and some of it doing some very gentle tidying up in the back room (the once, and maybe future dining room). I have now sorted through a pile of dusty paperwork, and some little boxes of electronic components that were on a high shelf in there. I (reluctantly) threw out quite a lot of stuff, but I still have this fantasy that I may take up my soldering iron again, and build or repair stuff one day.

  The highlight of the day was, as usual, dinner. It was pork with "stir fry vegetables". The vegetable were part boiled, part steamed in the same container that I did the last 12 minutes of cooking the pork. The 5 Spice powder added a nice smell to the steam, but I don't think I could taste it through the chillies I had also added to the meal. I was expecting such a spicy dish to have a profound effect on my bowels this morning, but as yet, nothing !

   I am sure they have re-arranged the TV schedules since the clocks changed to GMT. With it now getting dark so early in the evening (or by some standards, before the afternoon has even ended), I had been expecting that my body clock would still be on BST, and I would be going to bed quite early, but somehow the opposite has happened. It must have been 11pm (or midnight in "old money") before I turned out the light, and tried to go to sleep. My sleep was actually delayed by my chest hurting. I made a sort of twisting motion as I got up from sitting in front of my PC, and something went pop in my rib cage.

  Although getting to sleep was delayed a bit, I did fall asleep before my chest had calmed down, and it still felt sore when I woke up for a pee several hours later. Other than that, I think I had a fair night's sleep. This morning the only thing I would complain about is constipation. Sooner or later, but preferably sooner, last night's chilli and spices will hit the spot, and maybe it will look like I haven't put any weight on - as it does at the moment.

  Apart from my weight apparently increasing after just eating one meal with very few carbohydrates in it, my blood glucose level still shows I am controlling what I eat quite well. Although having said that, this morning's reading was not as low as the previous couple of days. I had a "dry" day yesterday. I sometimes think my blood glucose drops more after I've had a few pint's of Guinness during the day.

  I did have a few ideas about what I might do today, but like yesterday, they are all on hold now because I am expecting the final bit of my last Amazon order today. Once again, the tracking information says it arrived at the Croydon depot in the early hours of this morning. It is not saying it is out for delivery yet, but the estimated delivery date has changed to today. This parcel is a brand new set of digital bathroom scales, and I hope they turn out more accurate than the very old, and less very old scales I currently use. Those two disagree by 2kg, and strangely enough it is the older one which seems to come closer to the scales in hospital, and my doctors surgery.

  If those scales arrive at a similar time to yesterday I will have most of afternoon to do stuff where I don't have to stay within 10 paces of my front door. I don't think I fancy going out on a very dull afternoon, but I might consider doing a bit of work in my garden. After several dry days, it should be a bit less muddy now. Maybe I might see if anywhere local is selling daffodil or tulip bulbs. Apparently now is the time to plant them.

  Tonight has the potential to be interesting. Assuming I get a tip off that she is going, I will going to a pub I hate to see Angela, and lover boy, at the open mic night there. It is a Halloween themed session, and Angela may be dressed up for it. I've told her I will be taking photos of her, although she will probably want lover boy included in some of them. I will take them, but I can later ignore the ones with him in it !
Wednesday 30th October 2019
07:05 GMT
  Yesterday was an almost typical Autumn day minus any rain. It was cool, 11° C, and dull.
                    with a chance of some sunny spells
   The only new thing that today's weather might have is some sunny spells. Other than that, it is going to be almost the same as yesterday. Having said that, the latest revision to the forecast adds a few more hours of potential sunny spells. They now span almost all daylight hours. Also the prediction of the maximum temperature has been increased to 13° C. Maybe today won't be so bad after all. Tomorrow might turn out similar, but there is plenty of time for it to change for the better, or for the worse.
extra walking yesterday  
  I increased the distance of my walking exercise yesterday. The ultimate goal was still the same as yesterday - to arrive at the Jolly Farmers in time to meet Angela for a birthday drink with her - actually on the very day of her birthday ! My planned route would have been a little longer, but I had to cut a few corners to save time so I could arrive at the pub on time.

  The one trouble with the "Just Walking" app on my phone is that while it does a good job of tracing my route (as shown on the left) it only shows average speed. My usual walking speed is just over 3mph, but yesterday I knew I was often walking a fair bit faster than that, but it doesn't show that. Although there is a pause function if you know you are going to be stopped for a long time (such as when I was in the pub), it takes no account of brief stops to cross roads, take photos, or even to blow your nose !

  It was lovely to see Angela, and she looked really radiant and happy. One sad aspect is that she has now expanded on a topic I suggested to her much earlier in the year (or possibly last year because I am not sure I saw her at any time this year until a month or so ago). I once suggested to her that it was a shame that we couldn't get together for a proper drinking session where she could let her hair down.

  The reason I say it is sad is that she is now saying much the same thing as I was suggesting, although not specifically with me. She said she would like a night out with her daughter, without lover boy, probably at a gig, so she could drink, dance, and just have a wonderful time. It seems she still has to behave herself while out with the man she believes she loves. It all makes me wonder why lover boy wants her. I love Angela for what she is, not for what I want her to be. It's like he has found a million pound Stradivarius violin, taken off the strings, and painted it day-glo orange.
  Autumn is the time for fungi, and I spotted these fresh, and unspoiled, fungi while walking through the park yesterday.
strange beer mat
  Fungi can sometimes looks strange, but not as strange as this beer mat ! It doesn't seem to suggest anything of the sort, but it is one of two designs of beer mat that promotes non smoking. The flipside has the anti smoking message, and the other beer mat has almost the same message on it's back, but a more related message on it's front.

  After just under an hour spent in the pub it was time to go. As usual I walked Angela back to work. We parted on another very warm hug. I said I wouldn't disturb her again this week, but maybe we could have one drink next week. She promised to let me know if she would be dressed up and going to the Halloween open mic at The Partridge on Thursday. I hate the place, but I will probably go if Angela is going, and I will follow orders to talk to Lover Boy, and put him at his ease so I can talk to Angela while he gets on doing his drumming.

  I was going to take a longer route home after saying goodbye to Angela, but I thought I had walked enough, and went straight home to do the long wait until it was time for my one meal of the day. To help pass the time, and get a bit more exercise, I hand washed a double duvet cover. It is just about the biggest thing I can manage to hand wash. It would have been easier if it were a warm and dry day, and I could have hung it on the line outside to drip, but while it was dry, it was cold outside. I had to do my best to wring that duvet cover out, and I think I did it well enough to stop it dripping on the carpet when I hung it on the clothes horse to dry.

  Eventually it was time for dinner, but before then I checked my blood glucose level. It was just 5.5, and that is in the sweet spot. I wouldn't even be considered type II diabetic if it was always that low. Once again my dinner was specially designed (aka thrown together) to keep my blood glucose low. It seemed to work OK because my glucose level was 7.6 this morning, and while that is above the ideal, it is not high in the grand scheme of things.

  Unfortunately, some of the meals I have been having recently, plus some of the snacks I haven't been able to resist, have not been so good for my weight. I have put on a few kg instead of taking it off. I must admit it is a bit of a mystery because I am doing little more than what was responsible for the big weight loss when I started this latest lark. Last night I had lamb and sprouts. It was very nice, but of course lamb tends to have a lot of fat, and I made things worse by drinking most of the stock it was all cooked in - which included most of the fat too. Maybe I am going to stick to less tasty meats that have less fat - such as chicken. Tonight, and probably tomorrow because it is quite a big pack that I have bought, it will be diced pork - another meat that has to be fatty to taste good.

  I have no idea when I went to bed last night. I was watching some TV, and suddenly got bored with it. I turned the TV off and went to bed to read, but it wasn't long before my eyelids started to droop. I turned out the light, and was soon asleep. I must have slept well because I only have a vague memory of a pleasant dream or two during some of the night. In fact the memory is more like a hint of an idea that they were nice dreams. Any content has now vanished from memory. Just before waking up I did have slightly bad dream.

  This dream was not exactly a nightmare. It explored one of my pet hates - pictures and video taken in portrait mode instead of landscape. Portrait mode (or orientation) has it's place, and it is for portraits, and not pictures of chips being served in a boat shaped cardboard container. Boats are well known as being wide things, except when sinking, and so need a wide picture to show them - a picture in landscape orientation in fact. Mobile phones, and peoples reluctance to rotate them into landscape more annoys me, but I guess if that is all I have to moan about then life must be fairly OK...except loads of other things annoy me too !

 I'm not seeing Angela today (unless she specifically requests it - which is very unlikely, but not impossible), and so I have to think of other things to do today. There may be one constraint in what I can do. A bit later this morning, possibly around 10am, I could get a message to say I have a packet delivery from Amazon today. Their packet tracking says my packets arrived at their Croydon depot in the early hours of this morning. It is possible that they will then have to go to the Dartford depot where most of my parcels/packets are delivered from despite Croydon being several miles closer to me. It is even possible that the two packets will be held back until they can be joined by a third which hasn't even been dispatched yet.

  If it get to about 10.30am, and I have had no suggestion that anything will be delivered today, I could go out for the day. As I write this the sun is shining. It is a shame that it is so cold, but the sun makes me think that I would like to give another quick look at the seaside before the weather gets too bad. I am considering going to Sheerness, but I may just end up walking through the woods at Beckenham Place Park. It all depends on how the mood grabs me.
Ladywell baths mk1
    One of a couple of pictures I took the day before yesterday when I was going to the pub to meet Angela. This is the original Ladywell Swimming Baths mark 1. It has remained mostly disused for decades, but it is such a handsome building that I believe it is listed, and cannot be demolished. From time to time it has been used for other sports and exercise instead of swimming. At one time it was called the Play Tower. The posters on the fence outside suggest the latest idea is to convert it into a community cinema.
Squirrel surrounded by yew berries in St Mary's Church Therapeutic Garden. Yew berries are poisonous to most mammals, but maybe squirrels are immune, or maybe it was after some other nut or berry.
Hawthorn berries
These may, or may not be Hawthorn berries. That is what friends have suggested, and who am I to say otherwise.
Tuesday 29th October 2019
07:52 GMT
  Yesterday started with a frost (I am reliably informed by someone up and out well before me). It also started off as very sunny. By midday the temperature was close to it's maximum of 10 or 11° C, and the day became increasingly overcast. Fortunately it was never much worse than lightly overcast, and never gloomy. It was also a totally dry day.
   Today is forecast to be exactly the same as yesterday apart from one very important difference - no sunshine at all ! The forecast possibility of sunny spells at 7am was too over optimistic. I will admit that there are some thinner bits of cloud that allow you to see where the sun is, but the full power of the sun is not enough to properly penetrate the clouds. At least it will stay dry, and 11° C is not very cold (and there was no frost this morning). Tomorrow may start a little less cold, but the maximum temperature, 11° C again, will only be a couple of degrees higher than the early morning temperature. Once again it should stay dry, but it will be overcast almost all day. It is currently thought that there may be some sunny spells during the first few hours of the afternoon, but that could, and almost certainly will change.

  Yesterday was a good day on several levels. I never did get a yes or no from Angela about meeting at lunchtime, and so I hatched a cunning plan...or maybe it was just an alternative plan with possibilities. A few weeks back I walked to The Fox And Firkin pub in the pouring rain, to take some photos of a video shoot taking place while the pub was quiet. Unfortunately the roof was leaking, and The Entourage Band did not want to set up on the stage with water dripping on the electricals. While I was there I had a look in Cash Converters window.

  Sitting in the window, priced at under £200 (although I can't remember the exact price) was a Nikon D3400 camera. When I checked the specification later it had some good and bad points compared to my D3200. Things like it incorporating bluetooth for image transfer was of very marginal interest, but the much improved ISO rating suggested it should, or could, perform much better in low light than any of my current cameras. For that reason alone, I decided I would see if it was still there, and to probably buy it. Sadly it had gone. Someone else would have compared it's price to the best offer from Amazon, for instance, and seen that it was a bargain, and instantly snapped it up.

  It was probably a good thing that I wasn't able to buy it. I have enough camera's, and I would be better saving the money to use to buy food after the great Brexit disaster - if it happens. The news last night is that Brexit has now been delayed for 3 months, and it is still possible it may never happen. Anyway, walking all the way to Cash Converters was good and needed exercise, and here was better to come. I sent Angela a text message saying where I had been, and that I would be calling in at the Jolly Farmers to use their toilet, and to make things fair, buying a pint of Guinness so I was a customer (toilets for customer use only !).

  I didn't explicitly ask Angela to meet me there, and with no response to my message, and I didn't expect it to happen. I drank my pint of Guinness, and when it was finished it was 12 minutes after Angela's lunchtime. I assumed she was not coming, and left the pub. I thought I would walk home via the park, and I was just disappearing around the back of St Mary's Church, to access the park that way, when I heard my name being called. It was Angela !

  We walked back to the pub, and had a very nice drink together. It is her birthday today, and I had a few more little presents for her. One was a thing like a reed scent dispenser, but uses paper tissue rose that starts white, and becomes bright red when it soaks up the red perfumed oil. She liked it, but maybe knew that it came from the 99p shop. What she really loved, and what generated a big warm hug was 40 Silk Cut Purple cigarettes.

  The last time I saw Angela, a fortnight ago, she was happy to meet after not seeing each other for months. This time she was really, really happy, and her face transformed to look 20 or 30 years younger as she smiled and laughed. She was so happy that she didn't rush off to get back to work, although she only took the usual hour. I felt really good that I had brought her such joy, and in such state my mind was imagining all sorts of things.

  One such bit of fevered imagination concerned this coming Thursday. There is a Halloween themed open mic in The Partridge in Bromley, and Angela thinks she is going. Unfortunately so is lover boy. I don't like The Partridge, and Halloween stuff repels me, but maybe I might go to see Angela's outfit. She pleaded with me to say hello to lover boy, and talk to him. The idea does not appeal, but Angela says that if I do she will be able to talk to me. My Guinness fueled imagination started thinking that maybe if I talked to Angela too much, lover boy would get annoyed (he is very insecure), and it would provide a reason for Angela to ditch him (as has almost happened a few times in the past, although maybe not recently). Of course in the clear light of morning such an idea seems preposterous.

  With three pints of Guinness inside me it was hard to fight the hunger pains as I waited until 6pm when I could have my dinner. I only gave in to the extent of eating a chunk of cheese just to prove to my stomach that my mouth still worked. Just before dinner I checked my blood glucose level. My new meter said 6.2, and that is only just over the middle of the healthy range.

  My dinner was braised beef with cauliflower. The meat was fairly lean, and I didn't add anything to the stock that would do any more than enhance it without adding sugar or calories. The one thing that might have added just a weeny bit of sugar was some Worcestershire Sauce. I haven't used that in gravy/stock for absolutely ages, a having tasted it last night, I wonder why not. It was delicious.

  During the rest of the evening I watched a bit of TV, but it didn't really grab my attention, and because I was bored from time to time I ended up snacking on some very naughty cashew nuts. Eventually it was time for bed, and once again my sleep was a bit weird. I fell asleep easily after turning out the light, and then 3 or 4 hours later I woke up and it took a long time to get back to sleep. Fortunately not so long that I felt like getting up, and I wonder if it was for less time than it seemed to feel like at the time.

  This morning I think I feel fairly well rested. My main complaint this morning was that my right elbow felt a bit painful, and some of that pain was spilling out into my forearm. A couple of paracetamol tablets seem to have tamed it. My blood pressure continues to be low, and I am coming to the conclusion that I am wasting my time trying to relax and getting it lower, and that the first reading I get is perfectly OK to include in my daily diary of blood pressure readings. My blood glucose went up after dinner (and the cashew nuts), but this morning's reading was only just over 7, and that is good enough.

  Today I have just one plan that will take up only a bit of the day. I don't know how to fill the rest of the day. I told Angela that I would be going for more exercise by walking in the park today, and how important it was to keep my blood glucose down. I also said that if she called into The Jolly Farmers at her usual time she would probably find me there. I think there is a fair, but not absolute chance that I will be seeing Angela again today.

  Other possible plans include washing a duvet cover - I washed the sheet and pillowcases yesterday. There was some reason I thought I might go to a shop this morning, but I can't think why now. I might go for a wander around the shops anyway. This afternoon I think I will just relax like I did yesterday. Maybe tomorrow I will formualte a gand plan of how I will use that day.
Monday 28th October 2019
08:47 GMT
  I think cold but bright sums up yesterday's weather. Lots of sunshine was very nice, but it couldn't raise the temperature any higher than 12° C, and I am not sure that it got that high. Maybe just 11° C.
   I think earlier versions of today's forecast said there might be more sunshine than just the sunny spells shown above. The actual observed weather, observed by my own eyeballs, is currently a bit different to the forecast. There is currently a very long sunny spell - maybe getting on for a full hour now. The sky is mostly clear, and it may continue for some time yet. It may be rising to 6° C now, but it looked like frost on things like neighbours shed roofs, and my thermometers are saying it is just 3.2° C as I write this. If this sunshine continues then maybe it might reach 11° C by this afternoon. Tomorrow was originally forecast to be similar to today, but is now shown as just having a few sunny spells in the first half of the morning, with overcast skies following, but maybe a tiny bit warmer in the region of 12° C.
25 year old
                        Wetherspoons Halloween glass
  I was going to show this picture yesterday, but I guess any time in the next few days will do. This glass was one of Wetherspoons special themed glasses they used to use (and sell) in their early days when their pubs were more the result of enthusiasm for beer rather than run as a corporation by "bean counters". It's a shame because while the cheap beer still exists, and they still have "beer festivals", many, maybe most of their pubs are now more like doss houses than beer palaces.
Saturday's beer
  Another picture I meant to show yesterday. These two beers made up 5 out of the 6 pints we drank on Saturday during the extended boozing session I had with Kevin after we had seen the steam train go through Catford station at 11:14am. They were both very nice, but the one on the left was ever so slightly nicer. The one other beer we had was still very pleasant, but the two pictured were a notch up on "pleasant".

   Forgetting to show the two pictures above was perhaps an indicator of the strength of my hangover yesterday morning. It wasn't a painful hangover, no pounding head, or anything like that, but "wet blanket around the brain", or "brain fog" probably describes it best. By mid morning I had remembered, and prepared the pictures, but it was too late by then. The strange thing is that I remembered the beer pump handle label pictures while I was forgetting to buy the bread I was going to buy.

  It was nice to get out into the fresh air and sunshine to get some shopping in from Tesco. It was my plan to buy some sausages and a nice crispy "sub" roll to put a couple of the sausages in for a late breakfast. Having the bread was a treat for my pancreas to remind it what it's function should be - produce insulin. I did buy the sausages, but completely forgot the bread. I guess I am out of practice buying bread. I think I generally only buy bread when Patricia stays here for a week or so in Summer.

  I suppose it was a bit annoying that the Tesco own brand, ordinary, sausages were "2 for £3", and I bought two packs. One of them is now in the freezer for another day. The rest of what I bought followed the current plan of lean (or mostly lean) meat plus tomatoes and leafy vegetables. I stayed clear of the booze aisles because I felt I had drunk quite enough booze for the weekend on Saturday. There was one other vegetable I bought - canned peas, mushy and ordinary.

  Like when walking there, my walk back from Tesco felt easy, and almost refreshing, although maybe I pushed myself a bit hard because I felt a bit fatigued a little while after getting home. I think that was just my hangover though. It was probably around 6pm before I felt "normal" again. Another slight blow to my feeling were when I noticed that mushy peas have sugar added to them. That was not part of my plan.

  My late breakfast was 4 sausages served with grilled tomatoes. The sausages were nice, but the tomatoes were underdone. Of course raw tomatoes are perfectly fine, and these weren't raw, but they weren't really soft and well singed - which is how I wanted them. I decided not to eat more than one, and I regrilled the other, with a few more, and this time I did it until the tops were just starting to char. I would eat them later as part of my dinner.

  I should have gone for a walk in the glorious sunshine yesterday, but I spent much of the afternoon on a personal challenge. I had reason to look at some pictures I had taken of The Life Of Brian playing in The Mitre pub in Greenwich on Saturday 7th October 2017. It was very dark in there, and it was before I had a flash gun for my camera. The few pictures I had uploaded to social media looked pretty poor, and I thought I should be able to do better. I did manage to create a second photo album that included more photos, and they did look a bit better than the earlier one, but in truth it was a lost cause. On the other hand, they did get a lot of praise from several Miranda Bell fans - including Angela (and that was probably what it was all about).

  My dinner, which was more sausages, the extra grilled tomatoes, and a small can of mushy peas, probably killed off the last of my hangover. The bad news is that those sugar laden mushy peas had quite a detrimental effect on my blood glucose level this morning. It was also made worse because I had a few snacks that I should not have had. The good thing is that I was feeling more capable of doing stuff last night, and in particular I had the energy and enthusiasm to change my bed linen.

  I went to bed quite late, I am sure it was gone 10pm, and may have been closer to 11pm. Maybe I was just tired, or maybe changing the sheets, and "de-wrinkling" the bed helped me get to sleep very quickly, and to sleep exceptionally well for almost 5 hours. I am saying I slept exceptionally well because I could not remember a single dream when I woke up in the early hours (3am ?). All I had was a notion that I had had one or more pleasant dreams, but not a single detail seems to exist in my memory.

  Getting back to sleep after I had been to the toilet didn't happen very fast. For quite a time it felt like I would not get back to sleep at all, but it eventually happened. The second half of my sleep did include some dreams. I forget any details from them beyond the fact that they were set in a work environment, and as usual that work place was a sort of melange of all the places I have worked in, and may people I have worked with in the past.

  This morning my blood glucose was higher than I would have liked, but it shouldn't take too much to bring it down again of I stick to my plan. My blood pressure was a bit high than expected, but still low in the general scheme of things. I think the kerfuffle of having to change the batteries, and reset the clock to GMT (and set the right year) probably made it briefly spike. Other than that, I think I feel mostly OK apart from one thing.

  I forgot to mention that I had some curried lentils for lunch yesterday. I fancied a snack/nibble, and my eyes alighted on some little, long lasting, pots of these curried lentils I once bought from the pound shop. As well as being still in date for another year or two, their nutritional information said they were low in stuff to avoid, as well as being very high fibre - which is alleged to be good for you. Of course curried lentils have a certain reputation, and at the moment I am waiting for them to live up to their reputation. It might be soon, and I hope it is !

  Today I really need to get out and stretch my legs - preferably while the sun is shining. I have yet to contact her, but I am hoping I can meet Angela at lunchtime today. Tomorrow would be even better - it is her birthday tomorrow, but I fear she may by busy, or something. I had better send her a message soon. If I hear back from her in time, and she says we can't meet today, I might even consider a brief visit to the seaside...or maybe not.
Sunday 27th October 2019
07:45 GMT
  Yesterday started dry, and the sun tried to come out a few times, but the gaps in the clouds were just not big enough to give more than a brief wink of brightness. It rained during that afternoon, and for a while it seemed heavy, but by 6pm it seemed no more than light drizzle. It probably continued for the rest of the evening. It was an exceptionally mild day with the temperature reaching 17° C before morning had finished, but falling a lot after sunset.
   We have now switched over to GMT, and this great event has been spoiled by the forecast being wrong ! At the moment it should be sunny according to the forecast above, but while it is not that dull, there is no sign of the sun yet. The clouds do look thin and streaky, and maybe the sun will eventually break through. It should be a bright and sunny day for all the hours of daylight, but it is not going to be warm ! A 6° C start is very chilly, and an afternoon high of 12° C may feel OK in direct sunshine, but is hardly thrilling. Tomorrow could be very similar apart from a mere 4° C start, and a maximum of just 11° C. The day after tomorrow could also be very similar.

   The first thing on my agenda for yesterday was also the last thing. Just before 11am I walked to Catford station with two cameras and a tripod to get some pictures and video of a steam train passing through the station. I noted from close examination of my pictures that it was actually running half a minute early. Later on it would be running very late !
steam through Catford
  It was a shame that the sun couldn't come out for this picture. The timing was such that the sun would have been shining on the front of the loco. It would have left my side of the train still looking a bit dull, but the rest of scene would have been more vibrant. While I was snapping with one camera, another was on a tripod taking a video of the train. The same comment about the sun not coming out, and lighting the scene better applies, but otherwise I am pleased with it.

  Soon after I arrived at the station I was joined by my very old friend Kevin. I had sent him a message about the event, but he didn't have time to acknowledge it before arriving at the station. I had a very strong suspicion then that may day was going to change - and it did in an entirely predictable way. After the train had passed we went to the pub. I think we were in there as early as 11.45am. Six pints plus a double Jamesons later, I left the pub after a very enjoyable session. I think I arrived home at about 6.30pm !

  I hadn't been to Tesco, which was one of things I had intended to do yesterday, but it was not necessary. I had all I needed to cook dinner....well, everything except sobriety ! It was well over 24 hours since I had last eaten, and that was a lot of booze on an empty stomach. I opted to treat myself to a takeaway. Once again I tried the Lebanese restaurant in Catford, but this time I had a better idea of what to expect - except for the Arayes. I still don't know what it was supposed to be. It was like crispy baked pitta bread with something on it. It probably went well with the hot meat salads I had.

  I've just looked up Arayes. They should be pitta bread with a filling of meat and stuff. I don't recall mine having any meat or vegetables in, but maybe I was just too drunk to notice - http://www.kitchenofpalestine.com/arayes/

  After dinner I went straight to bed even though it was still quite early. Within minutes I was fast asleep. That was, as far as I can tell, just before 8pm. I was a bit disappointed when I woke up to find it was only just after midnight. I had hoped to sleep for much longer to help the hangover dissipate. It didn't feel like I would be able to get back to sleep easily, and so I spent a couple of hours doing stuff with the pictures and video I had shot.

  2am was approaching (and the switch to GMT - I think) when I tried to go back to sleep. It took ages to do so. It was one of those occasions when either my body or my bed was really uncomfortable. I would lay in one position and my back would feel uncomfortable. I changed position a bit, and I could feel my rib cage getting uncomfortable. Another slight change in position and I could feel my right elbow hurting. I carried on making small changes to how I was laying down, and every time something would be uncomfortable - anything from my neck to my big toe ! I don't know if I ever found the magical position, or just fell asleep through sheer exhaustion.

  It didn't seem like that second lot of sleep was very good. I seemed to wake up several times, and then had difficulty getting back to sleep, but the way that large chunks of time kept passing with me being aware of it, suggest that the sleep was better than I thought. I have a vague recollection of being awake, and thinking it is hours until sunrise. The next thing I knew was that it was light outside !

  This morning I feel mostly free of any hangover. My blood pressure is good, and so is my blood glucose level. It is even a little bit lower than yesterday morning. I do have one malady that is distracting me from any lesser problems, and I think is Carpal Tunnel Syndrome/Repetitive Strain Injury. My right hand is tingling, and my typing finger is almost numb. It is rather painful to type without resting it for a while.

  My only immediate plan for today is to go to Tesco, and get what I would have bought yesterday if I had got there. Maybe one small change is that I think I'll steer clear of the booze today. I'll give my liver a bit of a rest. I'm not sure if I should have my Sunday treat today after having a takeaway last night, but I think I'll stick to my plan. I will deliberately have some carbohydrates, in the form of bread, to remind my pancreas of what it is supposed to be doing.

  Last Sunday it was a pack (admittedly a triple pack) of ready made sandwiches from Aldi. I don't know why, but they didn't seem to bring the delight that I hoped they would be. For today I have a cunning plan....well maybe not that cunning. I think I will buy just one crusty finger roll, and fill it with a couple of sausages and some mustard. You can't buy individual sausages in a supermarket, and I'll have to buy a small pack of 6 or 8. I think 4 of them served with just peas would make a reasonable dinner tonight. If there are 8 in the pack I could treat myself to a 2 sausage lunch ! I will grill the sausages to reduce the fat I eat.

  I'm not sure what else I may do today. That probably doesn't matter because Sunday was designed to be a boring day. I might be tempted to take a walk in the sunshine (which finally came out rather later than the forecast said it would), but more likely I will catch up with some reading, and I expect I will probably hoover part of the living room where I think I dropped some dinner last night !!
Saturday 26th October 2019
08:43 BST
  Yesterday could be described as mild. It was neither hot, not cold, but something in between. If there had been some sunshine in the afternoon it could have felt quite warm at 16° C, but it didn't. The breeze, even though gentle, helped make it feel cooler. At least it was a dry day.
                    start, rain later
   The sun had tried to squeeze through a few cracks in the cloud this morning, but never really made it. Overall it is rather dull, but at nearly 16° C, it is once again, rather mild. It seems a bit humid too. The good news is that the latest revision to the forecast says the temperature may hit 17° C, and the rain may not start until mid afternoon. Once it does start to rain, the temperature will fall away, and it could be quite a chilly night. Tomorrow, and indeed the next two days after that, could feature some or a lot of sunshine, but at the expense of some very cold nights, and rather cold days - maybe no more than 12° C, and sometimes less, but that is looking too far into the future to be true.

   I had an unusually busy day yesterday. Fortunately it can be described in a couple of sentences. I did two lots of hand laundry - the second of which featured a heavy-when-wet big bath towel. The other thing that kept me busy was to hoover all the more accessible bits of floor in every room in my house except my old workshop. A bulldozer would be more appropriate than a hoover for that. That hoovering also included the lower and upper hall, landing and stairs.

  Quite early in the afternoon I began to suffer from some strong gripe like pains in my stomach. It felt like I was starving hungry, and my stomach was reacting badly. In the end I gave in to it, and had an extra meal. It was nothing more than a whole tin of corned beef (with the most visible fat scraped off) with a heap of sliced and pickled jalapeño peppers. It was nice, and did seem to kill those annoying hunger pains. The only trouble was sometime later I started making eggy tasting burps. That didn't seem so outrageous after eating a lot of corned beef, but with hindsight it was a warning of what came later.

  Just before 6pm I checked my blood glucose level, and it was very good. It indicated that I should enjoy my dinner. My dinner was mostly already pre-cooked, and just needed vegetables. I had mange tout as the main vegetable with the chicken thighs cooked in a tasty stock. I was disturbed by a phone call while eating it, and so didn't get to enjoy it all at the correct level. To extract a bit more pleasure I drank a lot of the rich and spicy stock. That could also have had a bearing on what would come later.

  After dinner it was good to just relax with a bit of TV. All my hard work earlier, plus the stomach pains earlier, had left me a bit frazzled by the evening. I was looking forward to rest and probably an early night. I lubricated my relaxation with 4 cans of delicious Guinness.
  I think I watched TV until 10pm - a bit later than I thought  would, but I guess that happens while watching old repeats of QI and Have I Got News For You. By then I felt tired, but not sleepy. So I took a book to bed, and read for maybe another hour. After putting the book down, and turning out the light, I lay in bed trying to sleep, but I just could not get comfortable and relax. It was odd because nothing hurt, nothing was particularly uncomfortable, but I just couldn't seem to get comfortable for sleep.

  I think it was about half past midnight when my stomach gave an ominous gurgle, and very soon I had to visit the toilet. I made quite a few visits to the toilet until it was almost 2am, and I was able to feel confident that I could sleep without having to dash to the toilet again. I don't think I slept that well after that, but I did manage nearly 5 hours before I had to get up - fortunately nothing to do with the toilet.

  I went through my usual routine after getting up. I found my blood glucose was very satisfactory, but somehow I seemed to have gained 3kg weight over night. I have no idea how that happened. After what happened in the early hours of the morning I expected to have lost, not gained weight.

 My rush to get up this morning is because I have already been busy. I have washed, and been to the pharmacy to collect my new, higher strength, Empagflozin tablets, plus 50 test strips for my blood glucose meter. The next thing I will be doing is going to Catford station to either film, or photo a steam train that goes through at 11.14 this morning. Now the weather forecast has changed to say it will be dry until later this afternoon, I may lug a tripod with me, and shoot some video and take photos.
Friday 25th October 2019
08:25 BST
  The first half of yesterday was extremely wet ! As 1pm approached the rain was coming down in torrents, and I even heard a distant rumble of thunder. Maybe an hour later the sky started to get a bit brighter, and the rain stopped. I think the next rain might have been either very late last night, or maybe in the small hours of this morning. The best the day could offer was 13° C, and it lasted for much of the day. Strangely enough, it didn't seem to feel that cold.
                    dull, but maybe dryer, or maybe not
   There are supposed to be some sunny intervals this morning, and while I can see the brightness of the sun through some thin cracks in the cloud, there has been no sunshine yet. Some of today could get very overcast, but apparently it will stay dry despite the forecast noting a small percentage chance of rain (or snow, sleet or hail - it just says percentage chance of "precipitation"). It does seem that from late afternoon until into the early hours of tomorrow, it is going to be the closest to warm we can get at this time of year, 16° C. Actually, the latest revision to the forecast now says 17° C for a while. Some of tomorrow afternoon could be 17° C as well, but it will remain overcast, and rain is likely from 1aam until the end of the day.

   The big event yesterday was seeing the nurse at the doctors surgery. That was at 12.15 - a good time that allowed plenty of time to prepare, and yet get it over and done with before all the day is wasted. It was actually a very pleasant appointment. The nurse has a far more pleasant personality than some I can think of, and was nothing but supportive. She even dished out praise where I had earned it.

  As usual, my day started off by going to the toilet, taking my medication, taking a screenshot of the days weather forecast, checking my blood glucose reading, and checking my blood pressure. The going to the toilet part is now a bit more than just taking an early morning pee, but also to make a bowel movement (as they say in medical circles). It is currently important in as much as while it may only be a small amount, it makes my weight look lower.

  Yesterday morning it looked like I had not lost any weight, and may have even put a tiny amount on. That was a bit of a blow because I knew the nurse would want to weigh me. At first some relief came when about 90 minutes to two hours later, I had to go to the toilet again, and this time I made a very substantial "bowel movement". With feelings of deep joy I went straight to the scales, and weighed myself. It came as a deep blow to have apparently gained another 100gm. I could only conclude my poo had negative weight.

  Eventually the time came to walk to the surgery. The rain hadn't let up at all, and seemed to be getting heavier as I walked there. When I got to the surgery I saw a note pinned up to say that the surgery was closed in the afternoon for staff training (or something like that - I didn't really do more than give the notice a quick glance). I was probably the nurse's last patient, and she wasn't rushing. That meant I did have a bit of a wait before I was seen, but it also meant it was a very relaxed and not rushed consultation.

  I took a spreadsheet of my twice daily blood pressure readings, and they were accepted without question. I also took a spreadsheet of twice daily blood glucose readings. I explained that the test strips I was using had expired in 2017, and the nurse agreed that while the readings may not have been accurate, they did still show a good downward trend. One of the things about blood glucose meters is that they are cheap to make, and the makers give them away to medical practices, and make their money on the supply of test strips. There is a new machine that has cheaper test strips, and so I was given a new machine - the third time this has happened over the last 20 years of being type II diabetic.

  The new machine gave a reading of 9.3 - a bit higher than the 7.5 I had measured a few hours earlier with the old machine and test strips. That was a bit annoying, but the nurse said that while it was too high, she was frequently seeing people with much higher readings than that. I obviously lost out on some credit for the reading being a bit higher, but I gained lots of credit when I got on the scales. Despite not seeming to have lost as much weight as I hoped, I knew I had lost a fair bit since my last recorded weight on the doctors records. I was hoping I might come in at a needles breadth under 130kg. I'm not sure if the nurse had better eyesight, or if she was just being generous, but she said she read 127.5kg of the analogue dial. I was congratulated on impressive weight loss.

  I left the surgery feeling quite happy, and even the fact that the rain had stepped up a notch, and was coming down in torrents failed to stop the good feeling. I didn't go straight home after the nurse, but went to "Cash Busters" to see what they had in their window. There were a few potentially nice cameras in there, but none that tempted me. I have to admit it was good to get home again, and out of the rain ! I then had almost a couple of hours to prepare, and part cook my dinner, and to relax a bit before going out to the pub for my late Thursday afternoon drink.
blue sky, but only in
                        this direction
  It was nice to see some blue sky when I arrived at Shortlands. The sad fact was that while it had stopped raining before I left to get there, it was still very wet underfoot, and three quarters of the sky was still dull in the extreme. Only this one view, in this one direction showed the blue sky.
it's over half a mile to the
                                station !
  I don't think I can recall actually measuring the distance from home to where I wait at the end of the platform at Catford station. I was a bit surprised to see it was 5.5miles. The reason I measured it was because I was feeling quite good - almost healthy. Keeping up 3.44mph, which includes going up and over the bridge at Catford Bridge station, and going up the three flights of stairs at Catford station, seems a good time for me.
beer glass that says beer !
   I don't think I have ever seen a beer glass that quite so boldly says "Beer" on the side of it. I was tempted to re-home it, but that would be naughty, and I didn't have a bag to put it in.

  I only stayed for my usual three pints last night. That was probably wise because I was drinking a semi-strong beer called Ghastly Ghoul - a special seasonal brew. It was a deep red colour, and rather nice, but I was starting to feel the effects of it as I left for the 6.25pm train home. It was only a very mild effect except in one important respect. It made me feel insatiably hungry. It was just as well I had prepared a meal earlier or I could have easily have been tempted into the fried chicken shop.

  Dinner was basically skinless/boneless chicken thighs cooked in a rich stock with some spring onion, and loads of broccoli. I now think that maybe broccoli was too strong a flavour to go with chicken - particularly when I had used such a big portion of it. I'll save the other broccoli for tomorrow when I'll probably base dinner around beef. Last nights dinner was of the same size as the dinners I have been subsisting on for the last fortnight, but last night it didn't satisfy. I looked around for something else to eat, and settled on a couple of small cans of mackerel in teriyaki sauce. I then suddenly realised that teriyaki can involve a fair bit of sugar, but having opened the cans it was too late for that, although I did make a point of leaving as much sauce as I could.

  I watched a bit of TV, but soon tired of that, and took a book to bed instead. It may have been as late as 11pm when I turned over and went to sleep (although it may have been an hour earlier). Last night I didn't sleep well. I think sawing he log in the cold and damp the day previously, had left my chest a bit sensitive, and I crunched my ribs at least once when rolling over. At about 3am I took some Ibuprofen to calm the discomfort down.

  Just before it got light I got up. Apart from feeling like more sleep might have been nice, I felt basically OK-ish. I went through the current morning routine until the time came to use my new blood glucose meter for the first time. I felt a bit apprehensive about it after the beer and mackerel last night. To my relief it gave a reading of 8.4, and that was lower than expected, and actually not too dissimilar to what I would have expected from my expired test strips without the excesses of last night.

  Out of curiosity I have just checked my blood with the old meter. It said 8.2 - not that different to the new meter, and suggestive that at least some of the old test strips have retained their calibration. That being the case, I think I can look forward to a good result when the next HiBcia (or whatever it is called) blood test is done - the one that effectively provides an average over a period of a couple of months - provided I can keep this up until that next test is done. That will probably be next January !

  I have no idea what I am doing today. There is a gig that I would like to get to tonight, but I definitely wouldn't be going if it was raining. I think it is a fair walk from the closest bus stop, through dark country lanes. I am not terribly keen on that at this time of year. With the prospect of it being almost warm, and probably dry, although heavily overcast, I probably out to try and get out for a walk today. I'll think about it while I take a shower - the next thing for me to do once I've uploaded this.
Thursday 24th October 2019
09:04 BST
  I think it would be fair to describe yesterday as cold, damp, and miserable ! I'm not sure what time it actually started raining. The forecasters had several goes at predicting the time of rainfall, and I think all predictions were wrong, although I have to admit that any rain may have fallen after I had drawn the curtains, and was ignoring the outside world.
Even without rain it still felt very damp, and the highest temperature being no more than 14° C, it was quite miserable under a dull grey sky.
                    and maybe a lot of it
   This morning it is difficult to tell when the mist ends, and the drizzle starts. It is so overcast right now that I am surprised the streetlights have gone out. The road looks very wet, and it is going to get worse. If the prospect of some heavy rain was not bad enough, the top temperature of just 13° C is enough to send a wet shiver down the spine. At the moment it is thought that there could be a spell of rain lasting several hours tomorrow, but much of the day will be dry. Another positive thing is that by early evening the temperature could rise to 16° C, but under a leaden sky it still won't feel like much.

   I had a huge disappointment yesterday. When I checked with Angela she said she couldn't get out to meet me at lunchtime. She made brief mention of a new girl starting today, and how that was going to cause initial problems today and probably tomorrow, but no real reason why she couldn't get out. I did my best to believe there was some valid reason, and that she wasn't just avoiding me. Later on, about 5pm, she messaged me again to say what I good friend I was. It was almost as if maybe she had avoided me earlier, and was now regretting it. I know she has some unexplained troubles from the last time I saw her, and I think they continue. In a perfect world she would meet up with me after work, and we would get drunk together so she could forget her troubles for an evening. Unfortunately she can't do that because she feels it would be wronging lover boy, but if he is so good why can't she have a good time with him ?

  A walk through the park to meet up with Angeal would have been an essential part of my exercise, but on such a dreay day I just couldn't find any other inspiration to go out. Sometime after 2pm, maybe even 3pm, I forced myself to do some work in the garden. At first it felt good sawing a log of the old tree trunk, but by about halfway through my enthusiasm waned. I was sawing through a good 6 inches of wood, and maybe closer to 7 inches. The thing that drained my enthusiasm more than anything was when my rib cage popped, and my chest started to hurt. I felt my whole rib cage move - or at least that is what it felt like.

fresh wood after
                        cutting a log off

  Sawing through the last of the log was rather uncomfortable, but fortunately not agony or I would never have continued until I had finished the job. There was worse though. While the work seemed to have warmed me up, the cold damp air started me coughing, which made me chest ache more, and while coughing my eyes watered, and my nose dripped. It was like I had suddenly been plunged into the middle of a cold.

  Ideally I would have had some hot food, maybe just a can of soup, to warm my insides up, but I stuck to my guns, and didn't eat until my normal dinner time of 6pm. I felt much better once I went indoors, into the warm, but I didn't feel so good after I had a snooze. I am not sure how long I snoozed for, but I am guessing it could have been for as long as an hour. I woke up feeling freezing cold, and for the first time since the beginning of the year I turned the heater up full. I felt much better for that, and it wasn't long before I felt too hot, and had to turn the heater down again.

  On the whole it was a very unproductive day, and a very unsatisfying one too. That description extends to my dinner. The previous day's dinner of tough and tasteless turkey breast left me hoping that yesterday I might cook something far more exciting. It wasn't to be. I used an Aldi pre-packaged beef terriyaki "kit" as the core of my dinner. It consisted of some beef that was prepared ready for stir frying, some assorted vegetables, and a pouch of "terriyaki sauce". I had to discard the sauce because it was almost pure sugar. The vegetable were getting to the point of deteriorating, but were OK. I added some mushroom, some chillies, plus a small leek to bulk it up a bit.

  The basic flavour was good, but I can't imagine that stir frying would have converted the tough old beef to anything more edible than shoe leather better than boiling it. I gave it at least as much cooking, and maybe more than the last couple of times I used some diced beef, but it was just tough and almost, but not actually gristley. Like the day before, it was a huge disappointment when you are only having one meal a day, and have to wait another 24 hours in the hope of eating something worth the wait.

 Maybe the pain is worth it. My blood glucose was nice and low before dinner (according to my expired test strips), and this morning it was only a tad above target. Today's diversion from reality is an appointment with the practice nurse at the doctors for my annual diabetes check. The fact that she will probably be duplicating the diabetes nurse at the hospital is not worth worrying about. In fact there is something positive about it. If I recall correctly, the nurse I see today is not an old sarcastic dragon, but a more caring person. I hope I get just a little praise for reducing my blood glucose, and reducing my weight. If the scales in the surgery say what I hope they say, it will say I have lost 10kg since mid August, and much of that in the last month. Maybe if I had gone on the walk through the park yesterday, I might have even shaved off an extra 100 grammes !

  Once I have seen the nurse I am not sure what I will do. Depending on the exact time, and how heavy the rain is, I could walk up the road to the pub where I would have met Angela yesterday. I could send her a message saying that my appointment went OK (as I think/hope it will do), and that I am having a quick drink to celebrate. I won't specifically ask Angela to join me, but I think there is a chance she might anyway. an't drink too much though because it's Thursday, and that means I'll be out drinking in the late afternoon with the "Thursday drinking club".
Wednesday 23rd October 2019
08:46 BST
  In terms of sunshine, yesterday's weather was better than the forecast made me think it would be. There were a few dull moments, but it seemed like the sun was shining most of the time. What's more, the sun felt deliciously warm, but it probably didn't warm the air up to any more than the forecast 14° C.
                    dull with rain later
   The forecast has been revised a bit since I took the screenshot above. It now admits the possibility of a sunny spell about now, and indeed the sun has just gone in after a short sunny spell, but maybe another is possible. Another change is that the light rain shown above has now been moved forward to start at 5pm, and finish by 7pm. Other than that it is generally the same - a generally dull day with an afternoon temperature of just 14° C again. Tomorrow is currently forecast to include a lot of rain, and it might be quite heavy around lunchtime. It will probably only be about 13° C maximum.

   Yesterday was another day where it felt like I had been usefully busy, although some of that being busy was more true of my PC while I did some reading. Having not been out for a day or two it felt good to stretch my legs by walking to and from Aldi. I came home with a rather heavy load, but 90% of that was drink - 8 cans of Guinness, 4 big bottles of Diet Coke, and some lime cordial.
not all shopping
  One out of these three products I didn't buy in Aldi. The one on the left, "Preparado Paella" was bought in Spain quite a few years ago, and brought to me by Patricia. I found it hidden by another jar in the cupboard when I was tidying up the cupboard. I did use some in my dinner. As well as a slightly ginger taste, and some unidentified other tastes, it is a very potent yellow dye. It turns white meat bright yellow, although further cooking reduces the intensity.

  I bought the asparagus on a whim while in Aldi. It wasn't quite as nice as I thought it would be. It would probably have been better if I had trimmed the bottom a bit more severely, and then served it as a separate vegetable with butter on it. I just part boiled/part steamed it in with the rest of my dinner. Finally the Rose's Lime Cordial was an impulse buy because it is not usually stocked by Aldi. It is very nice, rather better than Tesco's own brand, but I have to use it very sparingly because no effort has been made to reduce the sugar in it. It contains quite a bit of sugar. One very small glass, well diluted, is all I can allow myself, and then maybe only once or twice a week.

  Despite having to lug back so much heavy shopping, I sort of felt OK a minute or two after getting home. On the spur of the moment I decided to go out into the garden, and armed only with a rake, give the area I had recently cleared of tomato plants and weeds, another rake over. I also used the rake as a hook to pull the last remains of the tree trunk into the middle of the area that should become a lawn one day. It is quite a sizeable chunk of wood, and I intend to cut it down into smaller logs, perhaps just one at a time, whenever the fancy takes me, until it is a bit smaller.

  I doubt I spent more than 15 minutes in the garden, maybe only 10, but it was useful. It too did not wear me out, although I did have a 30 minute rest before deciding to go out once more to Poundland to buy some bleach, and other cleaning materials. I stayed well clear of any food in there, but I also bought some scented tea lights. One pack smells quite nice, but is more floral than "Cinnamon & Pinecones" seems to suggest.

  The other pack was "Spicy Gingerbread" and it too smelled nothing like that. I'm not sure what they did smell of, but it pleasant, although very mild. One very unusual item I bought from Poundland was a pair of knee pads. My knees really complain when on very rare occasions I kneel down. I have yet to try the pads out, but maybe the next time I am trying to screw a socket, or something, to the skirting board, I will be able to do it by kneeling down instead of laying on the floor. It occurs to me that a second pair could be useful out in the garden when doing something close to the ground. They would also protect my trousers from the mud. Sounds like a good excuse for another visit to Poundland in the not too distant future.

  It was still fairly early in the afternoon when I settled down to do a quite tedious job - transferring digital video from my little Samsung Mini-DV camcorder to my PC. I own two Samsung Mini-DV camcorders. One is bigger, with a semi decent lens, and produces quite good video if used in camera mode. The other I bought as a cheap curio from the shop like Cash Converters, but with a different name on the high street 4 or 5 years ago. It was a source of quite a bit of my camera gear. The little Samsung camcorder was sold in new condition, but untested (because they had no tapes) for about £30 if I recall correctly. It's camera section is pretty lousy, but as a spare playback machine it works perfectly, and saves wear and tear on the other machine (or my big Sony, semi-pro Mini-DV camcorder) - not that it matters much now with mobile phones or DSLR cameras doing a better job.

  The video  transferred was what I had laboured to transfer from an analogue Hi8 tape the day before - footage of two trips to East Anglia courtesy of special leisure day out railway tickets from Anglia Trains. The footage I had shot back in 2001 told no story, but was just a video record of things I had seen, and as usual there were loads of boring bits. It took much of the afternoon to transfer it to my PC and then edit it down from maybe 30 minutes to just 6 and a half minutes. It is never going to win any awards apart from most boring home video ! It would have been marginally better if I had added some captions, but after 18 years I couldn't identify most of the places we went. If you have time to waste in your life...

  Even if the result was pretty crappy, it still felt like a worthwhile exercise, and with the two trips to the shops done, it felt like I had earned a relaxing evening. First of all was dinner. It was probably one of the worst dinners I have cooked for some time. I must have been mad when I bought sliced turkey breast to use in a low calorie meal. If I had covered it in breadcrumbs, and deep fried it, it might have had some flavour, but when boiled in stock, with some herbs and spices it was just tough and tasteless. Cooking the asparagus with it in the last 5 minutes of cooking, was also a bad choice. What makes it all worse is that I would have to wait a whole 24 hours before I could have another, hopefully far more tasty, meal.

  The rest of the evening was my usual mix of a couple of TV programmes, and then reading before going to sleep. My sleep could have been better if it hadn't got so cold last night. I don't know how low it dipped, but the first time I checked a thermometer after getting up, it was just 8° C. I suspect it was probably lower in the early hours. I did have a heater on low in my bedroom, but came up with my usual trouble - it felt too warm under the duvet, and too cold without it. I probably should have turned the heater off and let the room cool to the point where it wasn't too warm under the duvet, but I didn't.

  That spoiled some of my sleep, but I guess the rest was OK, and that includes when I went back to bed after being up very early for maybe an hour. A few minutes extra in bed turned into something like 90 minutes ! Probably the only thing I would complain about this morning is that my right elbow is hurting again. I think this is going to happen a lot through the rest of Autumn and Winter. Actually I could also complain about being constipated again, but only because if I were able to have a poo it would make my weight look better when I got on the scales. At the moment I have only returned to a figure that I achieved a few days ago. It is particularly galling because I am just 400gm away from the kg units digit falling by 1 (which is only like something feeling like a better bargain when it is £3.99 instead of £4).

  With luck, today should be a very good day. In another hour or so I will check with Angela that she is able to meet up during her lunchbreak. She was very quick to answer my suggestion on Monday, and so I think that if she can't meet today it will be for a genuine reason rather than something less genuine. I really look forward to meeting her, it will be the highlight of the week.
Tuesday 22nd October 2019
07:53 BST
  Yesterday was a day for staying in. The morning was dull and wet, and the afternoon was dull and cold. The temperature was very constant in the afternoon, and it was a rather cool feeling 12° C.
a dry
                    and bright day
   Even now, a couple of hours before any sunny spells are predicted, the sky seems very clear. Once the sun is high enough in the sky to shine over nearby houses and stuff, it might look really nice. Of course that clear sky also means that today has started quite cold. At ground level it could easily be a degree or two lower than the 8.6° C I am seeing on the windowsill outside the north facing spare bedroom window. At best we can expect 14° C today, but that may not feel too bad if accompanied by sunshine. At least no rain is expected. Tomorrow may see a similar range of temperatures, but it may be very dull and overcast. It might even rain in the late evening.

   Yesterday was a strangely productive day, although I have little to show for it. I seemed to spend a fair time in the living room where I was putting my old laptop to good use scanning some photos and other stuff. I also managed to transfer some Hi8 video to Mini-DV video tape. The two were linked in a way. It all started when I was seeing what was among the thick dust on the top shelf of some shelves in the back room (ex, but maybe future dining room). One thing was a small tin box that originally held chocolates. It had a lot of railway tickets in it. Two of those tickets I showed yesterday, and they helped date some other pictures and video.

  I did a fair bit of scanning yesterday, but not all of it survives. I originally scanned it all into a folder on the laptop hard drive, and then I tried to move the folder to a memory stick. For some unknown reason 6 out of 10 files were corrupted in the process. It's a shame that I moved, rather than copied the folder. Had I copied it the originals would still be on the hard disk, and I could have tried copying them again.
passport photos from
  Not all the stuff I was scanning was old tickets, I also scanned a few pictures.  I'm not sure what dusty pile I found these spare passport photos under, but they came out rather well. Credit must go to whichever photo company provided the process, chemicals, and paper that produced these photos that have survived the ravages of time so well after such a quick photo processing process - no more than a minute or two from flash to dry, good quality prints !

  It is interesting to consider that the two other photos from a strip of four were taken straight to Camberwell Employment Office. Maybe an hour later I had a 6 month visitors passport issued, and it may have been the next day that I was driven by my old friend Ivor on an expedition to the Dutch port where we hoped to spot some sort of evidence of the offshore radio ships being tendered - we didn't, but we did see a brand new lattice mast on the quay side that apparently stolen by another pirate boat !
Holstein Pils by the
  I also did some negative scanning yesterday, and came across this picture. Bulk supplies of Holstein Pils being transported by rain, through Ravensbourne station sometime in 1966. The nature of freight by rail changed sometime after 1996, and I doubt this sight will ever be seen again. Not only that but Holstein Pils seems to be an almost forgotten beer now, and even if it is still brewed in Germany, they probably wouldn't want to export it if Brexit ever happens.

  The most satisfying thing was managing to transfer some Hi8 video to Mini-DV tape. The Mini-DV camcorder does a good job of digitising the video, and once in digital form I can transfer it to my PC for editing. In this case it is going to be a complex editing job - my most complex in ages. The video is a combination of two special days out on promotional tickets giving us the freedom of the Anglia rail network for a day. The original tapes are now quite old, and my Hi8 camcorder is getting a bit cranky in it's old age.

  Eventually I got the Hi8 camcorder playing mostly smoothly, but I had to go back and re-transfer some bits that came out wonky. In theory I want to try and get all the bits back in time order, but maybe I shouldn't worry about it. All the footage I took was rather random in nature, and maybe some is just too random to make it to the final edit. To be honest, like many home movies, it will be very boring, but Kevin and Roger might like to be reminded of some of our trip.

  Some of what I did involved sitting back and waiting for tapes to play, and other stuff did not seem very productive, but the time seemed to pass quickly and smoothly. It all help distract me from the thoughts of food, and yesterday I was back to just one meal for the day. Like all my dinners for the last fortnight, it was concocted to have as little sugar and carbohydrates as possible.I do this more by intuition than science, but generally it seems to work.

  Last night's dinner was diced lamb cooked in stock with added rosemary. To bulk it up, and to make it more healthy, I added some green, leafy vegetables. In this case it was two whole, but small, pak choi tops. I have to say it was rather delicious, but being lamb it probably had a fair bit of fat in it, and maybe that meant that I didn't seem to lose a single gram in the last 24 hours. However, my blood glucose seems to continue to fall. Before dinner my blood glucose, according to my not to be trusted, expired test strips, was 5.7. That is firmly in the normal range. This morning I think it was 7.8, and that is good for the morning.

   I felt I could relax yesterday evening after having got through the day doing stuff that is useful. It was stuff sort of saved for a rainy day, and it was a rainy day ! I watched some TV before going to bed, moderately late, to read for half an hour or more. By just after 11pm I was asleep. I had one unpleasant dream, and one dream that was pure fantasy during the night, but I remember very little else of the night. This morning I seem to feel mostly OK.

  Once again I feel like I ought to get out and stretch my legs today. Ideally I need to walk a couple of miles to burn off a little energy, but at the moment my only immediate plan is to go to a supermarket to get some more lean meat and vegetables. If I went to Aldi I could get more beer ! Perhaps if I felt inclined, and the sun felt inclined to shine this afternoon, I could go for a walk in the park as well.

  It's not set in concrete yet, but of all goes well I will definitely be taking a walk in the park tomorrow. One thing I did yesterday was to message Angela saying I wanted to see her, and that today or tomorrow would be good for me. I was a little surprised when quick as a flash she returned my message saying that tomorrow would probably be good for her. My deranged mind thinks that the speed of her reply indicates she is keen on the idea. We'll confirm that we are meeting tomorrow.
4 musicians of the
  I expect we all have our prejudices about some musical instruments. This cartoon, which I had to steal from the recent Fortean Times, seems to encapsulate all those musical styles and instruments I hate most !
Monday 21st October 2019
09:44 BST
  After a bright and sunny start, albeit a bit wishy washy some of the time, the rest of the day settled down to be dull and overcast. Fortunately it was dry, but a couple of hours at 13° C, and less at other times, felt less than mild in the gloom.
                    and soggy start
   As the forecast predicted, today has started wet and soggy. It seems it will probably finish with some drizzle at 1pm, but with an afternoon high of just 12° C it will be a most unpleasant day. Winter seems to be approaching far too fast ! Tomorrow may start off rather cold, 8° C, but sooner or later some sunny spells will appear, and the temperature could reach 15° C - back to t-shirt weather, but only in the sunshine, and only when moving.

   I don't know if yesterday was a good or bad day. It featured some good things and some bad things. In theory it was a good start. As planned, I had the pack of three sandwiches I had bought from Aldi the previous day. They were nice, but for some strange reason the addition of hot chilli sauce didn't really improve them. There was also the problem that one pack didn't seem enough, although in the grand scheme that was all I could allow myself (and all I had available anyway).

  One of the negative things about yesterday is that for the second day running (I think), I was constipated, and while it wasn't uncomfortable, it did have a profound effect when I weighed myself. It seemed like I had put on a few hundred grammes (and this was before I ate the sandwiches). I was quite surprised that I was in that state that long because I thought the spring greens I had eaten on Friday would have come whooshing through, but apparently not.

  My other health indicators were almost as expected. My blood glucose appeared to rise in line with the foods I had eaten. As well as the sandwiches for breakfast I had also eaten two bananas for lunch. My blood pressure was typically low in the morning, but in the evening it was very low once I relaxed, and "got into the zone". My systolic pressure dropped to just 93. As my doctor says, there is no actual lower limit, but when too low it can have some interesting effects.

  It must have been around 7pm when I had been sitting quietly watching a bit of TV, and I got up to go to the other side of the room - a walk of just about 3 or 4 paces. As soon as I stood up it was very similar to being very drunk as my brain became disconnected from reality. Fortunately I knew exactly what was happening, and it didn't worry me. When I think about it, it was a remarkable display of how resilient the body is, because back up systems, already programmed with what I wanted to do, came to life, and walked me to where I wanted to go, and picked up the scented tea lights I wanted to light. If it was a 4 pace walk then the effect was already fading after 3 paces, and had all but gone after 4. It was an interesting effect.

  In some respects yesterday was like a typical Sunday - not much going on, and potentially very boring. I busied myself with a selection of small jobs - including the inevitable hand laundry. I think it was just three items, and I almost did it out of boredom, but there was one item that I didn't want to leave too long. It was a towel that had acquired some unpleasant stains. I soaked it in bleach for 20 minutes before washing it. I haven't checked it since it was dry, but I think it should look clean as a whistle now.

  One other job produced some interesting results. I hadn't intended to do any more than just get an idea of what was under a crust of dust on a high shelf in my back room. There is a lot of old paperwork which, once checked, can probably be thrown away. There was also a small tin of train tickets - most dating back to before the year 2000. Curiosity made me look through it for anything unusual or interesting. I did find two very interesting things. One was a ticket for the Uckfield Line Gala, and the other was for a day out on Anglia trains.

   The significance of those tickets is that I can put an exact date to some pictures and video taken on each trip. I think the Anglia day out may only be video, but I definitely have some pictures of the Uckfield Line Gala - one other little job was to scan the negatives, although I haven't yet edited them to show them here yet.
Uckfield Line Gala ticket
Unlimited travel on The Uckfield Line between
Oxted and Uckfield stations.
Lavender Line souvenir ticket
I can't remember if the Lavender
line was running a free connecting bus service, or if we had to buy a ticket on the local bus service, but Isfield station on the Lavender Line is only a mile or two from Uckfield, and worth a quick visit.

  I can only think of one other little job I did, and it was quite a small thing, but with useful results. In the corner of my bedroom, in the place where I want to put the wardrobe that is currently in the spare room, is a sort of bookcase that is almost used for anything else but books. It is stuffed with all sorts of crap. Some of that crap is very much wanted, but there is stuff I can throw away one day. Yesterday I just cleared some of the stuff on the floor in front of it - much of it having fallen from the shelves. With that out the way I could hoover up the thick layer of dust between those items.

  Having had very non-diet stuff earlier in the day, I made sure that dinner was very light. It was essentially a whole, but quite small, head of cauliflower cooked in a rich gravy. It was the gravy that let the theory down a bit. I fortified with the rest of the bag of ready diced white onion I had bought from Aldi the day before. That onion was known to have a medium high sugar content (as most root vegetable do !). I also fortified it with tomato purée. I still haven't checked, but I have a suspicion that it is a big source of sugar.

  Some 10 or 20 minutes after eating that dinner I checked my blood glucose level. Before dinner it hadn't risen quite as far as I thought it would, but after dinner it definitely had risen - just as I expected. All this would be far more interesting of I could actually be sure that my expired test strips were giving readings that were anywhere near reality.

  I was intending to go out last night, but three things stopped me. The first was the light headed few seconds I had as a result of my blood pressure being low. It shouldn't really have been a consideration because I knew that to get it that low I had to be in an intense state of relaxation. Just walking for the bus would soon raise my blood pressure to more normal levels. The second thing was a bit more valid. One of the frequent effects of having a dinner with lots of hot gravy and vegetables is that it often "brews my guts up". After not having a poo for 48 hours, it could have been a disaster just waiting to happen ! (Although the real cause of my "blockage was more to do with how little I have been eating in comparison to more usual times - there was actually little to shift).

  Probably the real reason I didn't go out last night (and probably the two previous nights) was that I was warm, comfortable and relaxed. Outside it was cold and dark, and it meant rushing around catching buses before hanging around in a pub with, in one particular case, no one to talk to. No one to talk to, but to a lesser degree, would have applied to Saturday night as well. In one sense it would have applied to all the gigs I had thought I might attend - once the music is playing I just can't seem to have a conversation like others can. Maybe I can't read lips well enough, or I am not telepathic enough.

  I read in bed at first, but not for long. I think I was fast asleep by about 10pm. The good bits of my sleep were very good, but there were bad bits too. Just after midnight I woke up and went for a pee. When I got back into bed I turned onto my right side, and my ribs went crunch. After an initial stabbing pain on my side, I was left with an ache across the middle of my chest. It was very similar to a heart attack pain, but I knew it wasn't that. It may have been around 5am when I woke up with a dry mouth. I partly sat up in bed, reached around for my drink, and my ribs went pop, and the pain across my chest started to fade away.

  One expected result of getting back control of my blood glucose level is that I am drinking and weeing less (the drinking less probably doesn't help constipation). I think this is only noticeable when there is a short period of time between lots of drinking and peeing, and less drinking and peeing. It means I should get up to wee less in the night now. So I felt very peeved that it seemed like only an hour had passed since I had got up for a pee around midnight. Maybe a bit more peeved when I didn't even pee that much. Then my feelings turned around completely when, on the way back from the toilet, and with less bleary eyes, I checked the time again. It wasn't just gone 1am, but almost 4am ! The plan is working !

  This morning I don't feel too bad. My blood glucose has fallen nicely (if I can believe the test strip). I am no longer constipated, although I am convinced there should be more to come, and I pooed enough to make a useful difference when I weighed myself after doing so. I wasn't expecting to have lost any weight after what I ate yesterday, and indeed I have gained a couple of hundred grammes - maybe they can be accounted for by stuff left in my gut that I would still like to shift.

  The worst thing about this morning is that I look out of the window at the gloomy light, and rain, and feel very de-motivated. Not quite depressed, but uninspired, and no get up and go. It is going to be a long and uncomfortable wait until dinner time, and what may be the most exciting event of the day. I feel I will probably end up doing some of this little fill in jobs probably reserved for rainy days. Maybe tomorrow, or the day after, I can look forward to meeting Angela in the pub at lunchtime, but first I had better ask her....
Sunday 20th October 2019
09:30 BST
  The morning sunshine, followed by sunny periods, was a bit of a treat yesterday. It's a shame that it wasn't a bit warmer, but 15° C was acceptable, and possibly a degree higher than average for this time of year.
another dry day
   It was a rather cool morning. The forecast suggested 7° C, and I wouldn't dispute that. It might have been ever colder in the small hours. This morning's sunny spells are a bit wishy washy, and it seems they will soon fade out to leave an overcast day. With no sunshine, and a high of just 13° C, it is going to be a bit of a miserable day, but worse is to come. The first half of tomorrow is forecast to feature lots of rain, and the rest of the day may be heavily overcast  and rather cool - no higher than 13° C.

   I had a fairly productive day yesterday. Despite Saturday morning being among the worst times to go shopping in Aldi, that is exactly what I did. The bulk of my shopping was two twin packs of 2.25l Diet Coke, and 8 cans of Guinness. Just to add to the weight I spotted and bought a pack of assorted wood screws. That pack, containing quite a large number of alleged good quality woodscrews, was one of the random things that appear in Aldi for a few weeks before disappearing again, perhaps never to be seen again.

  Lugging all that, which did include some vegetables, home seemed fairly easy despite the weight. Maybe another indicator of what may be my improving health. I guess my health or stamina, or both is improving because it was not long after that I was hand washing some t-shirts and underwear. Now I have to admit that saying my stamina has improved my not be strictly true. It did feel like quite hard work doing that washing, but at least I did do it in one continuous process.

  After hanging up the washing to dry I had a rest. I read for a bit, and then almost had a snooze. I lay on my bed for a while with my eyes closed, but didn't actually sleep. It must have been just before 3pm that the sun shining through my bedroom window inspired me to get up, and do some work in the garden. The only trouble with that is that my garden is in almost permanent shade at this time of year.

  Another problem is that the recent rain have made the garden very muddy. In most places that was of little consequence, but where I started working was where I used to tip used cat litter to dispose of it. Some of it was clay based, and 10+ years down the line and any nastiness has long gone, but the soil is now partly clay, and very sticky. The first thing I tackled was the tree stump that I had started to dig out the last time I was in the garden - possibly a fortnight ago.
Tree stump removed
  This, I have to admit, is a terrible picture ! Trying to get a detailed picture of mud, mud, and more mud, a mud coloured tree stump, all in a dull, sunless garden, is not easy, and may not be possible. The picture is taken from above, and maybe should have been taken at a lot lower angle. Maybe that would show more detail. In the middle of this picture are some of the roots of the tree. I maybe not bother to try and get them out, but it does depend on them being low enough when I try and level the whole area to plant a lawn on it next spring. At the top of the picture is the stump that I finally extracted. It doesn't look very big, but was surprisingly heavy. The round thing on the right is a big chunk of concrete which was between the tree roots, and making extraction even harder.
tomato plot cleared
                        and de-weeded
  The other work I did was to clear the bed where I had attempted to grow tomatoes (and had successfully grown some potatoes).  All the tomato plants were wilting and shrivelling up, and I didn't think there would be any chance of any of the tomatoes ripening. I was very surprised at just how many small green tomatoes there were left laying on the ground as I cleared the tops away. I even found a couple of ripe tomatoes, but they were on the ground, and had been nibbled by slugs, snails, or wasps. I did notice one solitary wasp buzzing around those tomatoes.

  I think that bed will be good for growing potatoes next year, but tomatoes will be better at the end of the garden where there is more sunshine. Next year I will plant them much further apart, and treat them more like a vine, and support them with twine supported by the side fences. This year was a learning experience, and maybe the biggest lesson is that dumping tomatoes that have gone green and hairy because they have been left for too long, all in one hole, is not a great idea. It seems they grow far easier than I imagined.

   After about an hour spent in the garden I was tired and hungry. I had already decided I would bring my dinner forward half an hour because I was going out in the evening, but I still had to pass about 90 minutes without thinking too hard about food. After an hour, quietly reading on my bed, I went down into the kitchen to finish cooking dinner. Earlier I had pre-cooked some diced pork in a concentrated solution of Oxo cube stock (plus some chillies and stuff). Al I had to do was to add some spring greens, and zapp the whole lot in the microwave for 10 or 12 minutes (I think it was 12 mins).

  Before eating dinner I checked my blood glucose level using my expired test strips. It was not as low as I expected, but for the moment I blame that on the test strips expiring in 2017. The actual figure was still acceptable though. It was 7.6 before dinner, and 10 minutes after eating it had dropped to 7.2 - something that I am sure is not supposed to happen. I still blame those expired test strips for giving erratic readings.

  My dinner, although I thought it might have potential, was actually not very nice. I do my best to like spring greens, but unlike broccoli, I can't seem to make myself like it. I have to confess that broccoli is a bit marginal.... That meal was supposed to be very healthy, but there was one ingredient that spoiled it. One of the vegetable I had bought from Aldi was a bag or ready prepared diced white onion. It seemed innocent, but on the back the nutritional information warned that the sugar content was rated as "amber", or moderately high. That may, or maybe not, made my blood glucose a little higher than I hoped for this morning.

  With some hot food inside me I felt very relaxed, and I had to grit my teeth to watch the 6pm news. I don't think there was anything to bring any cheer except that it doesn't look like we will be leaving the EU as soon as Boris, bloody, Johnson hopes for. After being suitably depressed I buried my head in the book I was reading. I was getting near then end of the book, and some of the loose threads were being tied up. I was soon oblivious of the time as I read how the plot of this amusing thriller resolved to prove that a skyjacking was the combined effort of Arab, Cuban, and Scots Nationalist "terrorists" sometimes working together, but often against each other. Until the last pages it seemed that the masterminds behind the skyjacking were Scottish, and they wanted the £2 million dollar ransom to fund their attempt at leaving the UK. (This story was written in 1975 - well before Brexit and all the recent shenanigans). I don't think it would spoil the story too much if I revealed the actual mastermind was a Welsh nationalist.

  By the time I had finished the book it was almost too late to go out, and considering I needed at least a shower before going out (after getting rather sweaty working in the garden), and ideally to wash my hair, it didn't seem worthwhile to even consider it any more. I must admit I was more than happy to stay in the warm with four cans of Guinness, and to watch another hour or two of TV. There were a couple of "Sounds Of The Sixties" music programmes on, and they were good because I could read some internet stuff while listening to them, and just occasionally switching to the desktop with the TV application running to watch any interesting bits.

  Had I gone out, and had I left the gig early, which I often do, I still would not have been home earlier than when I actually went to bed last night. I was in "sleep mode" for as much as 9 hours in total, and possibly had a full 8 hours of sleep in all. In theory I should feel wide awake, and very alert, but it feels like if I laid on my bed I would soon doze off again. Maybe I'll feel better when I've had a shower..maybe. On the other hand all three of my measurable medical indicators seem to be looking OK.

  My blood glucose was probably about as expected - higher than ideal, but not too bad. My blood pressure continues to be low. Finally my weight is good and bad. The scales that I think read too high say that I am 100gm lighter than yesterday morning (and as yet I am overdue to go for a poo - which could be another 100gm !). The other scales, the ones that may be more accurate, reckon I have not lost any weight in the last 24 hours, but I didn't check them until I had washed down my morning pills with a drink, and then had a few more for luck (drinks !).

  As planned yesterday, and thought about the day before that, I am slightly relaxing my diet today. The theory is probably a bit insane, but it is that it is good to remind the body how it is supposed to work under normal situations. This morning I have eaten a pack of "All Day Breakfast" sandwiches. They are the first high carbohydrate food I have eaten in almost a fortnight. I didn't check the nutrition information, but "All Day Breakfast" sandwiches, from any supermarket or sandwich seller, are usually slated for being high in fat, and high in salt. I don't recall anyone complaining about their sugar content though. Of course sugar is not a normal ingredient, but the enzymes in my body will now be converting the starch in the bread to sugar. That enzyme, whose name eludes me, exists in saliva, and so the process starts with the first bite !

  At lunchtime I will be treating myself to a couple of small bananas - a source of Potassium, and also a source of radioactivity (True !). I may possibly have an all vegetable dinner tonight. Apart from thinking about food, I am not sure what else I may do today. If possible I would like to go to Stretch's Open Mic tonight, but that still leaves many hours to fill in. One possibility, considering it is dry, is to carry on in the garden, although I am not sure if all the muscles I over used yesterday are healed enough for that yet.
Saturday 19th October 2019
09:18 BST
  It was nice and bright yesterday morning. Then it rained, and then it was bright again, and then it rained again, and finally it was dry, but dark. Until it clouded over, and started to rain, it felt fairly nice outside at just 14° C.
                    start, and maybe a dry day
   The sky is blue with some thin, wispy streaks of clouds here and there, and the sun is shining brightly as I write this. It should continue this way for a couple more hours, but after that a few denser clouds will reduce it to just sunny periods. It should warm the air up to 15° C, and that should feel nice when the sun is out. Tomorrow should be dry, although there is a small but increasing chance of rain towards the evening. There may be a couple of sunny spells in the morning, but it it probably going to be a grey, and cold day.

   I'm not sure why it took until midday before I was washed, dressed and ready to go out. That did mess up my tentative plan to go to Tesco, and then walk through the park in time to arrive at the pub where Angela may have popped in for a drink, but probably didn't. I still thought I should go for a walk in the park for some exercise, but that was not to happen. There were two reasons for it, but ultimately neither were probably valid.

  It wasn't essential to go to Tesco yesterday, but I am glad I did. It was nice walking there in sunshine. It felt perfectly comfortable without a coat, although I did note that the sky was getting darker as I neared Tesco. I am obviously far more serious about my diet than I sometimes think. I just bought two packs of (on average) fairly lean looking meat (the turkey breasts extremely lean looking, the diced lamb rather less so). I also bought some vegetables. One lot of vegetables was a mix of ready prepared (although not washed) "stir fry" vegetables.

  I may have been able to resist anything else, but I couldn't resist inspecting the booze. I saw that the crazy offer of a litre of Haig Club for less money than a smaller bottles was still on, and because I wasn't going to be buying much else, I bought two bottles - £22 each instead of the "usual" price of £35 each. Quite a good saving, and I really like the stuff. Finally I added a couple of 2l bottles of Diet Coke to my basket.

  Coming home from Tesco was less pleasant than going there. It was very dull, and the first rain was falling before I was halfway home. At that point it was very light, but it would soon be quite heavy. I still had time to go out again, and get to the pub where Angela might, or might not have been, but I didn't fancy another walk in the rain - rather heavy rain for a short time. After about an hour the sun came out again !

  It would rain again later, but by then I was past caring. I spent the afternoon reading and cooking. The cooking was to prepare my dinner. Initially I just cooked half a pack of diced pork in a fairly rich pork stock and dark soy sauce. I would add the vegetables nearer dinner time. The cooking smells, as it cooked in the microwave for 17 minutes, made me salivate a lot !

  With it being sunny again, I thought that I ought to go out for at least a short walk, but I just couldn't force myself to do it. I was feeling very slightly odd. It may have been a reaction to a blood glucose level that was lower than I have been used to for a long time. I am very sure I was still a long way off hypoglycaemia, but it is possible I could get there in the not too distant future, although it is not a place I actually want to go to.

  As 6pm, dinner time, approached I added the "stir fry" vegetables to the cooked pork in stock. There was baby sweet corn, sugar snap peas, little broccoli shoots, and spring onions. The vegetable were part steamed and part boiled in the stock with the pork, and tasted just as good as stir fried. If I had some five spice power it would have tasted very "Chinese". Instead it tasted a bit "Chinese", and very nice.

  Prior to eating dinner I checked my blood glucose level with another expired test strip. The reading I got was 6.6, and if that was a true reading, it would mean my blood glucose was in the "normal" healthy range. I have long thought that those expired test strips have a tendency to over read. Maybe that is just wishful thinking, but it could mean that my blood glucose was even lower than that. It would have to get down to nearer 2.0 before bad effects start, but that might be possible in the future, and I will be a lot happier when I get some new test strips so I can reliably get close to the edge, without crossing it !

  I did have ideas about going out to a Lord Algea gig in Greenwich last night, and by the time I would have had to leave to get there, I had perked up a bit, but I think that before than I had concluded that I was warm and cozy, with plenty of whisky on hand, and that I couldn't be bothered to go out. In fact, despite having over 4 litres of Club Haig available, I only had one glass of it.

  By 8.30pm I went to bed, but not initially to sleep. I wanted to make some headway reading one of the Harry Harrison books I recently bought. It is called "Queen Victoria's Revenge", and, to my surprise, it is not a SciFi book - unless some SciFi comes into it later in the book. At the moment it is a bit serious, a bit comedy, and just good reading. I think that towards the end there is a twist in the plot, and the reason for the title will become apparent.

  Remember the time was the last thing I thought of while reading, but I think I put the book down, and turned out the light a little after 9.30pm. I found my bed to be rather lumpy last night, and initially I had trouble finding a comfy spot and position to sleep in, but I probably fell asleep a lot faster than it seemed at the time. I then slept OK until 3am when I woke up, and could not relax enough to get to sleep again.

  I couldn't really do it when I was at work, and had to be up at a fixed time in the morning, but now I can get up for an hour or so in the middle of the night, and try to get to sleep again after that. While I was at work I was probably tired enough at night that I didn't have these occasional periods of insomnia. Getting up for around an hour seemed to work, and I then slept mostly OK for another 3 hours.

  This morning my chest feels like I knocked a few ribs together as I thrashed around in bed, but that discomfort has mostly faded away now. Everything else is roughly in the expected range for a time ravaged body like mine. My blood glucose reading was interesting this morning. Like last night's reading, it seems to have jumped to a lower reading. If the reading bears any resemblance to reality, my blood glucose level is higher than the "normal" range, but not that high.

 I am thinking it might be wise to bring my dinner forward an hour to stoke up my energy if I am going to go out tonight. I would like to see M.T. Pockets playing in The GPO Eltham tonight. It is normally a great night that is only spoiled by it being so dimly lit that my camera struggles to focus in there. I expect other bands probably bring some lights, but as far as I am aware, M.T. Pockets don't have any stage light to bring along.

  I think that tomorrow I will relax my diet for just the one day. I feel it would be good to re-introduce my body to a bit of concentrated carbohydrate in the form of a supermarket sandwich. Maybe I'll also have a couple of bananas in case my Potassium levels need topping up. To get these great luxuries I will have to go shopping one again, and this time it will probably be to Aldi. That leaves the great question of whether I should go today or tomorrow morning. I have an excess of unplanned time to fill in today, and so it might be today !
Friday 18th October 2019
10:23 BST
  Yesterday was wet ! No, sorry, that's an exaggeration. The morning was dry and bright, and even much of the afternoon was not that dull. The rain actually fell much later than forecast, and it probably didn't last for as long as forecast, but it made up for it by being much heavier than the forecast seemed to apply - and I was caught in the middle of it !  The afternoon temperature was no better than 14° C.
                    then raining
   Before commenting on today's weather forecast I had better remember to see the latest revision, because the screenshot about is now a couple of hours out of date......... It has changed ! It has been, and still is a sunny morning, but if the time is correct, like it wasn't yesterday, the first rain is now predicted to fall at 1pm. The predicted finish time is still 6pm, as in the screenshot above. One other change is that now it is thought that the temperature will level out at just 13° C for all the afternoon. Tonight might be dry, and only a degree colder than the day. Tomorrow is looking good. It may be bright and dry, and almost warm at 15° C.

   Until 4pm, yesterday was a bit boring as I waited in for a parcel delivery. I could have been more productive in the morning because I was fairly sure my parcel delivery would not be until the afternoon, and then not until after about 2pm. In fact it was later than that. I can't really remember what I did to pass the time until it was time to go out for my Thursday drink at 4pm. I think I did a bit of this, or a bit of that. Sometimes it was just catching up with some reading, but whatever it was, it was never far from the front door.

  At 4pm my parcel still hadn't come, and I made the decision to go out regardless. I have never missed a delivery before, and I was not sure what would happen. I think the courier turned up at about 5pm, and he had the good sense to try knocking next door when there was no reply at my door. The lovely lady who occasionally treats me to home made Thai meals was happy to take it in, and I retrieved it later in the evening.

  One job I did in the morning was to spray a brand new coat with waterproofing spray. I had bought the coat from Tesco several weeks ago, but until last night I had never worn it. The coat is faux leather, and made in China, and so is is probably dog skin or something. The water proofing spray did leave a slight greyish sheen on the shinier bits, but that will soon wear off (and may have done so already).

  While I was in the coat department I pulled out a coat I had bought from Peacocks 2 or 3, or maybe even 4 years ago, but have never worn before. I had taken a chance because it didn't have enough Xs in the size, and sure enough it was a terrible struggle to do it up, and then it was so tight I could barely bend my arms. Having already lost a bit of weight I tried it on again. It is still not a good fit, but it is wearable now, and by the time we get some snow I should have shrunk a bit more. It is a bright orange weatherproof coat, well padded, and with a hood. I'll probably sweat like a pig in it, but at least I will probably be the warmest I have ever been in sub-zero weather.

  My freshly waterproofed coat was dry and ready to wear when I went out to get the train to Shortlands. It is not a particularly thick coat, but I still warmed up a lot as I walked to the station. I think I may have done the walk from my front door to the far end of platform 2 in just under 9 minutes. I never meant to go that fast, but it might explain why I felt so knackered at the end.

  I had a nice drink in the pub - just three pints of "Unicorn ale" by the ????? brewery (I forget). While drinking the sky got darker and darker. That wasn't surprising because the sun sets quite early now, but there was a certain unexplainable quality to the light and dark. It as very obvious when I left the pub - it was pouring with rain. Even with three pints swilling around inside me I did a very spirited walk to the station, and shelter from the rain.

  It was still pouring with rain when I walked from Catford station to home. Once again I did it at top speed, and it felt sort of fine. The waterproofing of my coat had been proved. I was dry as a bone under it except for the water running down my neck ! It was a relief to get out of the rain, and also a relief to see a card on my doormat saying my parcel had been left next door.

  I was quite keen to have my singe meal of the day when I got home. It was to be beef cooked in a fairly rich, tomato puree enhanced stock with diced finger chillies and a bell pepper, plus spring greens. I had pre-cooked everything, and just needed to add the greens before zapping it for 10 minutes in the microwave. It was an unusual idea for me, but I guess I have been training myself, and I decided I didn't need or want to bulk it out with the spring greens.

  There were two related reasons for that. I wanted to go out again only about an hour after eating dinner, and I didn't want to feel too full, plus I expected that a big steaming pile of greens would have it's usual effect - the need to dash to the toilet a few hours later. At home that would have been a plus point, but not when I am out. The cheap diced beef was a little bit tough, but it was a nice dinner, and it did have some vegetable in it (chillies do count, don't they ?).

  A little bit later than intended, because I was caught on a phone call, I walked to The Catford Bridge Tavern to watch the Marco Buono Blues Band Jam/Open Mic. It had stopped raining by then, and was a reasonably pleasant walk. I was a little disappointed that Angela wasn't there. Last night was when I was going to follow orders, and say hello to Angela and lover boy. Fortunately I was on my own, Michael, friend from round the corner was there as well as bass player Steve Cox, and a little later, Dik Tokaski.
Blues band plus Steve
  After an interminable amount of harp (mouthorgan) playing Steven Cox stepped up to play his bass guitar.
 Marco, band leader and guitar player, then stood down and Dik Tokaski took over on guitar - a pink guitar !
jam band
  All blues band members replaced by guests. Shame there were no vocals - which was a bit strange because Dik can sing some songs, but seem to recall that he usually uses a crib sheet to remind him of the lyrics.

  I had just two pints of Guinness at the gig, and that seemed to feel enough after the three pints of ale I had earlier. I said goodbye to all, and did a brisk walk home. I could feel the Guinness sloshing around inside me, and while it didn't slow me down, it did suggest I had made the right decision to stop drinking then. It was about 10.15pm when I got home, and half an hour later I was in bed, and asleep. I'm not sure why, but I don't think I slept well last night. I did have an unpleasant dream about being back at work in a place that was sort of a hybrid of Rushey Green Telephone Exchange, and the last place I worked at in Earlsfield.

  In that dream I was back at work after a long absence, and I didn't really know what was going on. All the procedures had changed. That was both frustrating, and yet didn't matter. I seemed to have gone back to work because I was bored rather than needing any money. No need for money gave me the power to walk out at any time, and to dismiss any punishment for poor performance. I was just winging it most of the time, and I didn't care. The dream ended with me investigating the toilets. They were very different to how they used to be in the building, and unfortunately they were unusable because they were so filthy.

  The last thing I remember from that dream was starting to feel uncomfortable. I woke up also feeling a bit uncomfortable. I don't recall having a poo yesterday, and this morning I thought I was constipated. I was wrong - twice, but fortunately not in any specially unpleasant way. With that out of the way, I feel sort of OK, but my legs feel a bit stiff this morning. They probably need a walk to loosen them up. I don't appear to have lost any weight this morning, and at one point I thought I might have put some on. My current, probably too optimistic, thinking is that my weight is just a tiny fraction too high to let the 100gm digit on the scales to flip to the next lower number. My blood glucose level may have gone up. I am recording the readings more to show the doctors and nurses that I am taking readings even if the expired test strips give almost random readings.

  I have only one definite plan for today, and that is to go to Tesco (although for novelty I could go to Aldi). If the timing is right I might take a walk through the park and see if Angela turns up in the pub. I have arranged nothing with her, and she often goes shopping on Friday lunchtime, but as I discovered the last time I saw her there, she goes there by herself enough to be well known by the bar staff. Tonight I am contemplating going to Greenwich to a Lord Algea gig. I haven't seem them for ages, and probably should take advantage of a gig that is not somewhere in north London, or other difficult to get to place.
Thursday 17th October 2019
09:14 BST
  There was some light rain yesterday morning, but that had dried up by 11am. The rest of the day was mostly overcast, but occasionally some bit of blue sky would appear, and the sun would make a brief appearance. The forecast said it would be 15° C, and that was about right - it felt cool, but not cold.
                    brighter day with some sunshine and showers
   This morning has been fairly bright with some sunshine, but apparently it won't last. The latest revision to the forecast has added some light rain for 10am. The next rain is still forecast to start at 5pm. It seems a paradox that there may be some more sunny spells from 5pm as well. It is going to be a slightly cooler day than yesterday with just 14° C predicted. As I write this the sun is streaming through my window, and feels very hot on the side of my head ! Tomorrow's forecast only differs from today's by two points. The day might start with rain instead of sunshine, but there will be sunshine later, and tomorrow may be even cooler - just 13° C.

  I couldn't have imagined how yesterday turned out. I started with a simple shopping trip to Tesco. That was good in two ways. Once again Tesco had a crazy special offer on - a 1 litre bottle of Haig Club for £22, or you could pay an extra £3 for a 70cl bottle. To make it even more bizzare, they were right next to each other on the shelf ! I had to take advantage of that offer, and for two pins I would go back there today for another bottle.

  The other good thing was how effortless the walk to Tesco and back felt. It does seem that lowering my blood glucose, and losing some weight, it have beneficial effects a lot quicker than I thought would happen - and that is good because it provides encouragement to continue.

  I was very careful about what I bought in Tesco this time, and I only bought the absolute basics - some lean looking meat, and some green vegetables. The only departure from this was the booze, and I finally remembered to buy some beef Oxo cubes. While I taking a pack off the shelf I also got some lamb Oxo cubes.

  I was evidently feeling good after I got home from Tesco that I started thinking of other stuff to do. One strange idea was that I should hoover my bedroom and the upper hall. I did just that, and then started to relax, but I couldn't relax too deeply because I had a nagging feeling that I wanted to go out and stretch my legs again, and once it seemed like it had brightened up a bit, that is exactly what I did. The only disappointment was that I had barely reached the main road, and it looked like it would start to rain at any moment. Considering I was only wearing a t-shirt with no coat, that would not have been a good move, but I threw caution to the wind, and continued walking for 2.59 miles !
threatening sky
  Not all my walk was as gloomy as this, but I don't think I saw the sun once. It must have been some sort of desperation that got me out on a very autumnal feeling day, but at least I didn't feel cold.
slightly pissed
  One of the first sights I saw when I entered the Pool River Linear Park was this rather well formed thistle. It is a shame it wasn't standing proud and upright when I took this snap, but some would say that a Scottish thistle being pissed was nothing out of the ordinary.
The Pool River
  The pool river is mostly shallow (but not everywhere !), and since the gasworks at Sydenham was closed 20+ years ago the worst of the pollution has been washed away, and some maintenance of the banks, has made it seem rather nice. Of course at this time of the year it looks bloody freezing, and I wouldn't like to slip in it. I was a bit wary when I took this picture because I was standing on a flat topped rock in the water. That rock, and quite a few more, were specifically placed like stepping stones, although there is a gap in the middle, and the bank on the far side is too steep and overgrown to access. I have a feeling though, that like the narrow path that runs alongside some of the river, a new feature (or new to me) work is still going on, and by next summer the stepping stones may all be in place, and some sort of feature on the far side of the river may appear.

yesterday's walk  My original idea was to walk for a mile, and then turn back. When I let that slip I wasn't thinking of leaving the park by any other exit than the one I entered by. Then I considered walking through to the far end, and beyond, to get a train back from Lower Sydenham station. What I ended up doing was leaving the park at the exit to the road that leads up to to Angels's house. It made for a rather triangular circular route without going over much of the original route. It also allowed me to take a few photos for Sue of a place she once lived at.

  There was one thing about this walk that felt rather different. Much of it felt very effortless, and even going up the hill towards Angela's house was not that taxing (although I will admit to slowing down a bit for that climb). That in itself is not the strange thing, because at just 2.6 miles it was not a long walk compared to my early standards. No, the strange thing is how after feeling that the walk was easy, just how tired I felt when I got home. I guess I was running on empty, and it was some time after eating dinner before I felt "normal" again.

  The fatigue was worth it though because this morning my bathroom scales had dropped another notch. This morning, what I believe to be my more accurate scales, say my weight has dropped lower than 130kg (but only just). That's 10kg dropped since my hospital admission in mid August (the only reliable datum point I have had for many, many years).

  I wish I had more reliable news about my blood glucose. My test strips have an expiry date in 2017, and are giving really erratic readings. Individual readings are mostly meaningless, but the average does seem to be coming down. I am seeing the nurse at the General practice next week, and I hope she will be able to expedite a prescription for new test strips, and the change in the dosage of one of my drugs. Both will need the counter signature of a doctor, but she is able to grab any doctor who is free for a few seconds to get his (or her) signature.

  Meanwhile, the struggle continues. I avoided eating any walnuts yesterday, although I think the spike I saw in my blood glucose was more to do with those expired test strips than the walnuts themselves, but some good came of it because it forced me to actually check the nutritional values on the walnut packet. My one single meal was skinless/boneless chicken thighs with green beans. I also had a couple of chunks of cheese to nibble on as a sort of "pudding" after my dinner.

  It must have taken a fair time for dinner to perk me up. For the next hour I was still feeling very fatigued. Probably a couple of hours on the phone to Sue perked me up as well. At midnight, rather later than I expected to go to bed, it seemed like all fatigue had faded away, and it took until 1am before I got to sleep. I think I slept normally after that. I only managed about 6 hours of sleep last night, but I think I feel mostly OK.

  There is one other thing that this improvement in health has helped, and it wasn't one I was expecting. It seems that my Costochondritus/twisted rib/chest pains have reduced a lot now. Of course it could just be that I am going through a good phase, and I have had many before this, but I think, or at least I am hoping, that this is different. I have managed to jar my ribs several times with predictable pain, but the pain seems to fade faster, and doesn't seem to leave the same aching legacy. If it is true, then it is good !

  In other medical news; I received two letters (in the same envelope) yesterday. One is a notification of an appointment with the Diabetes Dietician on the 2nd January next year. He or she will be telling how to do what I have been successfully doing for a fortnight now, although he or she will still be telling me I am doing it wrong. The other letter is a notification to see the Diabetes Nurse on the 14th January next year. If I can keep this lark going until then, then I expect him to be rather surprised.

  Two things are happening today. One is a bit annoying. It is the delivery of the final part of an Amazon order that I was not expecting until Saturday. If it doesn't come early enough it could mess with my timing to go out for my usual Thursday drink. Hopefully it will arrive by 4pm, and that will give me time to get to the station......Just remembered a third for for today. Later this evening I will be going to the blues jam in The Catford Bridge Tavern. I went last week, but I got my dates mixed up, but tonight it is definitely on, and this time I have to say hello to Angela (and, unfortunately, to lover boy too). 
Wednesday 16th October 2019
08:16 BST
  Yesterday turned out to be rather better than the forecast. The forecast started out right. There was some drizzle at the start of the morning, but after that finished the clouds thinned out, and by the afternoon we were treated to quite a lot of sunshine. It was far better than the light cloud that was forecast. As far as I am aware, the temperature forecast was about right at 16° C during the afternoon.
sunshine later - maybe
 It must have just been me, but it seemed to be a rather cool night, but my thermometers seem to be in agreement with the forecast. Today's forecast paints a picture that is similar to how yesterday was, and that is probably a good sign. There will be some light rain this morning, and then the cloud should start to thin. Hopefully it will happen before 5pm, but even the latest revision of the forecast says no. The latest revision has increased the amount of rain this morning. We are now expecting some heavy rain followed by lighter rain until 11am. The afternoon temperature will probably be a degree lower than yesterday - just 15° C. Tomorrow is predicted to start quite chilly. It may be just 9° C, and will only rise to a maximum of 14°C. There may be some sunny spells later in the morning, and that curious mix of sunshine and showers later in the afternoon.

  I was under self inflicted "home arrest" yesterday as I waited for some deliveries. I had three books delivered by the postman near midday, and another delivered by Amazon courier at about 4pm. I could have gone out to get some shopping after that, but I only went to the corner shop for bottles of pop and a couple of magazines. I now have more fresh reading material than I can get through at my current rate of progress !

  I did a few odd jobs to amuse myself while waiting for my deliveries. One simple one, although a bit physically taxing, was to wash my bath towel. Another job took up quite a lot of hours, and was satisfying and disappointing in equal measure. Another little job was to do an experiment.
which one is accurate
  Please excuse these very badly focussed pictures ! While doing some tidying up/clearance in my back room, I came across an old set of scales. If I recall correctly I discarded them 10 to 20 years ago because they couldn't handle my weight. In some respects they still can't. Just like my current scales, you have to get on them very gently or they go straight to error mode. I decided I ought to put a new battery in the old scales, and compare them with the new.

  The new scales are on the right, and after being weighed on what I presume are professional, and regularly calibrated scales in various medical establishments, I had an idea that my scales over read by as much as 2kg. The old scales on the left seem to bear this out, although maybe they slightly under read. If that reading on the left is close to accurate, it means I have lost the equivalent to a stone and a half since I was admitted to hospital in mid August. This morning I only used the right hand scales, and the figure it displayed was 133.3kg - another small drop, and that was before going to the toilet for a poo !

  The job that used up many hours of the day was tedious and interesting, annoying and satisfying. I thought it was about time I got my new firewall up and running to replace the ancient PC spread out all over a desk downstairs in the back room. I had intended to use an Intel Atom processor based mini-ITX PC housed in a small case no bigger than a cereal packet. The first time I did the software installation it wouldn't boot. I assumed that it was the fault of a slightly loose feeling plug on the hard disk. I think I must have run out of time or patience, and set it aside for another day.

 That must have been months ago, and yesterday I replaced the SATA cable that I suspected of being faulty.  I installed the software, and once again it would not boot. An error message was displayed that said "No Bootable Medium Found". That was very perplexing ! The next thing I tried was to install an ordinary Linux distro. That gave the same result. The next thing to try was to boot from a CD with gParted on it. A rather wonderful usage of Linux that gives a good overview of what the hard disk looks like.

  It showed that the disk appeared to be partitioned correctly, and it even found the Linux I had installed on it, and allowed me to boot from it. One thing I kept noticing was that there was always a very small bit of disk unused at the start. It would be where the Master Boot Record would be, and it seemed my disks didn't have one. So I formatted that space as a partition, and tried installing Linux again. This time I told it to use that very small partition as /boot. It actually showed it as boot/efi. I am sure that the motherboard I was using was too old to use UEFI as an inbuilt bootloader, but that did seem to be the case.

  It took something like 4 hours to reach this conclusion, and get a working Linux PC, and then to start to do all the personal configurations I like to do to make it look and react like another well known, but now obsolete operating system. I now have a quite usable mini PC, and I am not sure what I will use it for. One thing I am fairly sure about is that I can't use it for a firewall. The special Linux distribution I want to use is installed more like it is an appliance. It does it's own format of the hard disk, and it would just wipe out the boot partition.

  If I had the patience I could do the firewall installation, and then re-make the /boot/efi partition. The next step would be to boot the firewall using the gParted CD, and then re-install grub (a universal boot loader), hopefully into the boot partition. Maybe I'll try it another day, or maybe I'll pull out another ancient Pentium 3 PC out of the cupboard, and re-purpose it.

  I made a terrible discovery yesterday. It was getting on for dinnertime, and my first meal of the day, and my stomach was rumbling like mad. I thought it would be safe to eat a handful of walnut halves to keep me going until dinner was cooked, and I could eat properly. Dinner was skinless and boneless chicken thighs with runner beans. Before I ate dinner I remembered to check my blood glucose level. It was about 8.50, and that annoyed me because I expected it to be less.

  After I had enjoyed my dinner I quickly checked my blood glucose level. This time it was lower at 7.50. I am not sure exactly why this was, but I was a lot happier to see it that low. Having checked the nutritional values of walnuts on the back of the packet I was not happy to see that walnuts contained more carbohydrates and sugar than I had previously thought. I think I will have to treat them with greater respect in the future.

  An alternative explanation is that the glucose test strips I use are now out of date, and are giving unpredictable readings. I have just checked and the strips I am currently using have an expiry date of May 2017 ! I did note a jump in readings when I started using these test strips. Maybe the previous lot of test strips were less out of date, although I did buy both at the same time - quite some years ago ! Just checked, it was in the spring of 2016, and I would have easily have used then all before they expired, but at that time I was only checking on rare occasions.

  I slept reasonably well last night, and this morning I feel reasonably good, but not perfect. I am not expecting any deliveries today, and so I am free to do as I choose. In a few hours, when hopefully the rain has finally finished, I will go and buy the shopping I was going to buy yesterday, or even the day before. This time I really must remember to get some beef Oxo cubes. I hope by writing that down it will become better fixated in my brain, and after forgetting to buy any the last few times I have been shopping, I will remember this time ! I ought to stretch my legs a bit more than just go shopping today. Maybe it will be a walk in the park, or maybe something else.
Tuesday 15th October 2019
08:39 BST
  Yesterday was forecast as being extremely wet, but my observations suggest it was not more than very wet. It was probably raining for most of the day, but the rain always seemed to be light rain. Thunder was also forecast, and I think I did hear some very distant thunder, but there was nothing local. I didn't check, but I think the forecast for the afternoon being no more than 16° C was probably right.
                    dry, but very overcast
 The only rain forecast for today is some drizzle for right now, and it is drizzling right now. Assuming the rest of the forecast is correct (always a dangerous assumption), once the drizzle dries up it should be dry for the rest of the day, but it is probably going to stay overcast all day. Like yesterday, the afternoon temperature should peak at 16° C, although that peak could last for 5 hours today. Tomorrow may see light rain from very dark skies through the morning, and just into the afternoon. By 1pm the clouds may get lighter, and by 3pm there could be some sunny spells. Unfortunately it will probably be a degree cooler than yesterday - just 15° C.

  Just for a change I was probably more bored yesterday than I was on Sunday. There were two reasons for this. The first, and most obvious, is that the rotten weather depressed me, and there was no way I was going out in the rain without having a very good reason to do so - which I didn't ! The second reason was that I felt constrained to be never more than 20 seconds away from my front door.

 It seemed likely that I would be receiving one or more packets being delivered by Royal Mail. Being small packets they were sent by ordinary post, and there was so specific tracking information. There was also an outside chance that something might have come via parcel post. I think it was actually not much later than 11am when two small packets arrived - both small enough to fit through my very small letter box. One was a CD, and the other a tube of Lithium grease that I intend to use for maintenance on my bathroom taps. Both hot and cold have a habit of getting stiff because of hard water problems - maybe.

  There was one physical job that I did yesterday, but it was just hand washing some t-shirts and underwear. The odd thing is that I didn't think I had used that many t-shirts since the last time I did any washing. Evidently I did, but it was only three t-shirts, or possibly one a day. Obviously they had to be dried indoors, and it was a good excuse to put some low heating on in the living room.

  It would be more accurate to say that I set in motion a rather huge job yesterday, but it didn't take up much of my time at all. It was a task that was long overdue. Although I have taken much more care to make regular backups of my pictures and videos, it had been a very long time since I made a full backup of the home partition on my PC. It is a comcept that is probably unknown in the world of Windows PC, but on Linux the home partition is a physically separate portion of teh hard disk, and it stores all the data I generate, pictures, videos, documents, etc. It contains almost 1.5 terabytes of data, and took all day, and into the night to copy, but if my hard disk failed today I could completely recreate essentially a clone of my PC, complete with my entire email history going back to 2003 (when I first started using Thunderbird as an email client).

  With so few distractions I was acutely aware of being very hungry yesterday. I think I lasted until gone 4pm when my resolve slipped, and I had a handful of shelled walnut halves. I have no idea if walnuts are better or worse than peanuts, but deep down I was probably hoping that they contained less oil, and were thus a bit more healthy. They kept me going until it was time to prepare my dinner, and once cooked, to eat it.

  Dinner was quite a lot of lambs liver with runner beans. It would have been better to have had less liver, and more runner beans, but I was constrained by being only able to buy the liver in standard packs. I rarely have liver and so it was like a treat, and very nice. The only trouble is that it left a bit of an aftertaste that I was not too keen on. I took the taste away by nibbling on a chunk of cheese.

  For some stupid reason I forgot to check my blood glucose level before I ate my dinner, but I did do so straight afterwards. I am not sure how quickly my gut can extract and process any sugars after eating, but I am assuming it starts even while eating. My blood glucose level was possibly a tiny bit higher than if I had taken it before eating, but it was still quite satisfactory.

  That hot meal, including some of the "gravy" that I also ate, did something predictable. For want of a more scientific explanation, it brewed up the remains of the sprouts I had eaten the day before, and I was finally able to go for the poo that I had hoped to do in the morning as usual. It was quite an explosive event, although to my surprise it was a singular event. I had expected that I would have to dash to the toilet several times after, but not this time.

  I did treat myself to a nightcap of a large whisky last night, and it was probably just enough to get me sleepy after what was a very relaxed (aka lazy) day. I was not in a rush to go to bed, and I read in bed until I had read the happy ending to the book. Then I turned over and went straight to sleep. Depending on exactly when that was, I slept soundly for 3 or 4 hours. After a wee I then slept for another 3 hours, although that sleep was riddled with dreams that I can no longer describe. After that I slept again for another hour (or was it 2 ?).

  This morning I went for a poo quite normally, although there was not that much of it as far as I could see. After that I weighed myself, and although my scales initially said I had put on 10kg, they eventually settled down to give a nice stable reading that if correct said I have lost another 2kg. I am still not sure of he accuracy of that, but the trend still seems to be downwards. In a strange sort of way I could almost look forward to getting on the scales at the doctors. It might be a thrill for me, but those bloody miseries would never give the praise that makes it seem worthwhile.

  My other indicators of health are both good-ish. My blood pressure is still very low this morning, and although I have had it lower in the morning, my blood glucose level is about as expected. If I can stick to my plan, and fast until dinner time, at 6pm, and remember to check it before I eat, my blood glucose level could possibly hit a new low (in the current series). It would help if I could bring myself to do a bit of exercise while it is dry.

  I feel mostly OK this morning, but that exercise may have to wait. I am still expecting more parcels/packet of stuff I have ordered from Amazon to come through today or tomorrow. I couldn't help padding out the order with lots of cheap paperback to raise the total cost to over £20 for free delivery. I think I have three paperbacks of Harry Harrison SciFi stories on their way to me, and they could arrive at any time. It rather limits my movements, but I expect I'll find stuff to do, and once the postman has been I could go for a walk around the shops, and possibly further. I have to confess that one good thing about stuff coming by Royal Mail is that it is only a 1.84 mile round trip walk to collect it from the sorting office, but I would prefer not to have to do it.
Monday 14th October 2019
09:02 BST
  I don't remember yesterday as being all that wet. In fact I can't really picture any time when it did rain, although I am very sure it did. Mostly I was avoiding the outside until the outside forced it's way in doors. It was the best sort of flood, the flood of sunshine streaming through my windows. It must have been around 4 or 5pm, and although it didn't really last for more than 5 to 10 minutes, it was rather wonderful. I didn't check the temperature on my thermometers, but the forecast of 17° C was probably about right.
                    spectacularly rotten day
 It is tricky to say just how much rain is falling as I write this. I can't actually see the rain falling at the moment, but the ground is very wet. The forecast says the rain will continue to fall for the whole day, but the heaviest, which might trigger thunderstorms, will be in the late afternoon. By then the temperature should have crept up to 16° C. Tomorrow will see a similar range of temperatures, but there may only be one shower in the late afternoon. There is apparently a small chance of sunny spell or two in the morning, but generally the day is thought to be rather dull.

  Yesterday was one of those rare Sunday's where I was too busy to be bored. I spent a little time hand washing a few t-shirts and some underwear, but most of the time seemed to be taken up going through the pictures I had taken of Chain at The Fellowship And Star last Saturday night. In some ways it was good that I was so shutter happy because out of the 309 snaps I took, I only considered 30 good enough to show.
Chain at The
                        Fellowship And Star
 One problem was that there was no lighting technician. It was the responsibility of the sound man, and I don't he really cared about the lights (and some of his sound mixing was a bit dubious). For very long periods of time, including all of the second set, the backlighting was on full (and looking good). There were some colour changes that added a bit of variety. The real trouble was the front lighting. It was mainly left on blue or purple, and the bands faces were almost left in shadow.
Gary Wilson - drummer
 A lot of the time Gary, the drummer, was better lit than anyone else, although I think for this picture I turned my flash gun up high, and just blasted the back of the stage !
Jo doing guitar pose
  I did my best to just use flash as fill in rather than flooding the stage. That preserved some of the coloured lighting, and almost produced more natural looking flesh tones. In this picture Jo's face still looks rather cold - almost like she is turning blue.
bass player in the
  I am unsure of the name of the bass player, and I am not sure I have seen him play before, but he is good. He has a very individual playing style. It is almost as if he is dancing with his instrument. He sounded good too.

  Despite the lighting difficulties it was a rather a good night on Saturday. While having a shower just now, my brain was effectively in neutral, and up popped the idea that, ignoring such special occasions like Petts Woodstock, Chain's audience on Saturday must have been one of the biggest for an "ordinary" gig. It probably helped that more people came in after a film had finished in the cinema in the basement of the pub, but even before that there was a very respectable amount of crown.

  The only other notable thing about yesterday was eating. As I think I said yesterday, I treated myself to the spatchcock at lunchtime. Although it said it served 2, there was not that much meat on it after it was separated from the bones.  For dinner I just had Brussels Sprouts. I cooked them with a bit of butter so they were not completely healthy, but in my fevered imagination I decided that those sprouts and the spatchcock was not a significantly larger amount than some of the single meals I have been eating lately. It wasn't a good or valid reason, but enough of a reason to allow for a couple of Sunday treats. Later in the evening I had a chunk of cheese, and a handful of salted peanuts.

  It wasn't long after 8.30pm that I felt ready for bed, although not for sleep. There was nothing else to amuse me, and so I took a book to bed. I read for less long than expected, and I think I had turned the light out, and was fast asleep sometime around 10pm. Maybe it was later than I thought because I did seem to have a good lie in this morning. I think I woke at 6am, but it was still dark, and so I thought I would just have another 10 minutes sleep. I woke at just after 8am !

  This morning is another morning where I still feel fairly OK despite not doing any exercise yesterday, and eating those snack. My blood pressure was still typically low - perhaps very slightly lower than average for the morning. My blood glucose level was predictably a bit higher, but it is still a couple of points lower than it was a week or so ago. I haven't weighed myself yet for one simple reason. I have been eating so little recently that I appeared not to need a poo yesterday, and I have no really felt the need this morning. It could be still a few more hours before last night's sprouts do their thing !

  Some, less experienced in these matters, would think that having a poo doesn't really alter your weight, but it does. Maybe it is only a small amount, but even small amounts help sustain the illusion, or reality, that you are doing some good. Back in 1999, when I was freshly diagnosed as suffering from type II diabetes, and was seeing the nurse several times a week, I would wee and poo as much as I could, plus I would trim my nails, and pluck my nasal hair just to appear that I had lost some weight. In reality I did lose quite a bit of weight, but it comes and goes depending on my mood.

  Today, and maybe the next few days, are going to be awkward. I have ordered several books, a CD and a few other small items from Amazon, and they are being sent by Royal Mail. That means the tracking options are limited, and sadly sometimes inaccurate. Many of the items are so small they will come letter post. Although Amazon's predicted date is this coming Thursday, I think it is likely they will turn up before then. It means I can't really go out before about 1pm each day until all the bits are safely in my hands - or unless I see more concrete advice on the delivery date and time.

  Today I don't feel so bad about being stuck indoors. If the weather was not so foul I might have had a wander around the shops to stretch my legs, but mostly I feel like staying in the dry and warm today. There are probably several things I could be doing today. One possibility, is to start the preparations to bring the smoke and nicotine saturated wardrobe into my own bedroom, and with that done I can put up the big shelf, with a coat/shirt rail under it, in the spare room. It is a job that will cause major disruption until it is all done. Maybe I might read a book !

  I shot two videos at Chain's Saturday night gig. The first was part of their Fleetwood Mac tribute, and was a very good rendition of "Albatross", but I didn't know that would be the next song when I got my mobile phone out to record it. It was just coincidence that I recorded exactly the same song when Chain played at the private opening night of the venue. So I have ignored that recording. The second recording was of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Freebird", and it sounds good - as does the very good applause at the end !

Sunday 13th October 2019
08:57 BST
  The day before yesterday the forecast said it would rain a lot, but I'm not sure if it rained at all. Yesterday the forecast said lots of rain, and there was - lots and lots and lots of it ! It was a dull wet, and rather cool day. The maximum temperature may have not got any higher than 13° C.
 The forecast above is now out of date ! The latest revision correctly forecasts that it will be dull and overcast, but the rain hasn't started to fall yet (ignoring what might have happened in the early of the morning). The current estimate is that the rain will start at 11am, and finish by, or before 4pm. Just to confound everything, the sun has just broken through the clouds as I write this. From the look of the sky I doubt it will last more than a couple of minutes, and may not happen again until 6pm when the forecast does admit there could be a few short sunny spells. By 11am the temperature could rise to 17° C - a whole degree higher than the earlier forecast above. Maybe today is not going to be so terrible after all - unlike tomorrow which is still shown as pretty horrible. It will start cold, maybe just 11° C, and only rise to 15° C by 5pm which is when the rain, that may have been falling for much of the day, steps up a gear, and we could have thunderstorms from then until, or beyond midnight !

  On the whole, yesterday was a rather good day despite there being reasons why it should not have been. There should have been two highlights of the day. One in the evening, and one in the afternoon. In a sort of masochistic way the afternoon was still good despite it being different to what was expected. I had been invited to attend a "secret", yet public filming session on The Entourage Band in the Fox And Firkin pub in Ladywell. I could have got a bus there, and saved some time in the rain, but in the spirit of the current quest for health, I walked there through the park.
  I had my Canon with me, but I didn't want to get it wet, and so used my mobile phone camera to take the odd snap along the way. I was surprised this clump of fungi was in such good condition. It was only about a yard from the path that runs alongside one of the playing fields. Many runners, and similar "sportsmen" prefer to run on grass rather than a hard surface, and could easily have run through this little clump.
Fox And Firkin stage
                        with damp spots
  This was my ultimate destination - the stage in The Fox And Firkin. Unfortunately the roof was leaking, and potentially dripping on sensitive equipment. I didn't get up close to inspect it, but all I could see were a few damp patches on the carpet. It looked quite minor. I heard from someone who presumably attended a gig there many months ago, and the roof was leaking then too. Regardless of whether it was a minor or major leak(s), the band decided to call the gig off.
Info sign in St Mary's
  I took a slightly different route home. It took me through the churchyard of St Mary's Church. A new feature, paid for by the council, is information signs like the one above, plus a far bigger one showing where to look for the individual info signs, and some information about the types of tomb that can be seen. I thought it a good idea.
The avenue of yew
  This is the avenue of yew trees with a back entrance to the church visible at the end. After the few times I went swimming with Patricia, back in 2008 (at a guess), and maybe on a few other occasions, we would walk home this way, and Patricia would always say we had to say hello to the dead people. I didn't know if it was an Argentinian custom, or just Patricia's humour.
there and back
  There are three reasons why these there and back timings and distances don't match. On the walk to The Fox And Firkin I walked right past the pub to have a look in Cash Converters. I did note they have a nice Nikon D3400 in the window. I wish I had taken a snap of it so I could remember the price. I think the price was quite good, and I am almost tempted to have another look at it, although it only offers one slight improvement on my existing Nikon, and two things that make it worse.

  The second reason why these figures don't tally is I only decided to measure the walk home when I had already been walking for half a minute, and had decided to walk back vis the churchyard. The third reason may have been because the clouds had thickened, and were reducing the accuracy of the GPS signal. When I examined the trace I found that my route was not accurately traced. It was more like a lot of straight lines that were joined together. One result of that is I apparently crossed the river in the park twice without using a bridge. I was wet, but I don't remember getting that wet !

  I think I am going to claim that my walk was just a little under 2 miles. It is a nice round figure, and not that far from the truth. It was a useful bit of exercise, and had a positive effect of my blood glucose level. After a higher than hoped start to the day, my blood glucose level fell to 7.2. That's is not quite as low as I managed a day or two before, but not that much outside what is considered "normal". I am pretty certain that the diabetes nurse at the hospital would be delighted if I could get it down to 5.0 - and those people are not easily satisfied !

  I had a slightly early dinner yesterday. It was at 5pm instead of my more usual 6pm. The reason was to allow it plenty of time to settle before going out in the evening. It may be that all the time I allowed was not needed because it was a relatively small dinner. It was diced beef with some chilli, bell pepper and green beans. It would probably have been healthier with a little less beef, and more green vegetable, but it was very enjoyable, and seemed to fill the spot.

  There was some confusion about the start time of the gig I was going to in the evening. It was Chain playing another special Fleetwood Mac set on the nice stage of The Fellowship And Star. Chain originally said that it would start at 9pm, but the pub said 8pm. The difference is that the pub were actually saying that the doors open at 8pm, and Chain were saying they would be playing from 9pm. The stage is a separate room in the back of the pub, and so unlike most venues that chain play in, typically pubs, there were actual doors to open at 8pm. I guess part of the idea is to encourage people to drink at the bar before the doors are opened.

 I decided to get there at 8pm, or indeed, because of the timing of the trains, a little bit before that. I did have to wait a few minutes before of the staff opened the door for me, and I got in prematurely. It was quite chilly in there until later on when the place filled up. It wasn't full to capacity, but it was a very good attendance. The only problem was that the sound engineer was also expected to be the lighting man. When Chain appeared there on the opening night they had someone who knew how to operate the theatre style lighting. Last night the lighting was usually fairly bright, but always in the wrong places.

  The other negative to report is that it appeared to take two members of the bar staff a very long time to put on a new barrel of Guinness. I went thirsty for almost the first hour I was there ! While there was enough light to take photos without flash, it was very often the case that the faces of Jo and Chris at the front were only lit with blue. At first it seemed silly to have to use flash, but once I got the settings right so it was mainly just fill in flash, I think, or at least I hope, I will have some nicely balanced pictures. It was also a suitable place to use the remote trigger for the flash that was well offset from where I used my camera. It gives, or at least I hope it gave some nice depth to the pictures (I haven't looked at them yet).

  I bottled out staying until the very last train, and got the 11.30pm train home (which was the second to last). I'm not sure how much of the gig I missed by going early, but I doubt it was much. It is nice that the train ride is only a minute or two, but then there is still the 9 to 12 minute walk from the station to home. I wasn't walking that fast because I was encumbered by my raincoat, and was wearing "slow shoes" - good for standing around in, but not that comfortable for fast walking.

  I may have been walking slower than usual, but not by much, and I didn't feel stressed by it. I felt good enough when I got home to resist a possible supper, and just settled on a lump of cheese to nibble on while I sorted a few things out. One such thing was editing a video I shot of one of the songs Chain performed. I left the high resolution version rendering through the night, and if my computer hadn't locked up when I asked it to do too much at once, I would have had a smaller version to show here this morning. I'll try again for it later on today.

  I think it was around 1am when I went to bed not feeling very tired, but it wasn't long before I was asleep. As far as I am aware I slept OK except that I did wake up at 7am, and couldn't get back to sleep again. I was hoping for a full 8 hours, but I guess my body thinks that 6 hours is enough. Maybe it had something to do with my blood glucose being just 8.0 this morning. I think that is the lowest morning reading I have had, and proof that Guinness does not have a negative effect Or if it does it is a very small one).

  I am actually feeling tired again now after sorting out my PC, and writing this. Maybe I'll have a quick snooze, but I have a shed load of pictures to sort through from last night. I must try and be selective and chose only the best (or most interesting - which isn't always the same as the best). I think it is going to use up many hours today. The only other thing I may well do...in fact after thinking about it too much it is now inevitable - is to have both lunch and dinner today. Lunch is going to be the spatchcock (small male chicken - I think) that I have already roasted. I may have it just as it is, and then have nothing but vegetables for dinner. I think I can imagine a great steaming pile of sprouts !
Saturday 12th October 2019
09:04 BST
  A lot of rain was forecast for yesterday, but I can't recall any falling at all after mid morning. It was still very dull though, but the temperature probably did reach the forecast 17° C.
                    rain, and maybe lots of it !
 The forecast for today says it will rain all day. So for the forecast is about right, although at the moment it looks more like light drizzle than light rain. The sky is a murky grey, and presumably it will stay that way for the whole day - except when it turns almost black, and heavy rain falls - which might happen from mid afternoon. It is also going to be cold. Just 13° C is forecast for the afternoon, and that will soon drop to 12° C just after sunset. Strangely enough, just before the day ends, the temperature is predicted to rise back to 13° C again. Tomorrow is predicted to be just a slightly warmer version of today, but the rain may finish by the evening. It could be a "glorious" 15° C tomorrow !!

  Whether my theory about the orange squash, of which I drunk two pints, being the source of hidden sugar, or not, I was still disappointed to find that instead of being lower than the day before, my blood glucose level had risen to 7.2 when I checked it before dinner last night. It was not a great rise, and a little experimentation showed that it could be purely due to the inaccuracy of the test strips I use to check my blood glucose levels. This morning it was 9.2 - a bit higher than I hoped - but then, using the same blood from the pin prick on my finger, another test strip gave a figure of 9.4. As some doctors and nurses have said, these home test kits are not very accurate compared to a laboratory test of blood. Where they are good is to check the general trend of glucose levels in the blood, and on that basis I will try my best to ignore small changes, and only really bother with the big number - which is either static or falling.

  My dinner was a bit unsatisfactory last night. The chicken was fine, but the ready prepared, sliced green beans, were 2 days after their best before date, and were getting a bit sweaty inside their hermetically sealed pack. I was very sure that it would carry no risk like spoiled meat might have, but it did spoil the flavour, and that spoiled the entire meal - what should have been my only meal of the day.

  I think the disappointment of not seeing a further drop of my blood glucose level may have been partly instrumental in my decision to throw caution to the wind, and have a bit more to eat than just the dinner I have described. Maybe an equally strong motivation was the reminder that I had stuff in the fridge that was not going to last forever. I had a packet of "Sicilian" ham that seemed like I should eat it soon, and last night seemed a good night to do it. I also had half a pack of cheddar cheese that was open, and starting to show signs of drying. I ate a chunk of that too. I may have another chunk today as well !

  One thing I didn't have, although I was tempted, was any booze. I felt that after the previous night's bender I needed a booze free day ! Having a tot or two of whisky in the evening originally started as a substitute for a cigarette. Sometimes I just needed a substitute with some bite rather, as you might think, some nicotine. These last few nights I have had cravings for more food that I am resisting well, but once I would use a cigarette to help resist the cravings, and so I have had some renewed cravings for a cigarette. In turn I had cravings for a tot of whisky to take away the cravings for a cigarette. It is perhaps fortunate that "cravings" sounds a far stronger word for what is probably no more than a medium desire, and resisting all three desires has been possible - except maybe that chunk of cheese last nigh !

  I stayed up until the latest "Have I Got News For You" finished on BBC1 last night. I think that was 9.30pm. Then I went to bed to read for a while. I didn't think I felt very sleepy, and would have trouble getting to sleep last night, but I only managed a couple of pages in the book before I put the book down, turned out the light, and fell asleep in minutes. I don't know when it was during the night, but I had a very strange dream. Well, most dreams are strange, but this one took a new twist on strange.

  I suppose it was because of all the visits to the hospital that it was inevitable I would dream of hospitals. In this dream I was waiting in A&E with a woman who was notionally my mum, but looked nothing like her. As far as I can tell, we were both in good health, and there seemed no reason for us to be there. After what seemed to be like a long wait my "mum" said she felt hungry, and asked if I could go an buy her a packet of crisps, and maybe a can of drink. I knew there was a shop in the hospital, but declined to use it because their prices were very high.

  The hospital shop seemed to be built into the front of the hospital, and looked as big as a medium sized supermarket, but I knew a sweet shop that would be cheaper. The hospital was supposed to be Lewisham hospital, and I walked in the direction of Lewisham, but after a short walk I emerged into the middle of Catford. At that point there was a sort of edit in the sequence, and I was walking back to the hospital, presumably with crisps and drink, but I have no recollection of carrying anything.

  The entrance to the A&E waiting area was up a side alley in the hospital because, as a big sign said, a boiler leak. There was no sign of this except for a small trickle of water from under an unlabelled door. I had to walk through two waiting areas, until I got back to where I started. It was a fair sized room, but only had half a dozen seats in it. Once I got back to my seat, next to my "mum", the dream seemed to fade out.

  This morning I feel tolerably OK, although my ribs feel a bit sore. I can vaguely remember one time in the night when I laid on my right side, and getting almost mild shooting pains going across my chest. I turned onto my left side, and there was some "popping" noises/feeling, and all the pains went away. I suspect I probably did that manoeuvre more than once in the night, and it has left a legacy that I think is starting to fade away now. Other indicators are generally positive. My weight might have dropped 100gm, but such a small figure is meaningless. My blood glucose in not as low as yesterday morning, but I hope I know why, and have learned a less (the orange squash). My blood pressure is still nice an low.

  Today should be a busy day. The next thing I need to do, as most mornings, is to have a shower, and also to wash my hair. Then I need to pre-cook tonight's dinner. I think tonight it will be stewed beef with a vegetable or two. At midday I need to put on a raincoat and take a healthy walk to The Fox And Firkin pub where The Entourage Band are using the stage in the corner of the bar to film a video. It is actually more like a public rehearsal with cameras. I will be taking my camera, and maybe some of my stills will end up in their video.

  I am unsure how long I want to be there, and it may not be more than an hour or two because I want to drink the minimum I can because there are more drinking opportunities tonight. At the silly hour of 9pm (I prefer 8pm starts) Chain are playing another Fleetwood Mac special gig back at The Fellowship And Star's proper stage in the rear of the pub. If, like last time, they have the full stage lights in use, and a sound engineer, it should be an excellent gig. I just hope it is well attended, because that place needs to be used more.
Friday 11th October 2019
09:07 BST
  There was some sunshine yesterday morning, but the afternoon was overcast. The afternoon temperature was around 16° C, and that was a very small improvement on the day before. It may have even been good for the time of year. Towards the end of the day there was some rain forecast, and this morning it looks like there may have been a shower or more during the night.
a grey
                    and wet day
 The ground is wet, and I see people with umbrellas. I assume it must still be raining, but at the moment it must be fairly light rain. The sky is an ugly grey, and the forecast for some heavy rain soon, and then more drizzly rain for the rest of the day, seems entirely feasible. I suppose there is some compensation for this awful looking day - it's a mild start to the day, and the temperature should rise to 17° C. It's not far off that already. Maybe there is a slim chance of ray or two of sunshine just before sunset, but I find it hard to believe when I look out my window right now. Today might be a bit unpleasant, but the current forecast for tomorrow looks truly awful. It may be no better than 13° C, and there could be heavy rain for a lot of the day.

  I'm finding it hard to say that yesterday was a good day, but it did have it's moments - some of which were good. There was some nice sunshine in the morning, and I wanted to go out and get some exercise, and do some photography. I got as far as walking down the road towards the station when I changed my mind. First of all I had only the most vague idea of where I might go. I was still planning a destination, and thinking about a route as I walked. If things had gone as vaguely planned, I would have got a train to London Bridge, and then walked by the River Thames as far as Blackfriars where I could get a train home. It would not have been a very long walk, but there would be plenty of photo opportunities.

  I don't think I was even halfway to the station before I started farting. It was a bit strange because I had been to the toilet three times in the morning, and that seemed more than enough considering how little I had eaten in the previous 48 hours. Those three visits to the toilet seemed excessive but what I did seemed perfectly normal...although maybe a little small in size. As I walked to the station it felt like I would have to go again. In fact it was just wind, and not really much of it, but at the time I didn't feel comfortable to get on a train.

  Rather than completely abandon the idea of getting some fresh air and exercise, I decided I would have a wander around Catford and take a few snaps there. There was one problem, and it seems like sacrilege to say it, but the sun was too bright. Maybe a better way of putting it is that the shadows were too deep and dark. It made photography rather tricky. Had I taken a camera, such as one of my Canons, that I could use easily in manual mode, I could probably have compensated for the light better, but some pictures I tried to take came out really stark !
market stall in bright
                        sunshine and deep shadow
  Sometimes the bright sunshine and deep shadow did give a nice effect.  It seemed to work with this picture of a market stall.I did brighten up the foreground a bit to show a bit of perspective, but it still looks like night time behind the stall.
Looks like bronze, but
                        probably fibreglass
  Some of the shopfronts I tried to photograph didn't come out well with half the picture bright, and the other half in deep gloom, but there were other things to snap. The religious looking statue above looks like it is cast in bronze, but I strongly suspect it is very skilfully painted fibreglass. It is one of the odd things that turn up in the yard of a company who do stage and film sets. I am wondering if it has been left out to weather, to make the finish look even more natural, or maybe it has already been used on a film set, and they are too proud of it to throw it away.
Bus stand in Thomas
  Sometimes you have to remember to take pictures of the mundane because one day everything may change. The bus stand in Thomas Lane has been there for quite a few years now. If I recall correctly it was just one bus that used to use it, but now there are three routes that use it - the 336, 160 and 320. Yesterday I finally took a picture of it with two buses waiting there before starting out on their respective routes. The 336, the small bus in front, is notorious for taking the "scenic route" all the way to a useful destination. After a whole hour of meandering through all sorts of back roads it get to Farnborough - just around the corner to Ye Olde Whyte Lion pub. It's not a bad pub, but a pain to get to. It's either a very, very long ride on one bus, or splitting the journey using two bus routes.

  It may have been bright and sunny while I was out taking photos, but the afternoon was rather dull. It was still dry, and so I could have done some work in the garden, but I think I spent much of the afternoon wishing the hours away. I was really fighting hunger pains in the afternoon, and couldn't wait until 6pm when I could have my dinner. It was hard, and is hard work, but it is paying off. Just before dinner I checked my blood glucose and it was very much improved.
blood glucose meter
  A reading of 7.0 is about the upper limit of what is considered "normal". I think I am aiming for something like an average of 5.0. It is possible I might even achieve that today. This morning I started at 8 compared with 11 yesterday morning. If the trend continues I can start to ease up on how strict my self imposed diet is, and I will also have to be careful not to let the level get too low.

  My one and only meal yesterday was basically chicken and broccoli. I used a lot of "red" spices (paprika and chilli) when I cooked the chilli, and it turned out to be very tasty. The only downside was the smell of cooking broccoli. It really lingered, and after being out for a while in the evening it seemed really smelly when I came in out of the fresh air. Tonight I will probably have chicken with sliced runner beans. That should generate less smell.

  I went out last night to go to the Marco Buono Blues Band open mic at The Catford Bridge Tavern. I was expecting to see Michael there, and also Angela. I was under strict instructions to say hello to Angela and lover boy. The only problem is that I got there and nothing was happening. It actually happens next week ! Oh well, I had a nice pint of Guinness, and then I went home again - to be greeted by the stench of boiled broccoli when I went through the front door !

  It was getting on for 9pm when I got home, and I had missed the best TV programmes of the evening, and so I didn't even both turning the TV on. I didn't feel very tired, but I had it in mind I would go to bed and read until I did feel sleepy. Then I had another idea. I phoned Sue to catch up on the latest news and gossip. It was lucky I didn't feel tired because, as usual, the call went on for hours.

Interlude: Another multi hour long phone has kept me from writing. This one was from a friend, and it was mainly about technical stuff. It felt like it was getting late by the end of the call, and so before resuming writing I have been to Tesco, and prepared tonight's dinner. It is now 4.30pm, and I continue....

  I'm not sure what time I finished the call because I over did the tots of whisky. The unsteady way I walked to the bathroom for a pee, and to brush my teeth, was further confirmation that I had slowly got myself rather drunk. I have a theory that I managed to get off the phone by midnight, but it is just an unproven theory. What is for sure is that I did go to sleep very quickly, and it was a deep sleep.

  I am sure I got up once for a pee, but it is a vague memory. One surprise is that I slept the whole night with the duvet pushed aside, and without any heat on in the room. Oddly enough I have needed very little heat on during the day despite it being fairly cool outside. I think the explanation might be that next door has just had new radiators fitted (possibly a new central heating system), and I know one radiator was fitted on the other side of the wall to my bedroom. I think I am getting free bonus heat from the neighbours on both sides.

  This morning I woke up late, and with a hangover ! I still feel a bit hungover even now. Also a bit weird and shaky. Before going out to Tesco I thought it might be prudent to check my blood glucose level in case of the unlikely event it had dropped too low. Of course it hadn't, but I think I may be on track to beat last night's low of 7. I don't think it will be much lower though, and I blame that on the orange squash I was drinking. It is "no added sugar", but it still contains some sugar - maybe just fruit sugars, but they all count. I'll be doing my official evening check just before I tuck into dinner at about 6pm.

  My original thoughts about today included the idea that I ought to go out for as long as possible to avoid any temptation to eat, and hopefully be too distracted doing whatever I was doing to think about food. Instead of going out, the multi hour (4 hours ????) phone call was a good distraction, and probably less painful to do with a hangover. I think I did consider going out tonight to a gig, but I can't remember who I thought I might see, and where they are playing. I know I am definitely going to see Chain tomorrow night.

  Having written about preparing it, my mind is now fixated on food, but somehow I don't actually feel that hungry. Tonight's low everything but flavour dinner is a pair of skinless and boneless chicken thighs cooked with diced chillies, and sliced runner beans. Making it has used up all but some unfrozen sprouts, and that is why I went to Tesco earlier - to top up supplies. I did find what I hope is a bargain. Most Tesco price reductions are very miser-like, but the spatchcock I bought was less than half price. I hope it is nice because it will be my treat of the week - possibly on Sunday - although I may pre-cook it tomorrow because it is already on it's use by date.
Thursday 10th October 2019
08:21 BST
  Once again it was sunnier than the forecast predicted yesterday. The day did start dull, but before the morning was over the clouds were well broken up, and there were large areas of blue sky visible. The sunshine made the 15° C feel warm, although it could feel a bit cool in the shade. Some rain was forecast for the morning, possibly just a brief shower, but I remember yesterday as a completely dry day.
                    sunny periods
 This morning's weather forecast predicts some sunny intervals followed by some long periods of sunshine. As I write this the sun is shining but it is a bit hazy. There seems to be a lot of thin misty cloud towards the east at the moment. By mid afternoon we may be back to overcast skies, and by 10pm it could even start to rain. It should be a whole degree warmer than yesterday, but it will only peak at 16° C after the sun is obscured by clouds. So it may never actually feel warm. Sadly, the latest revision has the sunshine ending an hour earlier at midday, but otherwise is much the same. Tomorrow could see a sunny spell or two, and it should be another degree or two warmer, but the main feature will be rain !

  Yesterday was a good day on all sorts of levels. Of course the most important thing was meeting Angela at lunchtime. To help pass some of the morning I did a bit of washing up, and a bit of cooking, but eating what I cooked would have to wait until much later. Eventually I ran out of things to do and set off to meet Angela earlier than really needed, on the other hand that extra time came in useful to stop in the park a few times to take some snaps.
blue sky and fluffy
  This picture could almost look like it was taken on a summer's day with the blue sky, and fluffy clouds, but the pink leaves on the tree on the right of the picture reveal it was autumn.
tree with purple
  This tree is now in it's autumn colours. It won't be long now when it, and all the other trees start to lose all their leaves (many trees have already started).

  I arrived at the pub after about 20 minutes fairly fast walking (with occasional stops to point my camera at things), and I felt quite hot after walking in the sunshine. It was useful to have 10 minutes to cool before Angela arrived. She must have been keen to see me because she must have left work early, and arrived 5 minutes before her lunch break started. She also had a very beautiful smile on her face. She may have chosen another man, but there is still a strong spark between us.

  I told her that unless we could meet closer to the actual date at the end of the month, that it was her official birthday drink. I have a strong feeling we will meet again closer to her birthday. I had two gifts for her. The one that I thought she would treasure most was a couple of coins, a florin, and a shilling both minted in 1955 - the year of her birth. She did indeed love them. The second gift I originally bought from the Poundshop, although I think it was actually £2. It was a hip flask with "Save Water, Drink Vodka" written across it. Angela loves her vodka, but I don't think she will use the hip flask, but she was still very happy to receive it.

  We had just an hour to talk before Angela had to go back to work, but she did stretch it a bit. In most ways it was like we had last seen each other mere days ago, although obviously quite a lot has happened since I last saw her. It was a shame when things turned to less happy stuff, and I felt very privileged to hear some of it.  She wouldn't reveal any details, but it didn't involve lover boy this time, although I did get the impression that maybe he wasn't able to give the support Angela needed. Having said that, it was a family matter, and getting involved in family matters is terribly hard.

  When the time came to leave the pub I walked Angela back to work, but she didn't go straight in. Instead she sat down at one of the tables of the cafe next door, and we chatted for a few more minutes. Finally we parted with a very warm hug. I had an extra spring in my step as I walked home again - and it wasn't just the Guinness I had drunk ! I had drunk two and a half pints of Guinness - half a pint less than I used to drink when meeting Angela regularly in he past.

  When I got home the first thing I wanted to do was to eat something, but I resisted that the best I could. I did end up eating a handful of peanuts, and half a dozen pecan nut halves as I waited for the clock to slowly tick towards dinner time. Before I ate my dinner I checked my blood glucose level. Some would say that it would send the glucose level soaring, but in fact it was slightly lower than the same time the day before. It was only a drop of 0.2, but if I could manage the same reduction every day for a fortnight I would be close to having a normal blood glucose level.

  My dinner was a sort of stew. I had cooked some fairly lean looking pork strips (sold as for stir fries) along with some assorted vegetables. The bulk of it was about three quarters of a small head of cauliflower. I'm not sure how I managed it, but that, plus the nuts I mentioned, was all I ate all day. It was particularly notable that I managed to convince myself not to have any nibbles for supper. If I keep that up it will soon mean my dinners will have to be based on stuff that was supposed to be a slightly more healthy variant on snack food - cheese and chilli flavoured rice cakes.

  I did allow myself a couple of large whiskeys in the evening. Part of the reason was to help me sleep. Well that didn't work ! I went to bed at 9pm, and just lay there wide awake for a good hour or more. I'm not sure how well I slept last night. It was one of those nights when I think I thought I was awake for far longer than I actually was. It was that sensation where you think you'll never get back to sleep, and then suddenly realised that 2 or 3 hours had passed without you realising it.

  One of the other good things about yesterday was that I seemed to have no reaction to the 'flu jab I had the evening before. This morning there is still no reaction, and like yesterday I sort of feel OK. I did wake up with a bit of a chest ache where I must have crunched my ribs in the night, but it faded away very quickly. I think I could almost dare to do a bit of exercise - aka go for a walk somewhere.

  The things I can actually measure about my health suggests I am doing OK. Last night, and this morning, my blood pressure is low. I was going to say "nice and low", but I still think that it would be better if it were just a little bit higher. Once again my blood glucose level is higher this morning than it was before dinner last night, but it is 0.2 lower than yesterday's reading.

  At the moment my day is mostly undefined, but I hope I can find enough to do to distract me from food. I hope to fast again until dinner time - and for dinner to be moderately small, and mostly carbohydrate free. I am aware it is not the recommended way of doing it, but I know this method works, makes me feel good (except when my gut is rumbling), drops my blood glucose level, and rather usefully allows me to lose a bit of weight. It has worked before, and it can work again until something comes along to piss me off, and it all comes crashing down.
Wednesday 9th October 2019
08:34 BST
  I was very lucky with the weather yesterday. I'll explain why later. It was a day of sunshine and showers, and while I can't say it was warm, it was definitely very mild. In the early afternoon the temperature reached 17° C, and on reflection that did feel warm, but only when in the sunshine.
                    than hoped
 In amongst a very grey sky I can see one very bright spot where the sun could peep through if only the clouds parted a little. The forecast says it could rain soon, and from the look of the clouds that seems quite possible. If reality matches the forecast it might just be one brief shower, and the rest of the will be dry. I feel pessimistic about it, but apparently there could be a chance of a few sunny spells just before sunset, but the rest of the day will probably be rather dull. The afternoon could see the temperature rise to 15° C. Tomorrow might see quite a few hours of sunshine, and the temperature may rise to a nicer 17° C. In the late evening there could be some rain, and that may well continue for a lot of the following day.

  I seems I was feeling better than I thought yesterday. It was a case of you never know what you have until you try it. It was double trauma day yesterday, and the story of the day really begins at 2pm when I set out to walk through the park to get to the hospital for my 2.30pm appointment with the diabetic nurse. Bits of it were traumatic, but most of it was rather less traumatic than I feared.

  I gave myself some spare time to walk through the park to get to the hospital. It was nice and bright and sunny, and I had opted to not bother wearing a coat. I felt perfectly comfortable, but I was walking fast, and at the end I was starting to feel a little too warm. My high blood glucose level meant my forehead had a light glaze of sweat on it by the time I had reached the correct department.

  Before that, when I reached the entrance to the hospital, I felt very slightly short of breath, and thought I had used all my energy up. I was almost thinking I would have to resort to using the lifts instead of walking up two flights of stairs, but fortunately I was able to pause to get my breath back. There is a "hole in the wall" cash machine outside the hospital and I stopped there for the minute or two it takes to get some cash out (there was no queue). That seemed to completely refresh me, and I may not have bounded up the stairs like a gazelle, but I didn't hang around.

 After presenting my credentials to the receptionist I waited until called. I think they are running a sneaky system there because I was called for a pre-examination at roughly my appointment time, but then had to wait much longer to see the specialist diabetes nurse. I think he was a nurse practitioner - a nurse with extra training in a specialised subject. Seeing him was an acceptable experience, but the pre-examination was not.

  There were two nurses, or maybe just technicians, for that pre-examination, and presumably to try and stick to the appointment times they rushed everything, and made me feel more like an animal going for slaughter. The results were predictable. They managed to push my systolic blood pressure to over 200 ! It didn't help that the machine they used was ultra annoying. It started like any blood pressure meter. The cuff would slowly inflate until it felt like it was gripping firmly, but not tightly - all perfectly normal. Then it would slowly release the pressure in the cuff while checking my pulse - just like any other blood pressure meter I have experienced. At that point it seemed to be over, and I could stop trying to relax. The trouble is that it seems to do a double check, and starts inflating the cuff again. It caught me unaware twice, and to make matters worse it does it with a sort of noisy jolt. By that time my blood pressure had soared from something like slightly high to ultra high !

  Another part of the pre-exam was to check my blood glucose level. Fortunately that is unaffected by shock, and it was high, but maybe not as high as I feared. One unusual thing I have never seen before was a very small amount of excess blood from the pinprick used for the blood glucose meter being sucked up by capillary action into a microscopic test tube. I can't be certain, but I think that was used in an automatic analyser that gave a long term average of my blood glucose level over the past 3 months.

   I forgot to say this pre-exam started with an order to wash my hands - another unusual thing. The thing that pissed me off was the soap that was used. It smelled evil, and the stench from it stayed until I could get home and wash my hands with proper soap - twice !

  I guess it was only a wait until I was called in to see the specialist diabetes nurse. He seemed to know his stuff, but took a long time to come to a decision as he contemplated various factors. He warned that type II diabetes is a progressive disease, but said I had been controlling it well considering the time that had passed since I was first diagnosed (maybe 20 years). However it was time to step up the treatment as my average blood glucose levels are slowly starting to rise. The main indicator is the H1Bc1 (or something like that) test that is performed on a blood sample, and this is what may have been done during the pre-exam. Certainly the figure he offered, 63, was relatively new, and sort of good.

  63 is most definitely high, but not that high. Interestingly enough, when I saw the nurse at my GP, the last figure she could find was 68, and that suggests some of the stuff I have been doing to lower my blood glucose is already working. The specialist nurse said he would like to see that figure drop to 55 or lower, and his proposal, after considering other drug options, was to increase the dose of one of my drugs from 10mg to 25mg. He will be writing to my doctor to ask him to prescribe this new dosages, and also to prescribe test strips for my own blood glucose meter. I haven't been prescribed any since before my heart bypass operation. I was told they weren't needed !

  Before I was released I had to have my blood pressure checked again. As usual, my high peaks when in a situation of high stress, had them very worried. To me it was perfectly normal ! I was escorted back to the pre-exam room, and the blood pressure cuff was brutally wrapped around my arm, and the machine started before I could compose myself. The result was predictably high. and the nurse/technician who did it was going to accept that, but I told him no ! I said to leave the cuff on, and give me a minute or two to compose myself. He did so, but only for about 30 seconds instead of the one or two minutes I requested (and agreed on by the other nurse/technician in the room). Had I had the full requested time, and had the machine not had that double test action which still slightly startled me, I might have got my blood pressure even lower, but they were happy that my blood pressure had come down to 191 from 214 !

  It was nice to escape from the hospital, and getting away with just a small change in medication seemed reason to be cheerful. The freedom and sunshine were also very good reasons to be cheerful. Getting home after a fast walk, and not feeling so fatigued as when going to the hospital was another reason to be cheerful. Of course there was still the ordeal of seeing the nurse at the GP to come, but I could put my feet up for an hour.

  During that hour I washed off the stench of the hospital soap, checked my blood pressure and blood glucose level, and more importantly I checked my weight with my trousers on and off. In mid August, prior to being sent off for my angiogram, I was weighed. I was wearing no more than a very lightweight hospital gown, and I weighed 136kg. Yesterday I was weighed fully clothed, and with my shoes on. I weighed 136kg - the same as in mid August - but my experiments at home showed that my trousers, with lots of loose change, and my house keys on a chain, plus my shoes, weighed about 2kg. Simple maths suggests that since August I have lost 2kg. It is not a lot, and I know I could step up the system to lose more, but considering I had been more trying to stay a constant weight, rather than lose any, I guess I am doing then right thing. It is also reflected in my average blood glucose level being 3 points lower.

  While I was doing those things at home it was pouring down with rain. Some of it was quite heavy, but as the time approached for my second appointment of the day the sky suddenly cleared, and I was able to walk there quite comfortable without a coat. I arrived my usual 10 minutes early, and as expected, the nurse was running late - an estimated 15 minutes late, and that was about what it actually was. After a very boring 25 minutes wait I was called into the nurses examination room.

  There were two things the nurse want to do. One was a diabetic foot check. It is where bits of the foot are prodded with a stiff bristle to see if there is any numbness - a sign of nerve damage caused by poor blood flow. There were a few parts of my feet, probably more callused areas where I had little or no feeling (but only from this delicate test), but most of my feet were OK, and I got a pass from the nurse.  The final thing was a 'flu jab. I was a bit reluctant because I seemed to react badly to it last year, but I thought I might as well be brave, and go for it.

  When I came back out into the free world it looked like there had been another shower, but there was no rain, and the sun was out, albeit now very low in the sky, as I walked home. The first thing I did when I got home was to finish cooking my dinner. I had pre-cooked the chicken the day before, and vacuum sealed it into a container. I added some peas, and gave it another 10 minutes to cook. While that was happening I poured myself a large neat vodka.

  For the previous 24 hours I had denied myself food and booze in the hope that I could take the edge off my blood glucose readings. That worked, but only for the instant reading of the test strips in a blood glucose meter. It would have had little effect on the long term average reading of the H1Bc1 (or whatever) test, and that was the reading that really counted (and was high, but not as high as expected, and  more significantly, lower than the previous time it was tested). I was very much looking forward to my dinner - as you would after fasting for 24 hours. It was a slightly smaller portion than I would usually cook, and I did have some extreme ideas about eating no more than that, but a bit later I snacked on some rice cakes with cheese. In theory neither should do much to raise my blood glucose, but I have grave doubts about teh claims for rice cakes. I also had another very large vodka.

  I could have gone out last night to the Tuesday Stretchy's Open Mic, but I was feeling weary. I was in bed before 9pm, and I think I was fast asleep before 9pm too. I seemed to sleep OK until about 1am when I woke up. No matter what I tried I could not get back to sleep again. By 2am, or maybe even a bit after that, I turned on my reading lamp, and instead of just wasting the time I read for about half an hour. That seemed to do the trick, and I eventually got back to sleep again.

  This morning I think I feel fairly OK. Most importantly I have not had any reaction from that 'flu jab, although that could come later. I have already checked my blood pressure, and I had to do it three times. The first reading was on the high side of perfectly normal (135). The second was very slightly above my current average (125), and the last was quite low (102). I also checked my blood glucose level. This is going to be a twice daily ritual for some time now. It was 11.7, which was higher than I hoped, but in reality probably what I should have expected. Hopefully, if I continue my recent eating regime, and once I get the new dosage of one of my drugs, which could be in a few weeks time, I'll get that reading down to a more acceptable 7 or 8 - maybe even 6 if I really work at it. Past experience is that once it starts going down it accelerates for a while.

  The only important thing today is that I should be seeing Angela at lunchtime. It was arranged on Monday, but is still to be confirmed, but I have a feeling that Angela is looking forward to it almost as much as I am, and will not bow out at the last minute. As I write this the sun has been shining for the last 15 minutes - that was not expected from the weather forecast. If I am lucky I will be able to walk to the pub without a coat, and in sunshine to meet Angela. If I was lucky beyond credibility I would find that she is fed up with lover buy, and wants to get together with me again, but that is not a realistic hope.
Tuesday 8th October 2019
08:07 BST
  The thing that sticks in my memory most about yesterday's weather is that it was very cool, and almost cold. Some of the chill was more to do with the lack of sunshine rather than the actual temperature, although an afternoon high of a mere 14° C was not exactly t-shirt weather. There as a small threat of rain at any time, but the only rain I experienced was very light, and at a time that was not in any of the revised forecasts. There may have been some rain after dark, but I didn't notice it.
                    spells followed by rain
 As I write this the sun is trying to shine, but although the cloud is broken up, with plenty of blue bits visible, there seems to be a persistent gang of clouds right where the sun is in the sky, and while it is bright, it is not currently sunny. Sooner or later the sun should break through, and with luck there will be sunny periods until early afternoon. The temperature should rise to 17° C, and if it wasn't for the rain, I would be happy walking to Lewisham Hospital in a t-shirt, but probably not happy walking home again in the rain ! It doesn't look like there will be much rain this afternoon, and it may well be light rain, but it's at the wrong time. It looks like another cold night coming up, and tomorrow may see the temperature rising to no more than 14° C, but at the moment it looks like it some of the day will be bright with some sunny spells.

  I think I probably felt a lot better yesterday, but if I did it turned out that I didn't really do anything to exploit it. I did go to Tesco, and I seem to recall that felt OK, probably even totally normal. I also did a bit of laundry. Laundry seems to be almost a daily occurrence recently, or so it feels. Yesterday's laundry was the result of finding a couple of smelly t-shirts under a pile of jeans... I haste to add that by smelly I mean not fresh, and not stinky !

  My shopping trip to Tesco was only notable by being a very disciplined shop. I bought a load of fresh vegetables, and a minimum of meat - basically I avoided buying anything with more than a hint of sugar in it. It was a bit late in the day to be very careful with what I eat, but for the last few days I have tried to be careful. The reason for all this care is that today I have a double whammy !

 This afternoon I am due to see the diabetes nurse at Lewisham Hospital. I am not entirely sure what this will involve, but I have grave fears it is is going to be a pain in the rear - doubly so if this nurse is anything like the cardiac rehabilitation nurse who was all stick, and no carrot. I hope that when she inevitably checks my blood glucose level it will not be that high. I checked it myself before dinner last night, and it was 9.7. That is high, but not dangerously so. If seeing one nurse was not bad enough, I will also be seeing the nurse at my doctors surgery for a diabetic check up as well - probably duplicating some of the other nurses effort. This visit, early this evening, will have a sting in it's tail - a 'flu jab. I hope that this time I get no more than a mild and brief reaction to it. Last year I seem to catch a mild, but still very annoying, dose of 'flu that made life miserable for a couple of weeks or more.

  I felt quite lazy for a lot of yesterday, or maybe the lure of reading was stronger than one important job. It was at least half way through the evening, and possibly a bit later than that when I pulled myself together, and started going through the photos I had taken at Stretchy's Open Mic on Sunday night. I decided to not use flash for the photos, and it was probably a good decision. The light was not that good, and I had to use the highest ISO speed on my camera, and inevitably all the pictures needed a light de-noising, but the better pictures do have a nice mellowness to them.
  First picture is of Stretchy himself opening the open mic session. Most of the lighting for this picture is coming from light reflected off the song sheets that are lit by a bulb above them. Note how the song sheets are completely bleached out, and glowing like they are white hot !
Paul Southpaw
  Paul Southpaw (possibly a nickname because he is left handed) singing his usual dreary version of Lindisfarne's "Meet Me On The Corner". At the end we all dutifully clap, but I expect many of us are just glad it is all over. The guitar playing is fine, but his voice - almost a monotone....
Gian Goldie
  Gian Goldie - good player, and good singer, although he chose to play a few songs that were unfamiliar to me.
                        "Smudge" Smith
  Paul Smith is like a typical folk singer - good at it, but still rather unexciting to my ears. I think everyone did at least 3 songs, and Gian duetted with Stretch for a couple of songs. Finally there was one player, I think his name was Gideon, who was dragged away from a game of chess in the back of the pub, to sing at least one song, but I had put my camera away by then because it was quite near 11pm, and last orders would soon be rung.

  My dinner was similar to my lunch yesterday. As I explained earlier, I was trying to be "good" and on these occasions I was succeeding. Both were quite small portions (by my standards), and both were meat with a single green vegetable. Lunch was some diced skinless chicken with mange tout, and dinner was some lean looking strips of pork with sliced runner beans. Both should have had very few carbohydrates, and hopefully both will have given my blood glucose level a chance to fall in the long run - i.e. by this afternoon when I am subjected to the tyranny of the diabetes nurse.

  I didn't drink any beer yesterday, although I did have a couple of vodkas, and so I seemed to have less need to pee in the night. It probably meant that I slept better than some nights, but only by a small margin. It didn't stop me having some entertaining dreams whose origins are hard to explain. One dream seemed to pop up several times. It was something to do with wirelessly networking together some piece of equipment that was not really designed for such a thing. I can't seem to remember what the equipment was, and why it should be networked, but it seemed to work. It feels like I had about 4 dreams that differed only in the location, and maybe other people, about this networking thing.

  Another dream seemed to be a long dream, but I think it was probably a series of short dreams that seemed like one longer dream. It was set somewhere in North London, and seemed to feature a family that I don't recognise in reality. I think one woman in it was a girlfriend, and we were taken for a ride in her parents car. Most of the details are extremely vague, but a few seconds of it stick in my mind. In this dream version of North London all the high streets of the various towns are themed. The high street we were driven down was themed on industrial and nautical plumbing. There was one very large shop which had a couple of big marine diesel engines, festooned with piping, and painted white, hanging outside the shop ! Then I think I woke up.

  This morning I possibly feel a bit like yesterday - mostly OK, but feeling apprehensive about potential aches and pains. Maybe they will never happen. Probably the biggest test will be when I walk to the hospital. It will be nice if my recent intermittent wheeziness has gone away again so I can enjoy the walk. It would obviously be a lot nicer if the walk was done in sunshine too.

  Once I have finished my two appointments with nurses I will be free to eat anything I fancy, although having started a trend, and only bought food that supports that trend, I will probably not go too overboard. If I have any energy left after the trauma of two nurses, I could go out again tonight. Stretchy's Open Mic at The Bricklayers Arms in Bromley is on tonight. It is usually a good session which is often marginally spoiled by the presence of one or more persons. If I feel up to it I'll probably still go though.
Monday 7th October 2019
09:36 BST
  The forecast was a little ambiguous for yesterday. From morning until almost sunset they used that very strange icon of the black cloud leaking a raindrop while surrounded by rays of sunshine. I am increasingly think that this means the forecasters have no idea what may happen, and so they use this icon because it includes everything possible except for snow flakes ! Reality turned out to be mostly sunny intervals, although they did little for the temperature. That remained fairly constant all day at about 15° C, and just a degree or two lower at the ends of the day. It wasn't a good day, and yet neither was it a bad day. It was probably a typical early autumn day.
  Today has started fairly cool and overcast. The screenshot above is not terribly accurate when compared with the latest revision, and I have a gut feeling that the latest revision will be revised again several times through the day. The latest revision to the forecast shows the temperature reaching 15° C by 1pm, and rain starting to fall at 4pm. Quite how that may change later, and what will actually happen is anyone's guess. I think the best we can say is that it is going to be be cool and dull with the chance of a shower - sometime ! Tomorrow's forecast is a lot more cheerful. There should be some sunny intervals, and it could be a couple of degrees warmer, 17° C, for a few hours, but again there is a threat of rain in the afternoon.

  I really didn't know how I felt yesterday. I thought that maybe I felt a bit delicate, and an occasional cough made me think that I was still having a relapse of the cold I had recently. After being just totally lazy for a while I went to the corner shop. That didn't feel too bad, but it was without the sort of joy that a walk in the sunshine might bring. Once again I relaxed again, and then my mind started noticing that it was dry instead of wet, and sunny instead of overcast. I concluded I might as well spend a few minutes in the garden using my new hoe.

  It turned out to be more than a few minutes, and I actually made some good progress. I have pushed a bit further into the back, right hand corner of the garden. Progress is slow there on account of the amount of rubble. One moment you are slicing deeply through the roots of a weed, and the next moment you are trying to push the hoe through a brick ! The very last bit of that corner has two major obstacles. One is some heavy rubble - I can see it laying on top of the ground. The other is the stumps of tree that originally grew right by the back fence before it was killed by ivy, and another tree grew in front of it. I'm not sure if I can do much with those stumps except to try and cut them down to near the ground.
back of my garden
  There still looks like there is lots of little green shoots in this area that is supposed to be cleared, but many of them are just loose leaves that will soon dry up. Some of my hard work is obscured by the old lino that I have now draped over the big tree stump. I'm not sure what to do with that lino. In the hot summer months it was useful to drag it over weeds, and the build up of heat under it would help kill them - roots and all with luck. Now I am thinking that it has served it's purpose, and could be disposed of. There is one reason I am slightly reluctant to do that is because it is obviously very high quality lino - as would be expected for use on a government contract (in the days when clerk-of-works really knew their stuff, and had the power of God). I "acquired" that lino, as a big off cut, just before I moved here 36 years ago. It was stored in the under stairs cupboard for 30 of those years, and in the garden for the rest of the time. It is a bit muddy at the moment, but if cleaned it would still be in near perfect condition !
excavating a tree
  One of the toughest ongoing projects in my garden is removing this tree stump. It's not particularly big on top, but it's root system is extensive. What makes it worse if that it grew up through a pile of rubble. As you dig down you find the roots are wrapped around that rubble. I did a very bad job of it, but I have outlined two large obstacles in a rather pale violet colour (it seemed a good idea at the time !). They are only guess as to the full extent of the obstructions. The one on the right is a large bit of slate, and that on the left is a large chunk of concrete.

  Another thing that is impeding the job is that much of the mud is actually ancient clay based cat litter. It is really sticky, and makes using a small trowel to dig out, and undermine the roots, hard work. At some time I will be able to cut through some of the roots, and then I hope I can pull the rest of the stump out. All I can say at the moment is that I am making progress. The ultimate plan is to leave that area flat and free of rubble because it should end up as part of a lawn.

  Working in the garden left me hot and sweaty, and at the end I felt a bit tired. Maybe a bit more than "a bit tired", but fatigue from hard work never feels bad, and sort of feels good !  I had a late lunch/early dinner after working in the garden. It was a simple dish of sprouts and bacon. The bacon was pre-grilled, and in theory (and I retain the right to be blind to the reality) it was a fairly fat free, healthy meal. I gave it half an hour to settle, and then had a much needed shower (and washed my hair).

  After my shower I had a few hours to relax in before it was time to go out to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley. I have to admit that physically I didn't feel like going. I felt lethargic, and creaky, but I took a few painkillers and went anyway. I arrived at the Swan & Mitre to find hardly anyone there. I doubt there were more than 10 of us in the entire pub, and that included the bar staff ! Stretch had all his gear set up, but there was only one person there with a guitar. Fortunately from about 8.45 pm there was a steady trickle of people coming in, and I think we ended up having a good night.

  I was probably the first to leave. It was exactly 11pm, and the the bar closed bell was rung as I walked out the door. A fortnight ago I had seen a bus held at the traffic lights outside the pub, and had ran to the bus stop a few hundred feet down the road. It seemed such an easy thing to do, and I was still breathing so lightly that I could easily talk when I got on the bus. Last night I felt breathless just walking to the bus stop. When I got off the bus in Catford I didn't push myself as hard as I would like, and the walk home felt slightly boring, but not really taxing.

  It's funny how your health can completely change in such a short period of time. It does seem that it is proving hard to completely shake off the cold I had recently. I felt generally OK while working in the garden, but after that I was coughing and spluttering a bit. Last night it was like my chest was congested, and yet apart from lack of breath, it didn't seem like it was particularly congested.

  I did have the option of a meal I had prepared earlier when I got home last night. It was chicken with mushroom and mange tout cooked in chicken stock. It was in a well sealed container with the top bowing down because of the partial vacuum inside after sealing it while still steaming. I reckoned it would be fine to have today, and I would have a lighter supper...although maybe not that healthy. It was rice cakes, which are alleged to be healthy, with chilli flavour cheese on top, which isn't healthy.

  That chilli cheese soon had me feeling hot and sticky, and so once again I slept without the duvet, although I did have the heater on low all night. I seemed to sleep well. I even had a dream that should have been erotic, but somehow wasn't. Maybe I woke up at the wrong time ! This morning I feel like I have for most of the recent mornings - almost OK, and yet not quite right.

  In theory I should get out and do a lot of exercise today. At the same time I should be semi-starving myself. It is all part of a feeble attempt to seem less unhealthy when I see the Diabetes Nurse at Lewisham hospital tomorrow. I am not looking forward to it because I fear she will be another martinet ! Oh well, I still have over 24 hours to prepare myself for it. The big problem today is that my exercise may well be mostly going to get some shopping, and that brings certain temptations that are not always easy to resist.  While I still have remnants of a cold I could easily be tempted to buy some nice fruit, but really I ought to be eating nothing but broccoli until Tuesday night....we'll see.
Sunday 6th October 2019
09:39 BST
  I think "grey and miserable" sums up yesterday's weather quite well. I seem to recall there was one brief moment when the sun almost put in an appearance, but it was just lost in a sea of greyness. I think it stayed dry all day, but I can't be sure. The maximum temperature was just 16° C. That might have felt OK in some sunshine, but with no sunshine it was as good as nothing.
a few
                    sunny spells to start the day
  While yesterday may have been dry, today was only minutes old before there was a fair amount of rain. It is hard to say how much, and for how long because I was asleep most of the time. This morning the forecast warns of showers, but also tantalises with icons showing bright sunny rays. Usually that means nothing, but this morning there have been several nice sunny periods. There could be more, although the few blue areas of sky are very small as far as I can see. It looks like there will be a fair chance of a shower at any time today until 1pm according to the latest forecast revision. Unfortunately it also says it will stay grey and overcast for the rest of the day. The maximum temperature could be 16° C, the same as yesterday, but today there is a tiny chance that the maximum could coincide with the last possible minutes of a brief sunny spell. Maybe a few minutes of today could be described as "nice". Tomorrow is currently predicted to be grey and horrible. The second half of the day could see rain, and it may be no warmer than 14° C.

  I felt good and bad yesterday - maybe more bad than good. Particularly in the late afternoon/early evening. I seemed to feel well enough that I put some laundry in to soak once I had had a shower, and then, a little later, sometime a bit after midday, I felt good enough to go out shopping. By intention it was an extended shopping trip, and at the end it seemed to have drained a lot of energy from me.

  The first shop I walked to was the Pound shop (the one that started life as a wonderful 99p shop, and then became mediocre when taken over by Poundland). I was hoping to buy a spare bottle of Mentholated Cough Syrup among other things. Unfortunately they didn't seem to have any. Their "medicines" section is pretty scrappy these days. The original Poundland shop in Catford Mews had a much better medicines section. My visit was not wasted because I did buy a couple of spare packets of Loretadine hay fever tablets (the same as my doctor once prescribed) before they disappear, and also a couple of bottles of Original Source shower gel.

  After Poundland I walked down the high street, and into Catford Mews to have a wander around Poundstretcher. It is not Halloween yet, and all their Halloween stuff is now being pushed aside for Xmas stuff. Bah humbug !! I bough a few non seasonal things in there. Two items might, or might not be useful. They are ultra concentrated spices dispensed from an eye dropper type bottle. It may be that I won't like those spices (one is turmeric, and the other garam masala), but at least I'll end up with two eye droppers. One could have been very handy when I had to drip almond oil into my ear prior to getting the wax flushed out.

  My last visit was to the British Heart Foundation shop to rummage through their CDs. I found a couple of good CDs and a couple that are not so good. The good were CDs from The Pretenders, Aerosmith, and Del Amitri. The bad was a CD by Mike And The Mechanics. They, or indeed just Mike Rutherford, have done some good stuff, but this CD, amazingly enough a "best of" is really dreary. The final CD was by The Verve. I haven't really listened to it yet, and while I have dark suspicions, I can't really comment about it.
last remains of the
                        SAM 99p shop
  Before I went home I stopped to take a snap of the SAM 99p shop. When I visited there last time, maybe last week, or weekend, they were having a clearance sale, and everything was 89p. I can imagine that in subsequent days they may have dropped the price even lower. I don't know when they finally closed the doors to the public, but yesterday there was still a lot of unsold stock in there. There were people in there bundling it up ready to transport to maybe another store, and other were taking down the shelving and racking. Sooner or later all the shutters will be down, and it will be waiting for a new store to open....maybe.

  It didn't feel like I had much energy left when I got home, but I still had a big bucket of soaking laundry to triple rinse and fabric condition before hanging it up to dry. I wasn't looking forward to it, but I got it done. I could then slip into extreme lazy mode, and almost, but not quite do nothing. One little task I wanted to do was to check my old collection of laptop memory, and see if there was anything suitable for my old Sony Vaio laptop. There was, and wasn't. It seems the maximum amount of memory that laptop can address is two sticks of 256MB each.

  I had two sticks of 128MB that I had stored with a note to say they had been tested, and found OK. Unfortunately they were smaller than what was in there already. I also had two sticks of 512MB, but they were too big. I wasn't sure if they were really too big, but when I fitted them the laptop just choked, and wouldn't start - although it has done that once or twice before, and needed several hard starts to get it going.

  I did have one stick of 256MB memory, but I thought I would test the existing memory first using Memtest 86 (it's one of the boot options of many Linux installations). Memory testing is a slow process, and gets on with it by itself. I gave both sticks a very long test. The second stick I did overnight, and both were perfect, but I had used the same slot to do the testing. This morning I tried the other slot, and very soon each test failed.

  If I was still back at work, where I had the right tools, I would have stripped the laptop down, and checked the soldering of the second memory slot. There is a good chance that I would find some dry joints. There is no way I can do that sort of thing at home, and my only hope is that I can persuade the laptop to start with a single stick of 512MB of memory. It should run reasonably OK on that...well it will be a bit slow, but it would be usable. Of course the big question is usable for what ? I would probably do far better to just drop the laptop in the dustbin and forget about it.

   As afternoon gave way to evening I felt bad in ways not easy to describe. I was partly tired and listless, and partly something else. The only clue was that my blood pressure was very low - a systolic pressure of just 93. However, as one of my doctors said, if I am not dizzy and falling over, then there is no too low for blood pressure. On the other hand, as other doctors have said, when my blood pressure is too low some organs may not work very well. Although I attribute it more to the dye used in my angiogram, I have already had a case of impaired renal function that may have been made worse by low blood pressure. I am wondering if my pancreas is also affected by these episodes of low blood pressure.

  For the curious, my blood pressure was 121 on my first attempt, and then after settling down for a minute, was just 106 on my second attempt. I think the fiddling about getting the cuff on, and starting the spreadsheet app that I use to record my blood pressure, makes it rise a bit. I really should give it an extra minute or two before I try and take the first reading. I would be a little more relaxed then.

  I felt a bit better last night after I had some dinner, and washed it down with a large vodka. Dinner was the last part of the takeaway from Friday night. It was a Thai hot chicken salad. Being partly salad it was tricky warming it up because the chicken is supposed to be warm, or even hot. I sort of compromised, and heated it just long enough for the chicken to became tepid. It was actually very nice, and I could be tempted to order another some time. As I recall they also do a lamb and beef salad. I think I would like to try both one day.

  Although I felt tired and drained last night, I didn't feel ready for bed until quite late. A combination of vodka, extra chilli on the chicken salad, and some mustard with some ham on rice cakes as a later snack, left me feeling hot and sweaty - except bit of me felt cold. I decided that when I went to bed I would leave the heater on low, and only use the duvet if I needed it. What I had forgotten was I also had a fan heater on low in the living room to help dry the washing I had hung on a clothes horse down there.

  I went to bed feeling quite warm enough to dispense with the duvet, and I fell asleep far faster than I imagined. I think it was something like 2am when I woke up with my pillow damp with sweat, and it seemed my whole body was glazed with sweat. The thermometer in my room said it was 25° C, and yet I was sweating like it was a 30° C summers day. After going for a wee I went back to my bed, and lay there. I was about to turn the heater off entirely when I suddenly realised I was cooling down. 5 or 10 minutes later I had stopped sweating, and I was soon fast asleep again.

  Quite what happened in the night is a bit of a mystery. It was almost like I had some sort of fever. Maybe I did because this morning I feel different. I don't feel madly energetic, or anything wonderful like that, and my usual aches and pains haven't completely gone, but somehow I do still feel different, and I can't explain how or why apart from a vague idea that I feel better.

  I have no elaborate plans for today. It is likely to be too wet, and too grey to do anything in the garden. I don't really fancy going out anywhere else in this weather. I guess I'll be amusing myself indoors for most of today. Possibly the biggest thing today will be deciding whether to keep, or to chuck the Sony laptop. Hopefully I will be feeling OK, or if not OK, well enough, and inspired enough to go to Stretchy's Open Mic in Bromley tonight. It could be the one highlight of a typical boring Sunday.
Saturday 5th October 2019
09:14 BST
  Yesterday started bright with sunny spells. It only lasted a few hours, and then it was supposed to rain. It certainly clouded over, and got fairly dull, but I'm not sure if it rained or not. If it did it must have been quite like rain, and not really noticeable when indoors. The forecast did say that after 1pm it would stay dry for the rest of the day, but I think it was during the rest of the day that I did see a few spots of rain on the window, but I can't seem to recall exactly when that was. It seemed to be a semi-mild day with the afternoon temperature just reaching 15° C.
  There has been not even a hint of brightness so far this morning, and today's forecast suggests there will be none for the rest of the day either. It might be a degree warmer than yesterday, 16° C, and it might be a dry day, but there are no other positive aspects to today - unless the forecast is very wrong. Here's hoping ! The forecast does show a small background risk of rain of 10 to 11% until (according to the latest forecast) 11pm when the chance rises fast. It could rain from 11pm, and on through the night, and through a lot of tomorrow. At least the threat of thunderstorms tomorrow has been downgraded to just heavy rain, and the heaviest will probably be in the morning. Once again the temperature should rise to 16° C, but it will be late in the afternoon. There might be a chance of the rain finishing before I want to go out tomorrow night.

  I was unsure how I felt yesterday morning, and that doubt continued through most of the day. It turned out that sometimes I felt fairly good, and at other times fairly rotten ! Initially I took things easy, but I suppose curiosity got the better of me, and I tested my body by doing some laundry. Apart from one t-shirt it was mostly light stuff. I felt I had to do it carefully to avoid aggravating known weak spots, and that worked OK. I had all the stuff well wrung out, and hanging up to dry indoors without any negative reactions - if you don't count some very mild fatigue.

  Maybe it wasn't fatigue at all, but just an excuse to lay on my bed reading. I felt aware of one particular fact - it was Friday, and yet another edition of New Scientist would be in the shop. I did my best to finish reading the last articles in the two previous editions. I had read the most interesting bit in both those old editions, but had skipped a couple of longer items. I skipped them because I found them a bit boring, but I felt I had to read them in the end to get the greatest value from the money spent on buying them.

  It was just after midday that I had some lunch. It was two Sainsbury's Greek Salads that I had bought on Thursday night on my way home from the pub. One I ate "as was", but the other I added some smoked sardines. Those sardines were probably a mistake, and just left a fishy taste after I had eaten them with the salad. An hour or two later I got dressed to go outdoors, and went to the corner shop to buy the latest New Scientist, some bottles of pop, and a couple of Magnum bars.

  It may be my imagination, but it seems that Magnum bars are still shrinking. In one respect that is handy - less sugar intake during a time when I was trying to keep my sugar consumption as low as possible prior to seeing the diabetes nurse next Tuesday. Those two Magnum ice cream bars would still totally mess with my blood glucose level, but so would some of the remedies I have had to resort to for symptoms of my recent cold. So no matter how I try I am buggered, and I might as well enjoy my poison.

  When I got back from the corner shop I didn't eat those Magnum bars straight away because I had a sudden urge to go into the garden, and do a bit of hoeing. I probably only spent about 10 minutes out there, but I made a very useful difference to the weeds, and did it without stressing or straining anything (admittedly I didn't attempt to pick up, or rake the decapitated weeds - I can do that another day - maybe even today). I should have bought that hoe months and months ago !

  The afternoon was starting to get a bit boring, and that feeling was made worse by the lack of any aches and pains after doing that bit of gardening. I kept thinking I ought to do something, but I was still wary about doing anything that might trigger any negative things like delicate muscles, or make a slight background cough, and stuffy nose worse. I am not sure why I chose to do it, but I dragged out the old Sony laptop that I had experimented on with the idea of using it as a firewall. I decided to see if I could return it to some sort of usable state.

  One problem with that laptop is that I think the RAM is now as big as it can take, and that is not much at all - just 512MB. It is never going to run one of the bigger Linux distributions, ut I thought I might try it with Devuan - a fork of Debian. I was hoping it might have an intelligent installer that would limit how much unwanted stuff it might install. Unfortunately for reasons I don't understand, it wouldn't install at all. In fact the two versions I tried would not even run. I think something weird was going on with the machines BIOS.

  It took several restarts, including holding down the power button for long periods of time (I am not sure why I did that, but it seemed to work), before a DVD of Linux Mint Debian Edition would boot. It not only booted, but it ran too, and I was able to install it. Unfortunately it seems that hardly any application will run on it. Most crash out, and I have a strong feeling that there could be faulty RAM in it. Maybe if I get bored I will try out other sticks of RAM in it today, and maybe see if it will take more RAM - assuming I have something suitable in my spares box.

  An hour before dinner time I took a break from everything else, and started watching some TV. I also ordered a takeaway because I couldn't be bothered to start cooking anything. Last night I tried some Lebanese food from a restaurant in the middle of Catford that I had heard some good things about. It was definitely nice, but I'm not sure if it was nice enough to repeat the exercise. There were a few things I didn't like. One was some fried potato. It was in small cubes with added spices and stuff. It was very nice, but there must have been a quarter of an inch of oil in the bottom of the container (which fortunately was leak proof).

  Later in the evening I was watching TV and playing with the Sony laptop at the same time. By 10pm I had given up on TV, and by 11pm I had reached the point where all the software on the laptop was up to date, and extra, essential, codecs installed. Everything just worked - until everything I tried crashed. If I looked in the logs I could probably see a good reason why they crashed - assuming I could understand the info I saw. For now I think my theory about the RAM is as good as any.

  For most of the evening I rarely cough, or if I did I was too busy/distracted to notice. The same was true of my stuffy nose - although that could be because my nose wasn't that stuffy. As soon as I got into bed I started to cough, and it got worse the more I tried not to cough. There was nothing for it but a swig of Mentholated Cough Linctus. I've never believed that stuff does much good, but it seemed to last night. It seemed to damp the cough down enough for me to get to sleep quite quickly and easily.

  Once I was asleep I seemed to throw off the last of this recent cold. Maybe it was also because I hadn't drunk a lot of beer, but I can only very vaguely recall getting up for just one pee in the night. I had gone to sleep rather later than usual, and I guess that is the reason that I woke up a fair bit later than usual. It was about 7.30am if I recall correctly, and although there wasn't much light outside, it was after sunrise for a change.

  Whether it was that last night's sleep was apparently so good that the idea of getting more of it seems very attractive, but a mild desire to go back to bed is about the worst negative feeling I have at the moment. The usual aches and pains are there, but unusually subdued, and I don't think I have coughed or needed to blow my nose since getting up...oh, maybe just a mild nose blow - probably out of curiosity. Having said that, I feel like doing it again ! I have, and nothing came out of my nose, but I did do a slightly productive cough.

  Perhaps I am desperately trying to convince myself I feel generally OK, and I have to admit it is working - for now. We'll see how well it works after I am washed and dressed. Maybe I'll have an insane urge to do something, or maybe I will still just have a mild itch to clear up some of the weeds I hoed up in the garden yesterday, and maybe hoe up a few more. I might even get a trowel out and try to dig out more soil from between the roots of the small tree stump I want to remove. If whatever I do today goes well, and doesn't break my fragile feeling body, I might even go out to a gig tonight. There are actually two I would like to get to, and I think they may be on the same bus route despite being some way apart. Potentially I could do a bit of both. On the other hand, an early night is always nice !
Friday 4th October 2019
08:30 BST
  The clear skies that made yesterday morning bright and sunny, and were also responsible for a very chilly morning, didn't last long. Rather earlier than forecast, the sky clouded over, and it seemed like we would have a dull and miserable day. In fact there were several sunny periods through the afternoon, and even one just before the sun set. Soon after that it started to rain. With the afternoon temperature no higher than 13° C, it was the coldest day we have had since last spring.
another bright start, and wet and murky finish
  The day has started bright again, but in just a few hours time it may start raining again...or maybe it won't. The latest revision to the forecast doesn't show the rain between 11am and 1pm that appears on the screenshot above. However, the latest revision still shows a 9 to 14% chance of precipitation, aka rain, from late morning until almost the end of the afternoon. A later revision may re-warn of rain later. Rain or no rain, it seems that once this bit of early morning sunshine has gone, it will be a generally murky day, and no warmer than 15° C. No sunshine is forecast for tomorrow, but it is currently thought to be a dry day, and a little warmer than today at 16° C.

  Yesterday was a good and bad day. During the morning I felt fairly good, and I seemed be able to do the laundry that had been soaking for 24 hours with no particular difficulty. A bit later I went to Tesco, and while I seem to recall we had lost the sunshine by then, I seem to think I felt fine when walking there, and walking back again. I was carrying rather less than when I staggered back from Aldi a few days earlier - one bag instead of two, but still with a heavy ruck sack full of drink - but it still felt easier allowing for the difference in absolute load.

  Everything should have been fine for going out later, but it wasn't. For some unfathomable reason I started to feel a few aches and pains that I had expected after my gardening the day before. It was probably because I seemed to be having a relapse of the cold I thought I had 99% got over. Maybe not waiting until I was 100% over it was a big mistake. I think I had noted that I was coughing a fair bit the previous night. I don't think I coughed that much during yesterday morning, and my nose was mostly clear, but while still fairly mild, but were back yesterday afternoon.

  I had one other mystery extra ache that was a bit worrying until the cause was identified much later in the evening. It was a sort of off centre stomach ache. I think it distorted my posture a bit as I walked to the station, and that gave me a few pains on my chest - which were not helped by coughing. It was nice to finally get to the pub, and sit down with a pint of beer.

  Even then I wasn't really comfortable for several reasons. My nose felt really stuffy, but the mucus was thick enough not to be runny, and it ideally needed a good trumpeting blow to clear it - not something I wanted to do inside the pub ! On top of that I was feeling cold in the pub. It was mostly my bare arms, and my right arm was starting to ache at the elbow and the wrist - not the best places when lifting pint glasses of the table. The beer I was drinking, Liquid Sunshine, was rather nice, but I decided I would only stay for my usual 3 pints, and then go home.

  It felt a little uncomfortable walking back to the station with three pints inside me, but at the same time it didn't feel taxing. By the time I got back to Catford the worst of the discomfort had gone, and once I had bought a few things from Sainsbury's I made good time getting home. I was very much looking forward to a big warm dinner. It was home made stewed steak with a whole (small) head of broccoli. The internal heat made me feel better very quickly (quite why external heat doesn't always do the same thing is a mystery).

  That internal heat was also to result in resolving the mystery stomach pain I had much earlier. It took a couple of hours, and started with a small, but foul smelling fart. Five minutes later I started a three visit to the toilet in rapid succession. It was like having food poisoning, and maybe that is what it was - even if it was over in a flash (or flush) - three times. I felt much better for it, and it probably was instrumental in mostly sleeping rather well.

  I left the heater on all night, and that too helped the best of my sleep. There was one time, around 2am if I recall correctly, when I did seem to have trouble getting back to sleep after getting up for a wee, but I was probably only away for a long feeling 15 minutes. Every other time I woke up it was a more dream like experience. I do recall having a dream, and it was about swimming pools. It was no doubt inspired by some chat about the new open air swimming pool in Beckenham Place Park while in the pub yesterday.

  Dreams about swimming pools could have all sorts of negative things, and mine was no exception, but not scary things like drowning. I seemed to be in a large building with several friends, and this building had many pools in it. My dilemma was finding one that suited my needs. Some were too short, and many were full of kids. In one I thought that people were swimming in the wrong direction - anticlockwise instead of clockwise. I can't remember ever getting in the water. Shame really because I like a swim in a suitable pool, and I haven't done it for years and years. The last time was with Patricia, and that was probably over 10 years ago now. The pool we went to, Ladywell Baths, has been demolished for 8 to 10 years now.

  I'm not sure how I feel this morning. I'm not coughing much, but still occasionally coughing. My nose keeps feeling blocked, but there is not much in it. I feel fairly creaky, and bit of me ache, but oddly enough, there are few, if any notable aches from my chest. There is one gig I am interested in tonight, but not so interested that I would go unless I felt really good. I have no plans to go anywhere else, or to see anyone today, and so I may just keep warm and recover a bit more today.  Maybe I might go to a gig tomorrow, but I'll worry about that later.
Thursday 3rd October 2019
08:55 BST
  There was less sunshine that the forecast predicted yesterday. Instead of non stop sunshine from dawn to (almost) dusk, there were several periods of time when the sky clouded over, and they happened earlier in the afternoon than the early versions of the forecast predicted (the later versions said the sun should last all day). While it was out and shining, the sunshine was very nice, but it didn't stop it being a fairly cool day. The highest temperature was around the 14° C, and there were only a few hours when it got that high. Oh well, at least it was a dry day.
  There are supposed to be sunny intervals this morning, but the clear skies that caused the temperature to drop to about 4.6° C at 5am this morning seem to have been replaced by a lot of cloud earlier than forecast. It is looking like today will be a mostly murky sort of day....although having said that, some feeble sunshine seems to have just broken through the clouds, and it casting some feint shadows. Maybe there will be more sunny intervals after all this morning. The afternoon is forecast top be overcast, and there could be some light rain from 8pm. It is going to be another cool day, cooler than the average for this time of the year, or so the TV weatherman said last night. The temperature may rise to no higher than 13° C. There is a good chance of rain in the middle of tomorrow, and overall it is expected to be a very overcast day, but it will be a little bit warmer than today - about 16° C, and that is apparently closer to the seasonal average.

  I had only the loosest ideas about what I might do yesterday. Most revolved around going out into the rather cool sunshine, and indeed that is what I ended up doing, but not in any way I thought I would. Some little brain cell went ping, and I suddenly decided to do what I have been meaning to do for months. I went to Wickes to look for a hoe. I also hoped to get a new handle for my spade. I couldn't find any handles, and so I bought a new spade as well as a hoe. They were a lot cheaper than I had imagined, and although I may still do it one day, I don't feel bad about not repairing my old spade.
just £15 for the two
  The very peculiar thing is that the walk to Wickes (roughly about 120% the distance to Catford station) seemed harder than walking home carrying my new tools. It may have just been the case that I needed some time to warm my muscles up, or it might just be the usual thing of walking towards home always feeling better than walking away from home.
new tools
  These are my two, new, implements of destruction sitting quietly on the living room floor. The sun coming in through the windows at such a low angle, and the purple/violet mat makes it a slightly strange looking picture ! It was barely 5 minutes after I took this picture that I was out in the garden testing the hoe. It is wonderful to use. The way you can slice through the roots of weeds, and then drag their tops out is great. I wish I had bought a hoe months and months ago. I did try, but only in Poundstretcher, but they were probably out of season.

  After 10 minutes in the garden, massacring more weeds than I would do in twice or even three times the time, I went back indoors, and got changed into more relaxing clothes, and heated up some lunch - BBQ wings, eat hot or cold, but much, much better after enough time in the oven to lightly singe them. After lunch I relaxed for a while before I was overcome with the urge to get out into the garden to do some more clearance. The only trouble is that I knew I worked very hard, but any change is not very visible.
spot the changes
  The most obvious change is actually not visible in this view. I removed a lot of weeds that would be off the bottom of this picture. I also cleared many of the weeds that were growing alongside the old tree trunk laying by the fence on the left of the picture. My previous work in the garden was to mostly clear the back, left hand quarter of the garden (beyond the old grey lino in this picture). Yesterday I did a more thorough job of it. I blocked the big gap under the back fence with slabs of concrete and other rubble (although this is still a work in progress), and I pulled out a lot more ivy.
stump of a dead tree
                        that is being a bastard
  The job that almost broke me was trying to remove this stump of an old tree. Apologies for the lousy picture. I should have taken it at a much lower angle to give a better idea of scale, but my back was starting to complain when I took the picture, and I couldn't go lower. Basically the root system of the self seeded tree grew through a lot of old rubble, and the roots are entwined with old bricks and stuff.  I used my new spade to dig out as much stuff as I could, but by this time I was aching, and dripping sweat everywhere.

  When I tackle it next time I will need to use a trowel to try and get soil out from underneath the biggest roots, and once clear I will attempt to cut through them. Once I get this stump out, and also loads and loads of old builders rubble from when my house was modernised prior to me buying it in 1983, I will be able to level the middle of the garden, and try and grow a lawn on it.

  I am unsure how long I spent in the garden, but I think it may have been over an hour. In that time I sweated a lot form my exertions, but only managed to half fill the wheelie bin. I came back indoors satisfied that I had done a good job, but starting to feel lots of aches and pains. Whether that was the result of working so hard so soon after getting over a cold, or if I am just getting too decrepit to do this sort of thing remains unanswered for now. It is possible that I was not fully over my cold. During the evening, and when trying to get to sleep, I was coughing rather a lot. The coughing I did in what I thought was the end of my recent cold was mostly a dry cough, but last night I was coughing up small quantities of something nasty tasting (although not enough to try and examine).

  Later on I had a nice two part dinner. The second part was a lamb rogan ghost ready meal from Aldi. It was very nice, but I think it was starting to cause some acid reflux before I neutralised it. I stayed up quite late last night watching what in some ways was an annoying programme. It was a look back at the career of Rik Mayal. The annoyance was that while I thought he was a mostly good, my "hero" was his comedy partner Ade Edmunson. They couldn't do Rik without Ade, but Ade never got the praise and adulation I thought he deserved. I shouldn't have expected any different considering the programme was about Rik and not Ade, but....

  It was just after 11pm when I got into bed, but more like 2am before I finally got to sleep.  I don't really know why that was. I seemed to be tired, and after my hard work in the garden I was really looking forward to sleep. I probably did drop off for a few minutes sleep now and then, but mostly I seemed to pass the time just thinking. I don't think it was a case of my mind getting into an endless loop, but one subject did come up frequently, and that subject was Angela. It is her birthday at the end of the month, and I am "plotting" to try and see her, on her own, so I can give her a couple of cheap and simple birthday presents. My conclusion is that I am going to invite her to a lunchtime drink next Wednesday.

  Once I finally got to sleep properly at about 2am I slept solidly for 3 hours. I think it was more habit than need that I woke up then. I went for a wee before going back to bed, but before closing my eyes I noted the thermometer saying it was just 4.6° C outside. No wonder my bits had almost fallen off when I was having a wee in the bathroom, with the window open ! I think I managed to sleep for another 2 hours before I started to get up. That's only 5 hours sleep in total, but I guess it might have to do.

  This morning, apart from feeling tired, I feel far better than expected. Last night's cough has not completely gone, but it doesn't seem to be bothering me much at the moment. The rest of my body feel pretty good when judged by my expectation of being in agony after pulling many muscles during my gardening yesterday. Various bits do seem to be a bit tender, but so far I don't really feel any worse than most morning. A twinge here, and a twinge there, but all old friends, and deserving of being treated with respect, but also fairly ignorable.

  Of course that assessment may not hold good when I actually start to do anything, and I have a lot to do that could trigger all sorts of nasties. Yesterday morning I put a few t-shirts and underwear in to soak, but got too distracted by my gardening to complete the job. Now there is a freezing cold builders bucket of laundry for me to deal with before I can get washed and dressed. Once I am washed and dressed I need to visit Tesco to get some shopping. Later on I'll be off to Shortlands for my usual (except last week) late Thursday afternoon drink with the rest of the crew. With the days getting shorter and shorter I feel I'll soon be describing it as Thursday evening rather than afternoon. I'll definitely be coming home in the dark, and it won't be long before I'll be travelling there in the dark !
Wednesday 2nd October 2019
08:37 BST
  Most of the features of yesterday's forecast actually happened, but not at the times forecast for them ! The day actually started bright and sunny, and that was one fact the forecast omitted, but eventually the sun became hidden by increasing thick clouds. The transition between sunshine and the first rain seemed very quick. The first rain to fall was very light, and for the next few hours it was difficult to tell if it was light rain, drizzle, or if the rain had actually stopped. At 4pm I was surprised to hear a clap of thunder. It was not local, but not that far off. Soon after the rain stepped up a notch, but never seemed to get heavy enough to generate any thunder and lighting nearby. By 6pm the rain had dwindled to less than drizzle. It may have picked up again later, but once it was dark outside I paid no attention to the outside world. The surprising thing about yesterday was partly the lightning, and mostly that the warm air that blew in from the west to power the lightning, took the temperature up to 20° C
                    sunny day
  Today has started gloriously sunny, and it should stay sunny all day. The penalty for the clear skies that are allowing the sunshine in, is the cold start today. The forecast says 8° C at 8am, but all my thermometers say it was only 7° C. Worse still is that the afternoon high may only be 14° C, and that only briefly. 13° C seems more like the representative temperature for the afternoon. Update: I should have checked for revisions before writing that. It seems the latest prediction is there could be 4 hours when the temperature hits 14° C now, but apparently it will only feel like 12° C ! Tomorrow could start even colder than today. At the moment the best guess is just 6° C ! A few sunny periods are predicted for the morning, but mostly it will probably be a grey day, and not a very warm one either. The predicted high will be just 13° C. Winter will be here quicker than we thought !

  The worst of my cold seemed to fade away during the morning. It was a very slow process, and it took some time to realise that I was coughing far less, and my nose was mostly no longer blocked or dripping. At 11am I was only getting hints of this, and I hadn't really believed it could be happening, but it was bright and sunny, and I thought I would throw caution to the wind, and go for a walk. It had been ages since I had taken a walk in the park, and it had been ages since I had used my Canon Digital Rebel (known here, and in Europe as the Canon EOS 300D). So I grabbed the camera, and shunning a coat in the warm feeling sunshine, I set out for a small walk.

  I didn't get off to a good start. The first thing I tried to do was to take a snap of a very large garden spider in my front garden. Some strange mental aberration meant that I didn't set the exposure properly, and that snap was well over exposed, and useless. Then I felt a few drops of rain on my face as I walked up the road. At that time the sun was still shining, and so I just ignored the rain. At that time it was very light, and easily ignorable.
developing autumn colours
  At this time of year the trees are only just starting to show their autumn colours  This one had many leaves that had turned pink. I'm not sure what type of tree it is, but I want to go back in a week or so to see if it gets more colourful.
grey, overcast, and raining
  By the time I got into the centre of the park, and had some long views, the sky was well and truly grey, the last ray of sunshine had been cut off 10 minutes earlier, and the rain was light, but persistent. I ought to have turned around and rushed straight home, but I continued on my walk.
backwater pond and ripples from
  Towards the Ladywell end of the park there is this backwater/pond feature filled from a small spur of the river. It is a favourite place of mine having once met Patricia there many years ago. It was not a romantic liason, but I hadn't seen her for a year, and it was nice to catch up again. The ripples from the falling raindrops add something to this picture, but I am not sure what.
rose hips
  It seems that just as my walk was ending, I was finally starting to drive that camera properly. These rose hips are in perfect focus, the background is out of focus, and the exposure is perfect - all on a very dull day in the rain ! I bought the camera from a second hand shop, and if I recall correctly it was very cheap - maybe just £100 - which isn't bad for a DSLR camera. I found it had a couple of problems when I first bought it.

  The first, and most obvious problem, was that the two batteries it came with were on their very last legs. I think the best one powered the camera for little more than 10 minutes ! That made the second problem worse. Everytime you too the battery out to recharge it, the camera would forget all it's settings. I didn't have a manual for the camera (although I did later download one), and so I it wasn't until a bright sunny day that the sun just happened to penetrate into the opened battery compartment, and there, in bold print, I saw "CR2016" embossed into a little plastic drawer. Upon sliding out I found the back up battery I didn't know it had, and solved the memory problem.

  I rather recently solved another annoying problem. The pictures always looked rather dull and under exposed. I have a theory that an exposure setting had been corrupted by that failing backup battery, and that while playing with it, I managed to reset it. The pictures I took yesterday were the first real pictures I have taken since seemingly correcting that exposure problem.

  That Canon Digital Rebel camera is not a very high spec camera, but now I have fixed all it's apparent problems, is now a very useful camera for daylight work, and I feel I ought to treat it as more than the curio bought cheaply from a second hand shop. I'll still use my Canon 600D for more demanding, low light work, and my Canon 1200D is a good back up camera for it, but the Digital Rebel (or 300D as I like to think of it) may accompany me of more walks.

  Mum, and probably relatives and teachers would always warn about being out in the rain while suffering from a cold, and I did wonder if I was being foolish to do almost a complete circuit of the north part of the park (about 1.5 miles in total) in the rain. That was particularly so towards the end when the rain got heavier. I did complete the last half mile as fast as I could manage, and got almost breathless doing it. Actually "breathless" is not quite the right word - I was merely breathing at a greater rate, and at no time did I feel I couldn't catch my breath.

  It must have been half an hour or more after I got home that I suddenly realised I hadn't needed to blow my nose, or cough since getting home. It was as if I was now cured of my cold, and that did seem to be the case unless I wanted to nick-pick. That was particularly useful because I didn't want to cough and sneeze all over the nurse when I went to get my ear syringed at 5pm.

  I was not actually seen until about 5.15pm, or maybe even 5.20pm, but I guess it could have been worse, and at least I wasn't in pain or anything. The nurse, not the one I thought I was going to see, inspected both ears, and agreed with the doctor that my left ear had so little wax in it that it wasn't worth bothering with. She then said she would get the machine ready. Machine ????

  When I had my ears syringed by the elderly doctor I used to see, at least 20 years ago, it was like something out of a carry on film. He had a syringe about the size of a bicycle pump that he filled with lukewarm water straight from the sink. He whooshed this water into my ear at quite high pressure, and collected it, and the wax, in a white glazed kidney bowl. All the equipment, being just two items, was easily sterilised in a steriliser tank set to a good rolling boil. It is all high tech now !

  The "machine" was a little microprocessor controlled device that warmed the water to blood heat, and then pumped it out in rapid spurts through a small nozzle that could be sort of aimed at where the wax was. The water and wax was then collected in a disposable cardboard cup. The original big syringe was one or a couple of momentary painful "whooshes". The machine was less painful, but it was quite an extended discomfort. I think I prefer the old method. On top of that, in these green days, the idea of a disposable nozzle for the machine, and disposable cardboard cup, seems almost naughty. I can't recall if it was the HIV or BSE scare that took hygiene over the top, and maybe for some procedures, involving known carriers, some of the precautions are worthwhile, but otherwise....

  Of course the nurse was not happy that all I had was a simple ear wax removal (and I was surprised at how little there was of it), and felt the need to drum up more business. She wants to give me a 'flu jab, and give me a diabetic foot inspection next week. I did tell her that I have an appointment with the diabetic clinic at the hospital next Tuesday afternoon, and that they would probably check my feet, but she insisted that she had to check my feet as well. Oh well. At 2.30pm I am at the hospital, and assuming they let me out again, I am seeing the nurse at 5.40pm.

  There was some moderate heavy rain when I went to the surgery, but very little rain when I walked home. I got home in time to prepare some dinner, and then to watch the 6pm TV news. As usual it was all depressing stuff. The antics of our current politicians, who individually are probably no worse than many politicians, are collectively acting like they belong in some 3rd world tin pot country. Could Boris Johnson turn out worse than Idi Amin ??

  Having already seen the nurse, I could wash away some of the negative thoughts with some beer. At least that was the theory, but I only had a few small cans and bottles, and I don't think I drank more than just over a pint and a half of beer. It was nice beer, and if I had more I would have drunk more. In point of fact I did have more, but the 6 cans of Stella Artois are for Sue's next visit, and the Innis & Gunn bottles are for some sort of special occasion (but I don't know what yet). Anyway, it might not have been much beer, but it seemed to set me up for a fairly good sleep.

  One thing I noted before I went to bed, while I was brushing my teeth, there was an icy cold wind blowing in through the bathroom window. I decided that I would leave the heater on low in my bedroom all night. I ended up having one of those nights where most of it is a blank - one minute the clocks is saying it's so and so time, and the next minute the clock has advanced 2 or 3 hours - or so it seems. Even the few times I got up to wee are like half remembered fuzzy dreams.

  It was nice to wake up this morning without my right ear popping, and having to wait 5 or 10 minutes for the final pop to give me stereo hearing again. It was also nice to wake up without my nose feeling like it was full. I did have to cough once or twice when I woke up, and sat up, but once or twice, and neither needing much exertion, was also nice. Even my usual aches and pains seem a bit muted this morning. I feel I should be saying that I feel wonderful this morning, but I couldn't go that far. Maybe I feel "satisfactory" this morning. That is probably the same "satisfactory" that teachers would use on an end of term report when they can't think of anything horrible they can say, and don't want to show any praise !

  I have no definite plans for today. I feel I ought to take advantage of it being a sunny day, even if it is a cold sunny day. I think that means I ought to think of somewhere to go out to with my camera. Maybe I'll think of somewhere when I have a shower. On the other hand I do have a bit of laundry to do, and the weeds are not dying off in the garden yet. I probably ought to help them on their way.
Tuesday 1st October 2019
08:07 BST
  Yesterday was a day of two different halves. The morning was dry, and although less than hoped for, there were some sunny spells. The afternoon seemed to have less rain than forecast, but it was still cold, wet and grey. For a while the temperature peaked at 17° C, which is not very warm, and feels even less so in the rain. The rest of the day was even colder.
                    sunny start
  Despite what the forecast might say, this new month has started with sunshine. As I write this the sun is streaming through my windows, and I can see a lot of blue sky to the south. Just to be sure, I've checked the north, and the sky is even bluer than the south. Once again reality trumps the weather forecast.
view to the north at 8.16am
  This is the view from my bathroom, looking north at 8.16am.  The forecast says it should be overcast right now, but it looks more like a summer morning. The part of the forecast that is right is that it is a rather cool 15° C - which I suppose is actually fairly mild. It is difficult to believe the rest of the forecast, but I think I have to believe that from even before the morning finishes it is going to rain, and there could be some heavy rain. Maybe no thunderstorms though, although time will tell. Unless this unexpected sunshine warms things up it may only be 18° C maximum today. Tomorrow brings some optimism. If the forecast actually describes reality, it could be a sunny day, although paradoxically it may well be a particularly cold day. The highest temperature could be as low as 13° C. Chilly !

  Once again I didn't want my cold to dictate what I could do yesterday, but ultimately that is exactly what it did. I was actually feeling better in some respects, but possibly worse in less obvious respects. The big test was when I went shopping in Aldi. While I was out in the fresh air my nose remained mostly clear, and the cough I had developed barely troubled me. What quickly became obvious is that I couldn't seem to get my legs out of third gear. No matter how much I tried I couldn't walk at top speed.

  It was probably stupid that I bought rather a lot of stuff in Aldi, and a lot of it was heavy stuff - like bottles of drink. It seems my latest little fad is to buy lots of bottles of untried beer to taste. On this occasion I also bought a couple of bottles of fruit ciders to taste. To make my bags even heavier I also bought a bottle of Aldi own brand spiced rum. I only tasted a very small swig, but it tastes good, although I worry about it containing too much sugar, and feel I can't heavily indulge in it.
some booze bought in Aldi
  I bought two of each of the cans on the left of this picture, and just one of each of the fruit ciders on the right. Generally speaking I am not a cider drinker, but I could certainly drink these fruit ciders. They are almost dangerous in that I can happily glug them back like a soft drink. I think Nordic Berries, and Strawberry Lime are the only two flavours in bottles, but there are several more flavours from the same brewer in cans. I think they have to be tried the next time I go to Aldi.

  After I had been through the checkout, and started to pack my bags I realised I may have been a bit stupid to buy all that I did. Both shopping bags were very heavy, plus my rucksack had three 2.25l bottles of Diet Coke in it. It made for a very sedate, and uncomfortable walk home. It felt great to finally get home and put those bags down. I think I had finally tested my sick body to almost breaking point.

  I almost took the rest of the afternoon, and the evening, very easy, but for some unknown reason I felt the urge to hand wash a bath a towel. I think I had put it in to soak in detergent before going to Aldi, and so I didn't have much choice about completing the job, plus there was also the fact that it was the last of a small backlog of laundry to do. Being just a single item made it easier, but I decided to take two short breaks during the process. It felt good to finally hang it up to dry (indoors).

  It was while doing that laundry that there was a ring on my doorbell, and I rushed downstairs, still wearing wet and dripping Marigolds, and answered the door to a parcel delivery from Amazon. It was the parcel that I thought might be delivered, but the last time I checked it hadn't left the depot. It was mostly some 1.5V, non rechargeable lithium cells. Until recently I thought they were brilliant. They seemed to last forever in my trail camera, and also in my flash gun, but conversely seem to have a short life when used for very light duty - such as my outdoor temperature sensors.

  Another item was something that gave me hours of "fun". I have to confess I bought it out of curiosity, and have no need of it. It is an adaptor to use a micro SD memory card in a Compact Flash Card socket, and it has built in WiFi. My Canon EOS Rebel, aka 300D, DSLR camera is old enough to use Compact Flash Memory. It is expensive to buy now, and I probably have as much as I will ever need considering how rarely I use the camera, but now I can use common, and cheap micro SD cards in the camera.

  The built in WiFi also means I can download the pictures without taking the card out of the camera. If I could do that to my PC it might be useful, but try as I might I have no yet found a way to do it. It seems as if it should be possible to mount the card as a remote Windows share, but it doesn't seem to work using either a Linux or Windows XP PC. However, it does work using an Android app on a mobile phone.

  The adapter itself came with no instructions at all. The Amazon web page for it did admit that the WiFi password was 99999999, but beyond that there was nothing except a couple of bar codes on the adapter. One was labelled 360 and the other IOS. The IOS one translated to an Apple web address which might, or might not have worked. The one marked 360 was presumably for Android, but seemed to go to a dead web address in China. Searching the makers web site drew a complete blank. A search of the Android Play Store came up with a possible app, and fortunately it does work OK. Being able to download picture to a phone could possibly have some uses. I expect I could use the phones picture editor to make small corrections to the picture, and then send it via email, or Whatsapp to someone. I could possibly even send it to my FTP server, but I haven't investigated that.

  Playing with that Compact Flash adapter took up several hours in the afternoon, and helped the time pass more quickly. Before long I had drunk both bottles of fruit cider, and eaten some naughty snacks, and then it was dinner time. Those snacks I had eaten certainly seemed to blunt my appetite because I had quite a small dinner, and it seemed perfectly satisfying. A couple of hours of TV, and it was time for bed.

  Until about 5pm, although there is no definitive dividing line, the cough I had developed seemed very mild, but it got worse. Now compared to before I stopped smoking in 2013 it was still very mild, but it still seemed to get quite annoying, and I thought it might interfere with my sleep. It did, but only to the extent that it probably stopped me falling asleep for little more than 15 minutes.

  As usual, I woke up every two or three hours during the night, and most time I needed a good cough to clear some muck out, but the good thing is that my need to clear my nose was very mild, and at least once I wondered why I even bothered to do so. It seems like I have already been through peak nose flow, and I am back to just needing an occasional blow at some convenient time, rather than dripping all over the place. While I have been sitting here typing I am not sure if I remember coughing. Maybe my cough is fading away too now, although my chest does feel a bit clogged. Maybe I'll have a squirt of my asthma inhaler soon so I can suck in a mega amount of air, and have a super powerful much clearing cough.

  Whether I am mostly over my cold, as I hope, or not will only be revealed during the day. I still think I will continue to take it easy during the day though - particularly if the afternoon does turn out to be a rain ridden hell. At the moment the sun continues to shine in defiance of the forecast. The very latest revision to the forecast predicts rain in half an hour, but while there are more clouds in the sky, there are not enough of them for rain, and they look like the wrong type too. I guess the right type could be about to blow over the horizon, but for the moment I will continue to enjoy the sunshine.

  There is just one important thing on my agenda today, and that is my appointment with the nurse to have one or both of my ears syringed to get all the wax out. After just over a week of dripping almond oil in my ears, that wax should be nice and soft, and ready to wash out with ease. It is still an uncomfortable process though, but it is one case where the pain justifies the action. It all happens at 5pm today.
michaelmas daisies
  While on my way to Aldi the sun was out, and my front garden looked almost good. The colours look wrong, and sort of muted in this picture, but the riot of Michaelmas daisies looked nice and colourful - a complete contrast to my mud, weeds and tomato plants in my back garden, but maybe next year....  Maybe next year I will finally manage to kill off the mutilated tree stump in the front garden that refuses to die, and to keep the weeds under better control. It would make those Michaelmas daises look even better - even if they self propagate in a random manner.